Introduction Verse 3.42 of the Bhagavad Gita says that the sense organs are superior to the gross body, the mind is superior to the sense organs, the intellect is superior to the mind and the Atma is superior to the intellect. Superiority also refers to subtlety. Our interest is in the mind, the intellect and finally in the Atma. There are five fundamental elements called panchabhutas. They are space, air, earth, water and fire. The subtle body is made of panchbhutas in their primary or nascent forms. When the panchabhutas undergo a process of compounding among themselves, the gross or physical body emerges. The mind and the intellect belong to the category of subtle body, i.e., made of the five elements in primary form. The Atma is beyond the panchabhutas because It is not a thing or physical entity.
We all know that we are a conscious entity. We also feel so. We are also certain that consciousness is different from the gross body. However we are not so sure whether the consciousness is different from the mind because consciousness ordinarily gets mixed up with the mind. Vedanta says that the consciousness is different from the mind. It is based on the axiom that the subject (observer) is different from the object (observed). This is Seer-Seen discrimination (Drg Drisya Viveka). Continue reading →
Advaita seeking is in three gradual stages: ShravaNa( Hearing), Manan (Contemplation) and NididhyAsanA (Meditation). In Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣhad sage Yagnavalkya says to his wife Maitreya: Self should be realized by ShravaNa, Manan and NididhyAsanaA; upon realization of the Self, all this is known.
ShravaNa means listening to vedantic teaching by a guru. It would also include reading vedantic literature and in the age of technological advancement, accessing the teaching offered by other sources. Contemplation means analyzing the teaching and grasping intellectually. All doubts should stand cleared at this stage. Next stage is meditation which enables internalization of the teaching and making it a living practice. No doubt, there is a wide gap between intellectual understanding and living practice, like two shores of a river. Having understood the enormity of task, the sages of yesteryear, out of compassion for the mankind, laid down the technique of vedantic meditation so as to swim across the river. Drg Drsya Vivek describes vedantic meditation. It is progressive and in conformity with vedantic teaching.
There are two broad categories of meditation, namely, internal and external. Each category is further divided in three stages, namely, savikalpa meditation with thought, savikalpa meditation with word and nirvikalpa meditation. It is noteworthy that the three stages follow in the same order. Thus it is six- fold method. Vikalpa means division. In savikalpa meditation, subject-object division and duality exist. In nirvikalpa meditation there is no such division and is non-dual. Continue reading →