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.
We lack the attitude of surrender and dedication to the lord whilst performing actions and receiving results. In our day to day transactions with the world , it is difficult to maintain the attitude of cheerful acceptance and it seems impossible to receive undesired and sorrow giving results with a smile . Why we are unable to do so and how can we strengthen this attitude?.
The only way forward for achieving the strength is to develop an attitude of Prasada Budhi. This is not only limited to temple but develop into work a day world thereby we can always maintain the attitude of a devotee. The truth that our relationship with the lord is primary and permanent and all others are secondary and impermanent has to be realized and understood. Our present experience seems to be right the opposite and we are trying to make ever-lasting relations in the never – lasting world and thereby casting a spell of sorrows for ourselves.
Man has an innate, spontaneous and direct experience of his own existence in the form of ‘I am’ . This self effulgent experience is constant awareness of one’s being. Even in deep sleep where all other knowledge is absent, the experience of one’s being continues without any break. One comes to know of this after awakening from sleep when one recollects that ‘ I slept soundly. I did not know anything’. All other knowledge varies. That is sometimes they are there and at other times they are not there. The relative knowledge of the world is there in the waking state. Another world of imagination is created in the dream state. While in deep sleep there is neither the relative world nor the imaginary world. All relative knowledge is absent in deep sleep state.
by Swami Ramsukhdas
translated by Anand.V
There are two things in this world, the ever attained and the illusory. That which is ever attained cannot be seen and that which is illusory is not stable. ‘one’s own existence - I am’- is ever attained; the reason being that in all states – in waking, dream, deep sleep, trance and fainting, one’s existence is not negated; it is ever present. But this existence cannot be seen (objectified). The body and the world which can be seen are illusory. They do not exist in reality. That which is ever attained cannot be destroyed. ‘That’ is attained by all, at all times. But that cannot be felt; it cannot be objectified. The world is seen through the eyes, but through which can the eyes be seen? Similarly through what can ‘that’ be seen which is aware of everything, which is the substratum of everything, and which is the illuminator of all? (Brihadaranyaka 2, 4, 14) Just as, that by which the world is seen is the eye, similarly the existence on which the world seems to appear, or the substratum that illuminates the world, is the Paramatma tatva (that which is ever attained).
Sri Sankara says jnanadeva tu kaivalyam ‘only through knowledge one attains liberation.’ What is this knowledge? What sort of knowledge is it?
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
‘Brahman the absolute, alone was; nothing else was, there was no object. And ‘It’ knew ‘Itself’ alone’. That knowledge of the absolute, when ‘It’ alone was is the object of Brahmavidya
The divine sermon of the Gita, as it emanated from the mouth of the Lord Himself, begins with the following verses (Gita chapter 2 verse 12):
“In fact there was never a time when I was not, or when you or these kings were not. Nor is it a fact that here after we shall all cease to be”.