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Messages - Ravi.N

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Friends,
I will now post Excerpts from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna where the Master has said exactly what Kanchi mahaswami has said about the liberating Grace of The Divine Mother.Here is an excerpt:

"Is Kali, my Divine Mother, of a black complexion? She appears black because She is viewed from a distance; but when intimately known She is no longer so. The sky appears blue at a distance; but look at it close by and you will find that it has no colour. The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance, but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colourless."
The Master became intoxicated with divine love and sang:
Is Kali, my Mother, really black?
The Naked One, of blackest hue,
Lights the Lotus of the Heart. . . .
The Master continued: "Bondage and liberation are both of Her making. By Her Maya worldly people become entangled in 'woman and gold', and again, through Her grace they attain their liberation. She is called Saviour, and the remover of the bondage that binds one to the world."
Divine Mother's sport
Then the Master sang the following song in his melodious voice:
In the world's busy market-place, O Syama, Thou art flying kites;
High up they soar on the wind of hope, held fast by maya's string.
Their frames are human skeletons, their sails of the three gunas made;
But all their curious workmanship is merely for ornament.
Upon the kite-strings Thou hast rubbed the manja-paste of worldliness,
So as to make each straining strand all the more sharp and strong.
Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free;
And Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them!
On favouring winds, says Ramprasad, the kites set loose will speedily
Be borne away to the Infinite, across the sea of the world.
The Master said: "The Divine Mother is always playful and sportive. This universe is Her play. She is self-willed and must always have Her own way. She is full of bliss. She gives freedom to one out of a hundred thousand."
A BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "But, sir, if She likes, She can give freedom to all. Why, then, has She kept us bound to the world?"
MASTER: "That is Her will. She wants to continue playing with Her created beings. In a game of hide-and-seek the running about soon stops if in the beginning all the players touch the 'granny'. If all touch her, then how can the game go on? That displeases her. Her pleasure is in continuing the game. Therefore the poet said:
'Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free;And Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them!'
Reassurance to householders
"It is as if the Divine Mother said to the human mind in confidence, with a sign from Her eye, 'Go and enjoy the world.' How can one blame the mind? The mind can disentangle itself from worldliness if, through Her grace, She makes it turn toward Herself. Only then does it become devoted to the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother."


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Kanchi Mahaswami-Introduction to soundarya Lahari continued...

There is no difference in the concept  of moksha as the realisation of the one-ness of jIva and Brahman, between advaita schools and the Shri-vidyA tantra of the shAkta schools. The philosophy of advaita takes creation as a ‘vivarta’ (a false appearance, manifestation,  of reality) whereas the Shri-vidyA school takes it as ‘AbhAsa’ (an effulgence of a ‘reflection’). That the sun appears as a reflection in water is ‘AbhAsa’. In the same way the universal Cit-Shakti reflects itself with a limitation and becomes the jIva as well as the universe  -- this is the shAkta concept of creation. But without the original object called the Sun there could be no reflection. So in basics it comes back to the  advaita concept. But the shAkta holds that to the extent there is an object with its reflection, there is a phenomenal reality for jIva and the universe. It does not hold that it is ‘mithyA’ which is the advaitin’s contention.

It is the latter part of Soundaryalahari that dwells on  the beauty (saundaryam) of ambaal’s form.The former part dwells on Her Shakti. It is called Ananda-lahari. The identity between Shakti and Cit is referred to in the word ‘cidAnandalaharI’ in verse no.8 of Anandalahari. “bhajanti tvAm dhanyAH katicana cidAnanda-laharIm”, meaning, ‘Only the most fortunate few (recognize you and) worship you  as the flood of knowledge-bliss (cidAnanda)’. Note here that while for  every  reader of the Soundaryalahari portion the whole beauty of Mother Goddess is fully experiential, in  the Anandalahari portion the people who can experience the bliss of the Shakti-lahari, that is, the cidAnanda-lahari, are only the few fortunate (katicana dhanyAH) !

The close correlation between advaita and the various shAkta schools, particularly the Shri-vidyA tantra school,  has been used by our Acharya who is aware that many cannot follow the abstract path of jnAna. And that is why perhaps he  chalks out a path whereby one starts from the ‘leela’ of creation of duality and goes forward along the path of Shri-vidyA and finally ends up in advaita itself. In accordance with this, even when he composed many stotras on Shiva and VishNu, he never goes deep into the shivAgama or vaishNava-Agama nuances but dwells mainly on the bhakti and  consequent emotions only.  On the other hand when he worked on Soundarya-lahari, the first part, Anandalahari, – even though it is said that he only ‘brought’ it (from Kailas) and not composed it – is totally a shAkta scripture. The sum and substance of the twin work of Ananda-lahari and Soundarya-lahari seems to be: “advaita is The path; if not, the next (alternative) is Shri-vidyA” !
In fact, Shri-vidyA is the connecting cord between advaita and all that is dvaita. It unifies the shAntam-Shivam-advaitam with Shakti, the creator of duality, and therefore, of the universe.  In LalitA-sahasranAma also, the last name is lalitAmbikA and the last but one is shiva-shakty-aikya-rUpiNI. And this takes us to the very beginning sloka of Soundarya-lahari !

concluded.
We may see the parallel in Sri Ramakrishna's approach,which is exactly what the Mahaswami has detailed.
Namaskar.

