How to reduce the burden of grief – Advaita series

[Based on the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

Grief and its cause

We must ALL try to get the true wisdom of the Almighty. This wisdom is nothing but there is nothing other than the Almighty himself. The one appears as many. When we distract ourselves in to these many, there is disturbance, imbalance and the grief happening because of it. When we stop running behind the many and turn towards knowing the one which has manifested as many, then there is no imbalance and therefore no grief. This will give a permanent bliss. This is called as wisdom or gnana.

It appears as we do get some happiness out of the material world. But it is not permanent. How can we make the bliss from external source be permanent. It will run away. Just like how the sun light shines out of the gap in the branches, the bliss appears from time to time and disappears. The eternal bliss lies in knowing the cause of this world.

There is grief in every human being. It may appear that the rich, those in big social status are free from grief and we struggle to become like one by seeing them. The more higher one rises, the effect after falling down becomes higher too. Hence there is none who is free from grief. Just like how someone thinks that they are the most intelligent and beautiful, they think their grief is the highest in the world. The grief is born with us. We have sown the seed for this grief through our past karma. There is no escaping it.

But there is a way to bear the grief through this karma and be peafeful. There is also ways not to accumulate more karma. That wisdom is a way to do it. If one becomes insane, there is no grief, but there is no bliss either. The Gnani is the only one who is ever awake and without grief. There is no turbulence in his mind. The external struggle doesn’t affect him inside.

When one waves the pot full of water from within the pond, the weight of the pot is not felt but when one takes it out, the weight is felt. They use to transport the huge tree trunks underneath water for this reason. We should submerge these grief in this wisdom. The grief then becomes very light.

Yogi

The one whom the grief does not touch is a yogi. Sin or the dirt accumulated in the mind is the reason for grief. When the dirt gets cleaned, the mind just turns towards the Lord by itself. The dirt can be cleared off only through rigorous measures and controls. When one does that and wins, the routine and measures in controlling the body itself becomes a yoga to be with the almighty.

When the mind has nothing, it automatically dissolves in to the source where it came from. When it merges with the source, then the mind ceases to exist. It stops running. It is the grief-free state. Just like how the water vapour starts it journey, takes many forms, keeping flowing and mixes with the ocean and ceases to exist on its own, but has become one with the ocean, the ocean, the yogi or the gnani merges their minds to the one source, Eka, and remains in that state. The yogi who has reached the state of Samadhi, even if they come back and appear normally, the experience of that state remains intact.

If somone gets a slightest of thought that they ‘should’ do something or ‘want’ something, they may not have experienced the eternal bliss. The yogi feels only mercy, a limitless one. He thinks that nothing should be harmed because of him. Whatever he does, he does not feel like he is doing it. There is only that mercy which shows in his actions.

Parameshwara destroys everything which appears like a bad thing. He does that only to make those Jiva’s who has loads of karmic ties within them to be within him, He destroys. We are eternally in the cycle of good and bad, birth and death. This punarapi jananam-punarapi maranam cycle should stop. The rituals and spiritual practices are meant only for this noble exercise. When it is done from the childhood, when crores and crores of people are equipped in this sadhana, then one parama-gnani appears from one of them. Such a birth is beneficial to the entire mankind.

Let us see how to get rid of this grief.

There is cause and effect. Whatever we go through now must have a cause in the past. This could be either a papa, or punya and sometimes it is said that the papa and punya of others may have an effect on us too. When the child suffers a disease, they say it is the effect of the parents’ papa effect. They suffer mentally by seeing the suffering of the child. It appears that the bad effect one goes through may be a punya effect of his enemy.

Whatever the reason maybe, the foremost cause of all the universe is that one Para Shakthi. That Ishwara’s will is what created the universe. He relates us to many a things. There is nothing without a reason or connection in this world. What appears to be not connected does have some relation within.

The karma one does has its effect, good or bad. As a sublime effect, the disease or gruhachara (deiva kutram) happens. One can do parikara through horoscope, medicine or mantrika. When our karma is about to be spent off, any of these will have its effect. If one accepts the life as a happening of the Lord’s will, they can remain unaffected, this maturity is the greatest parikara.

To ensure that no new karmic effect getting accumulated no matter how the past was. The only way is to meditate on the Ishwara. The only way out of grief is to surrender to Ishwara. The state of wisdom where there is nothing secondary or external to give a grief, is the ultimate way out. There is no sukha or dukha. What remains is the truth (Sathyam) which is auspicious (Shivam) that is beautiful (Sundaram).

Featured image courtesy: New Earth Heartbeat

~ to be continued…!

