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Vedanta Sandesh

The Free Monthly E-zine of Vedanta Mission

June 1999

All our readers will be happy to note that with this issue Vedanta Sandesh completes its first year of publication.

The next month issue will be our first anniversary issue.

We call upon all our readers to kindly send their comments & reactions about their one year experience of it.

We plan to incorporate these reactions in our Anniversary issue.

CONTENTS

Click on the 'Topic' jump to them

SECTIONS

TOPICS

1. Preface :

The Belief in one Truth

2. Vedanta :

The Theory of Ajatavada

3. Scriptures :

Mandukya Upanishad

4. Queries :

Why do we lay our dying on the ground ?

5. General :

(1) Letter from God, and (2) Some inspiring Quotes

6. VM Activities :

Earlier : Gita GyanaYagnas at Ahmedabad, New Delhi, New net-publications.

Forthcoming : Gita GyanaYagnas at Mumbai and Lucknow, Sadhana Camp at Kayavarohan.

7. VM Office details :

Central Office Address, Telephone, Fax, e-mail & Home Page

"I am that ever-existent & self-revealing Atma which is always untouched by the limitations of mind & sense-organs, which is the very essence & propeller of mind & sense-organs, yet that which being the very subject is never objectified by these faculties of mind & sense-organs."

Hastamalaka Stotram

PREFACE

The Belief in one Truth by Swami Atmananda

"Truth is one" believe both the theists & the atheists, but very rarely the full implication of this is understood. If there is but one truth then how & where do we account this beautiful creation ? How could the 'second' have come about ? What should be our perception & relationship towards the variagated objects of the world ? What then becomes our obvious goal in life ? If there is one truth then who & what really I am, or for that matter what everybody & everything basically is ?

If there is just one eternal reality in the world then the answers to all the above questions also become obvious. This beautiful creation which we see around has to be something which is mirage-like. It is seen because of some factors but is not really there. If there is but one eternal truth then in order to account for the 'second' we will have to infer the existence of a unique power which brings about the perception of that which is not really there, something comparable to a projection or a dream. If there is one transcendental truth then our obvious relationship with the variagated things around has to be very light, it will be more like a play, where the very playing is important and not the results. The things of the world will be acquired only for meeting some worldly ends. Lines could very easily be drawn, and no one will thoughtlessly work for the acquisition of the maximum. Success in the world will be measured not by acquiring the maximum but by remaining aware of the truth and reveling in the infinite state of being in & through the inevitable ups & downs on this stage of life. If truth is one then our real goal of life cannot but be to awake & revel in this non-dual divinity. If there is just one truth then everybody, irrespective of ones color, upbringing, capacities, wealth, religion, caste or nationality has to be looked upon as that beloved truth itself. No one can be looked down upon and no one with inflated self-opinion can be taken seriously. All become just my manifestation, all become as dear as my own very Self. This is what the profound implication of affirmation of one truth is. And incidently this is exactly what the Vedas through their Upanishad section declare & profess to the world. This alone is the what Vedanta is all about. Let us all understand the full implication of our obvious & innocent belief that 'there is only one truth in this world'.

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VEDANTA SECTION

The Theory of Ajatavada by Swami Atmananda

Life is a flow of experiences :

Life is a constant flow of experiences. An autobiography of a person consists of various experiences alone which are recollected from his earliest memories onwards. For each & every experience to take place there have to be three basic pre-requisites. The experiencer, the object of experience and the subsequent experience which comes about when the two come in contact. The subject looks at the vast expanse of this objective world and then goes about to experience the objects of his likes. In this movement for bringing about the cherished experiences there are some very fundamental premises which are in operation. One, that I am a seeker, a limited being, who has to seek out fulfillment & security in some way or the other. Two, that the world outside is real and happiness or sorrow are got only from it. Finally that by bringing about the right conditions and experiences I can attain a state of cherished fulfillment. Vedanta questions all these premises and reveals that these presumptions are only because we did not care to understand the truth of all these three factors. Knowledge of truth brings about entirely different perceptions which shatter these presumptions and thus also the fragmentation & the subsequent sense of limitation. How has the triputi of experincer, experience & the object of experience come about is the subject matter of all theories of creation.

