Bliss absolute – Advaita series

[Taken from the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

In the Kruta Yuga, a person named Brighu went to his father Varuna and asked:

“How to know that which is absolute, which remains full at all times, that which does not have any shortage?”

Varuna said: “Do Tapasya, you shall know.”

Brighu began his tapasya. He started turning inwards. He saw that the body feels everything. That which experiences is greater than what is experienced itself. He went back to Varuna and said: “This body is the greatest of all, the absolute.”

The father said: “Do some more tapasya.”

Brighu went back like an obidient son of those days and attempted tapasya. He would go back to Varuna and mention what he feels is the absolute and Varuna turned him back every time, for 5 such instances.

The body is the absolute, no. The body dies, it cannot be. The life (Prana) is the absolute. No, the Prana is not in itself. The mind is the absolute. But the mind wanders here and there and it sometimes is happy and sometimes isn’t. How can it be absolute? He went back the fifth time.

“Father, I did tapasya all the time as you said. Nowadays, a tiny bit of bliss pops up at times. What is it?”

“The tiny bit of bliss, that is what you are searching for. You experience it a bit now. But when it becomes complete, it is bliss absolute. It is this bliss which does not get reduced, it remains forever, in every place, body. It surpasses time, body, mind and is the source for all these to experience. This is called the Atma, and the absolute bliss in knowing that Atman and experiencing it, to dwell in the state of bliss.” Varuna said. This is mentioned in an Upanishad.

We experience that bit of absolute ocean of bliss sometimes, rarely too. When seated in a dense tree, the sunlight does not fall down. When the wind blows, the leaves sway and the light rays fall down, temporarily. Then when the wind stops, there is no rays. The rays are present everywhere but just as the leaves, our mind, bad karma and thoughts are the ones which prevent the rays from us to know the rays shining. When we do tapasya and do vichara, the anandha or bliss absolute becomes of us, we merge in to it and we become that.

Krishna said, Kambar said too!

Atma is the source of everything. But when it is said Atma itself surpasses everything, we get confused. How is this possible? Krishna being the playful one, plays with us in the Gita and at the end, clarifies it crystal clear.

I am in everything.
Everything is in me
~ yomam pachyati sarvatra, sarvam cha mayi pachyati

When everything is in him, then they become the source of him is it? Confusing?
Swami or Atma is the source of everything is the right one. Just because he is in everything does not mean that they are there or they are the source for him. He is the one who controls everything, he himself clarifies it.

It is the Ishwara who controls everything as if they are dolls controlled by threads (ishwara, sarva bhuthanam hruth these arjuna thishtathi bramayan sarva bhuthani yanthra roodani maayayaa) ~ he says. Then after this clarification, he plays again.

I have nothing.
I am in nothing
~ na cha math sthani bhuthani, na saaham theshi avasthitha
Here the philosophy of Atma surpassing everything is being said. Arre O Krishna, why this playful confusion? He then says ‘I don’t explain to everyone for that is my Yoga Maya (na aham prakasha: sarvasya:) & (yoga maaya samavrutha:)

Confusing? If we think a little, we may know what he meant. He isn’t saying that I won’t explain it to everyone. In that case if there is a thousand people, he won’t explain it to any of them. But what he says is, “it may be that 999 people may not understand, but for the one who will understand, I will still explain”. He says Sarvasya (everyone), he does not say Kasyapi (no one), or I won’t explain to anyone. So someone does get clarified.

Who are these someone then? A selective caste, Brahmins? NO! Those selective few are the ones who are unaffected by His Yoga Maya. They are called Gnani. Such gnanis explain what he means by ‘Nothing is in me and I am in nothing’.

A person walks in the dark and steps on a garland and screams ‘ah snake!’. The snake and garland is just the same. The moment he knows that it is a garland, he knows that it is not a snake. But what made the snake? The garland itself. Those who do not know the Parabrahma witness the universe and its manifestations to be many (snake) but the source is the Parabrahma itself (garland).

I am in this universe. The universe is in me means the garland contains the snake and the snake contains the garland. Both are non-existent. When he screams ‘ah snake’, the snake swallowed the garland for the source of his vision is the snake. But when he knows that it is just the garland, the garland now swallows the snake. Though we see the universe, what we see is the Ishwara who holds the universe.

The Gnani in his Nirvikalpa Samadhi does not see anything as the universe. When it is said that there is nothing as the universe, it is absurd to say the universe is in him and he is in the universe, but when in ignorance, we see body, mind, life, brain etc., and when in bliss, it surpasses everything. Thus Krishna says ‘there is nothing in me’. Just because an ignorant says that he saw the garland as snake, it can’t be that the garland was in the snake or vice versa. It is just perception.