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Kanchi Mahaswami-Introduction to soundarya lahari continued...

The shAkta philosophy (ShAktam) talks of ‘Shivam’ in  place of the actionless substratum ‘Brahman’. Even if it is actionless, it is Cit, knowledge, says advaita. In  place of this Cit, ShAktam talks of Cit-Shakti or simply,  Shakti. The Brahman of advaita peacefully rests in itself. In ShAktam, on the other hand, the peaceful Shivam has the Shakti, power or energy, that manifests as  knowledge potential (Cit-Shakti) and this manifestation is its  play as the multiplicity of the universe. In advaita there is no second.  What appears as the universe is only an appearance created by mAyA.  MAyA has no relationship with Brahman. What it is, and how it came – all this is inexplainable. That research is not necessary. What is needed is how to get out of it and obtain the  personal realisation of the basic Brahman behind. And hence the path of jnAna.  In ShAktam, it is claimed that the play of duality starts by the Will of Shivam coupled with Shakti. Even here there is a role of mAyA-Shakti. But we shall dwell on it later.

It is Brahman that appears as jIva, through the effect of mAyA. If one follows the path of jnAna and transcends mAyA, then jIva realises itself as Brahman, says advaita. In ShAktam also it says that the jIva and Shivam are basically the same and actually become the same in the state of moksha; particularly in the Shri-vidyA scriptures it is specifically accepted so. Dvaitam, VishishhTAdvaitam, SiddhAnta-shaivam (Shaiva-siddhantam), ShrIkaNTa-shaivam (ShivAdvaitam), Kashmiri Saivism – in this order, the philosophies start from a concept totally distinct from advaita, gradually nearing and ultimately becoming very near to advaita.

And in ShrIvidyA the identity of jiva with Brahman is clearly stipulated. The two philosophies differ only in the concept of creation. In advaita, duality is said to be only an imagination and so is to be totally negated. In shAkta philosophies, duality is said to be created by parA-Shakti, the energy of Brahman. It is also the parA-Shakti that grants the moksha, which is the identity of Brahman and jIva in eternal peaceful bliss. This bliss is called shivAnandam and/or shAntAnandam  in the shaivite schools,  and cidAnandam in the shAkta schools.

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Kanchi Mahaswami-Introduction to soundarya Lahari continued....

The concept of ‘intense’ devotion does not care for the  language used, or for the manner of  worship. It is the intensity of devotion and depth of feeling that matter. But getting that intensity and depth is the most difficult thing. That is exactly what eludes us. Now that is where the beauty of such blessed poetry like ‘Soundaryalahari’ excels. Whether you understand it or not, whether you pronounce the words correctly or not, the very attempt itself of reciting it   produces in you the needed bhakti! This is the word-power of the words of such blessed poetry.  The vibrations of the words  give us all the material  and spiritual success. We have only to keep the objective of bhakti steadfast in our minds. Everything else just follows.

 Of all the stotras that our Acharya has done, it is the Soundaryalahari that is the topmost. The aShTottara-nAmAvaLi of the Acharya has the nAmA ‘soundarya-laharI-mukhya-bahu-stotra- vidhAyakAya namaH’ meaning: ‘prostrations to the one who composed many stotras with soundaryalaharI as the prime one’. Of the bhAshyas that he wrote, ‘brahma-sUtra-bhAshya’ towers supreme; of his expository works, ‘viveka-chUDAmaNi’ is prime and of all his works of bhakti, the Soundarya-laharI tops the list.

SundarI, the beautiful, is Her name. Tripura-sundari or mahA-tripura-sundari both derived from the root name, SundarI, is the Goddess propitiated by the great mantra called ‘shri-vidyA’. Of the many names of ambaal, such as PArvatI, durgA, KALI, BAlA, BhuvaneshvarI, etc., it is the sundari name that goes with ‘RAja-rAjesvari’, the Queen-name of all the scriptures that talk of and dwell on the Mother Goddess. Sage Ramakrishna has said: I have seen many forms of Gods and Goddesses; but I have never seen one more charming than ‘Tripura-sundari’ !  The word ‘soundaryam’ pertains to SundarI and means ‘The Beauty’.

But the beauty of it all is, that the name ‘Tripura-sundarI’ or any of the other (synonymous) names of the same form, namely, ‘LalitA’, ‘RAja-rAjeshvarI’, ‘KAmAkshI’ or ‘KaAmeshvarI’ do not occur anywhere in the text, including its title ! Even the other descriptive names of the Goddess like ‘hima-giri-sutA’ (daughter of Himalaya mountain), or simply, giri-sutA,  shivA, bhavAnI, umA, satI, pArvatI, chanDI – occur only at one or two places. General attributed names, like ‘jananI’, ‘mAtA’, ‘ambA’, ‘devI’ meaning either ‘mother’ or ‘goddess’, -- which commonly go with all feminine deities --  occur at a few more places, but even  they are few.
While he begins with ‘shivaH-shaktyA’, the most potent name of ambaal, namely ‘shakti’,  gets mentioned. ‘Shakti’ means ‘power’. It is the absolute brahman’s power or energy that ambaal personifies. So this name tells everything about the Goddess. And it comes in the very beginning, but never after.
Finally, one more point regarding occurrence of names. The role of a woman has three stages: as daughter, as wife, as mother. The last two roles certainly do get mentioned  very  often in  stotras pertaining to a feminine deity. But the Soundaryalahari uses the daughter-reference such as ‘himagiri-sute’, ‘tuhina-giri-kanye’, more often.  And again,  when the first part of 41 slokas ends, he ends by referring to ‘janaka-jananI’ , the mother-father role of both Isvara and IsvarI of the whole universe.