Three Theories of Creation :

There are three class of theories of creation :

(1) First is called the Shrishti-drishti-vada. Here the creation is taken as real. We see it because it is there, say the followers of this school of thought. This is what the maximum people in the world believe. This is what our scientists too believe, and thereafter base all their investigations & researches on this premise. We are just a small part of this vast world, and thus connected with this perception about the world, the individual identity also becomes obvious. We are this body-mind-intellect complex say these people. The perceptible fragments & division being taken as real, the life of seeking is natural. The ideal philosophy & right religion as per them will be to find a way wherein we create ideal objective & subjective conditions which is the gateway to fulfillment in life.

(2) The second way of looking at the world is more subjective. Some people believe & also prove in their own ways that like the dream world this world too is there because we see. This is called the Drishti-shrishti-vada. The creation is dependent on the perciever of the creation. If the seer turns his mind away then as far as he is concerned there is no creation. Not only the objects but also the value of these objects too is all dependent on our evaluation & understanding. We may appear to live in one common world, but the fact is that everyone lives in his or her exclusive world. Our conditionings color the things & beings of the world and thereafter we plan our live. Strange is the way of life they say. First we project and thereafter we run after the things which we ourselves have projected & created. These people say that the creation is very much there and it is entirely upon you to make or mar your life. Merely by changing your mind & understanding you can change the world. So their solution is simple : If you want to change the world change the way people look at it and you have it. This being their philosophy their religion too is obvious. This particular way of looking at the world is initially resorted to even by the teachers of Advaita Vedanta, only to later prove that anything which is a projection is not really there. No substratum is ever effected by any superimposition. Thus even though they initially appear to accept the existence of creation, they subsequently take us beyond. This vada is most prevelant amoungst the teachers of Vedanta.

(3) There is however one more entirely different class of theory pertaining to how we look at the creation. It is called the Ajata-vada.

The Ajatavada :

Ajatavada means the the creation which we see has never been created at all. It is an illusion and is not really there. They say that even the effort to find out how this creation has come about is a compromise - it reveals ignorance of the truth. The above two vadas start with a presumption of taking the world to be really there, which itself may be baseless. To start any process of understanding with a possibly wrong & baseless presumption is obviously not the right way of enquiry. Strangely enough if we start this enquiry whether the creation is really there or not then we get astounding results : it is seen that it does not have any independent existence at all. This is what the drishti-shrishti-vadins too subsequently prove. If this is a fact then why waste time to prove creation of something which is not really there. To temporarily accept a falsehood is not compassion but a compromise and wrong, and has all the consequences of other falsehood. Truth should be declared as truthfully as possible - in its raw form. The entire effort of the Ajata-vadins is the communicate how the creation has never come about and therefore is just an illusion. It is only after the realisation of the complete ephemerality & illusoriness of the creation that even the thoughts of it are naturally effaced and when the creation stands totally negated in this way then alone the ever-existent & self-effulgent reality becomes evident & revealed. So Ajatavada which has been revealed by the Mandukya Upanishad and explained in texts like Yoga Vasishta is the ideal way of looking at the world which is conducive & compatible to awakening to the transcendental truth. The Ajatavada is not basically designed even for the knowledge of Self, it is a fact by itself, and the knowledge of Self follows the right knowledge of that which obstructs our complete attention of the truth, namely the right knowledge of truth of the creation.

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KNOW YOUR SCRIPTURES

Mandukya Upanishad … by Swami Atmananda

Mandukya Upanishad is an Upanishad found in the Atharvana Veda. It is basically one of the smallest Upanishad containing only 12 mantras, yet it is one of the most respected and important Upanishad. Before the advent of Sri Adi Sankara his paramguru Sri Gaudapadacharya wrote a commentary called Karika on this Upanishad. This Karika has become so important and famous that today it is seen as a part of the Mandukya Upanishad itself. Sri Sankara thus wrote his Bhashya on both the Upanishad and Karika shlokas as a single text.

There are two things extremely famous about this Upanishad. One this Upanishad reveals the methodology of realising Brahman as OM. OM is revealed both as the end and the means. It is verily a commentary on OM. The viveka which is followed to discern the truth is the 'Awastha-traya-viveka' i.e. discrimination based on the three states of consciousness. Secondly this Upanishad has in it one of the four Mahavakyas which have been choosen from the four Vedas. "Ayam Atma Brahma" i.e. This Atma alone is Brahman. In Muktiko Upanishad we have the briefest and yet the most glorious review on Mandukya wherein it is said that "Mandukya alone is sufficient for an aspirant to reach liberation" (Mandukyam ekam kevalam mumukshunaam vimuktaye).

