The Goal and the Way – 2

In the first part, we saw a overview of the path and a hint of the Goal. We saw
the various steps a person takes towards the Goal. Here is a summary of the various

1. Adharmic – non-virtuous – He bothers only about his own security and entertainment.
He is characterized by selfishness and sensuous, thinks that the physical body and its
pampering is the goal and the way. He does not try to be moderate in enjoyment for any
reason. He blindly tries to grab and enjoy as much as possible in the short term
without bothering about its sustainability and impact on others.

2. Dharmic – virtuous – He is sensitive to other’s security and happiness. He
understands that he cannot survive by himself without cooperation and support of
others in the society. Also, he understands the limitations of the body and its
capacity to enjoy. He follows moderation in enjoyment and shares with others. He
follows virtuous conduct. He may believe in rituals, prayer, etc. and may follow
them with the aim of attaining prosperity in this life or after-life.

3. Mumukshu – aspirant – He thinks about deeper questions in life. He tries to
understand the aim of life. He sees the emptiness in human pursuits. He sees that
desires cannot be quenched once-and-for-all by indulging in the objects of desires.
He seeks a meaning in life and a way to be free from sorrow permanently. He approaches
a teacher and follows the instructions seriously. He does not aim for any prosperity
in this life or after life as the final goal. He sees a direct relationship between
his thoughts and deeds, and their effect in the world. He develops the four qualities
of an aspirant – Saadhana Chatustaya.

4. Brahmavid – knower – He has realized the core of his being to be the core of all
existence. He has “seen” the Truth. He does not distinguish between dream state and
waking state. He treats the world seen in waking state as no more real than the world
seen in dream state. In the ultimate analysis, he does not recognize the existence
of any entity apart from himself. However, inclinations arise and subside in the
mind. The mind goes through various modifications like lust, greed, jealousy, etc.
But they dont leave a mark. Deep inside, he is free from sorrow and desires. He can
give up his life at any moment without any trace of any dissatisfaction.

5. Jivanmukta – liberated – The realization of the Truth has totally destroyed all
tendencies in the mind. He is totally free from desires. He may feign lust, greed,
anger, etc. for the welfare of others, but he is never touched by them. He is free
from sorrow and desires at every moment. This state is also called Brahmavid Varishta.

In rare cases, if the aspirant is an “Uttamaadhikaari” – supremely qualified – then
he may attain Jivanmukti at the same time when he attains Brahmajnaana.

One thing to be noted between each of the stages is that there is no logical way
to go from one state to the other. It is always a big leap. One can never set any
definite process by which a person in one stage can get to the other. However, there
are preparations that one can do. But the preparations themselves do not assure the
shift. It is like going to sleep. We can make a nice bed, switch of the lights,
close the door, cover by a sheet, etc to minimize the disturbances from the sense
objects, but these alone do not assure sleep. We cannot decide and make an effort
to go to sleep. We have to make the preparations and wait for sleep to occur. The
same is the case here too. We can only make preparations. We cannot put demands
like if we do 10 times more japa, we will get results 10 times faster, etc.

We need not discuss the preparations to go from Adharmic to Dharmic. We can only
pray that Adharmic people realize the futility of their ways and turn towards a
more virtuous life.

Coming to Dharmic people, the preparation to move to the next state is Yagna, Daana
and Tapas. Yagna is any constructive activity. These can be in three ways. (1) Secular
action (2) Prayer (3) Scriptural ritual. All these three have efficacy in different ways.
What we need to note here is that the Dharmic people perform these actions with desire
for the fruits, however noble the desires may be. Thus the first preparation is to be
constructively active. Daana is to give away a part of the fruits that are rightfully
earned. Give wealth, effort, knowledge, emotional support, etc. Tapas is austerity.
Austerity will expose our limitations and also create conducive tendencies. Though the
person may perform these with an eye on the fruits in this life or in the hereafter,
these give a perception into the ways of the working of Nature.

Five yagnas are prescribed – Deva yagna, Bhoota yagna, Manushya yagna, Rishi yagna
and Pitru yagna. All these have the three ways to perform as mentioned above. Deva
yagna is to Nature. We live in the physical world taking support from various
natural resources like water, sun, trees, minerals, etc. Deva yagna is to give back
to these and also make sure that their usage is sustainable. Planting trees, cleaning
up pollution, moderation in usage of natural resources, etc are secular ways to do
this yagna. Bhoota yagna is to other animals. We take service from various animals
for food like milk, honey, etc, for various work, clothes like wool, silk, etc. This
yagna is to repay them. This is done partly by paying for the product, which goes to
feeding the animals, etc. Manushya yagna is to the human society. We take several
services from other human beings in the society for food, clothes, housing, security,
etc. This is done partly by paying for the products and services. More ways to do
this yagna is by doing social service. Rishi yagna is to the cultural heritage. We
have inherited so much of mental wealth in the way of language, literature, science,
arts, philosophy, etc. The various forms of education we receive make us indebted.
The way to repay is to support the teachers and also pass on the heritage to others.
Pitru yagna is to our ancestors. This can be partly repaid by serving our parents
and children. This can be repaid by being free from psychological defects like lust,
greed, anger, etc.

When the Dharmic people, who have performed Yagna, Daana and Tapas sufficiently,
start thinking more deeply and move away from having a keen eye on the fruits, they
move to the next stage of being a Mumukshu.

