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Saturday, 27 April 2013

11. Avasthā Trayam and Kosha Panchakam

Avasthā Trayam refers to the three stages experience and Kosha Panchakam refers to the five layers of our personality.

11.1. Avasthā Trayam

We will first start with Avasthā Trayam – the three states of experience. We sill see three factors relating to each state of experience. By studying the three factors, we will understand what these three states of experience are

  • First we will study the condition of the mind in each state of experience because the mind plays a prominent role in each state.
  • Secondly we will study the nature of the experience. In each state of experience, what is the nature of experience.
  • Finally we will study the dominant medium which is involved or connected with each state of experience.

11.1.1. Jāgrat Avasthā

This refers to waking state of experience. Avasthā means a state of experience and Jāgrat Avasthā means waking state of experience. Now in this state of experience, first we will find the condition of the mind or to be precise, the internal organs – Antah Karanam. Mind

In the waking state, the mind or the inner organ is fully functional or operative which means that all faculties are functioning – the emotional, rational, thinking, ego, memory faculties are all functioning and open. This is also called Pūrna Vikāsaha – fully bloomed is the internal organ. And since all these four faculties are functional, all these four experience will also be there – emotions, thinking, discrimination, gathering fresh knowledge, gathering fresh experience. Nature

The second factor to study is the nature of experience in Jāgrat Avasthā. In Jāgrat Avasthā we experience a world which is external to ourselves, our body-mind complex. It is a Bāhya Prapancha.

And since it is an external universe, it is a concrete tangible world of experience. We can very clearly tangibly feel it because it is made out of tangible matter. Therefore it is external, it is concrete and is available for all other people also.

It is a common public world and hence is an objective experience. We will know the significance of each adjective when we compare with dream experience. Here objective means – commonly available for all people.

This experience is sense-organ based Indriya Janyam. In Jāgrat Avasthā, I experience the world with the help of the sense organs in the from of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha and the consequent pleasure and pain and other responses.

So the four adjectives to be remembered are

  • External,
  • Concrete,
  • Objective and
  • Sense Organ
… based experience. This experience involves both ways of transaction. The transaction involves receiving experience - Bhoga Pradhāna - and it involves responding to the world. I function both as a Bhokta as well as a Kartā – receiver and contributor.

In Shāstram it is called Bhoga Bhūmi and Karma Bhūmi. Medium

The dominant medium involved in the waking state. To experience the waking state, we are making use of the sense organs. This is a sense organ based experience. And, to use the sense organs, we require a physical body because every sense organ has a physical location.

In the Shāstram, the physical location is called Golakam. Every Indriyam requires a Golakam, the physical part. The eye sense organ requires the eye Golakam the physical part, the ear sense organ require the ear Golakam. The sense organ belong to Sūkshma Sharīram and the Golakam belongs to the Sthūla Sharīram. Thus the sense organs which belong to Sūkshma Sharīram require the physical body which has got the physical location or Golakam.

Sense organs require Golakam. Golakams require the physical body. Therefore sense organs require the physical body for functioning. Since the Jāgrat Avasthā is sense organ base, Jāgrat Avasthā is heavily physical body oriented. Therefore we say, Jāgrat Avasthā is Sthūla Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā. Because I have to see an external world or seeing an external world I have to operate sense organs, to operate sense organs I require the body. Therefore without the physical body, the physical universe cannot be experienced.

11.1.2. Svapna Avasthā

This is also called the Dream state of experience. In Sanskrit it is called Svapna Avasthā. And with regard to Svapna Avasthā also, we have to see the three factors. Mind

During Svapna or dream, our memory faculty alone is functioning. Whatever experience we have gathering in the Jāgrat Avasthā, they all get registered in the memory slab of the mind. In Jāgrat Avasthā, the mind is similar to a recorder of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha. Not only can it register the physical world, but also the emotions like sorrow and happiness are registered. That part of the mind is called Chittam faculty. And whatever is registered is thrown out again and functions as a Video cassette player. Therefore whatever emotions we experience in dream, are not freshly received emotions but are only replaying the recorded emotions. Therefore everything that happens in dream is only from memory. Therefore the other faculties are not functioning
  • The Manaha or emotional faculty for gathering fresh emotions
  • rational Faculty does not function
  • Ego faculty does not function. Even the Ego experienced in the dream is the memory ego and the fresh ego is not functioning.

Therefore the condition of the mind during dream is partially functioning mind. Of the four faculties, only one faculty is functioning and this being Chittam or memory. Hence Svapna Avasthā is also called Ardha Vikāsaha . Nature

In dream, we experience a world which is internal. Because this world is generated out of my own personal private memory and therefore it is not something existing outside, there is no connection between the dream objects that I have and the surrounding that I have. I may sleeping in a place but my dreams may be connected to another place. Therefore it is an internal world.

Secondly since it is an internal world, made out of our own memory, we called it Vasana Māyā Prapanchaha. It is made out of our memories or thoughts. Hence they are not concrete or are abstract. The external world is Bhautika Prapanchaha and therefore concrete. Internal world is Vāsanā Maya Prapanchaha and therefore abstract. Thoughts are not tangible and therefore thought generated object is also not tangible.

In dreams the world available for me is not accessible to other people. This is a subjective universe.

It is not perceived with sense organs – not a sense organ based universe. This is a memory based universe or Vāsanā Janyam. Hence whatever we experience in dream is based on our experience in waking only. Whatever we can see through the VCP is only what has been recorded by a VCR. If you collect experiences in Jāgrat Avasthā, in Svapna Avasthā, you recollect the experiences. You cannot recollect when you have not collected in first place. Therefore every Svapna experience is based on Jāgrat Avasthā.

Sometimes we may get a doubt – sometimes I experience a rare dream that I have not experienced in the waking state. If you say so, there are only a few possibilities

  • One is you create a new dream by combining various things experienced in the Jāgrat Avasthā. New objects cannot be created. This is because objects are memory based or thought based, and thought being highly fluid the objects are highly fluid in Svapna – Avyaktam Padārthaha . Therefore since they all get jumbled up, we get mixed dreams.

  • Sometimes whatever we imagine in the Jāgrat Avasthā, they get registered and they can be thrown out. Whatever is fantasised or imagined or read in books or seen in movies leading to imagination, they all can come in Svapna
  • Sometimes even if I have not experienced in this Janma , according to our Shāstram, the experience of the previous Janma also can come. Because between the previous Janma and this Janma , the physical body alone is difference – the subtle bodies continues. Therefore sometimes it is said, that children without any reason suddenly laugh or suddenly cry. And generally they attribute to previous Janma memories. The present Janma memories have not yet started strongly forming – hence Pūrva Janma Smaranam comes they say. This cannot be verified.

  • Suppose a person says that he gets experiences which are connected to the future – premonition or ESP type of experience relating to the future event. You cannot say it is a past experience. Therefore it cannot be Vāsanā based, it cannot be memory based which require past experiences. We say, by definition they are not Svapnāhā – Svapnāhā are purely memory based. If a person sees future events, it is only a unique faculty of the mind which we have not developed because coming events cast their shadows before. Any event is already there in potential form. When it is potential, it is too subtle for us to understand. But if the mind is sensitised enough, as we have in the Purānās Trikāa Jnānis, the mind has got this unique faculty. The Yogic people deliberately develop this faculty. But in our case as a freak experience sometimes it happens. Medium

Since Svapna is memory based and memories belong to the Chittam and Chittam belongs to Sūkshma Sharīram, Svapna is predominantly Sūkshma Sharīram based. Hence it is called Sūkshma Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā Svapna Avasthā.

11.1.3. Sushupti Avasthā

The third state is the state of sleep. Sometimes this is translated as Deep Sleep to indicate a dreamless sleep. In Sanskrit we call this Sushupti Avasthā. Mind

Unlike Jāgrat Avasthā and Svapna where the mind was Pūrna Vikāsaha and Ardha Vikāsaha respectively, in Sushupti Avasthā the mind is fully non-functional and almost zero functional. That is why emotional faculty is not there and in sleep, emotions are not there, since rational faculty is not there, no knowledge and since memory faculty is not functioning no memory, and since Ego faculty is not functioning, there is not even the sense of I am sleeping. All these are dormant. Nature

Since sense organs are not functioning, the external world is not there.
Since memories are not functioning, internal world is not there.
Therefore there is neither external concrete objective world nor internal abstract subjective world. Therefore it is an experience of blankness. We call it as Ajnāna Anubhavaha – state of total ignorance or blackout or blankness. This is the nature of the experience. Medium

The dominant medium is to be seen now.

Sthūla Sharīram is not dominantly functioning because sense organs are not functioning.

Sūkshma Sharīram is not dominantly functioning because memories are not thrown out.

Therefore what is dominant is the Kārana Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā. A state in which Kārana Sharīram is dominant when Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram are as though resolved because they are not functional. Whatever is not functioning is as good as resolved.

During Kārana Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā, all our internal and external experiences remain in dormant condition and from that alone they will come back the next day.

Hence to summarise, when I am associated with Jāgrat Avasthā, I am called the Waker. When associated with Svapna Avasthā, I am called Dreamer. When associated with Sushupti Avasthā I am called a sleeper. In Shāstram, three words are used.

