Mind, Memory, Craving and its treatment

This post aims to cover few points from sarga 13-16 of upaSama prakaraNa. These sargas are called manO vinivAraNam, svacitta nirUpaNam, trSNA varNanam and trSNA cikitsa.

What is mind? it is only a contraction of infinite consciousness into an imaginary container. This imaginary container is the thought that superimposed “this body I am”. By just giving up the limitation the infinite consciousness shines brightly in the heart. The notions of this is agreeable and this is not are all relative to this contracted container. There is nothing which is either profitable or painful without this limitation. All these notions give rise to appearance of thoughts. A container filled with such bundles of thoughts is mind which is causing all the confusion.

In reality the mind itself is non-existent. But could causes death just like a person dies with the shock when someone says: “you have just consumed poison”. Just like a concept of a ghost causes fear in the boy, this mind causes all the confusion in an ignorant person.

Is it difficult to overcome mind? No. what is the difficulty in overcoming a non-existent thing? It is just the memory and repeated assertion of existence of the mind which strengthens the concept of mind. It is stupidity to believe the mind without questioning it. Only due to this stupidity and ignorance all the misery is generated in this world.

These teachings are not for those who have a strong faith in the mind and memory. The bundle of experiences based on the notions & thoughts, stored in the container is the memory. By mutual reinforcement of notions/thoughts and experiences/memories both get strengthened and attain some virtual reality!

A modification of the combination of notions and memories is craving. Craving causes all the movement of action in the world appearance. Only by this tRshNa wind moves, water flows, mountains stand, earth rotate and hold all the environment and why to enumerate? Everything happens only due to this craving i.e, tRshNa!

So, give up craving, give up notions! How to do this? There are two kinds of practices. One based on the direct experience of rising beyond these notions (jnEyam) the other is through the contemplation (dhEyam) Give up the acceptance and rejection of things. Conduct yourself in doing the duties as they are aught to be done. See the actions as temporary and the results are also temporary and there by do not get attached to them.

Contemplate on the source “self” of everything. Include everything in the self as dhEyam and exclude everything from self as jnEyam. This will surely make you rise beyond the duality of acceptance and rejection.

On the eve of utpatti EkAdaSi, we reach the end of 16th sarga of upasama prakaraNa and this marks the end of day 11 of this great discussion between Sage vaSishTha and Lord Sri RAma.

 

 

 

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The greatness of wisdom

bhagavAn vaSishTha continued: Having contemplated thus, king janaka continued performing his duties as they occur in his kingdom. Due to his wisdom, he was never getting deluded by the “mine-ness” and “i-ness” as earlier. He is not interested in sense pleasures. He attitude was as if he was in deep sleep. He was neither accepting that appears pleasing, nor rejecting that was painful. He is always contended with what is available. Having continuously connected with right discrimination (vivEka), his right knowledge got purified. His heart started radiating the undiminishing light of wisdom that can’t be obstructed by the clouds of I and mine. He always looked at the whole world as mere modification of memory! All the worldly transactions as only as modifications of thoughts within the memory and the basis of self is untouched by the contents or the modifications of the memory…. by such equanimity of vision, king janaka is untouched by the great duality of pain and pleasure.

Thus, king janaka lived a life of enlightenment i.e jeevanmukta. He never developed any latent desires or hidden traits of like and dislike towards the world as he continued ruling the kingdom. All his past impressions of like and dislike vanished without leaving a trace of any attraction or repulsion towards the worldly appearances. By the virtue of freedom from latent impressions (deep rooted desires – vAsana – cause of actions) he is freed from past and future and ever contended in the present!

O rAmA! just by the virtue of self-inquiry alone king janaka attained such lofty wisdom in the manner of recovering forgotten necklace on one’s own neck, that is being searched for! As long as the realization of true nature of self is not available, one should continue to search for it in the form of self-inquiry.

By means of listening to the realized sage (sajjna sangatyam) and confirming it with one’s own vichara (self-enquiry) one gets the firm wisdom which is not possible to get by listening to the discourses, studying scriptures, or by performing virtuous deeds. The highest wisdom of pure self (also known as brahman) is only possible by deep inward contemplation based on the instruction of the scripture from a realized sage that was grown by the vivEka, there is no other means to it.

