Liberation and citta vRtti nirodha

Charles Wikner WIKNER at NAC.AC.ZA
Mon Aug 14 06:10:58 CDT 2000

On Tue, 8 Aug 2000, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

> Precisely. As the bhAshyakAra has referred to the sentence, vijnAya prajnAM
> kurvIta (BU 4. 4. 21) in this context, let us look at the corresponding
> commentary - prajnAkAraNa sAdhanAni saMnyAsa Sama dama uparama titikshA
> samAdhAnAni kuryAd ity arthaH. Towards the end of naishkarmyasiddhi,
> sureSvara says, amAnitvAdi sAdhanaH yatnatas syAt (4. 70). See also the
> verses 4. 71-73, where these qualities continue to remain important after
> the rise of proper jnAna.

The previous verse (4.69) is even more interesting:

      utpannAtma-prabodhasya tv adveSTRtvAdayo guNAH
      ayatnato bhavanty asya na tu sAdhana-rUpiNaH

      In the case of one who has achieved enlightenment,
      virtues like non-enmity persist naturally and without
      effort.  They are no longer practised as a means to
      any end.  [tr. A.J.Alston]

What the aspirant is practising is in fact the natural behaviour
of the realised man!  Thus Shankara's commentary refers to the
outward behaviour with jnAna not yet steady: now the behaviour
is practised; now it is natural.

The "non-difference" between the practice and the natural behaviour
appeals to me.  Moreover, it gives an insight into the underlying
qualities and a rational basis for the sAdhana-s and derived
practices, such as the tapas given in BG 17:14-19.

> There is clearly a
> significant place for Yoga practice, so far as it leads to the calming of
> the mind and making one receptive and qualified for understanding the
> Upanishads properly. But citta vRtti nirodha should not be mistaken as the
> ultimate state of liberation.

Agreed.  It is the harshness and implicit duality of controlling the
mind that bothers me; I guess such language is appropriate to empirical
life, but nonetheless find "control" (detachment and stillness) gentler
and easier when the mind is viewed in a more advaitic light, such as
in PD 13:20 (quoting Yoga VasiSTha):

      sa AtmA sarva-go rAma nityodita-mahA-vapuH
      yan manA"n mananIM shaktiM dhatte tan mana ucyate

      O Rama, the Self is all-pervasive, eternal and infinite;
      when it assumes the power of cognition, we call it the mind.
      [tr. H.P.Shastri]

Or again, a favourite passage from avadhUta gItA 9 that puts the mind
into perspective (and always raises a smile):

      mano vai gaganAkAraM mano vai sarvatomukham
      mano'tItaM manaH sarva na manaH paramArthataH

      The mind is indeed of the form of space.  The mind is indeed
      omnifaced.  The mind is the past.  The mind is all.  But in
      reality there is no mind.  [tr. Ashokananda]

> Given the emphasis on saMnyAsa, what are the other people supposed to do? We
> get an answer for that too. In naishkarmyasiddhi 1. 51, gItA verse 6. 3 is
> quoted - Arurukshor muner yogaM karma kAraNam ucyate, yogArUDhasya tasyaiva
> SamaH kAraNam ucyate. That is, karma yoga is the step before one takes up
> dhyAna yoga, but karma is given up along the process of scaling the peak of
> Yoga. And such Yoga is also a preliminary mental discipline before the rise
> of proper Self-knowledge. As one can see, this is a highly disciplined
> approach, which has been preserved over the centuries.

Approach, and way of life too: in fact, a life of integrity - lit. asparsha.

Regards, Charles.

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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