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Upanishadic Meditation

Swami Chetanananda
Most of you know about our Upanishadic tradition and our reli-gion called Santana Dharma which is based on the Vedas. The Vedas ha e four parts!the Samhits" the #rhmanas" the $ranyakas and the Upanishads. The Upanishads are in the end portion of the Vedas. They are therefore called Vedanta. Sometimes % isuali&e Vedanta standing on the tripod. 'e called it (rasthnatraya. The first leg of the tripod is the Upanishads or re ealed Truth. The second is the )it or the practical truth. *nd the third is the #rahmasutras or the reasoned truth. The Upanishads are called apaurusheya" that is" not man-made. The #rihadranyaka Upanishad says that this re ealed knowledge came automatically from #rahm" the +reator. %t has no beginning and no end. Secondly" % shall tell you that this Upanishadic knowledge is always new. %t ne er becomes old. ,ou see a mo ie se eral times" you will be tired #ut you will ne er get tired if you read the Upanishads again and again. -ne of my friends was telling me the other day about Swami Vishuddhananda" the eighth (resident of the .amakrishna Math and .amakrishna Mission. .e ered Mahara/ said one day to someone0 1Today is a memorable day in my life. This is my 23th reading of The )ospel of Sri .amakrishna. 4 ery time % read it % find something new.5 So is the Upanishad!always new because Truth ne er becomes old. Two thousand years ago 6esus said0 #lessed are the pure in heart" for they shall see )od. The saying is still true. %t will ne er lose its alidity. So is the Upanishad. % ha e read the creati e writings of .abindranath" Sharatchandra and #ankimchandra" the doyens of #engali literature" so many times and % must say % en/oyed reading them. #ut the Upanishads belong to a different category" they are matchless. The more % read the Upanishads" the more % am o erwhelmed by their beautiful thoughts and loftiest ideas. % always find something new in them. -nce % went to gi e a lecture in St. 7ouis Uni ersity which is a +atholic uni ersity. There % found students carrying big olumes of books. % asked one of them0 1+an you tell me what is in those books8 % would like to know in one sentence.5 19aith5" answered one girl. 19aith8 Tell me where does it come from85 % asked. She could not answer. Then % said" 19aith comes from e:perience. % can know whether you are a good person or not only through e:perience.5 Similarly" the Upanishadic mantras which we read came from the e:periences of our rishis. Mantras had been re ealed to them" the rishis did not create the mantras!1.ishayo mantradrashtro na tu edasya kartrah5. % sometimes tell the de otees in the 'est that behind us there is a Vedantic tradition of fi e thousand years. 'e are ery ery rich in this respect. 'e had a gala:y of great teachers of Vedanta amongst us and that our spiritual heritage is really deep and uni ersal as it is based on transcendental e:perience or aparoksha anubhuti. -ur rishis had attained the Truth by following three methods" namely shruti" yukti" and anubha a. Shruti is scriptures and in ;induism it means the Vedas. #ut different religions ha e their different scriptures!<uran" #ible and the Vedanta scriptures are all different. 'hat is preached by one scripture may be re/ected by another. So our rishis" while accepting the authority of the Vedas" had recourse to the second method also" that is" yukti" or reason. #ut then" lower reason can be counteracted by higher reason. So they followed" along with the earlier two" a third method" ie anubha a or e:perience!direct" firsthand transcendental e:perience. They ga e the highest alue to such e:perience because it cannot be refuted as in the case of reasoning. %f % tell you sugar tastes sour or bitter" will you accept my words8 ,ou would not because sugar tastes sweet. Therefore anubhuti

