Saturday, June 14, 2008


Sher Agrawal

[VRI] (unknown)

vavamenon Sat, Jun 14, 2008 at 4:49 AM

Following discourse in ( is helpful for us to understand as to how our Great Maharishis tried to explain to us what Brahman/Brahmam is and how to acquire this TRANSCENDENTAL KNOWLEDGE about Brahman/Brahmam, and also how they tried to KEEP US CONNECTED TO THE DIVINE THROUGH OUR ENTIRE LIVES......


Based on the lectures by Sri Bimal Mohanty

So the key to right door, lies in being able to differentiate between Shreya jnanam and Preya jnanam in every step of one’ life. Every action needs to be tested against this acid test.

When we simply describe it as ‘knowledge that brings good’ against ‘knowledge that is mere pleasant’ it may sound easy enough. Yet, to arrive at the right discrimination, it takes intense contemplation of a life time- nay, the time of many lives perhaps. Even the wise men falter when confronted with the dilemma in deciding as what to do and what not to do; Kim karma kim akarmeti kavayopy atra mohitAh, as Lord Krishna says.

Study of shreyas and preyas has been always in the minds of people. Not only words from wise men, but the rustic humour to explain the difference between preyas and shreyas is quite apt. When you keep scratching your eczema you feel nice and keep scratching more and more. Only when blood comes out and aggravates the eczema, you realize it has not been the right thing to do. Applying the ointment even if it burns a little would have been right and a good thing for long run. That is how in common parlance shreyas and preyas are understood.

Now consider also in the background of the views of Swami Sivananda of The Divine Life Society.

‘The philosophy of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita deals with the situation of the individual pilgrim soul upon this earth plane, in the midst of the very vexing problems that constitute an inevitable part of the individual's life. It takes the life of the jivatma in this prapancha, beset by the dvandvas, love and hate, like and dislike, attachment and repulsion. It takes the life of the jivatma faced with the situation of an inner, essential conflict between what one would like to do and what one is required to do, between one's sentiments, emotions and attachments and one's duty in one's station in life. It takes the life of an individual trying to grapple with this inner conflict of bhavana (feeling) and kartavya (duty), this inner conflict of the sreya (good) and the preya (pleasant), this inner conflict of dharma, which is very difficult.

(This conflict) provides the necessary strength to the individual by enlightening him with the hidden reality of the situation. Because of his insufficient understanding, his lack of proper perspective, the individual takes the situation to be what it appears to be and does not try to analyse it beyond and behind the surface appearance, nor try to understand it as it is in essence. He thus takes to a certain course of action which is contrary to his own highest welfare and supreme good and which is also contrary to the good of the world in which he lives.’

In other words, the transactory knowledge or the vyavaharika jnana often influences us at the cost of parametrical jnana or transcedentory knowledge. Lest we jump into wrong conclusions, it must be said that transactory knowledge is not something to be denigrated. All that is emphasized is that, all knowledge must aim at the transcedentory knowledge and strive to serve its purpose. Even if temporarily adequate, it will always be seen – in after thought- that transactory knowledge has only provided a stop-gap solution. Only the transcedentory knowledge or paramarthika jnana clears the entire cloud. Similarly, indulging in preyas may bring some temporary satisfaction but if we aim at a permanent solution, we must aim at what is shreyas – transcend towards paramarthika.

The transactory knowledge is useful in our transactions as the name suggests. It should not be and can not be eliminated from life. But the yogi simply does not stop there. He recognizes its value but looks for the paramarthika message hidden within. He accepts it as the stepping stone for the higher knowledge, unlike normal human beings who forget all about a problem once it is out of the way. That is not a holistic approach. Because what is put away will revisit again.

Both are knowledge. Therefore it is not a question of either this or that. The vyavaharika should lead to paramarthika.

This forces us to delve deep into understanding clearly, the very concept of knowledge itself and thereby the importance of consciousness or chetana.

As we discussed before, the Mundaka Upanishad where this question is raised, also goes to length in explaining what is indeed true knowledge. So also does The Chandogya.

This english word ‘knowledge’ is so generic and unclear in its meaning that, it gives little scope for a wider understanding. In sanskrt, we have atleast three words, which help to differentiate between levels of knowledge. We have vidya, jnAna and vijnAna. Although no clear cut english translations are available, these can be roughly translated as textual knowledge as in books and also acquired by seeing, hearing etc as vidya, understanding of that at intellect level as jnAna, and realisation at consciousness level as vijnAna. Lord Krishna makes similar distinction in the seventh chapter of Bhagavad Gita, - the JnAna VijnAna Yoga.