Kambar in his Kamba Ramayana says in the Sundara Kanda:

அலங்கலில் தோன்றும் பொய்ம்மை
அரவுஎனப் பூதம் ஐந்தும்
விலங்கிய விகாரப் பாட்டின்
வேறு பாடுற்ற வீக்கம்
கலங்குவ தெவரைக் கண்டால்
அவர் என்பர் கைவி லேத்தி
இலங்கையில் பொருதா ரன்றே
மறைகளுக் கிறுதி யாவார்.

அலங்கல் – garland
அரவு – snake

Just like how a snake is seen in the garland, the illusionary universe made out of the five elements is very entizing. How can this illusion disappear? It is by seeing the light which is Sri Rama. What he has said is pure Advaita.

Featured image: Sean Lord

Advaita and Atomic Science – Advaita series

[Taken from the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

The human life has desires, it has grief, fear and so on. To be untouched by them is Moksha. It is only through the Advaita Anubhava one can be devoid of grief, fear, jealous and all the evils and one can experience the Ananda of Moksha right here and right now. There is grief when something is different from us. There is fear or desire towards it. When there is nothing else, all that is seen or felt is just one, where is jealousy or fear. Snakes and lizards cause us fear but how can we get fear when we ourselves become as snakes and lizards?

Moksha is not something one can experience only after the physical body dies or by going somewhere to attain it. When one experiences the ‘oneness’, he can be at moksha right here and right now.

How can everything be one, we do see different things right? Either what we see should be the truth or what the Gnanis experience as Advaita should be the truth. Truth should provide changeless peace and bliss and fulfillment, which are its attributes. The life we see in front of us does not have these attributes. The Gnanis who experiences the advaita ananda are the ones who remain in that bliss, peace and fulfillment. We dream of different things and they appear very real when we are at sleep, what happens to them when we wake up? It is only the dreamer who remains. Similarly, this world is just an illusion. Once this illusion clears and one wakes up, all that is there is the Paramatma alone.

Advaita says that it is the same One which manifests itself in to many. What does science say? It agrees to the above statement. Earlier, the scientists stated that everything in this world comes under 72 elements. The idea was that these 72 elements were different from one another. Now after the discovery about the Atom has widened, they found that these 72 elements which appear to be different is from the same ‘Energy’ or Shakthi. The matter (Elements) and the source (Energy) are not different is what they have established. The great minds such as Einstein or Sir James Jeans have come very close in their statement of what Adi Shankara said about Advaita. When He said the world is an illusion, He stated that the world is not the end. It has its source in something else. It is relative but not absolute.

The only grief part about the discovery of energy and matter being the same is that it was used in the invention of atomic bomb. This is the bad side effect of using science to discover worldly things, with the limitation held at the brain level. This discoveries should go deeper from the brain and external world to the mind and beyond. When the truth that every Jeeva is just the same, the same brain who invented the atomic bomb for the destruction would have done something constructive to the world. The only glad thing is that such measures have been experimented with, constantly.

What is Advaita? It means ‘no two’ literally. Dvaita means there’s two. What does ‘no two’ mean, which two? We are here as Jeeva’s and there’s Swami. This is dvaita. Advaita says, ‘the only reality is Swami alone’, and there is no second thing other than Swami himself. It is the same Swami who has manifested through its Maya Shakthi as many. Just as an actor who can adorn many different characters but yet is the same person. We could say Jivatma and Paramatma but it is just the Paramatma there is, says Advaita. When we experience this, we no longer remain the Jiva with so many limitations but will be one among the Sat-Chit-Ananda, is Paramacharya’s Advaita philosophy.

When there is nothing else, what will control? What will be controlled? To be controlled, there has to be one who controls and one who is controlled. Such a state need not have to be obtained by going to Vaikunta or Kailasha, but can be obtained right here and now. That Brahmam or Paramatma is ever present, everywhere. The same sky is present inside the pot (Gatahasa) and outside (Mahakasa). When the pot breaks, the sky is all that remains.

But to reach the state of ‘I am that’ there is various steps, one cannot be a grand-master in his first session. There is Karma, Upasana etc., such as steps that Shankaracharya has given us. When following these procedures, one should constantly remind themselves that ‘what is seen and observed are just the same’ constantly. Let the experience in reality happen when it will, but the mind has to be reminded about this all the time.

If advaita is not possible, then there must be something different than the Paramatma. If so, where did it come from? What is it made of and who made it? We are with brain (with chaitanya), if we have been brainless or without chaitanya, then there must be something which has created this Jata-Prapanja for it cannot act by itself. In that case, it shows that it is the same Paramatma who has manifested as Jata Prapanja. Then the Jivas, have we come ourselves? We have various swabhava, attributes, appearance etc., which cannot be created as it were. The brain of Jiva did not come from elsewhere, it is created by the Big-brain itself.

