Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 42 of (Vol 2) of 02 Nov 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 42 of (Vol 2) of 02 Nov 2007.

(Continued from DK # 41 of 01 Nov 2007.)

245. We had started looking at Thaithreeya Upanishad. It has three parts known as, Siksha Valli, Aananda Valli and Brugu Valli. Siksha Valli speaks about many of the finer aspects of the process of education. The rules and regulations of Ashrama, it's value, schedules of teaching, practicals including 'Pranava Upasana", are all covered in Siksha Valli. There is description of a, 'Aavahanthi Homam', which is done by the Guru with the prayer that there should be a continuous stream of students coming to the Guru Kula Patasala and learn the Vedas. Actually I have practically experimented with this Homam, in places where the Veda Patasala has been defunct for many years and seen it coming back to life, after conduct of the Homam. (It is true also that during his time, Periyaval has been responsible for reviving many such Veda Patasalas all over India. He also created new ones, where there was none. That way, he lived upto the ultra modern Marketing Slogan of, 'find a need and fill it!')

246. After Independence from the Britishers, in our country, there has been a lot of talk on political self-rule, called 'Swarajya'. Much better than that is the self-rule of, 'Atma Swarajya', that has been elaborated in this Upanishad. All discipline is 'self-discipline and not the one forcibly imposed by others. If we are true, honest and sincere to ourselves; then we can just not go astray. Then automatically, our actions will be in tune with Dharma.

247. In Thaithreeya Upanishad are the famous advice by the Guru to the Sishya, "...sathyam vada, dharmam chara...". The Guru tells the student, "Do Veda adhyayanam everyday. Always speak the truth. Abide with the Rules and Regulations of Swadharma, as required of an individual; of your being as part of a family; of your station and position, as part of the society and Nation! Get married and enlarge your family by begetting more children. Matru devo bhava. Pithru devo bhava. Acharya devo bhava. Athithi devo bhava. Your Mother, Father, Teacher and Guest; are all to be considered and revered as God.

248. Defining the level of happiness of each form of existance, as to how each successive next level is capable of a hundred times greater happiness; finally ending in 'Brhmanandam'; is the 'Anandavalli' part of the Upanishad. The description of the Human Being as made up of, five successive sheaths, namely, Annamaya Kosam, Pranamaya Kosam, Manomaya Kosam, Vignanamaya Kosam ending finally in Anandamaya Kosam; is also to be found in this Upanishad. Each of the Sheath or Kosam is a Sphere from Outer to successively Inner, not only in a physical sense; but, also in the depth of understanding. Subtler is your understanding, deeper you get to the inner core of the being. Each of these spheres have been symbolically related to a bird and its body parts such as head, right and left wings, body and the feathers in the tail; have been very realistically explained. While describing the final 'Anubhava', the famous quotation is the Mantra starting with, "...yato vacho...", meaning, '...from where the speech and mind return without being able to verbalise or even conceptualise..."

249. Brigu Valli is the portion of the Upanishad describing Brigu, the son of Varuna Bhagawan, learning from his father through a very scientific method. Instead of the Master giving long winded talks, here he uses the power of suggestion and tells the student to meditate on the suggested answer. The student keeps coming back, successively progressing towards the truth. Everytime the Sishya comes back after meditation on the earlier reply, the Guru listens carefully and encourages the student to proceed further, with the next concept! The question is as to what is this Brhmam? The suggested answer is 'Annam', meaning food. Brigu goes back meditates on the answer. Yes, we live for food. All our effort, search, work, is for food. With food, we are nourished and we grow. Our body is made of food that we partake. We are happy when we eat. We are satisfied after that. When satisfied with food for the stomach, we look for food for the eyes, ears, mind and so on. If nothing else, we look for 'food for thought'! But, food is not the be all and end all! We can go without food for some time. Some animals hibernate for long periods without food. Brigu goes back to the Guru Varuna. After listening to the student, Varuna suggests the next answer, 'Prana'. Replace 'Prana' for 'Annam', in the above line of logic. In addition to what we have said before, Prana is the essential thing of life. Every cell in the body breathes. There are different pressures of Prana, as Apana, Vyana, Udhana and Samana; without which body systems will collapse. Without breath, you are dead! But is that the Brhmam? We know of a frog which becomes a frozen piece of ice in winter, without even breathing. Hata Yogis can wilfully stop the breathing for long! The next suggested answer is 'Vignana'. 'Vignana means, systems. Look at how many systems have combined in the multi dimentional matrices of what is life. Taking only the human being, see what a beautiful combination of so many inter locking systems, such as the audio, video, nervous, digestive, muscular, blood circulation and so on; all systems of extremely sophisticated quality of perfection! Brigu, is still not done. He goes back to his Father, who is also the Guru, who is ready with the next suggestion, 'Gnana maya kosa'. Awareness and knowledge. Everything is that. Even that is not the ultimate. Final answer in this portion of the Upanishad, is that it is the 'Ananda Maya'!