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Kanchi Mahaswami-Introduction to soundarya lahari continued...

There are three superlative hymns of praise on  Mother Goddess in the form of Lalita. Chronologically they are: ‘AryA-dvishati’  (also called ‘lalitA-stava-ratnam’) a 200-sloka piece by Sage Durvasa; ‘Soundarya-lahari’ which is actually made up of two parts – ‘Ananda-lahari’ , a 41-sloka piece brought from Kailas by Adi Sankara and ‘Soundarya-lahari’  the 59-sloka piece composed by Adi Sankara himself, the two pieces together going by the popular name of Soundarya lahari by Adi Sankara; and ‘Panca-shati’  (a 500-sloka piece) by the poet Muka.

Durvasa’s  Arya-dvishati gives us a spiritual experience of the presence of the Almighty-Goddess in the very words of AryA-dvishati. In this he describes the complicated structure of the Sri-chakra . The Goddess’s Grace descends on those who read and recite such  hymns of praise composed by great devotees who have already merited the descent of Her Grace on them. Durvasa, Adi Sankara and Muka are three such. Such Grace exhibits itself first in the eloquence of these hymns. And the result is, the devotee who revels in the recitation and repetition of these hymns, himself gets that eloquence and flow of language and of speech.

The Goddess gave such an eloquence to Muka. ‘Muka’ means ‘dumb’. We do not know what name he had before. But from the moment he composed the five hundred slokas in Her praise, we have known him as the poet Muka !. Both the AryA-dvishati and the MUka-pancashati bring to our vision the majestic splendour of the form of Mother Goddess  like an expert painter’s masterly painting. The third one, the Soundarya-lahari is the crowning glory of all three and of all  hymns of praise of the Mother Supreme.

Of Soundaryalahari it may be said that there never was one like it, nor ever will be. It has a perennial charm that does not satiate. And its majestic eloquence is unbeatable. In his bhaja-govindam our Acharya uses very elementary words because it happens to be  the alphabet of Vedanta. But here he is describing the undescribable. So he uses words very precisely. Consequently  the vocabulary turns out to be difficult.  But the words  chosen only add to the lilting charm of the poetry that he weaves. The metre  used is ‘shikariNI’, meaning ‘that which is at the apex’. It has 17 syllables for each of the four lines.
Through the descriptions of the Goddess’s form that make up the latter 59 slokas, he brings ambaal right before our mental eyes in all Her majesty, grace and splendour and overwhelms us by the bliss which the very words and metaphors pour on us. Just as a master-sculptor dedicates each movement of his chisel to the object of his sculpture, he transforms each word, as it were,  by his own spiritual experience of the Goddess and thus in turn we readers feel the  words themselves constitute the Goddess.
 It is not only blissful poetry, but blessed poetry. Such blessedness arises not because of any flowery  language, but by the fact the Acharya  is himself blessed ! ‘Mother, this hymn is nothing but a composition of yours in your own words’ (‘tvadIyAbhir-vAgbhiH tava janani vAcAm stutir-iyam’ – Verse no.100), says he in  the concluding line. Inspirations of great saints and sages, not only benefit mankind by their inspired poetry, but bring to successive generations, an inspired contact with the great men, even  long after they have passed away. Thus our  Acharya in enabling  us  to have a ‘darshan’ of the Goddess herself, gives us, in addition,  a ‘darshan’ of himself !

continued....
 

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Kanchi Mahaswami -Introduction to soundarya Lahari continued...

(The Paramacharya continues to speak the words, as if,  of the Goddess):

“Thus I am the One who gives this new Bhakti in the state of jnAna.  And I  will be the One who will give you that jnAna to you, my devotee,  when the time is ripe. Don’t you worry. You have come to Me as your Mother. I will take care of you. The  bondage in which I threw you shall be removed from you by Myself. You need not have to keep on crying for ‘Release’. Once you know I am the only One there is, hold on to that steadfastly;  there is no question of  ‘Release’ thereafter. ‘Release’ from what?

“Let  jnAnis think that they will get the Ultimate Peace only when the duality-awareness goes away from them and let them go their own way of Enquiry of the Self. When you feel you don’t have the interest or the stamina to go that way, don’t feel bad or incomplete. Come through the path of Love. See the multiplicities. But instead of seeing them as different and separate, try not to forget that the basis of all of them is the single Me. Love Me from your heart and view everything through Love. Encompass everything in Love. I shall raise you to the Ultimate Enlightenment by My Love and Grace”.

