“Sage Vasishta: Please listen to me carefully as I shall now teach you the most supreme of all topics — ways to calm down the mind. Just like pillars bear the weight of a building, raajasic and taamasic people carry on their shoulders the unlimited illusion of a world. But saatvic natured persons like you can leave this burden as easily as a snake sheds its skin. The only way to do it is through an understanding of the essence of Truth (tatva vichaaraNa).
Whatever is not existent at the beginning and also at the end, but appears only in-between cannot be Real. Whatever stays permanently at all times (past, present and future) only can be True. How does a thing that has no existence at the beginning and at the end appear to be born and to exist in-between? The fact of the matter is neither anything is born nor anything has grown. All of this is entirely a play of the mind!
जायते मन एवेह मन एव विवर्धते ।
सम्यग्दर्शन दृष्ट्या तु मन एवहि मुच्यते ॥ — shloka 11, sarga 5
What is born here is mind, what develops is also mind. If you consider properly, what is liberated also is mind.”
Extracted from p:7 of the book: Yogavaasishta Part IV: The Calm Down by K.V. Krishna Murthy, (English rendering by Dr. Vemuri Ramesam), Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore 570025, India, 2008, pp: 194.
[The latter part of the article requires a bit of mathematical (or at least arithmetic) orientation in the reader. If you know the addition, 1 + 1, that is enough. Otherwise, it could prove slightly boring!]
We shall tackle now the question of how we wake up to be what (we think) we were before we went to bed.
I said in my previous argument that our waking up to a new morning and into an awake state is comparable to another cycle of creation. So I suggest we examine how creation itself takes place.
From a scientific perspective, creation seems to be happening from ‘nothingness’ and dissolving back into nothing. Vedantins prefer to call nothingness as ‘Beingness’ simply because even ‘nothingness’ has to ‘Be.’
If we go by what Quantum Physics tells us, what we may refer to as ‘nothingness’ is not just emptiness. There is an enormous amount of energy in ‘Emptiness.’ Physicists have been able to measure this energy of empty space.
The energy within the empty space of the nucleus of an atom is the main reason for the weight of the nucleus (and hence of the matter we are all). The energy of the emptiness within the intergalactic space is the reason for the expanding universe causing the colossal and mighty galaxies to recede from one another at speeds exceeding the speed of light. This vast energy is the result of constant creation and annihilation of virtual particles smaller than sub-atomic particles. Thus creation-dissolution is an ongoing unstoppable roiling and boiling process from emptiness to emptiness within emptiness!
[The topic of Dreams is something I have not originally planned to include here in this series which was primarily designed to address the issue of Upanishadic support for considering deep sleep itself as Liberation (moksha).]
Please allow me here to take a short digression to discuss dreams because of a few questions raised by our esteemed readers.
Fig. 1. Sleep Hypnogram (After M. Walker, 2009) – Click on the figure for enlarged view.
First of all, I would like to correct the misconception that some of us have that the moment we hit the pillow and get lost in sleep, we just flow through one continuous phase of dreaming, then deep sleep and, lo behold, we get up refreshed in the morning. So, to this extent, the sequence of Awake state (A), Dream state (U), and Deep sleep (M) corresponding to AUM as presented by Mandukya Upanishad is awfully way out. *** The Upanishad says that these three states arise in an everlasting turIya which is compared to the ‘silence’ at the end of AUM. *** Several experimental studies carried out over a period of more than half a century demonstrate that the architecture of our sleep pattern is vastly different as experienced by us every night. A typical hypnogram (the nightly sleep cycle) we go through each night is shown in Fig. 1. (Please click on the figure for an enlarged view).
Yogavaasishta is a remarkable Advaitic text in many ways. It is at once a theoretical text and a practical Manual. It combines the abstruse Vedantic concepts of Non-duality with simple doable tips and presents them in an engrossing manner. Sage Vasishta often uses the technique of bringing home the most intricate philosophical point through a fictitious tale crafted on the spot with imaginary characters representing with high fidelitythe point to be illustrated in an unforgettable manner. One such story is of Kadamba Daasura**. It tells us about the untenability of the perceived world. Daasura is shown to be living on the last tender leaf of the topmost branch of a Kadamba tree (Anthocephelus – Latin name: Adina cordifolia) where sustenance for any being, leave alone a human, is impossible. Sage Vasishta intends to impress on us that the sustenance of a world (which we take to be real and functioning) to be equally impossible.
Daasura teaches his son that the world is a creature of the ‘thought’ that thinks it. Intent on ending the world, the son who is hardly in his early teens enquires what is thought and how thought itself originates and what are the means of annihilating the thoughts. Daasura’s response to these questions is very profound and a summary is presented below. Continue reading →