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The gist of Sri Bhashyam on ChatussUtrI by Dr.NSA---Part 5

From: padmini ranganathan (pammi_r_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Nov 19 1999 - 11:32:47 PST

Namo Narayana.

PART 5 :

These spiritual disciplines are invariably necessary
for commencing a deliberation on Brahman. If a person
is equipped with these he can deliberate on Brahman
and know it even if he has not made an enquiry into
Karma. Granting that a person has made an enquiry into
Karma he cannot proceed on an enquiry into Brahman
automatically and know it, if he is not endowed with
these spiritual disciplines. Brahma jijnasa becomes
possible only in the presence of these and not
otherwise. So these are to be known as the immediate
antecendents to Brahma jijnasa.

It is universally admitted that an enquiry into
Brahman is to be made only after the study of the
vedas. When one studies the Veda he comes to know that
the fruit of mere works is transitory and not
everlasting. The result of the knowledge of Brahman is
something permanent. There are innumerable statements
in the Upanishats to this effect. 'As the loka
acquired by Karma perishes, the world acquired by
Punya also perishes,' 'that karma of his has an end',
'the permanent is not obtained by the non - permanent
'these boats of the form of sacrifices are frail', 'A
Brahmana should feel mental agony 'nirveda' having
examined all these worlds that are gained by Karma and
he should realise that the Paramatman cannot be gained
by Karma  that is done. So let him go to a Teacher who
is learned and established in Brahman to understand
this', 'the wise teacher should teach the knowledge of
Brahman to such a pupil whose mind is calm and who
approaches respectfully', 'the knower of Brahman
attains the Highest', 'He who sees this does not see
death', He becomes a self - ruler', 'knowing Him
becomes immortal here', 'Having known Him he passes
over death'. These and many other such statements give
rise to the knowledge that Swarga and other benefits
that are results of Karma are transitory while
immortality is the fruit of the knowledge of Brahman.
It may be argued here that an enquiry into Brahman is
also not necessary as he has known about that also in
this preliminary study of the Vedas. To this objection
we say that this is true. But this understanding got
thus immediately without deep enquiry is not above
doubt and mistake. Hence a systematic study of
Vedantic Texts is to be undertaken. Shankara says -
'Braman is to be deliberated upon, for there is a
conflict about its distinctive nature.' Some consider
the body alone as the Atman. Others hold the mind to
be the Self. Some say that it is momentary
consciousness. Some others say it is a void. Still
others believe that it is a soul different form the
body. Some say that there is a God all - knowing and
all - powerful, who is different from this soul. Thus
there are many who follow disparate views, by
depending on logic, 'Texts and their semi - balances'.
So there is need for taking up an enquiry into Brahman
after making a general study of the Veda, even without
making 'Dharma Jijnasa' or enquiry into the philosophy
of Karma.

The Sadhana ChatushTayas are invariably necessary for
Brahma Jijnasa. These can be developed after a general
study of the Veda.

Ramajuna also takes the word 'Atha' to mean sequence,
but declares that one goes to Brahma vichara after
making an enquiry into Karma. The reason for going to
Brahma vichara is verily 'Karma vichara' itself.
Having studied the Veda with all auxiliaries and
having reached the knowledge that the fruit of mere
Karma is limited and transient, one who develops a
desire for final release, takes up thereafter an
enquiry into Brahman the fruit of which is inifite and
permanent.

The futility of the results of mere Karma is admitted
by both masters and both of them are of opinion that
Brahma jijnasa alone leads to final release. Ramunja
points out that an enquiry into Karma is necessary for
becoming endowed with 'nityaanitya vastu viveka' and
others.

"api cha nityAnityavastuvivekAdayashcha
mImAmsASravaNAmantarENa na sampathsyasE"

The true nature of works, there fruits, the
transitoriness or otherwise of the fruits, the
permanence of the self and others cannot be understood
without the ascertainment of the distinctions of
'phala' or fruits of works, 'Karma', the means
'Itikartavyata', the modes of procedure and
'adhikarivishesha' or the qualifications on the part
of the agents. For understanding these a study of
Karmamimamsa is necessary says Ramanuja.

Sudarsana Suri explains further that
'nityaanityavastuviveka' is gained only after going
through both Karma vichara and Brahma vichara. This
leads to dispassion for the enjoyment of fruits of
Karma here and hereafter. The virtures of 'Sama',
dama' and others are enjoined to be practised by a
Brahmopasaka thereupon.

While discussing the course of meditation on Brahman,
Ramanuja quotes a statement of the vakyakara.


Tallabdhi: vivEka vimOka abhyAsa kriyA kalyANa
anavasAda anuddharshEbhya: sambhavAt nirvachanAccha"
 
'Steady remembrance is obtained through these seven
disciplines known as Sadhana Saptaka. Viveka means
keeping the body clean, taking only pure food. The
Food being pure the mind becomes pure, the mind being
pure it resulsts in steady remembrance. Vimoka means
absence of attachment to desires. Abhyasa means
continued practice. Kriya means the performance of the
five great sacrifices according to one's ability. This
implies the performance of duties related to one's own
station in life. Kalyana means virtues like
Truthfulness, honesty, kindness, liberality,
gentleness absence of covetousness etc. Anavasada
means freedom from dejection resulting from
unfavorable conditions of place or time or remembrance
of cause of sorrow etc. Anuddharsha means absence of
overgreat satisfaction. One must be calm, subdued,
enduring and concentrated. These are described as the
prerequisites for attainment of steady remembrance.

