Thursday, May 11, 2006

Story 32 - Story of King Bharatha – 4

When Rahugana said to Bharatha as to whether he is a living corpse and that he will control Bharatha like Yama, Bharatha who was a realized being replied thus:
"I must tell you that, to the person of self realizing residing within the body, the body is not a subject matter of discussion because it never really exists at all. The body, mind and its modification of disease, decay, anger etc. are valid for the ignorant alone but for me, they for sure do not exist.
As you said, I too see lot of corpses walking here and there – but amidst them, there is only the Self that I perceive.
When there is nothing apart from the Self, who is the master and who is the controller?"


Bhagavatham here is explaining the subtle concept of body and its illusory nature.
The entire experience in the world is split by Vedanta into two distinct parts – one is the Subject or Drik or Seer who is of the nature of Consciousness & one’s own very nature of Self. The second is the Objects or Drishya – everything that is objectified is part of the drishya. Any object is dependent on the Subject of Consciousness. Anything that is dependent is an illusion in the independent entity of Consciousness. Thus the Drishyas are nothing but mere illusions in the reality of non-dual Drik or Subject.

Subject or Drik cannot be multiple as in that case, the Drik itself will become Drishya - one drik being the drishya of other drik and vice versa. This is not at all possible as it is illogical and will lead to lot of faults (fault of cyclic dependency or relativity which shows that it is only an illusion). Thus Drik is one alone and non-dual Consciousness or Lord or Brahman.

This Drik is each and every person’s very nature. But this is not known due to ignorance & thus drishya is what is seen and perceived. As long as the seeker has his mind extroverted to the Drishya, the Drik cannot be known. Drik is independent and hence eternal whereas Drishya is dependent and hence temporary. Any temporary entity cannot give eternal bliss - thus drishya cannot give eternal bliss but can give only temporary happiness which will in turn lead to sorrow alone when the drishya vanishes after a particular time period. Thus a person seeking eternal bliss will have to make his mind introverted and realize the ultimate reality of non-dual Drik.
The body is also a drishya as it is changing and it is objectified by the Subject or Seer or Consciousness. Thus body is temporary and illusory like water seen in desert and objects in dream world. An ignorant person who doesn’t know the ultimate reality of Lord amidst the temporary entities will see bodies and physical entities everywhere but will not see beyond the illusory names and forms. But the realized saint goes beyond the illusory names and forms – viewing the underlying reality of Consciousness. This is like the goldsmith viewing gold in all gold ornaments whereas an ignorant person sees gold necklace, chain etc. not really going beyond the names and forms to the reality of gold.

Thus Bharatha says that for a realized person, body is not at all a subject matter of discussion because he clearly knows that there is no body at all – but whatever really exists is the Lord alone (one without a second). This doesn’t mean that only realized saints perceive that way – we all are that reality alone & hence we all are essentially realized only but just that we don’t realize our own very nature of ever-realized Self. The moment a seeker realizes that he is nothing but the Lord alone, one without a second – there is nothing but the Lord alone for him. He neither sees the physical bodies nor the insentient objects of the illusory world. There is only the Lord for such a person.

We all are that reality alone but forgotten our own very nature of the reality – thus we have to contemplate on our own very nature of the Lord and realize it this very moment itself.
When Rahugana had criticized Bharatha as a living corpse, Bharatha replies from the real perspective that everything is a corpse only – without the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. As long as a person doesn’t realize his own very nature of Lord, he is nothing but a living corpse alone as the body is only a corpse and such an ignorant person thinks himself as the insentient body.

Here we find two different people both externally and internally. Rahugana was a king externally but internally he was as ignorant as a rock - he didn’t know his own very nature of Lord, instead was considering himself and others as the body alone. Whereas Bharatha externally was insentient but internally he was shining with the knowledge of the Lord continuously remaining in his mind. There was nothing but Lord or bliss alone for Bharatha whereas Rahugana, forsaking the eternal bliss which is present in himself, was seeking bliss in the external world.

It is only due to ignorance and utter arrogance that a person thinks himself as controlling the entire world – when a person is unable to control his own body, what to speak about controlling the world??? It is like a person trying to control the dream world or the water seen in the desert – which never really exists but is only an illusion. These are clear signs of ignorance when a person says that he has duty, he is controlling other people etc. Only fools speak in such a way – wise people never speak about the illusory world which never really exists - instead they will always be immersed in the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. They will never have any thought of controller or master because for them there is nothing but the Lord alone. But the ignorant person thinks himself as someone great and someone having control or power over others. The ignorant person as we see Rahugana in this position is like the foolish lizard in a short story famous in Vedanta. Once a lizard came into a particular house and found another lizard hanging on to the top part of the room. The lizard said to the lizard hanging on the top to come out for roaming. The lizard hanging on the top replied thus "what are you saying!!! don’t you see? If I come out of here, the wall will fall down!!!"

Ignorant people like Rahugana are like this trying to do things to the world which never really exists. No amount of social service will really help a seeker if it is not associated with the ultimate knowledge that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. Krishna and Christ couldn’t do social service and save the world – so what to speak about normal people? What we have to learn from Krishna ’s and Christ’s life is that they knew this reality and hence were unaffected by the activities in the illusory world. We have to learn that and implement in life. Instead of being an ignorant person, we have to work towards realizing the ultimate reality of Lord by contemplation on the reality that there is nothing here but the Lord alone.