250. It does not mean however that any of the previous levels of analysis is to be discarded out of hand. All the five answers are important. 'Annam' is the only important thing for many millions of people. But, the 'prana', 'vignana', 'gnana' and 'Ananda' are progressively more important. The progressive importance is in the level of our understanding and not in the intrinsic value of the item or concept per se! The idea is to get to know and be aware of this fact and so run ones own life accordingly in a manner that, more than anything else, we remain true to our own consciousness that we have not transgressed from the path of Dharma, with a capital 'D'. This, so that, as the physical life is nearing the end, we have also progressed closer and closer to being, 'Ananda Maya'. Looking into the Upanishad, after 'Ananda Maya Kosa', you will notice that it goes onto say, " not decry food, do not waste food, grow more food...". The Indian Government in the 1950's and 60's, during the 'Grow More Food Campaigns', borrowed Mantras as quotations from this Upanishad. The Upanishad goes on to say that, the Sadhak, (that is, the Aspirant), should be raising to the understanding that, "... the food, the producer of the food, the cook, the consumer of the food and the connection between them, is all myself...". Thus it establishes the transcendent connection between the World, Aspirant and God, and ends with the Aspirant singing happily about this 'Self Realization!'.

251. Next is the Aithareya Upanishad, which is part of the Aithareya Aranyakam of the Rik Veda, deriving its name from the Aithareya Rishi. The passage of the Jeeva in its infinitesimal form from the Father, entering the Mother's womb, it's growth, it's birth in the world, it's intentional actions in the world leading to accumulation of Merits and Demerits of the effects of its actions; this accumulation of Paapa and Punya, causing the cycle of repeated births and deaths, is all explained in the Upanishad. Then it says that the only way to break through this cycle is to get to know the, 'prime actor' of this drama, the Atma, which will enable freedom and independence! Vama Deva is the author of this treatise, who while still in the womb, got to know the whole cycle of the series of repetitive events, breaking through them, took off soaring in flight, like a bird of prey. Thus in this Upanishad, the direct knowledge of the Atma is highlighted. That process ignores any mention of Brhmam except in the 'Maha Vakya' of Rik Veda, that this awareness is Brhmam, "...pragnanam brhma...", period!

Chandokya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads.

252. The last two of the Upanishad are, 'Chandokya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads'. These two are, bigger than, all the other eight put together. Chandokya Upanishad occurs in the Chandokya Brahmanam of Sama Veda. 'Sandoka' is indicative of 'Sama gana' singing. In Thevaram too, pointing out at Parameswara, it says, "...sandokan kaan...". It is 'sandoka avastha' which has become, 'zend-avesta', the religious book of the Parsis. As Gita is said to handle many of the Mantras of Katopanishad, Brhma Sutram is said to use many of the Mantras of Chandokyopanishad. Both Chandokyopanishad and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, have the sayings of a collection of Rishis.

Chandokya Upanishad.

