The Mother Divine
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(Compilation for a discourse by N.R. SRINIVASAN, Nashville.TN, USA, January 2017)
In spite of knowing that no worldly thing is ours, when we face a thing it has effect on us. We have to weigh two considerations in this:  

1.If there is effect then we should not pay heed to it. We should consider it neither good nor bad. We should neither have a desire that it should persist, nor have a desire that it should perish. We should be unconcerned with it.

2. The thing has its effect on your mind and intellect and not on your Consciousness (Self). Therefore, don’t accept it in you (in the Self).

We get connected to a thing when we are attached to it also if we have aversion to it. When Rama went to exile the sages and saints as well as demons got connected with him. The sages and saints who loved him attained salvation. The demons that had aversion to him also attained salvation. Those who had neither attachment nor aversion did not attain salvation because they were not connected with him. We should be fortunate to get the right contact. So it is important to stay connected.

If the world has effect on us, we should not get connected with it by having either attachment or aversion to it. We should remain engaged with the Self. The mind has its connection with Nature. We have accepted our connection with the mind in preference to Self and therefore we shall have to suffer. Now whatever we do with our mind and body we will reap virtuous or sinful reward. The Lord in The Gita says: “mamaivaamsoe jeevaloke jeevaabhootaaha sanaatanaha”—the soul having become an embodied soul is an eternal fragment of mine only.  This awakening will come to us only if we have no connection with the senses, mind and intellect.
In the expression known to us “I AM”, ‘I’   is insentient, while ‘am’ is sentient. ‘am’ is there because of  ‘I’. If there is no ‘I’ (ego), ‘am’ will not persist but only divinity will remain. Lord says in The Gita, “Vihaaya kaamaan yaha sarvaan pumamscharati nihsprihaha nirmamoe nirahankaaraha sa saantim adhigacchati; Eshaa braahmee sthtihi”(2/71-72)—when the seeker becomes free from the sense of ‘mine’ and ‘egoism’ he attains peace and the state of realized soul. 

Egoism is not our inherent nature. Egoism is of the lower nature while the Self is of higher nature. Self is different from egoism. In wakeful state egoism remains awakened, in deep sleep it does not remain awakened, but merges in ignorance. In sound sleep egoism does not persist but the Self exists. The Self is un-manifest.  “Mayaa tatam idam sarvam jagat avyaktamoortinaa” (9/4)—all universe is pervaded by my un-manifest form; this entire universe is an expansion of me, says the Lord in The Gita.  So, we are but a fragment of the Self, un-manifest (formless).

A seeker should realize the fact that he is un-manifest. We are the same to-day as were in our childhood. From childhood till today our body has changed so much that it can’t be recognized. Yet, the Self is the same. The body is not the same, it does not remain the same even for a moment; it continuously changes. He who does not change is a seeker. He who changes is not a seeker.
Those enlightened seekers who have taken refuge in the transcendental knowledge are born in the next birth in the house of pious and prosperous or born in the family of enlightened yogis. Those that have taken refuge will attain unity with the Supreme.

The body changes every moment but Self does not change even when there is new creation or final dissolution but remains the same says Gita: “Idam jnaanam upaasritya mama saadharmyam aagataaha;  sarge api noepajaayante pralaye na vythanti cha”(14/2). They, who have taken refuge in this Transcendental Knowledge, attain unity with Me; they are neither born at the time of creation, nor afflicted at the time of dissolution.

We have acquired several bodies till now, but they have all been left. The present body will also be left here; the self will go to hell or heaven or get liberated. It means that our existence does not depend on the body. Therefore it does not make any difference in the Self whether the body lives or dies. There are infinite universes and infinite creations but all of them have not even an iota of effect on the Self. They have no access to the Self at all. They have access only to the mind and intellect. The evolutes of nature can’t have an access beyond mind and intellect. Therefore in the infinite universe nothing belongs to us at all.

By spiritual discipline we attain the Self. While protecting spiritual discipline we should hold to the view that we are un-manifest. We are not manifest or body. Self sits in the house; it does not become the house. The house is different, the Self is different. Self departs leaving the house. The house will remain lying here and the Self will go away. The Self will reap the fruits of the virtuous or sinful actions, the body will not reap. Self attains salvation, the body will not. The Self has been described in The Gita thus: “ácchedyoyam  adaahyoham  akledyo soeshya eva cha; nityaha sarvagataha sthaanur achaloyam sanaatanaha”(*2/24). “Avyaktoeyam achintyoeyam avikaaryoeyam uchyate; tasmaad evam viditvainam naanu soechitum arhasi”(2/25)—The spirit (Self) is said to be inexplicable, incomprehensible and unchanging. Knowing this Self as such you should not grieve. Weapons do not cut this spirit, fire does not burn it, water does not wet it, and the wind does not make it dry. It is eternal, all-pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval.   

