Monday, April 4, 2022

Athato Braham Jigyasa, अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा।

 अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा।।१।। (Braham Sutras)

Inquire about Brahman. 

Brahma Sutras is a Sanskrit text composed in probably 5th century BCE by Badarayana or Vyasa or both may be the same person. It summarises the ideas of Upanishads. The cave of Ved Vyasa situated few kilometres away from Badrinath Temple in Uttarakhand where he composed epic Mahabharata and other Shutras. The name of the deity Badri-Nath refers to Badarayana, the Vyas of ancient India.

The base of Indian philosophy is Vedas, which are divided into two sections: Karmakanda (ritualistic) and Jnanakamda (knowledge). The later section was known as Vedanta, the gist of Vedas. From the Brahmanic sacrificial religion, the Kshatriya lead the revolt against the ritualism and we got Upanishads. Materialistic Charvakas also grew together. Preceding Buddha and during his life time there was a great philosophical upheaval in India. Jain thoughts existed before the time of 23rd Tirthankar Parshvanatha (8th century BCE). There were 62 different schools of philosophy including anti Vedic standpoint. It was divided into believers (orthodox) and non believers (heterodox). There were six major orthodox schools: Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Uttara Mimamsa. They developed side by side at different intellectual centres over centuries, therefore, to interpret them, to understand; short aphorism, concise and unambiguous Sutras (clues) were composed. Step by step, they take you to the final truth. 

There were 108 or more Upanishads (10 are principal) and were composed at different timeline and at different centres therefore the thoughts carry contradictions, needed systematisation. Audulomi, Kasakrtsna, Badari, Karsnajini, Asmarathya, Panini, etc, tried Sutras but the Braham Sutras composed by Badarayana probably stood the best. It was also inferred that the work of Badarayana and Jaimini was combined by Vyasa as Brahama Sutras. They are referred in Gita (13.4) and cross reference of Gita in it suggest that they were composed earlier than the Gita by Vyasa. 

The five systems: Sankara’s Monism, Ramanuja’s Visistadvaita, Nimbarka’s Bhedabhedavada, Madhava’s dualism, Vallabha’s Suddhadavaitavada were based on Vedanta, have interpreted the Sutras differently with conflicting thoughts, accept Brahman but differ on its nature and path of God; Saguna, Nirguna, Maya, Ishvara, world, Jiva, Upadhi. However, the goal remained the same, Liberation; either to reach Brahmaloka from where one doesn’t return or knowledge of real Self to attain liberation. Saguna followers believe Bhakti is the chief means to liberation, while the Nirguna followers believe that Jnana, knowledge of Brahman leads to liberation. Those who are on path of Bhakti have also to travel on Jnana path to attain liberation. Brahman is Existence, Knowledge, Bliss Absolute; सत चित आनंद, सच्चिदानंद। 

But how a human can define Brahman? A limited thing can’t define the unlimited. The scriptures therefore focused on ‘not this’, ‘not this’, so that one leads to the experience of the real Self, so that the imaginary snake in the rope disappears and the rope is seen as rope. Pot is pot in shape but clay is reality; World is unreal, Brahman is real. The non duel infinite, where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else but only Brahman. The bliss from which all creation springs. By the knowledge of Brahman everything else is known (Chandogya 6.1). And that Brahman is the Self. Meditate on ‘Self’ and know the true nature of the ‘Self’ by expansion of intelligence, and when the knowledge dawns, Jiva becomes Siva, Brahman manifested, ‘Existence, Knowledge, Bliss’. The different becomes indifferent, the soul becomes one with it, all pervading. The body pot may be moving in atomic form due to upadhi (adjunct) but the ether inside, the real nature is infinite, all pervading, the Brahman; smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest. Negate everything till you reach to the reality. Brahman is left behind, the ‘witness’ of everything, the witnessing consciousness. Self luminous, “Thou art That”. 

Indian philosophy is a philosophy to make each human a Brahmin, to attain true knowledge of Self to attain liberation. Therefore, one has to make the inquiry of Brahman. And for that some pre requisite spiritual qualities are necessary to attain. Karmakanda precedes the Jnanakanda to remove the superimposition of the non self on the Self. The requisites are sadhan chatushtaya : 1) Vivek: discrimination between things permanent and transient 2) Vairagya: renunciation of the enjoyment of fruits of actions 3) six inner treasures : Shama (quiet the mind), Dama  (self control), Shraddha (faith, trust), Titiksha (inner resilience), Uparati (renunciation from worldly things), Samadhan (deep interest and focused on goal - Brahman) 4) Mumuksutvam (intense desire to be free). Karmakanda (nishkam karma with detachment) is necessary to aquire this treasure before entering into the Jnanakanda (knowledge). The purity of the upadhi (अंत:करण) is must. 

अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा।। ब्रह्म की जिज्ञासा करें। 

The curious makes it. One has to begin. When? Your choice.😊


4 April 2022


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