Wednesday, November 10, 2010

what I learn from Vedanta

The three basic texts of Vedanta are the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra. Together they are referred to as the Prasthana-traya, triple canon of Vedanta.

I am noting Vedanta into 4 theorems (as per my understanding from scriptures):

1. Theory of transmigration : Punarjanma (death-birth-death-birth going on for every individual. This is a endless loop now. Like whatever we study, earn in this birth does not carry for next birth. We have to start A-B-C-D nursery again in next birth.)

2. Theory of Karma: Good action causes good result and bad action bad result. People are suffering due to their past action(this life or past lives). Nobody to blame. So we should be careful now onwards about doing good deeds.

3. Theory of human existence: Human being has one body, then mind, then soul(consciousness or Atman). Now consciousness can exist without body and mind. Staying with only consciousness is called liberation. Staying within body is called bondage. So it purely a choice for us.

4. Theory of God: Then what does god do? He is only witness or seer of this world (world itself created by him). Grants the result/boon of your action/Tapas. Reciprocate the devotion/love. Not attached to anything and anybody.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who can read Veda?

Veda is our only authority, and everyone has the right to it.

Swami Vivekananda has quoted a mantra from "Shukla Yajurveda 26.2" in which he urges that every Hindu of all castes including Shudra have rights on the Veda. [CW-3, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, THE RELIGION WE ARE BORN IN, Dacca, 31st March, 1901]. Swami Vivekananda challenged – Can you show any authority from this Veda of ours that everyone has not the right to it?”

यथेमां वाचं कल्याणीमावदानि जनेभ्यः।
ब्रह्मराजन्याभ्यां शूद्राय चार्याय स्वाय चारणाय॥
yathomam vacham kalyanimavadani janebhyaha,
brahmarajanyabhyam shudrayacharyaya cha swaya charyaya cha"

 “Just as I am speaking these blessed words to people (without distinction), in the same way you also spread these words among all men and women – the Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas, Shudras and all others, whether they be our own people or aliens(foreigners).”

Another mantra from Shukla Yajurveda 18.48:

Ruchannu dhehi brahmanesu ruchaha rajasu naskrudhi |
Ruchanwisyeshu Sudreshu mayi dheyi rucha rucham ||

O Lord! Provide enlightenment to our Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras. Provide me also with the same enlightenment so that I can see the truth.

Similar Mantra is given in Atharvaveda 19.32.8, Atharvaveda 19.62.1 for Shudra eligibility for Vedic study. Here Vedic Rishis are saying, their teachings should be appreciated by all Castes - Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad [1.4.11-15] also mentions castes are manifested based on requirements, both among Gods and Humans.

Brahma ba idamagra asidekameba; …..

[1.4.11]In the beginning this [the Ksatriya and others] was indeed Brahmana [Fire], one only. Being one, he did not flourish. He specially projected an excellent form, the Ksatriya [Indra, Varuna etc]. [1.4.12]Yet he did not flourish. He projected the Vaisya [Vasus, Rudras etc]. [1.4.13]He did not still flourish. He projected the Shudra caste [earth]. For it nourishes all this that exists. [1.4.14]Yet he did not flourish. He specially projected that excellent form, righteousness (Dharma). [1.4.15]So these four castes were projected – Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya, Shudra, both among Gods and humans.

Since Veda reveals which are beyond sense organs [Alaukika pramana], these castes - Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya, Shudra must be referring to manifested qualities [Guna] of Supreme-Self. And castes among deities are referring to various natures [Guna] manifested from Supreme-Self. These cannot be hereditary castes of Human.

