[Advaita-l] Sundara Khanda - IIIrd Talk - Part 1

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 18 21:17:37 EDT 2017

Sundara Khanda of Ramayan

This write-up is somewhat based on the discourses by Swami Advaitananda, at 2017 Chinmaya Maha Samadhi Camp held in Chicago July 29 – Aug. 3rd.

IIIrd Talk: Part 1

>From Hanuman’s journey towards Seeta, we can learn many things. First, Hanuman does lot of thinking before he acts. That is called vichaara. This word, vichaara, comes many times in the Sundarakhanda. It is not just thinking but correct thinking. Bondage is lack of proper thinking. Everyone is in search of happiness – but many go after what is preyas (that which is pleasarable) than what is shreyas (that which is ultimately good. In kathopanishad the teacher, Yama, points out to the student, Nachiketas, that there are two pursuits – one is path of indulgence called preyas and the other is path of evolution called Shreyas, and only unintelligent ones go after the path of indulgence while those who have discriminative intellect goes for the path of evolution or shreyas. In kathopanishad the teacher says –shreyasch preyascha manushyametat tou sampareetya vivinakti dheeraH|shreyohi dheerobhi preyaso vRiNeetepreyo mando yogashemaad vRineete||

The two paths – path of evolution and path of indulgence, both choices one has at any time. The intelligent one, after proper thinking, selects the path of evolution over the path of indulgence. The ignorant ones go after the path of indulgence to find happiness.

In Geeta also, Arjuna asks Krishna – I do not know what the proper course of action that I should take. I surrender myself to you, please guide me to that path which is definitely that of Shreyas – yat shreyaschan nischitam bruuhi tanve.

Hanuman follows the path of shreyas after deep thinking, as he is in search of Seeta, who stands for peace. Action is gross while thinking is subtle. >From path of action, we move to the path of contemplation. Thinking is more difficult or to say correctly the proper thinking is difficult. We have to train our minds to think properly. Education should involve not just thinking but how to think correctly, by asking right questions. That is thinking on the basis of knowledge – which Vedanta calls it as mananam, that is required after receiving the teachings by listening to the teacher. It emphasizes vichaara – or an inquiry – Vedanta says freedom from limitations comes only after proper inquiry, tat vijnaasasva – enquire about the nature of absolute truth by negating what is false. sa vijneyaH – it has to be enquired. Vichaara to aachaara action should come after proper inquiry. One thinks first before one speaks, and does what is correct after thinking – manasaa, vaachaa, karmanaa. If these three things are proper then the journey will be smooth and fruitful. By wrong thinking, we commit wrong actions. If we do not know how to think, it is better to get guidance from the wise or a teacher. Meditation is directing the thoughts towards the higher or towards the goal. 

Mind entertains numerous thoughts. It is said it can think up to 16000 thoughts per minute. If all the thoughts are directed towards the Lord, then it is like 16000 thoughts centered on the Lord. It is like raasa leela where each thought is symbolized as gopi. In the Sri Krishna KarnamRitam, Leelasuka says –anganaa manganaa mantare maadhavaHmaadhavam maadhavam cha antareraanaanganaa|ittamaakalpite manDale madhyagaHsanjagou veNunaa devakee nandanaH|| II-35

Leelasuka describes the raasa leela – It says between gopi and gopi there is Krishna. Slowly, the attention is shifted to Krishna. Hence he says between Krishna and Krishna there is a gopi. As the raasa Leela progresses all the gopies are dancing around with Krishna remaining at the center playing his flute. Gopi stands for a thought. Between each thought, there is Krishna – a silence between the thoughts where consciousness alone is there without thoughts. Initially, the seeker’s attention is more on the thoughts than the silence between the thoughts. As meditation progress, his attention shifts to the silence in between the thoughts. Ultimately full attention is on the Lord, the pure consciousness to whose tune the thoughts are dancing around. Krishna is married to 16000 wives. Interestingly, in the 108 names of the Lord, one name is anaadi brahmachaarine namaH – I am prostrating to the one who is the eternal bachelor. In spite all the gopies dancing around, Krishna remains unattached in the middle, playing His divine music unperturbed by the dance of life around. This is what inquiry of absolute truth involves abiding in the self that is unperturbed by the multitude of the creation, sustenance, and dissolution that is taking place. All thoughts are wedded to Him, the absolute consciousness – yet consciousness has nothing to do with any thoughts – anaadi brahmachaariNe namaH. 

To be continued

Hari Om!


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