He beckons you – Advaita series

[Based on the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

The ocean when motionless, water bubbles are formed due to the air only to get broken by the next stream of air. The Paramatma is like the ocean only limitless. We are merely those bubbles who appear and disappear, but where to disappear. When the merciful glance of Acharya falls on us as the air for the bubble, we become one with the Paramatma.

There is no change in the capacity of the ocean. The water takes various forms and flows such as vapour, rain, river, stream and so on. The ocean remains as it is. There is no new set of flood coming to it, neither does it dry. There is shortage of drinking water in the summer but the water is in different form in different places, not a drop has increased or decreased. The rich just like how they change their wealth from savings to share to properties etc., the water changes face.

The Paramatma has appeared in many forms and in spite, hasn’t changed. We feel shortage and abundance, but when the wisdom of ‘everything is one’ comes, there is no change, shortage or abundance. Just as we relate the water to Paramatma, we must stress the importance of rivers here. The ocean water becomes various forms, like streams, well water, pond, river etc., but the river is the one which runs and mixes the ocean. In the northern India, there is a river Son, which means red. This runs in reddish soil. The Krishna river that runs in Andhra runs in dark coloured soil, Ganga is white which is denoted by the colour of the soil it runs.

The red is Rajas, Black is Tamas and White is Satva. Irrespective of the gunas, all these must culminate in to the Paramatma just as these three rivers mixes in to the ocean. Water finds it level they say, when the water falls from the hill, there is great noise and when it runs as rivers, there isn’t much noise and when it has reached the ocean, there is no noise. The river reaches its level only then and therefore becomes very quiet. We become quiet when we know our level, at the ground level. When we over react, people may get attracted or notice, but we will be losing our ground, our peace. The river is accepted by the ocean just as the Paramatma accepts us and we become one with Him.

Maya

Buddhism says everything is Maya, in reality there is nothing. Advaitha doesn’t say this. It does say that the Prapanja is Maya but that Maya has another source, which is Brahmam, which remains the ultimate reality. What? This universe is illusion you say? Can’t you see a number of things happening around you? What do you mean Maya then?

Maya does NOT mean that there is Nothingness.

It is not like an oxymoron (really lie, true mystery). Maya refers to this. It appears to be real as long as we think it is. Not like really lie. Think of a mirage. There is water but we cannot drink it. It is like this for the Gnanis, the world does appear just as a mirage does, but they know they cannot quench their thirst with a mirage water.

Do yourself a favour and read Swami Vivekananda on Maya as well. http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/jnana-yoga/maya_and_illusion.htm
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_2/Jnana-Yoga/Maya_and_Freedom

Just as the rope appears just as a snake and causes all the sensations in our body and mind when we see a real snake is Maya. When the illusion disappears, that it is indeed a rope, all the fearful sensation disappears. So would you say the snake was unreal? Yes and No. A while back, it was a snake, but now it is a rope. Has the rope changed to snake? It is your knowledge that has changed, evolved. What appeared to be a snake is what is Maya. It is just like a dream. As long as you dream without knowing it, everything is real but when you wake up, you know :).

For the Gnani, the Maya is zero. But for the ignorants, they add as many numbers as possible before the zero and magnifies it, thinking its real. With limited light, we see the black letters of the book but when there is abundance of light, the letters won’t be shown at all. This abundance of light is wisdom. When they say that the day of a Gnani is our night means just this.

Bhakthi Yoga or Gnana Yoga – Advaita series

[Based on the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

Atma Vichara, Dhyana, Yoga all these will truly make the mind fixed, and blissful. Then why am I not talking about these spiritual practices but about Bhakthi? Even Adi Shankaracharya says the Moksha is being in a state of mind where even a thought doesn’t arise, even that of doing Bhakthi. But I am talking about doing Bhakthi. Shankara himself says that the best method to Moksha is doing Bhakthi, but what he defines by Bhakthi is to realize one’s true self and being in that state is the true bhakthi. This method is only through atma vichara, dhyana or yoga, not in the way I describe Bhakthi.

In spite of Acharya Shankara’s definition of Bhakthi, He has himself set forth certain rules, upasana to a personal God and established the Shan Matha (Ganapathyam, Kaumaram, Shaktham, Vaishnavam, Shaivam and Souram). He went kshetra after kshetra and sang praises on those murthis. Seeing this, it becomes clear that He agrees to our way of devotion as well.

Gnana is very high. Higher so is atma vichara, dhyana, yoga. Bhakthi, Pooja, visiting Kshetra are inferior. More so lower is achara, anushtana, vaitheeka karma are superstitions. The bhakthi is merely emotional and only dhyana, yoga or atma vichara (self inquiry) are the only ones related to Atma (spiritual) – such is the prevailing talks now.

