Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampatti and Mumukshutva
effort should be made to hold on to what may be called 'Brahmic
Consciousness' - that we are Brahman, we are Existence-Knowledge-Bliss
Absolute. We should always be conscious of 'Consciousness'.
We must be aware of our inherent divine nature. We must try
to live continuously in tune with our real eternal Self. If
we do not, then there is every possibility of our mind being
assailed by various kinds of temptations and distractions
of the outer world. Not to dwell on the plane of Atman means
that we live in our inferior self.
are not concerned with the vast majority of mankind who do
not bother to know about their Real Self. We are concerned
with the real seekers of Truth, genuine aspirants after liberation.
Such aspirants should never be slack in their spiritual efforts.
They must have what is called 'Brahma Nishtha'. If they do
not have it, then again they are likely to be covered by Ignorance.
Let us hear what the Vivekachudamani says on this point in
na tisthati |
v'api paran-mukham ||
As sedge, even if removed, does not stay away for a moment
but covers the water again, so Maya or nescience also covers
even a wise man, if he is averse to meditation on the Self.
is also a very very important point. As moss, even if removed
from the face of water does not stand away even for a moment,
but closes up to cover the placid surface of the water, so
also, if we are careless, Maya or nescience will cover up
our mind. Even a wise man, it is pointed out, cannot escape
the clutches of Mahamaya if he is not alert. The point that
is emphasised here by Sankaracharya is that if we want to
reach the supreme goal, we must be introverts and not extroverts.
Many may have a conventional type of religion. But that is
not genuine spirituality, which is not meant for one and all.
There cannot be any kind of mass spirituality. It is for the
chosen few. As it is said in the third verse of Chapter 7
of Bhagavad Gita:
yatati siddhaye |
mam vetti tattvatah ||
Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection,
and of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me
those who have some inherent good tendencies hear the call
of the highest Self, and we are concerned here only with such
people. Once we hear the call, we must be ever vigilant, ever-careful.
As Sankaracharya says in Vivekachudamani verse 325:
cyutam syad yadi cittam isad
sannipatet tatastatah |
pracyuta keli kantukah
patito yatha tatha ||
If the mind ever so slightly strays away from the ideal and
becomes outgoing, then it goes down and down, just as a playing-ball
inadvertently dropped on a staircase bounces down from one
step to another.
the same way, if the mind strays away from the highest ideal
even a little, it goes down and down. And once deflected,
it is very very difficult to bring it back to the point from
where it started. Then what is the remedy? Along with Vairagya
(detachment), we must have Brahma Nishtha. To reach the goal
supreme, we are asked to become introverts; that means we
must withdraw the mind from everything that is non-Atman.
But if it is to be withdrawn from everything that is non-Atman,
there must be something positive before us, as the mind cannot
remain in a vacuum without an object. Therefore, by mere detachment
alone we won't be able to solve our problems. Along with detachment,
we must have something positive to hold on to. So, it has
been said in verse 374 of Vivekachudamani:
vijanihi vicaksana tvam |
vina n'anyatarena siddhyati ||
Learned one! Know that Vairagya and Bodha (true understanding)
are two means, like the two wings of a bird. The ascent to
the upper storey of the palace of Vimukti (liberation) is
not secured by either of them singly.
bird cannot soar in the sky with one wing alone, it needs
two wings. Similarly, if we are after liberation, then we
need two things - Vairagya and Bodha. Bodha here means Brahma
Nishtha. Both are necessary, if we want to reach the highest
goal, which is like a flight to the Infinite. For this we
must be fully equipped, not only with Vairagya or dispassion
for things mundane, but we must also cultivate Bodha or constant
attunement to our real nature. Only then can we hope for success.
Thus we can have a practical formula. What is that practical
formula? No doubt, we need Vairagya. We have to be convinced
of the utterly deceitful nature of this world. Anything of
this world cannot make us really happy. Abiding peace, lasting
happiness, we can never hope to get from the pursuit of anything
mundane. Therefore, we must practise introspection and try
to withdraw the mind from the external world. We need Vairagya,
but along with Vairagya, we need real Sadhana (practice).
must be ever conscious that this life is transitory and of
short duration, and that one day we are surely going to die.
