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 unreal, you are not reliable, you are like the dogs who, when given familiarity, will try to kiss the lips of their master with a mouth soiled in filth and excreta.”

Real life is to part company with these dangerous beings that dwell in the realm of the mind, by withdrawal, tranquillity and upliftment, intuitive upliftment of the mind to the region of shanti. This is the yogic way of living.

There are many impediments on the way which we must conquer, and one of the great impediments is the desire in us to please others.

“The poor dear will be so disappointed if I do not drink with him.”

“I must cause pleasure in the hearts of others, so what is the harm in degrading myself?”

This is the greatest.

“Even if the whole world is offended”, says Andre Gide, “I will not be insincere.” To please no one in the world, he says, will I practise insincerity. This is the way. People say “he has a strong will” and this and that. Well, even a strong will …! Josephine was able to rule the conqueror of the world because she had a stronger will than Napoleon. Then, will is to be strengthened by making no compromise with the yogic truth. This is the first thought. OM.

“Chaitanvam sarvagam sarvam sarva bhuta guhashavam
Yat sarva vishayatitam tasmat sarva vide namah.”

This is a verse by Shri Shankara taken from his work “Upadesha Sahasri” (verse 1) . Shri Shankara gives it as a text for meditation – that is to say, to read it, grasp its meaning, and to confirm it in our own mind that it is so.

The rational process plays no part in meditation. It is the process of confirmation and recognition which is strongest in meditation, and not reasoning. Socrates says, according to Plato, that tolerance and temperance cannot be defined. When he is pressed to give a definition, in one of his Dialogues he adds “yet, let us live them; they are great guides in life”. So, after Bergson there is very little room to assert the supremacy of reasoning. There are many higher faculties; why not trust them? It is not necessary to exercise reason when you meditate.

What is the meditation? “Consciousness approaching every place …” not only in Heaven but also in the Antipodes, not only in the heart of the saints but also abiding in the hearts of the greatest sinners ready to befriend; just they have to stand and say

 “I come and take refuge in Thee”;

When it is sincerely said, they are befriended, because It is everywhere found. “…abiding in the cave of every being. . . ” “cave” here means “intellect”.

There is no being in whom this Chaitanyam does not abide) ” . . .He who is without any object …

” He is not to be found in anything objective. Look not for Him in a temple or in a mountain or in a wood or in a tavern.

“Bereft of any object” ” . . Salutations to that all-knowing One.”

Now again I translate according to the prose order:

“Salutations to the all-knowing One “Salutations” means recognition of His presence intellectually, offering of loving veneration to Him in silent meditation. And these are the predicates –. “…Consciousness present everywhere, abiding in the heart of every being, and bereft of all objects and activities.” OM.

Now a few words on the important subject of vritti. Just as the fire sends out radiation all the time – you would not see it, you would not feel the heat otherwise – so our vrittis, that is, the rays of our mind, radiate through our five senses. They radiate through our five senses. Antahkarana is vritti-rupa, the nature of antahkarana is all vritti. If you have no vritti, you have no antahkarana. Just as fire is all radiation, so antahkarana is all vritti. Sleep is not a vritti. The object of vritti is to reveal something and sleep does not reveal anything, so it is not called a vritti.

What is the purpose of vritti? Everything has its nature and its purpose, and to man its utility, and it has also a great value in that it is a symbol. Everything in the world is a symbol, which means that it points to something which is not ordinarily visible or comprehensible. I want to explain to you what “a point” is, which is not difficult to explain to students because it has position and no magnitude. How will the children understand? Therefore the teacher puts a dot on the board and says it is “a point”, but it is only a symbol which points to something which is not ordinarily visible. If a student says “It has magnitude!”, yes, the symbol has magnitude but the object symbolized need not always have magnitude.  

So, everything in the world has symbolic form, pragmatic form, has its value, has its nature. Remember one thing, value is what the interest of a man puts into a thing; that is called its “value”. An acorn has no value to me or to you but to a bird it has great value as food. What is the purpose of vritti? The purpose is negation of ajnana or darkness. There is a ruby on the table; it is hidden in darkness. The vritti, passing through your eyes, falls upon it, assumes its form, reports it to the jiva, and you say “here is a ruby”. It reveals the object by negation of ajnana. Do not take “ajnana” here in the absolute sense, here only in the ordinary epistemological sense. The purpose it to negate ajnana.

Question: Can vritti reveal ajnana by itself?
Answer: Vritti itself is ajnana but the only thing is that it is compounded with consciousness. There is consciousness in the object also; in vishaya also, there is chetana, but in vritti it is transparent and active, and in the object covered by tamas and not revealed and therefore merely the form of the object is revealed.