Smriti and Purana restrict people

Swami Vivekananda mentioned in a lecture, THE RELIGION WE ARE BORN IN, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, Dacca, on the 31st March, 1901 – “The Purânas, no doubt, say that a certain caste has the right to such and such a recension of the Vedas, or a certain caste has no right to study them, or that this portion of the Vedas is for the Satya Yuga and that portion is for the Kali Yuga. But, mark you, the Veda does not say so; it is only your Puranas that do so. But can the servant dictate to the master? The Smrti, Puranas, Tantras — all these are acceptable only so far as they agree with the Vedas; and wherever they are contradictory, they are to be rejected as unreliable. But nowadays we have put the Puranas on even a higher pedestal than the Vedas!” [CW-3]

In a letter ALMORA, 30th May, 1897, Swami Vivekananda also wrote – “The Smrti and the Puranas are productions of men of limited intelligence and are full of fallacies, errors, the feelings of class and malice. Only parts of them breathing broadness of spirit and love are acceptable, the rest are to be rejected. The Upanishads and the Gita are the true scriptures; [CW-6]

śrutismṛtyoḥ param bādhe śrutir-eva garīyasi |
śrutyoḥ parasparam bādhe nyāyopetā garīyasi ||

If there is a contradiction between sruti and smrti, the sruti alone must be taken. When there are two sruti statements which are contradictory, that scriptural statement which has logical support (whose purport is established by śaḍliṅgas) is more valid than the scriptural statement which does not have a logical support. The scriptural statement which is reinforced by logic is more valid than the other one.

Varnasrama Dharma vs Brahma-vidya

We can not mix Varnasrama Dharma with Brahma-vidya. Both work in different domains. However few Vedantin does this mistake of mixing these together.
Varnasrama Dharma - It is social rules and regulations. It is related to Pravriti marga [attachment in action]. It changes over time based on social need.
Brahma-vidya - It is about knowing Human true nature - knowing the own self. It is related to Nivriti marga [detachment in action]. It it eternal and does not change over time.
Probably Varnasrama Dharma can be termed as religion and Brahma-vidya can be termed as spirituality. However both can not be related.
Veda must be aligned to what it preaches?

Veda mentions that each Jiva (living creature) is a reflection of infinite Sat-Chit-Ananda (Brahman). The ultimate goal of human being is to realize his essential identity with Brahman. Then how can somebody be denied to read Veda which tells each Jiva potentially is Brahman. Rather depriving somebody from reading Veda means violating the principle Veda preaches. So it seems the division of caste and not allowing Shudra and women to read Veda was a socially (not spiritual) imposed rule. And cannot challenge the divinity inside the Shudra and women.

People study Vedanta for Jnanam. There is no gender, no caste for Atma. However they do mistakes in adding Varna-Asrama dharma (caste systems and stage of life) to Jnana Kanda. Varna-Asrama dharma is related to material or worldly life. Jnana Kanda or Vedanta is related to liberation. One is Pravriti Marga and another in Nivriti Marga. Both should not be mixed. The scholars should focus only on pure Vedanta, not to be mixed with Varna-Asrama. We expect from the Vedantins a certain level of maturity to see beyond Vyavahara. It is clear, a person who has realized the oneness [Advaita], cannot accept human division [Dualism]. On the other way, a person accepting human division [Dualism], cannot be established in oneness [Advaita].

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Swami Vivekananda on Ramakrishna

  1. Was it a joke that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa should touch a life? Of course he made new men and new women of those who came to him, even in these fleeting contacts!
    (CWSN 1: 130)
  2. "Let none regret that they were difficult to convince! I fought my Master for six years with the result that I know every inch of the way! Every inch of the way!"

