Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Story 32 - Story of King Bharatha – 5

Bharatha continued:

The knower or the person having thoughts is unaffected by all the activities of the mind (thoughts of the mind). As long as a person is not relieved from attachment towards the sensual pleasures of the world, he will wander again and again in this material world. The mind is very powerful growing so from neglect of the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord; he who, free from illusion applies the weapon of worship to the lotus feet of Guru and the Lord and thus conquers the ignorance which has veiled the Self.


Here Bharatha speaks about the way out of the problems caused bymind.
Vedanta speaks about liberation and bondage thus:

Man eva manushyaanaam kaaranam bandha mokshayoh
Bandhaaya vishayaasaktham muktaih nirvishayam smritam

Mind alone is the cause for bondage and liberation of a person.
When the mind is extroverted and running behind sensual objects, it is in bondage.
When the mind is introverted and devoid of running behind sense objects, it is in liberation.

Thus mind when it is full of thoughts and it is seeking the temporary pleasure in the external sense objects, it is in bondage. The same mind when devoid of thoughts and concentrate unto its own source of Self or Lord is in liberation. Thus the way to liberation or permanent happiness is also clear. The path is nothing but removal of thoughts completely through constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord alone. When the mind is focussed completely on the ultimate reality of Lord, other thoughts are warded off - thus there will be a single thought of the Lord alone. When this single thought about the ultimate reality of Lord is continued for some period, that thought also vanishes & there remains nothing but the thinker of Lord alone. This is what Vedanta calls as realiization - this is the state when there is only eternal bliss, nothing but bliss alone.

Thus it is upto the seeker as to whether he wants sorrow or happiness. If he concentrates on the external sensual pleasures, he is going to get sorrow alone as they are temporary and will not last for long. But if he concentrates on the ultimate reality of Lord as the Subject of all objects & residing in the heart of all beings, he gets eternal bliss. Thus the path to liberation and bondage both are open to a seeker. It is upto the seeker as to what he chooses - if he wants liberation, he has take his attention away from the illusory worldly objects & contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord.

It is but natural that when a person contemplates on the illusory objects of the world, he gets likes and dislikes towards the objects. These likes and dislikes leads to attachment and aversion. These in turn lead to happiness and sorrow depending on the situation and environment. Thus a wise person will never take resort in the temporary and illusory entities of the world - instead he will always be contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord alone. And thus he will be ever happy and blissful. This constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord will remove the ignorance veil which has veiled his own very nature of eternal Lord. When this veil is removed, he realizes the eternal bliss which is inherent in himself - and thereby rejoices in the eternal bliss experiencing nothing but bliss, bliss and bliss alone.

This is what is the goal of human life. Each and every person is working towards that happiness which is eternal and ever lasting. But he searches for this happiness in the external world never to get it at all – but being satisfied temporarily with the temporary happiness in the external world. This search continues until he realizes that this search will become successful only if it is directed towards the ultimate reality of Lord instead of the external worldly objects. When this realization dawns, he realizes his own very nature of eternal Lord and thereby all search ends. As Sankara beautifully puts this in Bhaja Govindam, such a person "nandhathi, nandhathi, nandhathi eva" - rejoices, rejoices and verily rejoices.

There are two distinct factors which help a person in realizing his own very nature of eternal lord - these are the scriptures and the Guru. The scriptures give intellectual knowledge about the reality whereas the Guru teaches the disciple as to how to make this intellectual knowledge one’s own very experience itself.

There are three graces required for a seeker to realize his own very nature of Lord. These three are the grace of the Lord, grace of the Guru and grace of the Self. The grace of the Lord is ever present – similarly the grace of the Guru is also always there but what is required by a seeker is to open up his heart to become eligible for the ever present grace of the Guru and the Lord. This is what is called or termed as Self-grace. The seeker becomes eligible for the grace of the Guru and the Lord when he follows the spiritual path and tries to realize the ultimate reality of Lord and not going behind the temporary illusory entities of the world. This is what Bharatha calls here as worship of the lotus feet of the Guru and the Lord. Real worship of the Lord is constant remembrance of the reality of Lord and offering all actions unto the Lord. This is real worship and all other worships are just external thrusts to make a seeker concentrate on the reality of Lord. Thus when a person really worships the Lord, he always contemplates on the ultimate reality of Lord thereby getting rid of the ignorance veil and conquering the mind – thus he ever rejoices in the eternal bliss which is inherent in him and his own very nature itself.

We will continue with the discussion between Bharatha and Rahugana next.