cannot be refuted. The Upanishads that contain the e:periences of the sages are like that. They embody the gems of infallible transcendental Truth which is erifiable. 'hen you read The )ospel of Sri .amakrishna" you will find that e ery word of him is true. Do you know why8 #ecause" as Sri .amakrishna himself said" 1The Mother of the Uni erse would ne er let me utter a single word that is untrue5. ;indu concept of truth 'hat is the ;indu concept of Truth8 The =aiyikas define truth as trikla abdhitam nityam. Truth is that which remains true all the time!in the past" present and future. Show me one thing in this world which does not change. ,ou cannot because this world or /agat is continuously changing. +hange is its ery nature. The word /agat comes from the root gam" ie to go. =othing in this world remains static. 'e are changing e ery moment!our bodies" our mind" e erything> #ut the Truth ne er changes!%t is unchanging. That is the characteristic of the Upanishadic truth. % remember once a 6ewish lady told me0 1Swami" your /ob must be the easiest in this world.5 % said" 1'hat do you mean85 She said" 1,our /ob is to gi e ad ice which is free and cheap.5 Then % asked" 1'hat is the most difficult /ob in the world85 1To know the Self5" she answered. That is what our Upanishads teach. They say?atmnam iddhi?know thyself. % remember a story. -nce #rahm" the +reator" thought that ;e should gi e e erything to ;is children and ;e ga e. #ut then instantaneously ;e thought that if ;e ga e e erything ;is children would ne er come to ;im. So ;e decided to keep one thing in ;is control. Do you know" what did ;e keep to himself8 Shnti @peaceA" nanda @blissA and mukti @liberationA. These are apparently three different words but mean the same thing. %f you ha e no freedom" you ha e no bliss and no peace. ;owe er" #rahm faced a problem. 1'here to keep this ital thing5" he wondered. ;a ing found no solution" ;e con ened a meeting of the gods and sought their opinion. Someone suggested that it should be buried under the ocean. #rahm said" 1,ou do not know my *merican children. They will go to the bottom of the ocean with the help of a submarine and grab it.5 Someone then said" 1- +reator" put it in outer space.5 #rahm smiled and said" 1-h> They will go in their space shuttle and get it.5 * third one said" 1Then" put it under ground.5 1-h> They will dynamite and unearth it5" e:claimed #rahm. *fter a pause ;e said" 1% ha e found a way out. % shall put peace or bliss or liberation inside the human heart.5 'e find this truth in the Upanishads. Swami Vi ekananda therefore says again and again that ain is your search for )od in temples" churches and mosBues!%t is all inside you. %n a letter to Mary ;ale he writes to the effect that he searched" searched and searched but could not find ;im. *t last he found ;im within himself. %n one of his poems Tagore also depicts this human predicament with the help of the simile of a musk-deer that frantically looks here and there for the source of the strong aroma that comes from his own musk. Swami/i therefore said that0 % searched and searched like a musk-deer here and there. #ut finally % found it is all within me> Do you know what struck me most when % first started studying Vedanta fifty years ago8 %t was a erse that says that this world is like a cobra. %t has spread its big hood and under the shadow of its hood we are comfortably sleeping" as it were" without thinking that a single bite of the dangerous cobra can finish our life any moment. So uncertain is our life> The goal of all religions therefore is the complete annihilation of sorrows" miseries and sufferings. #eing threatened by three kinds of miseries all the time" the Buestion arose in human mind!1%s there any way out from this misery85 So we find in the +hndogya Upanishad @C.D.EA" sage =rada goes to Sanat Fumar and prays0 1So5ham bhaga o mantra it e a asmi na tma it shrutam hi e a me bhaga at drishebhyah tarati shokam tma it iti

so5ham bhaga ah shocmi tam m bhaga n shokasya parm trayatu iti. . . .5 That is" 1Sir" % know only the word meaningG % do not know the Self. % ha e also heard from people like you that one who knows the Self o ercomes sorrow. .e ered Sir" % am suffering from sorrowG please take me across Hthe oceanI of sorrow.5 So you see" the Upanishad is wonderful because it deals with truth that is scientific. Vedanta is therefore an absolutely scientific religion. 'hen we study science we do not accept statements /ust because those statements ha e been made by =ewton or 4instein. Truth must be e:amined" erified and analysed. 7ikewise" the test of the Upanishadic truth is aparoksha anubhuti or transcendental e:perience. Uni ersality =e:t" we find that the Upanishadic or Vedantic truth is uni ersal. %f you want to form a new religion you need three things. 9irst" you need a (ersonal )odG second" a prophetG third" a book. 'ithout these three there cannot be any religion. 