  • Vishva is the name of the waker. Vishva means fully as the mind is fully functional.
  • Taijasaha – Internally illumined person or the dreamer
  • Prājnaha - sleeper or blissfully ignorant person. Prakarshena Ajnaha Prājnaha

The above was Avasthā Trayam

11.2. Kosha Panchakam

Now we will see the five fold personality layers. This Kosha Panchakam is the division of Sharīra Trayam itself in another manner. The three bodies which we discussed in Sharīra Trayam, the same three bodies are divided into give layers. The personality is the same but the same but the angle of division varies. When you divide into three bodies, it is based on the matter.

  • Sthūla Sharīram is made out of raw matter
  • Sūkshma Sharīram is made out of subtle matter
  • Kārana Sharīram is made out of causal matter. Matter based division is Sharīra Trayam.
This texture based classification is Sharīra Trayam.

But the very same three are divided into five based on functions. Functional division is Kosha Panchakam. In this, Sthūla Sharīram is seen as one particular Kosha called Annamaya Kosha. The physical body is termed Annamaya Kosha. Kārana Sharīram is called Ānandamaya Kosha and also has got sub-divisions.

The middle Sharīram, the Sūkshma Sharīram alone is subdivided into three Koshas known as

  • Prānamaya Kosha
  • Manomaya Kosha
  • Vijnānamaya Kosha

11.2.1. Annamaya Kosha

Annamaya Kosha or the Sthūla Sharīram can be termed as our anatomical system. The anatomy of the body is called Annamaya Kosha. The structure of the body, the organs of the physical part, the limbs of the body is called Annamaya Kosha. It is so called because it is born out of and nourished out of the essence of Annam or food.

11.2.2. Prānamaya Kosha

This corresponds to the physiological system. This means the functions of the anatomy. Anatomy refers to the various parts of the parts. Physiology deals with the functions. So Prānamaya Kosha refers to the functions. That is why at the time of death, the Sūkshma Sharīram is supposed to leave the body which means that three Koshas leave the body. These are

  • Prānamaya Kosha
  • Manomaya Kosha
  • Vijnānamaya Kosha

...and these leave the body. Since the Prānamaya Kosha has left the body, the physiological systems are not there while the anatomy is there. Hence organ transplantation is possible. Anatomy belongs to Sthūla Sharīram and it remains even after death. Physical belongs to Sūkshma Sharīram or Prānamaya Kosha and therefore it disappears after death. This Prānamaya Kosha is otherwise called Kriyā Shaktihi and consists of ten organs ot Sūkshma Sharīram or Prānamaya Kosha.

Those ten organs are
  • Pancha Prānāhā : giving energy
  • Pancha Karma Indriyāni : giving the tools.

Hence Energy + Tools = Kriyā Shaktihi.

11.2.3. Manomaya Kosha

Can be termed as the psychological function. All the emotions, doubts is Manomaya Kosha or psychological personality or Iccha Shakti. Kriyā Shakti is preceded by Iccha Shakti because desire alone prompts a person to action. Therefore Manomaya Kosha pushes Prānamaya Kosha into action. This psychological personality otherwise called Manomaya Kosha consists of six organs.

The six organs include
  • Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni or Five sense organs of knowledge
  • Mind or Manaha which includes Chittam and Ahankāra

11.2.4. Vijnānamaya Kosha

It is the cognitive personality or the knowing personality. While Manomaya Kosha corresponds to emotions or Iccha Shakti, this Vijnānamaya Kosha refer to knowing personality or Jnāna Shaktihi – cognitive personality or judging personality or weighing personality.

In other words, Vijnānamaya Kosha knows, Manomaya Kosha desires and Prānamaya Kosha acts. Jānāti, Icchati Yatate.

E.g. during the music season, we read the newspaper to see which all Sabhās have with Kutcheris. Now Vijnānamaya Kosha is functioning. Then you have to make your choice and decide on something. This is Manomaya Kosha. Prānamaya Kosha will then act in taking you to the Sabhā.

This also consist of six organs which are
  • Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni or Five sense organs of knowledge
  • Buddhihi or intellect or rational faculty. This includes Chittam and Ahankāra
Incidentally, the emotional faculty, rational faculty etc are not different organs. The internal organ is only one. It gets different names based on the relevant function.
  • When it is the thinking function, it is called Buddhihi
  • When it is the emotional function, it is called Manaha
  • When it is memory function it is called Chittam

Hence Mano Buddhihi Chitta Ahankāra are not for separate organs but one organ named in four ways. This is the functional division of Sūkshma Sharīram.

11.2.5 Ānandamaya Kosha

This corresponds to Kārana Sharīram. This can be equated to our unconscious personality or “The Unconscious” in psychology. So whatever emotions are dominant, our behaviour, our personality are all dormant in us and expresses at appropriate time. This is called unconscious or dormant personality.

Sometimes if we face a traumatic experience and the ego is not ready to face it then Bhagavān should make some arrangements like fusing – when the system is not ready to take the full current. Similarly in extraordinary physical pain also, when the body cannot take the pain, you get a situation when you don’t feel any pain. This is physiological fusing. Similarly we require a psychological fuse also at certain times when we are not ready to stand certain experience.

When we cannot stand, we have to throw out by either expressing it verbally or physically – either by crying or shouting. If due to circumstances one is not able to cry or shout or talk, then all those emotions which could not be handled by the ego, they are all put inside in the unconscious. You will find that at any time it is conducive that comes out. That is why you cry for no reason or get angry for no reason. All bolted up emotions are getting released at that time. All such emotions and all such behaviour belong to unconscious.

The play of unconscious can be easily understood. When the response and the external situations don’t tally e.g. for a small mistake a person flares. Small experiences are only a trigger for the inner one to manifest and that is called unconscious and hence called Kārana Sharīram. It is Ānandamaya Kosha because being in the unconscious, it is unknown. And being unknown you are blissfully ignorant.

In Kārana Sharīram or in Sushupti also, you do not feel any pain.

These are the five layers of the personality which are called Kosha Panchakam.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

10. Sharīra Trayam

We are seeing the technical terms used in all our scriptures which have been comprehensively presented in the small book called Tattvabodha. Not only does it give the essence of Vedāntik teaching, but also systematically introduces the technical terms. In Sanskrit a technical term is called a Paribhāshā Shabdaha. We are seeing the Paribhāshā Shabda of the scriptures. Paribhāshā mean technical and Shabdaha means term.

In the last session, we introduced the technical term – Sādhana Chatushtayam. Sādhanā means qualification and Chatushtayam means fourfold. We also saw what those four qualification are and how they have to be acquired. These qualifications are meant for gaining self knowledge which will lead to a person’s liberation or freedom.

Today we propose to introduce the next technical word used in the Shāstrams and that is the Sharīra Trayam. Sharīra Trayam means the threefold bodies of an individual. Sharīram means body and Trayam means threefold. Sharīram is otherwise known as Dehaha. Therefore we can also say Deha Trayam. We will take each one of the three bodies and analyse.

The three bodies enumerated are

  • Sthūla Sharīram or Sthūla Dehaha : In English this is called Gross Body
  • Sūkshma Sharīram or Sūkshma Dehaha : In English this is called subtle body
  • Kārana Sharīram or Kārana Dehaha : In English this is called Causal Body.

While analysing the above we are going to take four factors associated with each one of the above. The four factors are

  • Material out of which each body is made – the raw material which we always see
  • Components of each body – the parts that make up the particular body
  • Function of each body
  • Nature of each body

10.1. Sthūla Sharīram
Let us first take up the Sthūla Sharīram first and we will go in the order of four factors – the material, the components, the function and the nature

10.1.1. Material

What is the material out of which the Sthūla Sharīram is made ? The Shāstrams point out and we also know that the gross body is made out of gross matter which is in the form of the five gross elements. In the scriptures, matter is divided into five elements basically

  • Ākāshaha or space
  • Vāyu or air
  • Agni or fire
  • Jalam or waters
  • Pruthvi or the earth
So the gross body or Sthūla Sharīram is made up of gross matter in the form of gross five elements. In Sanskrit the gross five elements are called Sthūla Pancha Bhūtāni. And this is easily proved by our experience because the body has earth it has solid stuff, body has got plenty of water which alone give shape, Body has Agni in the form of temperature 98.7, Body has got Vāyu in the form of life breath and body has got Ākāshaha or space occupied by the body.

So gross matter is the material out of which the body is made. And since it is made out of Sthūla Bhūtāni (elements), the body is called Bhautika Sharīram. Bhautikam means born out of Bhūtāni, Bhūtāni means gross elements. This is the material side.

10.1.2. Components

The next factor with regards to the body is the components of the body. Of course the body has got innumerable components. If we get into the details it will become the science of anatomy. For the sake of convenience, the Shāstrams divide the body into four components
  • Central Body – Ātmā
  • Head – Shira
  • Hands – Paksha
  • Legs – Puccha

This Shira Paksha Puccha Ātmā is according to the Tattiriya Upanishad. These are the four classifications. These are the four components of the Sthūla Sharīram.

10.1.3. Function

The scriptures point out that the body is only a temporary residence used by the individual. The gross body is only a house for a lease. And what is the payment ? The payment is in the form of Karma – Punya Pāpa Karma. And as long as the payment is available, the tenement is available and afterwards the notice will come you will have to vacate.

