Ashtavakra Gita – the Body, Mind & Jivatma
All dies, king dies, pauper dies, intelligent dies, ignorant dies, enlightened persons like Gautam Buddha died, even Shree Rama & Shree Krishna died. But jivatma is eternal. Body made of three attributes (sattva, rajas and tamas) takes birth or dies or experiences childhood, youth and old age.
Modern science says, matter and energy is not destructible but can be transformed. Likewise, spirituality also says, jivatma is not destructible and eternal.
Sri Ashtavakra described Raja Janaka about various aspects of body, ego, mind, soul, almighty and liberation in various chapters. He described that the disinterest or indifference towards desires and living in sacrificial way arises peace. One should live in curbed (limited) way. One should drop doer-ship and let the things happen in natural way. Instead of doer, one becomes seer. It will bring peace and eligibility for spiritual wisdom.
The various aspects are as under:
Brahman (Parmatma, Almighty or God) & Jivatma (Soul, Self):
Desires & Karma (actions, activities):
Bondage and Attachment:
Detachment & Dispassion (वैराग्य):
Sri Ashtavakra explained the above aspects in the following chapters and verses (the respective verses and chapters in Sanskrit are mentioned in the end):
Purva or Karma Mimansa Darshan (Chapters 12, verses 2731) is biggest darshan and was founded by Rishi Jamini in 4th century BC. Karma Mimansa has several sub-schools viz. Prabhakara sub-school & Bhatta sub-school (of 7th century BC).
Karma Mimansa refers to examination of Vedic texts and stressed on Karmakanda (rituals) based on Vedas. It held that Vedas are eternal, authorless, and dharma means rituals & social duties. Ethics for this life and efficacious action for heaven (स्वर्ग) cannot be derived from sense-perception, and can only be derived from experience, reflection and understanding of past teachings.
The ultimate aim of Karma Mimansa is achieving heaven. Deeds (कर्म) without aspiring for fruits and spiritual knowledge are means to get Heaven. By mastering the above two means, past deeds extinguish and man become liberated.
Karma Mimansa has three parts viz. tools of knowledge (Perception, Inference, Analogy & Comparison, word, Postulation and non-perception), Spiritualism and Duty decider.
Yajna (also called karma) are done for the achievement of a fruit like 'Heaven. Yajnas are performed on daily, fortnightly, monthly, annually and once in life time. Agnihotra is the homa done thrice a day. Yajna means worshipping, sacrifice & offering. The main constituents of Yajna are desire of doer (bhāvana), learning (svādhyāya), rites involved (karma), offerings i.e. Yaga-sacrifice, Dana-giving & Homa-offerings in fire (tyāga), devata and the results (phala). The ingredients used in a yajna are called dravya. Samskāra is a rite that involves mantra. There are forty samskāras or rites performed in one’s lifetime.
The three parts of Karma Mimansa as under:
The main features of Karma Mimansa:
Samkhya Darshan (451 Sutras and 527 including sub-verses, 6 chapters) was founded by Rishi Kapil around the 6th - 7th century BC. Samkhya Darshan, one of the six Hindu Philosophies deliberates on Prakriti, Jivatma and moksha. Samkhya means accurate, proper, and correct. Samkhya believes in dwatvad (द्वेतवाद) i.e. the creation is by Prakriti and Jivatma. The right knowledge (vivek) differentiates Prakriti (nature) and Jivatma (soul, prusha).
Maherishi Kapil sometimes called as atheist. But many verses pronounce that Parmatma (Brahman, Supreme consciousness) is ultimate cause which proves him as theist.
Samkhya Darshan has main principle of “Satkaryavad” (सत्कार्यवाद) means universe is created for some reason by original power. Satkaryavad has two forms viz. “Parinamvad” (परिणामवाद) and “Vivartvad” (विवर्तवाद). Parinamvad means actual modification happens into substance. Vivartvad means actual modification does not happen but only appears. As per Samkhya Darshan, following are the key principles:
Patanjali Yoga Darshan –The Practical steps to Bliss & Powers
Yoga Darshan (194 Sutras, 4 chapters) was founded by Rishi Patanjali between the 4th century BC - 2th century AD. Yoga Darshan, one of the six Hindu Philosophies is practical training to attain moksha.
Yoga means joining or union. Yoga Shastra has four areas viz. universe, reason of creation of universe, liberation (moksha) and means of attaining liberation. These four areas are deeply investigated as under:
To get rid of miseries and to attain Kaivalya, eight limbs or parts of yoga are prescribed by rishi Patanjali. The Practice of eight limbs of Yoga leads to destruction of impurity which ultimately leads to light of self-awareness. In the light of self-awareness, Jivatma appears different from mind, buddhi, ego and senses.
