The Mother Divine
Change Font Size 
By VDN Rao

Karma kaanda and Samyak Jnana:
As one remains in the tight jacket of ignorance and continues to get bogged down by rites and sacrifices, little does he realise that such acts of self-purification alone do not lead to Brahmatva and final liberation. We may achieve lower goals of higher lokas, but we return to the eternal cycle of life after the fruits of the higher lokas are enjoyed and exhausted. Sacrifice, austerity, charity, tirtha yatras, worship of the Devas are no doubt supplementary virtues for relieving miseries in the current and future births, yet do not assure higher Knowledge of Brahma.

The Bhagavad Gita aptly describes in Shraddhaatraya Vibhaga (XVII.5-6): Those without following the essence of Shastraas perform severe austerities, assume boastful arrogance, ‘kaamakrodhas’, ‘raaga dveshaads’ etc., display nature devoid of real purity! Persisting in the midst of Avidya or ignorance, the immature and unenlightened deceive themselves that they have hit the target of salvation. Such persons, steeped in ‘Karmaacharana’ or practice of apparent virtues and entangled in the strings of attachments and desires, are deprived of the Reality, which only comes with the final exhaustion of Karma Phala and alone qualifies for Brahmatva!

Having analysed the effects of observing ‘Karma kaanda’ or rituals, and all acts of worldly virtues, a Vaidika Brahmana resorts to introspection. Thus, this Brahmana who realises the significance of a Preceptor (who is a reputed Brahma Vetta), approaches the Preceptor with his heart clean, organs and senses under full control, agni samidhas in hand, and sincerely asks to be taught the essence of Brahma Tatva! Indeed, a Preceptor too has to be duly qualified as one whose conscience is clean, devoid of blemishes, conceit, is dispassionate, self-controlled, erudite in veda vedangas, and should have spent his erstwhile life in chastity. He alone is stated to be well qualified to expound the theory of Brahma Tatva!

The individual self at the time of his mortal birth assumes a body with organs and senses of seeing, hearing, touching, digesting food, capacity to procreate, thinking, etc. and as such becomes a victim of evils, with or without ‘paapa punyaas’ or sins and virtues. When death of the mortal body comes, he discards the body carrying the account of virtues and vices along to the next birth in the eternal cycle of births and deaths unless there is salvation! In this cycle, the chariot of life is driven by the five horses on either side called Pancha Karmendriyas and the corresponding Pancha Jnaanendriyas with mind in the driver’s seat, but the ‘Antaraatma’ is the mute spectator!

Individual selves having similar body parts manifest specific characteristics typical of their own; this is indeed so with all the beings in creation, more so of humans. It is explained by the analogy of a spider weaving threads of a similar nature, or a fire creating tiny sparks. Similarly, human organs function like the tongue emanating sound and speech, hand and feet resulting in actions, skin creating odour, heart demanding breathing, mind deriving thoughts and so on. Devas preside over these organs and their worlds. Various other beings ranging from a blade of grass to Hiranyagarbha manifest their own characteristics.

Likewise, all the individual selves in existence are akin to Brahman. Truly, Upanishads contain the hidden meaning of existence revealing this basic truth that the Individual Self is the Supreme Self itself! Upanishads, thus state this truth that the Praana which rests in a Live Body is the Self, the Supreme Self. Material Joy versus Lasting Bliss via karma-sadhana-vidya purity:

An analogy is drawn of two companion birds named Suparna and Sayuja sharing the same tree. One is busy eating the fruits of the tree while the other remains watching without tasting. This is just as two persons are enjoying the taste even as the other refrains. While one regales by rejoicing the sweet results of different kinds of material happiness, the other person calculates and weighs the pros and cons of the karma and the resultant reactions.

Kathopanishad vide II.ii.1 states: Urthva mulovaakshaakha eshoshvattahsanaatanah, tadeva shuram tad brahma,tad evaamritam uchyate,  tasmin lokaah shritaah sarve tadunaateti kaschana, etadvai tat/ or the cause and effect manifestation is discussed akin to the gigantic peepul tree with its root emerging of Brahman, the immortal and the worlds therefrom. The sprawling tree is replete with innumerable extensions of features ranging from Pancha Bhutas, Devas, Dishas and virtues on the one side, with defending energies of the universe as the relieving points. On the other hand are a huge multitude of evils, old age, deaths, sorrows, diseases, struggles, material attractions, etc. Brahman puts a lid on the totality of situations, the pluses and minuses alike, yet within defined boundaries.

A person of wisdom is fully aware that existence is essential and praana or the vital force is the key factor, hence he would rather target the Self or the Antaratma instead of getting into the rigmarole of esoteric exercises. He takes delight in and gets engrossed in the Self as per established routes. This is why the Bhagavad Gita vide Sankhya Yoga, Chapter Two, Stanza 47 underlines the fundamental principle: Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maaphaleshu kadaachana, maa karmaphala heturbhu maa te sangotva karmani/or Bhagavan Krishna emphasises to Arjuna  that one has the only liberty of performing the prescribed duties and has no control of the end results!
Having given so far the descriptions about the release of the Inner Self, meaning death, the physical conditions prevalent at the time of death, how a being transmigrates from one body to another, the beginning of the quest for Brahma, how Vidwans looked  at this quest, the methodology followed by Brahama vettaas and the prescribed scriptures in this context, the variations in the approaches to realise Brahman, especially with respect to  the role of Pure Intelligence and Ignorance, the decisive positions of Atmagjnas in the search of Brahman, the unique significance of  Paramatma, Brahma Nishtha

 ‘That’ distinctive and singular is identified with intellect in the midst of organs and senses. It lies in the elemental ether which is in the heart and is the commander, protector and the dividing line of worlds. Brahmanas seek to realise ‘That’ through the learning of Vedas, sacrifices, charities, austerities, and moderate use of enjoyments. In fact, ‘grihastas’  eventually become ‘Sanyasis’ or monks discarding homes, families, children, wealth and reach the stage of abandon and reject desires. Then they start the quest of the Truth and Illumination by the process of systematic elimination stating: neti,neti or not this, not this! This is supported by the established scriptural evidences as well as ‘tarka’ or reasonings backed by Knowledge, Vidya. Then  realization comes in the process examination: is it perceivable, does it decay, is it attached, is it fettered, does it suffer injuries? The reply being an emphatic ‘no’, then self-examination begins: have I done a good act, say a sacrifice, charity, desires’ renunciation, acquisition of ‘relevant’ knowledge and so on. Once the Individual reaches the threshold of Realisation, the Self becomes devoid of merits or demerits. The evils are burnt to ashes like a blazing fire burns fuel, the impurities in gold are rid off. Only the vision of the Self being the Supreme prevails!