Sri Sankara says “Jnanadeva tu kaivalyam” knowledge alone results in liberation. He is the propagator of the Kevala Advaita or absolute non dualism which says that formless Brahman alone exists, all the rest are Maya. But again the very same Sankara sang thrilling devotional hymns on various deities in the Hindu pantheon.
There is great importance of true dispassion in the realm of spirituality. It is the cardinal divine trait that brings forth radical inner transformation in life. True dispassion is synonymous with divine love, Self realization, God realization, attainment of peace and tranquility, experience of real bliss or repose, effacement of the ego, real freedom etc. The most vital point to be remembered in spiritual life is that true dispassion is the eternal inseparable nature of the Self or atman.
Jiva is by its very nature an inseparable part of God. It commits the greatest blunder of forgetting this divine relationship with God and dumps itself in the sewage of the world thereby suffering terribly in that process. Though it never loses its divine peace which reigns supreme safely in its heart, the experience of that transcendental peace is forgotten for the time being.
Man leads a life of struggle and strife in this merciless mundane world. Numerous are the hardships that he has to endure to eke out a living. Inspite of all these conflicts that make life here insipid there is something that makes life sweet and worth living. What is that thing that lends its inherent sweetness to life and gives us hope to live? The answer is spirituality and spiritual aspiration.
In this world man suffers untold hardships to eke out a living. Right from cradle to coffin he has to pass through tremendous suffering and miseries including disappointments, diseases, bereavements etc. Life seems to be a constant struggle. Desires, cravings, urges, anxieties and worries destroy the much sought after peace and pollute the mind. Man seems to be toy of fate. There is no such thing as security in human life. The snares of Maya trap worldly people and cause great suffering to them.
A lot of people discuss and debate over the word Advaita or Non-Dualism. But only a few actually know the deep meaning and implication of the word. Let us analyze this word in detail. What is Advaita? Advaita in simple words mean ‘only one; not two (not plural). It means that only one absolute consciousness exists here. Nothing besides that pure consciousness exists.
In the spiritual world we profess to achieve Self realization. We hope to attain liberation in the future. We believe that by our sadhana we can achieve realization in the near future. All these beliefs and aspirations are due to our wrong notion that Self realization will happen in the future. Then what is the reality?
In mundane life, the intellect is regarded as a great boon. People who are intelligent score high marks and achieve great success in life. They are rewarded and honoured for their achievements. They command respect from everyone. But is this faculty of intellect which is so useful in mundane affairs useful in spirituality?
Every being is composed of two components; the changeless self and the ever changing inert matter (consisting of the karana sharira, sookshma sharira and the sthoola sharira). Of these the self is of the nature of constant awareness or being. It is eternal and changeless. It is the witness of all changes.
(Source: Voice of the Guru, Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadcarya’s Soundarya lahari, an exposition by Pujya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swami, 68th Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 2001)
Although maya and jnana, are opposed to each other, maya can be an instrument for jnana if senses and mind are involved in unsullied love and beauty. So pujas and hymns are prescribed so that we will be blissfully immersed in Amba’s remembrances. If our mind became one-pointed in this manner, it would be easy to engage ourselves in reflections that are necessary, part of jnana.
Man ceaselessly tries to be happy. He constantly puts in great efforts to be merry; yet he fails in his endeavor. What is the main reason for his repeated failures? Let us analyze this in detail.
A child is born; he passes his time in playing with toys and enjoys the company of his mother. He grows and reaches the age of adolescence. Now his main interest is his friends. Then he comes to the age of marriage. Now his major interest is his wife. Later he begets children and gets interested in them. Thus one’s main focus and interest shift from one thing to another, from one person to another.