The eight parts (of the self-discipline of Yoga) are Yama (Self-restraints, यम), Niyama (observances of rules, नियम), Asana (posture, आसन), Pranayama (regulation of breath, प्राणायाम), Pratyhara (abstraction, प्रत्याहार), Dharna (concentration, धारणा), Dhyana (meditation, ध्यान), Samadhi (trance, समाधि). (यमनियमासनप्राणायामप्रत्याहारधारणाध्यानसमाधयोऽष्टावअङ्गानि 2/29). Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyhara are external limbs and Dharna, Dhyana & Samadhi are internal limb. Dharna, Dhyana & Samadhi is external limb of Asamprajaatah Samadhi (seedless Samadhi). The details are as under:
The detailed explanations, chapter wise and verse-wise are as under:
Vedanta Darshan or Brahma Sutra – key of Upanishads
Vedanta means "end of the Vedas". Vedanta or utter Mimansa, one of six Hindu Darshans, has four Chapters and 555 verses. Badarayana (5th BC) synthesized and systematized the various philosophies contained in the Upanishads in the Brahma Sutras, also called the Vedanta.
Inquisitiveness, diseases or miseries experienced in life, inspire people to inquire about Brahman (Almighty, Iswar, Parmatama or cosmic consciousness) who is eternal, blissful, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. The Upanishads gave various interpretations on Brahman, Jivatma, Prakriti and Moksha. Vedanta probed various interpretations given in Upanishads and conceptualized the knowledge of Brahman and other aspects.
The salient features of Vedanta are as under;
Based on Vedanta Darshan, different schools of Vedanta developed.
The prominent Vedanta schools are following:
The chapter-wise detailed explanations are attempted as under (Verse wise):
Vaisheshika Darshan (370 Sutras, 10 chapters) was founded by Kaṇāda Kashyapa around the 2nd century BC. Vaisheshika Darshan, one of the six Hindu Philosophies explains about the existence physical universe, living beings, soul and moksha.
He postulated as under:
3. Atheism – Parmanu are eternal.
4. Creationism – No action / activity is done without reason. Activity is non-eternal. Supreme Being is creator and operator of the universe.
5. Salvationism – The ultimate goal of living being is escape from re-birth and attains liberation (Moksha).
The salient features of the Darshan are as under:
Physical Universe – Creation & Function
1. Parmanu and the true being is eternal, having no cause.
2. Part of the world is non-eternal i.e. subject to origin and destruction in time. All composite objects are constituted by the combination of atoms and destroyed through their separation. The 1st combination of 2 atoms is called a dvyanuka or dyad, and a combination of 3 dyads is called tryanuka or triad. Triad cannot be perceived, but are known through inference.
3. At the beginning of creation, God's given effort is possible only by the combination of atoms; earth and tree are all things.
4. A lot of great qualities arise from the properties of the atomic particles, etc. It is the effect that the qualities which are in the causation, those qualities are inferred in the activities.
5. Elemental knowledge is created by knowing nature six substances. The substances can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance - six), guṇa (quality – twenty four), karma (activity - five), sāmānya (generality - two), viśeṣa (particularity) and samavāya (inherence).
6. The experiences about the substance are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, generality, particularity and inherence and liberation is to be attained through understanding the nature of existence.
7. The natural qualities of the earth, air, fire, water and ether are smell, touch, form & heat, fluidity & coolness and sound.
Living Beings –Execution of Karma
8. The living beings are having bodies with senses and possessing mind, intellect and egoism. All these exist and interact with one another in time, space and Moksha.
9. Living beings are souls who enjoy or suffer in this world according as they are wise or ignorant, good or bad virtuous or vicious.
10. The knowledge of happiness and misery is not from any sense, therefore, in order to know these qualities, the soul needs some reason, and the reason is the mind (mann). The seat of knowledge is soul.
11. Desire which create tendency in the offerings of charity, yagna and donation, is Dharma (virtues). Violence, malice etc. are the tendency of the wicked. The activities done by speech, mind and body, are called tendencies. Speaking truth, speaking sweetly, speaking for others' sentiment are virtuous tendencies. Telling lies, talking bitter and harming others is sin.
12. Karma is done by the combination of soul and effort of organisms. The soul inspires the mind and the mind inspires the senses. By this inspirations the karma / activities arises.