Therefore the body is a temporary residence. In Sanskrit, Tattvabodha uses the word Āyatanam. And residing in the body alone, we do all the transactions with the world. In fact before starting the transactions, we fix up a residence. And remaining there alone, we can operate.

10.1.4. Nature

Firstly, the body is of a changing nature. It is subject to modification. In Sanskrit it is called Savikāram. Vikāraha means modification and Savikāraha means with modification. Firstly, the change in the gross body is classified into six Shat Vikarāhā Shat Vikarāhā

  • Asti - The first condition is the potential existence in the womb of the mother. A baby is there inside
  • Jāyate - This the next change – or birth
  • Vardhate - once the body is born, it starts growing
  • Viparinamate - Metamorphosing i.e. growth has stopped but modification or changes continue. After the body has become an adult body, remaining an adult, it undergoes various modifications. To visualise as a graph, the graph initially goes upwards and thereafter it is the same.
  • Apakshīyate - Decay or ageing, growing old
  • Nāshaha or Maranam - Death of the body after which we cannot keep the body for long time.
All the above put together are called Shat Vikāravat Sharīram. Visibility

The second nature of the body is that it is visible for both oneself and others. My gross body I can also tangibly experience and see and my gross body can also be experienced, touched and seen. Hence the gross body is evident to oneself and others. In fact that is the reason it is called gross. Objectively available for all the people. Longevity

The third nature of the body is that it has got a duration of life. One cannot extend beyond

In fact the very work Sharīram means Shīryamāna Svabhāvam - that which is subject to constant change and decay. Even the word Deha is derived from the root Dih – Upachaya Apachaye Dih Dhātuhu – that which is subject to expansion and contraction.

10.2. Sūkshma Sharīram

The second body is called Sūkshma Sharīram or subtle body. This also has four factors which we have to see.

10.2.1. Material

Scriptures point out that the subtle body is born out of subtle matter which consists of subtle five elements. Just as there are gross five elements, there are subtle five elements called Sūkshma Bhūtāni
  • Subtle Space
  • Subtle Air
  • Subtle Fire
  • Subtle Water
  • Subtle Earth
In general made out of subtle matter and subtle body is also called Bhoutika Sharīram. It is material body and material in nature.

10.2.2. Components

Scriptures point out that the subtle body has got nineteen components. Each one being one instrument of transaction. Because gross body is only the office, but we require instruments for transaction and we have nineteen instruments Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni

These are the five sense organs of knowledge – because all transactions presuppose knowledge.
  • Eyes – meant to gather the knowledge of colours and forms. Rūpa Grāhaka Chakshur Indriyam
  • Ears – meant to gather the knowledge of the sounds. Shabda Grāhaka Shtrotra Indriyam
  • Nose – meant to gather the knowledge of all forms of smell. Gandha Grāhaka Ghrāna Indriyam
  • Tongue – meant to gather the knowledge of all forms of taste. Rasa Grāhaka Rasana Indriyam
  • Skin – meant to gather the knowledge of all form varieties of touch. Sparsha Grāhaka Tuvag Indriyam

These are the five Jnāna Indriyāni. You should be careful that when we refer to the Jnāna Indriyāni or sense organs, we don’t refer to the physical part which belongs to the physical body. But we actually refer to the subtle power of perception. The eyeball belongs to the physical body but the eye organ belongs to the subtle body. Similarly the ear lobe belongs to the gross body but the power of hearing – the Shravana Shakti – belongs to the subtle body. Pancha Karma Indriyāni

These are five sense organs of action. So one is meant for input and receiving the stimuli (the previous one) and one is meant for output or expressing our responses (this one).
  • Organ of speech – Vāg Indriyam. Verbal response
  • Organ of Hands – Pāni by which we do varieties of action
  • Organ of Legs – Pāda by which we move from place to place. Organs of locomotion. There is a beautiful coordination between Jnāna Indriyam and Karma Indriyam. The ears want to listen to the class then immediately the legs bring the body
  • Organ of evacuation - Pāyuhu – wastage removing organs.
  • Organ of Procreation - Upastham – organ of reproduction because of which alone the species continues as a lineage Pancha Prānāhā

The fivefold Prānāhā. The energy generating system or fuel converting system. If you have to keep on acting, we have to generate energy constantly. We have Prāna Shakti behind the organs of action. Prāna Shakti lends energy. There are fivefold Prānas well known as
  • Respiratory system - Prāna – inhalation and exhalation which alone has to absorb the Prāna Shakti or oxygen. Then the Carbon dioxide has to go out, oxygen has to go to lungs, blood has to absorb and it has to be circulated
  • Evacuating system – Apāna – energy behind functioning of the evacuation system or waste removal. Any form of removal of waste can be called Apāna
  • Circulatory system - Vyāna – oxygen has to be circulated, the nutrition that is generated in the stomach has to be carried to all parts of the body.
  • Digestive system - Samānaha – this converts various eaten food into various nutrions – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, salts, minerals etc.
  • Udānaha – means the reversing system which operates at the time of death generally when all the processes are reversed because it is time for dying. Digestive system weakens, respiratory system weakens. Also this reversal functions during emergency – normally the food has to go down, but if some toxic substance is there, then the normal process of going inside is reversed and things are thrown out.

They are the life giving ones and function behind the Karma Indriyāni giving energy to the Karma Indriyāni. That is why on a fasting, no Karma Indriyam will function properly because you are weakened and hence you cannot walk properly, talk properly etc.

That is why we chant the prayer

Om Prānāya SvāhāOm Apānāya SvāhāOm Vyānāya SvāhāOm Udānāya SvāhāOm Samānāya Svāhā Chatvāri Antaha Karanāni

These are four fold internal organs.

  • Manaha or Mind : stands for all forms of emotional faculty. Roughly can be translated as the emotional faculty and also the doubting faculty. Sankalpa Vikalpātmakam Manaha – should I do this or should I do that? To be or not to be
  • Buddhihi or intellect : Rational faculty or judging faculty or the discriminating faculty or the knowing faculty or the weighing faculty or Reasoning Faculty
  • Chittam or Memory : to receive or to record our experiences in our mind. This records all the five of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha. According to Shāstram, we can remember not only the past of this life but the past of our past lives as well. Without knowing the details sometimes, we feel that something is already known. A musical prodigy feels that he knows the music already, a spiritual prodigy feels, he knows the scriptures before.
  • Ahankāra or Ego : the faculty of self reference. Reflexive faculty which is well developed in a human beings. Animals are not that self conscious regarding their status or pedigree. Aham Karanam Ahankāra – that which refers to myself is called Ahankāra

These four together are called Chatvāri Antaha Karanāni.

The above are the components of Sūkshma Sharīram.

10.2.3. Function

The function is transactions. All forms of transactions are done by the Sūkshma Sharīram with the help of these 19 instruments. Some instruments are meant for input and some for output and some for both (e.g. mouth)

10.2.4. Nature

There are two components under the Sūkshma Sharīram’s nature Change

This is also subject to change. So they improve and sometimes weaken. Eyes become poor, memory fails, intellect is dull. So change is one feature and the next feature Longevity
This Sūkshma Sharīram has got a longer life compared to the gross body. Gross body lives only for a maximum of about 100 years, but the subtle body continues in the next janma as well. Bodies and bodies are changed whereas the mind continues. That is why we are able to remember or get the benefit of the past Janma because the body has changed but the Sūkshma Sharīram continues. And it goes upto Pralayam and only during Pralayam is the Sūkshma Sharīram dismantled.

10.2.5. Visibility

Sūkshma Sharīram is evident and recognisable only for oneself and it is not available for others. What is my mind, I know, what are my feelings I know, but you are not able to see my mind or know my feelings or my memory. Because it is available only for me and not for others, it is called subtle body – not concrete like gross body.

10.3. Kārana Sharīram
Kārana Sharīram is also called the causal body.

10.3.1. Material

The material out of which this is made is called causal matter. The subtlest form of matter. Technically it is called Avidya. Normally Avidya means ignorance, but in this context it is different. Sometimes the word Prakrutihi or Māyā is also used.

10.3.2. Components

The components or Kārana Sharīram are nothing but Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram when they are in subtle or potential form before they were created. Hence Kārana Sharīram consists of Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram in seed form before they were created hence before the origination of the world and before the origination of creation or Pralaya Kāle. Sthūla Sharīram was not there them Sūkshma Sharīram was not there then as it is available now. But Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram existed in seed form.

This is like a tree a few years ago was not available in this form. 20 years ago this tree was there but in potential form or unmanifest form. This is because tree cannot come without a seed because of law of conservation of matter – matter can never be produced or destroyed. Matter always exists. That being so, before the creation also, Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram must have existed in potential form. That potential form of the two bodies is called Kārana Sharīram.

And Kārana Sharīram evolves into Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram just as seed evolves into tree.

10.3.3. Functions

It serves are the receptacle or ground or source from which these two bodies arise. And the two bodies will ultimately resolve into Kārana Sharīram. Things come into manifestation from unmanifest condition. Then the manifest, when they are destroyed, they will not disappear as matter can never be destroyed. When destroyed, they actually go back to unmanifest form. In scientific language, matter destroyed becomes energy. Energy is unmanifest matter. Energy again condenses into matter. Stars explode to become energy, energy condenses to form stars. In the universe, stars are constantly formed and destroyed. Stars are converted into energy and energy is reconverted into matter by the law of inter-convertibility of matter and energy. In Shāstram it is called inter-convertibility of manifest and un-manifest matter.

