Monday, March 26, 2007

Story 42 – Story of Khatvaanga – 06

Story of Khatvaanga – Summary

Let us today summarize this story of Khatvaanga before entering into the next story. We found in this story that contemplation on the ultimate reality of Lord can happen only after proper reflection about the reality behind the illusory world. Reflection can happen only on that which has been properly listened. Hence Vedanta speaks about the three-step path of sravana or listening to the scriptures with the main import being the ultimate reality of Lord, manana or reflecting on whatever has been listened and nidhidhyaasana or contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord.

This three-step path is very important because each serves a particular purpose in the spiritual path. The process of listening or sravana helps us in removing the basic doubts regarding whether there is something called Lord, whether the world that we see is real, what is the real goal of life, are we in the right direction in search of eternal bliss etc. Through sravana, we understand that the world is an illusion and that the Lord alone exists. We also get clear knowledge that contemplation on the Lord and realizing our very nature of Lord alone can give us eternal bliss, that which is the ultimate goal of life. After listening and gaining knowledge about the Lord, still doubts might persist. These doubts are not mere doubts but confusions in the form of how can such a Lord exist, how can the world be an illusion, how can the Lord be the substratum of the world and how can I be of the nature of Lord. These confusions are termed in Vedanta as asambhaavana or the impossibilities. These are not doubts but confusions because our experience contradicts whatever we have listened. WE don’t experience the Lord, we don’t experience the world to be an illusion and we don’t experience ourselves as the Lord. These confusions are removed through reflection using the intellect. Reflection involves use of logic to ascertain whatever we have listened and to remove our confusions.

We know that there is no water in desert but still we see water. This confusion is removed when we use our logic to analyze the water – we analyze that “if there were water, I should be able to get it; but I am not able to get it and therefore there is no water”. Thus the confusion that whether water exists because we see it is removed through reflection. Similarly when we reflect as to whether the world really exists through analysis, we will remove confusions. If the world really exists, then it should be ever present. Anything that is always present will be changeless. Since the world changes, therefore it cannot be ever-present. Also we don’t experience the world in dream and deep sleep state. Therefore the world is not ever-present. That which is not ever-present is only present temporarily. Anything temporary is only an illusion that seems to be present when we experience it. Thus the world is proved to be an illusion. If the world is an illusion, then there should be a substratum for the world (as any illusion appears in a real substratum). This substratum has to be ever-present. The substratum is therefore of the nature of Existence or Sat. Sat cannot exist of its own without Chit (Chit or Consciousness alone experiences its own existence and existence of other illusions in it). Thus the substratum is of the nature of Sat and Chit. That which is ever-present is limitless or infinite. Anything which is infinite is blissful (that which is limited will give limited happiness whereas unlimited will give unlimited happiness or bliss). Thus the substratum is of the nature of Sat (existence), Chit (Consciousness) and Ananda (bliss). This Satchidananda substratum is termed as Brahman or Lord.

This substratum of Lord exists is now proved. “I” always exist and am conscious in nature. I am as well blissful which is experienced in deep sleep state (after waking up I say “I slept happily”). Thus I am Satchidananda. There cannot be two satchidananda as then one will limit the other. Therefore “I” am the Lord. This is not really known due to ignorance. Thus reflection proves that “I” am the Lord.

Though intellect has been convinced about “I” as Lord but still “I” don’t experience bliss alwaysJ. This is due to ignorance still remaining when “I” interact with the illusory world. This inexperience of oneself as Lord is removed when the seeker always contemplates on his very nature of Lord. This contemplation removes the wrong notions that “I am the body, mind etc”. It is these wrong notions that cause a person to consider himself as limited and suffering. When these wrong notions are removed, the seeker realizes his very nature of Lord. This process of contemplation is called nidhidhyaasana and is essential after reflection.

Thus the three-step path is very important for a seeker to realize his very nature of Lord. Khatvaanga followed this three-step path and hence realized his very nature of Lord. After that nothing seems important for the seeker. Thus even though he was offered all pleasures in heaven, he didn’t want it – he merely neglected it. For a person who has realized eternal bliss, all temporary happiness from the world will be futile and useless. Swami Rama Teertha of the 20th century was offered doctorate from almost 5-6 universities in US for one of his lectures – he rejected all of them because he was ever immersed in bliss. We seek things only because we aren’t satisfied and content (as bliss hasn’t yet been found). But when the seeker realizes his very nature of Lord, then there is bliss alone – thus nothing else is sought. Whatever is present will be accepted – whatever happens will be accepted but nothing will be important or necessary for such a realized saint.

The ultimate reality – an analysis

Since we have completed the story of Khatvaanga and are about to start with the story of Srimad Bhagavatham, let us once again bring our focus back to the ultimate reality of Lord.

Why is it that we are again and again trying to focus on the ultimate reality of Lord?
This question has been answered again and again in many postings but it is better to repeat this until it naturally stands in our minds.

The ultimate reality of Lord alone is real – everything else is only an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Lord. The moment we forget the Lord, we are into an illusion of names and forms. Any illusion can lead us to only one destination which is sorrow and sorrow alone. A person who forgets the desert but goes behind the water in the desert will end up in sorrow not finding water. Similarly the moment we forget the ultimate reality of Lord, we will end up in sorrow and sorrow only. Thus a wise person should always remember not to forget the ultimate reality of Lord.

How is everything apart from the Lord an illusion?
If the Lord of the nature of Consciousness exists, then the world exists. If the Lord is not there, then the world itself doesn’t exist. Thus the world is dependent on the Lord for its existence. As the variable which depends on a constant for its existence is only an illusion in the constant, similarly the world is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord. The duality and differences that we perceive is only in names and forms. As various gold ornaments are nothing but mere illusions of names and forms in gold, similarly the world is only an illusion of names and forms in the Lord. If we are bold enough to remove the external appearing name and form, we will end up with the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of Satchidananda.

Let us try to see if we will really end up with the Lord when we remove name and form. Let’s take the example of a pot in front (pardon this exampleJ - traditionally acharyas are used to using the example of pot maybe because it was most common in all places and they always wanted to give examples which can be related to the life of every person). The name of pot and a quite ellipse form can be removed. If we remove this name and form, what will remain behind???? Existence in its pure form. Existence cannot exist by itself without Consciousness because Consciousness is the light that shines existence. Thus what will remain behind is Existence and Consciousness. Both Existence and Consciousness is blissful in nature because it is unlimited and infinite. Thus if we remove name and form from the pot, we will end up with the ultimate reality of Lord.

Can I really do it? Yes, it is possible and this is experienced in the state of deep Samadhi. But who would really want to remove the name and form of something which is illusory? Will a person be worried and go to remove the name and form of water in desert? No, he will not. Similarly a wise person will and doesn’t have to remove the names and forms of things in the world. What is required is to remember that the name and form is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord. Without the Lord, what exists is mere illusion of name and form which will give only sorrow. See beyond the name and form – there will be experience of the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of bliss. It is this bliss that we all are seeking every moment. If we don’t focus on the Lord, then we will be focusing on the illusion of names and forms. This focus on names and forms will give us only sorrow and sorrow alone.

In order to not get sorrow and be blissful, we have to constantly focus ourselves on the ultimate reality of Lord. Keeping this in mind, we will start the next story of Bhagavtham from the next day.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?