Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Story 29 - Story of Prithu – 3

Srimad Bhagavatham - A Spiritual Insight - Story 29 - Story of Prithu – 3

SanatKumara continued:

There are four purushaarthas of Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha. Of these, Moksha is the highest because it alone can give eternal bliss.


We will try to analyze on the four purushaarthas, their use for normal beings as well as seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Vedas are not something that was created out of any particular intellect or mind but it is something eternal and which was there even before Brahma came into existence. The Vedas have two parts in general – one is called the Purvakaanda which deals with various rituals and upasanas or worships and the other is called Jnaanakaanda which deals with knowledge about one’s own very nature.

Vedas explain two distinct paths towards the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. One is the path of action and the other is path of knowledge. Path of action can never lead to eternal bliss which a seeker is searching for. The path of knowledge alone can lead to eternal bliss as knowledge alone can destroy ignorance about one’s own nature which is the cause for bondage, sorrows and sufferings which the seeker wishes to remove. Thus he who follows the path of knowledge alone is liberated from the illusory bondage in the illusory world. He who follows the path of action is entangled in the vicious circle of action and fruits. As Vidyaranya puts it in Panchadashi, action is being done for enjoyment, enjoying is had for doing more action, action again is done for enjoyment – this cycle is never-ending. This can be ended only when the seeker stops all actions and seeks the reality which cannot be achieved through action as action itself being limited can give only limited fruit – whereas the ultimate reality of Lord is unlimited and hence can be achieved only through removal of ignorance through knowledge which then reveals the Lord as blissful and situated in the heart of all beings.

Then, what is the use of actions and why does Vedas proclaim a person to do duty and actions?
Actions have the only fruit of purifying the mind when done with a proper attitude. A purified mind alone can grasp the ultimate reality which is beyond mind as the source of the mind and the Subject which is never object to any experience. As Swami Vivekananda points out that the pure water in a lake alone will let the viewer see the beneath of the lake, similarly a pure mind alone can be capable of merging and realizing the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord.

What is a pure mind?
A mind which is devoid of dual perceptions and likes and dislikes is a pure mind. That mind which has RAAGA and DVESHA or attachment and aversion is impure. The mind has to be purified by offering the work unto the Lord and constantly remembering the ultimate reality of Lord that “I am that Lord and there is nothing here different from the Lord, one without a second”.

Remembering the reality and doing actions is as good as “not doing actions” because actions and the doer are offered to the Lord – therefore no action is happening at all. This offering of action to the Lord helps in purifying the mind. The mind which has been purified is capable to apprehending the ultimate reality of Lord through knowledge about the reality. This is how Vedanta puts forth the path to realization of the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord.

So, the path to realization can be split into two – one being purification of the mind and the second is getting the knowledge about the ultimate reality of Lord. We cannot exactly say that these two paths are compulsorily to be followed – but if a seeker constantly remembers the reality, then internally and without the seeker’s knowledge these two paths are followed and the fruit is achieved automatically. Those people who are not capable of internally renouncing the illusory world can follow the path of offering everything unto the Lord remembering that everything is the Lord alone. Here illusory nature of the world is not concentrated but the world is considered as real as the substratum of the world. There is not much difference in both and hence those who are not capable of renouncing the world need to do actions by remembering the reality and offering the actions unto the reality – this in itself will lead to realization of the ultimate reality because the one and only condition for MOKSHA is constant remembrance of the reality.

Having known the two distinct paths for realization, let’s now see what the four purushaarthaas are.