Thus arises the godly experience that is blessed by the Mother Goddess. By Mother Goddess I also mean the Lord-God, the paramAtmA, and also the individual favourite deity of each of us. It is the same  supreme Power that engulfs you into the mAyA, that graces you as saguNa-brahman and also takes you to that blissful state of jnAna.

Finally let me also say this. By the very fact that the jnAni writes a book on jnAna, it must follow that he should also write on Bhakti. For, writing a book means communicating with others. So that means he has accepted the presence of a world of duality in which he has to communicate and educate. The jnAni as he is, must have already ‘descended’ to this world of duality and   decided to raise the commonfolk to his level. He who knows that the source of all this duality is that Infinite Compassionate God–principle, would ipso facto have no compunctions for making a hymn of praise for that Ultimate in Its saguNa form. And he also knows that it is that very same Power that prods him on to make this hymn.  So where is the contradiction here?

 But if you contend that he is writing jnAna works for the benefit of the world – ‘loka-sangrahArtham’ without any ‘kartRtva-buddhi’  -- the awareness of doership – then with the same non-awareness of doership he can write both jnAna works and bhakti works. What and where is the difference?  The World-welfare (loka-kalyANam) is the purpose. It is the Lord who is effecting the welfare through the hands and mouth of these chosen jnAnis.  And the most efficient way for the jnAni, the Lord knows, to reach the masses,  is to propagate hymns of praise of the divine, pilgrimage to holy centers, installation of mystic yantras, and all the way down to ritual worship.

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Kanchi Mahaswami -Introduction to soundarya Lahari continued...

Either She might totally eradicate your mind and give you the peaceful state of ‘I am shiva’  (shivoham) or She might tell you from within: “Look, after all, all this is My Play. The Play appears real to you because of mAyA. I shall totally erase  that mAyA-view for you. Then you can also be like me, with that calm non-dual bliss inside and having on the outside a mind which is untouched by mAyA. Thereby you can also be a witness to all this worldly Dance. You will thus see yourself in Me and see Me in all the worldly multiplicities. In other words instead of making the mind non-existent, your mind will then be full of Me”
And She might make you just exactly that way. But I know your worry. You constantly worry about the impossibility of transcending mAyA, of eradicationg this worldly vision and of vanquishing the mind. You keep worrying to the extent of almost weeping over it. To such a weiling seeker She replies:
“Why do you worry and weep like this?  You are worrying that you cannot discard the world from your view. But you forget that the world was not your making. This Sun and Moon, mountains, trees, oceans, animal kingdom, and the millions of living beings and categories – all this was not created by you.
“When that is so, you are worrying about the little ‘you’ that you are, and you forget that this little ‘you’ also was not your creation. Instead of thinking all this is not only one but one with Me, your mAyA-clouded view makes you think they are all different and distinct. And even that mAyA-view that clouds you, again was not your making!
“My dear child, you are caught up in the web of the world, a mind and a mAya-cloud  -- all this is My making. Did I not make Krishna say to you: mama mAyA duratyayA ? (My mAyA is intranscendable).  I have also told you there that it is ‘daivI’ (made by the Power of God).  If you had made it all, then you could have overcome them. But it was all made by Me in the fullness of Power.

“You jIvas have only little fragments of that Power. So if you cannot eradicate the world, the mind and the mAya that I have made, you don’t have to cry over it. It is not in your Power. It has to take place only by My Grace. Come nearer to Me through Devotion ! I shall do the eradication in proper doses  for you.

That somebody is able to control his mind and is able to walk on the path of jnAna – that again is My own Grace. It is I who  have granted that privilege to him. What appears as  many and different must be seen as one. To crave for that view is what is called ‘advaita-vAsanA’. One gets it only by My Grace”.

(Now the Paramacharya, who has been talking in the words of the Mother Goddess, continues on his own).

There is another novelty here. Even the jnAni who has had the non-dual Enlightenment, still enjoys the play of mAyA. He sees the different things; but knows they are all one. Just as a spectator of a play who is not  playing any role  in it, the jnAni enjoys the playful novelties of mAyA and revels in his devotion to that parA-Sakthi who is the author of it all. To be keeping such  jnAnis in this  dual-non-dual state is also the work of Mother Goddess. Mark it. It is not that the jnAni is  showing Devotion just for the sake of others only. No, By himself he is indeed thinking:
( I think the Paramacharya is here letting out an autobiographical tip  ! -- VK,The Translator)

What a pleasure to witness this dualistic play of the non-dualistic One ! What a multiplicity of beauty,  panoramic variety  and continuity of Love !’ . Thus revelling in that blissful vision, he continues to pour out his own love (bhakti) to that Transcendental Power from the bottom of his heart. This tribute to the jnAni has been given  by the great Teacher Suka himself.

(Cf. Bhagavatam 1-7-10:

AtmArAmAshca munayaH nirgranthA apy-urukrame;  kurvanty-ahaitukIm bhaktim itham-bhUta-guNo hariH. – meaning,

Those who revel in the Self, even though rid of all attachments, show a causeless bhakti towards the Lord, just naturally.)