When JnAna gets refined to VijnAna it becomes shreya or paramarthika or true jnana.

Earlier we have discussed about the definition of true jnana.

Adhyatma jnana nitvatam tattva jnarthadarshanam

Until the jnana becomes conscious of the essence of Brahman, it is not refined knowledge. The mind must recognize that beyond the surface understanding, there is always a deeper and more profound hidden truth about the outcome of knowledge which it must discover. Brahman is that truth. The consciousness of Brahman takes us nearer to that truth.

According to Sanatan philosophy the road to knowledge ends in Brahman only. Brahman is described not only as jnanam but also jnanagamayam, the final destination of all knowledge. Since in our entire journey, it is only knowledge that lightens the path, one must always walk with Brahman in his mind, in constant awareness and conscious of Brahman.

What we gather on our way is lower knowledge or Apara Vidya The same apara vidya when it reaches and gets assimilated at the consciousness level becomes para vidya. It then assumes value, width and depth. It then has the power to transform and remould you into a ‘better being’ as Sri Aurobindo would put it. Between aparavidya and paravidya, the vidya does not change, it is we who change. It is the first level of transformation. That is how Brahmachetana or Brahma consciousness transforms everything.

When the mind remains rooted in the vyavaharik or transactory knowledge, it is not yet conscious of the higher truth and remains the mind of an atheist. It denies Brahma in its ignorance. Only when it transcends to seek deeper it turns to theism and become contemplative of the knowledge beyond surface knowledge, life beyond mundane living.

The state of Brahman consciousness is not a state where mind, intellect and ego-self are eliminated, but the state of going beyond their influence and acknowledging the influence of a greater power that always stands by you and works for you.

Brahman consciousness is not a characteristic of a recluse as most people believe. It is simply retaining in your conscious and subconscious state the awareness of this greater power- The Brahman.

Even if one is not engaged in elaborate rituals or physical practice of religion, simply cultivating this awareness has great practical usefulness.

Consciousness of Brahman or Brahmachetana is a kavacha or armour that you constantly wear a protective force field from which evils and mishaps bounce off. This is no figment of imagination. Even today, amidst the frustrations of life, there are thousands who still lead a life of serene sanity by simply developing an undercurrent of Divine awareness within themselves. You see them in every walk of life. If they can, why can not you?

The mantra is ‘manmana bhava’ – be conscious of me, says Lord. Colossal may be life’s problems, but there are also solutions. This is not a matter of argument. It is a matter of faith and self experience, beyond the reach of the so called ‘scientific’ proofs. Ask them who are experiencing this daily.

Right behaviour and action flows from a ‘conscious mind’ and it is not difficult to practice. The simple illustration given by the management Gurus also explains this. Imagine a group of people engaged in various activities in a project of say road laying, township construction or temple building. Some look at their activity as simply stone breaking or brick laying etc. But a few look at their work conscious of the great value of the project. They are invariably better achievers.

Developing awareness of Brahman is achieved through yoga alone, yoga that is connectivity. Yoga imparts competence to our actions with Brahman as the guiding pole star. Yoga karmasu kaushalam, as advised in B.Gita.

Sometimes, when we lose this consciousness, this temporary loss becomes the cause of our misery. During this period the jiva acquires a peculiar falsehood that there is no body else but he alone as the doer. All powers are his power. When any action is done based on this falsehood, some are bound to go wrong and create misery and unhappiness. When the assistance of Brahman is always available only a fool or mudhamati will deny Him.

Consciousness has to be our nature. Constant awareness has to be fused into our character. Its influence is so beneficial that followers of sanatan dharma – more particularly the hindus- devised many simple, practical and traditional ways to serve them as constant reminders and often misunderstood by others in their true perspective. Why do we name our children after gods and goddesses? Why do we hang devas’ devis’ pictures, keep idols all around the house? Why divinity is superimposed on names of places, rivers, mountains all around? Why we utter or write the name of the Lord like ‘om’, ‘sri ganeshaya namah’ etc before every endevour? Why we offer the first morsel of food to the Lord before consuming it? We search the presence of Brahman in any and every object around us. Do not underestimate its power, all you wise men.

Brahman consciousness was once the deliberate character of people at least in this part of the world. By that they achieved greatness. When they turned away from it, by themselves or by manipulation by others, they lost their freedom, their greatness and their character.

