Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Story 42 – Story of Khatvaanga - 03

We saw in the last day as to Khatvaanga reflecting in his mind thus: "from childhood itself, my mind hasn't sought out anything apart from the ultimate reality of Lord". This attitude of being focussed in the goal of the ultimate reality of Lord is very essential for a seeker. As long as the goal is in our focus, we will give high-priority to achieving the goal than to anything else in the world. As long as we give high-priority to realization and the spiritual path, we will be ensured that we dont deviate from the path of spirituality.

Once a person knows that the worldy entities will give only sorrow, he will not again run behind the sensual pleasures of the world. Yoga Vasistha calls such people who run after worldly pleasures even after knowing them to seeds of sorrows as "donkeys". It is but foolish to run behind worldly pleasures though a little bit of logic would clearly show us that worldly pleasures are seeds of sorrow. Only a fool will run after the water seen in desert even after knowing that there is no water in the desert; similarly any person who runs after the worldly pleasures after knowing that there are seeds of sorrow is but a fool only.

A seeker has to first assert himself the real nature of the world as an illusion of names-forms and that the objects of the world are seeds of sorrow. When a person asserts the nature of world through logic and experience, he will never be deluded into seeking worldly objects. Instead he will start his search for that entity which is permanent and can give eternal bliss. Such an entity is what Vedanta calls as Brahman or Ishwara or Paramaatman or Atman or Self. The Self of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss alone can give a person eternal bliss, contentment and satisfaction.

The more and more a person gets into worldly possessions, his desires will become more and more. There will be no end to desires as worldly entities keep on continuously changing and are temporary. Therefore the happiness derived out of the worldly entities will be limited and the desire for more pleasures will be there always. Thus a seeker who wants to get eternal bliss should be focused on the ultimate reality of Lord. This doesn’t mean he has to renounce everything externally – but just that he has to be keep his mind focused on the Lord and should give high-priority to the Lord than to anything else. The ultimate reality of Lord should have the maximum priority for the seeker – if the seeker is offered any worldly pleasures, he shouldn’t accept it. He should live with whatever is barely necessary for sustenance. In case the seeker has worldly desires and seeks them, he should always remember the ultimate reality of Lord and that everything is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord. This knowledge will keep him focused on the reality and not get diverted into the illusory pleasures of the world.

Since khatvaanga was ever immersed in the contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord, he didn’t seek any worldly pleasure; neither did he show any desire towards worldly possessions. He who has tasted eternal bliss which is the very nature of Lord will not be willing to taste the temporary happiness from worldly objects (which is filled with sorrow and will finally lead to sorrow alone).

Bhagavatham here is thus telling us through Khatvaanga that we shouldn’t seek anything and if we seek worldly pleasures, we should seek remembering the ultimate reality of Lord. We will continue with Khatvaanga’s reflection in the next day.

Khatvaanga continued his thoughts
“These devas whose intellect and mind are ever fluctuating as they are ever immersed in sense objects and sensual pleasures don’t realize the ever present blissful Atman in their heart; if this is the case with devas, what to speak about other people?”


Bhagavatham is here explaining as to why realizing our very nature of Lord is tough even though the Lord is in our hearts and our very nature. Devas are considered to be higher than manushyas or humans because of divine qualities and gunas in them. If such devas aren’t able to realize the ultimate reality of Lord, then what to speak about normal human beings?

Here Bhagavatham is not frightening us into thinking that realization is impossible for human beings but just that the path is not as easy as we think it to be. Though realization is nothing but realizing our very nature of Lord and that the lord alone is present everywhere as the substratum of illusory world, still it is tough.

Why is realization of our very nature of Lord tough?
It is tough because of the delusion of worldly entities and sensual pleasures. The sense objects are so alluring and deceiving that the mind constantly seeks pleasure from them. The mind is so made that it cannot stay without sensual pleasures. As Arjuna mentions in the sixth chapter of Gita that the mind is very tough indeed to control. Controlling the mind is compared by Arjuna to controlling air! The mind constantly seeks sense objects and it gets used to enjoying sensual pleasures that it becomes an addiction. A samsaari or a normal worldly person cannot live without sense objects. Take away a single possession from him and the person will either cry or become angry. It is this aspect which we see in day to day life as people killing even their parents for the sake of worldly pleasures. Sankara mentions in his bhashya on the sanatsujaatheeya that there are only two options for a seeker – either his sense organs are turned inward contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord or they are turned outwards seeking sensual pleasures in sense objects.

As long as a person is seeking sensual pleasures, he will not be able to get eternal bliss which is inherent in the Lord in his heart. Since it is the very nature of the mind to go outwards and seek sensual pleasures, it is very tough indeed to control and direct the mind inwards into contemplation of the Lord. The Lord thereby mentions in Gita that though it is tough to control the mind, it is possible to control it through abhyaasa or practice and vairagya or dispassion towards sense objects due to the knowledge that there are temporary and sorrowful.

When a person constantly remembers that the sense objects are temporary and sorrowful, seeking them will get reduced. When the seeking for sense objects is reduced, it is easy for the seeker to contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus practice becomes easy and constant. Therefore a seeker requires dispassion through knowledge about sense objects and constant practice in order to divert the mind from sense objects to the ultimate reality of Lord. When the seeker does that, he finds eternal bliss inherent in the ultimate reality of Lord. Compared to the eternal bliss, all sensual pleasures are nothing but sorrowful. Once a seeker has got a glimpse of the bliss of the Lord, he will strive more and more for the bliss. Thus seeking of worldly sensual pleasures will get reduced which in turn will help the seeker in constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord. When the seeker constantly contemplates on the ultimate reality of Lord, he will realize that the sense objects which seem to be present are only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus everything will be seen as the ultimate reality of Lord thereby making the seeker ever rejoice in bliss which is the very nature of the ultimate reality of non-dual Lord.

But we have to remember that preaching about realization is very easy when compared to implementing it. We are used to so much addictions that it becomes impossible to divert the mind to the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus the Lord proclaims in Gita to remember the Lord even while doing worldly actions. Even if we are addicted, we have to remember the Lord as well during those addictions. In such a case, the addictions will cease to be addictions and slowly the seeker overcome those addictions due to constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord. Thereby finally the seeker will realize the worldly objects to be mere illusions and the Lord alone to be real.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

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