Purusha arthas are the different goals that have been set for a being in the world by the Vedas. A person can seek any of these goals to satisfy his desires and gain peace-satisfaction-contentment. Dharma is following the righteous way put forth by the Vedas. The main thing here is doing actions which are ordained and refraining from doing actions which are prohibited in the Vedas. Some actions are prohibited because they lead the seeker away from the reality. This definition is only for a normal person in the world and not for a real seeker whose sole aim is to realize the ultimate reality of Lord – for such a devotee, there is only dharma or righteous way which is remembering the Lord at all times and not related at all to the individual actions done by the seeker (as the action is offered to the Lord, all actions are good only – this is stated explicitly by Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita). Artha is seeking wealth or external sense objects. Kaama is enjoying sensual pleasures or desires. Moksha is realizing the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus Dharma, Artha and Kaama at the normal level are meant for enjoyment in the illusory world whereas Moksha alone can lead a seeker to the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. The Lord is not known because of ignorance of one’s own very nature – hence knowledge is the one and only way to realization. To know something, there should be a desire and this is called MUMUKSHUTVA or desire for liberation. Liberation is removal of sorrows completely so that only bliss is present for the seeker. Dharma, Artha and Kaama can give happiness but they are not eternal happiness. The happiness derived from them is temporary and limited. Also if they are not performed with remembrance of the ultimate reality of Lord, then they will lead to more and more sorrow only as they increase ignorance more and more.

Thus remembering this, a seeker should never desire to either live as per Dharma (means doing ordained actions like sandhya etc.) or seek objects/wealth or seek sensual pleasures but instead he should seek the ultimate reality of Lord. It doesn’t matter whether he is going against normal vaidika dharma but it matters whether he is remembering the reality or not. If a person does Dharma but still doesn’t remember the Lord, then it will lead only to sorrow. This is why we find many acharyas and mutts fighting amongst each other & many so-called Vedic scholars fighting with people as to who is eligible for Brahma Vidya and whether non-Brahmins are entitled for it or not. These so-called great acharyas and scholars forget the basic philosophy of Vedanta that everyone is Brahman alone & thereby there is no differentiation at all here. Differentiation and distinction is only an illusory creation of the mind. There is no fault in following any philosophy or any system, but what is important is remembrance of the reality. These scholars forget Sankaracharya’s Brahma Sutra Bhashya statement that “Brahmajijnaasaayaa anadhikaaryatvaat” – desire to know Brahman has no ADHIKAARA as everyone is entitled for the same as Brahman is their own very nature – since they forget this, they argue with various people claiming that only Brahmins and that too male members alone are entitled for study of scriptures and Brahma Vidya!!! Isn’t it foolish enough to think that “the Lord who is present in the heart of all beings” can be known only by the bodily achieved adjunct of caste etc.???

Why all this is mentioned is to show the futility of sticking on to the path of dharma and Vedas without remembering the ultimate reality that “everything is Lord – there is nothing different from the Lord”. We have to constantly remember the reality – and this is the only way to moksha or liberation. The moment we enter into any conflicts at the empirical level without remembering the reality, we are entering into the illusory world & hence there is sorrow alone in that. Therefore a seeker should never really bother about any such things as Vedanta speaks about one and only one restriction or qualification for realization which is “DESIRE to KNOW” and the path is “CONSTANT REMEMBRANCE OF THE REALITY”.
We have to thus realize and remember that the three purusha arthas of Dharma, Artha and Kaama are temporary and illusory whereas MOKSHA or liberation through constant remembrance of the reality.

SanatKumara continued:

The Lord who is distinct from the sense organs, the body and the mind – he who is the ultimate reality and controller of the world – he who is established in the heart of all beings – know that to be the ultimate reality of Brahman and that you are.

The Lord is the reality in whom the illusory power of Maya which is neither real nor unreal shines through ignorance and lack of intellectual conviction of the seeker. It is this Maya which causes the seeker to consider the eternal and pure Self (ever-liberated) to seem to be involved in actions and sins. Thus the Self seems to be deluded and suffering in the illusory world.

But when the seeker seeks the lotus feet of the Lord, sins are removed and actions (in the form of samskaaraas and vaasanaas) leave off the seemingly deluded Self. And such a seeker realizes his own very nature of eternal Self.


The Lord or the ultimate reality of Brahman is distinct from whatever can be objectified. The entire realms of objects are illusory and temporary because they are dependent upon the Subject or experiencer. The Subject is without any change and hence cannot be the object of any experience. Since the ultimate reality of Lord is without change, the Lord is the Subject of all activities. Thus the Lord or Self is the subject of sense organs, body and mind which all are objects.