The great seers of the past, knew this could happen. Thus they cried out seeking Divine help and we have these words from The Sama Veda brahmana:

MAham Brahma nirAkuryAm

MA mA Brahma nirakarot

AnirAkaranam astu anirAkaranam me astu

May I never ignore or deny Brahman. May not Brahman ever deny or ignore me. May not Brahman ever reject me. Let me never reject Brahman.

These are words worth remembering all one’s lifetime.




I feel obliged to receive your mails. They are really providing spiritual food for our body. But we all have to do something more to make this great country most prosperous with least corruption , and where every citizen should take pride in identifying himself as Indian first and Indian last ……rise above the caste system and religion etc.

ANSWER: You are quite right in saying that the various anomalies in our society, concerning directly our lives, often demand priority over a spiritual approach to life.

But it need not be the true character of a mental state, trained and refined over lives after lives in the sanatan philosophy, which the people – at least in this part of the world – have had the previlege to be already in possession.

Patriotism, freedom from evils of corruption and narrow mindedness etc. are certainly to be practiced and never to be abandoned. Our scriptures have been most emphatic even in these issues. However what we have been looking through them is not merely a physical display per se, but ‘happiness in life’ through them. They have their importance in one dimension of our existence, but the knowledge already with us has proved that true happiness can only come, when searched and found in all ‘other’ dimensions as well. It calls for simultaneous and imperative search in the essential totality.

As a matter of fact, the human thought process has already concluded that a spiritual approach to life is not a separate way of life, but is the very solution to life. It is the very tool through which happiness from all aspects of life can be dug out.

Sounds too idealistic? That is because with the passage of time, this knowledge has slipped into general amnesia, now calling for revival by awakened minds.

It is not impossible but was once very much in the grasp of human minds and still is in some people in India and a few in other parts in the world in spite of being phoo- phooed by the so-called western culture.

Life’s problems were always there, will be there always. We still (though often casually) remark of the amazing Indian society, which always has displayed an inherent serenity, composure, wisdom and peaceful contentment and goodness even in the midst of abject misery. We see it still pronounced in life in our villages, in the hills, amongst the ‘primitive’s. It is not a small thing but remnant of a higher wisdom flowing from time immemorial and once governed all our actions.

It is not an escapist thought, not even an alternate thought, but the solution itself. It is the difference between a mirage and real oasis.

People say, annachinta chamatkara- the hunger for food (material needs) being so over-powering, where is the place for metaphysics? Yet the spiritual approach to life, rightly understood and practiced is the only lasting solution to human unhappiness. Practice of dharma is a practical approach to sort out all anomalies.

Even if a few take it upon themselves, what an awakening it will be!!


Mr Mohanty, I am rather skeptical of the effectiveness of prayer in healing and as cause for good health. Please pardon me of being personal. Have you experienced any physical cure through prayer?

ANSWER: Thank you. It is good to ask rather than harbour a nagging doubt. Many of us, irrespective of faith, pray to God whenever in any kind of trouble- physical or mental-, and we have been doing that since thousands of years. If proof of the pudding were not in eating, people would have stopped eating pudding.

The body and mind are their own healers of all abnormalities. The power of self healing is to day a recognized fact. Prayer works indirectly. God consciousness provides strength and support to the mind.

However, it is naïve to single out prayer out of context as the solution to good health. The sanatan philosophy as it always takes a holistic approach, emphasizes on physical, mental and psychic practices simultaneously along with prayer. Pranayama and yogic exercises are essential practices. Type of food we take is another. Great elaboration is available in our scriptures as to desirable food habit- and description of satvic food. Not by any means less important is the external and internal purity (saucam) of body and mind.

In nutshell, a yogic life style, to the extent it is practiced, is the key to good health and well being.

But in right spirit of things, it is childish to pray to God simply for physical well being. Pray for His grace for your spiritual development. If that prayer is sincere and one uses his body and mind for that purpose, following the path of Dharma, then the Divine assists in maintaining the continuity of one’s efforts by creating conducive physical and mental environment. Deterioration of mind and body of a sincere sadhaka, through disease etc, till the right time has arrived is not in divine scheme of things. When a person misuses the body or when he has earned by being in service of the Lord righteously in this life, then it is time to move into a fresh body. The present one withers away fast. In both circumstances it is a win-win situation for the sadhaka.

You asked for my personal experience. By no way I can say that my sadhana is complete. But the little Brahman consciousness that has sipped into my being has brought great benefits. For quite many years any compulsive need to visit a hospital has not arisen. This is not a matter to boast. I know of many who have also reaped similar benefits. So can you. So can everybody else.