From causal matter, subtle and gross matter arise. From subtle and gross matter, again causal matter conversion takes place. Hence the function is that the causal matter or Kārana Sharīram serves as the store house for receiving the two Sharīram and again in the next Srushti throwing the two Sharīrams.

Hence during Srushti out of Kārana Sharīram will arise Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram. During Pralayam out of Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram will go back to Kārana Sharīram.

10.3.4. Nature

Kārana Sharīram has got the longest life compared to even Sūkshma Sharīram. Sūkshma Sharīram gets dismantled during Pralayam at least. Pralayam refers to the resolution of the whole universe. Whereas Kārana Sharīram will not be destroyed even during Pralayam. It is supposed to go away only at the time of liberation. It has the longest life.

Sthūla Sharīram is available for all the people. Sūkshma Sharīram is evident for me only and not for others. Kārana Sharīram is not evident to even me and others. It is un-evident and un-decipherable for anyone. Hence this is called Nirvikalpa Svarūpam – indistinguishable.

Every individual has got Sthūla Sharīram, Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram.

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09. Sādhanā Chatushtaya

If we look at the book of Tattvabodha, we will see that none of the above topics are covered in Tattvabodha. The text book Tattvabodha assumes that a student of Tattvabodha knows all the topics that we have already discussed. They are all taken for granted in this particular book. In fact they are implicitly contained in Tattvabodha. Now that we are familiar with these topics, we can enter into Tattvabodha summary proper. Tattvabodha is a book which primarily focuses on Jnāna Yoga spiritual discipline or self enquiry. Unlike the Bhagavad Gītā which is a complete and comprehensive text book because it deals with Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Jnāna Yoga, Tattvabodha deals only with Jnāna Yoga.

This book Tattvabodha is generally studied because it presents the method of self enquiry in a systematic and comprehensive form. Self enquiry is presented in a systematic and comprehensive form and this Self enquiry leads to self knowledge or self discovery. This is the subject matter of Tattvabodha.

Not only does Tattvabodha deal with Self enquiry like other spiritual text books, by the way of enquiry, it introduces all the technical terms required for conducting Self enquiry. Any particular science has its own technical terms – called Paribhāshā Shabdāhā in Sanskrit. And you cannot translate certain words. Technical words are required in any science including Jnāna Yoga. In Tattvabodha all these technical terms are very systematically and comprehensively presented and each one is beautifully defined as well. This Tattvabodha serves two purposes

  • It give you the method of enquiry leading to knowledge
  • It introduces technical terms or terminologies

This book Tattvabodha is written by Shankarāchārya but not ascertained if it is Ādi Shankarāchārya. And this is a small book only in prose form. Some of the scriptural text are in metrical form (poetry) which can be chanted. but Tattvabodha is in prose form except for the beginning and end. It begins and ends with prayers.

9.1. Qualification for Self enquiry

With this background information, we will enter into the first topic of Tattvabodha. The textbook begins with the qualifications required for Self enquiry. What are the preparatory qualification or preparatory disciplines required for Self enquiry. This is also to be understood very well, because the study of any science presupposes the appropriate qualification. Without appropriate qualification, one cannot enter into any field. This is true of Self enquiry also. This qualification is presented as Sādhana Chatushtaya Sampattihi. Sādhanām means qualification and Chatushtayam means preparation. Hence Sādhana Chatushtaya means fourfold qualification or fourfold preparatory discipline.

The four qualifications mentioned are
  • Vivekaha - discrimination
  • Vairāgyam - dispassion
  • Mumukshutvam - desire
  • Shatka Sampattihi - discipline

9.1.1. Vivekaha

This can be translated into English as discrimination. Here we use the word discrimination not in a negative sense as in racial discrimination, gender discrimination etc. In the negative sense it is used to refer to partiality or favouritism. But in the scriptural jargon the word discrimination is not in the negative sense, here it means the sense of judgement, right judgement, right understanding, discernment.

Now the question is discrimination or separation between what and what ? This is because discrimination always involves two parties. Tattvabodha defines this as

Nitya Anitya Vastu Vivekaha – understanding of what is Anityam or impermanent and Nityam or permanent. Therefore differentiation of the impermanent and permanent, differentiation of the ephemeral and eternal is discrimination.

How are we to understand this ? If you look at the universe, we discover one fact that the whole world or creation exists within time - space frame. Therefore no object in the creation is beyond time and space and everything is subject to onslaught of time.

Kālaha Krīdati Gacchati Āyuhu
Onslaught of time, or every object is attacked my time means every object is subject to birth and consequently subject to death also. And since I do not experience anything beyond time, I can say the whole creation is impermanent or ephemeral or perishable in nature. Thus perish-ability or fragility is the intrinsic nature of the entire creation consisting of things, beings, situations and relationships. There is no permanent object, permanent person or permanent situation and above all there is no permanent relationship.

And since the whole world is perishable, it can never give lasting security or support. Nothing in the world or entire world can give me lasting security or support. So if I am going to expect lasting security or support from the world, my expectations are not going to be fulfilled. Disappointment will be the result. Therefore right judgement is – never depend on the world, never rely upon the world for lasting security and support. The world cannot give it – Anitya Vastu cannot give it.

That does not mean that the world is useless or that the world should be rejected. The world can give a lot of things and certainly you can use the world for a lot of things. World can give you entertainment, education, opportunity for service, opportunity for growth. But when it comes to lasting security and support, leaning on the world is risky. That is why we have the example of the cardboard chair. We have beautiful chair of cardboard, we can keep in the showcase. But it cannot be used for sitting down.

Therefore the first wisdom is that the whole world is like a cardboard chair. Don’t lean on it. Use it, but don’t lean on it. This wisdom is with regards to Anitya Vastu.

And if I want to lean on something, if I want lasting support and security I should turn towards Nitya Vastu and Nitya Vastu alone. This refers to permanent or eternal thing. In Tattvabodha language, it is called Brahman. In religious or Puranic language, it is called God.

Therefore the first lesson is God alone can give permanent security and support. World can give entertainment, education and opportunity. This understanding is called Nitya Anitya Vastu Vivekaha.

9.1.2. Vairāgyam

The second qualification is called Vairāgyam. Vairāgyam is called dispassion. What is meant by passion ? Passion is clinging to the world for security and support. Psychological leaning on the world for security and support is also passion. Using the world for entertainment is not passion. Using the world for education, serving is not passion but leaning on the world for security and support especially psychologically, is called Passion.

And having understood that the world cannot be relied upon for security and support, gradually withdrawing from this world or stopping leaning on the world for security or support is called dispassion. This does not mean running away from the world, nor rejecting but psychologically when I need security and support, I change the channel.

I have both channels, World channel and God Channel. If I want entertainment and education, use the World channel, for security and support change the channel. This changing of the channel when I need security and support is called dispassion. Weaning myself away from the world which is born out of discrimination or understanding. Just like having two chairs – one is made of teak wood and the other is made of cardboard. Use one for decoration and the other for sitting. Use God and Use World appropriately.

9.1.3. Mumukshutvam

The third qualification is called Desire or Mumukshutvam. This is the desire for Freedom from the problems caused by depending on the world or Anitya Vastu leaning. World dependence causes lot of psychological problems. The first psychological problem is insecurity. This is because I am worried that whatever I am dependant upon will give way. And especially if it involves people, there is a constant worry of rejection. Those people who liked me, will they continue to like me permanently. Insecurity with regards to family or everything else, the basic problem will be insecurity, worry, fear, frustration, disappointment anger, hatred and in fact all psychological problems are cause by depending on the un-dependable, relying on the un-reliable. It is not the problem with the Anitya Vastu, but it is my mistake that I expected permanence out of impermanence. Wrong expectations are the problems. And the problems caused by the wrong expectations or dependences are called Samsāraha. Mumukshutvam means strong desire to be free from this Samsāraha .

If this desire is not there, a person will travel from one impermanent thing to another impermanent thing, and again be cheated and frustrated. So when the person wants to get out of this mess, this is called desire for freedom or Mumukshutvam.

9.1.4. Shatka Sampattihi

The fourth qualification is called discipline or Shatka Sampattihi. Shatka means sixfold. Hence Shatka Sampattihi means sixfold inner discipline or personal discipline, self management before trying to manage others like the family, the company or the nation. And the six disciples are enumerated. Shamaha

This means tranquillity and mastery of the mind or mind control in simple language Damaha

Tranquillity and mastery of sense organs. Sensory discipline or sense control Uparamaha

Reduction of extrovert activities so that one will get some quality time for Self enquiry. Relaxed and stress-free pursuit. Finding quality time for withdrawal. Titikshā

Means mental toughness to withstand all forms of challenges in life. To face all types of experiences in life and this is also called psychological immunity in ups and downs. This is also called forbearance. This is an important word that has many shades of meanings. In this case we use the meaning of inner strength Shraddhā

Shraddhā means faith in the scriptures and also the Guru or Āchārya who helps in the study of the scriptures. By faith we do not mean blind faith but an open mindedness until I understand things clearly – hence a non-critical open minded approach giving the benefit of the doubt to the teacher or the scriptures until I understand. That humility, Shraddhā involves freedom from intellectual arrogance. Intellectual arrogance is a very big obstacle for scriptural studies. Samādhānam

This means focussing capacity. The capacity to focus on the goal that I have undertaken. If it involves listening to a talk, my mind must be focussed on it for at least an hour. So concentration or focussing is that this refers.