Question: Is it independent of distance?
Answer: Distance itself is a form of ajnana. Vritti has its range and it is limited because it proceeds from jiva, which is bound up in its own imagined limitations due to identification with the intellect.

In the empirical vritti, the chetana in the ghat (pot) is revealed as Sat (existence). Consciousness has a threefold aspect – Sat, Chetana, ananda; Truth, Consciousness and Blissfulness. In the empirical vritti, the chetana in the ghat is revealed by the vritti; you see a pot and the vritti reveals “a pot”. What does it reveal? It reveals existence – “here is a pot”. What is the “potness” in the pot? It is existence and it is consciousness and it is name and form and it is blissfulness; these five things go to constitute the object called “ghat”. Vritti reveals the Sat part of the ghat, and of course it is not pure Sat yet, but it is Sat in the empirical sense. So all that vritti does is to reveal the “potness” of the pot as something existent.

Question: Are not name and form also revealed?
Answer : Yes, but here it is not considered. We are here considering the connection between object and vritti. Its name is “ghat” and its form is “round”. If you take away “is-ness”, there is no name and form so even here it is Sat, “asti”, which is revealed.

Vritti assumes the akara, which means “form” in a gross as well as in a subtle sense. The English language does not lend itself to the expressions of philosophical terms. The “akara” means the form visible and also that subtle aspect of the form which the eyes may not see. For instance, the inner vrittis of ajnana also reveal the akara of the inner mental states, but then “mental state” has no time-spatial or mental form. By our yogic practice, discipline, devotion, perpetual meditation on the contents of verses of Shri Shankara like the one which we have just quoted, vritti assumes a very peculiar form, which is “I am Brahman.”

Now it must be accepted that vritti, out of all the subjective forms it assumes in the interplay of nescience, finally, if well directed and disciplined, assumes the form “I am Brahman”. The object of constant repetition with concentration and understanding of “Shivoham” or “Om. Om. Om.” is that vritti may acquire the akara of Brahman, Brahmakara vritti. It is a very subtle subject to the exposition of which hundreds of pages have been devoted by the great Acharyas in their works. But our approach is more through intuition. Intellect cannot reach there but it is possible through faith, practice, discipline, experience. Therefore the vritti in its form of consummation, or the fruit of the vritti, is to acquire the akara of Brahman “I am Brahman”.

When an ordinary beginner in Yoga says “Shivoham”, he says it without being conscious of the meaning and awareness of the contents of the expression. But if he goes on saying so and leads a life of Brahmacharya and devotion and simplicity, then when saying it he begins to feel it in the form of very great peace and feel it in the form of an ever-widening horizon of the inner form of conception – ever-widening! When Shri Rama Tirtha said it, it meant so much to him that his whole face used to be transfigured. His consciousness of the empirical realm was transcended in one “Shivoham”.

The Brahmakara vritti negates the avidya in the vritti, which is made of avidya and chetana. Understand it well. The vritti becomes Brahmakara, and it is through discipline and application that we make the vritti Brahmakara. It has been established on the best authority that St. Francis of Assisi did receive the stigmata on his hands.

He received it, there is no doubt about it, because his vritti had become entirely in the form of the object of his contemplation, Christ on the Cross. First the vritti has to become Ishvara-akara, as Guru, as Rama, Krishna, Jesus. And then in the higher stage when tranquillity has been achieved within and without, then it becomes Brahmakara and then it is composed of ajnana and Brahman, as is everything else in the world.

When vritti assumes the form of Brahmakara, the ajnana part of it is burnt up or negated, just as if you introduce a light the darkness is negated, and what remains is Brahman; and when Brahman is revealed in the vritti, so It is also revealed in the antahkarana and then the antahkarana loses its antahkarana-ness and reveals the Brahmic substratum, the real aspect of Brahman, and the yogi feels as the Upanishad says:

“Brahman within, Brahman without, Brahman to the East, Brahman to the West, Brahman to the South, Brahman above, Brahman below, Kham Brahman, Kham Brahman.”

(Chandogya Upanishad” 7.25. “Mundaka Upanishad” 2.2.12. “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad” 5.2.1.)

Question: Is the jiva conscious of the vritti gaining momentum?
Answer: Yes, yes, yes. He experiences the tranquillity and the width of the horizon of awareness.

This is the process, very roughly speaking, which explains how jnana happens and how the process takes place. So many volumes have been written by great Acharyas like Chitsukhi, Sarvajnatman and others, but this is the essence.