'ithout )od" without 6esus" without #ible" there can be no +hristianity. 'ithout *llah" Muhammad" and Foran" %slam is inconcei able. 'ithout #uddha and the Tripitaka" there is no #uddhism. #ut Vedantic Upanishad does not depend upon any particular book or any prophet or any kind of (ersonal )od. Vedantic )od is Sat-+hit-$nanda!4:istence-+onsciousness-#liss *bsolute" the Supreme .eality. -nce a person came to our Vedanta Society at Santa #arbara and asked one of our nuns0 1'ho is the prophet of this organi&ation85 She replied that it is a non-prophet organi&ation. The Buestioner understood perhaps that ours is a non-profit organi&ation" for %n *merica" you know" a non-profit organi&ation gets ta:-e:emption> Vedantic religion is uni ersal because the Truth it professes is impersonal. %nsulin was in ented by a 6ewish gentleman" but it is used all o er the world. %n that sense" Vedanta is also uni ersal. The Truth it preaches can be tested and e:perienced by anyone belonging to any country. Then the greatness of the Upanishads lies in the fact" Swami Vi ekananda says" that they do not speak about sin. The +hndogya Upanishad @J.D.2A says" 1esah tm apahatappm i/aro imrityuh ishokah i/ighatsah satyakmah satyasankalpah5 and so on. That is to say" 1This $tman is free from all sins and old ageG %t is deathless" free from hunger" thirst and berea ement and always committed to Truth.5 +hristianity was shaken for the first time when Darwin propounded his theory of e olution. %t recei ed the second shock when Swami/i declared at the (arliament of .eligions that it is sin to call man sinnersG it is a standing libel on human nature. Therefore" in the style and oice of the Upanishadic seers he addressed his audience as 1the children of immortal #liss5. To attain this #liss" according to the Upanishads" is the goal of human life. The +hndogya Upanishad therefore proclaims 1,ah ai bhum tat sukham na alpe sukham asti bhumai a sukham.5 @C.KE.DA #liss is only in the %nfinite" not in the finite. Meditation =ow % shall talk to you about meditation!meditation on some of the in aluable thoughts contained in the Upanishads. #ut before % do that" let me state briefly what Shankaracharya said about the meaning

of the word 1Upanishad5 in his commentary on the Fatha Upanishad. 1Upa5 means near or smipyaG 1ni5 means definitelyG and 1sad5 has three connotations. The first meaning is destruction. That is" it destroys ignorance. The second meaning is gati or prpti. That is" it helps us to attain the highest .eality. *nd lastly" it means isharana!that is" it loosens our bondage" the bondage of the cycle of birth and death. That is all about the meaning of the term 1Upanishad5. =ow about meditation. Thousands of years ago our rishis or sages had e:plored the whole spectrum of human life and tried to find out the correct answer to such Buestions as 1'ho am %8 'hat is this world8 'here did % come from8 'hat is the goal or purpose of human life8 'hat is life and what is death8 'hat is $tman8 'hat is #rahman8 'hat is My8 'hat is freedom and what is bondage85 These Buestions are uni ersal and all religions more or less answer these Buestions. =e ertheless" the Upanishads are uniBue in many ways. The first characteristic that makes them so distinct from other scriptures is the principle of unity in di ersity. This you will not find elsewhere. %n the Mundaka Upanishad @D.D.EA" Shaunaka" a ery progressi e householder asks sage *ngir" 1Fasmin nu bhaga ah i/nte sar am idam i/ntam bha ati iti5!1-h lord" what is that by knowing which e erything can be known85 ,ou see" two pages of the book of our life are missing. 'e do not know where do we come from and we do not know where shall we go after what we call death. The Upanishads gi e these answers. The purpose of the scripture is to enlighten us about the unknown and the Upanishads e:actly do that. 4 en when we read the )arbhopanishad we come to know about our state before we are born and how an embryo de elops e ery month and also what happens after the so-called death. So we know so many things from the Upanishads. They sol e arious problems of our life. They tell us how to practise Vedanta. This practice reBuires the obser ance of four e:ternal disciplines or sdhanacatushtaya and three internal disciplines. The e:ternal disciplines include nitynitya astu i eka" iha amutra phalabhoga- irga" shatsampatti and mumukshat am. %n other words" the first discipline signifies an effort to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Vi eka means discrimination. Then the second discipline stands for airgya or renunciation. The third" shatsampatti or si: treasures stand for such Bualities as calmness" self-control" self-settledness" forbearance" concentration and faith. The fourth implies an intense longing for liberation. 