[Advaita-l] Living a Vedantic life

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Apr 29 08:47:33 CDT 2004

On Thu, 22 Apr 2004, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> vedo nityamadhIyatAm |
> 1. Study the Vedas daily.

Swami Chandrashekhar Bharati quotes a shloka which defines Veda as

pratyaksheNanumityA vA yastUpAyo na budhyate |
enaM vidanti vedena tasmAdvedasya vedatA ||

"Veda is called veda (knowledge) because by means of the Veda people learn
the means which cannot be learnt by direct perception or inference."

He points out that Puranas and smrtis etc. also are authoritative because
they are based on the Vedas.

The upshot of this sentence is that one needs to learn about dharma (the
purport of the karmakanda of the Vedas) and Brahman (the purport of the
jnanakanda) one cannot simply assume them.  Not all have adhikara to read
learn the Vedas themselves but all have the adhikara and obligation to
learn about these topics in some way.

> taduditaM karma svanuSTIyatAm |
> 2. observe properly the activities enjoined therein.

The path of the Vedas is not just an interesting theory, it has to be put
into practice.  Swamiji writes

"Nowadays some people, without knowing the true significance of the
teachings of the Vedanta and influenced by their innate laziness, think
that the giving up of all enjoined duties is the purport of the Vedanta.
It is mainly to prevent the possibility of such a mistaken idea that the
Master insists in this command upon performing the duties _well_."

> teneshasya vidhIyatAmapachittiH |
> 3.  Perform the worship of God by means of the same.

Swamiji writes:

"The method of performing karma is laid down in the third command wherein
the Master points out the worship of God consists in doing the actions
enjoined by Him in the Vedas.  Worship of God is not distinct from the
performance of one's duties.  In the Bhagavad Gita also, the Lord points
out that the method of worshipping God is through performing ones own
duties.  svkarmaNA tamabhyarchya siddhiM vindati mAnavaH |

By the words 'one's duties' are meant the duties enjoined by the shastras
for a particular individual.  They do not mean any actions which he may
choose to consider as duties without reference to the shastras, much less
any activities in which he may choose to engage himself of his own

> kAmye matistyajyatAm
> 4. Abandon the desire in desireful actions

"If we stop to consider the nature of karmas which are capable of being
viewed as worship of God, it will be seen that this will only be possible
in the case of the karmas known as Nitya [daily such as puja, sandhya
etc.] and naimittika [done at a certain time such as marriage, shivaratri
etc.]  That is why in his fourth command that the thought of kamya karma
(desireful action) must be given up."

> pApaughaH paridhUyatAm
> 5. Shake off the store of sins

"if we perform these nitya and naimittika karmas with the thought they
operate as the worship of God, our sins begin to leave us."

> bhavasukhe doSho'nusandhIyatAm |
> 6. Ponder over the defects in sensual pleasures

"If by the proper performance of karmas we are able to secure the grace of
God and make our minds pure by the eradication of sins, our minds will be
clear and competent enough to grasp things as they are.  It is only then
that we will see clearly the defects of phenomenal life.  If the mind is
not pure, even the pains of phenomenal life will seem pleasureable.  The
Master therefore issues his next command 'ponder over the defects of
phenomenal life' only after the sins are gone and the mind is purified."

> AtmecchA vyavasIyatAm |
> 7. Steady the longing for the Self.

"...all objects in the world appear pleasant but contain the seeds of
fear.  That must be our attitude.  If either by a sense of possible fear
or by a knowledge of the true nature of things, we learn to ponder over
their faulty aspect, our minds will naturally turn towards the Self the
realization of which will give permanant unequalled and faultless
happiness.  The next command of the Master, 'steady the longing for the
Self' will fit in only at this stage."

> nijagrhAttUrNaM vinirgamyatAm |
> 8. Walk out of your home soon.

"As the Master felt keenly that it was impossible to attain knowledge of
the Self so long as one is in the midst of the pains and pleasures of
phenomenal life broght on by ignorance, he closed this stanza with the
command 'Go out of your house immediately.'"

Finally I would like to add a few words from this discourse which are
quite apropos to the discussion about Guru bhakti.

"...true devotion to a Guru who has set out of his illimitable grace given
us such teachings does not consist in anything more than carrying them out
in actual practice.  It is impossible for us to render such Gurus anything
in return for this gracious help of theirs.  We are never going to benefit
them by any act of devotion on our part.  Their preachings are intended
only for our good.  They do not get any benefit themselves.  It is
therefore for us to confirm to their gracious teachings, observe
scrupulously the duties alloted to each one of us, thereby secure the good
graces of the Guru, rise to further heights by reason of his grace and
ultimately attain freedom from all bondage and reach the Bliss Supreme."

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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