Monday, March 17, 2008

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 14

Since we concluded the story of Raasa leela the previous day, we will summarize the story before entering into the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham.

We need to always remember that the import of any scriptures and words of Mahatmas is the non-dual reality termed in the scriptures as Brahman and in the Puranas as Lord, Ishwara, Paramatman etc. All these are synonyms of the non-dual reality whose nature is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Whatever really exists is this entity of Lord alone. The duality that we perceive in the form of the world is but an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Lord. It is for this reason that the scriptures proclaim that everything is the Lord & that the Lord is the essence of all beings.

If everything is in essence and reality the Lord then we also are of the nature of Lord alone. It is this truth of realizing our own nature of Lord (who is the substratum of the illusory world) that is termed as the spiritual path and the goal of always being established in the reality of Lord is termed as moksha.

If we forget this one truth about everything in the world as the non-dual reality of Lord, we will not be able to gain moksha even though we may follow various Mahatmas like AMMA, Sai Baba etc. Even though we may learn the scriptures even in the traditional way or sing bhajans, we will not be able to get moksha unless we realize our nature of non-dual reality of Lord. Thus it is very important to remember this truth that everything is but an illusion in the reality of Lord – and realizing our own nature of Lord beyond all dual notions of happiness-sorrow, cold-heat, like-dislike etc. is the goal that we all are seeking.

Irrespective of whether we know or not, we all are seeking the non-dual reality of Lord alone. This is because we all are seeking bliss in one form or another. Some think that bliss (ever lasting happiness) is in money and they thereby seek money; others think that bliss is in power and thereby seek power; yet others think that bliss is in marriage and thereby seek a partner; yet others think that bliss is when you have children and thereby seek progeny. Thus irrespective of caste, creed, money etc. (all distinctions), we all are seeking bliss alone.

It is but a misfortune and sad that we don’t know the abode of bliss; hence we are lead to the illusory world seeking eternal bliss. The temporary world can never give us permanent and eternal bliss even as illusory water in the desert can never quench our thirst. Thus as long as we seek bliss in the external world, we will never be successful. Instead we need to understand that bliss is our very nature of Lord – the Lord who is our Self (of the nature of Consciousness) is alone blissful. It isn’t that tough to get bliss as bliss is our very nature. But as of now we are ignorant of our nature of bliss and hence need to realize our own nature of Lord through knowledge and devotion. Knowledge is knowing the reality behind the illusory world and that the entire world is but an illusion in the non-dual reality of Lord (who is our very nature of Consciousness). Devotion is when we apply this knowledge in order to completely surrender and implement knowledge in our life. When both knowledge and devotion go hand in hand for a seeker, he will finally get the non-dual knowledge that “I am the Lord whom I was seeking” – this knowledge is of the nature of bliss as it is direct intuitive experience of the Lord as one’s own Self.

It is this goal of bliss that we have to attain through learning of scriptures including Bhagavatham. The moment we forget this reality, we will end up with one form or the other in the illusory world. This will then only lead us to more and more sorrow. This is what causes people to argue as to whether bhakthi is greater or jnaana is greater, is Vishnu greater or Siva, is AMMA greater or Sai Baba etc. We have to always remember the final goal to be achieved in life is non-dual knowledge that “I am the Lord who alone exists here” – it doesn’t matter whether we follow bhakthi or jnaana, we will have to remember the knowledge about “the Lord alone existing here”.

It is implementation of the spiritual path in day-to-day life thereby taking us to the state of bliss that is demonstrated beautifully in this story of Raasa Leela. Many of us might have earlier thought that gopis were following bhakthi wherein here we find that the basis of gopis bhakthi was jnaana that the Lord alone is present here as the illusory world. Thus the goal of raasa or bliss and as to how to achieve that goal has been beautifully demonstrated through the gopis life. The gopis were like each one of us – having many worldly activities, responsibilities and duties yet they gave priority to the Lord alone. When they had to make a choice between the Lord and other things, they choose the Lord – this choice took them to the state of bliss. Thus we will also be able to get eternal bliss if we give the Lord the highest priority in our life and implement it in life.

Let us all try to implement the gopis bhakthi and jnaana in our day-to-day life so that we may also be able to rejoice in bliss like the gopis (as bliss alone is the ultimate goal of life).

Before entering into the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham let us today try to focus ourselves on the ultimate reality so that we don’t get deluded into the names and forms of the illusory world.

There is only one entity which is real amidst the illusory world. Everything else that is seen as existing in the world is but an illusion of names and forms in that real entity. That real entity is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. It is of the nature of existence because it is real (and always exists). It is of the nature of Consciousness because only Consciousness can experience its own existence in the form of pulsation “I exist, I exist”. It is also of the nature of bliss because it is eternal, perfection and full (poorna).

It is this entity that is termed variously as Brahman (in the Vedas), Paramatman, Ishwara, Lord, Bhagavan etc. in the puranas. Bhagavatham thus summarizes this:

Vadanthi tat tattvavidhah tattvam yat jnaanam advayam
Brahma ithi paramaatmethi bhagavaan ithi shabdhyathe

Knowers of the reality which is of the nature of non-dual Consciousness term it variously as Brahman, Paramatman, Bhagavan etc.

Thus the duality that we currently perceive is but an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Lord. Realization of this entity alone can give us bliss because everything else is temporary and can give us only temporary/momentary happiness. Realization is knowing that the reality of Lord is our own very nature of Consciousness (unassociated with the body-mind-intellect and a mere witness to all activities of the body-mind-intellect complex). This is possible only through seeing oneness everywhere with the knowledge that everything is but the Lord alone and surrendering completely unto the Lord through pure devotion.

It is this devotion that is instigated in a person through miraculous stories or siddhis in the form of stories in the various puranas. These stories are not real as they are dependent on duality. When there is only one entity of Lord existing, how can we have stories about the Lord’s glory? Thus the glories of the Lord are just meant to instigate devotion in us thereby making us surrender and seek the Lord with ardent desire. If a seeker is able to get the ardent desire to realize his very nature of Lord and get liberated from the ocean of samsaara (characterized by sorrows and sufferings), then he will be able to rejoice in bliss this very birth itself.

Those are fools and cowards who would worship the Lord in the external world (in vaikunta, kailasa, temples etc.) forgetting that the Lord is in our own heart – Yoga Vasistha compares such people to those who seek money having the syamantaka jewel (wish fulfilling jewel) in their neck. Those are also cowards who say that they will seek the Lord when it is time to leave the body – by that time the intellect will have lost all its power, the mind will be so worried and the body will be as if ready to split into pieces – during such a time we will only be able to think about our family, desires etc. and not about the Lord. Moreover it is foolish to miss the opportunity of realizing the Lord while living and seeking moksha after death.

It is making us bold, brave and learned so that we will be able to realize our very nature of Lord in this very birth itself that Bhagavatham accomplishes through various stories speaking about the glory of the Lord and the import of realizing the non-dual reality of Lord embedded in these stories.

Let us all try to realize our very nature of Lord and rejoice in bliss in this very birth itself through remembering the import of Bhagavatham to be realization of the non-dual reality of Lord and thereby achieving it through learning of the stories. Remembering this we will start with the next story in the next day.

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