Om Sri Maha Ganapathaye Nama:
Om Sri Dakshinamurthaye Nama:
An intelligent and alert person who has come to know the limitations of the material comforts and their temporary nature would most commonly find the question on the purpose of life rising from a corner of his or her mind. This invariably means the person is in the search of the ‘Self’ or the ultimate reality. He or she would have, by the time, definitely understood the pros and cons of all other goals and states and convinced of his or her unwavering aim in knowing the Self. The following few statements could reinforce the convictions on this great pursuit of such people.
When the gist of every one’s objective in life from the ‘prime age’ onwards up to the age with no upper limit, is to settle and live nicely and plan for the future aiming to achieve the best possible level in every favorable aspects, it is a inexplicable secret as to how the pursuit of Self knowledge elude most of them. Especially when this is the least effort, expense and exertion consuming pursuit, and in one shot you will achieve everything in the life from the best of comforts to the height of respects in ones family and his circle or society. However, one of the most important requirements after acquiring the eligibility criteria through sufficient preparation is determination in the repeated persuasion of this pursuit!
It will be astonishing that the person who is in the right track of this pursuit of Self knowledge will enjoy plenty of benefits as ‘by product’ given in this manual and much more right ‘now’ while ‘living’ – It is as per our Scriptures, Logic and Experience ! The seeker of Self knowledge, if he develops the qualifications, will gradually start experiencing the benefits as per his preparedness and progress. The criterion of eligibility for this pursuit and the eligibility encouraging techniques are precisely given in two separate chapters (5 & 6). There is also an exclusive chapter 8 on monitoring and guiding the progress of the prospective seeker. Emphasis on these eligibility aspects, motivation with categorized benefits and repetition of some striking facts and important principles (used as instruments for removing Self ignorance and for the assimilation of the Truth in the mind of the reader), are the ‘basis of approach’ of this manual.
The presentation begins with a list of categorized benefits (333) followed by a simple chapter briefing the reader the fundamental principles of the subject of spirituality and terms closely connected to it (Chapter 2 – Key Information in Spiritual Learning). This includes a compilation on the favourite subject of many in this segment of study, the ‘Soul’, and reaching the ‘goal’ in a round about route!’
An attempt is made in this manual to give an overview of spiritual pursuits in general by precisely discussing on the expectations of ‘spiritually inclined’ people in the beginning (Chapter 3 – The objectives of the Subject) and then tried to narrow down various objectives in the pursuit or rather show a direction to them for the best possible bunch of benefits in ones birth itself (Chapter 4 – The Seeker and the Sought). Thus, by targeting a specific segment of the seekers of spiritual excellence, it is tried to the best of my communication skills and knowledge of the subject matter in this manual. This is to incorporate an intense quest in the inquiring mind, that is in search of fulfillment, while making it aware of the tremendous potential of this pursuit. Also, with an intention to give an impetus to those who are already in line with this pursuit, most of the chapters in this write up are prepared in the ‘presentation style’ instead of conveying the essence in the conventional manner, and the reader is requested to keep this noted while going through the contents of this manual.
The whole write-up is centered on the chapter No. 7 (‘towards the state of wisdom in steps and stages’). This chapter consists of mainly two stages namely, preparatory stage and enquiry stage. Preparatory stage describes in point by point the deliberate disciplines; the seeker has to incorporate in his or her life before or while taking up this pursuit. It is suggested that the reader may go through all the previous (preceding) chapters at least once before coming to this elaborate chapter. The second stage namely, the ‘Enquiry stage’ consists of many thought provoking enquiries that gradually takes the reader to higher levels of enquiry. Also, every enquiry ends-up in itself with the understanding of one of the main aspects of ‘Self knowledge’. Emphasis is given to them in order to penetrate the ‘Reasoning Intellect’ of present age education and life.
Enquiry state is followed by contemplation stage, the Understood state explaining counter acting or elimination of habitual thinking pattern by way of contemplation on the understood ‘Subject’. Then, some significant aspects of ‘Realized state’ are given. The write up ends with many hypothetical Question & Answers and some comparative statements of scientific conclusions with Spiritual convictions. These could help the seeker to reinforce the understood ‘Subject’ and ‘re-position’ oneself in his or her roll in the family & society and spontaneously enjoy the benefits of this great pursuit from within.