O rAmA or great mind! in whom the light of wisdom burns & glows, the darkness of ignorance will not touch. The great currents of difficulties can be easily be crossed by the ship of wisdom. Only by such wisdom, righteous and equanimous view of the world can be developed.  So, first step of attaining such wisdom is to disciplining the boy of vivEka, the right discrimination ability within you!

Thus on this dvAdaSi (12th waxing moon phase) of this wonderful Kartika month of SrI durmukhi year we reach the end of 12th sarga called prajna-mahatmyam of upaSama prakaraNa of mokshOpAya authored by sage Valmiki.

 

 

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janaka’s contemplation

Having heard the siddha gitas, king janaka started to feel like a coward who heard the trumpets of war. He sent away all his retinue, servants to their homes, he returned to his own palace. Having gone to the top most floor and looking around, he started to think as follows:

In this infinite flow of time my life span is such a short one. In this short span, being happy with things that have much shorter span of existence is a miserable thing to do. This kingdom is also perishable. Why am I happy with this? Why have I not thought of this till now? Why did I get contended with this material wealth? What was the magic that made me deluded?

Each year, each month, each day and each moment whatever the pleasure being sought all that seem to end in pain alone. Even the great emperors perished in the flow of time and my empire also will merge in this time alone. O! I seem to have tied even without a rope to all these destructible things! I seem to have lost my true knowledge as I came into the shadow of my own ignorance just like the sun is covered by the dark cloud.

What are all these pleasures? who are all these relatives? Why am I getting attached on my own to all these? Why is this attachment is increasing?

Let the worldly things grow or diminish. Why should I really worry about them? Is it not the several worlds gone earlier that were created by several creators of past?

The thoughts such as “I am this” (body) are mere imaginations created by the ego. Why am I entertaining such things like an ignorant? Whatever thing appears pleasing to me is going in the time. The thoughts of subtle attachment to them is getting stronger. The concept of “I” suffers all the way. In childhood due to inability, in youth due to cupid, later due to the problems of running the family!

Even the great virtuous deeds like rAjasUya and asVamEdha give a short span of presence in the heaven. Even in the heaven there is a danger of falling down to a lower form of life again. So the beings of multiple biospheres are born and dead again and again. Some may come with great skills and positive qualities…. but alas that also goes waste!

O mind! all this appearing world is nothing but transfiguration of you alone. Just attaching thoughts like I and mine there is growth to the concepts of like and dislike. On coincidence all these appear as if there is a cause and effect and bind me in the repeated cycle of pain. Even as the smaller pain is considered better than bigger pain the being are considering the misery of this cyclic existence as pleasure and getting stuck in it.

I have now got to the proper understanding of the root of all this. The sankalpas i.e, the subtle impressions (or notions) guiding the thought flow is the cause of all this samsara. I am not going to come under the control of these sankalpas. As I have heard several teachings by saints and the accomplished siddhas, I am going to follow my self which will lead me to supreme bliss!!

By chasing away the notions of this body is I am and this possessions are mine, by winning over the strong enemy of mind, by gaining the proper discrimination i.e, vivEka, I will march towards eternal peace!!!

As the king janaka deeply contemplating as above, the messenger came in and started calling the king to preside over the regular royal court assembly. 

Janaka started to think again: What is this kingdom? What is the use of this kingdom to me? Why should I engage in the actions related to this? What will I gain by doing anything here? What is an acceptable thing? As this body is always maintained by the actions, I should perform the prescribed duties. Even when I perform the duties there is nothing lost. My understanding remain perfect. Let this body along with its mind perform its duties.

BhagavAn vaSishTha said: Having concluded as above king janaka continued to be the king and performed the duties as they occurred by giving up the notion of this action will yield a desirable result and this action should be avoided.