253. In the beginning of Chandokya Upanishad, Onkara Upasana is described as Udgeetam. In this Upanishad are descriptions of, Akshi Vidya, Akasa Vidya, Madu Vidya, Chandilya Vidya, Prana Vidya, Panchagni Vidya and so on about many of the Vidyas as Dwaita Samskaras for the achievement of Adwaita Tatva Anubhava. The end pinnacle of all such Vidyas, is the Dahara Vidya in which, the Paramatma Tatva of illimitable space is seen within the space of the individual heart! In this Upaishad, many intricate and subtle Tatvas are conveyed through interesting short stories. There is the story of Brhma Gnani Raigvar, whose behaviour and actions seeminly are at variance with his very exalted stage, like some of the monks of Tao. There is the story of Gowthama, the Rishi, who is recruiting students in his Gurukula. The students one by one are giving their formal introduction, listing the names of the first three Rishis, listing his Gothra, and details of the branch of the Veda that he is required to do Adhyayana and finally his given name. There is one boy, whose name is Sathyakama, but he does not know the other details. He says so. The Guru admits him as a student and a brahmin; on the grounds of his being truthful. Before starting tution however, the teacher holds many tests for the boy Sathyakama. The Guru's wife herself speaks in support of the poor boy, bringing before our eyes a realistic picture of the occurrences of those days. More than anything else, it shows that in the days of yore, casteism was not such a liability on the society, as it is made out to be. It also shows how, the woman Guru Pathni, had a say not only in the matters of the house-hold, but also in the running of Gurukula. She simply had the freedom to express her opinion!

254. There was Swetaketu, another Brhmachari, who had head weight that he was learned. His Father Uddalaka Aaruni goes to much efforts in bringing down his son's pride. Then finally the Mahavakya of Sama Veda occurs in this Upanishad, "...tat tvam asi...", meaning, "...You are That...". This Upanishad also contains the incident in which, the well informed Narada Maharishi, the author of Bakthi Suthras, bemoans the fact that he has not got the knowledge of the Brhmam. Sanat Kumara fills in this important gap in his Gnana. Sanat Kumara advices him that, starting from the control and cleansing of the eating habits, one has to progress to the 'Antahkarana Suddhi' or inner cleanliness. Then only all the binding knots will ease off enabling the individual to experience the Paramanandam.

255. One more story of Chandokya Upanishad is worth mentioning. It shows how, even when the teaching is the same, understanding is dependent on the maturity and perspective of the reciepient student. Guru is Prajapathi. Students are, Deva Raja Indra and Asura Raja Virochana. The advice is, "...with what the eye sees is the Atma...". He was indirectly pointing out that, 'which is the eye of the eye, ear of the ear; the background power of existance'. They both see the reflections of their own image in the mirror and decide that, to be the Atma. Virochana, decides that the body is the Atma. From that evolves, agnosticism, materialism and all other, only-this-one-life-attitude of the Asuras. Though Indra also thinks similarly, he resorts to some more analysis on the lines of Sthula Sarira, Sukshma Sarira, Karana Sarira to Atma. Sthula Sarira is the Gross body, a combination of Annamaya and Pranamaya Kosa; Sukshma Sarira is a mix of Vignanamaya and Gnanamaya Kosas and the Karana Sarira is the Causal body, a blend of Gnanamaya and Anandamya Kosas(the latterKosas or spheres of the Thaithreeya Upanishad). Thus Indra arrives at the conclusion that the Atma is something like the 'Turiyam' of the Mandukyopanishad.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

256. This is the last of the ten. Brihad means big. Brihad Easwarar is the Big God of the Tanjore Big Temple! Biggest of the Upanishads is the Brihadaranyakam. Normally, Upanishads occur at the end of Aranyakam. contrary to this, Easawasyopanishad occurs as part of Sukla Yajus
Samhitai. In the same Sukla Yajus, instead of being a part of the Aranyakam, Brihad forms the whole Aranyakam! Once again there are two versions of the same Upanishad; one of the Madhyantina sakai and the other of the Kanva sakai. Adi Sankara has written his comments only for the latter. In this there are six chapters. First two are Madhu Kandam or sub-part. Next two in the name of Rishi Yagnavalkya, are known as Muni Kandam. The Last two are known as Kila Kandam. We will see more about Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad in particular and message of all the Upanishad's in general, in the next e-mail!

(To be continued.)




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