The above are the six fold discipline and all the above make up one qualification. All the four qualifications put together make up Sādhana Chatushtayam and this is the pre-requisite for Self enquiry. Tattvabodha begins with this statement only.

The one who has got these four – at least 10 – 15 % - is called Adhikāri and he or she can alone benefit fully from Self enquiry, for others it will appear irrelevant or a waste of time or will merely appear as an academic exercise.

9.2. Becoming an Adhikāri

The author of this text points out that Sādhana Chatushtayam is required but he never says how to acquire them. Many things are taken for granted. Naturally if he says that the four fold qualification are required and I will look into myself and I find myself to be an Anadhikāri, what am I supposed to do to become an Adhikāri ? We have to find the answers ourselves and the methods are as follows

The first three qualifications discrimination, dispassion and desire are acquired and nourished by Karma Yoga discipline. Karma Yoga is the most important discipline meant for acquiring the first three qualifications.

The fourth qualification Shama Ādi Shatka Sampattihi. The fourth qualification is acquired through Upāsana Yogaha. Hence Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga together will give Sādhana Chatushtaya Sampatthihi with is preparation for Jnāna Yoga. Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga will make you fit for Jnāna Yoga. Hence Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga gives you Jnāna Yogyatā. Jnāna Yoga gives us Jnānam. And Jnānam gives you Mokhshaha.

Therefore out entire spiritual discipline can be divided into two stages now. First stage is Jnāna Yogyatā Prāptihi – acquisition of Jnāna Yogyatā. This involves pursuit of Karma and Upāsana Yoga. And the second and final stage of life is acquisition of Jnānam – Jnāna Prāptihi.

In the scriptures the first stage of Jnāna Yogyatā Prāptihi is discussed in the first part of the scriptures – Veda Pūrva deals with Jnāna Yogyatā Prāptihi through Karma and Upāsana Yoga. This portion is also called Karma Kāndam or religious portion. The entire religious portion or beginning portion of the scriptures known as Veda Pūrva deals with Jnāna Yogyatā Prāptihi through Karma and Upāsana.

Whereas the last portion called Veda Antaha deals with Jnāna Prāptihi or the attainment of Jnānam through Jnāna Yoga. And this is not religious portion but is the philosophical portion of the scriptures. Thus the scriptures have got a religious portion dealing with religious life for Jnāna Yogyatā and a Philosophical portion for a philosophical life which is meant for Jnāna Prāptihi. Veda Pūrva and Veda Antaha – Vedanta is also known as Upanishad. That is because Vedanta puts an end to all the problems born out of wrong expectation. Upanishad means destroyer of dependence caused problems.

9.3. Ten “Commandments”

Finally we will discuss one more aspect. We saw Karma Yoga gives the first three qualifications (Discrimination, dispassion and desire) and Upāsana Yoga gives the last qualification (discipline). In addition to Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga, one more exercise is included for acquiring Sādhana Chatushtaya Sampatthihi. Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga are not sufficient. One more is important – that is an ethical life in which a person follows moral values. A life of moral values is extremely important for cultivating Sādhana Chatushtayam. Mere Karma Yoga and mere Upāsana Yoga are not enough. Morality ethical values are also important.

What are the ethical values. There are many ethical values highlighted throughout the scriptures. Of them, ten values are important. Without them, Sādhana Chatushtaya is impossible and without Sādhanā Chatushtaya, Jnāna Yoga is impossible and without Jnāna Yoga, Jnānam is impossible and without Jnānam, Moksha is impossible and without Moksha freedom is not possible. Without Freedom, you will then be a psychological slave of worries and tension etc. The ten “commandments” are divided into two groups.

9.3.1. Five to avoid

The first group consisting of five values in which you avoid five things. Himsā Varjanam

First one is called Himsā Varjanam. Varjanam means avoidance. Himsā means violence. Avoidance of all forms of violence, physical verbal and even mental violence. And if you think that violence of two nature, avoidable and unavoidable violence, the scriptures say avoid the avoidable violence and do Prāyaschittam for the unavoidable violence. And Prāyaschittam is always Pancha Mahā Yajnāha. In simple terms it is called Ahimsā Asatya Varjanam

The second avoidance is Asatya Varjanam. Avoidance of lying. Anruta Varjanam – falsehood avoidance. Never lie. Here also if you divide the lie into two – avoid all avoidable lies and all unavoidable lies should be followed by Prāyaschittam which is again Pancha Mahā Yajnāha. Even the scriptures says

Pancha Sūna Grihasthasya Pancha Yajnena Nashyati
Sūna means unavoidable evil. And a householder will face many such problems and for him, Prāyaschittam is presented. Steyam Varjanam

The third one is Steyam Varjanam – Asteyam. Avoidance of stealing. Any illegitimate possession comes under stealing. Any benefit I acquire through an illegitimate deal is stealing only. Maithuna Varjanam

Then comes Maithuna Varjanam. Maithunam means inappropriate sexual relationship in thought, words and deed. Varjanam means avoidance. Parigraha Varjanam

The fifth one is Parigraha Varjanam. Avoidance of over possession, hoarding, amassing etc. To put in positive language, simple living to the extent possible. And if I have more, sharing with others,

The above are the five avoidances.

9.3.2. Five to be followed

Then there are five positive things to be followed. Shaucham

The first is Shaucham – means purity. Outside and inside (thoughts) purity Santoshaha

The second is Santoshaha – means positive contentment with whatever I acquire through legitimate methods. This does not mean neutrality saying “OK fine”. I am happy.

Yat Labhase Nija KarmopattamVittam Tena Vinodaya Chittam Tapaha

The third is Tapaha or Tapas. Any self denial practiced for master over one’s own instrument. E,g, fasting, maunam – any vow taken where I deny certain comforts for self mastery. Tapas is austerity or self denial. Svādhyāyaha

The fourth is Svādhyāyaha – scriptural study is very important. Pranidhānam

The fifth Īshvara Pranidhānam – surrender to the Lord by which accepting every experience as a Karma Phalam which is coming as a gift from God. Without resistance accepting every experience and not allowing the experience to generate negative emotion. That acceptance is called surrender to God.

These are the five positive ones. The first five are called Yamaha. The second five are called Niyamaha. Yama + Niyama are the ten commandments which is the moral or ethical life. Karma Yoga + Upāsana Yoga + Ethical life will give Sādhanā Chatushtaya. If we have this, we are ready to go into Tattvabodha.

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08. Bhakti Yoga

Today we will deal with the topic of Bhaktihi found in the scriptures and a topic with various shades of meaning in different contexts and therefore often a confusing topic also. So we should clearly understand what Bhaktihi is. The word Bhaktihi is used in the scriptures in two different meanings.

8.1. First Meaning of Bhakti - Devotion to God

One is Bhakti as in devotion towards God. Devotion is nothing but a love directed towards a higher principle. Whenever love is directed towards some principle which we revere, which is sacred, that love is called Devotion. Reverential love can be called as devotion. We talk about Mātru Bhakti, Pitru Bhakti because in our tradition we look upon our parents as superior, holy, deserving, respect worthy. Similarly we talk about Guru Bhakti and Desha Bhakti and Īshvara Bhakti. This love has been very elaborately analysed in our scriptures both in its general form as love and also in its specific form as in love of God.

8.1.1. Forms of love

Scriptures point out that all forms of love that a human being entertains is directed towards only three things. Love towards Goals

The first is whatever goals that we want to accomplish in our life, whatever ends that we want to accomplish, all are ends that we love. And it is because we love them that we want to acquire them or accomplish them. This is called Love towards various ends or goals. Love towards Means

Later we find that to accomplish the ends, we have to use various means. Only through the means can we accomplish the ends, and since the means are useful to accomplish the ends, we begin to love the means also. This is because it is useful to accomplish the ends and hence the second direction of our love is love of the means. Love towards oneself

The third thing the object of love is the love of oneself. Everyone loves himself or herself. It is also called self love.

Then the scriptures point out that there is a gradation in the intensity of love in the above three forms of love. Love of the means is the least in its intensity, love of the end is mediocre and love of oneself is the highest form of love wherein the love has got the highest intensity. The reason is that love of the means is not for the sake of the means itself but for the sake of the end. Once the end is accomplished, then the attitude towards the means is completely different and often not loved. E.g. Rich people are more loved than poor people. That is because the rich are the means to an end called Wealth. And as long as the end called wealth can be accomplished through the rich, they are loved. The moment money goes away from them, thereafter the rich are not loved. Most of the time love for people is love for the means to accomplish the end and often money is the end.

Between the love of the end and love for the self, the love of the self is superior. I love various ends hoping that they will give me various comfort safety and happiness. The moment I see that particular end does not give me joy, then the end is either changed, or even after accomplishing the end, it is disposed of.

If we have to grade, Means love is called Manda, End love is called Madhyama and Self love is called Uttama because that is the highest in intensity.