But take this test, take a sthothra or parayana (recitation) that lasts for at least 15 minutes. Sit down and start doing it, better if it is a known one for you or else you will focus in reading an unknown thing afresh, so fixing your mind in it is easier. Pick the one which you know and start reciting. See how your mind wanders while your lips reciting the verses. Easy. Our mind’s nature is to wander. A greatest controller of mind Arjuna himself asks this question to Krishna on how to control the mind that runs like a restless monkey. We need not have to say about ours. We know it is impossible to stop thinking. Our happiness, sorrow, our attachments, desires, they keep lashing us in the mind. Plus we plan our days and weeks in the mind.

But why are we not able to stop our thinking? It is our karma, accumulated over births.

We have done different kind of things birth after birth, accumulated desires after desires. Till we let go of our desires and till the sins we accumulated gets over, we won’t attain Moksha. How do we get rid of the sins is only by doing good deeds, punya. Through His mercy, the lord gives us another chance to do good in the next birth but what we end up doing is to accumulate even more sins in the birth we’ve taken. So the Acharya kept such rituals and procedures for us to reduce our sins and to focus on good and God.

Sins are of two kinds (here Sins refer to Papa done by us, not to be confused with the Abrahamic reference of sin) – one that is done through the bodies and the other through the mind. To get rid of sinful thoughts, one should encourage good thoughts that gives Punya. What is Punya Karma? It is described in the Vedas. To lead the life rightfully, that happens in the governance, business, that which is done with the physical labour and that which is done with the brains. So the Vedas gave us four different methods of doing the Punya Karma which is as per their mental temperaments, the type of work they do. There are prescribed rules and regulations under all four sections. If people comply by these, they accumulate punya karma.

When someone deviates from these rules, they tend to commit sins and accumulate Papa. When someone follows what the Vedas mention, there is no jealousy, greed or any such stains, no grief therefore. Doing such karma will increase punya and destroys the accumulated sins. The mind and body aligned in doing proper deeds when done by thinking of the welfare of the world becomes the habit and this slowly takes off any evil thoughts from the mind.

Deed and Thought has closer relation. When sitting idle, all sorts of thoughts arise. Hence they say that the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Hence it is important to cleanse the mind. In the initial stages, it is only through karma or work that the mind will be cleansed. Hence the Acharya prescribed Veda karma. The first step is to do karma, work and good work that is. Then it is Seva or service, sacrifice, all these with the baseline of love towards everyone. This love, should be diverted to the one which caused everything in this universe. So you start doing good work, love others and do good to others and divert the love towards the Lord. This makes the mind devoid of any negative thoughts and thereby, action. This mind becomes pure and then becomes non-existent where only the atma remains.

These are steps which are prescribed by the Acharya as we see.

Merely talking ‘Advaita’ does not help. We must climb these steps. Start with parayana, bhakthi, visiting kshetra, singing the glory of the lord, start doing good deeds and slowly get the mind aligned to the Paramatma. He does not care whether you think of him with form or formless, for you are working towards your salvation. So we need to have this bhakthi to start with and to experience the advaita, the oneness with God.

~ to be continued…!

Why is God needed? It is for peace – Advaita series

[Based on the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

The thiests standpoint is that the world which is functioning in such an organized manner must have been created and sustained by someone called God. There is an effect for every cause and therefore the almighty gives the effect based on our deeds, they claim. So what, why should we worship him? Did he ask us before he created us? Even so, we have a number of difficulties, why should we have devotion towards him?

He can dissolve your difficulties, why not therefore be devoted to him, the thiests ask. If he will solve our miseries only if we pray to him, then he is a mere trader, he is not an ocean of mercy and all. Also, you claim that he gives the effect based on our deeds, then why should we pray to solve our miseries which in fact are the effects he gives us for our deeds? Nilakanta Deekshidhar answers these questions in his ‘Ananda Sakara Sthava’ thus:

‘Amma Meenakshi, I don’t have to tell you anything for you know everything. But if I don’t say my difficulties to you out loud, my heart aches. If I say it out loud to you, the mind eases itself. Hence I mention all my difficulties to you in spite you knowing everything.’

It becomes difficult if one doesn’t say their difficulties out. Science proves us that when the pressing thoughts on difficulty is shared, the mind eases out. We cannot go about saying this to anybody, but whom we consider ourselves, whom we can trust, in the case of thiests, the God himself to whom we can be ourselves. He can either be an ocean of mercy and solve our miseries or be the granter of effects and punish us for our deeds, or gives us the strength to bear the difficulty without altering it, there is peace in saying things out loud to him.

