Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Story 45 - Story of Bala krishna's plays - 10

Brahma continued:

Bondage of samsaara and moksha are nothing but different terms for Ajnaana (ignorance). They are but mere terms and nothing else. You are always of the nature of Existence and Consciousness. If a person does vichara to analyze yourself in the ever experiential atman, this will become very clear. There cannot be day and night in Sun – this is similar.


We all know that there is really no day and night. It is only based on the Sun’s light falling on a part of the world and not falling that we call as day and night. Since day and night is dependent on the Sun, therefore it is clear that there cannot be any day or night in the Sun (as the Sun is the basis for day and night).

Similarly the ultimate reality of Lord is the basis for bondage and liberation (as nothing really exists apart from the Lord). When a person doesn’t know his very nature of Lord, then he is in bondage. When a person knows his very nature of Lord, then he is in liberation. Since bondage and liberation are based on the Lord, there is no bondage or liberation in the Lord. Thus bondage and liberation both are from the perspective of ignorance alone. It is only for the ignorant person that we say that “you are bonded” and “you need to be liberated”. It is only for the ignorant person again that we show people who are liberated through various characteristics. Both bondage and liberation are at the empirical level and these are only illusions in the non-dual reality of Lord.

The reality is that the Lord alone exists here, one without a second. Anything apart from the Lord is only a mere illusion of name and form in the Lord. Thus when a person is ignorant about his very nature of non-dual Lord, bondage and liberation comes into existence. Such a person thinks himself to be bonded and thereby seeks liberation. But the reality that Sankara among other acharyas propound is that we all are the ever liberated Self (which is not different from the Lord). If a person is open and bold enough to tread the path put forth by Vedanta (the path of sravana, manana, nidhidhyasana), he will very easily be able to experience this truth that there is neither bondage nor liberation.

Sankara beautifully encompasses this in Nirvana Shatkam

Na dharmo na chaartho na kaamo na mokshah
Chidananda roopah sivoham sivoham

There is neither dharma nor artha, neither kaama nor moksha; I am the Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

The Lord himself proclaims this in many places of Gita that “I am the Self in all beings”, “the world is temporary”, “I pervade the world” etc.

Brahma till now was speaking about the truth and as to how to achieve the truth but here he speaks about reality from the ultimate level or ultimate viewpoint. This ultimate viewpoint is that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists – there is neither creation nor destruction; there is neither ignorance nor knowledge; there is neither bondage nor liberation; there is neither the ajnaani nor the jnaani. It is very tough to understand this but Brahma helps us by giving the analogy of Sun towards day and night (which we have already discussed earlier in this mail).

A person who uses his intellect to discriminate and analyze the words of Brahma, he will very easily be able to apprehend, appreciate and implement this reality that there is neither bondage nor liberation but the ultimate reality of Lord alone exists here.

Brahma continued:

There is no need to explain this in depth. Whoever wants to know will really know. Let me ask your permission to start back to my place.

Thus Brahma circled the Lord three times, prostrated and then left to his own world.


We come to the end of this story about Bala Krishna’s plays. Brahma concludes his speech by telling that there is no need to explain things in depth. This is one of the truth that Shukracharya says to Mahabali after explaining that Chit alone exists here. Shukracharya then tells that if a person is not able to understand this, then it is as if he is offering things to ashes!!! (meaning that the ritual will not happen properly as there is no fire at all).

The truth is so simple that even a little child would understand it – but still if a person is not able to understand it, there is no necessity and purpose in trying to explain it again and again through different analogies.

What is the truth that is so simple and whoever wants to know will know?The truth is that there is nothing here but the ultimate reality of Lord alone exists. The duality that we perceive is only an illusion in the reality of Lord. The dual world that we perceive is like the dream world which is nothing but an illusion in the dreamer – even as the dream world is nothing but the dreamer alone, similarly the dual world is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord. Once a person understands this truth that there is only the Lord here, then he will see everything as an illusion of names and forms in the Lord – such a person will therefore be seeing everything as the Lord alone. When everything is seen as the Lord, then there is neither like nor dislike towards things in the world. When there are neither likes nor dislikes, then the person will not be having love and hatred (raga dvesha or kama krodha). When there is neither love nor hatred, then the mind is ever focused on the Lord and without any distractions. Such a mind which is devoid of the dual notions of love and hatred will be calm like an ocean without waves. Such a mind is said to have merged into the source of Self or Lord. Such a mind is not at all a mind but the Lord alone. Therefore such a person whose mind is without any thoughts and passions has himself merged into the ultimate reality of Lord. When a person merges into the reality of Lord, then he is ever blissful as bliss is the very nature of Lord. Thus he is ever happy, ever content and ever satisfied with whatever is available to him. This is the state of mukthi wherein a person is always blissful and happy. It is this blissful state that we all are seeking in the form ever-lasting happiness. But since we are searching for it in the external world, we don’t get bliss. In order for us to get bliss, we will have to seek it by understanding the truth that everything is only the Lord and thereby seeing everything as the Lord.