No one is going to accompany us, not even our nearest and
dearest relatives. It is only when such thoughts come to our
mind that we would become serious and seek guidance from the
scriptures and a genuine teacher to provide us with a Sadhana
- a way of spiritual practice for attaining our goal. So Vairagya
plus spiritual practice would lead us to the Goal Supreme.
Both are necessary. It is often found that after getting direction
from a teacher, an aspirant at first begins spiritual practice
with great enthusiasm and eagerness. But as days and months
pass by, that initial urge for spiritual unfoldment evaporates
and fizzles out, so to say. Only those who keep up the original
fervour, can reach the goal. This fervour will be kept up
only if we have strong aspiration for liberation, which is
technically known as Mumukshutvam.
this point here is another important guideline given by Sankaracharya
in verse 29 of Viveka-chudamani:
yasya tu vidyate |
Only in the case of him, whose renunciation and yearning for
freedom are intense, do calmness and the other practices really
things of the world are totally unreal. Unless we grow genuine
dispassion for things of this world, we cannot achieve Moksha.
The first important prerequisite is real Vairagya, but that
is not all. To illustrate the point, take a table. It has
four legs. Consider one leg as Viveka (discrimination), another
as Vairagya (dispassion), the third as Shatsampatti or the
aggregate of six virtues (namely, Sama, Dama, Titiksha, Uparati,
Shraddha and Samadhana), and the fourth as Mumukshutvam (desire
all the four legs of the table are in perfect position, the
table may tilt. That fourth leg is Mumukshutvam. So it is
said, only when one has the real desire for liberation, one's
Sadhana becomes effective or fruitful. Hence, if we do not
make progress in spiritual life, we can find the answer within:
'Am I serious about my spiritual life? Do I really hanker
after liberation?' Swami Vivekananda in one of his lectures
has said, 'Take care of the means, the end will take care
of itself.' What is the end? The end is spiritual perfection,
i.e., reaching the goal supreme. What are the means? They
are Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampatti and Mumukshurva. These
are experimented truths and those who practise them will reach
the goal. Therefore, we can say that our pilgrimage towards
this goal will become fruitful provided we have real Vairagya
and desire for liberation.
spiritual unfoldment, spiritual progress, does take place
in a heart, only if it is watered by Vairagya, then we are
to plough it also. Suppose we are to water a field for cultivation;
simple watering will not do. We have to avoid by all means
any kind of double movement. Now, what does double movement
mean? The Lord has created us in such a way that our senses
have always a tendency to possess or enjoy the outside world.
But there are some people, intelligent people, who discriminate,
who are wide awake, who realise in their heart of hearts that
if they allow themselves to be drawn by different kinds of
allurements of this external world, they will not then be
able to reach the desired goal in this life; for, the senses
have a tendency to drag us out from our inner world to the
outer world. In our quest for the mundane, ephemeral so-called
pleasures of the world, we forget that the world is a world
of appearances and that it is not real. If we allow ourselves
to be deceived by the allurements of the world and at the
same time want to proceed along the spiritual path, we are
guilty of what may be called double movement. If we are serious
about our path towards the our final, lasting goal, then we
have to make the choice once and for all. Our line of thinking
should be in this manner: 'We have enjoyed the world in innumerable
births. In those we knew what sense pleasures mean. Should
we allow ourselves again to be cheated by this deceitful world?'
If we do not want to be cheated again, then we must make a
resolution to that effect and live according to that. If we
do not do that and try to proceed on our pilgrimage towards
the goal supreme, we are likely to yield to different kinds
of temptations of this world. Then we will have what may be
called grievous discord, which every aspirant should try to
next question is why this double movement? Double movement
is there because of innumerable desires of the body and of
the mind acquired through our past Каrmа. Is there any remedy?
Yes. The mind must be subjected to a conscious and voluntary
discipline. Mark the language. It should be a self-imposed
discipline. Those who take to this higher spiritual path,
the inner path, will have to face a struggle. Millions and
millions of people on this earth do not face such a struggle.
