[Based on Chapter 15: Vishayananda Prakaranam of Panchadashi of Sri Vidyaranya Swami]
Course material written and dedicated to Swami Paramarthananda by Raja Subramaniyan (email@example.com)
Module O Joy of The Objects
Unit 01: Objects of the world
Number of Sessions: 4 (O01 – O04) Number of Lessons: 3
On completion of this unit, the student-teacher will be able to (a) Understand the role of objects in leading us to Joyful Living
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 15.01 and 15.35 of the original text)
1. What is the relationship between knowledge and desire? 2. What are the two roles played by the objects of the world with reference to happiness? 3. What is the role of Aura, Energy and Matter with respect to our ability to reflect ONE? 4. How can a person move from enjoying the bliss of the objects to enjoying eternal bliss?
Lesson 1: Objects and Happiness
It is not possible for anyone to desire an unknown object. Desire presupposes knowledge. Intensity of the desire depends on depth of the knowledge. Example: Prior to introduction of mobile phone services in the country, there was no one who had the desire to buy a mobile phone. When it is introduced, those who had the knowledge of its existence, desired to buy it. Only when more people gained knowledge the desire became widespread. Desire for buying a mobile will become intense when someone known to us buys one. All human beings want to be happy. This desire for happiness is not possible if people do not know what happiness means. Everyone has experienced complete happiness sometime or other. Most people recall that their childhood days were full of happiness. Since they have complete knowledge of happiness, everyone desires to be happy all the time and no one wants to be unhappy at anytime. This experience of happiness is possible through objects of the world. As child, they were happy with toys, balloon and chocolates. As they grew their source of happiness shifted to more complicated objects and which were not as easy to obtain as before. Therefore, money became an important instrument to gain happiness. Thus, objects of the world serve two opposite functions. 1. They serve as a means of happiness. Without objects of the world, so many people would not have been exposed to the experience of happiness. Objects, by providing the experience of happiness, have provided a goal for all human beings, which is to work for happiness. 2. They have misguided people into wrong path. While helping the people to set the right goal of seeking the happiness, they have given the wrong idea that the original source of happiness is within the objects. Therefore, people are involved in material pursuit with a hope that soon they will have enough money to make their life joyful. Since it serves as the initial gateway to happiness to most of the people, it is important to understand the objects of the world. Objects of the world comprises of everything that we perceive. They include all inert objects, living beings, events in life and intangible objects like power, position, property etc. They promise happiness to people. This happiness is enjoyed by people at three levels. At the physical level, the objects of the world give happiness to a person by coming into contact with the sense organs. By developing positive emotions on certain objects, people enjoy happiness at the mental level. Finally by gaining knowledge on the objects, people enjoy happiness at the intellectual level.
Lesson 2: ONE and the objects
ONE is the only reality and the entire universe is illusion superimposed on it. ONE has three natures namely existence, consciousness and bliss. However, only human beings are capable of reflecting all these three aspects. Example: The nature of fire is three-fold. 1. It self luminous. 2. It gives out heat and 3. It illumines other objects. When the fire is applied to water, the water does not reflect all the three nature of fire. Only the heat is accepted and reflected by the water. An iron ball has the capacity to receive both the heat and self-illumining capability from fire. A wood on the other hand receives all the three aspects from fire and it becomes part of the fire. Similarly, although all the objects in the world are illumined by ONE, the inert objects reflect only one aspect of ONE, namely existence. The living beings are capable of reflecting the consciousness in addition to existence. Only the human beings have the capability to reflect all the three aspects of ONE. All the objects in the creation including our body/mind complex are made up of three elements namely Aura, Energy and Matter. The composition in which our mind is made up determines whether all the three aspects (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss) are reflected in it or only two aspects (Existence and Consciousness) are reflected. The bliss aspect of ONE is not reflected in all the human beings at all times. Mostly during the early morning time soon after waking up the mind will be dominated by Aura for a while. During this period the bliss aspect of ONE will be reflected in the mind. Example: The sun is reflected in the water. If the water is clear, the reflection will also be clear and the reflected light will be as bright as the original sun. However, in a gutter, where lots of dirty materials float on the water, the reflection of the sun will not be bright. Similarly, only when a mind is dominated by Aura, it has the clarity and purity to reflect the bliss aspect of ONE. At other times, when Energy takes over, the mind is polluted with action and the clarity to reflect the natural bliss is lost. Similarly, when one fells lazy, an indication of Matter element taking over the control, it is not possible to feel the natural happiness of ONE. A wise person, who has completely understood the nature of ONE and stands steady in the knowledge, has the capability to reflect the bliss aspect of ONE at all times. Although his mind may also oscillate between the domination of the three elements, it would have acquired adequate level of Aura domination to reflect ONE at all times. Therefore, a wise person lives life joyfully without the anxiety of the events of the world reflecting the natural happiness all the time.
Lesson 3: Happiness in the objects
The happiness that we seem to get from the objects of the world is in reality our own natural happiness. Example: A lion looking into the well sees its own reflection and assumes that it is another lion. Similarly, we see our own natural happiness in the objects of the world and assume that it is different. The happiness that we seem to get from the objects of the world is divided and never complete. Our natural happiness is holistic and complete. In addition, it is homogeneous and indivisible. Example: The sunlight is only one and it is homogeneous and indivisible. However, there are many small reflections of sunlight depending on the medium in which it is reflected. Such reflections vary from one another with respect to luminosity and intensity. However, the source for all the reflections is only one. Similarly, the happiness that is enjoyed by all the beings belong to ONE and it is one homogenous and indivisible mass. An Aura dominant mind is detached from the objects of the world and therefore it reflects the bliss of ONE efficiently. An Energy dominant mind is attached to objects and harbinger of jealousy, greed and such negative emotions. Such a mind is clouded and dirty and therefore it does not reflect the bliss of ONE. A Matter dominant mind is full of confusion and lethargy and there will be no trace of bliss. In addition, even the consciousness aspect of ONE will be obscured in such a mind. The mind of everyone invariably keeps changing because the dominance of Aura, Energy and Matter keep changing. Through appropriate food, meditation and practice of virtues, it is possible to increase the Aura dominance to a level where one can gain the complete knowledge of ONE. Once the knowledge of ONE is gained, then through practice of being steady in the knowledge, one can become a wise person. A wise person goes beyond the influence of the mind. He is the true reflection of ONE reflecting existence, consciousness and bliss at all times. His own mind will be recognized as a part of the ever changing illusion. The movement of mind between the dominance of Aura, Energy and Matter element will be understood as the power of ONE in sustaining the illusory universe. Differences between knower, known and knowing will merge and there will be nothing but ONE. Thus a person can move from enjoying the bliss of objects of the world, can move on to recognize that he is beyond mind and thereby become eternal bliss.