Friday, November 30, 2012

Divine Mother and Māyā - Sri Paramahansa Ramakrishna

Divine Mother and Māyā
Sri Paramahansa Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna, on the other hand, though fully aware, like his guru, that the world is an illusory appearance, instead of slighting Māyā, like an orthodox monist, acknowledged its power in the relative life. He was all love and reverence for Māyā, perceiving in it a mysterious and majestic expression of Divinity.

To him Māyā itself was God, for everything was God. It was one of the faces of Brahman. What he had realized on the heights of the transcendental plane, he also found here below, everywhere about him, under the mysterious garb of names and forms. And this garb was a perfectly transparent sheath, through which he recognized the glory of the Divine Immanence.

Māyā, the mighty weaver of the garb, is none other than Kāli, the Divine Mother. She is the primordial Divine Energy, Śakti, and She can no more be distinguished from the Supreme Brahman than can the power of burning be distinguished from fire. She projects the world and again withdraws it. She spins it as the spider spins its web. She is the Mother of the Universe, identical with the Brahman of Vedānta, and with the Ātman of Yoga. As eternal Lawgiver, She makes and unmakes laws; it is by Her imperious will that karma yields its fruit. She ensnares men with illusion and again releases them from bondage with a look of Her benign eyes. She is the supreme Mistress of the cosmic play, and all objects, animate and inanimate, dance by Her will.

Even those who realize the Absolute in nirvikalpa Samādhi are under Her jurisdiction as long as they still live on the relative plane.

Thus, after Nirvikalpa Samādhi, Sri Ramakrishna realized Māyā in an altogether new role. The binding aspect of Kāli vanished from before his vision. She no longer obscured his understanding. The world became the glorious manifestation of the Divine Mother. Māyā became Brahman. The Transcendental Itself broke through the Immanent.

Sri Ramakrishna discovered that Māyā operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these "Avidyā–Māyā" and "Vidyā–Māyā".

 Avidyā–Māyā represents the dark forces of creation: sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of man's birth and death. It must be fought and vanquished.

But Vidyā–Māyā is the higher force of creation: the spiritual virtues, the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion. Vidyā– Māyā elevates man to the higher planes of consciousness. With the help of Vidyā–Māyā the devotee rids himself of Avidyā–Māyā; he then becomes Māyātita, free of Māyā.

The two aspects of Māyā are the two forces of creation, the two powers of Kāli; and She stands beyond them both. She is like the effulgent sun, bringing into existence and shining through and standing behind the clouds of different colours and shapes, conjuring up wonderful forms in the blue autumn heaven.

Peace  love  harmony

Self-realization and purity of mind

Self-realization and purity of mind

The scriptures and great teachers of all paths
 have spoken extensively  about the importance of purity 
for those who want to attain Self-realization eternal freedom and  bliss.

 I expose here a selection of significant quotes.

‘ But whoso is devoid of a discriminating intellect, possessed of an unrestrained mind and is ever impure, does not attain that goal, but goes to samsara.’
‘ But whoso is possessed of a discriminating intellect and a restrained mind, and is ever pure, attains that goal from which he is not born again.’
Katha Upanishad

‘ Serenity of mind, good-heartedness, purity of nature, self-control—this is called mental austerity.’
Bhagavad Gita

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’
Jesus Christ

‘While your minds and hearts are impure, how can God live in your hearts? The water to clean the heart is the name of God. So, teach everyone to repeat the name of God - everywhere.’
 Haidakhan Babaji

‘To have a heart as pure as crystal, a mind as luminous as the sun, a soul as vast as the universe,  a spirit as powerful as God and one with God.’

‘On the contrary, these are only certain indications necessary at a particular stage; they are chiefly important for purification, which is the first part of the Yoga. After the shuddhi is complete one has to perfect the mukti, to get liberation, a thing easy after shuddhi, impossible before it.’
Sri Aurobindo

‘But in the pure mind that has been rendered subtle and unmoving by the meditation described above, the Self bliss (i.e., Brahman) will become manifest. As without mind there cannot be experience, it is possible for the purified mind endowed with the extremely subtle mode (vritti) to experience the Self-bliss, by remaining in that form (i.e. in the form of Brahman). Then, that one’s Self is of the nature of Brahman will be clearly experienced.’
Sri Ramana Maharshi SELF-ENQUIRY

‘What is the authority for saying that Brahman can be apprehended by the mind and at the same time that it cannot be apprehended by the mind?’
‘ It cannot be apprehended by the impure mind but can be apprehended by the pure mind.’

‘Good conduct or sat karma purifies the chitta or mind and gives you chitta suddhi. The pure mind attains jnana, which is what is meant by salvation.’
Sri Ramana Maharshi  DAY BY DAY 

‘Clarify your mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life -- this is the quickest way to a change of your world.’

‘The main thing is to be free of negative emotions desire, fear etc., the 'six enemies' of the mind. Once the mind is free of them, the rest will come easily. Just as cloth kept in soap water will become clean, so will the mind get purified in the stream of pure feelings.’

