Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bhaja Govindam - Sloka 30

Hari Aum

Prostrations to my Guru. Prostrations to All.


“Praanaayaamam prathyaahaaram
Nithya anithya viveka vichaaram
Jaapyasamaetha samaaDhiviDhaanam
kurvavaDhaanam mahadhavaDhaanam”

Word Meaning:
Praanaayaamam: The control of Praana (the vital force)
Prathyahaaram: Sense withdrawal
Nithya anithya viveka vichaaram: the enquiry consisting of discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent
Jaapyasamaetha samaaDhiviDhaanam: along with Japa, and the practice of reaching the total inner silence
Kuruhu: perform
avaDhaanam: with care
mahath avaDhaanam: with great care

The control of all activities (of life’s manifestation in you), the sense-withdrawal (from their respective sense-objects), the reflection (consisting of discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent), along with japa and the practice of reaching the total-inner-silence (samadhi) – these, perform with care, with great care.

In this verse the acharya gives the final word of advice to the seeker. Here, the acharya says to practice pranayama, which means to control the external activities in the world. Most of the energy is wasted through the actions performed day in and day out. Therefore by reducing too much of energy spent in the externally, one will be able to concentrate on progressing towards the Reality. Every action that is performed when done continuously becomes a Vasana in the mind, and this Vasana then makes one to perform more actions. Thus, it is important to reduce the Vasanas in the mind by controlling the external activities. Once the seeker able to control the external energy spilled over through the actions performed in the world, then he must try to divert the mind away from the sense objects towards the Self. This is Prathyahaara. One will be able to withdraw the mind from the sense objects only when the intellect has the strength to withdraw the mind. To get that subtle mind, one has to constantly discriminate between the Real and the Unreal through the scriptural knowledge that is learnt from the Guru. Therefore by controlling the life, by withdrawing the mind from the sense objects through the discrimination between the real and unreal, is the sadhana that the Acharya says.

To aid these Japa, meditation etc, will also be very helpful. Practice of Japa will help in removing the obstacles and also helps in purification of mind when performed as an offering to the lord.
Ramana says in Upadesha Saram about 3 types of practicing Japa
Uttama stavaat uccha mandathah
Chittajam japa dhyaanam uttamam

Than the best of praises, singing or chanting in loud and low volume is greater or superior. Superior to both of these is Japa meditation or chanting in the mind.

Practice of meditation helps in gaining concentration. Practice of Nirvikalpa Samadhi helps in burning the impure Vasana (vasana that makes the mind to go out) and also develops Pure Vasana (vasana towards the Reality or the Self). The same is told by Vidhyaranya in Panchadasi first chapter

anaadaav iha sa.nsaare sa.nchitaaH karma koTayaH .
anena vilaya.n yaanti shuddho dharmo vivardhate

As a result of this (nirvikalpa) Samadhi millions of results of actions, accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present births, are destroyed, and pure dharma (helpful to the realization of Truth) grows.

These sadhanas are only means to the Ultimate Goal of realizing ones own nature of Self. There might be cases when the seeker might be carried away by various experiences through the practice of Samadhi. When the seeker gives more importance to those experiences there will not be any progress towards the goal and the person will still be in ignorance only. Controlling of actions and withdrawal of senses doesn’t mean suppression of any thought, here acharya says to withdraw the senses through discrimination between real and unreal. Thus to make sure that the seeker don’t deviate from the Ultimate Goal, the acharya thus mentions to practice these with great care.

Prostrations to all

Hari Aum



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