8.1.2. Love towards God

Let us apply this in the field of God. If we have Bhakti or if a person loves God, what will be the intensity of that love ? The scriptures point out, the intensity of the love depends upon how you look upon God. Manda Bhakti

Majority of people look upon God only as the means for various worldly ends. As long as you look upon God to attain means the love is called Manda Bhaktihi. That is why people get angry with God also. This is a conditional love, and only if the condition is fulfilled will the person love God and if the condition is not fulfilled I reject God. Madhyama Bhakti

The next set of people who are still rarer, who look upon God not as means to various ends. They are matured enough, their understanding of God is clearer enough that they are able to choose God as the goal of life. Because they know God represents security, peace happiness. Once I understand God as the symbolic representation of peace, love and happiness then I know that everyone in life is seeking security, happiness and peace alone. And once I know God represents these, I know that God is the end of my life and naturally my love of God is as the end and therefore it is more intense than the previous one. This Bhakti is called Madhyama Bhakti. Uttama Bhakti

Uttama Bhakti is the even rarer form of love, the most intense form of love in which I look upon God not as the means nor even as the end, but God as non-different from myself. Soham Asmi – means that that Lord is essentially not different from me and therefore the Lord and the Self being identical, God love will become equal to self love. And since self love is the most intense love, that form of love is called Uttama Bhakti.

For Manda Bhakta God is dear, for Madhyama Bhakta God is dearer and for the Uttama Bhakta God is the dearest. Krishna beautifully elaborates in seventh and twelfth chapter of Gītā. Thus love of God in the form of Manda, Madhyama and Uttama Rūpa is called Bhakti. This is the first meaning of the word Bhakti. Now we will come to the second meaning of the word Bhakti.

8.2. Second Meaning of Bhakti- Course of Discipline 

The second meaning is Bhakti as a course of discipline to achieve the spiritual goal, the ultimate goal of liberation. To convey this idea of Bhakti as a course of discipline, generally the word Yoga is added. So when Bhakti means a course of discipline, we use the word Bhakti Yogaha meant for accomplishing the goal. In the Bhagavad Gītā Krishna says

Māmcha Yovyabhichārena Bhakti Yogena Sevate,Sagunān Samatītyaitān Bhrahma Bhūyāya Kalpate

And the 12th chapter of the Gītā is titled Bhakti Yoga itself.

8.2.1.What is Bhakti Yogaha ?

What course of discipline is indicated by the word Bhakti Yogaha. Earlier we dealt with our three fold course of discipline for attaining the Purushārtha – the human goals. We talked about Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Jnāna Yoga. We never talked about Bhakti Yogaha. So the question is what is then meant by Bhakti Yogaha as a course of discipline ? Is it a fourth Yoga ?

Our answer is Bhakti Yogaha is not an exclusive or separate course of discipline at all. Bhakti is the name of the entire groups of discipline consisting of all the three. It is not a fourth one, but it is the name of the entire threefold course of discipline known as Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Jnāna Yoga. The first stage of Bhakti Yogaha is Karma Yoga. The second stage of Bhakti Yoga is Upāsana Yoga and the third stage of Bhakti Yoga is Jnāna Yoga.

8.2.2. All encompassing

The next question is why do you call all these three commonly as Bhakti Yogaha ? How come Bhakti Yogaha is the common name for all these three ? Why don’t you treat it as a separate fourth Yoga ? Bhakti Yogaha is the common name for all the three because, Bhakti is the common atmosphere in which all these three Yogas are practiced. It is not that Bhakti is separately practiced in a separate time but Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Jnāna Yoga have to be imbued in Bhakti.

In Karma Yoga, the attitude that one enjoys is dedicating all actions to the Lord and accepting without resistance all the consequences of my actions. Therefore how can there Karma Yoga without Ishvara Arpana Bhāvanā and Prasāda Bhāvanā. Therefore a Karma Yogi should necessarily have Bhakti all the time because every action is dedicated to the Lord.

In Upāsana Yoga, I have to meditate upon the Lord for developing mental discipline and integration. How can I meditate upon Lord if I don’t have Bhakti – these include Mānasa Pūja, Mānasa Pārāyanam, Mānasa Japa. Therefore Upāsana Yoga must also take place in the atmosphere of Bhakti alone.

Jnāna Yoga also involves Bhakti. Before any study of scriptures, we start with a prayer and end with a prayer. In Jnāna Yoga we are enquiring into our own real nature, discovering the identity of our real nature with the nature of God. therefore self realisation or discovery is nothing but God discovery. Therefore Jnāna Yoga also involves Bhakti.

At no time is the person away from Bhakti and all three Yogas put together are called Bhakti Yogaha. This is the second meaning of Bhakti.

8.3. Principle of God

Another topic to be introduced in this context. When we talk of Bhakti, it is love or devotion towards God. Without understanding the principle of God, how can we discuss the topic of devotion ? Because, integral part of love is the object of love. Infact you cannot develop love towards anyone without understanding what it is. How can anyone love an unknown thing or person ? That is why Jnānam of God becomes a necessity.

Scriptures give three definitions of God depending on the maturity of the seeker and the intellectual calibre of the seeker.

8.3.1. Jagat Kartā Īshvara

First definition for the beginner is – God is the creator of the world. In Sanskrit - Jagat Kartā Īshvara. And we present the simple and easily understandable reasoning – any well designed product, any purposeful well designed product must have an intelligent being to design. And the more well designed the product is, the more you appreciate the designing intelligence. So if the ordinary product requires an intelligent being behind the creation, what to talk of the most wonderful universe which is well designed and very purposeful ? Nothing is purposeless in this creation. If this creation is purposeful and well designed there must be an intelligent creator behind it and that intelligent creator is the Jagat Kartā or Īshvara.

And once I define Īshvara as Jagat Kartā, you will visualise God as a person because we are used to intelligent beings as human beings or persons. Therefore we imagine a very intelligent God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and since we don’t see him around safely place him above the clouds. This is Lord as a creator, personal God with a special form as Raama, Krishna, Vishnu or Shiva. This is called Eka Rūpa Īshvara.

8.3.2. Jagat Kāranam Īshvara

And once you have grown up sufficiently, the scriptures present the next level of Īshvara. God is the cause of the world - Jagat Kāranam Īshvara. Suppose I understand God as the creator of the world, invariably the question comes – what is the raw material out of which the world is created? Nothing else is available because before the creation of the world, God alone was there – none else, even space was not available. That is why scientists say, before Big Bang, we cannot even conceive of time and space. Even before the creation of time and space and objects, when God alone was there, where is the raw material ?

Scriptures point out that God himself happens to be the very material also out of which the world is shaped. God is the Kāranam – the very material out of which the world is created- just as a spider finds the material for the web out of itself. Similarly God is the material cause of the universe and from this the scriptures extend, the raw materials alone becomes the product – manifold products, and since God is the raw material God alone has become the universe. Therefore the whole universe is nothing but God alone. So where is God ? The whole universe is God. Since the whole universe is God, every form I see is the form of God. Hence God does not have one form but all forms are God’s forms. So He is no more personal God, He is universal God. He is no more Eka Rūpa Īshvara but is Aneka Rūpa Īshvara or Vishva Rūpa Īshvara and to have to have the Darshanam to God he is available everywhere.

Hence first we said, God created the world, and now we say, God has become the world.

8.3.3. Jagat Adhishthānam Īshvara

Once you are ready for the next level, the scriptures give the third definition – Jagat Adhishthānam Īshvara. This is the highest and the toughest and the culmination. In this we say, God did not become the world. This is because the next question will be – Are the ugly things God as well? How can I accept bad also as God ? If such a question comes, you are ready for the third definition.

God does not become the world. God appears as the world with different forms not affected by any form in which he appears. To put the other way around – God is the very substratum of all the forms or the entire creation, which he transcends. God is the ultimate reality, God is the ultimate stuff behind the creation but not affected by them. This is Jagat Adhishthānam Īshvara.

And since God transcends all the superficial forms of the creation, no particular form belongs to God. Therefore that God is Adhishthānam Īshvara is Arūpa Īshvara – formless God.

When I am in the initial stage, I have Eka Rūpa Bhaktihi. When I am in the middle stage, I have Aneka Rūpa Bhaktihi. When I am in the final stage my Bhakti is Arūpa Bhaktihi.

And remember, when we talk about the three stages gradually, the latter ones does not displace the former ones. It only is of a different dimension. The one who has come to Arūpa Bhakti has not lost Eka Rūpa and Aneka Rūpa. Arūpa Bhakti includes the other two. That is why the greatest Advaitin can worship God in any form also. They could happily appreciate Lord as the beautiful nature also and they could transcend both of them and arrive at the formless also. So the higher one does not displace the lower one but adds another dimension. This is the understanding of God that develops in the mind of the seeker as he studies the scriptures.

To consolidate, we have discussed nine forms of Bhakti.