‘ All that is needed is to purify the mind so that it can realize its identity with the Self’.
Nijargadatta Maharaj I AM THAT

'Another condition [for success in Yoga] is chastity. It is the corner-stone of all practice. Married or unmarried — perfect chastity.'

'Nothing is gained except by sacrifice.... The holiest function of our human
consciousness, the noblest, do not make it unclean! Do not degrade it to the level of the brutes.... Make yourselves decent men! ... Be chaste and pure! ...'

Swami Vivekananda 

"God is realized as soon as the mind becomes free from attachment. Whatever appears in the Pure Mind is the voice of God. That which is Pure Mind is also Pure Buddhi; that, again, is Pure Ātman, because there is nothing pure but God. But in order to realize God one must go beyond dharma and adharma." 

"God cannot be known by the sense-organs or by this mind; but He can be known by the pure mind, the mind that is free from worldiy desires."

"God can be seen. He can be seen through the pure mind and the pure intelligence. Through attachment to 'woman and gold' the mind becomes impure."

"He is unknowable by the mind engrossed in worldliness. One cannot attain God if one has even a trace of attachment to 'woman and gold'.
 "But He is knowable by the pure mind and the pure intelligence―the mind and intelligence that have not the slightest trace of attachment. 

'Pure Mind, Pure Intelligence, Pure Ātman, are one and the same thing."
Parmahansa Ramakrishna 

 ‘Therefore it was also said that the sole necessity for Self-realisation is purity of mind.’

‘ Therefore the mind is the only cause that brings about man’s bondage or Liberation: when tainted by the effects of Rajas it leads to bondage, and when pure and divested of the Rajas and Tamas elements it conduces to Liberation.‘

" Therefore the seeker after Liberation must carefully purify the mind. When this is purified, Liberation is as easy of access as a fruit on the palm of one’s hand.’

‘Attaining purity through a preponderance of discrimination and renunciation, the mind makes for Liberation. Hence the wise seeker after Liberation must first strengthen these two.’

‘The man of pure mind realises the Supreme Self, and by this alone Samsara with its root is destroyed.’

‘The truth of the Paramatman is extremely subtle, and cannot be reached by the gross outgoing tendency of the mind. It is only accessible to noble souls with perfectly pure minds, by means of Samadhi brought on by an extraordinary fineness of the mental state’.

‘The purity of the seeker’s mind is the sole means for realization.’
‘By repeated practices in several rebirths his mind becomes pure and turns away from sense enjoyments to receive the highest teaching of the nondual Reality.’

 ‘From mental purity arises purity of the inner nature, cheerfulness, one-pointedness, control of the senses, and fitness for the vision of the self.’)
Patanjali  YOGA SUTRAS

‘All the techniques of Yoga require perfect ethical and moral purity. This purity is the foundation of Yogic life.’
 Swami Chitananda THUS SPEAKS

‘No one should seek to do meditation without purity of heart. One is not to enter the path unless the preconditions are fulfilled.’
Swami Krishnananda YOGA SYSTEM

Only Yogis of pure mind can cross this river and enjoy the highest Bliss.’

‘The pure divine qualities are conducive to peace and liberation and the undivine qualities lead to bondage. Purity, good conduct and truth are indispensable to spiritual progress and even to an honourable life here.’
Commentary of Swami Sivananda on BHAGAVAD GITA

 ‘Even so it takes a long time for igniting the fire of knowledge for a man whose heart is impure. But an aspirant with great purity of heart gets knowledge of the Self within the twinkling of an eye, within the time taken to squeeze a flower by the fingers.’
Swami Sivananda EASY STEPS TO YOGA

 ‘The way to liberation or freedom or perfect happiness and peace is through perfect purity of mind and heart, of every act, of character and life, through self-restraint and control of mind, and through regular meditation on the pure self-luminous, indivisible, all-pervading Self or Atman.’
Swami Sivananda ESSENCE OF YOGA                                                                                                                                                              
‘Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise. Be good; do good. Be kind; be compassionate. Practice non-injury, truth and purity. This is the foundation of Yoga and Vedanta.’

Peace  love  harmony

Friday, November 23, 2012

The highest wisdom of Advaita Vedanta - "Moksha Gita"

By Sri Swami Sivananda

       Commentary by Swami Krishnananda

 Moksha Gita(.pdf) is an exhaustive treatise of the highest wisdom of the Advaita Vedanta. 
A study of Moksha Gita alone is enough to guide a sincere aspirant in the path of  Jnana-Yoga.
By practicing its teachings one gets liberated from all bondage and becomes Immortal. 

This is "Moksha Gita" or the "Song of Liberation." By practicing its teachings one gets liberated from all bondage and becomes Immortal. Moksha Gita is an exhaustive treatise of the highest wisdom of the Advaita Vedanta. 

One cannot but be transformed into a higher spiritual state, after reading this blessed Gita. A study of Moksha Gita alone is enough to guide a sincere aspirant in the path of Jnana-Yoga. It will clear all his doubts and raise him to the Truth of Self-Consciousness. Having studied, understood and realised this highly spiritual philosophy, one does not stand in need of any other performance for Liberation. It will lead him to the highest meditation on Brahman. 