7astly" the three internal disciplines are shra ana" manana and nididhysana. *mong all these disciplines the chore is renunciation. ,ou must learn how to gi e up. #ut in *merica the word renunciation is a taboo. They think it reflects a negati e attitude. -ne day +hristopher %sherwood" the famous writer" said to me" 1Swami" don5t try renunciation. Try some other words such as dispassion" detachment" non-attachment. 'e can absorb these words. #ut renunciation is ery shocking to us. They think it is negati e.5 % tell them renunciation is nothing to fear about. %t is actually gi ing up smaller things for achie ing the greatest. %f somebody gi es you a beautiful house in a posh locality of 'ashington" will you not be ready to gi e away a slum house in =ew ,ork ghetto8 ,ou will" and that is called renunciation. % then make some /okes and tell them0 17ook % renounced one mother and a few brothers and sisters and now % ha e hundreds of mothers" brothers and sisters all o er the world. That is the net profit of renunciation>5 So then" first is discrimination. Second is renunciation. *nd the third is shatsampatti or si: treasures such as shama" dama" uparati" titiksh" samdhna and shraddh or self-discipline. 9ourth is a burning desire for liberation or mumukshat am. These are four e:ternal disciplines or sdhana catushtaya. =e:t come shra ana" manana and nididhysana. These are the internal disciplines. Shra ana means hearing" manana means reflecting and nididhysana means meditation. Till you go to sleep" till you die" constantly hear about Vedanta and the truth embedded in it. %f we go on doing this ceaselessly Truth

will re eal %tself. 'e generally meditate according to the instructions gi en by our )urus. )uru says" first meditate on the )uru on the crown of the head and isuali&e him. =e:t" you are asked to meditate on the %shta or your +hosen Deity in the lotus of your heart cakra. Then you dissol e your )uru into your %shta and start meditation. Sri .amakrishna talks about arious kinds of meditation and says" 1Those who think of Me" they get My Bualities /ust as children inherit the wealth of their parents. They will erily inherit My wealth.5 'hat is the wealth of Sri .amakrishna8 6nna @knowledgeA" i eka @discriminationA" arigya @dispassionA ksham @forgi enessA" bhakti @de otionA and prema @intense lo eA. The more we shall meditate on Sri .amakrishna" the more we shall acBuire this wealth. .emember the hard days which Swami/i @then =arendranathA was passing through and his family was star ing. ;e could not get e en an ordinary /ob and finally he came to Sri .amakrishna who sent him to goddess Fli to pray. ,ou know the story. #ut what did =arendra pray for8 ;e prayed for fi e things !knowledge" discrimination" renunciation" de otion" and uninterrupted )od- ision. %ndeed" these are the things we should pray for. %n *merica sometimes they pray to )od for a parking place> 17ord" may % get a good parking space>5 ;ere in %ndia" people go to the Shi a temple at Tarakeswar or temples in other places to pray for all sorts of worldly things. These are prayers of course" but selfish prayers. =ow about non-dualistic meditation. Sri .amakrishna taught his disciples how to meditate on the formless )od. -ne day he took Sri M. to the reser oir of Mati Seal and said" 17ook at the fish. Meditating on the formless )od is like swimming /oyfully like these fish" in the -cean of #liss and +onsciousness.5 % was in the San Diego &oo where % found a huge killer whale kept in a small tank for training. The tank was so small that the whale could not mo e> % got tremendous pain when % saw the whale and thought0 what else is bondage8 -ur predicament is also the same. 