We will continue with Bharatha Rahugana Samvaada in the next.

Bharatha continued:

Intelligent people never talk about the impermanent things of the world. Those who consider worldly material pleasures do materialistic rituals of the Vedas and they never progress spiritually as they are not concentrating on the absolute reality of Brahman.

Even though Vedas speak about Brahman, still they are also unable to reach and speak clearly about Brahman as Brahman can only be experienced through aparoksha anubhava or direct experience.

As long as the mind is under the control of different passions, so long it is like an elephant that is roaming freely. Being under the control of mind and getting into happiness and unhappiness from the worldly objects, a person enters into the cycle of action and reaction. Thus saints speak about the mind as the cause of all problems.


Here Bharatha is speaking about aparoksha anubhava of one’s own very nature of Brahman or Lord and its relation to the knowledge that a person gains out of the Vedas. Vedas also are working at the empirical level only. Vedas are as impermanent as the entities in the world. Sankara clearly mentions this in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya that the Vedas too work in the sphere of ignorance alone. The Vedas are considered indirect knowledge whereas the Guru is considered direct knowledge. But both these knowledge have validity only in the plane of ignorance.

A person is sleeping. Suddenly he sees a lion and thereby wakes up. The lion is the Guru who was responsible for waking the person. The lion is as illusory as the dream world itself. Similarly the Vedas and the Guru also are illusory alone – since they are in the plane of ignorance, they cannot really speak about Brahman or the Lord. They can only point out the reality as the Subject of all objects and experiences – they thus point out the Lord as the experiencer of all experiences and the substratum of all illusory existence itself remaining real and unaffected by the illusory objects. Thus the knowledge got from Guru and Vedas are termed as paroksha jnaana or indirect knowledge – it is only intellectual knowledge that a seeker gets from the Vedas. This knowledge has not been turned into intuitive and direct experience of one’s own very nature of Lord. When a person puts the knowledge gained from the Vedas that everything is Brahman or Lord alone, he gains direct experience of his own very nature of Lord - this is aparoksha jnaana or direct experience or realization. Once a person realizes his own very nature of Lord, he realizes that there never was a Guru or shishya or the vedas – whatever existed was only the Lord, one without a second. He realized that whatever he was perceiving was only an illusion – the perception of being in ignorance itself was only an illusion alone – he never was in ignorance but only seemed to be in ignorance.

Bharatha also says here that a person cannot realize the ultimate reality of Lord from the materialistic part of the Vedas. The Vedas are broadly split into two parts - one being the Karma Khanda or ritualistic portion and the other being the Jnaana Khanda or knowledge portion speaking about the ultimate reality of Lord. The ritualistic portion helps a person to get a bit higher sensual pleasures in the worlds of Svarga etc. But these are all illusory like the pleasures in the bhoo loka. This is why most of the Puranas clearly speak about Indra, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva etc. all suffering at times from some or the other demons (asuraas). Thus we clearly find that the pleasures whether they are in Vaikunta, Kailaas, Svarga or Bhoo loka are all illusory only. A person cannot progress in the spiritual path unless he gets rid of all actions either by renouncing them completely or by offering it to the Lord. Unless he does this, he will always be doing actions for enjoyment. He will enjoy for doing more actions. This cycle of action-enjoyment continues without any end. Similarly action-reaction chain continues and a seeker is entangled in this vicious circle of action. Thus a seeker should refrain from doing any actions by offering all the actions to the Lord and renouncing the doer-ship that I am doing – instead he should offer all actions to the Lord and have the feeling that everything is being done by the Lord – I am a mere instrument in his hands – there are nothing here but only the Lord, one without a second.

Thus when a seeker gets rid of doer-ship, there is no action at all – but there is only constant remembrance of the Lord. When this is there, the seeker always is immersed in contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord – thereby ignorance veil which veils his own very nature of Lord is removed & he realizes his own very nature of Lord. Thus if a seeker wishes to progress in the spiritual path and gain eternal bliss which he is constantly seeking, he should renounce all actions and always contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord.

Bharatha also speaks about the mind being the cause of all problems. The mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. Mind arises from the ultimate reality of Lord. As long a person doesn’t contemplate on the reality of Lord, the mind is there to distract him from the thought about the reality. Thus the mind is being compared with an elephant. Mind like an elephant if left freely will roam here and there irrespective of place and time. Thus it will fall into troubles and take a seeker into more and more troubles. Thus it is essential to control the mind. It is hard indeed to conquer the mind which is compared to a drunken monkey by Swami Vivekananda. But conquering or controlling the mind becomes very easy for a devotee - this is by way of offering all actions to the Lord and always having the thought of the Lord. Thus the mind is always focussed on the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus slowly the mind becomes focussed and concentrated rather than being distracted into various thoughts. Thus it is indirectly controlled. When the mind is made quiet and calm, it merges into its source of Self - thus mind ceases to exist. This is what Vedanta calls as realization - that state where there are no thoughts in the mind, there is no mind at all but the Lord alone exists. This is what Chinmaya speaks as "an ocean without waves".

We will see as to what Bharatha speaks about the mind and its control next.

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