Upanishad | Mundak
|Chapter 2-Canto 2|
[Taken from "Wisdom of the Ancient Sages: Mundak Upanishad / by Swami Rama. Honesdale, PA, The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA. 1990.]
Chapter 2-Canto 2
Those who are not disciplined, do not understand the systematic way of contemplating of that Almighty, so that can neither meditate nor focus their mind, and thus cannot know the Inner Self. Since this Self is formless that is why it is difficult for a seeker to meditate upon Him. Without name and form He is in the power of minutest particle we can ever imagine, at the same time pervades in the whole Universe also. Verse 4 of Eesh Upanishad says - "The Self is One and unmoving, swifter than the mind."
Aatmaa (soul) is identical to this Brahm (the Inner Self). The nature of Aatmaa can be perceived by the eyes of inner mind. It causes the movement yet it does not move itself. Eesh Upanishad explains it - "Mind is faster than the light and yet Aatmaa is faster than the mind. This means that no matter how fast the mind runs, Aatmaa being all-pervading is already there."
Brahm is the nucleus, and the Universe is His expansion, in the same way Aatmaa is the nucleus of individual life. The mind, intellect, senses and Praan, which function according to His guidance, are His creations. A seeker should follow the path of concentration and meditation in a systematic way as a scientist conducts his experiment in his laboratory. Blind faith misleads the seeker, while reasoned faith and a mind a intellect that are purified through spiritual discipline take him to many higher levels which are not normally known to people with ordinary minds. And there is no other way to know Him except the path of concentration and meditation. In concentration the intellect is sharpened; in meditation the mind united with intellect focuses its efforts to know Him - which means with devotion with reverence.
Many students uselessly waste their time trying to argue that Bhakti is higher than Karm, or Karm is higher than Bhakti. Karm is definitely inferior to Bhakti, but selfless Karm, practiced as a worship is a part of Bhakti.
There is no mystery in this word for those who have studied scriptures under the guidance of a learned preceptor and who have practiced the method of Vichaar (unifying concentration) and Dhyaan (meditation) to make their mind focused and inward. AUM is considered as a Setu (bridge) between the shores. When the individual soul leaves the body, there is a period of transition during which the Jeev has to be all alone wandering here and there. Utter darkness and loneliness are experienced by him during that period, and there is no one to lead him at that time. Constant remembrance of AUM is the only help at hand. Besides, at the time of death, when the body, breath, and conscious mind fail; when there is complete isolation and separation from the external world, groove made by the constant Jaap of AUM is the only help at hand. Thus this AUM works as bridge between this shore of this world and the other world, the life hereafter.
Who have practiced thus remain free from the fear of death because they have already built a bridge which others have not been able to do.
Preceptor guides the student that there is only one single knowledge - the knowledge of Brahm; and there is only one thing he should talk about - Brahm. He may be advised to participate in Satsang which means the company of sages, conversation with sages and never discuss about worldly things. For all seekers it is unhealthy to talk too much, this preserves their energy through foolish speech and be always busy in pleasant talks - about Brahm.
Since Aatmaa is the inmost dweller of all living beings, all seekers should focus their mind only on this Aatmaa not on other fine or finer forces, or bright colors, or lights flashing from the domain of Aatmaa. Many times during meditation, when one elementary becomes predominant, its influence on the mind creates illusory visions in the form of different lights, colors and forms. They just don't mean anything, nor are they spiritual experiences, so they should be discarded. Besides all the experiences from the psychic world are inferior to spiritual experiences.
Only the real knowledge of the Real Self gives the strength to gain freedom from the delusion created by A-Vidyaa. By knowing the Real Self, one can gain freedom from the cycles of birth and death and go beyond these two deep habits - the habit of the body is death , and the habit of the mind for desires causes birth. To break these two habits the knowledge of Brahm is necessary.
There are two forces that are experienced on the journey to the Absolute. One is ascending force, while the other is descending force. In ascending force the seeker must make sincere efforts, and in descending force the grace flows freely to those who have accomplished their task sincerely with all their mind, speech, and action. We actually receive grace from four sources. The first three are grace of God, the grace of Guru, and the grace of your scripture that you believe in. The fourth kind of grace is the grace of the Self. In it one's own conscience approves one's actions, speech and thoughts and he feels joy all over.
Yog science explains it in a precise manner. The Anahat Chakra (wheel), the heart center, has its location between the upper and lower hemispheres of the body, each of which contains three Chakra. Practices involving Anahat Chakra are always recommended to control Bhava, which means to balance emotional life as well as the problem of inertia or sleep. If a beginner is not yet competent to meditate on this Chakra, he experiences sleep-like inertia or dozes.
The Upanishad are expressed in a precise, poetic and symbolic language so they cannot be understood by ordinary people, thus this is an earnest duty of the preceptor to explain the deep meaning of the contents therein. The city of life, that is the city of Brahm, is like a fortress with a very strong external outermost wall made up of five Tattwa - earth, water, fire, air and space. Its inner wall, the second wall, is created by Indriyaan (senses). Still another inner wall, the third wall, is created by thoughts, desires and emotions. At the gate of this fortress of life, the two Praan (breaths) - inhalation and exhalation, remain on guard constantly defending the city of life. While the innermost wall, the fourth wall, is created by our Sanskaar that hold the attachments and pleasure-seeking desires.
When the mind is purified, clarity is attained. Only such a mind is capable of receiving the vision of Brahm, in which there is no smoke, no darkness, and no death.
The student should understand three aspects of Karm or three effects of Karm - Praarabdh, Sanchit and Aagaamee. (1) Praarabdh refers to those Karm which are the results of those Karm that one has already performed in the present or previous lives. Such actions begin to germinate bearing fruits in this lifetime. (2) Sanchit refers to those Karm which are stored for the future to bear fruits. (3) Aagaamee refers to those Karm whose fruits will be enjoyed in future lives. An example can better explain it. An archer has already shot some arrows are called Praarabdh Karm; the arrows which are still in his hands to be shot are called Sanchit Karm; while the arrows which are still in his quiver are called Aagaamee Karm.
Unless a person has realized Brahm, the law of Karm keeps creating whirlpool for the human being. After realization of Brahm all Karm and their binding effects are destroyed but the past Karm and their fruits, until they are exhausted through enjoyment or sufferings do affect even the realized ones. Thus unless the Praarabdh, past Karm and their effects, are exhausted, total freedom is impossible.
Renunciates say, however, that even the effects of the past Karm can also be destroyed by lighting the fire of knowledge. It is still a matter of debate but the law of Karm seems to be inevitable.
But when these coverings are removed then only we can see the light clearly. The light of Aatmaa, full of brilliance, helps the Buddhi to function. That is why Buddhi is able to discriminate, decide and judge. It also helps Manas (mind) to function inside and outside the body. Because of their power, the two Praan (breaths) constantly guard the city of life, and because of the support of Aatmaa, the five elements (earth, fire, air, water and space) compose the body.
END OF CHAPTER 2, CANTO 2
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 06/09/11