Bharatha continued:
The various people in the world all are searching for happiness in the external world but not getting it struggle and suffer. They who without much of a mind managed to conquer giants of other heroes, are all caught in this world in the concept of ‘mine’ and lay down their lives in their battle with the enmity created - but they do not reach the reality of the staff of renunciation that without enmity does lead to perfection.More and more attached sometimes do they who enjoy in the arms of their wives. Cheated by them but not finding satisfaction in contact with the beloved, approach they in their behavior the monkeys with whom association they are quite at ease with their senses and looking after one another’s faces they being forgetful approach death.Enjoying up their tree are they, attached to wife and children and poor of heart, unable to give up being bound to the consequences of their own actions, at times beset in fear for the elephant of death falling into a cave in the mountains getting trapped there.

Somehow or other getting out of this danger they again, o killer of the enemies, take up the same life, that path of enjoyment that the conditioned soul under the influence of mâyâ travels, up to his death not understanding a thing.


Bhagavatham through Bharatha is speaking about the futile search for happiness that human beings are doing in the world. We all are trying in vain for eternal bliss in the external world. We search it in whatever we can but we are unable to get it – we think that we can get happiness through money and thus work towards it but soon we find that money cannot give eternal bliss but it can only give sorrow in the long run. When a person understands that he cannot get happiness from money, he searches happiness in some other thing. Again that some other thing is an entity in the world. Thus his search goes on and on the external world. So long as a person realizes that he cannot get eternal bliss in the world and searches for bliss in the ultimate reality of Sellf, he cannot get eternal bliss. He will still be getting temporary happiness which will in turn lead to sorrow and sufferings alone. This is th reason why Vedanta gives prime importance to Vairagya or dispassion towards the sensual pleasures. As long as a person’s attention is directed to entities in the world, his attention is always extroverted and cannot be introverted into the ultimate reality of Self - the subject of all objects. Thus he searches and searches – this goes on and on – not in one birth but births and births.

Adi Sankara thus gives this beautifully in Bhaja Govindam

Punarapi jananam punarapi maranampunarapi janani jatare shayanam
Iha samsaare bahudustaareKripayaa paare paahi muraare

Again birth, again death and again into the womb of the mother - thus this ocean of samsaara is tough indeed to conquer. But it is conquered easily by those take refuge in Muraari or the ultimate reality of Lord (one who killed the demon mura is called Murari - the Lord kills the demons of the six bad qualities of the mind like anger, attraction etc. and thus is referred as Murari).

We have to thus remember that this search for eternal bliss has been continuing for births and births. This search goes on and on until the seeker directs his search into his own very nature of Self or Lord. Once this search is directed towards the ultimate reality of Lord, there will be glimpses of eternal bliss throughout the path to the reality which is called as state of trans. These are nothing but momentary glimpses of eternal bliss - which may be for one sec or a min or an hour depending on the level of the seeker. This trans also is not eternally real but it is just showing the seeker that bliss is very near by.

Thus a seeker who really wants to get eternal bliss should come out of the ocean of samsaara by taking resort to the ultimate reality of Lord instead of the temporary entities of the illusory world. Until he does this, there will be sorrows and sufferings alone.The power of the Lord which deludes each and every person in the world is called Maya – Maya means that is not at all present really but seems to exist & thus is indescribable. Every person is in the clutches of Maya and thereby doesn’t realize his own very nature of Self. But once he directs his attention towards the ultimate reality of Lord, Maya is easily overcome as Maya is the power of the Lord & the Lord controls Maya.

The Lord says thus in Gita

Daivi hi esha gunamayi mama maaya duratyayaa
Maameva ye prapadhyanthe mayaam etaam taranth te

My Maya is divine and possessed of the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas. This Maya is tough indeed to conquer but those who take refuge in Me alone, they overcome this Maya easily.

Thus the Lord clearly gives us the way out of this Maya too – which is nothing but constant remembrance of the Lord at all times and at all places. When a person constantly contemplates on the ultimate reality of Lord knowing that there is nothing here but the Lord alone, then the differences between various objects is overcome - thus he has neither likes nor dislikes - thus he has not attraction or aversion - thus with a one-pointed mind, he meditates on the Lord alone. Thus slowly the ignorance veil which veiled his own very nature of Self is removed & he realizes his own very nature of Self or Lord.We will continue with the discussion between Bharatha and Rahugana in next.

After hearing to Bharatha, Rahugana spoke thus:
My respectful obeisances unto you who has hidden his realization of the ultimate reality of Lord or Brahman. Now, please explain to me the reality again in simple words so that I may clearly understand the path of realization and the ultimate reality.

