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26-Sanatsujaat's Preaching in MBH-3
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3. Gyaan Yog - Knowledge of Self
Dhritraashtra said - "O Sanatsujaat, you have been telling me about the various means of attaining Brahm, whois the highest goal of human life, in words which are very lofty conveying many meanings. It is very difficult even to get an opportunity to hear these in this world of objects. Please tell me now about Brahm itself.

Sanatsujaat said - "O King, this Brahm about whom you are asking me with such eagerness cannot be attained by a person who is in a hurry. This knowledge is to be meditated upon by the intellect wherein the cogitating mind has been withdrawn from all external objects and has become fixed on the Self. The knowledge of that uncaused Truth is beyond this unreal universe. It can be attained only by the wise who practice Brahmcharya. On attaining that, one sheds the notion of being a mere mortal. This knowledge reposes in one to whom it has been imparted by his Guru. Those who approach a Guru in the prescribed manner, become his disciples and serve him, become learned in the scriptures in this world itself. Then, by the practice of reflection and contemplation they attain the Supreme Being who is of the nature of Truth when they cast off their bodies on the exhaustion of their Praarabdh Karm. They conquer all desires in this world itself. Constantly practicing the state of identifying themselves with Brahm with determination, they separate the Self from their body.

O Bharat, the father and mother give you this body which is not real (but only Mithyaa). The birth from the Guru as Brahm which is existence-consciousness-bliss is real and it is immortal. He (the Aachaarya) leads the disciple to the attainment of Brahm who is immortal. The disciple should never do any harm to his Aachaarya and should always respect him knowing that what very great good he has done to him. The disciple learns one-fourth from the Guru, one-fourth by his own effort, one-fourth by discussion with his co-disciples, and one-fourth by the efflux of time. The practice of Brahmcharya culminates in the realization of identity with Brahm only by the grace of the Guru."

Sanatsujaat continues, "O Kshatriya, By means of Karm people attain only the impermanent worlds such as those of the gods and the manes. By knowledge the enlightened person attains that eternal effulgence which is the supreme Self. There is no other path to it. Regarding the form of that immortal, imperishable, Supreme Being whom the enlightened person realizes as also the means thereof."

Sanatsujaat states that the Supreme Being does not appear as white, or red, or black, or bright, or smoky, because it has no color. It is neither on the earth nor in the sky. Nor does it reside in the ocean with a body made up of the five elements. It is not seen in the Rig Ved or the Yajur Ved or the Atharv Ved or in the pure Saam Ved. It is seen in the Self of the person who practices the great vows described earlier. It can never be negated. It is beyond ignorance. At the time of Pralaya (the Great Deluge) the universe merges into it. It is subtler than the subtlest and bigger than the mountain. This entire universe shines (appears) only because of the light of this Brahman. The knower of the Self sees it through the Yog of Gyaan. All this universe is established in it. Those who know it become immortal.

4. Description of Brahm
Now, Brahm, the object of Gyaan Yog, is beautifully painted by the Artist Sanatsujaat. The line "yoginaah tam prapashyanti bhagavantam sanaatanam" (the Yogee realize this Brahm as the Eternal Lord) recurs at the end of each stanza in this section. Those who practice Gyaan Yog realize the eternal Lord (Brahm) who is pure, supreme effulgence, resplendent, and supreme glory itself. The gods worship Him. The sun shines because of Him.

From the same pure Brahm, Hiranyagarbh is born. This Hiranyagarbh grows into Virat. That pure Brahm shines by its own luminosity. It does not need to be illumined by the Sun and other luminaries, but it is what enables them to shine. The Yogee realize this Brahm. From the Supreme Self who is not limited by time, space and other objects, emerges the Jeev who is also declared by the wise to be unlimited, being identical with the Supreme Self. When the Jeev who is associated with the subtle and gross bodies realizes that he is separate from those bodies, he remains as the Supreme Self which is non-dual, infinite, consciousness, and bliss.

Just as space accommodates everything, just as the River Gangaa has waves, so also the entire universe of movables and immovable’s arises from Brahm and merges in Brahm. The body of the wise man is his chariot. With the help of this chariot he attains to the effulgent Being who is beyond old age and death. The horses of the chariot (in the form of the senses) take him to the world of light. There is nothing comparable to the form of this Supreme Being. None can see Him with his eyes, because He is within, as the Self. He can be known only through the heart and the intellect. He who knows this Supreme Being as identical with his own Self becomes immortal. The group of twelve, namely, the five organs of sense, the five organs of action, mind and intellect, are restless and are protected by the Lord. They go after their respective objects which are like honey to them. Because of this they are the cause of transmigration. Therefore the organs, the mind and intellect should be withdrawn from external objects and concentrated on the Self.

The bee collects honey during six months of the year and consumes it during the remaining six months. Similarly the Jeev experiences the results of his Karm performed in the present birth in his next birth. The Lord has created food (all worldly joys and sorrows) for all beings which they get according to their Karm. The wingless beings, ie, the ignorant human beings, who are devoid of the wing of knowledge of the Self, dwell on the Peepal tree whose leaves are agreeable and beautiful, and that is how they revel in worldly pleasures. Then, when they are born in bodies which are conducive to spiritual advancement, they attain knowledge of the Self and are liberated.

