Enlightenment or Liberation (Moksha)
|Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri:|
K.G.S.: But is not viveka the means to secure Atmanishta?
Maharshi: Viveka is the discrimination of the (eternal) Real from the unreal. It helps to secure vairagya, dispassion or freedom from emotions such as joy, sorrow, etc., which disturb the placidity and equanimity of one's mind, and thus viveka proves to be a useful and a necessary preparation for attaining Atmanishta, i.e. firmness in Jnana (Enlightenment.) The knowledge of Satya or the Real secured by viveka (discrimination) is not the same as (but only the basis of) Jnana (Enlightenment) or Atmanishta (i.e., firm self-realization). The former is still in the stage of chitta-vritti, an intellectual process, while the latter is not that at all, but is intuition, something in which the chitta (mind or intellect) has ceased its activities. The former state still retains the duality of reality and unreality, and the contrast between the two. In the latter, i.e., the state of the Jnani, all contrasts and duality are swallowed up and there is only ineffable Realization. The intellectual viveki knows and reasons mediately (paroksha). The intuitive Jnani feels the truth, the Real, directly and immediately (aparoksha). The Jnani is not like the intellectual viveki. He regards the Jagat (Visvam), i.e., the phenomenal universe, as unreal, or as in no way different from himself, the Self.
K.G.S.: Is sastra charcha, the study and exploration of scripture, sufficient to attain Moksha, or should one seek the aid of a Guru and practice meditation (i.e., upasana) to attain Jnana (realization)?
Maharshi: Mere scriptural learning is insufficient. Certainly, practice of meditation and concentration is needed for realization. But what does that term upasana (practice) imply? It means that the aspirant is still conscious of his separate individuality and fancies himself to be making efforts to attain something — some Jnana not yet known to be himself. He ultimately arrives at the truth, the realization that all the time (including the time of practice) he has been (as he is and will be) himself the Self — beyond the concept of time. Though it is that state of realization (Sahaja Sthithi), or natural state of the Self that has been throughout all the time of practice (as nothing else exist), he calls it "upasana" or practice of meditation, because his realization is not yet perfected; he, the thinker, or the subject, fancies he is going through a process of thinking or meditation upon an object, viz. Ishwara. When perfected, his state is termed Jnana, or Sahaja Sthithi, or the Atman, or Swabhava Samsthithi, or Sthitha Prajnatvam. It may be described further as the state when vishaya jnanam, i.e., knowledge of the objective world, the non-self, has been entirely effaced and nothing remains but a blaze of consciousness of the Self as the Self (Swabhava Samsthithi).
K.G.S.: Does the aspirant after he attains firm Enlightenment (Sthitha Prajnatvam) retain a sense of his personality (self-consciousness)? Is he aware then that he has attained perfectly firm Enlightenment; and does he perceive that (1) from the entire effacement of his knowledge of the objective world or non-self, or (2) from perfection of his Enlightenment (Prajnatvam)?
Maharshi: Yes, the perfectly Enlightened, the fully attained Jnani, the Self-realized, certainly realizes himself as such. There can be no doubt there. Doubt or uncertainty is for the mind or intellect, and has no place in that perfection of Realization or Enlightenment. Perfection is seen (1) by a negative sign, the cessation of all vasanas, i.e., tendencies of the mind to act in consequence of previous "attached karma" (action), and (2) by the positive sign of his incessant consciousness (Chidatmakaratha), which is also termed "Mownam". As for perfection of Jnana, the distinction is often drawn between Jnana and Vijnana, the latter referring to realization. The Jnani is said to be not merely Jnana-Swarupa, i.e., of the nature of Enlightenment, but also Swatmarama or Anandamurti, which means that he is experiencing and enjoying the Self as Jnanam or Anandam. But this is a dualistic metaphor. In point of fact, that which is (Sat), is but one. There is no separate thing as its enjoyment, or an object, or a quality for it to enjoy. But thought has to be expressed to others "in matter-moulded forms of speech" and so we proceed into finer and finer analysis by means of similes, metaphors, etc., even as the Reality defies expression. On account of the use of such figurative language, however, the question is raised whether the Jnani experiences or realizes his Jnanam. What remains after all elimination is best described as Sat, that which is, Chit, consciousness or illumination, and Anandam or happiness — all three terms referring to one and the same substance. That is really not existence, nor illumination, nor happiness, nor substance, nor personality as we conceive them now. But these are the expressions or ideas which suggest to us that Supreme State, that goal, "Sa kashtha sa para gatih," That is Supreme, That the highest goal. (Katha Upanishad I-3-11)
K.G.S.: Well, the Jnani knows himself as such, i.e., as the fully attained. But can others know him to be such, and if so, by what indication?
Maharshi: Yes, it can be known. The mark by which perfect realization is indicated is Sarvabhuta Samattva, which means equality or sameness toward all. When one finds the same Atma or Self in all the various moveable and immoveable objects and his behaviour indicates the sense of equality, that constitutes the hallmark of the Jnani, Gunatita, Brahman, etc., as he is variously called. Equality means here, in practice, the accordance of treatment appropriate to each, without undue preference or undue avoidance as described in the Bhagavad Gita:
32. He who, through the likeness of the Self, O Arjuna, sees equality everywhere, be it pleasure or pain, he is regarded as the highest yogi. (Chap. VI)
24 & 25. Who is the same in pleasure and pain, who dwells in the Self, to whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike, who is the same to the dear and the unfriendly, who is firm, and to whom censure and praise are as one, who is the same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings — he is said to have transcended the qualities. (Chap. XIV)
K.G.S.: Does the practice of yoga culminating in samadhi (absorbed concentration or ecstasy) serve only the purpose of Self-realization or can it be utilized to secure also other and lower objects, such as the attainment of temporal ends?
Maharshi: Why, samadhi (i.e., the Yogi's perfect concentration) serves both purposes — Self-realization and the securing of lower objects.
K.G.S.: If one starts his practice of yoga and develops samadhi (absorbed concentration) to secure lesser objects, and before attaining these attains the greater object of Self-realization, what happens about the lesser objects? Does he attain these also or does he not?
Maharshi: He does. The karma (or effort) to reach lesser objects does not cease to produce its result and he may succeed in achieving these even after securing Self-realization. Of course, on account of such realization, there will be no exultation or joy at the lesser successes. For that which feels emotion, the mind, has ceased to exist in him as such, and has been transmuted into Prajna, Cosmic Consciousness.