If a qualified student gains the knowledge comprehensively from the shAstra through shravaNam and mananam, that j~nAnam itself is capable of directly giving liberation. It is because the knowledge is, “I am already free”. Not only have I had the knowledge regarding my freedom. I am able to look at the aha.nkAra as an insignificant one. Therefore I become a sAkShi pradhAna puruShaH (for Sanskrit terms that are not common knowledge to advaitin readers see the glossary below). aha.nkAra is only an incidental veShaH that I have. As somebody nicely said, I am a spiritual being incidentally having a human experience and I am not a human being seeking a spiritual experience. Therefore, for a qualified student, shravaNa and manana convert him into sAkShi pradhAna puruShaH and his aha.nkAra becomes a veSha.
Once I am sAkShi pradhAna, I am able to claim liberation as my svarUpam and I cannot imagine mokSha as a destination to be reached through a journey. When I am a sAkShi pradhAna puruShaH, I claim liberation as my nature, and I cannot imagine mokSha as a future destination to be reached. Therefore the jIva yAtrA is over with shravaNam mananam itself. nididhyAsanam is not the continuation of the journey, as there is no question of journey. nididhyAsanam is internalizing and enjoying the end of the journey. na me dveSha rAgo, na me lobha moho…. cidAnanda rUpaH shivo.aham shivo.aham. nididhyAsanam is internalizing this fact. A sAdhaka who is able to accomplish this is an uttama adhikAri, as he has got sAdhana catuShTaya sampatti. But when a person doesn’t have sAdhana catuShTaya sampatti, then aha.nkAra is a heavy aha.nkAra, a loaded aha.nkAra. Therefore ignoring aha.nkAra as mithyA is not easy.
The word mithyA will only have a verbal existence; its meaning is not clearly seen. Naturally aha.nkAra becomes dominant for such a person. sAkShi cannot be dominant. I can never claim that I am a muktaH. I feel that I is not yet over. I always feel that mokSha is something to come, something to happen. When a person is in such a condition, that sAdhaka is called madhyama adhikAri, who is deficient in sAdhana catuShTaya sampatti. He is still an aha.nkAra pradhAna puruShaH. sAkShi is a veSha for him. During Vedanta class I have sAkShi veSha, and all smiles. At other times I am aha.nkAra. The question is am I aha.nkAra with sAkShi veSha or am I sAkShi with aha.nkAra veSha.
For uttama adhikAri, ‘I am sAkShi with aha.nkAra veSha’, and for madhyama adhikAri, ‘I am aha.nkAra with sAkShi veSha’. Since such a madhyama adhikAri feels the journey is not yet over, that student has to be helped by the shAstra. shAstra cannot ignore such a student. Therefore shAstra says, “Your journey is not yet over”. Because even if the teacher says your journey is over, he is not going to accept. Therefore, the teacher joins the student and says, ’your journey is not yet over’.
The teacher defines nididhyAsanam in a slightly different way. For the other adhikAri’ what is nididhyAsanam? – it is internalizing the end of the journey. But for this adhikAri, end of journey has not come, so nididhyAsanam has to be redefined by which one with deficient sAdhana catuShTaya sampatti will have to be filled up. You cannot send back the student to karma yoga again. So what we do is give it a new name taking care of the deficient sAdhana catuShTaya sampatti. I.e. vAsanAkShaya manonAsha adhyAsaH; he is asked to continue shravaNa, manana and nididhyAsana: also he is prescribed nididhyAsanam, which is dwelling upon the teaching in one way or the other.
In addition to that, may you practice vAsanAkShaya and mano nAsha. Therefore, the author says, ‘brahmaj~na api’. Here, what type of brahmaj~na? You have to differentiate with the previous brahmaj~na, who had all the qualifications in full measure, whereas in this shloka, brahmaj~na refers to the student with deficient qualification – madhyama adhikAri. So this brahmaj~na, who has done shravaNam, mananam and who claims, ‘I have clear knowledge’, but still feels the jIva yAtra is not over. What should he do? vAsanAkShaya manonAshau vidhAya. vidhAya means he should resort to practice ‘durvAsanAkShaya’. i.e. all the AsurI sampat, which were mentioned I the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita as obstacles to spirituality have to be dealt with suitably.