Once we follow this sadhana, we will be able to lead life like Krishna – ever happy though involved with many wifes, many wives and being in the midst of the destruction of his own clan. Through this particular story about the Lord’s plays, we hear the truth in beautiful words of Brahma.

We will see a summary of this story in the next day before starting with the next story of Bhagavatham.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Story 46 - Story of Bala Krishna's plays - 09

Brahma continued:

Therefore the world is not ultimately real. It is like dream; a mere illusion; always filled with sorrow. And you are eternal reality of the nature of Existence Consciousness Bliss. The world cannot really appear in you than Maya (illusion). But because of superimposition of the world in you, this world also seems to appear as real.


The Lord in Gita proclaims about the world thus:

Anityam asukham lokam

The world is temporary and sorrowful.

We find Brahma mentioning the exact qualities for the world. The world is not ultimately real. It is not ultimately real because it is always changing and impermanent. That which is changing is subject to the six modifications of birth, existence, growth, disease, decay and death. That which is born will surely die. That which is born and dies is temporary; not beyond time. That alone is ultimately real which stays beyond time. Thus the world doesn’t fall under the category of ultimately real because it is temporary and doesn’t exist beyond time (for all the three times of past, present and future). Since the world is temporary and seems to exist when we perceive it, it is compared with dream. Dream world is temporary and is present only till the time of dream. Dream world is only an illusion in the dreamer – similarly the waking world that we perceive is an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord (who alone exists). The world since it is temporary can give us only sorrow. That which is permanent alone can give us eternal bliss – that which in itself will vanish after sometime cannot give us eternal bliss. Instead such an entity will only give us sorrow as it is changing and we will not find it after sometime.

The pot in front of us gives us happiness only as long as the pot exists. The moment the pot vanishes, our attachment towards the pot and the pot’s vanishing will give us only sorrow. Hence all worldly objects though will give us happiness in the beginning, but will finally lead us to sorrow alone. Thus the world is proclaimed to be sorrowful. Once we understand the sorrowful nature and the temporary nature of the world, we will try to see the blissful and permanent substratum of the world. Any illusion or temporary entity has a permanent and non-changing substratum even as a variable (in mathematics) has a constant for its substratum. The illusion seems to appear in the substratum though not really existing. This is like water seen in desert. Water is temporary and illusory whereas desert is the reality and the substratum in which water is seen. Water seems to be present in the substratum of desert – water exists only as long as we don’t know the substratum of desert; the moment we know the substratum of desert, water vanishes and we realize that desert alone existed. Similarly the world is only seen in the reality of Lord as long as we don’t realize the reality of Lord. The moment we realize the reality of Lord, the world vanishes. Until then the world will seem to be real. The world seems to be real only because of the substratum of Lord even as water seems to be real because of the substratum of desert.

The Lord thus proclaims that having attained such a sorrowful and temporary world, we should take refuge in the ultimate reality of Lord so that we may realize our very nature of blissful Lord.

Brahma continued:

The truth or existence of all entities in the world is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord. You are of the nature of bliss. The bliss that is experienced from other entities is your bliss alone. He who realizes you in this way, he has known the truth of the Upanishads and therefore crosses over the ocean of delusion.


People are deluded in the ocean of samsaara. Delusion is nothing but suffering due to one’s own wrong knowledge that “I am the body”, “I am the mind” etc. caused out of ignorance of one’s nature of the ultimate reality of Lord. Whatever really exists in this world derives its existence from the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of Existence and Consciousness.

An entity exists if there is a light falling on it. When it is dark, though there are many objects present still they don’t really exist. In the entire world there is only one entity that can experience its own existence as “I exist” as well as illumine other existences. This entity is Consciousness. It is Consciousness that makes us confirm our own existence irrespective of whether it is day or night, dark or lighted etc. Scriptures proclaim that the Consciousness that is present in all living beings is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord (prajnaanam brahma – Consciousness is Brahman). Since everything that exists in the world is illumined by the light of Consciousness, therefore everything that exists depends on Consciousness or the Lord for its existence. Thus in reality whatever really exists is only the ultimate reality of Lord but with differences in names and forms.