Explanation :

As far as realization is considered, it cannot be had without the Guru. The ultimate reality of knowledge or Brahman can be attained only through a person who has realized the ultimate reality of Brahman. AMMA gives a beautiful example to show this: a lamp can be lighted by another lamp only. Similarly realization can be had only through the grace of a realized saint. Thus Guru is inevitable for a person to realize his own very nature of Lord. Ramana Maharshi here says that Guru is nothing but the Self manifested itself in order to make the seeker realize his own very nature of Lord through pushing the seeker’s mind to become introverted and enquiry into its own very nature of Lord.

Thus all scriptures speak about getting a Guru in order to realize one’s own very nature of Lord or Self or Brahman.

Scriptures speak about how a seeker should approach a Guru and the activities he has to do in order to get the knowledge of the Lord from the Guru.

This has been summarized beautifully by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 4th chapter thus:
Tadviddhi pranipaathena pariprashnena sevayaa
Upadeshyanthi te jnaanam jnaaninah tattva darshinah

To know about the ultimate reality of Lord, a seeker has to approach a Guru and do the following three activities:
1. Do service to the Guru
2. Offer prostrations to the lotus feet of the Guru
3. Question the Guru about the ultimate reality

We find the scriptures mention about various seekers staying years in the Guru’s ashram doing service to the Guru in order to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. These service include everything from cleaning the toilet and looking after the clothes of the Guru etc. All these are not required for a Guru but these are required for the disciple so that he overcomes the body-conscious feeling and egoistic approach. A person forgets the ignorant thought that I am the body when he is fully busy with physical activities. And as the saying goes “An empty mind is devil’s land”, it is not good for a seeker to give free time for the mind. Moreover when a seeker does all types of activities, he overcomes the conscious feeling of Ego that “I am so and so, I am great” etc. Thus he conquers Ego by doing service (selfless) to the Guru.

Prostrations to the Guru’s feet is important as it helps the seeker to progress faster and offer everything unto the Guru. A person bends his body most when he touches the feet of the Guru - thus here the Ego is completely conquered. Moreover, yoga system believes the feet to the place where bad powers are accumulated. Thus when the shishya touches the feet of the Guru, all the evil powers and activities in the shishya is transferred to the Guru. Since the Guru is one with the ultimate reality of Lord, this doesn’t affect the Guru at all - but the disciple is benefitted by getting rid of so many sins and evil deeds. Thus whenever a person gets the opportunity to touch the feet of a sadguru, he shouldn’t miss the opportunity. Also the feet is the part which supports the entire body. The Guru is supported in the ultimate reality of Lord - thus feet symbolizes the ultimate reality of Lord. Prostrations to the feet of the Guru is prostrations to the ultimate reality of Lord.

The third activity of questioning the Guru about the reality is very important as this is where the disciple really starts into the path of Brahman or Lord. The other two activities are meant for removal of those things which are hindrance or obstacles to the spiritual path whereas this activity is what helps the seeker directly to progress towards the Lord. Thus scriptures also speak about dialogues between the disciple and the teacher. We find the disciple of Shaunaka questioning the guru of Sage angiras in the Mundaka Upanishad as to “what is that by knowing which everything becomes known”. We find Narada questioning Sanatkumara about the knowledge of Brahman – that which is pure and complete. We find the disciple of Arjuna asking the guru of Lord Krishna about how to conquer the mind and do activities properly in the world. Here in Bhagavatham itself we find the disciple of Rahugana questioning Bharatha in a similar way.

The best question and the only question that is to be directed towards the Guru is the question about the ultimate reality of Lord and as to how to realize the Lord. All other questions are futile and of no real use to the seeker. The other questions as to what is the world, how it came etc. are futile because the world itself is only an illusion – and this doesn’t help the seeker in progress towards the Lord. It is the question about the reality which is required as this will directly lead the seeker towards the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord and make the seeker realize his own very nature of Lord.

Thus Bhagavatham is pointing out to each one of us to ask the question about the reality of Lord alone to the Guru and not any other futile questions or desires like “what will happen to my promotion, when will my marriage happen, when will my son marry” etc.

It is when the seeker puts forward the question about the ultimate reality that the Guru answers about the reality and the way to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. It is also when the seeker wants to know about the reality that he has entered into the spiritual path & thus really progresses in the path to the Lord. Thus we all have to put forth this question to the Guru or the scriptures and try to find out the answer to the same.

We will see the answer that Bharatha gives to Rahugana on the same next.

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