On the one hand the devotee who has yet to get the Enlightenment enjoys the devotional state for the very reason of getting the Enlightenment; on the other hand, the one who is already enlightened and is a jIvan-mukta shows his bhakti for the sake of enjoyment of that bhakti and not for any other reward or purpose.

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Kanchi Mahaswami -Introduction to soundarya lahari continued....

It is only the Play of the Lord that the jnAni, who is non-dualistic internally, appears to do things in the dualistic world. His mind may have vanished, mAyA might have been transcended by him; but that does not mean that the outside world of jIvAtmAs has disintegrated. What do we gather from this?  There is a Super-Mind which does all this and in some mysterious way is compering and directing the entire universe. And it also means that it is the same Supra-Mind that is making the minds of men revolve in the illusion of mAyA. It is that Power which is known in advaita scriptures as saguNa-brahman or Isvara. In the scriptures devoted to shakti or Shiva , whenever they call the Actionless nirguNa-brahman as ‘Shivam’  they call  this saguNa-brahman as ‘shakti’, ‘parA-shakti’ or ‘ambAL’. Just as that nirguNa-brahman exhibits itself and acts as the saguNa-brahman, so also, it must be presumed, that the enlightened jnAni also does his external actions and that again, is the work of the saguNa-brahman!
What is the path of jnAna? It is the effort through self-enquiry and meditation for the eradication of the mind and vanquishing of mAyA.  But the other path is to dedicate oneself and all one’s thoughts and actions to that very parA-shakti (who produced this mAyA on us) with an attitude of devotion. It is like giving the house-key to the thief himself !  However much the parA-shakti may play with you and toss you and your mind hither and thither, Her infinite compassion cannot be negated. Only when we separate and rejoin, we realise the value of that union. To pray to Her for that reunion and for Her to get us back to Her in answer to our prayers – this is the great Leela of Duality wherein She exhibits Her Infinite Compassion ! So when one prays with Bhakti  for such release She releases Him by giving Him that Wisdom of Enlightenment.

It is wrong to think that the goal of Bhakti lies in  the dualistic attitude of being separate from God. It is by this wrong assumption that people ask the question: How can a jnAni exhibit Bhakti? In the very path of Bhakti wherein it appears there is an embedded duality, the same Bhakti would lead the practitioner to the stage where he will ask: Oh God ! May I be one with You ! This is the subtle point which the questioning people miss. When that stage comes to the devotee, the very parA-shakti known as kArya-brahman or saguNa-brahman will bless him with that jnAna that takes him to the non-dual  kAraNa-brahman  or  nirguNa-brahman.

Not everybody can practise the path of jnAna that brings the realisation of  the mahA-vAkyas by sravaNa (hearing), manana (thinking and recalling) and nididhyAsana (contemplating). Only when the mind vanishes one can realise the Self  as the Absolute brahman. If that is so, the real question is: How to kill the truant mind, which refuses to be subdued, much less vanquished ? The very effort of vanquishing the mind has to be done by the mind only. How can it kill itself ? The palm can slap another; but it cannot slap itself. Though we are thus brought to a dilemma, there is a supreme power which has created all these minds. So instead of self-effort to kill our minds, we should leave it to the parA-shakti and surrender to Her. Instead of falling at the feet of the witness for the prosecution we fall at the feet of the prosecutor himself !  Then She will help us quell the mind; She will grace us with the necessary jnAna.

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Kanchi mahaswami -Introduction to Soundarya Lahari....

Quote
“How could Adi Sankara, who preached the jnAna mArga, have promoted this work (Soundaryalahari) of bhakti?  It cannot be his,” say some who profess ‘Philosophy’.  But our Acharya was not a professor who isolated philosophy as a separate discipline. Having written very profoundly on advaita and its deepest implications in his several Bhashyas and the other works of his, he promoted the spiritual pursuit of the common man by writing and talking about the need to follow one’s swadharma by Karma and Bhakti. His intent was to raise the common man  from his  own level. For this purpose he went from one pilgrim centre to another all his life and composed hymns after hymns and also established yantras in  temples.
The philosophers argue: JnAni says everything is One. But Bhakti can happen only when there is the duality of the devotee and the deity. Therefore, they say, the  jnAni can never be a bhakta. These philosophers cannot themselves claim to have the Enlightenment of advaita ! But there have been those who could have so claimed, like the sage Suka, Madhusudana Saraswati or Sadasiva-brahmam. If we carefully study their lives we will know that they were devotees of God in the fullest sense of the word and have themselves written works of Bhakti. Even in our own times Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been a great devotee of Mother Goddess and Ramana Maharishi has done works of devotion on God Arunachalesvara. Again, on the other side,  great devotees like Manikka-vasagar, Nammazhvar, Arunagiri-nathar, Tayumanavar, etc. have themselves been convinced advaitins, and this is reflected in innumerable flashes in their compositions.
If a jnAni should not do a Bhakti composition, then I would say that he should not also do a work of jnAna. Why am I saying this? Let us go back to the definition of a jnAni.  ‘ The world is all mAyA;  the thinking of people as if they were separate separate jIvAtmAs is nothing but Ignorance’ -  with such a conviction through personal experience, they have thrown away that Ignorance as well as its basic locus, the mind, and they live in the non-dualistic state of ‘ ‘I’ am everything’ – such should be the status of the jnAni; shouldn’t it be so? Such a person preaching, or writing a book, even if it be about the subject of jnAna – is it not a contradiction? Unless such a person thinks there is a world outside of him and there are jIvAtmAs outside, how can he think of ‘teaching’? Teaching whom? And when we look at it this way, all those great teachers of jnAna should really not be jnAnis ! What power will there be for such a teaching about jnAna from teachers who are not jnAnis themselves?
On the other hand what do we observe in our experience? Whether it is the teaching about jnAna in the Gita, or the Viveka Chudamani of our Acharya, or the Avadhuta Gita of Sri Dattatreya or the teaching in the Yoga-vASiShTa, or a song of Tayumanavar – even when we just read these we feel we are being taken beyond the curtain created by mAyA to some distant peaceful state of Calm. Just by reading, in one’s spiritually ripe stage,  such teachings, there have been people who have renounced the world  and reached the state of Bliss-in-one-Self !. If these teachings had not been written from that spiritual apex of Experiential Excellence, how could such things have ever happened?
Therefore, however much  by your intellectual logic, you argue whether a jnAni can get bhakti, how  the  jnAni  can do any preaching  and so such possibilities cannot exist and so on, these are certainly happening,  by the Will of the Lord which is beyond the Possible and the Impossible.