Even as various gold ornaments are in existence gold alone, similarly the entire world is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord alone. The very nature of Lord is blissful as the Lord is devoid of any limitations. That which is unlimited and infinite is perfect in all aspects. That which is perfect in all aspects is blissful as it doesn’t have any imperfection causing sorrow. Thus the ultimate reality of Lord is blissful. Since everything that exists is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord, therefore everything is blissful. It is only considering things as different from one another (thereby considering the names and forms as real) which causes us to get sorrow from the entity. Since names and forms are limited, therefore the happiness derived from them is as well limited which in turn will lead us to sorrow when there is no happiness derived from them. But the moment we realize that names and forms are mere illusions in the reality of Lord, then we are perceiving objects as the Lord alone – thus all objects become blissful.

When we maintain such an approach of vision towards the world, we will see everything as the blissful Lord alone. Thus we don’t have any likes or dislikes. It is likes and dislikes that causes a person to either get happy or sad depending on the situation. But for a person who sees everything as the blissful Lord, there is only bliss. Such a person has in fact known the truth of the Upanishads that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists. Such a person alone crosses over the ocean of delusion as he has known his very nature of non-dual Lord thereby being ever blissful.

We will continue with Brahma’s praises in the next day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Story 46 - Story of Bala Krishna's plays - 08

Brahma continued:

If a person does all actions through body, words and mind as an offering to the Lord remembering that the Lord alone exists, he will become eligible to experience brahmanandam (bliss of Brahman).


In the previous days we discussed about Nirguna and Saguna Brahman. In this part Brahma in brief gives us the way to experience the bliss of Brahman. The ultimate reality of Brahman is ever blissful and just seems to be limited by a form thereby becoming Saguna depending on the mental state of a seeker.

That Brahman or Lord who is present everywhere can never be limited by anything. The truth behind the dual world is the non-dual reality of Lord. The duality is only an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Lord. Thus whatever really exists is only the non-dual reality of Lord even as the dream world is only an illusion in the reality of dreamer. In order to realize this reality that whatever is present is only the Lord, we have to see the Lord as present everywhere and thereby offering all actions unto the reality of Lord. This is what Brahma is propounding here. Though our very nature is that of blissful Brahman or Lord, still most of us are incapable of experiencing the bliss which is our very nature because of ignorance and the obstructions caused by the adjuncts of body-mind-intellect.

Even as a person cannot see his face in a mirror which is impure, similarly we will not be able to experience our very nature of blissful Lord unless the mirror of mind (through which we experience our nature) is pure. Therefore though each one of us are by nature of bliss, we are not capable of experiencing it unless we purify our minds. Purification of mind is the first step to experiencing bliss. The second step is that of knowing through the tri-fold process of sravana (listening to the scriptural truth), manana (reflection using logic about the scriptural truth) and nidhidhyaasana (contemplation on the scriptural truth) that my very nature is blissful Lord.

The scriptural masters who have realized their nature of Lord are so compassionate that they provide us a blend of the two steps of purification of mind and knowledge through doing actions as an offering to the Lord along with the knowledge that the Lord is the only real entity present amidst the illusory duality of the world. The path that Brahma propounds here is not something new but this is what has been propounded in the Upanishads and Gita. The Lord in Gita propounds this way of offering all actions unto that Lord who alone is present in many places. Two such slokas which are worth by-hearting in order to always remember and implement in life are:

Brahma arpanam brahma havih brahma agnau brahmanaa hutam
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahma karma samaadhinaa

Brahman is the oblation performed in the yajna of actions in the world;Brahman is the homa kunda; Brahman is the fire; Brahman is the person offering the yajna; Brahman is also the goal to be achieved through this yajna; the attitude which has to be followed while doing this yajna is the knowledge that everything is Brahman alone.

Yat karoshi yad ashnaasi yad juhoshi dadaasi yat
Yat tapasyasi kaunteya tad kurushva madarpanam

Whatever actions you do, whatever offerings you do, whatever oblations you perform, whatever you give to others and whatever austerities you perform, do it unto Me O Arjuna.

What is the purpose and use of offering everything to the Lord?

Shubha ashubha phalairevam mokshyase karma bandanaih
Sanyaasa yoga yukthaatma vimuktho maam upaishyaasi

Therefore you will overcome the fruits of good and bad, bondage of actions as well; thus ever established in the Lord with the knowledge that everything is Lord and having renounced actions-fruits, you will become liberated and attain me.

