Let a man practise in the approved way the yogas of the Self, which make the mind steady

Om. Now we begin a concise commentary on the Chapter of the Self, which begins ‘Let a man practise in the approved way the yogas of the Self’ (adhyatmika-yogas). Why, one may ask, is it brought forward here in a section (of the Law-book) which deals with atonement for sins? The answer is, that both (yoga and atonement) lead to destruction of karma. Atonements lead to the destruction of undesirable karma; and to one who sees rightly (vivekin), all karma, (even that) prescribed for the various castes and stages of life, is undesirable, because it leads to taking on a body. Knowledge of Self (atma-jnana) leads to destruction of karma because it does away with the doshas (defects like anger) which cause activity. It will be said here that when the wise man (pandita), who knows the Self, throws off the doshas, then both duty (dharma) and its opposite (a-dharma) are destroyed and he attains Peace, and it is to give that Self-knowledge that the Chapter of the Self is begun in this place, the common point being destruction of karma. Objection But surely the prescribed actions (karma), laid down (by the holy texts) for men in their various castes …

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Austerity has to be practised, in small things at first

It had a wide meaning: the central idea is training to become independent of all circumstances, outer or inner. It has to be practised, in small things at first. In the end, when the independent Self is realized, it is a natural effortless fact. It is not the same as an external self-control with seething passion within. In application it means, to be able to act without reacting. This cannot be done till the internal passions have been thinned out. They are in fact based on illusion; when that is realized consciously and vividly, not merely intellectually, passions no longer enslave. He often spoke of the madness of Romeo and Juliet. He pointed out that the play makes clear that Romeo was falling in love with other girls before he met Juliet. The love would not last long; he would soon be attracted elsewhere. They knew nothing of each other, or the hidden potentialities for discord in themselves. He said that the whole must be looked at, not merely a part. The hangover is part of the drinking party; the damage to the lung is part of smoking a cigarette. (This was said long before the link with cancer was …

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I have neither a beginning nor an end

Meditation – this is a verse from the error-destroying pen of Shri Shankaracharya: “I have neither a beginning nor an end. I have neither a beginning nor an end. I am Consciousness transcending time and place. Therefore I am ever free, never, never in bondage. By nature I am pure, taintless. Such am I” . I have neither beginning nor end because both relate to time and space. Such am I. There is not the least doubt about it. OM. Now a few practical hints. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid associationship with people totally given to sansara, those people whose world consists only of what they touch, taste, see, feel or even what they think, those people whose world is all this; avoid them. Why not do good to them? This is like the saying of some silly girl who cannot control her feelings and falls in love with a Titan and thinks she can reduce him to a pigmy. She will be obliterated. She will not bring him to Yoga but she herself will be dragged to the public house. Do not be too philanthropic: first do good to yourself. There is an Arabic saying, it is to a very …

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This world has no independent existence

Meditation – a verse of Shri Shankaracharya: “I am bliss and truth and enlightenment (that is to say ‘I am Brahman’  . Let us always reflect thus. This world, a conglomeration of different atoms and principles, is mithya. Mithya means that it has no independent existence. I am Brahman , truth, the imperishable” . This is a statement of the highest truth, the naked truth, the undeniable, uncontradictable truth, the only truth. And those who thus reflect, they become the truth embodied in this verse. In Shri Shankara’s philosophy, thought means an instrument which reveals, and if our thought is what is given here, it will reveal to us the true nature of the Self, and when the true nature of our Self is revealed to us, then we shall know for certain in our intuitive experience that there is no cause whatsoever for fear, for grief, for anxiety, and there is no need to search for bliss because the seeker is the sought. This is our first meditation today. OM. As soon as you think of a mountain, you think of something made of stones or earth rising very high above the surface of the earth. We think of …

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How jnana happens and how the process takes place

With Maya as His antahkarana, that is the totality of Maya as His antahkarana, the Lord projects the universe, sustains it and withdraws it. The jiva, who is the Lord in miniature, through his own antahkarana which is limited, endowed with a little power and a little imagination, projects his own world, and his own world as it is projected through his finite and limited phase of Maya, his antahkarana, is unreliable, risky, precarious, slight, and veils the light of jnana. Let man, therefore, in imagination detach himself from the working of his individual finite Maya antahkarana, and identify himself with the Lord who is the light, the support and the prompter of the activity of the three gunas. The process is subjective and not objective, and the process is accomplished when you meditate (1) withdrawing the senses into the mind (2) turning the mind to its cause, the light within it, in the form of “Shivoham, Shivoham, Shivoham, Shivoham.” Then the light of Consciousness steps out of the prison of antahkarana, your local antahkarana, the denizens of which are desires, sanskaras, vasanas, memories, imagination, hankerings and so forth. We must part company with them by saying : “you are …

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This Atman is not to be achieved by word

The holy philosophy of Shri Shankara is a remedy for all the sufferings, which have one cause: that is ignorance or avidya. It is not something to be indulged in intellectually as a luxury. And those people who make a luxury of it will remain bereft of its chief advantage – freedom from all kinds of suffering for ever. There is, first, a preparation for it; there is, second, a discipline of the mind and of the conduct to undergo; then the third is the acceptance and service of a teacher, and the fourth is the spiritual practices, and the fifth is illumination, and the sixth is unbroken happiness. If we want to begin the study of the holy philosophy systematically, we must fulfil the preparatory part of it. It relates to life, not only to intellect, and therefore the preparation is moulding of life in a certain golden frame. There are many things which have to be given up, there are many things which have to be accepted, there are many things which have to be assimilated. Unless this process is adopted, holy ones, we shall remain vachajnani, talking jnani, not the feeling jnani, not the jnani who has …

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Svaraj siddhi, is acquisition of the real self-rule

Prayer of Gajendra, from the “Shrimad Bhagavatam”: I take refuge in Him Who is the Substratum of the Universe; Who is the sole Cause of all this Creation; Who Himself has become the Universe; yet Who is beyond this effect and its cause and Who is Self-evident. At the destruction of time and of the worlds and all the Devas supporting the worlds, a darkness profound and inscrutable covered all. May He, that ever-pervasive Reality, Who was then shedding His undiminished splendour beyond that darkness – may He protect me, and all others. Desirous of seeing Him in their own Self – Him the ever-attached friend of all living beings – the virtuous Sadhus live as Brahmacharis, in solitude, finding inner unity with all. He who acts like an actor and Whose nature is not understood by the Devas and Rishis, how can men know or describe Him? May that inscrutable One, Who eludes the grasp of the mind and of speech, protect me and all others. My salutations to Him, Who is free from births and deaths, actions, attributes, names and forms, qualities and blemishes and Who yet, for the withdrawal and extension of the worlds, takes birth through …

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