The first thing in our daily life is to purify vritti, not to identify vritti with anything that is perishable, anything which is changing, anything that conceals God from our consciousness. The Sufi says: “Whatever thou perceivest, know that it is the Lord manifesting Himself temporarily in that form. ” So, too, the Mahatma; how beautiful are the words of Tulsidas:

“He knows you, O Rama, whom you favour with your cognition: and one who has known you, he becomes you. And when one knows you, he becomes you.”

You know the story of Maricha the Rakshasa, who, at the instance of Ravana, assumed the form of a jewelled deer and attracted the notice of Shri Sita, who wanted its skin. Shri Rama knew it was illusory but she insisted so much that he took his bow, because to Ishvara the future is revealed as much as the past. Maricha says: “I run with the utmost joy because I know today is the consummation of my life; I will be killed by Rama. As soon as the first arrow of Rama struck my body, in my consciousness the trees, the leaves, grass, sky and space, in my sight was all Rama and nothing but Rama. All, all, was nothing but Rama.” In fact there is no doubt about it.

This happened to one who had tried to deceive the Lord. How much more will it happen to one who comes to offer himself as a sacrifice! In the case of Sugriva, his vritti becomes Ramakara. It is the law of vritti that, when it is most intensely felt as in the case of St. Francis of Assisi, it assumes that form; it becomes an akara very easily.

You see thousands of things of clay – a man, a woman, a cook, a banquet, food – all clay but you name them “this” and “this”.

But if you look with the eye of wisdom, all is nothing but clay, clay, clay. So, in sansara, the friend, enemy, mountain, river, history, all, all in fact is Rama or Brahman. “Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma”(“Chandogya Upanishad” 3.14.3). “The difference of plurality is not even in the slightest part of it.” (“Brihadaranyaka Upanishad” 4.4.19.) This is the consummation.

If life is not led on this line and to this goal, it is wasted, and its wastefulness is evident from the fact that it gives no satisfaction at all whatsoever. Today is near the 15th March, the day of Caesar’s assassination. Was it a joy to him? He was at the height of power, the whole world nearly conquered, Pompey slain, Crassus imprisoned, no rival; yet you remember the cry when his own son stabbed him. This shows that any other achievement in life is meaningless. Shri Rama Tirtha demonstrates it so well in his life and works.

The perception of Atman and the perception of common facts – there are two kind of perception. The vritti goes out and assumes the form of the outer facts, which you all know. In the second case, the mind-consciousness does not take any form because Brahman has no form. I told you that the word “akara” has a most subtle shade of meaning. In the second case, the mind-consciousness does not take any form because Brahman has no form. In common perception, the mental consciousness is determinate, that is to say, it will go according to the fixed laws.

The mental perception in the second case is indeterminate. It reveals the primeval ignorance in the first case, and in the last case Atman. Ignorance gone, its locus remains; the horse has escaped but the stable is there; the terror and fear has gone but the locus of fear and ignorance is there. Ajnana has Brahman as its locus, and its object is also Brahman; as it is said, Brahman is both its ashraya and bhuktatva. It takes the intellectual form and the love form. Such a consciousness in the preparatory state needs adaptation, and then it is evidenced chiefly in intellectual form and in love. How is it obtained? By the process called shravana, manana and nididhyasana.

A short story. Holy Abraham was the son of a sculptor. His father used to make idols and sell them to the worshippers. Holy Abraham from his childhood was born a great and holy son. He said to his father: “God has no form. Why not teach the people to worship Him as Spirit and not as idols?” One day his parents went to a fair. The boy took a club and smashed the bhutas, the images he had made. He took the club and put it into a robe and fastened it round the neck of a very high image the father had made, and he was the only one left. They said: “Who has done it?” Abraham said: “The chief idol.” The father said: “He cannot do it!” Abraham said: “If he cannot do it, is he worthy of worship?”

So, we have many idols in our antahkarana, which is the temple of God. Ambition is an idol, love of comfort, nationalism is a very great idol, false creeds are idols. Sansaric idols are idols; as Shri Shankara says in the “Crest Jewel” (302): “Lift up the sword of inana and cut off the heads of all the objects of ajnana, that is to say, the three gunas.” Shri Shankara says a three-headed snake is hiding the jewel of Realization; take up the sword of jnana and cut off the three heads and then the truth, the supreme object of vritti, Brahman, will be revealed unto you. May all see peace. May all make peace their policy. May the rulers of the world be established in peace. May the politicians make peace their main policy.


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