13. Attachment and aversions create its strong sanskar/impressions in mind.
Wisdom to attain Moksha
14. Dharma & adharm (unrighteousness) or atma (soul) is associated with the body, senses and mind. This association is called birth. When atma separates from the body & senses, this is called death. Cycle of birth and death, is the name of the world. Dharm-adharm is due to attachment & aversion which caused by false knowledge.
15. False knowledge is a cause of sadness, desire and defects. The destruction of misery is not salvation, but the continuous happiness is the only salvation (Moksha or liberation).
16. When the mind (mann) detaches from the outside senses and lives in the soul, no action is done and the mind becomes steady. The same condition, when leaving all the work, meditation is called and that is Yoga. When yoga takes place, it is not the beginning of action in the mind, when Yoga happens, there is a lack of grief and the action is done to remove misery.
17. When the false knowledge is destroyed, attachment & hatred/aversion and their tendencies disappear, which results in the loss of karmic account of re-birth. Thereby, re-birth gets stopped, that is only salvation/liberation.
18. Knowledge of nature of atma and parmatma, at that time the body and mind which is separated from the soul, it is called moksha (liberation).
The chapter-wise detailed explanations are attempted as under (Verse wise):
Nyaya Darshan – The logic & Spirituality
Nyaya or Logic Darshan, one of the six Hindu philosophies, has five Chapters with 538 verses. It was founded by Rishi Gautam or Gotama in 550 BC. He attached due weight to reasoning and relied on scientific system of 16 categories to reach on the philosophy. His philosophy dealt the riddle of Body, Atma and moksha.
He postulated in Nyaya Darshan as under:
The salient features of the Darshan are as under:
The detailed explanations of Nyaya Darshan are as under:
Mantras are sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words, composed in Vedic Sanskrit thousands of years ago by rishis or ancient Hindu scientists. Mantra is two words: Man and tra. Man means mind. Tra means the heat of life. Ra means sun. The divine energy of sound is embedded in Mantras. Mantras have psychological and spiritual powers and help to induce an altered state of consciousness. Mantras uses sound to evoke movement of physical and emotional energy through stimulation of the nervous system. It may or may not have literal meaning.
A practice of repetitively uttering the same mantra for an auspicious number of times is called Japa. The most popular number for japa is 108 and is done with the help of malas (bead necklaces). If one word is chanted in a stepwise fashion, tunefully and with proper rhythm in poetic meter ceaselessly, a cyclic movement is created. By chanting of mantras (Japa), both in the inner psyche of the devotee and in the external cosmos an extraordinary energy stream commences flowing.
Mantras can be done vocally, sub-vocally (whispering) or silently in the mind. Group chanting or recitation of mantra can synchronize the brainwaves between the participants, achieving yet another level of collective effect, as has been shown between musicians. In chanting of mantras, half energy goes outside and the remaining half roams about within the body. Half the energy of words uttered radiates in the external world and the other half commences a powerful process within the body.
Mantra Yoga is a scientific method devised by the Rishis to activate the extrasensory energy centers within to facilitate the sublime flow of vital spiritual currents in this majestic living system. It improves health, peace, prosperity and spiritual progress. Our ability of focusing becomes better.
Shloka from holy Hindu texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutra, even the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Durga saptashati or Chandi is a mantra.
Om is one of myriad such mantras. Gāyatri mantra derived from Rig Veda verse 3.62.10, and the Purușasūkta mantra from Rig Veda verse 10.90 are most auspicious mantras for japa at sunrise and sunset; it is claimed to purify the mind and spirit.
One of the schools of Hindu philosophy i.e. Purva or karma Mimamsa deals with ritualistic part (karma kanda) of vedas to satisfy the urges of Dharma, Artha (wealth), Kama (sensual pleasure). It is believed that all-pervading consciousness manifests itself in different stages, each of which has a different form (deity) and sound vibration (mantra). Wherever a particular ritual is performed with the proper utilization of mantras, the deity related to those mantras is present because when the vibration is concentrated, the materialized form of the deity appears. Both deities and mantras operate on a principle similar to the conversion of energy into matter and matter into energy in physics.
So, mantra is a powerful combination of words which, if recited, takes the vibratory effect of each of our molecules into the Infinity of the Cosmos.
Mantras exist in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Similar hymns, chants, compositions, and concepts are found in Zoroastrianism, Taoism, ancient Hebrew, Tibetan, Christianity, and elsewhere. In Japanese, mantras are called Shingon.
