Sunday, October 29, 2006

Story 37 – Story of Gajendra - 04

Gajendra continued:

That Lord of the nature of Consciousness from whom the world has come, in whom the world resides & unto whom the world merges, I offer my prostrations and contemplate on that Lord. He who alone is the world and he who is beyond everything, I contemplate on that Lord. That Lord alone is the person who has created the world through his own Maya (power) and superimposing the world on himself. When the world is destroyed by Yama, there remains only darkness. The Lord is the one who is the witness to the darkness. It is not possible to realize the Lord by standing out of the Lord even by Gods and rishis. He can be known only as the witness and by the seeker who knows himself as the mere witness to all illusory activities. The Lord is one who loves all beings and treats them in the same way. That Lord alone is my sole resort for coming out of this ocean of samsaara.


Gajendra’s praise of the Lord is so beautiful and full of concepts. A person who understands the qualities of the Lord who is being praised by Gajendra will very easily realize his own very nature of the Lord.

Who is the Lord? The Lord is the substratum of the changing, temporary and hence illusory world. The Lord is the substratum because it is the Lord from whom the world has come, in whom the world resides and unto whom the world merges. Even as the mud is the substratum of the pot as the pot has come from mud, resides in the mud and merges into the mud – similarly the world is but an illusion of names and forms in the ultimate reality of Lord.

Since the world is nothing but an illusion in the reality of Lord, therefore the world is nothing but the Lord alone. This is explained through the various scriptural statements of sarvam brahma mayam (everything is filled with Brahman), sarvam khalu idam brahma (everything is but Brahman alone) etc. This means there is nothing called the world but whatever exists is only the ultimate reality of Lord. The Lord as the substratum of the illusion of world is beyond everything that we can imagine about. Any imagination is but a thought in the mind. The Lord is the light which illumines even the mind – hence he is beyond the mind. As the Lord is beyond the mind, therefore he is beyond the thoughts of the mind. Thus the Lord is beyond everything. The entire experience spectrum is based on three limitations of time, space and causation. As we saw earlier, the Lord is not limited by any of these & hence the Lord is beyond all the three. Since the Lord is beyond all the three limitations, therefore he is beyond everything.

If everything is the Lord and the world is an illusion in the Lord, what is the cause of the illusory world & who created it?
The world is created by the Lord through his power of Maya. Maya is that power of the Lord which is responsible for the various names and forms. Maya is not a real power of the Lord but only an illusory power of the Lord. Maya is that illusory power which creates things that cannot be proved through logic. Maya can be considered as equivalent to the magic of a magician. As the magician seemingly creates things that defy logic, similarly the Lord through his illusory power of Maya seemingly creates things that defy logic. We cannot find any logic or proof for anything in the world because they are temporary and will vanish one day or the other. That which is subject to birth and death cannot withstand logic as it is not eternal. Maya is not a real power of the Lord because the Lord cannot have any such power as the Lord is one without a second. Thus the Lord creates the world out of his own Maya – hence Vedanta says that the world is controlled by the Lord as the creator.

The Lord creates the world which is illusory but we experience the world as existing. Any illusion cannot exist of its own but depends on the existence of its substratum. Similarly the world is dependent on the existence of the substratum of the Lord. As any illusion is but a superimposition on the substratum, the world is a superimposition on the ultimate reality of Lord. It is for this reason that Vedanta says that the world is but the Lord alone. The world filled with names and forms is an illusion whereas the world considered as its substratum is but the Lord alone of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

When the world is destroyed, there is nothing but darkness alone or ajnaana alone. This is the same state that we experience during deep sleep where temporarily everything vanishes. There is nothing in deep sleep but ignorance and bliss. But this ignorance is experienced by a witness as the statement after waking up that “I was ignorant”. This experience is possible only if it was witnessed by the Consciousness or the Self. If we extend this to the case of the world, then the world after destruction leaves only darkness. This darkness is witnessed by the ultimate reality of Lord. Since the Lord is the witness to the darkness and everything, therefore it is not possible to realize the Lord staying apart from the witness. The witness in each one of us is the Consciousness which is none other than the Lord. Keeping aside this witness, it is not possible to realize the Lord as the witness alone is the Lord. Thus Bhagavatham through this points to us that realization of the Lord is realization of the witness of Consciousness. Once realization dawns, then everything is viewed as if it is a play or drama. Thus there would be no attachment to activities nor to the fruit of all activities. Thus there will be only eternal bliss which is the nature of witness as experienced in deep sleep.

As the Lord mentions in Gita, he doesn’t hate anybody. He cannot hate anybody because everyone is his own very nature. Hating others would be hating himself which is not possible. Thus those systems which mention that the Lord hates people who don’t worship him are all wrong and going against the Lord’s own statements in Gita. Thus we have to constantly remember that the Lord treats everyone in the same way as the mere witness to all activities.