Only those who take to spiritual life seriously, are in for
that struggle, because of our biological heritage, which is
but another name for our past Karma. From biological heritage,
we must go onward to the domain of divine heritage. Naturally,
there will be a struggle before this is achieved.
to what Swami Prabhavananda, a disciple of the great Swami
Brahmanandaji Maharaj, told the present writer: "When
we were novitiates, we would tell Maharaj, (Swami Brahmanandaji)
about our difficulties. Then he would say that every one has
to pass through such a struggle; do not lose heart, do not
give up the struggle.' Once you give up the struggle, then
there is no further hope. But if you keep up the struggle,
even if you fail, you can rise again. Progress is never in
a straight line. Those who take to the spiritual path are
in for a serious struggle. They will be up against different
kinds of inner conflicts, and they should therefore be prepared
to pay the price for it. Why? Ultimately, if we keep up the
struggle, we shall be victorious. We shall realise our divine
nature and consider ourselves blessed. So, ultimate victory
is assured. But on the way, we may have to encounter a number
of difficulties. If this is not done consciously, it may lead
to some kind of psychological complexes. However, if these
struggles are faced willingly, then there will be no complexes.
Instead of suppressing and repressing our desires, we should
try to sublimate them. Our desires are to be given a Godward
direction. That is what is meant by voluntary spiritual discipline.
Without doing that, if we only suppress and repress the many
kinds of desires in us, we shall have to face many undesirable
consequences. Some would say therefore: if you have a desire,
fulfil it. But there is a great danger in this. We may get
into the great whirlpool of worldly life and find it difficult
to extricate ourselves from it for a long time, even for the
whole of this life. It is better and safer to adopt another
method. We should take a philosophical attitude. What does
this mean? The external world, according to Vedanta, means
five things - Nama (name), Rupa (form), Asti, Bhati, Priya
(existence, knowledge, bliss). If we can continuously eliminate
name and form, then we perceive the omnipresence of Brahman
- Asti, Bhati, Priya or existence, knowledge, bliss absolute.
We are so many in this room. Basically and intrinsically,
we are all divine. Swami Vivekananda says, 'Each man is potentially
divine. The goal is to manifest the divinity within.' We are
all of the same stuff, absolutely of the same stuff - pure
consciousness. The difference between us is just in name and
form. This truth is what our ancient rishis discovered in
their transcendental mystical realisation. Anything animate
or inanimate in the universe consists of five things; it exists
(Asti), it is revealed (Bhati), it is pleasing (Priya), and
it has a name (Nama) and form (Rupa). Now, if we go on eliminating
the name and form, we are all of the same stuff. So we have
to practise this daily. A devotee meditates and then comes
out of his meditation cell and has to mix with hundreds of
people of this world. So many types of attractions and allurements
are there. Through the grace of God, if Vichara (discrimination)
can be kept up, then one can be established in one's real
nature in unity, by denying name and form, i.e., multiplicity.
So, if we can eliminate name and form as an external layer,
then we can realise the substratum, i.e., Sat-Chit-Ananda.
If we have that attitude, then the entire universe will be
seen to be pervaded by the omnipresence of Brahman. Then we
are safe. This will give a right direction to our Antahkarana.
We shall be able to avoid all kinds of mistakes and pitfalls
and shall no longer be deceived by the world. Only in the
Infinite lies real bliss.
we are persuaded that the same ultimate reality is here, there
and everywhere, then because of its omnipresence, whenever
we are about to make any mistake, we are sure to remember
that we can deceive the world but we cannot deceive that all-knowing
God, our real Self. There is another advantage in this. If
it is a fact that God is always with us, in us, outside us,
everywhere, then even if I am going to make mistakes, even
if I have hundreds of evil desires in me which want to pull
me down, even then I can unload my mind to the indwelling
Lord, saying, 'Oh Lord, You have created me in such a way
that I cannot but run after the pleasures of the world. There
are such horrible Samskaras in me that I feel there is no
hope for me. But as my indwelling Lord, You are conscious
of all my failings and shortcomings. Unless You give me strength
enough to overcome all my weaknesses and imperfections, there
is no hope for me.' So, if we have faith in the guidance of
the omnipresent Brahman, we are safe. If we are going to make
any mistake, immediately this thought should come, 'Well,
I can deceive the world, but not God. I am helpless, О Lord!
I run after so many things of the world. I am going to commit
the same mistakes; so come to my rescue. You alone know of
what stuff I am made.' Then the Lord will certainly come to
different kinds of unwelcome thoughts come to our mind as
if they are bubbling up to the conscious layers. If this happens,
we should not lose heart. These are indications that we are
continuing further in the process of purification. These are
indications that perhaps in the subconscious layer of our
mind, there are many neglected corners. No real transformation
is possible, if we are just in superficial contact with Reality.