  1. The first three are Manda Bhakti, Madhyama Bhakti and Uttama Bhakti where Bhakti is based on Love of God – Bhāvanā Drushtyā Bhakti Trayam
  2. Then we saw Karma Yoga Rūpa Bhakti, Upāsana Yoga Rūpa Bhakti and Jnāna Yoga Rūpa Bhakti where Bhakti is from the standpoint of Sādhanā - Sādhanā Drushtyā Bhakti Trayam
  3. Then we saw Eka Rūpa Bhakti, Aneka Rūpa Bhakti and Arūpa Bhakti depending on my understanding of God – Devatā Drushtyā Bhakti Trayam

So anytime we talk about Bhakti, we should understand the context and grasp the meaning. And it is a very important topic in the scriptures.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

07. Jnāna Yoga

Earlier we saw that the scriptures first present an ideal infrastructure for the fulfilment of the human goals or Purushārthāhā. After presenting the infrastructure the scriptures also present a course of discipline for the accomplishment of these goals. This course of discipline we classified into three – Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Gnana Yoga. Upāsana Yoga is also known as Samādhi Yoga.

Jnāna Yoga means a course of discipline meant for gaining knowledge. Jnāna Prāptyartham Yogaha. And when you talk about a course of discipline meant for Jnāna or knowledge, the question arises – knowledge of what ? Because knowledge should always have an object and here we point out in the context of Jnāna Yoga, the word Jnāna refers to self- knowledge of Atmna Jnāna i.e. knowledge regarding oneself. And when we sat knowledge regarding oneself, we already have some knowledge – our date of birth, name of parents, height or weights etc. So we do have some knowledge about our superficial personality.

But what we discuss in Jnāna Yoga is the essential nature of “I”, the basic nature of “I”, the real nature of “I” or the higher nature of “I” – the Parā Prakrutihi. In the scriptures the real “I” is called Ātmā. Hence Jnāna Yoga means Ātmā Jnāna Yogaha – a course of discipline meant for gaining self knowledge. The purpose of gaining this self knowledge, as pointed out by the scriptures, is that self knowledge gives us freedom or Moksha Purushārthaha – the highest goal called Moksha. So Jnāna Yogaha Mokshārtham.

Then comes the natural question – what is meant by Mokshaha. This has been briefly dealt with earlier when talking about Dharma Artha Kāma Moksha Purushārthaha. Moksha is freedom from bondage or dependence. This bondage is caused by the first three Purushārtha namely Dharma Artha Kāmaha. Anything or being in the creation can cause bondage. What type of bondage is this ? Bondage is of two types :-

  • When an object is present – The presence of objects cause a bondage called Bhāraha. The stress or strain of handling the object or person. Handling the object or person or relationship itself especially if it is a human relationship, that itself becomes a very big Bhāraha. In fact when many people face problems, it is the stress and strain caused by human relationship.
  • When an object is not present – This creates another problem called emptiness or loneliness.

So I am not sure whether I want them or I don’t want them. When I don’t have them I crave to have them and once I have them, I crave for freedom. Either way, I am in a soup. This is called Ubhayataha Pāshā Rajjuhu. And by Moksha we mean, I am free from this problem caused by the world. This means the presence of objects will not cause strain in me if I am a free person and the absence will not create emptiness in me. The presence of people will not create the strain of relating and the absence of people will not create loneliness without companion. So if I can have Dharma Artha Kāma when they are there and I can be happy even if the Dharma Artha Kāma are not there, either way I am fine – this is called Freedom. With objects or people I am fine, even without objects or people I am fine. And this Freedom is the result of self-knowledge. This inner freedom expresses in the form of threefold virtues which are very useful for human life.

7.1. Virtues of Inner freedom
The threefold virtues are presented in a prayer called Serenity prayer. Serenity means balance of mind – Samattvam. In this prayer we address the Lord and ask for these three virtues.

Oh Lord, grant me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed in life,Oh Lord, grant me the courage to change what can be changed in life,Oh Lord, grant me the wisdom to know what can and cannot be changed

These are the three virtues – acceptance, courage and discretion. And by acceptance, we do not mean a negative acceptance like “what cannot be cured must be endured” with a sense of being victimised. Acceptance in fact refers to balanced cheerful acceptance which will not lead to bitterness, hatred, sense of victimisation, sense of injustice or produce any negative reaction. This is healthy acceptance. Life will become beautiful when I can healthily accept all the choiceless situations and courageously change what can be transformed and I am able to discern which is which. These are the three virtues that I get through the freedom of self knowledge.

The next question is How can I get self knowledge ? What is the discipline of Jnāna Yoga that I should follow to gain the knowledge of myself ?

We say, any Jnānam can be attained only by one method and that is by using the instrument of knowledge. Any knowledge can be acquired only by using an instrument of knowledge. In Sanskrit an instrument of knowledge is called Pramānam . The one who uses the instrument of knowledge is called Pramātā and the knowledge that is generated i.e. the Jnānam is called Pramā and the object that is known is called Prameyam. This Pramātā uses Pramānam and acquires Pramā with regards to the Prameyam.

Without using an instrument of knowledge we cannot get the knowledge. For example, if I have to get the knowledge of the colour of an object I have no option but to use the instrument called the eyes. If I want to know what is the sound, I have to use the instrument of ears. Without using the eyes, Varna Jnānam cannot take place, without using the ears, Sahbda Jnānam cannot take place etc. Our scriptures have made an elaborate study on the topic of Pramānam and they point out that there are five instruments of knowledge at our disposal.

7.2. Instruments of knowledge

Since these five instruments of knowledge are available to human beings, they are called Paurusheya Pramānāni. These are


You get the knowledge by using the five fold sense organs – Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue and Skin and by perceiving through the five sense organs, we get perceptual knowledge. This is called Pratyaksham

In Sanskrit this is called Anumānam


In Sanskrit this is called Arthapattihi


In Sanskrit this is called Upamānam

In Sanskrit this is called Anupalabdhihi

These are the Pancha Paurusheya Pramānāni. And for all practical purposes, we can reduce the above five into two – Perception and Inference. Now we have to find, which Pramānam should I use to gain a particular knowledge especially self-knowledge. The Shāstrams point out that the instrument that you make use of will depend on the object that you want to know. It does not depend on your fancy or your will. If I have to know the colour of an object, I have not choice but to use the eyes. Jnānam is acquired by using the appropriate Pramānam.

We want to gain self knowledge and have to find out which instrument or Pramānam to use and when I make an enquiry I enter into a big problem. All the five instruments at my disposal, are extrovert instruments capable of studying only the objective world or external world. None of these instruments is capable of studying the very subject behind these instrument. This is the intrinsic limitation of the Pancha Pramānāni and also science. Science can only the objective universe but cannot study the student. The eyes can perceive everything in the creation but unfortunately the eyes have a peculiar limitation that the eyes cannot see themselves. This is because eyes are extrovert, they can never study themselves. The Law is – Subject is never subject to objectification. Similarly I cannot study myself.

Self knowledge will be elusive for the human being and all material sciences. But there is a way out. If I have to see my own eyes, I have to learn to take the help of another external object or factor – a mirror to see my eyes. I should be humble enough to accept that my eyes cannot directly see themselves and therefore I require the assistance of an external mirror. With the help of the mirror I can see my own eyes. Similarly all the Paurusheya Pramānāni are inadequate to give me self knowledge unless I introduce a sixth Pramānam or sixth factor that will serve as a mirror for gaining self knowledge. I have to accept the necessity of a sixth Pramānam which is not in my hands and this must come from outside. That sixth Pramānam is called Shāstra Pramānam – the scriptural teaching.

7.3. Shāstra Pramānam – Sixth Pramānam

This is also called Shabda Pramānam. And this Shāstram Pramānam is not already with me. It has to be brought from outside like a mirror and therefore it is called Apaurusheya Pramānam. This means not naturally available to human being and it has to be brought from outside. This Shāstra Pramānam has been gifted to use just like God has given mirrors for seeing our own face. If mirrors were not there, eternally our own beauty will not be available for us to see. Thus God has gifted us with Shāstra Pramānam to enjoy our inner beauty. If you refuse to use the mirror, it is only us who is going to be the loser. Using this alone can we get self knowledge.

The next thing we come to know is, even though the mirror is capable of showing us our face, to enjoy it we should know how to use the mirror properly. Anything will help only if we know how to use. In the same way, Shāstram or scriptures can help only if we study the scriptures properly. If you handle the scriptures properly we can see our beauty and get self knowledge.

7.4. Information – Direct Experience dichotomy

And when I try to study the scriptures and use the scriptures myself, I get into another big problem. Because scriptures, unlike other forms of literature, use a peculiar method to impart self knowledge. This is because of the uniqueness of the subject matter, the Self, and the uniqueness of the knowledge, the scriptures make use of a unique method.

Normally books deal with different object, places and people in the creation and therefore my orientation is that I should get the information first , and then later convert that into direct experience by contacting the object. E.g. I read what is Niagara Falls (getting the information first) and when I go there actually only then will I get direct experience out of contact. Therefore our orientation in any study is Information – Direct Experience dichotomy.

But when it comes to self knowledge the problem is that we do not have these two stages at all. Because if you are talking about the two stages, the information should be got first, then the direct experience will be got when I come in contact with the self. But unfortunately you will never come in contact with the self because you are the Self. Hence the information – direct experience dichotomy does not exist in self knowledge. But we always incorrectly study the scriptures with this orientation of first book knowledge then direct experience. Hence we never know how to utilise the scriptures properly and therefore we never get the self knowledge if we study the scriptures ourselves.