This is in short the one and only thing that is to be performed at all times in order to get brahmananda or infinite and eternal bliss – that which is being sought out by everyone in the world. All other sadhanas of chanting, dhyaana etc. are only means to focusing ourselves directly to the Lord so that we may be able to do this one thing of always offering actions to the Lord.

Brahma continued:

If a person tries to externally find out the answers to the questions as to where, how, when etc. the world came into existence in the reality of Lord, he will not be able to get any logical answers. It is for this reason that the world is proclaimed to be an illusion in the reality of Lord.


Here in this part we find Bhagavatham explaining in brief the essence of the Vedantic scriptures. As Sankara proclaims in one of his works that the entire scripture can be explained in half a verse thus:

Brahma Satyam jagan mithyaa jeevo brahmaiva na parah

Brahman alone is real; the world is only an illusion; the jeeva (individual Self) is one with Brahman and not different from it.

The scriptures through various statements like “sadeva soumya idamagre aaseet ekameva adviteeyam” (Sat alone existed here prior to creation, one without a second O Dear), “sarvam khalu idam brahma” (everything is verily Brahman here), “ishavasyam idam sarvam” (Iswara alone is present here as everything) etc. propound beyond doubt that whatever is really present here is nothing but the non-dual reality of Brahman. There is nothing whatsoever apart from Brahman here – the seemingly appearing duality is only an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Brahman even as various gold ornaments are mere illusions of names and forms in gold. Thus whatever really exists is only Brahman or the ultimate reality of Lord.

If everything is Brahman, then the individual Self who seems to be limited in knowledge has to be one with Brahman; thus we all are nothing but the ultimate reality of blissful Brahman. This is what the Lord propounds in many places of Gita that “Ishwarah sarva bhootaanaam hriddeshe arjuna thistathi” (Ishwara resides in the heart of all beings O Arjuna).

In this part Brahma is giving the logic as to why the world of duality is considered as an illusion of names and forms in Brahman. Anything that cannot be explained through logic is an illusion as illusions are devoid of reality for them to be logical. The water seen in desert cannot be really explained through logic except that it is seen in desert and is not real. If we try to analyze as to where water came from, why water came from etc. we will only end up in confusions. The very reason that we cannot ascertain the why, where etc. of an illusion proves it to be an illusion. Similar is the case with the world as we cannot find out where it came from and why it came. The world is said to have come from Brahman – but this explanation is only for the initial seeker as such an answer is illogical. Brahman is pure and blissful whereas the world is impure and sorrowful. There can never arise the impure world from pure Brahman. Hence we say that the world is only an illusion of names and forms in Brahman.

Instead of concentrating on the where, why etc. we must focus on the substratum of the illusion. Thus a wise person would find out that the substratum of the world is the non-dual reality of Brahman (which is one’s own very nature) and thereby try to realize Brahman.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Story 46 - Story of Bala Krishna's plays - 07

Brahma praised the Lord thus:

O Lord filled with splendor and currently in the form of gopakumara, my prostrations unto you. O Bhooma! It is impossible to attain you without devotion. Still your nature of Nirguna Brahman can be known only by people who have purity of mind. This is because you are inactive, of the nature of one’s own Self and have to be experienced as devoid of everything else.


Brahma here praises the Lord beautifully. Two things that Brahma clearly mentions here are that the Lord cannot be achieved without devotion and the Lord is of the nature of Nirguna Brahman thereby only be known through purity of mind.

Even as a person cannot see his own face in a mirror which is impure, similarly the ultimate reality of Lord cannot be known without purity of mind. All spiritual sadhana or practices including chanting, meditation, singing bhajans etc. are meant to purify the mind through selfless Lord-oriented actions. The Lord can be achieved only through pure devotion or knowledge. The devotion that Brahma here mentions isn’t the devotion that we are quite familiar with. Devotion or bhakthi is split into two – apara bhakthi or lower devotion where the devotee finds himself as different from the Lord and para bhakthi or higher devotion where the devotee merges into the Lord. The devotion that Brahma mentions here is para bhakthi which is the same as knowledge or jnaana of the Upanishads. Real bhakthi is that wherein the devotee speaks, hears, and thinks etc. about the Lord alone; the devotee doesn’t know anything apart from the ultimate reality of Lord. When such devotion is there, the devotee doesn’t find himself as different from the Lord as everything is the Lord alone. Slowly through constant practice, the difference between the devotee and the Lord vanishes thereby only the Lord exists. Thus through the practice of seeing everything as Lord the devotee realizes the reality that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists. It is for this reason that Brahma mentions that achieving the Lord is impossible without devotion. Though our general notion of devotion and the devotion that we generally follow is apara bhakthi, we need to focus and try to gain para bhakthi as that is equivalent of realizing the Lord himself.