Having a long life with healthy constitution, though desirable, is in itself no great deal. More important is, firstly how the life is lived. Secondly, whether one has remained body conscious all one’s life or has raised oneself to life’s higher dimensions of existence. Wise men have such priorities in life.


Vanakam Sri Bimal Mohanty, Thanks you for replying my email. Do you heal people spiritually? When you heal people, how is it done do you need them to be there with you?

ANSWER: No body heals anybody. The only healer is the Lord Himself. Most people who project themselves as healers, only project their ego. All healing is done by the interaction of the efforts of the sufferer with the divine power of Brahman, the Lord Himself. The true so called healers are only intermediary agents or facilitators (nimitta).

When such facilitators try to help the sufferers, the starting point is to work on the antahkarana (mind, intellect and ego-self) of the sufferer helping it to understand the cause of suffering, the purpose of the suffering, and the body itself and the way the Divine works at the various levels of our existence including the body. Please definitely read “Dimensions of our existence” parts 1 & 2 in September and October 2006 issues of AHWAN.

Then the sufferer has to work upon himself and with the grace of the Divine, has to literally pull himself out of the miserable condition. The so-called healer merely assists and guides by counseling all through the process. At the end, the body, mind and the psyche of the sufferer gets transformed and a new life begins.

In counseling, personal one-to-one contact is most effective, but remote counseling is also possible.

(An important point to remember is that spiritual healing is a holistic process and not to be attempted in emergencies.)

Meditation also heals the body as it works on all dimensions (psychic, mental and physical) of our being. Therefore meditation has to be a way of life as common place as breathing, eating etc. If once a while it is skipped, no great harm is done provided the wayward, quickly returns to the right path. Suggested reading are articles “On Meditation” and “Preparations for sadhana” in AHWAN old issues.


Sir, To have Ramrajya (governance by Ram’s ideals), needs a Ram at the helm of affairs. Do you think we should opt for autocracy instead of democracy to have better governance as in ancient India?

ANSWER:Autocracy or democracy, both have their good and bad points. An individual ruler, if his or her actions are guided by Dharma (righteousness as defined in sanatan philosophy) can bring prosperity to the kingdom. But if he or she has abandoned dharma, the people would suffer. Rama and Dharma were inseparable from each other. Hence Ramarajya has become synonymous with good gevernance and peoples’ prosperity.

What is true at individual level, is also true at group level or democracy. A group can abide by dharma and bring prosperity to the nation. But the group may abandon dharma and bring all round misery to every one it rules over. Those who ignore and destroy dharma eventually destroy the society and the nation.

Dharma is the key. Respect for dharma and living by it is the only solution to the humanities problems.

Any ruling system will bring benefits to its people if it follows the principles of dharma. But if distanced from dharma, there is no happiness for the people at large.

The truth about the influence of dharma in governing a nation can be verified from the way we govern our individual lives. In life, one may have various vocations or ways of living. One may chose commerce, education, agriculture or anything. Different ways and means may be adopted in achieving material success. Yet happiness and peace in life will ever elude you. The reason is dharma or righteousness again. Unless every action is viewed and acted upon with a spiritual approach, conforming to the tenets of dharma, life will always remain full of upheavals, unhappiness and struggles with no permanent solution.

A spiritually conscious person will most likely not have material richness to show off, low social visibility, but you will find him living a more contented life, constantly adding to his inner richness.

People who have abandoned their faith in adhyatma- and thereby in dharma – can not manage affairs well, either at individual level, group or nation level.


How to love without want anything in return? Because it seems easy with rude things, but subtly is more difficult. Sorry for my English. Thank you

ANSWER:: Please think over again your own question. It is really not so difficult to arrive at a proper understanding.

The doubts arise perhaps because, most of us have a misconception of the true meaning of love. ‘Expectations of any returns’ and ‘love’ are contradictory things. Love is distinct from ‘mere liking’ or ‘being comfortable with’. When you are expecting back even an iota in return, then you are not in love but may be mere liking.

Visualise a mother nursing her sick child or suckling the baby. Do you think a return expectation of any kind from the child is anywhere in her mind? There is no hesitation in her giving.

A sadhak feels the same way for his beloved God. Perhaps not one hundred percent all the time, but surely strives towards that pure emotion. He recognizes the presence of the Lord in everything and everybody around him and extends his love to all. It comes so naturally to him.

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