7.5. Threefold Exercise

If self knowledge is not information or direct experience, then what is self knowledge? Self knowledge is freedom from self ignorance. Therefore scriptural study is different from studying other books and scriptural study requires a difference type of operation or method called Jnāna Yogaha. And this Jnāna Yoga consists of a threefold exercise called Shravanam Mananam and Nididhyāsanam.


Shravanam means exposing myself to the scriptural teaching handled by a competent guide. Because it is unlike the study of another objective literature. If we study the scriptures by ourselves, we end up in information - experience dichotomy. Eternally we would be trapped in search of either information or experience. Therefore if you should not be trapped in this, this teaching should be handled by someone who knows expertly how to handle and remove the orientation of information experience and gives self knowledge removing self ignorance.

Therefore Shravanam is exposing myself to the systematic teaching or handling of the scriptures done by an expert guide and for a length of time – because orientation breaking takes time. The study has to be systematic because it is a gradual build-up from beginning to end. It should be a stray study of unconnected topics. It should be systematic in the sense that between one topic and another, there should be a gradual build-up with a connection. It is like building a house where a number of bricks are arranged in an orderly manner well cemented. Only then it becomes a house that can be occupied. But the same number of bricks dumped in one place cannot become a house and we cannot live in that house. And the bricks will be more of an obstacle than a useful thing. Similarly gathering stray ideas by reading books here and there, without building up gradually and without connecting the topics, then our brain will be full of piled up ideas like the piled up bricks and they will be cluttered in the brain. It will not be of any use and will create more problems than benefits. Similarly Vedāntik study will be beneficial only when there is a systematic study.

The study should be continuous. Even in the case of laying bricks, before the cement hardens we should lay the bricks and then some more cement on it and then more bricks before the cement hardens. The whole process should be continuous without gaps and for a length of time.

This Shravanam has to continue for a length of time during which time no questions are allowed. We have to get the comprehensive teaching from all angles in all aspects in its totality. And this process is called Shravanam. Even if you are not able to accept a part of the teaching or have a doubt regarding a particular aspect of teaching, you are allowed to keep aside those questions and doubts and listen with an open mind. You are free to disagree with the teacher. Be patient. Shravanam requires a lot of patience. Never be judgemental or critical.

During Mananam I try to tie all the ideas of Vedanta and make a garland out of the teaching so that every idea fits into the grand building of Vedanta. Every brick has got a role to play in the house. Every window is part of a grand scheme. Similarly every idea of Vedanta should become part of the grand design of Vedāntik teaching – the study of the individual, the study of the total, the study of Aikyam, the study of Sādhana Chatushtaya Sampattihi.

As even I am connecting, I must be able to go back, take all the topics and should know where they all stand. What is the role of Karma Yoga ? What is the role of Upāsana Yoga ? Everything should fall in its place when I look back at it. Doubts will surely arise.

When I look at a topic individually, doubts may not arise. But when I try to connect one topic to another, there may be seeming contradictions or one topic may not find its place properly. After comprehensively listening and being exposed to the teaching for a length of time, I bring out all my questions. Generally the beauty of the teaching is, by the time you complete your teaching systematically, doubts will not be there. Because the scriptures themselves handle the possible questions – hence it is in the form of a dialogue – Guru Shishya Samvādaha. You are given full freedom to your rational mind, logical mind, scientific mind, intellectual acumen to raise any question. The teacher is available to answer or to help the student in removing all kinds of doubts because doubts are obstacles to knowledge.

Vedanta encourages asking any number of questions. Vedanta is knowledge. Vedanta is not a faith or belief. In a system of faith, questions are discouraged as it is considered to be disrespectful to the teacher or teaching. Questions are to be asked until all the questions subside.

How do I know when all the questions are subsided or not ? I must be able to say I am the Parama Ātmā – Aham Brahma Asmi – I am immortal – I am all pervading – I survive the death of the body – the world cannot affect me. Each one of the statements, I must be able to make from the inner most core of my heart. And when I ask my own intellect whether it is convinced, it must say yes.

Hence Mananam removes all obstacles in the intellect and makes the knowledge into doubtless knowledge or conviction. Mananam is the process of conviction – solving the intellectual problems. Doubts belong to the intellect, therefore Mananam is solving the intellectual problem and hence Mananam isn an intellectual process.

Nisamshaya Jnānam with regards to my essential nature my real or higher nature. Shravanam removes ignorance, Mananam removes doubts or intellectual problems.


Then comes the process of Nididhyāsanam which is the process of internalisation or assimilation of this knowledge and the removal of my habitual behaviour. This also involves solving emotional problems in the light of Jnānam. Ultimately even though Samsara is a problem of ignorance, the ignorance is appearing or expressing in the form of emotional turmoil alone. Basic problem may by Ajnānam but I am facing this problem in the form of Rāga Dvesha Kāma Krodhaha Lobha Moha Mada Mātsarya and Bhayam. Unless the emotional problems are solved, I have not assimilated the knowledge totally.

The present behaviour I have developed very gradually, it is a habit, a conditioning that I have – this I have to de-condition myself. This process is called Nididhyāsanam or assimilation. Only when the habitual behaviour goes away, do I get the full benefit of this knowledge. We have been Samsārī, petty, ignorant, bitter people and that personality has influenced our responses, our goals. Everything has been governed by our idea about ourselves. How you behave depends on how you look at yourself.

Every behaviour depends on your self image. As long as you have a miserable self image, your behaviour will be miserable. And even if the Guru transforms the self image, the old self image continues for a length of time. Hence we need some time during which we should allow the transformation to take place. And that process is called Nididhyāsanam in which I keep in touch with the Shāstram even if the study part is over. I keep in touch with the Jnānis or wise people, Satsanga or Shāstra Sanga because the association influences my personality. Not only do I keep in touch with Shāstra, I lead an alert life, monitoring my responses and making sure that every response in every situation is governed by the new teaching and not by the old misunderstood personality. And assimilated knowledge alone nourishes me like assimilated food nourishes food. It is not the amount of food that I eat that matters, but the amount of food that I digest alone that matters.

Swami Chinmayānanda put it “You may have gone through ten Upanishads. Wonderful. How many Upanishads have gone through you ?” Hence conversion of intellectual knowledge into emotional strength is called Nididhyāsanam

This can be done as follows :

All emotional problems will express themselves in two forms :

  • One is choice-less situations which requires acceptance. We should sufficient emotional strength to accept whatever is choiceless
  • Other is choice-ful situation which can be changed or improved where the emotional mind should not obstruct my effort to improve the situation.
A weak mind creates problems in two ways :

  • When there is a choiceless situation, the weak mind goes on saying “Don’t accept it” – which means I keep mumbling and grumbling all time knowing that this will not change the situation because it is choiceless. Therefore strengthening the emotional mind to accept the choiceless is the purpose of this knowledge.
  • If the mind is weak and is worrying over the choiceless, then the problem is that our time is spent in worrying that where we can improve we will not be available for improving the situation. Worrying over the choiceless becomes an obstacle in improving over the choiceful or where the improvement is possible. Hence I should work on the situations that can be improved.

This is called emotional strength. Face the situation. If the situation is a choiceless one, I learn to accept it and forget it and go for the next one. And I try to improve the situation to the extent possible. There also there may be a limitation. Once I reach another choiceless situation, again I understand it and I go for the next. Like the bulldozer I face the day-to-day life with emotional strength. And this emotional strength is possible only when the knowledge is presiding over my day to day life.

Therefore Shravanam and Mananam and Nididhyāsanam is Jnāna Yogaha. And this Jnāna Yoga will give self knowledge. Self knowledge will give Moksha which means I am free in the presence and absence of things, people, my life and even in death. This is Jnāna Yogaha the subtlest form of Sādhanā.

7.5.4.Role of Āshrama Dharma

You should remember, all the three Yogas, Karma Yoga, Upāsana Yoga and Jnāna Yoga are compulsory for all people and not given as optional Yogas. Every body requires these and the culmination is in self knowledge which give me Moksha. If at all there is a person who comes to Jnāna Yoga without Karma Yoga or Upāsana Yoga, he cannot be successful. And if at all a person skips Karma Yoga or Upāsana Yoga and successfully gains Jnānam, the scriptures say he must have gone through both of these in his past Janma . If you study the Āshrama scheme, you will find that the four Āshramas are designed for the pursuit of these three Yogas only.

Even though these three are not air-tight compartment compartments, there is a domination of a particular Yoga in a particular stage in life.

In BrahmĀchārya Āshrama it is primarily studying the theory – what is life, what is the goal. The other three Āshramas are meant for predominantly practicing the three Yogas.

Grihastha Āshrama is Karma Yoga Pradhānaha; Vānaprastha Āshrama is Upāsana Yoga Pradhāna; Sanyāsa Āshrama is Jnāna Yoga Pradhānaha.

These three different infrastructures are presented for predominantly practicing these three Yogas. Even if you do not go through these four Āshramas physically, you will have to make the appropriate modifications in your lifestyle depending on which Yoga you dominantly practice. And therefore adjust the infrastructure follow the three Yogas, gain knowledge and be free. Being a free person either enjoy Dharma Artha Kāma presence, or enjoy the absence of Dharma Artha Kāma. This is the vision of all the scriptures primary as well as secondary.

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