3. And so, you see my devotion is the dog's devotion. I have been wrong so often and he has always been right, and now I trust his judgement blindly.
(Attributed to SV by Sister Nivedita)

4. The Master said he would come again in about two hundred years — and I will come with him. When a Master comes, he brings his own people.
(From Mrs. Edith Allan's reminiscences)

5. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to begin every day by walking about in his room for a couple of hours, saying 'Satchidânanda!' or 'Shivoham!' or some other holy word.
(CWSN 1: 255)

  1. Ramakrishna has no peer. Nowhere else in the world exists such unprecedented perfection, such wonderful kindness to all, such intense sympathy for men in bondage.
  2. He had the same sympathy for all; he had found the secret of their harmony. A man ought to be intellectual, or devotional , or mystic, or active; each of the various religions represents one or the other of all these types. Yet it is possible to combine all the four in one man,
    and this is what humanity in the future is going to do. That was his idea. He condemned none but saw the good in all.
  3. He was a triumphant example, a living realization of the complete renunciation of lust and money. He was far beyond any idea of either; and such a man was necessary for this present age. Such renunciation is necessary in these days when men have begun to think that they cannot live even a month without what they call their 'necessities,' while at the same time they are increasing in geometrical ratio. It was necessary in a time like this - one man should arise to demonstrate to the skeptics of the world that he cared not a straw for all
    the gold and all the wealth that was in the universe.
  4. This is the message of Sri Ramakrishna to the modern world. Care not for doctrines or for dogmas, for sects or for churches. All these count for but little compared with that essence of existence which is in each one, and
    called 'spirituality'. The more this develops in a man, the more powerful is he for good. He who has most of it can do good most to his fellow man. First, then, acquire that. Only those who have seen it will understand this; but such spirituality can be given to others, even though they be unconscious of the gift. Only those who have attained to this power are amongst the great teachers of mankind. They are the powers of light. Then be you this! The more of such men any country produces, the higher that country is raised. That land where no such men exist is doomed. Nothing can save it. Therefore, my Master’s message to the world is, ‘Be ye all spiritual! Get ye first realization!’ And to the young and strong of every country he would cry that the time is come for renunciation. 'Renounce for the sake of humanity! You have talked of the love of man till the thing is in danger of becoming words alone. The time is come to act. The call is now. Do! Leap into the breach and save the world!
  5. I am what I am , and what I am is always due to him. Whatever in me or in my word s is good and true and eternal came to me from his mouth, his heart, his soul. Sri Ramakrishna is the spring of this phase of the earth’s
    religious life., of its impulses and activities. If I can show the world one glimpse of my Master I shall not live in vain.
  6. He (Shri Ramakrishna) was contented simply to live that great life and to leave it to others to find the explanation!
  7. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was the only man who ever had the courage to say that we must speak to all men in their own language!
  8. The future, you say, will call Ramakrishna Paramahamsa an Incarnation of Kali? Yes, I think there's no doubt that She worked up the body of Ramakrishna for Her own ends.
  9. But you may ask, 'What is the place of Ramakrishna in this scheme?'
  10. He is the method, that wonderful unconscious method! He did not understand himself. He knew nothing of England or the English, save that they were queer folk from over the sea. But he lived that great life: and I read the meaning. Never a word of condemnation for any!
  11. Yes, my own life is guided by the enthusiasm of a certain great personality, but what of that? Inspiration was never filtered out to the world through one man!
  12. It is true I believe Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to have been inspired. But then I am myself inspired also. And you are inspired. And your disciples will be; and theirs after them; and so on, to the end of time!
  13. My old Master used to say, "It is all very good to teach the parrot to say, 'Lord, Lord, Lord' all the time; but let the cat come and take hold of its neck, it forgets all about it"
  14. He made me his slave by his great love for me!
  15. He was the Savior of women, Savior of the masses, Savior of all, high and low.
    Letter to Ramakrishnananda, 1895)
  16. From the date that the Ramakrishna incarnation was born has sprung the Satya -Yuga. Whatever the Vedas, the Vedanta, and all the other incarnations have done in the past, Sri Ramakrishna lived to practice in the course of a single life.
    Letter to Ramakrishnananda, 1895)
  17. Whoever -- man or woman -- will worship Sri Ramakrishna, be he or she ever so low, will then and there be converted into the very highest ... Everyone has the right to worship him. Whoever will worship him only with devotion shall be blessed for ever.
    Letter to Ramakrishnananda, 1895)
In the Ramakrishna Incarnation there is knowledge, infinite love, infinite work, infinite compassion for all beings. You have not yet been able to understand him. Even after hearing about him, most people do not understand him. What the whole Hindu race has thought in ages, he lived in one life. His life is the living commentary to the Vedas of all nations. People will come to know him by degrees.
Letter to Brahmananda , 1895)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Theory of Avatar (Sri Ramakrishna)