The Mumukshu has only one aim in life – to know the Truth. As an aspirant of truth, he
develops the four qualifications – Saadhana Chatustaya.
(1) Viveka – Discrimination between what is permanent and impermanent.
(2) Vairaagya – Dispassion towards the fruits of all action in this life and hereafter
(3) Satsampathi – Six disciplines
(a) Shama – Control of the mind
(b) Dama – Control of the senses
(c) Uparati – Non seeking of fresh pursuits
(d) Titiksha – Forbearance
(e) Sraddha – Faith in the existence and achievability of the goal
(f) Samaadhaana – Focus on the goal
(4) Mumukshutva – Desire to achieve the goal
These are both cultivated and also express naturally with the intense aspiration after
the Truth.

Whatever the Dharmic people did out of desire for the results is done by the Mumukshu
as a means of purification of the mind and to outgrow the limitations and defects. Thus
every karma (action) becomes Karma Yoga. He follows various disciplines to stabilize the
mind which is called Upaasana Yoga. Then he hears about the Truth which is called
Jnaana Yoga.

If the aspirant is a “Uttamaadhikaari”, he directly attains Jivanmukti when he knows
the Truth. But this is very rare.

A typical aspirant becomes a Brahmavid when he know
s the Truth. If a person who has not
been to Rishikesh reads in a book about the Lakshman Jhula, it will be an information
to him. Whereas when a person who has been to Rishikesh and has walked on the Lakshman
Jhula reads about it in a book, he has an entirely different feeling. The same is the
difference between an ignorant person reading the Upanisads, Avaduta Gita, Ashtavakra
Gita, etc and a Brahmavid reading them. The Brahmavid sees the scriptures as a mere
restatement of his direct knowledge and as different ways of trying to put it in words.
They do not convey any new information to him.

The knowledge of the Truth is twofold. The first is the knowledge that the real self
is the Atman, which is free from all qualities. The Atman is experienced as the One
without a second. There are no concepts like space, time, causation and limitation.
The second is the knowledge that the manifested universe is just a reflection of the
Atman on the mind. In the cosmic scale, the Atman is called Brahman and the mind is
called Maya. Thus the statements (Mahaavaakyaah) in the Upanisads like “That art Thou”,
“I am Brahman”, “This Atman is Brahman” and “Consciousness is Brahman” are known to
be true by direct experience.

However, the Brahmavid still has vasanas (tendencies). The tendencies pull the mind
in various directions in response to the sense objects. But when he searches deep in
the mind, he finds no remnants of any real desires or sorrow.

By repeatedly thinking about the implications of the Truth that is known, the mind
slowly gets free from the tendencies. Thus eventually the aspirant enjoys total
freedom from all desires, sorrow and tendencies. This shows up as the ultimate
psychological perfection. He is totally unbiased by any petty likes and dislikes.
There is no effect from the unconscious part of the mind in him. He is fully in
control of the mind effortlessly. There is absolutely no contradiction in the mind.

Now, this whole journey can be taken with the assumption of the presence of a
Personal God also. Personal God is considered as the dispenser of the fruits
of action. He can increase rewards (favourable results) or decrease punishments
(unfavourable results) of our actions. He can also change the time when the results
of our actions are experienced. He is endowed with noble qualities like justice and
compassion. He answers our prayers by altering the effects of our past action as
mentioned above. He also gives us mental strength to face them. He exists everywhere
and is eternal. He is the Lord of the manifested universe. He is the unmanifested
Brahman itself. Now, the question is does such a God exist? Surely He exists. His
existence is atleast as real as the aspirant’s mind. As long as the aspirant considers
his own mind as real, he cannot deny the existence of a cosmic universal mind, which
is the Personal God. Take for example our own body. Every cell in our body is a
living being in its own right. Similarly every organ is a living being. What we call
as our body is claimed by so many living organisms. Similarly we can extend to spheres
constituting us also. For example, the family, city, state, country, planet, etc are
all living entities in their own right and our bodies are just like living cells in
their bodies. The same applies to the mind also. Every thought of the individuals
contribute to the thought of the country and mankind as a whole also. Taking this
further, we have to extrapolate to a universal being, who constitutes the entire
creation. Just as we can plan to postpone the work to be done by a tired hand, the
universal being can replan the way we face the effects of our past action.

Accepting the concept of a Personal God in our lives, the spiritual path can be made
less taxing to the mind. Karma Yoga becomes doing our duties as an offering to the
Lord. Developing love for the Lord makes the process of offering less painful. And
love for the Lord, who encompasses the whole of existence, does not make us narrow
minded, but in the contrary helps us to overcome the defects like greed, jealousy,
etc. The Upaasana Yoga also becomes very interesting by means of listening to stories
about the Lord, singing His glories, chanting His name, doing worship, etc. And the
Jnaana Yoga part also gets colored by the concept by realizing that the Lord is
everything. The individuality also gets dissolved in the universality. This way of
following the steps of Karma, Upaasana and Jnaana Yoga is called Bhakti Yoga.

The ultimate freedom comes from direct knowledge, which changes the attitude.
Work, intellectual analysis, emotions, prayer, charity, etc are all various means.
But ultimately, it is knowledge that makes the aspirant free. To attain this
knowledge, the four qualifications – Saadhana Chatustaya – are necessary, whatever
be the path taken by the aspirant. The manner in which these four qualifications are
developed differ from path to path.


About gokulmuthu

A student of Advaita Vedanta in the light of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramana Maharishi, etc.
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