The ‘core base’ for this write up is scriptural teachings. It took about 8 years of regular & systematic study (using audio gadgets and CDs) of the English commentaries through contemplative listening of about 5000 hrs. The studies constituted lectures of Pujya Swamijis Sri Dhayananda Saraswathi and Sri Paramarthanandaji, covering ‘Prasthana Thraya’ and about 40 other most precious scriptures known as ‘Prakarana Granthas’. However, in this manual, essence of most of the presentation points, extracted from scriptural teachings, are equally supported by logical principles & scientific reasoning. With this blend of knowledge as the base, that is reinforce with my present ‘state of actual experience’, I consider this presentation is nothing but the ‘Conventional stuff in a convenient pack!’
This write up also contains a collection of about sixty short notes on various concepts to contemplate in connection with the conceived subject. It is titled as ‘‘Little Known Principles and Facts behind Well Known Beliefs and Phenomena’ (Chapter 9). The reader is taken to the ‘Subject matter’ and its significance through a sequence of simple stories in the chapter 10.
Systematic approach of scriptural teaching and some key aspects of the subject are highlighted with the help of Charts & Diagrams in the annexure.
Special feature of the Annexure portion of the manual is the useful sections on Essential Yoga Practices, which contains the importance of the values and nature of Foods we take. These are to support the seeker to successfully ‘’sail through’ the preparatory stage and to help him or her to comply with eligibility requirements and to sustain them in one’s life for this pursuit. The manual ends with an annexure with a few ‘thought kindling’ enquiries for preventing the ‘modern mind’ from concluding that man is also another form of sophisticated machine. This annexure is open to further such scientific and logical enquiries and also for the feedback from its valuable readers.
The manual begins with a questionnaire with about 60 categorised questions. This is to precisely decide as to whether the manual could be of some use to the person who gets it. Fundamental factors answering the meanings of ‘Success, Satisfaction etc in ones ‘life that mostly prompt a person to take up such studies, is a part of this questionnaire with a note wherein ‘Success is re-defined. These initial few pages will throw some idea on the ‘target group of this manual and also will help the interested people to position themselves in the appropriate level of this great journey. In line with this questionnaire, some of the key benefits are enlisted in the very first chapter of this write-up with the objective of creating the curiosity in the youngsters of the present life scenario. This could put them in the right track at the prime period of their life and also enable them to enjoy the benefits for longer period, compared to the traditional spiritual seekers. Further, this objective, in turn, could help to spread the benefits to the families, then to the society and to the nation in the wider perspective. These selected benefits are made ‘crisp’ by classifying them as, 1. General; 2. Personal; 3. Physical; 4. Psychological; 5. Religious & 6. Spiritual
These benefits are given in the chapter1, before the main topics of the subject with an intention to take the reader forward and also motivate those who already have some knowledge or idea of this subject of ‘Self knowledge’. These benefits are classified Keeping in view potential seekers of different age-group having different educational background and engaged in various types of occupations, it is expected that the type of presentation as well as the specific benefits, mentioned in that chapter would motivate, nourish and take every eligible, blessed, genuine, and committed seeker back to the one common original state, the state of being, as that could alone provide all the enlisted benefits, and much more of them together !
While it is true that the subject presented in the manual and the principle of the basis of the method followed to understand and assimilate the ‘understood subject’ are centered on scriptural teachings, many of the views expressed in the manual, examples used to explain them as well as some of the logical reasoning and method of analysis are purely personal ideas and application of scientific principles are opinion of the author. These are used to support the scriptural teaching and for my own understanding. They are the best catalysts for assimilating the greatest spiritual knowledge for extracting and enjoying the ultimate benefits. There is no intention what so ever, to hurt anyone r to decrease the greatness of any field of study or contradict, disprove or degrade other beliefs, concepts and philosophies.
While highlighting the glory of non-duality, a few ‘challenging like’ statements are made in some places in the manual. These are not for questioning any other subject or field of knowledge.
