Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.
Meaning: If an ignorant person says that there is prarabdham even after realization.
It will lead to two absurdities. It is will contradict scriptures.
Explanation: we have seen an explanation in the earlier slokas by sankarabhagavdpada , that prarabdham cannot be there for a jeevan mukta. In this sloka he explains the consequences of assuming that prarabdham to be there for jeevan mukta.
We may have a question as to what happens if prarabdham is there for a jeevan mukta, or if a person through analysis draws conclusion that prarabdham is there for jeevan mukta.
This is answered in this sloka.
Considering prarabdham for a realized soul , would lead us to wrong absurd conditions.
If we consider prarabdham for a jeevan mukta , then it means that a person after realization would know Brahman and also have actions to performs i.e prarabdham due to vasanas from previous births. This means a person sees duality after realization. Our scriptures talk about non-duality. As a person having prarabdham karma should exhaust his karma through the body, though mind and intellect. It means he has body, mind and intellect. This means for him all the external objects of the world exist. This proves he is seeing duality everywhere. This hence contradicts the state of scriptures that there is only entity alone.
In aitreya upanishad
Atma Idameka evagra asit naanyat kinchana mishat
Here one entity alone exists and there is no duality whatsoever
In chandogya Upanishad it says
Sadeva soumya idam agra aseet, ekam eva adviteeyam. There is only one entity, that exists one without a second.
So all the scriptural statements will be wrong, If we consider prarabdham to be present for a jeevan mukta.
Another erroneous conclusion that would drawn would be, that a jeevan mutka would perceive many things apart from Brahman. This means that after realization a person has knowledge of Brahman and also external objects. But as per “Mundaka Upanishad “ it is said that “Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati.” .Meaning a person who knows Brahman will become Brahman alone. Meaning he becomes one with everything. If he perceives many objects how can he be Brahman. As he is perceiving duality, how can he exist in a state of non-duality?
Thus there will ambiguous statements drawn , contradicting the scriptures, incase we consider prarabdham to be present for a jeevan mukta.
Meaning: I shall teach 15 steps, practicing which one will attain liberation that was mentioned in the earlier slokas.
Explanation: When a student approaches a guru , for knowledge as mentioned in 4th chapter of gita.
tad viddhi pranipatena ,pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam, jnaninas tattva-darsinah
He does seva for the guru, follows the instructions of the guru and then the Guru imparts him knowledge, about ultimate truth, knowing which there is nothing else to be known.
This is called paroksha jnaanam. Paroksha means indirect. So once a student gets indirect knowledge of the truth from the guru, he strives hard to make it aparoksha Jnaanam meaning , this own intuitive experience. Sankarabhagavadpada till now has provided the paroksha jnaanam of the self, the not self, through various examples, illustrations.
He has explained the sadhana chatustayam a pupil should inculcate inorder to apprehend the truth. His mind gets purified after gaining the said qualification .Only a purified mind can apprehend the truth. With a purified mind a person through discrimination i.e nitya anitya vasthu vivekam , negates the not-self from the self. He understands that world is illusion and through “neti”, “neti” he negates anatman. After that he has to constantly focus on the truth ,which is called niddhidhyasanam. As said in atma bodha.
Parichinna iva ajnaanat, tannashe sati kevalah
Swayam prakashate hi atma, megha apaye anshuman iva
The self seems to be limited due to ignorance, once the clouds of ignorance I removed the sun of atman itself illumines.
We all know that once a person understand or apprehends and implements the import of the statement “Brahma satyam, jagath mithya, jeevo brahmaiva na parah” he will be realized. So till now sankarabhagavad pada has made us understand through lot of analogies “jagath mithya” i.e. world is an illusion .That we are not body and the self is ever present .Only when we develop this strong conviction that names and forms are just illusion in the substratum of Brahman. We are no more deluded by anything in the world. Happiness and sorrow resulting out of our day to day actions will not impact us, as we know that world is temporary so are also the experiences and the only permanent entity is Brahman , of the nature of bliss or poornandam which alone will give us eternal bliss. We will be ever focused in the attaining the state of liberation. Thus a pupil through paroksha jnaanam develops strong conviction about the truth and is ready to strive for aparokshaanubhti. One achieves aparokshaanubhava only through niddhidhyasanam. Thus through the slokas till now, sankarabhagavadpada, makes a student capable enough to have intuitive experience of the self.
So inorder to attain the state of liberation, which has been discussed in earlier slokas, the author is the coming slokas would explain the 15 steps a sadhaka should practice without fail inorder to do niddhidhyasanam and slowly attaining the state of liberation, where contemplation is natural and a person is ever established in atman. Being a very compassion Guru Sankarabhagavadpada, lays down the 15 steps for us for niddhidhyasanam. A person who has strong desire to get liberated this very moment and always be in a state of eternal bliss, would ardently follow the steps prescribed by him.