But is this all God for? To create you, sustain you and give you merits and demerits based on your deeds? Are you that important in this vast universe or doesn’t he have nothing better to do The devotion is not for your difficulty to get over! It is neither to thank him who granted you this happy life. Had it been so, some may object that it is the duty of those who planted the sapling to water it. Why thank him?

Devotion is not for all these. The happiness and sorrow, both make the mind wander, dance. The true bliss lies in the mind standing still. All other happiness are transitory. When sleeping, we are motionless, at that time there isn’t any happiness or we are unaware if we are happy or at peace. But the mind should be without any waves. At the same time, we should be completely aware that we are at peace. This state does not have any comparison. Only when there is mind, it thinks that there is a paramatma, and we are jivatma, that very thought originates from the mind. When the mind dissolves, there is nothing that thinks and therefore this thought itself does not arise. We will be motionless and one among in that bi…g fulfilled state which is existence, knowledge and bliss absolute.

When the mind thinks of something continuously, it becomes that itself. As per this scientific fact, the mind’s search towards peace, its thinking of peace and bliss makes it peaceful and blissful itself. To attain peace, one trains the mind to remain at peace, without thoughts but to reach this, one has to think of any one, not many different thoughts. This one thought eventually becomes no thought. The appropriate ideal for this thought is to think of the Lord, God himself.

This is why this Lord in spite of creating, sustaining, governing this entire universe does not get affected by it. He the Ishwara is called as Sthanu aka ripen wood. It is full of life though motionless, and this wood has a creeper who is the Shakthi, who is called Aparna, the one without leaves. The creeper which is full of life but without any emotion is surrounding the ripen wood which appears to be motionless, but full of life as well. When we think of the Lord, both peace and wisdom appears. For us to be with this wisdom and peace, one should meditate and hence He is required.

Even if we go to the Lord to speak out loud about our difficulty or to thank him for the good life, the mind at the end thinks of him and just by this gets away from thinking this good and bad. There will be a state where the mind says ‘Let it happen as per His will’ and offload all the burden on him. Then happens a sense of peace and bliss within the mind. This initial state of mind will eventually lead us to the mindless state where only the bliss and peace will remain.

Featured image: TamilBrahmins.com

~ to be continued…!

Where is this bliss? – Advaita series

[Taken from the Deivathin Kural by Kanchi Paramacharya]

We have countless desires. However, a certainity is that we are going to be separated from them or they will go away from us. Let this separation not happen through death, if we retire our desires well before, we could be blissful as much. The number of desires we have is directly proportional to the number of grief, we tie ourselves with it. The more desires reduce, the grief reduces too. If we let go of every desire within this birth, we may not have to come under the birth-death cycle. We could be one with the Paramatma.

We boast about our sixth sense. But what is so special that we are doing? The dog, cockroach and the fox eat too, they reproduce as well and die. In general, the mankind does not seem to be doing anything other than what these creatures do either. What to boast of sixth sense? If one is using this sense, then he will try to find out that absolute bliss and to remain in it. But is he pursuing it? If we think of it, the bliss, gnana, all these are just the same. When we realize our true self, we would become that bliss itself.

This bliss does not come from external sources, never. It is from within. Even if this is covered with our desires or ignorance, we do experience some bliss when we associate happiness to something external. When that association goes, the bliss fades away. Take an example. A person has some land which gives him abundance of harvest and he feels very happy. The next year, the harvest goes down and down, so he sells off his land to someone else. The harvest increases the following year again. Now does he feel happy as before? No. Instead, he feels jealous of the person who enjoys the harvest. It is this association.

When someone can experience this much of bliss through association, imagine the amount of bliss arising from associating with nothing. The first one is within the “I” feeling out of Maya. The second one is the absolute bliss. The bitter guard when mixed slightly with jaggery will taste sweet at least a bit, then won’t it be totally sweet if one tastes the jaggery itself? From a pot that has holes all over, the light shines depending on how big the hole is. But when the pot itself is broken, all that we see is the light itself. This is breaking of this Maya. But how?

To let go of desires is the only way to break this Maya. As long as the mind is present, the desires will be present. The mind must be subdued. Do not think that without the mind one will be like the lifeless Jata. The same power which shines through various sense organs and the mind will then culminate in to one place and shine forth. We can do so much of good to the world with that combined power. The true example is of the Rishis who has obtained the true Gnana. They could wander across time and know everything. They could hear sounds which we could not from the Ether and gave us the Veda Mantras.

But how do I subdue the mind, let go of desires? It is sufficient if you follow the methods prescribed in the Vedas. One can surely reach that absolute bliss. Let the Parameshwara bless us for obtaining this bliss.

~ to be continued…!

Featured image courtesy: Advaita Spiritual Recharge