The Upanishad along with Karikas (total of 215 shlokas) is divided into four chapters called Prakaranas. The Agama Prakarana (has 12 mantras & 29 shlokas of Karika), Vaithathya Prakarana (has 38 shlokas), Advaita Prakarana (has 48 shlokas), and the Alatshanti Prakarana (has100 shlokas). The first chapter contains all the twelve original mantras, and the non-dual reality has been revealed here purely on the basis of the scripture. From second prakarana onwards we have an independent commentary on these mantras. In the Vaithathya Prakarana we have Sri Gaudapadacharya revealing the world as ephemeral. by equating the waking state to the dream state. The approach is purely logical. In the third i.e. the Advaita Prakarana we have the teacher revealing the non-dual reality again purely on the basis of logic and then also validating it by appropriate scriptural statements. In the last chapter called Alata-shanti prakarana, we have not only the summarisation of the entire book but also some unique things. In this chapter the Theory of Causality is shattered to pieces, the illusiory world is compared to a rotating firebrand which presents illusions of circles which are not really there, and the Self is thus revealed as the one non-dual reality itself, free from all cause-effect relationships.

One thing which has become a hallmark of this Upanishad is the Theory of Ajatavada. Normally some scriptures give some theory of creation, only to later prove the creation to be ephemeral, while here Gaudapada appears to be very uncompromising. He doesnt like going the longer way, he declares right from the beginning itself that there is no creation whatsoever. He considers the compassionate effort of some to temporarily accept the creation as a compromise. He thunders the raw truth uncompromisingly.

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QUERIES

Why do we lay the dying on the ground ? … by Swami Atmananda

(Question sent to Poojya Guruji by Sanjeev Nayyar)

>namaste, one of my friends asked me this ? when a hindu dies why is it that his body
>is placed on the ground. what is the logic behind it ? pl help.
>om namah shivay

Reply :

Hari om ! Your mail was waiting for me when I returned from New Delhi day before, after conducting a Gita Gyana Yagna (Gita Discourses) there.

Further to your question regarding laying down a person on ground. Number one, the system is not that when a person is dead that he is laid on the ground, but he is supposed to be laid on the ground when he / she is very much alive and when all possibilities of his survival are over, and also when definite signs of the incoming death are visible. (References : Kaushik Sutras-80/3, Baudhayana-pitramegha-sutras-3/1/18). The Shastras enumerate various signs & premonitions of the incoming death which are visible even one year in advance right to the last sign just before the death.

The reason for this practice (which is also prevelant in some parts of Europe - see the article ‘The Hour of death’ by Prof Edgurton in the ‘Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute) is to leave the world with a mind free from all attachments. The bed symbolises all that which bring comfort to the body and ensure its continuation in this world. The professed & practised ideal is to mentally leave the world even before the Jiva leaves the physical body. All attachments, all relatives etc are seen as things provided by God to help us lead a good worldly life, before death they are mentally returned to God and one should mentally go with a clean slate. With the help of these practices the incoming death is accepted gracefully with full mental preparation. Obviously the person who has been laid on the ground is suggested few other things too which gaurantee that his mind will keep reveling in God and nothing else. The relatives too are enjoined to facilitate creation of conditions which help him revel in that which is eternal and not the ephemeral. The eigth chapter of Gita reveals that the last thought at the time of death helps decide our next life & state, so the last moment is always considered very important.

Hope your friend & you will get the answer to the query.

With love & om,

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GENERAL SECTION

1. Letter from God … Sent by Pranjal to Arjunas List

As you got up this morning, I watched you and hoped you would talk to me, even if it was just a few words, asking my opinion or thanking me for something good that happened in your life yesterday but I noticed you were too busy trying to find the right outfit to put on and wear to work. I waited.

When you ran around the house getting ready I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello, but you were too busy. At one point you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except sit in a chair. Then I saw you spring to your feet. I thought you wanted to talk to me but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip. I watched as you went to work and I waited patiently all day long.