'e are free but we think we are bound" as if the cage of flesh and bone has bound the %nfinite. Sri .amakrishna used to say!1panchabhuter phnde brahma pare knde5" 1The immutable #rahman cries" as it were" caught in the trap of the body made of fi e elements5> Swami Turiyananda used to walk in the +entral (ark in =ew ,ork and chant a shloka that says" 1nirgachhati /agat/lt pin/ardi a keshari5. That is" 1- 7ion> break" break this cage of the world and be free>5 %n other words" he used to constantly remind himself that he was the %nfinite $tman" and not merely a psychophysical organism. That is one kind of Upanishadic meditation. %n this connection" let me tell you about a few Upanishads that contain profound ideas on which also we can meditate. 9irst is the %sha Upanishad. The first erse of this Upanishad says" %sh syamidam sar am yatkincha /agatym /agatG Tena tyaktena bhun/ith m gridhah kasya s iddhanam. ,ou can meditate on this erse. 'hat is the idea that it con eys8 %t says" co er e erything with )odconsciousness. =obody is your enemy" nobody is your friend. *ll are gods in different forms. This mantra is so beautiful> %t asks us to en/oy through renunciation. Do you know" what does renunciation mean8 %t actually means that we must ha e a great outlook. %f we ha e a great outlook our mind will not dwell on petty things of life. The moment the focus of your attention is on #rahman" lower things will drop off automatically. The Skandopanishad says0

Deho de layah prokta0 sa /i ah ke alah Shi ah That is" this ery human body is the tabernacle of Shi a or )od. #ut look" how practical Sri .amakrishna is in this respect> ;e says that tiger is god" lion is godG they are all gods" but do not hug them. 6ust salute them from a distance. ;e urges us to ha e a strong common sense. *nyway" what is the result of this meditation8 %sha Upanishad says0 ,asminsar ni bhutni tmai bhud i/natahG Tatra ko mohah kah shoka ekat amanupashyatah. @CA 'hat a beautiful message and what a beautiful result we get from this meditation> The earlier erse @LA says" 1sar abhuteshu chtmnam tato na i/ugupsate.5 That is" 1;e who sees e erything in himself and himself in e erything ne er hates anything or anybody.5 There is then no mohah or attachment and no shokah or sorrow. The moment you e:perience this $tman" this Self" you are free from all these binding elements. This we learn from the Upanishads. %n DMCC % was in #enares. % was ery fond of a Swami. ;e taught me how to practise Vedanta and many other things. ;is name was Swami Dhireshananda" a real Vedantin. -ne day he asked" showing me a necklace made of pearls" 1'ho is holding the pearls85 Then he himself said" 14ither there must be a thread or a chain. %f you watch minutely you will see that between the two pearls there is something that keeps the two together. That thread or chain is $tman. That is #rahman. That is +onsciousness.5 % tell you frankly" there are many things which are not in the books. ,ou ha e to li e with such people to know such things and % learnt many things from them. 'hen my mind is disturbed % take a walk. Do you know what % do then8 % repeat mentally the following erse of the Fatha Upanishad0 1(arnci khni yatrinat s ayambhu tasmt parm pashyati na antartman N kah cit dhirah pratyagtmnam aikshat rittacakshuh amritat am icchan5 NN @K.D.DA. That is my meditation. The erse says that )od created these senses with outgoing tendencies. There are only a few who are rittacakshuh" who close their eyes and shut the senses in order to behold the Self or $tman within. The $tman is within you!that is the message of this mantra. 'e find this word dhir in the Fumrasambha am of Flidasa. 'hat a beautiful poetic word is this dhirh. *ll around there is turmoil and restlessness. #ut if you can keep your mind unperturbed" then only you are a dhira" a person of steady wisdom. This idea we find also in the last part of the second chapter of the #haga ad-)it. The way to perfection *ll human beings are trying in one way or the other to get perfection" but they do not know how to attain it. *nd here again the Fatha Upanishad teaches us how to be perfect. %t says" 1=a a iratah dushcaritt na ashntah na asamhitah N na ashntamnasah api pra/nnena enam pnuyt5 NN @D.K.KOA. 'hat a beautiful mantra> That is ery important. ;e" who has not first turned away from wickedness and subdued his senses and whose mind is not at peace or tranBuil" cannot attain the $tman. %t is reali&ed only through the knowledge of the .eality. Then we find another wonderful mantra in the +hndogya Upanishad called daharo idy that tells us how to go inside the source of #liss" the source of peace. The erse runs as follows0 1atha yadidamasmin brahmapure daharam pundarikam eshma daharo5sminnantarkshastasminyadantastadan eshta yam tad a i/i/nsita yamiti5. @J.DA Sometimes % repeat this erse when my mind is restless during meditation and it helps. The erse says that there is in the city of #rahman an abode!a small lotus of the heart. 'ithin it there is a small ksha or space. -ne must search within