The use, structure, function, importance, and types of mantras vary according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and Buddhism. Mantras serve a central role in tantra. In this school, mantras are considered to be a sacred formula and a deeply personal ritual, effective only after initiation. In other schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, initiation is not a requirement.
The various aspects of Mantras viz. what is Mantra, Reciting of Mantras, Impacts of Chanting of Mantras, Science behind Mantras and Hindu Philosophy of Mantras, are mentioned below.
KARMA YOGA –I AM NOT DOER
In Sanskrit, Kri means to do; all action is Karma. Whatever we do (thinking, talking, listening, breathing, walking etc.) that is karma, physical or mental and it leaves marks or impression or samskara on the mind-stuff. These impressions are sometimes not obvious on the surface but they work beneath the surface, subconsciously. The sum total of these impressions on the mind form character of the person at that moment. If good impressions prevail, the character becomes good; if bad, it becomes bad.
But good and bad are both bondages of the soul. The solution reached in the Gita in regard to this bondage-producing nature of work is that, if we do not attach ourselves to the work we do, it will not have any binding effect on our soul. By non-attachment, you overcome and deny the power of anything to act upon you.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 5 chapter 3) - न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् । कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः॥
i.e. Indeed no person can remain without doing work anytime. Because of nature-generated qualities force him to do work.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 27 chapter 3) - प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः। अहंकारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ॥
i.e. In fact, all the karmas are done due to qualities of nature. Since the soul is fascinated by ego, one thinks due to ignorance, ‘I am a doer'.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 47 chapter 2) - कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
i.e. Actions done with expectation of its rewards bring bondage. Our duty is only in doing karma, never in its fruits. If we do not be attached to it, we get purification of heart and ultimately knowledge of the Self.
The dynamics of Karma Yoga such as ‘Good or Bad Karma – the bondage of the soul’, ‘motives of karma’, ‘karma without attachment’, ‘what is good karma’, ‘forces of karma’, ‘instruments of karma’ and ‘Karma for liberation’ are mentioned hereunder.
Good or Bad Karma – the bondage of the soul
The Sanskrit word Bhakti has its root ‘bhaj’. It means to divide, to share, to belong to. Bhakti also means to devotional attachment, faith or love.
Shree Ram in Ramcharitramanas has also explained about Navdha Bhakti (nine forms of Bhakti). Shree Krishna in Bhagwat Geeta has expanded four means of salvation viz. Bhakti Yoga (path of devotion), Karma Yoga (Path of selfless actions), Jnana Yoga (Path of knowledge) and Raj Yoga (Path of contemplation & meditation). In chapter 9 & 12 of Bhagwat Geeta, Shree Krishna has explained the characteristics of a Bhakta and Bhakti yoga being means of salvation i.e. spiritual attainment. The relevant verses of Bhagwat Geeta & Ramcharitramanas & purpose of Idol worshipping are given hereunder.
Narad Bhakti Sutra has advised to "patiently endure" until the perfection stage manifest. Bhakt should develop qualities such as Ahimsa (Non-violence), Honesty, Cleanliness, Compassion and Faith. A list of devotional attachment is given including the following: attachment to the Lord's qualities
1. attachment to His beauty,
2. attachment to worshiping Him,
3. attachment to remembering Him,
4. attachment to serving Him,
5. attachment to dealing with Him as a friend,
6. attachment to surrendering one's self completely to Him,
7. attachment to being absorbed in thoughts of Him,
Narad Sutra says "Anyone who trusts these instructions spoken by Narada and is convinced by them will be blessed with devotion and attain the most dear Lord."
Inspired by various commentators on the Vedanta (Ramanujacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Madhavacharya and Vallabhacharya), the Bhakti movement swept India from Tamil Nadu (Alvars) to all parts of India in 6th century to 18th century. It developed around the gods Vishnu &avatars (Vaishnavism), Shiva (Shaivism) and Devi (Shaktism). They sang devotional songs in different “Bhavas” (attitudes) as under:
1. santa, placid love for God;
2. dasya, the attitude of a servant – Hanumanji towards Shree Rama
3. sakhya, the attitude of a friend – Arjun & Shepherd boys towards Shree Krishna
4. vatsalya, the attitude of a mother towards her child – Yashoda towards Shree Krishna
5. madhura, the attitude of a woman towards her lover – Radha towards Shree Krishna
Swami Vivekananda has described Bhakti Yoga as
"the path of systematized devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute".
According to Ramana Maharishi, Bhakti is surrender to the divine with one's heart. It can be practiced as an adjunct to self-inquiry, and in one of four ways:
Shree Ram in Ramcharitramanas