Such Jiva get their food, clothing and shelter from this Jata Prapanja (this world in itself). The Jiva has sense organs to perceive heat, taste, smell etc., Such is the relation between the Jiva and World. Is all these created by the Jiva itself? There is some work done by a bigger brain to have these related. If the world and Jiva were created by two different things, then to make this relationship won’t be possible. So the source for both becomes the same Chaitanya. When it has created, it did not do it with an external thing apart from itself. So the only logical conclusion is that the same thing has manifested in to many. It has the power to do so, Maya Shakthi. This is Advaita. Those who has such a knowledge and wisdom, is the realized person, even if he may be a Chandala. This state is called Moksha, which can be attained and experienced right in this same birth, while in the physical body.

Featured image: ASRCE

That is this itself! – Advaita series 1

[This is a new Advaita series, taken from the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

A carpenter made a wooden elephant for the temple. Another carpenter went along with him to test it, along with his child. The child saw the elephant and was scared, “Appa, do not go near the elephant, it may attack” he screamed. The carpenter said, “this is but a wooden toy, it won’t attack” and he took the child near the elephant.

For the child, the elephant was real. For the carpenter, however real it appeared, he knew that it was a toy.

The elephant was hiding the tree
The elephant got hidden in the tree

The above is a lame translation of what Yogeeshwara so eloquently mentioned both the child and the father’s state of mind in Tamil as below.
மரத்தை மறைத்தது மாமத யானை
மரத்தில் மறைந்தது மாமத யானை

This phrase is in his Thiru Manthiram. Why did he narrate the following story can be clarified if we see the other two lines.

பரத்தை மறைத்தது பார்முதல் பூதம்
பரத்தில் மறைந்தது பார்முதல் பூதம்

Just as the elephant and the wood were one and the same in the above example, the Lord Paramatma is no different from the world itself. The (toy) world is made by the wood called Paramatma. Just as the child did not know the wood in the elephant, we do not know the wood that had become the world. We can feel the five elements which hides us from the almighty, which is behind and beyond everything. But the Gnani’s know the wood behind the world, they seldom get distracted by the toy aka the world.

Why is this being said here? To live happily in this world, we need money, who cares about Paramatma or wood? Let us just assume that everyone becomes rich. Can then everyone be happy and peaceful? Take a look at the developed, rich world, are they all happy and peaceful? The human tendency is to have more than the other. Even if all facilities are given equally, they would want them to be served first.

For this ‘rat race’ to vanish, one should get the Gnana that there is nothing to race against. What we ought to do all the time is ‘Athma Vichara’ – to search for the truth within. If you do not want to buy the misery of this world, then remember that this world is that of Shivamaya. This is the elephant, and this is the wood. One should remember this always. Without this gnana, one should be doomed in darkness associating the world to the elephant and running behind its pleasures.

[From Kanda & Akhanda]

There is just one sun for us. Take a bit of water and sprinkle it in a polished surface and you shall see countless sun in every droplet in the floor. They do not mean individual suns, but a mere reflection. Likewise, it is one Paramatma who has manifested itself in to many. This is stated by Adi Shankaracharya in His Brahma Suthra bashya.

That one source from which everything has manifested, that one is what reflects as many, you and me etc., That One is what is called in the Vedas as Thath (see how the word That matches closely with it!). Thath means, it is far, above everything. Though it appears to be far and above, in reality it is what there is! It is very close. It is you itself. That’s what the Vedas say ‘Thath Twam’ – twam means you.

But the practical problem is, when I say the above in this second, you feel everything is understood. We will be blissful if we remain in this consciousness always, but this disappears the next second itself. Therefore we suffer. How can we stick to this consciousness which is bliss absolute? It is to stick to That which is blissful, conscious and existing all the time. Hold on to That one. Sat – Chit – Ananda, existence, knowledge, bliss absolute. It is the paramatma himself that we should hold on to.

Thiruvalluvar says this beautifully:

பற்றுக பற்றற்றான் பற்றினை அப்பற்றினை
பற்றுக பற்று விடற்கு

Grab hold of that one’s holy feet who is never attached, and never let go – a lame translation again. Bear with us. Once we got hold of Him, there won’t be any rat race, anger or jealousy or fear. This is the fruit that Shankaracharya got us from the tree of Upanishads. This fruit has to be ripened in us, for which we need patience. We cannot ripen it artificially. How do we make this fruit ripen naturally then?

Do dhyana, japa, tapa, pooja etc., Do Athma Vichara. Then we shall know that Thath which seems far away is so very close to us, it is Us ourselves.