this space and earnestly desire to know what is there. That is what one should try to understand. Then Sri .amakrishna5s words come to my mind. ;e says" if there is any fibre in the thread" it will not pass through the eye of a needle. ,ou will ha e to sBuee&e it with a little moisture. Then it will go. =e:t we find in the Mundaka Upanishad the following erse0 1(rana o dhanuh sharo hi tm brahma tallakshyam ucyateG apramattena eddha yam shara at tanmayah bha et.5 @K.K.OA %t means 1-m is the bow and the indi idual soul is the arrow. #rahman is the target of the soul. ;it it without any mistake.5 % remember % ga e this lecture in ;ollywood temple and do you know what happened8 =e:t Sunday a man came with a bow in his hand and ga e that to me saying" 1Swami" this is for you.5 % said" 1,es" thank you ery much.5 Sometimes" you know" the 'esterners take the words ery literally> -ne day % said that in Faliyuga if one cries for one day and night one will get the ision of )od. -ne actress heard the lecture. She went back home and began to weep and weep and then fell asleep. Then one day she appeared and said" 1Swami" you asked me to cry and % cried accordingly. #ut how is it that Sri .amakrishna didn5t come85 % asked" 1;ow many hours did you cry85 She replied" 1Swami" fi e or maybe si: hours and then % fell asleep5. % said" 1Thakur asked us to weep twenty-four hours. ,ou will ha e to weep more.5 So you see" how literally these people sometimes take things there> So when % tell my students to cry for )od" they feel they should shed tears immediately. -ne day one student asked" 1Swami" shall % put some chilli powder in my eyes85 % said" 1(lease don5tG your eyes will be damaged and % would be sued>5 *nyway" in ancient times there were no guns and no missiles. So the Upanishad ga e the simile of the bow and arrow. =e:t you may meditate on a erse that is found in the #rihadranyaka Upanishad. The erse says0 1. . .yo anyatratmanah sar am ededam brahmedam kshatramime lok ime de imni bhutnidam sar am yadayam tm.5 @K.O.LA This erse says that the $tman includes e erything in the uni erse!the #rhmins" the Fshatriyas" the lokas" the De as" in short" e erything. The sense of separateness blocks our Self-knowledge. This reminds me of an incident. -ne day" while Swami Vi ekananda was talking to Madame +al e" the famous opera singer" the latter said" 1- Swami" % lo e my indi iduality.5 Swami/i said immediately" 1%ndi iduality> ,ou are not yet an indi idual>5 Then illustrating his remark he said" P-ne day some raindrops fell on the ocean and became bubbles. *s those bubbles kept floating on the surface of the ocean" the ocean said" 1;ey" be one with me5. * bubble said" 1-h" no> % must maintain my bubble-indi iduality.5 The ocean smiled and said" 1*h> millions of bubbles ha e become one with me and you want to retain your bubble-indi iduality>Q Similarly" we too want to protect our bubble-indi iduality by all means. The irony is that whether we know it or not" we are all #rahman. )od is within us. Then what is it that stands in the way of our e:periencing )od8 4go" ego" ego!ahamkra. %t is the one wall which is between the %nfinite and finite. % remember one 6ewish student asked me0 1Swami" % ha e a little problem with my ego.5 % said" 1Do you really ha e an ego85 She said" 1,es" % ha e a little ego.5 % asked" 1*re you the Miss Uni erse85 1=o" Swami5. 1Do you ha e a (hD degree85 1=o Swami5. 1Then what do you ha e8 ,ou can become proud if you ha e learning" if you ha e money" if you ha e beauty. #ut you say you don5t ha e any of these things.5 Then she said" 1,ou are right" Swami.5 ,ou see" still we become so egoistic> %n the Mundaka Upanishad there is a mantra that inspires us ery much. The mantra runs as follows0 1D suparn sayu/ sakhy