Having performed his daily royal duties and personal duties of worship of gods and brahmaNas, he sat in solitude and reinforced his previous thoughts back to his own mind as follows:

O mind, the shaky and wavering worldly things can’t give peace to you. By balancing and naturally attaining tranquility alone will give peace. However you imagine, in the same way the results starts to appear. So, O mind, do not run behind temporary pleasures. Give up the desire.

O mind, properly evaluate what is best between the temporary pleasure or blissful peace. Don’t desire this world and at the same time do not hate it as well. Don’t get perturbed by the happenings of this world.

O mind, you have no relation with this world. How can you have relation with something that is non-existent? Even in reality you are non-existent. What you see (imagine) is non-existent. There can be no relation between two non existent things. If I consider you as existing and the world otherwise even then there is no problem anyway there is no loss of non existing world to you. If the condition being you are eternal and the world is also eternal there is nothing in the world be lost.

So, O mind, give up your fickleness, take up the abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (dispassion)!

This on this ramaikAdaSi of SrI durmukhi year, we reach the end of EkAdaSa sarga of upaSama prakaraNa of mOkshOpAya of bhagavAn vaSishTha.   

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Two modes of realization

Bhagavan vaSishTha Continued: One who engages in actions with the awareness that the internal associations only cause the vibration that appear as external objects is the one I think is realized. Others who think that “I am the doer” distinct from the visible world are those who go to either higher or lower worlds based on the quality of the actions. Those who get attracted either to banished actions or to inaction will go from one dark world to another darker world and one fear to another fear!

In this process of going around and around, some keep purifying their tendencies and finally after due acquisition of prerequisites for realization, approach a Guru and get illuminated by the teaching of the guru. This is the normal path – The first mode and most common mode of self realization.

But in some exceptional cases, the realization just falls off from the sky. That happens through intense self enquiry. This is the second mode of self realization.

To make clear of the second mode of realization I shall narrate an incident that happened earlier.

There was a king called janaka who has no opposition and taking care of the kingdom very well. One day when he is alone in a wonderful hillock filled with beautiful flowery creepers and trees in the season of spring, he started to hear a celestial discussion. The siddhas or the group of accomplished beings are discussing about the ways and methods that are prescribed to attain realization as per the scriptures.

First group of siddhas said: We are attaining bliss in the meeting point of seer and seen. Such infinite point on which we focus our concentration by controlling the internal and external senses.

The second group of siddhas said: We give up the seer and seen along with the association to any of them. So, by giving up all the three, we attain the fourth and fundamental reality in which all these three appear!

The third group of siddhas said: We take the middle witness of seer and seen. We give up the logic of weather seer is truth or the seen is truth. We also know the witness is beyond existence and non-existence. We realize this witness along illuminating both the seer and the seen!

The next group said: In which all this has emerged, by which all this appear, who owns all this in that universal we concentrate and realize!

The next group said: We take the inhale and exhalation process as SO’ham which includes all the sounds of A to “ha” (take it a Z in English alphabet) and meditate to realize!

The next group said: We take up the conscious illumination in our own heart and meditate on that consciousness and realize. We believe that one who is excluding the internal consciousness is one who is throwing the realization in the hand in search of some external realization.

The next group said: We give up all the desires. Only by giving up desires, we realize the divinity in our own heart. The sense enjoyments are not really enjoyments. They are in reality causing sadness alone in one way or the other. So, whenever the desire rises, we cut it just like how indra cut away the wings of mountains with his vajra!

We reach the end of 8th sarga of upaSama prakaraNa on this full moon day of month of Asvayuja of SrI durmukhi year – The Valmiki jayanti!!

 

 

 

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praSamOpadESa – An instruction into tranquility

Bhagavan vaSishTha continued: O rAma, one should study the sastra first, then gain dispassion, then one should associate with the wise – thereby turn the mind towards the right knowledge. Having attained the right state of mind one should approach a realized sage in duly respectful manner. Then one should follow the practice as suggested by the sage and step by step draw near the ultimate truth of self.

Only due to ignorance of self, mind gets attracted to the delusion. Those who do not know the self alone are taken by misery; having understood eternal, unlimited self one is lead to blissful dissolution (of the world appearance!)

