is knowledge. To know Brahman as one's own Self is Jnana. To say,
"I am Brahman, the pure, all-pervading Consciousness, the non-enjoyer,
non-doer and silent witness," is Jnana. To behold the one Self
everywhere is Jnana.
is ignorance. To identify oneself with the illusory vehicles of body,
mind, Prana and the senses is Ajnana. To say, " I am the doer,
the enjoyer, I am a Brahmin, a Brahmachari, this is mine, he is my
son," is Ajnana. Jnana alone can destroy Ajnana, even as light
alone can remove darkness.
the Supreme Self, is neither the doer of actions nor the enjoyer of
the fruits of actions. The creation, preservation and destruction
of the world are not due to Him. They are due to the action of Maya,
the Lord's energy manifesting itself as the world-process.
as space appears to be of three kinds - absolute space, space limited
by a jar, and space reflected in the water of a jar, - so also there
are three kinds of intelligence. They are absolute intelligence, intelligence
reflected in Maya, and intelligence reflected in the Jiva (the individual
soul). The notion of the doer is the function of intelligence as reflected
in the intellect. This, together with the notion of Jiva, is superimposed
by the ignorant on the pure and limitless Brahman, the silent witness.
illustration of space absolute, space limited by a jar and space reflected
in water of a jar, is given to convey the idea that in reality Brahman
alone is. Because of Maya, however, It appears as three.
notion that the reflection of intelligence is real, is erroneous,
and is due to ignorance. Brahman is without limitation; limitation
is a superimposition on Brahman.
identity of the Supreme Self and the Jiva or reflected self is established
through the statement of the Upanishad 'Tat Tvam Asi' - 'That
Thou Art'. When the knowledge of the identity of the two arises, then
world problems and ignorance, with all their offshoots, are destroyed
and all doubts disappear.
or direct intuitive perception of the Supreme Self is necessary for
attaining freedom and perfection. This Jnana Yoga or the path of Wisdom
is, however, not meant for the masses whose hearts are not pure enough
and whose intellects are not sharp enough to understand and practice
this razor-edge path. Hence, Karma
Yoga and Upasana
(Bhakti) are to be practiced first, which will render the heart
pure and make it fit for the reception of Knowledge.
is Sat, the Absolute, Reality. That which exists in the past,
present and future; which has no beginning, middle and end; which
is unchanging and not conditioned by time, space and causation; which
exists during the waking, dream and deep sleep states; which is of
the nature of one homogeneous essence, is Sat. This is found in Brahman,
the Absolute. The scriptures emphatically declare: "Only Sat
was prior to the evolution of this universe."
phenomenal universe is unreal. Isvara created this universe out of
His own body (Maya), just as a spider creates a web from its own saliva.
It is merely an appearance, like a snake in a rope or like silver
in mother-of-pearl. It has no independent existence.
is difficult to conceive how the Infinite comes out of Itself and
becomes the finite. The magician can bring forth a rabbit out of a
hat. We see it happening but we cannot explain it; so we call it Maya
is a strange phenomenon which cannot be accounted for by any law of
Nature. It is incapable of being described. Its relation to Brahman
is like that of heat to fire. The heat of fire is neither one with
it nor different from it.
Maya really exist or not ? The Advaitin gives this reply: "This
inscrutable Maya cannot be said either to exist or not to exist".
we know the nature of Brahman, then all names, forms and limitations
fall away. The world is Maya because it is not the essential truth
of the infinite Reality - Brahman. Somehow the world exists and its
relation to Brahman is indescribable. The illusion vanishes through
the attainment of knowledge of Brahman. Sages, Rishis and scriptures
declare that Maya vanishes entirely as soon as knowledge of the Supreme
alone really exists. The Jiva, the world and this little "I"
are false. Rise above names and forms and kill the false egoism. Go
beyond Maya and annihilate ignorance. Constantly meditate on the Supreme
Brahman, your divine nature.
world is unreal when compared to Brahman. It is a solid reality to
a worldly and passionate man only. To a realized sage it exists like
a burnt cloth. To a Videhamukta (disembodied sage) it does not exist
at all. To a man of discrimination it loses its charm and attraction.
not leave the world to enter a forest because you now read that the
world is unreal. You will be utterly ruined if you do this without
proper qualifications. Be first established in the conviction that
the world is unreal and Brahman alone is real. This will help you
to develop dispassion and a strong yearning for liberation. Stay in
the world but be not worldly; strive for liberation by the practice
of Sadhana Chatushtaya.
Yoga of Brahma Vidya or the science of the Self is not a subject that
can be understood and realized through mere intellectual study, reasoning,
ratiocination, discussion or arguments. It is the most difficult of
student who treads the path of Truth must, therefore, first equip
himself with Sadhana Chatushtaya - the "four means of salvation".