Sloka 101 :
Meaning: If not practiced constantly, one cannot attains the state of Brahman. Hence a sadhaka should always do niddhidhyasanam.
Explanation: The spiritual path consists of 3 steps. Sravanam, mananam and nidhhidhyasanam. Initially when a student approaches the guru, the guru teaches him. Thus a student listens about Brahman from the Guru. This is called sravanam. After that the student, analysis whatever he has learnt, using his own intellect. This is called mananam. Through mananam a person’s intellect becomes strong. All his doubts of world being an illusion are removed. His conviction of Brahman being the only truth becomes stronger. Thus mananam prepares the ground for nidhhidhyasanam. So once the person is completely convinced of the truth, inorder to realize whatever he believes in, he should constant contemplation as Krishna says in 4th chapter.
sraddhavan labhate jnanam , tat-parah samyatendriyah jnanam labdhva param santim ,acirenadhigacchati
A person who has faith attains the knowledge and after subduing the senses, attains the state of liberation.
He also says
na hi jnanena sadrsam ,pavitram iha vidyate tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah ,kalenatmani vindati
There is nothing more pure than self knowledge in this world. One who has this knowledge in due course of time attains the self.
So having attained the knowledge , to get aparokshaanubhuti which is the main purpose of this work, sankarabhagavadpada says one should constantly contemplate on the truth of “Brahma satyam, jagath mithya” . Always ascertaining himself that Brahman alone exists here , one without a second and there is nothing whatsoever .
As mentioned by Krishna in 12th chapter
mayy avesya mano ye mam ,nitya-yukta upasate sraddhaya parayopetas ,te me yuktatama matah
A person whose mind Is always fixed in me, Who is always steadfast in me, He is considered to be perfect by me.
He also says thus
Mayy eva mana adhatsva, mayi buddhim nivesaya nivasisyasi mayy eva ,ata urdhvam na samsayah
Always fix your mind me, engage all your activites in me. Thus u will ever be in me.
Thus we should always , through all actions contemplate on the ultimate truth. Whatever actions we do we should offer it the lord .This is niddhidhyasanam.
As Krishna says in 9th chapter
yat karosi yad asnasi ,yaj juhosi dadasi yat yat tapasyasi kaunteya, tat kurusva mad-arpanam
Do all activities as an offering to me and thereby make your mind always fixed onto me.
From the next sloka , the author explains the steps , to be followed to attain moksha in this very birth.
Sloka 102 & 103:
Meaning: Yama, Niyama, tyaga, mounam,desha,Kala, aasan,mulabandha, dehasamya, driksthiti
Pranasamyama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyanam, Samadhi are the successive steps.
Explanation: Being a compassionate Guru, sanakarabhagavadpada mentions 10 steps in this slokas. When we see a jeevan mukta, ever blissful, no matter in whatever situation he is in .He always rejoices as said in bhajagovindam as “nandati nandati nandati eva” . We may be awestruck, how/he she has attained such a state. We would be wondering, whether we shall ever be in that state of eternal bliss. To answer all these questions , the author lays down the path to be tread for niddhidhyasanam. If anyone follows these steps sincerely, one help in constant contemplation. The jeevan muktas, who impart this knowledge to us, themselves are the testimony to the truth, if anyone follows the steps , they will attain moksha this very birth.
All the steps mentioned here by sankarabhagavadpada in the coming slokas are terms commonly used in yoga sastra or patanjali astanga yoga like yama, niyama etc. But the steps mentioned here by the author are completely different to the astanga yoga. The astanga yoga by patanjali, emphasizes on controlling the body, prana etc. But as per advaita Vedanta, the focus is on Brahman and not the body, as the atman is the only reality. So through all these 8 sadhanas one tries to get focus on Brahman inorder to do niddhidhyasanam.
Before we discuss the 10 steps mentioned in this path, We should know that sankarabhagavadpada angas are different from what was preached by panini. We shall try to understand how each anga is different from the astanga yoga in coming slokas.
So the 15 steps sankarabhagavadpada spoke about here are.
1) Yama – control of sense organs. 2) Niyama –control of mind 3) tyagam – renunciation 4) mounam – silence 5) deshah – space 6) kalam – time 7) asanam – posture 8) mula bandham – controlling anus 9)deha-samya – holding steady body 10) drksthitih – steadiness of gaze 11) pranasamyama – controlling prana 12) pratyahara – withdrawal of mind 13) dharana – continuous reflection 14) atma dhyanam – contemplation 15) samadhi – total absorption.
Seven out of the 15 steps mentioned seem similar to astanga yoga. But we need to remember here that , the author’s explanation of the implementation for nidhhidhyasanam is different to the yoga sadhana’s.
So in the coming slokas we shall see each of the steps of niddhidhyasanam being explained by the author in detail.