We are to get into the innermost recesses of our beings. We
have to direct our attention to the depths of our being. Just
a tiny bit of light enters our mind when going into meditation
and all the dirt and filth consisting of various kinds of
evil impressions are pushed to the background into some corner
of the mind for the time being. When we come out of meditation,
again they come to the surface. So we are to take steps for
the removal of all the dirt that lies in the nooks and comers
of our mind.
sometimes we try to achieve mastery over the mind and establish
control over the senses. But this should not be mistaken as
inner transformation. Inner transformation, according to the
Bhagavad Gita, will not be complete if we have only external
control of the mind. What is needed is internal control. Let
me refer to verse 59 of the chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.
drstva nivartate ||
The objects of senses turn away from the embodied soul who
abstains from feeding them, but the taste for them remains.
Even the taste turns away when the Supreme is seen.
in this verse of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explains the
difference between outer abstination and inner control or
inner renunciation. There may be some of us who can reject
the sense objects, but there may still be lurking desires
in our mind to posses those very objects. Outwardly, we may
reject but inwardly there may be hankering. That means only
outward control, and not inner control, has been achieved.
If we want to reach the final goal, with outer or external
control alone we are hopelessly mistaken. Until we have achieved
inner control, sense objects recede for the time being. But
the taste for them remains as lurking desire. However in the
case of one who has reached the goal, of one who is established
in the substratum behind the world of name and form - from
his mind even the lurking desires go once for all. Even the
taste (Rasa or the lurking desire or attachment to enjoy the
sense objects) turns away when the Supreme Self is seen. So
when we speak of external control and inner control, we should
remember this important verse of the Gita.
verse, the next one (2.60) also contains a warning for those
who are careful and vigilant enough, including wise persons
who want to practise control of both kinds, the external and
the internal. The senses, it is said, are so violent and turbulent
that they may carry us away and cause a spiritual fall of
even a striving aspirant:
hy api Kaunteya
prasabham manah ||
The impetuous senses, О Arjuna, of even a learned man who
strives, forcibly drive the mind astray.
are not only to control all the senses, but we are to remain
steadfast and live an integrated life. We should be exclusively
and deeply devoted to our real self and reject as poison all
that is non-self. So here is a warning. The senses are so
turbulent that they are always about to overpower and devour
us. Even wise people who take to the spiritual path may fail.
So, we must be very, very careful.
coming to the distinction between external and internal renunciation,
in the case of external renunciation, one renounces the world
and goes to a cave or to a forest, but if one does not renounce
the world internally, then there will be attachment and craving
for sense objects wherever one may go. The mind will be cheated
and deceived by various sense objects. Therefore, external
renunciation is not of any consequence if it is not followed
by what is called inner renunciation. Whatever might be our
station in life, if we want to follow the ideal of external
and internal renunciation, we must be very vigilant and pay
constant attention to our ideal. We must have a firm grip
on our ideal. We must strictly adhere to the goal supreme.
Otherwise, no one will be able to save us. In this connection,
it will be relevant to refer to a conversation that took place
in the Dakshineswar Kali temple between Sri Ramakrishna and
one householder disciple. The question that was put to Sri
Ramakrishna was this, 'Sir, can we not realise God without
complete renunciation?' (complete means both external and
internal). Sri Ramakrishna, who was the embodiment of compassion
and mercy, replied with words of assurance to that householder
disciple. Though he addressed his words to a particular householder
disciple, what he said is meant for all of us. Sri Ramakrishna
said, 'Of course, you can. Why should you renounce everything?
You are all right, as you are following the middle path. I
tell you the truth. There is nothing wrong in your being in
the world. But you must direct your mind towards God. Otherwise
you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with
the other hold on to God. After the duty is over, you must
hold on to God with both hands.'
the emphasis on the word 'must'. We must direct our mind to
God, otherwise we shall not succeed. 'Bondage is of the mind
and freedom is also of the mind.' A man is free is he constantly
thinks: 'I am a free soul. How can I be bound whether I live
in the world or in the forest? I am a child of God, the King
of Kings. Who can bind me?' By repeating with grit and determination,
'I am not bound, I am free,' one really becomes so - one really
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