They are discrimination, dispassion, the sixfold qualities of perfection,
and intense longing for liberation - Viveka, Vairagya, Shad-Sampat
and Mumukshutva. Then alone will he be able to march forward
fearlessly on the path. Not an iota of spiritual progress is possible
unless one is endowed with these four qualifications.
four means are as old as the Vedas and this world itself. Every
religion prescribes them; the names differ from path to path but this
is immaterial. Only ignorant people have the undesirable habit of
practicing lingual warfare and raising unnecessary questions. Pay
no attention to them. It is your duty to try to eat the fruit instead
of wasting time in counting the leaves of the tree. Try now to understand
these four essential requisites for salvation.
is discrimination between the real and the unreal, between the permanent
and the impermanent, between the Self and the non-Self. Viveka dawns
in a man through the Grace of God. The Grace can come only after one
has done unceasing selfless service in countless births with the feeling
that he is an instrument of the Lord and that the work is an offering
to the Lord. The door to the higher mind is flung open when there
is an awakening of discrimination.
is an eternal, changeless principle amidst the ever-changing phenomena
of this vast universe and the fleeting movements and oscillations
of the mind.
aspirant should separate himself also from the six waves of the ocean
of Samsara - birth and death, hunger and thirst, and exhilaration
and grief. Birth and death belong to the physical body; hunger and
thirst belong to Prana; exhilaration and grief are the attributes
of the mind. The Soul is unattached. The six waves cannot touch Brahman
which is as subtle as the all-pervading ether.
with saints and study of Vedantic literature will infuse discrimination
in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum degree. One should
be well established in it.
is dispassion for the pleasures of this world and of heaven. The Vairagya
that is born of Viveka is enduring and lasting. It will not fail the
aspirant. But the Vairagya that comes temporarily to a woman when
she gives birth to a child or when one attends a funeral at a crematorium,
is of no use. The view that everything in the world is unreal causes
indifference to the enjoyments of this world and the heaven-world
also. One has to return from heaven to this plane of existence when
the fruits of good works are all exhausted. Hence they are not worth
does not mean abandoning one's social duties and responsibilities
of life. It does not mean abandoning the world, for life in a solitary
cave of the Himalayas. Vairagya is mental detachment from all worldly
objects. One may remain in the world and discharge all duties with
detachment. He may be a householder with a large family, yet at the
same time he may have perfect mental detachment from everything. He
can do spiritual Sadhana amidst his worldly activities. He who has
perfect mental detachment in the world is a hero indeed. He is better
than a Sadhu living in a Himalayan cave, for the former has to face
innumerable temptations every moment of his life.
third requisite is Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtue. It consists
of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana.
All these six qualities are taken as one because they are calculated
to bring about mental control and discipline, without which concentration
and meditation are impossible.
is serenity or tranquillity of mind which is brought about through
the eradication of desires.
is rational control of the senses.
is satiety; it is resolutely turning the mind away from desire
for sensual enjoyment. This state of mind comes naturally when
one has practiced Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama.
is the power of endurance. An aspirant should patiently bear the
pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc.
is intense faith in the word of the Guru, in Vedantic scriptures
and, above all, in one's own self. It is not blind faith but is
based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. As such,
it is lasting, perfect and unshakable. Such a faith is capable
of achieving anything.
is fixing the mind on Brahman or the Self, without allowing it
to run towards objects. The mind is free from anxiety amid pains
and troubles. There is stability, mental poise and indifference
amid pleasures. The aspirant has neither like nor dislikes. He
has great inner strength and enjoys unruffled peace of mind, due
to the practices of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha and Sraddha.
is intense desire for liberation or deliverance from the wheel of
births and deaths with its concomitant evils of old age, disease,
delusion and sorrow. If one is equipped with the previous three qualifications
(Viveka, Vairagya and Shad-Sampat), then the intense desire for liberation
will come without any difficulty. The mind moves towards the Source
of its own accord when it has lost its charm for external objects.
When purification of mind and mental discipline are achieved, the
longing for liberation dawns by itself.
aspirant who is endowed with all these four qualification should then
approach the Guru who will instruct him on the knowledge of his real
nature. The Guru is one who has a thorough knowledge of the scriptures
and is also established in that knowledge in direct experience. He
should then reflect and meditate on the inner Self and strive earnestly
to attain the goal of Self-realization.
Sadhaka should reflect and meditate. Sravana is hearing of
Srutis, Manana is thinking and reflecting, Nididhyasana
is constant and profound meditation. Then comes Atma-Sakshatkara
or direct realization.
SEVEN STAGES OF JNANA
are seven stages of Jnana or the seven Jnana Bhumikas.