The Lord is the ultimate reality from which the world has been created, in which the world exists and unto which the world merges at the time of destruction. This means that the Lord is the cause of the world as the cause of mud is that in which pot has come, in which pot exists and into which the pot merges at the time of destruction. Since the Lord is the cause of the world, he is the controller of the world too. We have to remember here that the world we currently perceive is as illusory as the dream world because it has no separate and real existence apart from the Subject. As the cause of the world, the Lord who is the creator of the illusory waking world has control over the world similarly as the dreamer has control over the dream world.

If the world is illusory, then where is the Lord situated?
The Lord is situated in the heart of all beings. The Lord is the ultimate reality who is the essence of all living beings. The essence or the place from which all thoughts arise is called “heart”. The thoughts arise from the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord as Lord alone is the thinker and creator of all thoughts. Thus “heart” indicates the place where the ultimate reality of Lord can be experienced as one’s own very nature. Upanishads elsewhere mention this as the intellect-cave where Consciousness shines without any objects.

Thus Srimad Bhagavatham here says that we all are the ultimate reality of Lord only, of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. If that is the case, why don’t “I” rejoice the eternal bliss which is my nature? The reason for this is Maya or the illusory power of the Lord. This power causes duality and the ignorance about one’s own very nature. This ignorance about one’s very nature of Lord causes a person to think about the dual world & search happiness in the dual world. Thus desire for perfection and happiness is created which in turn leads to many actions. These actions yield fruits – both good and bad. Other than yielding fruits, the actions also create an impression in the seeker which makes the seeker addicted to such actions. This is what is termed by Vedanta as sin --- when various actions and vasanas cling to the individual. Thus the seeker does some action which gives sorrow and suffers from the same. Even though by nature, he is not suffering but seems to be suffering --- thus he is deluded into thinking that “I am suffering”. This delusion is the main effect of Maya or Avidya.

Maya is very tough indeed to overcome because since each and everyone find themselves limited into the body and mind, it is tough to consider oneself as the unlimited Self or Lord. Thus many people are deluded into it – even those who are aware of the reality still are deluded into it. There is only one way to overcome this delusion. The way is contemplation on the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord – there is no other way out of this.

Whether we call this bhakthi or jnaana, it doesn’t matter – what is important is constant remembrance of the ultimate reality of Lord and the reality that “I am the Lord – there is nothing different from the Lord”. When thus a person constantly remembers the Lord, he is saved from the delusion of Maya and is thereby liberated from the illusory bondages in the world. He thus rejoices in the eternal bliss inherent in him – realizing his own very nature of non-dual Lord.

Thus Sri Krishna says
Daivi hi eshaa gunamayee mama maaaya duratyaya
Maam eva ye prapadhyanthe mayaam etaam taranthi te

This divine power of Maya which is composed of the three gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas is tough indeed to conquer. But those who seek me completely, they conquer this maya very easily.

Contemplation of reality without any other distractions is real bhakthi and this itself is real jnaana. Says Sri Krishna about the same in Gita:
Ananyaaschintayantho maam ye janaah paryupaasathe
Teshaam nitya abhiyuktaanaam yoga kshemam vahaami aham

Those who think about me alone, without any other thought & constantly worship me (by constant remembrance), I take care of their good and bad (as there is no good or bad for them – they see everything as the Lord alone, one without a second).

Thus it is high time that we contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord so that we may conquer the deluding power of Maya thereby rejoicing in the eternal bliss which is being searched each and every moment in the illusory world. There is no particular requirements/conditions for this other than constant remembrance of the Lord. There is no asana required, no temple required, no money required, no special effort too required – but only constant remembrance is required. This constant remembrance is not tough at all but very easy – whatever is being done, just remember the Lord and do those actions – how we normally work is thinking about our lover or mother or child etc. Instead of this, we just have to remember the ultimate reality of Lord who is all-pervasive and do work. Thus work becomes worship and instead of causing bondages, it leads to purification of mind & thereby liberation.

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