The second point that Brahma mentions here is that the Lord is Nirguna Brahman. Nirguna means devoid of any qualities. Though this might seem contradictory to the concept of a Lord who is endowed with many qualities including the quality of being the creator of the world, still this is the reality that the Lord is without any qualities. Anything that has qualities is in fact limited by the quality. Any entity that is limited is subject to limitation by time, space and causation. This means such an entity will be non-eternal and therefore not blissful. But we know the nature of the Lord to be satchidananda or existence, consciousness and bliss absolute. This is thus only possible if the Lord is unlimited. This means that the Lord is devoid of any qualities. Thus Brahma mentions that the Lord is nirguna or without any qualities.

Now we may have a doubt as to how such a nirguna Lord seems to be present as the world (which means he is subject to qualities or is saguna). This is answered as Vedanta accepts Saguna Brahman at the empirical plane. Brahma answers this question in the next part of is praise which we will see tomorrow. This concept of Saguna and Nirguna Brahman is very important as a clear understanding of this is enough to lead us to realization of the ultimate reality of Lord. On the other hand if we don’t understand this concept, we will end up in sorrow like the Vaishnavas and Saivas fighting amongst each other in the name of Saguna Lord being greater. We have to thereby always remember that though the Lord might seem to take the form of Vishnu or Siva, still by nature the Lord is Nirguna or without any qualities as he is all-pervasive (such an all-pervasive Lord cannot be limited to a particular form).

Brahma praised the Lord thus:

Again it is impossible to know all of your mahima who take various forms (or appear as Saguna) through your own very will. Trying to gauge your mahimas (powers) is like trying to count the sands on earth or the dew drops in space.


We discussed about the very nature of Lord as Nirguna or devoid of any qualities. But today we see Brahma describing the Lord as also taking a particular form or with a particular quality (Saguna) depending on his very will.

Though the Lord is by nature Nirguna, yet he can take any form or be endowed with any quality as everything is an illusion in the Lord. Even as a magician can create anything that he wills though everything he creates is only an illusion, similarly the Lord can appear or take any form that he wills though the forms are only an illusion. The very aim of the Lord taking different forms or being endowed with qualities is for the seekers to contemplate on such a form. It is quite impossible for most of us contemplate on a Lord who is formless and pervades everything like space. Hence in order to get focus of the mind and concentration of the mind on the Lord, the Lord can be assumed to take a particular form. This also helps in that we all are not yet out of the effects of the likes and dislikes of the mind. Hence it is easy to divert all our likes to a particular form instead of directing it to a worldly object. Thus a seeker should take a particular form that is most dear for him and then see that form as pervading the Lord. Thus it is as good as seeing the formless Lord everywhere in the world. Through this oneness vision and through the one liked form, the seeker will get rid of all likes and dislikes as he sees everything as that form. When the seeker everything as one form, there cannot be any likes or dislikes as likes and dislikes arise out of duality or differences. Thus the seeker gets rids of likes-dislikes as well as gains concentration of the mind by always contemplating on the form Lord as pervading everything. Slowly the form will go on increasing and expanding. Finally the seeker will realize the truth that the Lord can never be limited to a form thereby the form will get merged into formless Lord. At that time the seeker will realize his very nature of formless or Nirguna Lord.

Thus though the Lord is without any form or quality, still he assumes different forms so that seekers can contemplate on the form and thereby realize their nature of formless Lord.

If we assume the Lord to be with forms by his very will, then we can have infinite forms as are possible in the illusory world. Even as a magician’s creation has no bounds because it is only an illusion and is dependent on the magician’s will, similarly the Lord’s forms and powers are innumerous because it is an illusion and is dependent on the Lord’s will which in turn is dependent on the requirements of various seekers. Thus Brahma says that the powers of the Lord is boundless and cannot be counted or judged or gauged. This also in a way proves that the powers of the Lord are only an illusion as an illusion can never be judged. We can never know how much quantity of water is present in the mirage as there is no real water present. Similarly since the powers of the Lord cannot be gauged, it is only an illusion in the Nirguna Lord.

We should understand the necessity of Saguna or Saakara Lord in the spiritual path keeping in mind always that Nirguna is the very nature of the Lord lest we are diverted and distracted.

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