Also, readers are requested not to get hurt on coming across words such as ignorant, ‘not eligible’, ‘unwise’ etc they are employed just to ‘shake off’ the ‘lethargic state of mind’ of people who are curious to know more about this subject and try to make the mind a bit alert of this knowledge about itself’ in view of their interest in this subject as well as the preciousness, greatness and benefits of this knowledge. They are not used to address any particular type of people
TRADITIONAL TRUTHS & TEACHINGS TO TRANSCEND THE TRANSACTIONS
The reason for this portion coming before beginning the chapters is that the essence of this part is the bases of this manual. Following paragraphs of this discussion will explain the importance of ‘vedic words’ appearing in the end portions of Vedas, known as ‘vedanta’ or ‘gyana kanda’. Unless otherwise you give the highest importance to these ‘TRUTHS’ and accept them ‘AS IT IS’, it is not possible to assimilate them in your mind and convert them into your convictions and start enjoying the benefits of Self knowledge.
LIFE, God, FREEWILL, & IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING OF SCRIPTURES (Vedanta):
Those who give high importance to ‘’Upanishadik verses’ and consider them as God’s words, transmitted or manifested through great ‘rishis’ voices,can definitely make the best use of the following valuable portion of this book.
I am precisely telling the truth, as I understood from the extremely valuable Vedanta learning and enjoying their most precious benefits in this birth itself. It is like this. God is the ‘invisible’, all pervading, eternal, intelligence principle* in the ‘transactional plane (see below). It activates the ‘inert’ action – reaction or ‘karma’ (subtle energy) cycle, involving the ‘jeeva’, the ‘ignorant covered’ intelligence principle. Manifestation & unmanifestation of the creation is the cycle of matter or gross energy. This ‘so called creation’ is for the enjoyment or experience of the ‘intelligence principle’ itself in the form of ‘jeeva’. The whole phenomena are a cosmic drama being played by the ‘intelligence principle’ or GOD. This phenomena is extremely difficult to understand by the ‘covering’ power (avarana shakti)of ‘maya’ and this is only our life! The ‘as though’ pleasures, problems & pains of the life are because of the ‘projective power’ (vikshepa Shakti) of this ‘maya’. The whole glamot is within the the ‘maya’ power of the ‘intelligence principle’ or ‘Ishwara’. Within this ‘cosmic drama’, for us to come out of the stage, the voice of the intelligence principle is available as the instructions of the cosmic director (God) of the drama as Vedanta. We, human beings are endowed with the faculty of
human intelligence, freewill etc and by properly making use of these faculties, we can give high importance, concentrate, understand the scriptural teachings ‘or vedantik words’, assimilate and come out from the ‘cosmic drama’ and ‘become’ one with the original intelligence principle itself i.e., God.
* This principle is the ‘force’ with the heighest power (Sum total or of all powers and it is unmeasurable.
SUBJECTIVE, RELATIVE & OBJECTIVE PLANES, LOGIC OF UNDERSTANDING ONE FROM THE OTHER PLANE:
Before this chapter, we have discussed about different planes of reality, in various contexts. Here, we recollect our understanding that ‘only from the higher order of reality, it is possible to study the nature and happenings in a lower plane of reality’. Therefore, it is logically impossible to understand the secret of life from within the life’, both of them being within the same order of reality. It is just like ‘The Dreamer never realise that the Dream is a Dream within the Dream’, it appears as ‘Real’ and only after waking up, he understands that ‘it was a dream’, isn’t it ? The reality of the waker’s world is higher than that of the dreamer’s world. ‘Vedantik teachings’ tries to enlighten this realm of knowledge and repeats so many times and ‘impregnate’ them in our intellect.
MEANS OF KNOWLEDGE & THEIR SIGNIFICANCE:
We know that colour is perceived by sight, sound by eartaste by taste buds in the mouth, , smell by nose, feel by skin etc. Here, in simple understanding, the senses are known as instruments or means of knowledge and colour, sound etc are known as object of knowledge. These are prime source of knowledge because one means of knowledge cannot negate or contradict the other.
I acknowledge with thanks Sri Subramanian, who extended his valuable help for incorporating the Sanskrit Verses & Quotations, ‘in depth’ meaning of such portions of our sacred scriptures are the basis of this manual. However, due to constraints, only the brief translations of few of such verses & Quotations are given under the respective Sanskrit scriptsin this part of the manual.