The misconception of self is mixed with the body of elements is the primary trouble.

With raised hands, I keep proclaiming “the self is different and the body is different just like lotus leaf and the water” – but no one seem to listen or understand it. Just like the dust can’t make the space dirty, no amount of elements (material) can touch the self.

All the pain and pleasure belong to the body, never to the self. So, all these transformation are of ignorance. When the ignorance is destroyed, where are all these pains and pleasures?

So, be filled with self by self like ocean and be blissful as full moon (moon is always full, only the reflection seen on the earth diminishes or grows!)

My Notes:

  1. giving up the duality of pain and pleasure is the best way to get unattached
  2. erroneously mixing up the self and body to be given up
  3. thoughts are like dust they can’t touch the sky and create blemish in pure consciousness

On the eve of Indira EkAdaSi for SrI durmukha year we reach the end of 5th sarga called praSamOpadEsam – an instruction into eternal peace of upSama prakaraNa of mOkshOpAya

 

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Importance of “manana”

On 10th day of discourse, bhagavan vaSishTha gave half a day holiday for the teaching. Everyone’s anushTAnas were described by sage Valmiki in the beginning of upaSama prakaraNa.

But, rAma is continuously contemplating on the teaching of bhagavan vaSishTha. He reviews all the instructions and narrations told to him by the guru.

On the day 11 when all the sages, kings and all those assembled back, bhagavAn vaSishTha asks rAma: Did you recollected all that has been taught? Have you thought about the meaning of the teaching? Did you remember and understand the emergence of differentiated beings? Did you remember the supreme consciousness which is untouched by any of the appearances? ….

Rama says: I have been thinking of your teaching alone all the way through the night without the sleep. ApAta madhurArambham madhyE saubhAgya varthanam anuttama phalOdarkam puNyam tvadanuSAsanam” – O sage, thy instructions & discourses have sweet and pleasant starting, the increase the prosperity later and finally result in the invaluable results!

So, a sage’s teachings to be remembered and thought about them repeatedly. They are sweet to start, they increase the understanding by remembering and reviewing. This process of remembering is called “manana“. It is just not important to listen to the sage’s teachings; it is very important to go back to them and extract their subtle meanings again and again.

This signifies two things:- 1. However wise one is he need to continue to do the prescribed anushTAna for him. 2. While performing the duties one should not get lost and continue the effort for self-realization.

That is why there were no new posts in past 3-5 EkAdaSis. Tomorrow is the parSva parivartana EkAdaSi of SrI durmukhi year. This post brings us to the end of 4th sarga of upaSama prakaraNa.

 

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upaSama prakaraNa – an overview

upaSama means natural cessation of activity and attainment of peace. It is different from forced cessation of activity. upaSama prakaraNa is about 5000 slOkas dealing with the natural cessation of activity of mind there by merger of world back in its source of mind.

BhagavAn vaSishTha, completes discourse on the day 10 in the afternoon. Author Valmiki takes this opportunity to give an elaborate account of Ahnika anushTAnas of sages, kings, prince Rama in the beginning of upaSama prakaraNa. The afternoon and evening rituals performed by the householders are poetically described in this part.

What is born? What has grown? the same will merge as well. The supreme consciousness is never born nor transformed; it is never ceases or merges. It is mind which is born and grown and the mind alone gets liberated as well by merging in its source. Mind is the cause of creation or utpatti is proven in the utpatti prakaraNa, mind is the cause of maintenance i.e, sthiti is proven in the sthiti prakaraNa and now we have to acknowledge the mind alone is the cause of merger i.e., upaSama by the end of this prakaraNa.

The largest AkhyAna of the upaSama prakaraNa is the narration of gAdhi. Other than that there are other AkhyAnas  (siddha gItas, janaka Akhyana, prahlada Akhyana, bali Akhyana etc. ) that are used to focus on the practice of philosophy or sAdhana. Detailed descriptions of the practical methods to arrive at the right conclusions are shown in this prakaraNa.

On this kAmika EkAdaSi of SrI durmukhi year, we reach to this overview of upaSama prakaraNa.

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