It is the human desire that he should never die, he should know everything and he should ever be happy. At the root of these three desires are Truth, Consciousness and Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda).  But he wants to fulfill these desires with the help of the body because in spite of being a fragment of Self, he accepts the body, senses, mind and intellect as his. In The Gita the Lord says in 15/7: “Maamaivaamso jeevaloke jeevabhootaaha sanaatanaha; maamaha shashthaaneedriyaani prakritisthaani karshati”—The eternal individual soul (jeevaatma) in the body of living being is indeed, my integral part. It is associated with the six sensory faculties (including the mind) of perception and activates them. In essence Aatman is the Eternal Being (Brahman). Brahman is the true nature of the Supreme Being (Parabrahman), and therefore it is called the integral part of Parabrahman. The difference between Aaatman and Jeevaatma is due to the limiting adjuncts—the body and the mind: similar to the illusion that the enclosed pot space is different from the unlimited space.

As a son belongs to his father, so do we more singularly belong to Self. But we, instead of accepting Self as ours, assume the body, senses, mind and intellect, which abide in Nature (Prakriti) as ours—this is bondage.  Beside this, there is no other bondage. The body consists of the fragments of both-- father and mother but the Self does not contain the fragments of Nature. We (the Self) are the fragments of Paramatma—mama eva amsaha. Being the fragments of Paramatma we abide in it; but we have assumed the body, which abides in Prakriti, is ours—this is our error. The fragment of Prakriti has abode in Prakriti, but (we the self) have developed disinclination for Paramatma. The inert Prakriti remained a worthy (dutiful) son but we (the self) became unworthy (undutiful) sons.
But man can’t satisfy his real demand with the help of body or mind or the world. Body is perishable; therefore no one can escape death by it. The body is inert (non-sentient) so knowledge can’t be gained by it. World is kaleidoscopic, so no one can be happy about it. Therefore the desire which a man has for Truth, Consciousness and Bliss can be satisfied only by being detached to the body.
The body is neither helpful nor obstructive in the least, in the fulfillment of this desire but affinity with the body is only obstacle to it. Actions and objects are evolutes of Nature. When a seeker totally renounces his affinity with the body, then he gets detached from actions and objects. When a seeker gets detached from actions and objects, his real desire is fulfilled. When his real desire is fulfilled, the seeker gets established in Self, which is Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. When he gets established in the Self, the worldly spiritual disciplines, Karmayoga, and Jnaanayoga attain perfection. Then he accepts Paramaatman as his and takes refuge in Him, whose fragment he is, thus his non-worldly spiritual discipline Bhaktiyoga attains perfection and he attains supreme love. In the attainment of love there is full perfection of human life.

It is a mistake to suppose that the soul is in the body. It is truer to say that the body is in the soul. The body is enveloped and pervaded by the soul which is infinite, all pervading   and eternal. The body is like a pot and the soul is like the space within and without it. When the pot is moved from place to place, the space within is not moved. When the contents of the pot are boiled, the space or ether in it is not boiled. Similarly, there is in us, something uncreated, and something untouched by sin or suffering. The Gita quotes from Kathoepanishad: “It is said that the senses are great, but greater than the senses is the mind, and greater than the mind is the understanding (intellect), but what is greater than the understanding is Self”. “Indriyaani paraanyaahur indriyebhyaha param manaha; manasas tu paraa buddhir yoe buddheheh paratas tu saha”(The Gita 3-46). “Indriyebhyaha paraa hyaarthaa arthebhyascha param manaha; manasas tu paraa buddhihi buddheraatmaa mahaan paraha” (Katha: 3-10)—Sense objects are more important than the sense organs; the mind is more important than sense objects; the intellect is more important than the mind and the great soul (Jeevaatma) is more important than that intellect. Journey to the abode of Paramaatman is possible only with intellect as the charioteer and well controlled mind as reins. In 12-204-10 Mahabharata also says: “The mind is superior to the senses; the intellect is superior to the mind; Self-knowledge (Jnnana) is superior to the intellect and Aatman is superior to Jnaana.

Therefore the seeker from the very beginning should accept the fact that “I am not the body, the body is not for me”. The reason is that individual Self is of higher nature (sentient) which is a fragment of the Paramaatman while the body and the world are of lower nature (Non-sentient). The lower nature in spite of our best efforts can’t satisfy our real desire; it can’t make us immortal, can’t wipe out our ignorance and can’t make us happy for ever.

The Bhagavad Gita teachings focus to make everyone a matter of circumstances and happenings, around and within him. We are riddled with lowest values because we identify ourselves with the matter envelopments and view life through these distorting media. How we can withdraw our identification with the outer envelopments and turn inward, as it were, in a spirit of self-discovery—this is accomplished through Upaasana.

Agnirdevoe dwijaateenaam muneenaam hridi daivatam |
Prathima svlpabuddheenaam sarvatrea viditaatmanaam ||

The ritualists have their God in the fire (Agni); but the wise folk find him in their own heart. It is the dull-witted one that seeks God in the icon. Those who have higher understanding see God in Everything. So seek the Self within you.

(Excerpts, from the speeches of Swami Ramsukhdas of Geeta Bhavan, Haridwar;  Primer of Hinduism, D.S.Sharma, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Mumbai; and The  Bhagavad Gita, Ramananda Prasad, American Gita Society, CA--suitably abridged and edited for the Vedanta Class at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville TN,  by N.R.Srinivasan)