In the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, we a have a huge list of mental traits or tendencies. One group was mentioned in three verses. It is a huge list of virtues mentioned as daivI sampat. Thereafter, Krishna talks about a list of AsurI sampan also ending with the verse, ’trividham narakasyedam dvAram….. tasmAt etat tray am tyajet’. Thus we have daivI and AsurI sampat list given, and Krishna said – daivI sampat vimokShaya AsurI nibandhaya…. DaivI sampat is Vedanta friendly, conducive to shravaNA, manana and nididhyAsanam, whereas AsurI sampat has a retarding effect. Now this person has to go back to the 16th chapter of the Gita which he might have read 15 years before and forgotten!
Then what should he do? All those durvAsanAs enumerated in the Gita as AsurI sampat, he should weaken and all the daivI sampat mentioned herein has to be re‐nourished by leading an alert life. Every moment of life I should examine my response to the life situation and see whether it is closer to daivI sampat or closer to AsurI sampat. Swamiji says, ‘ one of the important components in nididhyAsanam is a deliberate alert living which means I am aware of my responses and I monitor and scan my responses; come closer to daivI sampan and farther from AsurI sampat. This exercise is called vAsanAkShaya.
Krishna talks about it in the second chapter of Gita also in the context of sthitapraj~na. There Krishna gives a warning, even if a person has gained spiritual knowledge, he cannot be complacent in life; he has to be alert all the time. These famous verses are there in the 2nd chapter – dhyAyato viShayAn pu.nsaH…… all these advices are give not to an aj~nAni but to the one who has gained knowledge; but still one who is unsteady. Krishna talks about mind control and sense control there – tAni sarvANi sa.nyamya…. That j~nAnam becomes pratiShThitam. Therefore vAsanAkShyam means maintenance and improvement of sAdhana catuShThaya sampatti and an alert living.
Thereafter what? ‘manonAshaH ca’. In this context, it means, after the durvAsanAs are weakened, the mind should not regenerate those durvAsanAs. The mindʹs incapacity to regenerate those durvAsanAs is called mano nAshaH. This we can understand in the context of various addictions. When they have certain addiction, people do give up the addiction by being alert, by taking vow etc. but after some time, when they are complacent or careless, they violate and again get back to the addiction. That means what? There is a possibility of relapse. That is why the example of Mark Twain’s statement “who said smoking is difficult? I have given up several times”. It means what? It comes again. I give up certain durvAsanAs and again there is a relapse.
When the mind is incapable of again relapsing into the old mode of behaviour, it is mano nAshaH. The shubha vAsanA has become spontaneous or has become second nature. In mANDukya kArikA GaudapAda says, ‘For a niShThA puruShaH, shama dama etc are natural or spontaneous’. Until that spontaneity comes, one has to be alert. When the mind is incapable of relapsing into old ways, it is called ‘mano nAshaH’. That means j~nAni has a mind, which is predominantly shubha vAsanA pradhAna. So when the mind has got such shubha vAsanA pradhAnam, it is called ‘mano nAshaH’. If a person practices this vAsanAkShya and mano nAshaH, in our own language it is nothing but sAdhana catuShtaya sampatti. When there is sAdhana catuShtaya sampatti, aha.nkAra is no more loaded. When aha.nkAra is no more loaded then seeing or ignoring aha.nkAra as mithyA becomes easier. When he keeps on listening to Vedanta and when he listens to “sarvam mithyA, neha nAnAsti ki.ncana”, that aha.nkAra mithyAtvam, he is able to see because aha.nkAra has become lighter because of this. This is the process in which nididhyAsanam has to be practiced by a madhyama adhikAri. ‘vasAnakShaya manonAshau kramAt’.
Then what should he do? Let him learn to depend more and more on AtmAnanda or vidyAnanda rather than viShayAnandA. paraH means committed, engaged in svAtmA rAmaH, ArAmaH means relaxation, recreation, revelry, happiness; where? svAtmani. ‘yastu Atma ratirevasyAt Atma tR^iptashca manavaH Atmanyeva ca santuShTaH is called svAtmA rAma paraH; how long? anisham – for ever. Because the possibility is, if the mind gets used to some type of dependence unknowingly, the mind has glue; the mind is a gummy mind. Anything it does continuously for some time, it gets hooked to that. A particular chair you sit for two days, you say, ‘my chair, please get up’; we have come here for seven days!