samnam riksham parishas a/te N Tayoh anyah pippalam s du atti anashnan anyah abhickashiti NN5 @E.D.DA The purport of this erse is that in this tree-body of ours the paramtman and /i tman are the two birds li ing on its branches. -ne bird" the paramtman" sits atop the tree and is at peace looking down calmly. #ut the other bird" the /i tman" sits on the lower branches and is restless. Sometimes it eats bitter fruit" sometimes sweet" and yet again a bitter one. Then it sees the bird on top and mar els at its calmness. %t tries to climb high and in this manner climbs higher and higher till it reaches the crest of the tree where the paramtman is. -n reaching there" it finds that the paramtman and /i tman are the same. They are one. Swami/i said this erse is the Buintessence of Vedanta. 9our mah kyas There are four mah kyas or great mantras in the four Vedas. %n the .ig-Veda" we find pra/nnam brahmaG in the ,a/ur eda" there is aham brahmsmiG in the Sma-Veda" we find tat amasiG and in the *thar a-Veda" there is ayamtma brahma. So when you say 1aham brahmsmi5" 1% am #rahman5!that is fine. #ut when you open your eyes and see someone" you say 1tat amasi5" 1,ou are That5" ie you are #rahman too. =ot only % am #rahman" you are also #rahman. This is something new. 'hen you are #rahman and % am also #rahman" there should not be any kind of friction between us. This is anubhuti or reali&ation. This reali&ation of oneness can sol e all problems!religious problems" family problems" all problems of human life. -nce % asked my teacher" Swami #odhatmananda/i" 1Mahara/" is Shankara5s e:perience and #uddha5s e:perience different8 #uddha talks about nir na and Shankara talks about mukti.5 #odhatmananda/i said" 1=ot at all. ;ow8 7isten" young man. %magine" here is a boat. %t goes into the deep ocean. Suppose #uddha and Shankara both are in the boat. #uddha looks upward and says!sar am shunyam shunyam !all is oid. Shankara looks down" sees the ocean" and says!sar am purnam purnam!all is full. #uddha sees the negati e side and Shankara sees the positi e side. #oth are in the same boat" at the same place" and both of them ha e the same e:perience. -nly one saw one side and the other saw the other side.5 =e:t comes Vedantic e:perience. There are two kinds of e:perience. -ne is s asam edya or selfre ealed direct e:perience. *nd the other is parasam edya" that depends on the e:perience of some other person" maybe an illumined soul. %n ancient times e en the kings used to talk about #rahman or )od. %n the court of king 6anaka" sage ,/na alkya went and said. 1- king" let me hear what you ha e heard from other teachers about #rahman.5 6anaka replied that he had si: teachers who told him that #rahman is speech" eyes" ears" prna" mind and heart. Then ,/na alkya asked the king to take up all the si: aspects and meditate on #rahman. This con ersation you find in the #rihadranyaka Upanishad. The words there are so poetic> 1pra/n iti enat upsit5" 1satyam iti enat upsit5" 1sthitirityenadupsit5 @O.D.K-CA etc. These erses ha e tremendous power" wisdom and bliss. ,ou know" Sanskrit words are so profound in meaning> Swami/i therefore said Sanskrit and prestige go together. Sanskrit language helps to know our culture. *nother interesting thing we find in the Upanishads is that they speak about the Truth of all truths! satyasya satyam. 'hat does it mean8 Suppose % am hungry which is true. Suppose % ha e headache which is also true. #ut these truths are not the *bsolute Truth. They are relati e truths that do not last eternally. #ut that Truth which ne er changes is the Truth of all truths" the Truth that e:isted in the past" e:ists at present" and will e:ist in future. That eternal Truth is #rahman. That is )od.

Sometimes % meditate on this mantra found in the Taittiriya Upanishad that declares0 1$nanda brahmeti ya/nt N$nanddhye a khal imni bhutni /yante N $nandena /tni /i anti N $nandam prayantyabhisam ishantiti.5 @E.L.DA The erse says that all these beings originate from #liss" sustained by #liss" and they mo e and merge in #liss which is #rahman. So you see" we are born to en/oy #liss" but we feel miserable. 'e get married to en/oy bliss. 