Apaan Vaayu is merged in Praan Vaayu. Praan Vaayu is merged in the Moon, ie, the mind. The Moon (mind) is merged in the Sun (intellect), and the Sun (intellect) is merged in the Supreme Brahm. Hans (swan - the one who destroys A-Vidyaa along with its effects), ie, the Supreme Being although is beyond this universe which is made up of the elements and all created bodies, is also in the universe in the form of Jeev. If not, there would be no Jeev, no Sansaar, no death, and no immortality.

That non-dual Existence-consciousness-Bliss, the indwelling Self of all, who is infinite, the Supreme Being, transmigrates (apparently) with the subtle body of the size of one’s thumb as the limiting adjunct. Those devoid of discrimination, who identify themselves with their two bodies (gross and subtle) do not see that Lord who rules over every one, who is worthy of worship, who appears as all beings, and who is resplendent. Just as snakes come out of their holes, kill men with their poisonous bite and go back and hide in their holes, so also, the senses, going out to their respective objects which are like poison, destroy the man. He becomes deluded by the sense-objects and continues in the trans-migratory cycle. They do not see the Supreme Being because of the delusion, but the Yogee can see Him.

The same Aatmaa dwells in those who have acquired control of the senses, control of the mind and the other requisites for a spiritual aspirant, as well as in those who have not acquired these. The Aatmaa is the same whether you are in the state of bondage or in the state of liberation. Those who have acquired these qualities attain the Supreme Bliss that is Brahm.

Brahm who is infinite bliss pervades this world as well as the other world. By the attainment of the knowledge of the Self, the result of Agnihotra (fire-sacrifice) is attained even without the performance of the sacrifice, ie, the results of all rituals are attained by the knowledge of the Self alone. But it is not the mere transient result of rituals that is attained by knowledge but one realizes the Supreme Brahm as one’s own Self. Brahm is known as Pragyaanaam or Consciousness. The Shruti says "Pragyaanaam Brahm" ie. such a person who knows that he is the Self who is pure consciousness and infinite, remains as Brahm. One who always identifies himself with the Reality (Brahm) remains as Brahm. There is no death for him. When there is no death, where is the question of immortality? All that has empirical reality is superimposed on Brahm, the only Reality, like illusory silver on a shell. Both the empirical and the illusory have the Reality as substratum.

The indwelling Self, of the size of the thumb, resides in the heart. It cannot be seen in its real nature as non-dual Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. It is unborn and is the Self of all the moving and unmoving. The wise man knows it by negating the five sheaths by constant meditation day and night. He then becomes fulfilled. From it originates air and merges in it. Fire, Som, Praan, are born from it. It is the support of all. It is immortal. It is all the worlds. It is Brahman. It is glory. All beings are born from it and merge in it.

The pure Brahm supports Jeev, Eeshwar, Earth, Heaven, the directions and the whole universe. From it flow the directions, rivers and the mighty oceans. Even if one has thousands of wings and has the speed of the mind, one will not be able to reach the end of the Cause of the universe. The form of this Being is beyond sight. Those with well illumined minds see Him. The wise man, who is free from attachment, aversion, etc, realizes Him in his mind. Those who know Him become immortal. He who sees this Self in all bodies, what sorrow will he have thereafter?

For the knower of Brahm there is no need for anything else in the world, just as there is no need to go about in search of water when the reservoirs are full. "I myself am your mother, father, as well as son. I am the Self of all that exists and all that exists not. O Bhaarat, I am the old grandsire, father and son. You are all mine as the Self. Again, you are not mine, nor am I yours.”

The apparently contradictory statements are to be understood in the same manner as in Bhagvad Geetaa, Ch. 9, Verses 4 and 5. From the point of view of Absolute Reality there is none other than Brahm and so there are no relationships at all. But from the empirical point of view all these exist. The Aatmaa is my support. Everything is born from the Aatmaa. I am the warp and woof of the world. I am established in my own glory which is devoid of birth and death. I am birthless and always active and untiring. Knowing me the wise one remains in bliss. I am subtler than the subtlest. I am the auspicious - free from aversion, pride, envy, grief, delusion, etc., and of the nature of non-dual Brahman which is pure consciousness, existence, and bliss. I am the father of all beings – Sat Chit Aanand.

It would be observed from the foregoing conversation between the King and the Sage that it started with an enquiry into the mystery of death but ended with an explanation on the meaning of life and immortality of one’s own nature. What a change of focus had been brought about by the Guru - from the Unreal to the Real, from Ignorance to Light and from the Ephemeral to the Eternal, echoing the Upanishadik Prayer:

OM, Asato Maa Sadgamaya | Tamaso Maa Jyotirgamaya ||
Mrityormaa Amritam Gamaya | OM, Shaantih, Shaantih, Shaantih ||
Om, Lead Me From Unreal To Real, From Darkness To Light, From Death To Immortality, Om Peace Peace Peace!



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 03/24/12