[Advaita-l] Immortality by Renunciation

Kuntimaddi Sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 15 00:57:12 EDT 2020

PraNAms to everybody.
Only by Renunciation, one can reach the immortality – त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानसुः

In the fifth chapter, the Sage Ashtavakra talks about renunciation, in just four slokas. The teaching is very subtle and intended for those who have adequately prepared their minds. In Ashtavakra Geeta, the teacher is Sage Ashtavakra, whose story appears in Mahabharata. The student is Janaka Maharaj, who is a very evolved being. 

In the very first chapter, Ashtravakra presents the highest truth in response to the three questions posed by Janaka Maharaj, namely, a) how do we gain the knowledge, b) how to get liberated from this ocean of samsara and c) how to develop dispassion. In the fifth chapter, the teacher is addressing, in a way, the question of dispassion, although he discusses this more elaborately later.  

Sage Ashtavakra asks, ‘How can you renounce anything when you never own anything in the first place?’ 

Vedanta says only by renunciation one can gain the immortality, tyaagenaike amRitatvamaanasuH. Ashtavakra says renunciation is to recognize that I do not have to renounce anything since I do not own anything in reality for me to renounce. Renouncing something, I never own it is not really any renunciation. If I do not really own it but think that I own it, then what I need to renounce is not the ownership per sec, but my notion of ownership. 

Sage Ashtavakra asks a very fundamental question. He says, how can you renounce something if you do not own it in the first place. On the other hand, if you do not own it but think that you own it, then you have a different problem. The right understanding can only remove false ownership taken as real that the ownership is false. 

In this regard, what happens during the deep-sleep state becomes an eye-opener. The understanding that during the deep sleep slate one renounces everything, including the ownership of the body, mind, and intellect, helps to recognize that the renunciation is really effortless and involves clear understanding that I never own anything to renounce. That understanding itself forms the renunciation of the false.  In the deep sleep state, I am there, but I have no awareness of the body, mind, and intellect. Along with these three, all relationships and ownerships are all sublimated. I am neither a husband or a wife, neither a son or a father, neither rich or poor, neither an employee oran employer, no transactions that need to be done or have been done, no relationships of any kind whatsoever, no ahankaara or ego or mamakaara or notion that this is mine, no time and space too. It is the homogeneous absence of everything known or unknown. We go to a deep sleep state effortlessly. In fact, any effort to sleep will keep us awake, preventing us from entering into a deep sleep state. 

Thus, in a deep sleep state, the dissolution of everything occurs, except for my own presence. Hence it is called laya or dissolution. Sage Ashtavakra, while reminding us of our deep sleep state, instructs us to enter into the same state of dissolution while being awake. Hence, he says in these four slokas – evam eva layam vraja – in this way enter into Laya or the state of dissolution, while being awake,using your discriminative intellect. In this fifth chapter of Ashtavakra Geeta, he says:

न ते सङ्गोस्ति केनापि किं शुद्धः त्यक्तुम् इच्छसि|

सङ्घात विलयं कुर्वन् एवमेव लयं व्रज|| 5:1

Sage Ashtavakra says: You have no contact with anything whatsoever. Pure subject as you are, what can you renounce? Recognizing your own true nature, resolve your false identification with body-mind complex and enter into Laya, the state of complete dissolution of the false or dissolution of every changing objectifiable entity and thus the whole world. 

In essence, you are already perfect and full as you are. What more can you add or subtract? Hence drop everything just as you do when you go to a deep sleep state. Drop all your attachments and aversions and recognize your perfectness and fullness as you are, while you are awake. 

Hence, give up everything involves recognizing that nothing or no being belongs to you, nor you need it for your happiness. Attachment is defined as dependence on anything or any being other than yourself for your happiness. In contrast, love is defined as letting others depend on you for their happiness as you cannot but be compassionate.  

We should let everything go without mentally holding on to them, and that becomes the essential means for freedom from dependence. The attachment to one’s own BMI is so intense that it is difficult to let go. Yet, we let them go effortlessly as we go to the deep-sleep state. In the deep sleep state, we are there, but BMI is not there.
This logic, called ‘anvaya-vyatireka’ is used to denounce our identification with our BMI.  In essence, it means that I am there, and BMI is there in the waking state while I am there, but BMI is not there in the deep-sleep state. Hence, I cannot be the BMI as I take it forgranted while I am in the waking state. 

Hence, I have to cognitively understand that I cannot be BMI, as I take myself to be. As a consequence of the wrong identification of myself with BMI, I suffer since the limitations and modifications of BMI become my limitations. 
We could easily give up that identification since we do that every dayas we go to the deep-sleep state since we recognize that sleep is moreimportant for my happiness than holding on to the things and beings. In principle, we should be able to give up our identification with the BMI, while remaining in the waking state. The subtlest aspect of this is that we have to use the very BMI to denounce that we are not the BMI but that we are pure sat-chit-ananda (pure existence-consciousness-limitless) that enlivens the BMI and makes it so dynamic and active. For that only mind has to be prepared via karma, upasana, bhakti, and jnana yoga. 

Hari Om!Sadananda


The talks on Ashtavakra Geeta – made available by Advaita Academy.


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