According to Madhavacharya, the word 'Atha' is used as
being auspicious and it benotes consecution in respect
of eligilibity. "Therefore" may also mean 'through the
grace of All-pervading Lord'. Eligible persons are of
three classes Manda, Madhyama and Uttama. Men of the
highest order belong to the lower or Manda group.
Sages and Gandharvas belong tot he 'middle' or
Madhyama class. Gods are of the highest class. This
kind of classification into three group is based upon
their nature. There is a further classification based
on merit. A person who has mastered the scriputres and
is only devoted to the Highest Lord, is said to belong
to the lowest class. One who has mastery over
scriptures, is only devoted to the Lord, and in
addition to these has the qualifications of Sama and
others, is said to belong to the middle class. He, who
has all these qualifications and who, in addition to
all these, realises the hollowness and transience of
all things beginning with the fourfaced Brahma down to
the smallest blade of grass, and who rises above all
desires and seeks refuge with the feet of the Lord, is
said to belong to the highest class.

Abrahmastambaparyantam asAram chaapi anityakam viJnAya
jAtavairAgya: vishnupAdaika samshraya: sa: uttama
ahikArI syAt sanyastAkhila karmavAn"

The teachings of all these masters bear testimony to
the fact that an inner transformation is very
essential for becoming a seeker of Brahman. As Rudolf
Eakon points out 'There is no possibility of a genuine
and effective turn of his life without a breach with
the nearest-hand world, without the clear discovery of
the misery and vanity of such a world. This world must
displease them not only at certain points but in its
entirety.

One must be necessarily endowed with this outlook of
life, without which one will never turn from the
ordinary pursuits of life.

Even a general idea of this kind will have its own
effect and may result ultimately in strong
convictions. Performance of one's own duty in the
prescribed manner leads one to the desire to know
Brahman, by divesting the mind of all impurities. The
cardinal virtues are to be practiced and acquired
gradually. This prepares the ground for 'Sravana',
'manana' and 'nidhidhyaasana'. A study of the
scriptures is universally accepted as the Purvavrtta
for Brahma Jijnasa. Acquisition of the four cardinal
disciplines also depends upon profound thinking and
introspection on the nature of the mystery of life
here and the means subscribing to its progress.
Association with the virtuous, study of the
scriptures, enquiry in to he nature of the world
nearest - at - hand, the realisation of the fact of an
eternal principle in a non - eternal body - all these
contribute towards the formulation of an aspiration
for spiritual perfection.

Though Karma vichara is described as an immediate
antecedent to Brahma vichara, it may be noted that it
is taken for granted in practice. Karmas are of many
kinds and kamya karmas such as performance of
sacrifices and others have been almost out of usage
and the duties of one's station in life - the asrama
and varnadharmas are required to be performed even by
a Brahmopasaka, as it is obligatory duty. This
discussion, therefore, is only of an academic nature
and it is now pointed out that if a person has made a
study of the upanishads and if he is endowed with the
aspiration of saving himself from  the shackles of
samsara, he may embark on an enquiry into Brarhman.

As Sudarsana Suri rightly points out these Sadhanas
are actualised after a close study of Vedanta and
liberation is obtained through them. A study of
Vedanta is necessary for transforming oneself into a
Brahmopaska. It is desirable that these Sadhanas are
acquired by constant and conscious deliberation so
that one may achieve one's goal of life.

The Lord Says "jigNAsurapi yOgyasya
SabdabrahmaadivatatE"

And gives an assurance to humanity that even an
aspiration for knowing yoga would lead to deliverance.
Even an aspiration for realising the Supreme Reality
would go a long way and enable one to realize
beatitude. Such a one would gradually equip himself
with the required sadhanas in a perfect manner. So it
may be said that these aspirations for saving oneself
from samsara, however imperfect they may be, exhort
one to develop the necessary cardinal virtures, by
means of which, he would gradually attain his object
of life.

The cardinal virtures are mentioned as six treasures.
They are  Sama, Dama, Uparati, TitikshA, Samaadhaana
and Sraddha. 'Sama' is control over the mind. It is
(Antarindriyanigraha) not allowing mind to
externalise. Dama is control over external organs.
Conquest over sensibility is a necessary prerequisite
for all spiritual disciplines. Uparati is verily not
thinking of the things of the senses. The ideal
'forbearance' is called Titiksa. Samaadhana is the
continuous and constant practice to fix the mind in
God. Faith is Shraddhaa. These six are indicative of
all other virtues. These are expressly mentioned by
Brhadaranyaka Upanishat !

TasmaadEvamvit Saanta: daanta: uparata: titikshu:
samaahitO bhUtva aatmanyEva aatmaanam paSyati"

 The Sutrakara has declared the necessity of the
practice of these virtues in one of the Sutras as
"SamadamAdupEtasyAt"etc. 

It is pointed out that even one of these four
spiritual disciplines would lead one to an enquiry
into Brahman. An aspiration for being liberated is
however absolutely necessary for Brahma Jijinaasa.
 
Ramanujar thiruvaDihaLE SaraNam
dAsI
Padmini


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