The Knowledge of the method of attaining Moksha expounded here, shall bring suffering to an end and give a unique consolation to the heart. It is the essence of all that is best, noble and sublime. Every seeker after Brahma-Jnana should study this book. It will dispel his ignorance and raise him to the higher Consciousness of the Reality. This Gita is an exposition of the way to attain the State of the Supreme Satchidananda, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute! This is the highest Brahma-Vidya!

The First Chapter treats of the approach of the seeker after Liberation to the Brahmanishtha Guru. The aspirant feels the pains of Samsara, the imperfections of worldly life, the misery of individual existence and runs for help to the Spiritual Preceptor who has transcended the consciousness of phenomenal life, and is established in Brahman. The Teacher instructs him on the highest Jnana, whereby one reaches Immortality and Supreme Bliss. The birthless and the deathless state of the Self is asserted.

The nature of the Eternal Brahman is described in the Second Chapter. Brahman is the Reality that alone is. That is the object of quest of all religions and philosophies. Brahman is Light, Power, Wisdom and Bliss that is absolute. It is the Seat of Immortality. It is the Self of all. All thoughts and actions must be directed towards the realization of the One Brahman.

The nature of the Divine Illusion, Maya, is explained in the Third Chapter. Maya is the limiting Power or Shakti of Brahman, which hides the Truth of Brahman and projects the untruth of the world and the individual. Ishwara is a limitation through Maya. All passions, lusts and evil traits are due to the belief in the existence of the world, which is really non-existent. The removal of this Maya through the Knowledge of Brahman constitutes Liberation or Moksha.

The Fourth Chapter is the description of the nature of Avidya or Maya in relation to the Jiva. Avidya limits the real Self to Jivahood and shuts it within the egoism of separateness, doership and enjoyership. When Avidya is dispelled, the whole universe disappears from sight, and only the Supreme Brahman is beheld. Avidya is miniature Maya. It is the cause of the appearance of the outer bodies of the individual.
The Fifth Chapter deals with the nature of the universe. The whole universe is an unreality, a dream of Consciousness. It is a mere superimposition on Brahman. Faith in the reality of the universe is the cause of birth and death, desire and worldly activity. The whole universe is an effect of the Vikshepa-Shakti of the Anadi-Maya. It brings delusion to all through its Avarana-Shakti.

The nature of the mind is explained in the Sixth Chapter. Mind is a materialisation of Consciousness, an expression or hardening of the all-pervading Self. Mind is the cause of egoism. Mind is Avidya itself. It has got the habit of always running outwards. The control of the mind and merging it in the Self is the purpose of all Sadhana. Mind is very fickle in its character and cannot exist without duality. It can be destroyed only through meditation.

The method of Vedantic Sadhana is expounded in the Seventh Chapter. Adhyaropa should be removed through Apavada. Sadhana cannot be practised without first purifying the mind. After one gets established in the practice of the preliminary qualifications of the Sadhana-Chatushtaya, he is fit to start the actual Sadhana through Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. The Mahavakyas of the Upanishads indicate the identity of the Self with Brahman, and hence their meaning should be meditated upon. A complete renunciation of the three worlds together with their contents is necessary before starting Sadhana for Self-realization. Then only the Truth will be revealed to the seeker.

The forms of ignorance and wisdom are described in the Eighth Chapter. One who feels that he is the body and that the world is real is an ignorant man. One who realises that the world is an illusion and that the Eternal Self alone is true is a wise man.

The nature and working of the five sheaths of the self are described in the Ninth Chapter. The different sheaths are the expressions of the inner thought materialised in different degrees of density. The farther the sheath is from the self, the grosser and the more perishable is its nature. The sheaths become subtler and more enduring as they go inward. The destruction of these bodies rooted in Avidya through Atma-Jnana, is the Final Emancipation.

The state of Jivanmukti is described in the Tenth Chapter. The Jivanmukta is a liberated sage, who lives in the knowledge of Brahman. For him, the world has vanished for ever. The Self alone is everywhere. He does not perceive plurality or even duality. He rests in the Oneness of Consciousness. He exists with a body as long as the present Prarabdha-Karma lasts. At its end, he attains Videha-Mukti and exists as the Absolute.

The Eleventh Chapter explains the final Brahma-Upadesha given by the Guru to the Sishya. The highest transcendental assertions are made. The whole universe and the body are denied and the One Brahman is affirmed. The disciple is made to grasp fully the nature of the Non-Dual Existence of Brahman.

The Twelfth Chapter deals with the concluding sentences of the Preceptor and the disciple. The disciple gives expressions to his ecstatic condition of Self-Knowledge and speaks of his unique spiritual experience.

This Moksha Gita is both a philosophical exposition as well as a practical teaching. It is a double-edged sword to slay the enemy of nescience. The Secondless Brahman alone exists. The universe and the individual do not exist in the three periods of time. Everything is One Mass of Infinite Consciousness. This is the essence of the Moksha Gita.

 Glossary of Sanskrit Terms

      Moksha Gita.pdf

Peace love harmony