Mind is so powerful that it can easily get hooked to anything – satatam bhavatu. When we talk of svAtmArAmaparatvam, we have gone back to uttama adhikAri, because after vAsanAkShya, manonAshaH, he is as good as uttama adhikAri. So nididhyAsanam will no more be a journey. It will be enjoying the end of the journey. That is the only difference. Such a person is called by a new title – saH sukhaghanaH jIvan api muktaH bhavati.
Such a person who has become an adhikAri now, who has internalized the teaching and who has also become a sAkShi pradhAna, for whom aha.nkAra is only an incidental veSha, to use Swamiji’s expression, “It is all role playing”. Wife is a role, husband is a role and mother is a role. It becomes simple role playing.
This excerpt is based on transcriptions done by Lakshmi Muthuswamy from talk no. 14 of fifteen talks by Swami Paramarthananda on jIvayAtrA by Jnanananda Bharati, who belongs to the sannyasa order at Sringeri.
Thanks to Suka’s help here the explanation of most Sanskrit terms (other terms you will find in the Sanskrit section of this site)
sAkShi pradhAna puruShaH – one who is predominantly a witness
veShaH – dress, artificial exterior
jIva yAtrA – the pilgrimage of jivahood
na me dveSha rAgo, na me lobha moho…. cidAnanda rUpaH shivo.aham shivo.aham – I have no hatred or dislike, nor affiliation or liking, nor greed, nor delusion, nor pride or haughtiness, nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I neither seek dharma (worlds such as heaven), nor artha (security), nor kāma, pleasures, not even moksha (liberation). I am indeed, that auspicious one, whose svarūpa (nature) is consciousness and ānanda.
sAdhaka – the spiritual aspirant
uttama adhikAri – highest level student
muktaH – liberated one, a jñāni.
madhyama adhikAri – medium level student
aha.nkAra pradhAna puruShaH – ego-centric person
vAsanAkShaya – exhaustion of past impressions
mano nAsha deconstruction of the ability of the mind to relapse into old identifications
adhyAsaH – superimposition, mistaken identity
brahmaj~na api – even if a knower of Brahman
vidhAya – performing
durvAsanA – bad inclination
trividham narakasyedam dvAram….. tasmAt etat tray am tyajet – 16.21 – This doorway to painful experience, that destroys a person, is three-fold desire, anger and greed. Therefore, one should give up this triad.
daivI sampat vimokShaya AsurI nibandhaya – 16.05 – Spiritual wealth is considered (to be) for freedom, (the wealth) of an asura, for bondage. Pāṇḍava (Arjuna)! Do not grieve. You are born to spiritual wealth.
sthitapraj~na – one whose wisdom is steady
dhyAyato viShayAn pu.nsaH…… 2.62 – In the person who dwells upon objects, an attachment is born with reference to them. From attachment is born desire and from desire, anger is born. 2.63 – From anger comes delusion and from delusion comes the loss of memory. Because of loss of memory, the mind becomes incapacitated and when the mind is incapacitated, the person is destroyed.
tAni sarvANi sa.nyamya…. 2.61 – May one who is endowed with discrimination, keeping all the sense organs in one’s hands, sit in contemplation of Me. For the one who has all the sense organs under control, the knowledge is well established.
shubha vAsanA – useful vasana
niShThA puruShaH – one who is steadfast
sarvam mithyA – everything is mithyā
neha nAnAsti ki.ncana – there is not even a bit of variety (duality) here
vidyAnanda – delight in knowledge
viShayAnandA – delight in sense objects
paraH – absolute
svAtmA rAmaH – one who revels in his own Self
ArAmaH relaxation, recreation, revelry, happiness
yastu Atma ratirevasyAt Atma tR^iptashca manavaH Atmanyeva ca santuShTaH – 3.17 – for a person delighted in the self, who is satisfied with the self, contended in the self alone, (for him) there is nothing to be done.
anisham – for ever
satatam bhavatu – may it always be
saH sukhaghanaH jIvan api muktaH bhavati – He is a mass of sukha, even though continuing to live like a jīva, he is liberated.