'e want husband" wife" children" money" car! e erything for bliss. #liss is the guiding force. #ut the tragedy is that you cannot buy this #liss. % remember a peace conference that took place in St. 7ouis. % was also in ited there. (atricia .ice" a newspaper columnist whom % knew" asked me0 1Swami" why are you going there85 % said" 1#ecause we need peace. ,ou can5t buy peace from the grocer.5 She said" 1Swami" wait" let me write down what you said.5 *nd do you know what happened8 % was on the front page of the newspaper ne:t morning> % tell you another mantra from the #rihadranyaka Upanishad @O.E.EKA that says0 14sh asya param gatih" esh asya param sampat" asya eshah paramah lokah" asya eshah paramah nandah" etasya e a nandasya anyni bhutni mtrm upa/i anti.5 That is" in deep sleep @sushuptiA state" the tman becomes like transparent water!one without a second" a witness. This is the world of #rahman. This is the supreme attainment. This is the supreme glory" the supreme #liss. The worldly creatures" who think they are different from #rahman" thri e on a particle of this #liss. %n another Vedanta scripture" (ancadashi" you also come across the word nanda again and again" particularly in its last fi e chapters. So when % encounter suffering" % repeat the erses which say!1%f a man knows the Self as #liss" then for whose sake will he suffer85 %n DM2K-2E" Swami Shraddhananda/i Mahara/ was the 4ditor of the Udbodhan" the #engali /ournal of the .amakrishna Math and Mission. % used to go there and bow to him. -nce he said" 1'hy do you come8 ,ou take the dust and run away> +ome here" memori&e this erse and then go.5 % memori&ed it. 'hat was the erse8 %t was from the Taittiriya Upanishad0 1.asah ai sah. .asam hi e a ayam labdh nandi bha ati. Fah hi e a anyt kah prnyt . . . .5@K.CA The erse says" #rahman is self-created. %t is saturated with #liss. 'ho could inhale and e:hale if this #liss did not e:ist in ksha" ie within the heart8 #rahman erily is the rasah" of the nature of #liss. Many years later Swami Shraddhananda and myself sometimes used to sit in the garden of Santa #arbara. -ne day he said0 1Today is ery hot. 7et me bring some bree&e from San 9rancisco5. Then he chanted a mantra that says this whole uni erse is saturated with the sweetness of honey. #ut we do not feel it. 'e only encounter so much miseries" sufferings" disease and death> #ut look at Swami Vi ekananda. ;e wrote a letter from *lmora in DJMC in which he said that he" whose body is saturated with the fire of yoga" has no disease" old age and death. These are the ideas we get from the Upanishads" ideas that gi e us tremendous strength. The ne:t mantra is from the Sh etsh atara Upanishad0 S adeham aranim krit prana am ca uttarranim N Dhyna-mirmathan-abhysat de am pashyet nigurabat NN @D.DOA That is" by making the body the lower piece of wood and -m @prana aA as the upper piece" through repeated practice of friction of meditation one e:periences the luminous Self /ust like the fire in the wood. ,ou see sesame seeds. -il is there. #ut we do not see it. Similarly there is butter in the milk but we do not see it. ,ou will ha e to churn the milk if you want to see butter. 7ikewise" sesame seeds ha e to be crushed in order to get oil. This churning or repeated practice is sdhan. * de otional song composed by Mira #ai says" 1sdhan karn chhiye man 5!you need to do spiritual practices

ceaselessly. This is ery important. % remember Swami (rabha ananda once went to Swami Turiyananda and reBuested him to teach #haga ad-)it. Swami Turiyananda said" 1My boy" come tomorrow.5 Swami (rabha ananda went to Swami Turiyananda the ne:t day with a copy of the )it. Turiyananda/i said" 1My boy" take one erse of the )it" memori&e it" understand it" and practise it until you get perfection in that particular erse. Don5t take the ne:t erse until you achie e this. *nd this is my first and the last class on the )it. ,ou may go now.5 So" you see" how important is repeated practice. 9inally % shall tell you an e ent that took place in the life of Tagore. %n DMOD Tagore passed away in his 16orasanko5 house. ;e had surgery and it was not successful. =irmal Fumari Mahalanobis writes in her book that *mita Tagore" the poet5s grand-daughter-in-law was dripping water in his mouth with the help of a tube. *t the same time she was reciting in his ears 1Shntam" Shi am" *d aitam5. %t is from the Mndukya Upanishad0 1amtrah caturthah a ya ahryah prapancopashamah shi ah ad aitah e am omkrah tm e a. . .5@DKA That is to say" there is no manifestation of my in the $tman. %t is (ure +onsciousness. Shntam" %t is calmG Shi am" all auspiciousG *d aitam" non-dual. (eople thought Tagore was already dead. #ut as he listened to the mantra" he raised his hands and put them on his forehead and then he passed away. RRRRRRRRRRRR S This article is based on the edited and abridged ersion of the lecture the Swami deli ered at the %nstitute on KK September K33C. Swami +hetanananda is the Minister-in-+harge" Vedanta Society" St. 7ouis" U. S. *.