Since the Lord is the controller of the world & the witness, he alone can save us from this ocean of samsaara. He who is not in samsaara can alone save a person in samsaara. WE all are the Ego which is immersed in the ocean of samsaara. In order to come out of this ocean of samsaara, we will have to take resort to the witness of the Lord (he who is out of the ocean of samsaara). Seeking the Lord alone can help a person from being endlessly immersed in the ocean of samsaara.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Gajendra continued:

There is no birth, action, names-forms and good-bad for the akhandaananda Lord but still for the creation-protection-destruction of the world, he accepts these through his illusory power of Maya. I offer my prostrations to that Lord. Brahman or the Lord is all-powerful; it is with form and yet formless; he shines by himself and is the witness to all activities; to such a Lord I offer my prostrations. I offer my prostrations to such a Lord who is beyond words and thoughts. But still jnaanis realize him through sanyaasa which is naishkarmya by the subtle mind. He who is absolute gives bliss as a blessing to everyone. I offer my prostrations to such a person who is the ultimate cause of the illusory world. Everything that is seen in the world is your form alone; therefore I prostrate each of those.


Gajendra here beautifully explains about the ultimate reality of Lord. The Lord by nature is without any birth and death as he is eternal cause of the illusory world. Since he is without birth and death, therefore he is perfect. As he is perfect, he cannot perform any actions. Actions can be performed only when there is imperfection and perfection is sought. Names and forms are illusions in a reality even as name of gold chain and form of gold chain is only an illusion in the reality of gold. Since the Lord is the reality beyond all illusions, he doesn’t have any names and forms or he is not subject to names and forms. Good and bad is there only for that which has name and form or which is subject to changes. Since the Lord is changeless and without names-forms, he is beyond good and bad.

The lord of such a nature cannot create the illusory world unless he accepts all these qualities. Creation of the world is not possible from the non-dual Lord until he accepts change which is against his very nature. Thus he assumes all these qualities through his illusory power of Maya. Thus the Lord when seen as the cause of the world at the empirical level assumes all these qualities. These qualities are not his very nature but superimposed on him through the illusory power of Maya. Maya itself is something which is not real but only seems to be present. It is when we realize the nature of the Lord beyond all these qualities that we go beyond all these qualities. As long as we consider ourselves as part of the world and with a body-mind complex, we will be subject to birth-death. But once we realize our nature of the ultimate reality of Lord, we will realize that we never take birth or die but are ever present reality of Consciousness. Thus these qualities which are superimposed on the Lord are mere illusory creations of Maya which delude a seeker. Once the seeker seeks the Lord who is beyond the power of Maya, he overcomes Maya by the grace of the Lord. Such a seeker thus goes beyond all these illusory qualities to realize his own very nature of eternal Self.

The Lord is by nature formless as form causes limitation and is subject to change. The form of gold chain is subject to change (finally dying when it merges into the reality of gold) and limits the gold to the particular form. But the ultimate reality of Lord is changeless as he is eternal. The Lord is perfect and hence without any limitation as limitations cause imperfection. Thus the Lord is by nature formless. Even though the Lord is formless but still he takes forms through his illusory power of Maya. Thus whatever that we see is by nature the Lord alone as the substratum of all illusory forms. Hence the Lord is with form as well.

The Lord is mentioned in the scriptures as svaprakaasha or one who shines by himself. The Lord doesn’t require any other light to illumine himself because he is of the nature of ever-present Consciousness. The Lord in turn is the light which illumines everything else in the world. All the things that we see in the world are illumined by the light of the Lord alone.

The Lord is beyond words and thoughts because he is the subject of words-thoughts. The Lord is the illuminator of words and thoughts. Hence he cannot be known through words and thoughts. But still scriptures proclaim that the Lord can be known through the mind. The Lord is known only through that mind which is subtle and gained conviction about the reality. Such a subtle and sharp mind pierces through all objects and merges into the subject of Self or Consciousness. Thus even though the Lord is beyond words-thoughts but still he is known through a pure and subtle mind.

How is the Lord known through a subtle mind?
A subtle mind is one which is devoid of any attachments to things in the world. Attachments to things in the world vanish when a seeker does nishkaama karma (activities done without any desire for fruit). Nishkaama karma leads to naishkarmya or the state of activityless-ness. This is the state in which the seeker renounces the doer of ego. Sanyaas is renouncing of the doer which in turn is renunciation of everything. This renunciation leads the seeker to become a mere witness to all activities. This witness-hood is the very nature of the Self or the Lord. Thus the seeker realizes his very nature of Self through knowledge that I am a mere witness to all illusory activities.

Through this bhagavatham is indirectly telling us that real sanyaasa is naishkarmya which is achieved through nishkaama karma. Thus a seeker has to perform activities without any desire for fruit at all times. We will continue with Gajendra’s prostration to the Lord in the next day.

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