continued....

10
Kanchi Mahaswami on soundarya lahari verse 22 continued....

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The Almighty is the Lord. I am only a servant – This is the attitude of the devotee in the first line of the shloka. Of course it is an attitude of duality, not advaita. But even to such a person who only wants to be a servant of the Goddess, ambaal hands over in a platter the very advaita itself. Certainly this is saguNa-advaitam. But would She not also grant him, in due course,  the nirguNa-advaitam?

Take the case of Hanuman. He was always steeped in the concept “dAsohaM”, (‘dAsaH + ahaM’) meaning, “I am your servant”.  ‘dAsa’ means servant. By the very fact that he was steeped in that concept of “dAsohaM” all his life, he reached the advaitic stage of “sohaM” (‘saH + ahaM’), which means, “I am He (That)”.   What this shloka says is that ambaal transforms every one who comes to Her with the attitude of “dAsohaM”, to the apex stage of “sohaM”! It is a stage which is difficult  for  countless persons who struggle for the realisation of “aham brahmAsmi” and for even still more who ceaselessly meditate on the words “tat-tvaM-asi” of the guru. While  many of them find it an inaccessible ideal,  it is granted even to the ordinary person who  sincerely  comes to ambaal with the two words “bhavAni tvaM” though with something else in mind.

We have still not finished with ‘bhavAni tvaM’. So far we considered ‘bhavAni tvaM’  as two words. But ‘bhavAni-tvaM’ can also be considered as a single word. Then it means ‘the state of being bhavAni or parA-shakti’. The structure of the single word is something like ‘amaratvaM’ which means ‘the state of being immortal’ and like ‘kavi-tvaM’ which means ‘poetic talent’. So the moment the devotee says ‘bhavAni tvaM’ ambaal takes it as a request for ‘bhavAni-tvaM’ and She grants the ‘bhavAni-tvaM’ to him. In other words She gives Her own status, namely the status of sAyujya with Her to him.
Remember the devotee has not even begun his petition to Her. But even before He asks in full, She is ready to give him not only what he asks but even more. Recall the “vAnchA-samadhikaM” of shloka 4, where it was said that Her feet are capable of gracing the devotee with ‘more than what is wished’!

We may next review what Sri Ramakrishna has said-It is exactly what Kanchi Mahaswami has said!In fact in his introduction to soundarya Lahari,Kanchi mahaswami refers to sri Ramakrishna.I will post this introduction in my next post .
Namaskar.

11
Kanchi Mahaswami on Soundarya lahari verse 22 continued...

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If one reaches advaita-sAyujya (identity) with the Ultimate, things will not be like this; for there is no ‘form’ there and there are no feet to be worshipped! And then there will be no gods in name and form.  The advaita sAyujyam is the oneness with the Ultimate nirguna-brahman where there is no more universe. So what is said in this shloka is not the sAyujya of advaita.

It is the supreme brahman which manifests itself as the First Cause in terms of parAshakti. She is the Queen of this Universe and She adminsiters this whole universe by Her own agents such as Brahma and Indra. It is those divine agents  who fall at Her feet in obeisance. It is in that state that the individual soul (jIvAtma) becomes one with the parAshakti in its sAyujya status. It is that sAyujya that is spoken of here.

The interesting fact is that even the advaita shAstras do speak of this state. Of course the goal of the advaita scriptures is not this. The peaceful nirguNa state without any mention of shakti or of any ‘action’ is the goal of advaita. But the ‘Ishvara’ that advaita talks of does ‘get into action’! It is He (taking the place of ‘parAshakti’ of the shAkta schools) who does all the leelA with the devotee. That is why, even though the Ultimate is something in which there should be no talk of ‘the rise of desire’ or the ‘occurrence of determination (sankalpa)’, the Upanishads do speak like ‘Whatever objects He desires, they appear by His very desire’. (‘yam kAmam kAmayate saH asya sankalpAd-eva samut-tishhTanti’  --Chandogya U. VIII -2). This means just that He has the quality of ‘aishvarya’, namely,  the godliness of being parAshakti.