The theory of Avatar(Incarnation) is quite old. It is described in details in Srimad Bhagwat, Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Also described in Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita and book Bhakti Yoga (by Swami Vivekananda).

Avatar is for devotee’s. Does not apply for Jnani’s. Jnani (Individual with supreme knowledge) understand everything is Brahman, so also Avatar. For him

“Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat purnamudachyate. Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnamevavashisyate ”. So there is no concept of Avatar in Veda and Upanisad. Upanisad say’s each individual is divine(Brahman) by nature.

Each individual is Avatar if you think of Jiva is also incarnating (taking birth) based on it’s past Karmas.

Whereas from this phenomenal world point of view where individual Jiva exists as body and mind conscious (deprived from the knowledge of Divinity), Avatar concept is applied and understood well. Both Jiva and Avatar looks alike from physical appearance. But few differences between Jiva and Avatar are:

1. Jiva incarnates(takes birth) based in its past Karmas (Prarabdha). Whereas Avatar incarnates based on need (to establish Dharma, for entertainment of Devotees etc), called Samasti Prarabdha.

2. Jiva lives to fulfill individual desires and needs, whereas Avatar scarifies whole life for welfare of the world. Their love is for whole human being (not limited to any group, geometrical region like country India etc).

3. An ordinary spiritual Guru (illuminated Jiva) propagates spiritual power through Ista Mantra. Whereas Avatar donates spiritual power through mere wish. – For example on Kalpataru day of Sri Ramakrishna, many got spiritual vision just by grace. Same applies for other incarnation like Krishna (to Arjuna), Rama (to Ahalya) etc.

4. An ordinary spiritual Guru gets illumination and initiates the disciples on his own realized path. Once the Guru departs the physical body, his followed path become weak and does not remain as a strong spiritual current for future generation. Whereas Avatar comes with his own group (already illuminated disciples, here like Swami Vivekananda along with other fifteen direct disciples, Hanuman, Bharata etc came with Sri Rama, Gopis, Arjuna etc came with Krishna). The dharma an Avatar establishes has very strong power and future generations also get benefited even after the Avatar has left this mortal plane. For example what Krishna preached through Gita, Rama preached through his life of truth are still influencing us. Similarly Sri Ramakrishna is a bigger current than all previous Avatar. Becasuse only Sattwa Guna was prevalent in this Avatar which is possible only in Satya Yoga.

5. An Avatar has his Brahman awareness (as well as his past and future life) from his childhood. They know that they are not mere body and mind. So they can throw their body based on their choice (or when the work got completed). Whereas Jiva has only awareness of body and mind consciousness. Jiva needs to do spiritual practice to have Brahman awareness (called self realization).

6. There are so many Avatars incarnated in India. We don’t worship all of them. We worship the Avatar who is incarnated with his divine consort (Shakti) like Krishna with Radha, Rama with Sita, Ramakrishna with Sarada etc. Whereas Parsurama, Kapila muni, Vyasa deva were also Avatar and we don’t worship them because they are incomplete (without any Shakti)

7. Above all an Avatar (Sri Ramakrishna) is our best friend, as he only tells us Jiva is Brahman and through his grace we can have our self realization very easily. He is the best friend, best Guru, best parent and what not. He doesn’t expect anything from Jiva, but gives spiritual illumination free of cost after removing all pollutions from our mind. In return what we can offer him. We can only keep him in our heart and worship him.