[Advaita-l] GITA - avatArikA : part 4

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Sun Nov 6 09:09:07 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!

summary of G.D. avatArikA (contd.)

as was seen in the last post, nidhidhyAsanam
culminates in Atma sAkShAtkAra. complete destruction
of avidyA occurs only from tattva j~nAna. when tattva
j~nAna arises, both the karma-s done in past lives
which have not begun to bear fruits (anArabdha
karma-s) and those that are to bear fruit in the form
of future lives (Agamini karma-s) get destroyed.
however, prArabdha karma is not destroyed [1]. the
vAsanA which remains is destroyed through saMyama.
saMyama consists of dhAraNA, dhyAnam and samAdhi. this
is preceded by the perfection of the five a~Nga-s of
yoga - yama etc [2]. the purpose of this saMyama is to
attain complete vAsanA kShayA and mano nAsha. when
this is achieved, jIvanmukti becomes firm. samAdhi can
also be achieved quickly by bhakti to Ishvara. mano
nAsha and vAsanA kShayA follow in due course. it is
for reaching this stage that vidvat sannyAsa is
recommended by the upaniShad-s for the advanced
sAdhaka. next, MS describes the process by which one
who has taken up vidvat sannyAsa attains jIvanmukti.
when the mind is withdrawn from it's natural
activities by means of savikalpa samAdhi, in it,
nirvikalpa samAdhi is produced [3]. this nirvikalpa is
of three types. at first, one gets into nirvikalpa
samAdhi, but the mind emerges back automatically. in
the second stage, one 'get's up' from nirvikalpa
samAdhi only when someone else 'wakes' him up. in the
third and final stage, one is forever 'lost' in
nirvikalpa samAdhi. this represents the state of
jIvanmukti. one who has achieved this is the true
brAhmaNa, the true vedAntin, the sthita praj~na
mentioned in the gItA and a viShNu bhakta [4]. from
such an ativarNAshrami [5], the shAstra-s stay away
since they have no use for him [6].

next, MS proceeds to show the importance of bhakti for
a sAdhaka. it has been mentioned in the shruti-s that
one should have as much bhakti to one's guru as to
Ishvara. MS further mentions that the obstacles in
one's sAdhana  are very difficult to overcome without
bhakti by quoting from the gItA [7]. it should not be
thought that a j~nAni need not do hari bhakti. for a
j~nAni, hari bhakti is natural [8]. MS further says
that a prema bhakta is given the greatest importance
in the gItA and that he is very eager to explain the
gItA as all these things have been revealed by
kR^iShNa to arjuna. 

to sum it up, performing niShkAma karma is the first
step towards liberation. the obstacles are the 'sins'
of sorrow and delusion. since sorrow and delusion lead
one away from one's svadharma and result in pain etc.
which are not desirable, they should always be
avoided. to such a one, who is eager to destroy sorrow
and delusion, and attain liberation, the lord has
begun the exposition of the gItA, in view of
enlightening him with this knowledge.       

with this, almost all the major aspects of the
avatArikA of both BP and MS have been covered. from
the next post onward, the gItA will be taken up. 

references and footnotes

[1] this, while explaining the existence of a
jIvanmukta, is also quite difficult to understand
since prArabdha karma itself exists only due to
avidyA. j~nAni-s like ramaNa maharShi (RM) have
clearly stated that after one gets tattva j~nAna, even
prArabdha doesn't exist. RM asserts that the body of
the j~nAni is seen only by those who see it and the
j~nAni himself  is established in his own svarUpa and
hence, the triad of perception, perceiver and the
perceived does not exist for him. the person MS is
having in mind while writing this is probably one who
has experienced nirvikalpa samAdhi and thus has tattva
j~nAna, but has still not attained complete
liberation. this is a very tricky topic and i'm not
quite clear on this. it would be nice is someone can
clear up this important problem - the possibility of
jIvanmukti. i raised this issue in a slightly
different form - is an Ishvara compatible with
advaita? - in february this year. the discussions that
followed did not come to any proper conclusion. it
seems to me that this can be resolved only when one
attains nirvikalpa samAdhi and comes back :-), but
MS's avatArikA seems to provide a possible solution. 

[2] yama, niyama, Asana, prANAyAma and pratyAhAra.

[3] this clearly shows that both savikalpa and
nirvikalpa samAdhi are just special states of the mind
when the mind is fixed to one object and when the mind
is still respectively. thus, during samAdhi, there is
mano layam, but not mano nAsham. with this, a lot of
issues regarding yoga and advaita can be solved.   

[4] a very stringent definition for being a viShNu
bhakta indeed :-)

[5] it is interesting to note that RM also uses the
same term for himself - ativarNAshrami.

[6] what this means is that until one attains
jIvanmukti, all rules and regulations mentioned in the
shAstra-s should be followed according to one's varNa
and Ashrama. to put it in other words, the shAstra-s
should be followed until they drop away by themselves.

[7] 'pUrvAbhyAsena tenaiva hrIyate hyavasho'pi saH.'
(6.44) and '...anekajanmasaMsiddhistato yAti parAM
gatim.' (6.45). the importance of bhakti is stressed

[8] MS supports his claim by quoting shrImad
bhAgavatam, 'AtmArAmAshcha munayaH nirgranthA
apyurukrame. kurvantyahaitukIM bhaktImitthambhUtaguNo
hariH..' and 'teShAM j~nAni nityayukta ekabhaktir

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.

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