Even if the person goes via the path of jnAna and looks forward to the advaitic union in nirguNa brahman, the parAshakti catches hold of him, as it were, on the way and makes him play along with Her in saguNa-sAyujyam (identity with Ishvara, the aspect of brahman with form) in the world of action! But the play does not end there. He soars even higher spiritually. He is now in identity with the parAshakti, the Director of the entire universe and all its play. It is in that state he enjoys the bliss of union with the saguNa Ultimate.  It is a state where there is the apex of Devotion and also the sense of advaita-jnAna – a perfectly peaceful and blissful state.
Thus the identity (sAyujyam) that shloka 22 talks about in its third line has something to do with jnAna, bhakti and shakti. It is not the brahman-realisation spoken of in advaita.
Now we shall take up the pun on the words ‘bhavAni tvaM’ in the shloka.  As soon as  the devotee utters the words ‘bhavAni tvaM’ as a beginning for his full sentence: ‘bhavAni tvaM dAse mayi vitara dRshhTim sakaruNAM’  the Goddess is ready to grant him the highly merited sAyujyam (identity) with Her. What is so powerful in those two words ‘bhavAni tvaM’?  This is where the poet has played with Sanskrit grammar.
The word ‘bhavAni’ can be interpreted in two ways – one as a noun, and another as a verb. The verbal root is ‘bhava’. This itself gives the two meanings. When ‘bhava’ is a noun it is a name of Lord Shiva. In this context ‘bhavAni’ would mean ‘the consort of bhava’, that is, ambaal. ‘bhava’ as a verb would mean ‘be’ or ‘become’. In this context, ‘bhavAni’ would mean ‘Let me become’ or ‘Let me be’. So ‘bhavAni tvaM’ would mean ‘May I become You’. Remember that in Sanskrit a sentence accommodates  changing the order of the words in the  sentence without affecting the meaning.
Ambaal is an ocean of compassion and grace. So when a devotee seeks the identity with Her by the two simple words ‘bhavAni tvaM’, She doesn’t wait for his further words; She simply grants the sAyujya-status ‘then and there’ !  But the irony of it is, he, the devotee, considers himself too low in the spiritual ladder to merit anything great and  he has no conception of what honourable return from the Goddess awaits him. ‘Just a glance towards this poor me, Oh Mother!’ – this is all what he pleads for. Note that the poet uses the word ‘yah’, meaning, ‘whoever’. So the devotee does not have to be a great ‘sAdhu’. He could be any one. He may not even know that there is a status called ‘sAyujyam with ambaaL’! The couple of words ‘bhavAni tvaM’ has such an effect even on ordinary persons who recite it.

continued.....

12
Udai/Nagaraj/Friends,

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I do not take puranas as pramanas.to me Shankara and shankara's teachings are what I am discussing here.and they clearly disagree to any nayana deeksha etc

Here is an excerpt from Kanchi mahaswami's talks on Sri sanakara's magnum opus-Soundarya Lahari,Verse 22.

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Even in the portion of Anandalahari, which is supposed to be mainly the esoteric content of the ShAkta scriptures, there are shlokas which reflect the pure bhakti sentiment coupled with excelling poetry. One such shloka is No.22. In this shloka one is lifted from the dvaita-bhakti to an advaita-like stage where there is a symbiosis of bhakti, shakti and jnAna.
bhavAni tvam dAse mayi vitara dRShhTiM sakaruNAM
iti stotuM vAnchan kathayati bhavAni tvam-iti yaH /
tadaiva tvaM tasmai dishasi nija-sAyujya-padavIM
mukunda-brahmendra-sphuTa-makuTa-nIrAjita-padAM //22 //

 
“bhavANi” – Oh Mother bhavAni.  Bhava is the name of Shiva. The Shakti of Bhava is BhavAni.
tvam vitara : Please (you) cast
dRShhTiM  : (your) glance
sakaruNAM : (which is) coupled with Grace and Compassion
mayi : on me

dAse : (who is your) servant.
vAnchan : Wishing
iti stotuM : to praise thus,
yah: whoever
kathayati :says
bhavAni tvaM iti : “bhavAni tvaM” ,
tadaiva (= tadA + eva) : then and there, (that is, even before  you complete the remaining words “dAse mayi vitara dRShhTiM sa karuNAM”)
tvaM : You
dishasi : grant, give
tasmai : to him
nija-sAyujya-padavIM : your own sAyujya status.
(We shall come to the fourth line of the stanza later)