With all your activities I guess you were too busy to say anything to me. I noticed that before lunch you looked around, maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me, that is why you didn’t bow your head. You glanced three or four tables over and you noticed some of your friends talking to me briefly before they ate, but you didn’t.

That’s okay. There is still more time left, and I have hope that you will talk to me yet you went home and it seems as if you had lots of things to do. After a few of them were done you turned on the TV, I don’t know if you like TV or not, just about anything goes there & you spent a lot of time each day in front of it, not thinking about anything - just enjoying the show. I waited patiently again as you watched the TV and ate your meal but again you didn’t talk to me.

Bedtime I guess you felt too tired. After you said goodnight to your family you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time. That’s okay because you may not realize that I am always there for you. I’ve got patience more than you will ever know. I even want to teach you how to be patient w/ others as well.

I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, prayer or thought or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation. Well you are getting up again and once again. I will wait with nothing but love for you hoping that today you will give me some time.

Have a nice day !

Your's patiently, GOD

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2. Some Inspiring Quotes :

"Your life is made up of years that mean nothing; and moments that mean all."

— Author unknown

"Circumstance does not make me, it reveals me." — William James

"Add perspiration to your inspiration. " — Author unknown

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." — Henry David Thoreau

"Commit your heart before you start." — Author unknown

"No one knows what he can do, until he tries." — Pubilius Syrus

"Develop a thirst for first things first." — Author unknown

"A hero is an ordinary person who performs --

-- an ordinary taskin an extraordinary way." — Steve Hedderson

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VM ACTIVITIES

Earlier & Forthcoming Programs :

Earlier Programs :

1. Gita Gyana Yagna at Ahmedabad :

A Gita Gyana Yagna was very successfully & satisfactoriy conducted by Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji at Sri Ramakrishna Hall at Ahmedabad from 7th to 13th May. The texts were Gita Chapter 3 in the evenings and Isavasyopanishad in the mornings. The halls overflowed and dates for the next session have already been taken from Poojya Swaminiji who is the Acharya of Vedanta Ashram, Indore.

2. Gita Gyana Yagna at New Delhi :

A Gita Gyana Yagna was very satisfactorily conducted by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji at DDA Community Center in the Vasant Kunj locality of New Delhi from 9th to 15th May. The text of the discourses were Gita Chapter 7 and Drig-Dryshya Viveka in the evening & morning sessions respectively. Prof OP Chawla the main organiser worked very hard to get the discourses started in this new locality of New Delhi. Another Yagna of Pojjya Guruji is being planned in Nov/Dec in the same locality but in the open grounds to accomodate the swelling enthusiastic crowds. While in Delhi Guruji also visited the historical Kutab Minar and a well known religious place called Chatarpur Devi Temple.

3. Release of new Net-publications :

Snippits from Lists - Third volume. This third volume of Snippits was released this month. These Snippits from Lists are compilations of light, informative & educative reading material culled out from the various Mailing Lists run by the Mission.

Forthcoming Programs :

1. Gita Gyana Yagna at Mumbai :

A Gita Gyana Yagna to be conducted by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji at Hinduja House from 31st May to 6th June 99. The text of the discourses will be Gita Chapter 7 and Mandukya Upanishad Karika-Chapter- 2 (Vaitathya Prakarana) in the evening & morning sessions respectively.

2. Gita Gyana Yagna at Lucknow :

A Gita Gyana Yagna to be conducted by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji at Rai Balinath Preksha Grah, near Music College, Hazratganj from 10th June to 15th June. The text of the discourse will be Gita Chapter 12, and there will be evening discourse only.

3. Sadhana Camp at Kayavarohan :

A Sadhana Camp to be conducted by Poojya Guruji & Swamini Amitanandaji will be organised at Kayavarohan Teertha from 20th to 25th June 99. The texts to be taken during the Camp will be Upadesha Sar, Gita Chap-16, and Narad Moha Prakarana.

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Central Office of Vedanta Mission

'Vedanta Ashram'

E / 2948-50, Sudama Nagar

INDORE – 452 009. INDIA

--------------------------------------------------------

Tel : 91-731-486055, Fax : 789497

E-mail : vmission@bigfoot.com

Home Page : http://www.bigfoot.com/~vmission

Published by

Swami Atmananda Saraswati

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OM TAT SAT