The marvel here is, that the devotee has not yet said the full prayer of his, namely: Oh Bhavani, You please cast on me, your servant, your glance of compassion and grace. He has just said: “Oh Bhavani, You” !  That itself is sufficient for the Goddess to pour Her maximum Grace of Her own sAyujya status on the devotee.  This is the implication of the words ‘tadA-eva’ in the beginning of the third line of the stanza. The very moment one says ‘bhavAni tvaM’, he is granted the Grace. How is this? And what is this sAyujya status that is being granted?
The sAyujya status is that which becomes one with the Object of Adoration. But what is being said here is not the oneness with the nirguNa-brahman. Why am I saying this? Now go to the fourth line of the shloka.
Mukunda:  vishnu
Brahma : creator brahma
Indra : Indra, the King of the divines
sphuTa-makuTa : the shining crown
nIrAjita-padAM : the feet which have been offered the ceremonial waving (nIrAjana) of lights before them.
And thus, the last line means, in conjunction with the third line, “Then and there, You give him your sAyujya status, (which earns them) Your feet that have been given the ‘nIrAjana’ (waving of lights) by the Gods Vishnu, Brahma and Indra who, by falling at Your feet, have had their shining crowns touch your feet and thus have offered worship to it”.
It is the sAyujya status (the identity in form and essence)  that privileges the devotee to enjoy the worship of even the Gods, through their ‘nIrAjana’ to the Divine Feet, with which there is identity now.


continued....
 

13
Udai,
Samadhi means to be sama with adhi-source of consciousness.There is nothing more to be attained.
What do you mean by 'sufficient'?
Namaskar.

14
udai,

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"Though temporary lulling of mind is possible, without Brahma Jnanam its not possible to end mind"

I am pretty sure of what I have posted.Anyway,for your reference,I am posting Swami Krishnananda's commentary on these verses:

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If the mind is the cause of the sufferings of people, a question is raised here: “We can suppress the mind by a kind of yoga where the will is applied in an act of powerful concentration, and we can see that the mind does not function. What is the purpose of knowing God, Brahma jnana, and such relevant matters about which we discussed?”

This is a question that arises from an ignorant mind. Suppression of the vrittis does not mean yoga. The word ‘yoga’ should not be applied to such a process at all. Suppression is a negative activity. Yoga is a positive union, and it is not enough if the mind does not function. It has also to function in relation to God’s existence.

The difference between mental restraint and God-consciousness is this: while the vrittis or the functions of the mind are inhibited, the mental qualities that describe the objects outside may appear to be not there. Not seeing something is not knowledge. There is also a necessity to see what is really there. When the mind is withdrawn, it will not see what it was earlier seeing as imposed upon the objects of the world, the creation of God. But it cannot see the creation of God. Brahma jnana is the vision of God’s creation, God Himself. Therefore, a negative activity in the form of the suppression of the vrittis in any manner whatsoever, voluntarily, will not suffice"

This again is also Patanjali's perspective as well.He is aiming to go to the source of Mind-Pure consciousness.Dwelling in Pure consciousness automatically reigns in the vrittis of the mind.No suppression needs to be resorted to.

The complete commentary of Swami Krishnananda is here:
http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/panchadasi/pan_20.html

Anyway,I am not banking on any second hand knowledge to understand how it works.

Namaskar.

15
Friends,
The whole problem with the thread is that it immediately jumped and latched onto the word 'nirodhena' and extrapolated this to mean the Negation of Patanjalai's Yoga sutras!!!
Here is Swami Vivekananda's commentary on verse 51 of chapter 1 of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra.The way Swamiji dived into the essence of these sutras -by a direct samyama is a story in itself.

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तस्यापि निरोधे सर्वनिरोधान्निर्बीजः समाधिः ॥५१॥
 
51. By the restraint of even this (impression, which obstructs all other impressions), all being restrained, comes the "seedless" Samadhi.
 
You remember that our goal is to perceive the Soul itself. We cannot perceive the Soul, because it has got mingled up with nature, with the mind, with the body. The ignorant man thinks his body is the Soul. The learned man thinks his mind is the Soul. But both of them are mistaken. What makes the Soul get mingled up with all this? Different waves in the Chitta rise and cover the Soul; we only see a little reflection of the Soul through these waves; so, if the wave is one of anger, we see the Soul as angry; "I am angry," one says. If it is one of love, we see ourselves reflected in that wave, and say we are loving. If that wave is one of weakness, and the Soul is reflected in it, we think we are weak. These various ideas come from these impressions, these Samskaras covering the Soul. The real nature of the Soul is not perceived as long as there is one single wave in the lake of the Chitta; this real nature will never be perceived until all the waves have subsided. So, first, Patanjali teaches us the meaning of these waves; secondly, the best way to repress them; and thirdly, how to make one wave so strong as to suppress all other waves, fire eating fire as it were. When only one remains, it will be easy to suppress that also, and when that is gone, this Samadhi or concentration is called seedless. It leaves nothing, and the Soul is manifested just as It is, in Its own glory. Then alone we know that the Soul is not a compound; It is the only eternal simple in the universe, and as such, It cannot be born, It cannot die; It is immortal, indestructible, the ever-living essence of intelligence.

What panchadasi is referring to is just 'suppression' of mental vrittis by an act of will;whereas what Patanjali aims is to reach the source of the mind through the elimination of Vrittis  in a step by step scientific manner.Only those who have practised it will know how it works.

Namaskar.


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