Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The jnana bhoomikas

I had planned to answer some pending queries from old threads today but I got sidetracked by my first reply, which was a response to Subramanian about the saptha bhoomikas. He mentioned these ‘seven stages of knowledge’ a few times in his replies to my post on how some jnanis seem to have more power than others. Since it is an interesting classification, I wanted to mention what Bhagavan himself had to say on this topic. When my reply moved into its third page, I decided to make a separate post out of it.

As Subramanian remarked, the saptha bhoomikas are mentioned in the Yoga Vasishta. They also appear in other texts. Some of the categories in these works vary from list to list. In Upadesa Manjari (Spiritual Instruction), chapter four, Bhagavan answers questions about these saptha bhoomikas, which are also known as the jnana bhoomikas. In a footnote to his reply the seven items are defined in the following way:

1 subheccha (the desire for enlightenment).
2 vicharana (enquiry)
3 tanumanasa (tenuous mind).
4 satwapatti (self-realisation).
5 asamsakti (non-attachment).
6 padarthabhavana (non-perception of objects).
7 turyaga (transcendence).

Those who have attained the last four bhoomikas are called brahmavit, brahmavidvara, brahmavidvariya and brahmavid varistha respectively.

A Brahmavit is one who has realised or known Brahman; a Brahmavidvara is one who is superior among the knowers of Brahman; a Brahmavidvarya is defined as ‘the best among the knowers of Brahman’ and Brahmavidvarishtha means ‘the very best among the knowers of Brahman’. These four terms in the final paragraph come from a similar explanation that can be found in the Varaha Upanishad.

The seven categories enumerated in Spiritual Instruction correspond exactly to a list in Kaivalya Navaneetam, a Tamil advaitic text. When Bhagavan was asked these questions in Upadesa Manjari, he was, in fact, being asked to comment on the version of the jnana bhoomikas that appears in Kaivalya Navaneetam. This is how that text defines and explains the various terms:

149 The elders have analysed them [the jnana bhoomikas] as:

1 Subheccha: desire for truth.
2 Vicharana: investigation into the truth
3 Tanumanasi: pure and attenuated mind
4 Sattvapatti: the realisation of the truth
5 Asamsakti: a detached outlook on the universe and its contents
6 Padarthabhavani: untainted awareness of Self
7 Turiya: the highest and indescribable state.

150 and 151

1 To wean from unedifying associations and desire, knowledge of the Supreme is the first plane called subheccha.
2 To associate with enlightened sages, learn from them and reflect on the truth, is called investigation.
3 To be free from desires by meditating on the truth with faith, is the attenuation of the mind.
4 The shining forth of the highest knowledge in the mind owing to the development of the foregoing conditions, is realisation.
5 To be free from illusion by firm realisation of truth is the detached outlook on the universe.
6 The bliss of the non-dual Self, devoid of triads [knower, knowing, known, and so on] is untainted awareness of Self.
7 Sublime silence of the very nature of Self is turiya.

(Kaivalya Navaneetam, part two, verses 149-51)

The four levels of knowing Brahman that correspond to categories four to seven are discussed in the first part of Kaivalya Navaneetham:

94 The wise, remaining like ether and liberated even here, are of four classes, namely Brahmavid (i.e. knower of Brahman), vara, varya, and varishta, in order of merit.

95 The Brahmavids who by steadfast practice have gained clear realisation of Brahman, continue to perform even the hard duties of their caste and stage in life, exactly as prescribed by the shastras, for the benefit of others, without themselves swerving from their supreme state.

96 Should passions rise up they disappear instantly and cannot taint the mind of the Brahmavids who live in society detached like water on a lotus leaf. They look ignorant, not showing forth their knowledge and remain mute owing to intensity of inward bliss.

97 Prarabdha, i.e. karma which is now bearing fruit, differs according to the actions of the persons in past incarnations. Therefore their present pursuits also differ among jnanis who are all, however, liberated even here. They may perform holy tapas; or engage in trade and commerce; or rule a kingdom; or wander about as mendicants.

98 They would not think of the past or future; would partake of what comes unsolicited; would not wonder if the sun turned into the moon or at any marvel, whether the sky were to spread its shoots down like a banyan tree or a corpse were to be revived; nor would they distinguish good and bad, for they always remain as the unchanging witness of all.

99 Among the other three classes, the vara and the varya remain settled in samadhi.

The vara feels concern for the maintenance of the body; the varya is reminded of it by others; the varishta never becomes aware of the body either by himself or through others.

100 Although there are distinguishing characteristics in the lives of the different sages, who are themselves very rare in the world, yet there is absolutely no difference in the experience of liberation.

What can be the use of the hard won samadhi?

The Brahmavid who is outwardly active, seems sometimes to feel the misery of calamities whereas the others remain in unbroken bliss.

101 Now if the Brahmavids live like the ignorant how are they free from the cycle of births, and how is their ignorance gone?

The all-pervading ether remains untainted by anything; the other four elements are tainted by contact with objects. So it is with the Brahmavid and the ignorant.

Now, having given the necessary background quotes, I can give Bhagavan’s views on this list, and by extension his opinions on whether some jnanis know Brahman better than others. The dialogue is from chapter four of Spiritual Instruction:

Question: To which of the seven stages of knowledge [jnana-bhoomikas] does the sage [jnani] belong?

Bhagavan: He belongs to the fourth stage.

Question: If that is so why have three more stages superior to it been distinguished?

Bhagavan: The marks of the stages four to seven are based upon the experiences of the realised person [jivanmukta]. They are not states of knowledge and release. So far as knowledge and release are concerned no distinction whatever is made in these four stages.

Question: As liberation is common to all, why is the varistha [literally, the most excellent] alone praised excessively?

Bhagavan: So far as the varistha’s common experience of bliss is concerned he is extolled only because of the special merit acquired by him in his previous births which is the cause of it.

Question: As there is no one who does not desire to experience constant bliss what is the reason why all sages [jnanis] do not attain the state of varistha?

Bhagavan: It is not to be attained by mere desire or effort. Karma [prarabdha] is its cause. As the ego dies along with its cause even in the fourth stage [bhoomika], what agent is there beyond that stage to desire anything or to make efforts? So long as they make efforts they will not be sages [jnanis]. Do the sacred texts [srutis] which specially mention the varistha say that the other three are unenlightened persons?

Question: As some sacred texts say that the supreme state is that in which the sense organs and the mind are completely destroyed, how can that state be compatible with the experience of the body and the senses?

Bhagavan: If that were so there would not be any difference between that state and the state of deep sleep. Further how can it be said to be the natural state when it exists at one time and not at another? This happens, as stated before, to some persons according to their karma [prarabdha] for some time or till death. It cannot properly be regarded as the final state. If it could it would mean that all great souls and the Lord, who were the authors of the Vedantic works [jnana granthas] and the Vedas, were unenlightened persons. If the supreme state is that in which neither the senses nor the mind exist and not the state in which they exist, how can it be the perfect state [paripurnam]? As karma alone is responsible for the activity or inactivity of the sages, great souls have declared the state of sahaja nirvikalpa [the natural state without concepts] alone to be the ultimate state.


* * *

My feeling from reading these answers is that Bhagavan thought that the distinction between level-four jnanis and level-seven jnanis was an artificial one. As he remarked in one of his replies: ‘So far as knowledge and release are concerned, no distinction whatever is made in these four [higher] stages’. It is also interesting to note that his own preferred term for the highest state was not Brahmavidvaristha but sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

My conclusion that Bhagavan was somewhat dismissive of the apparent distinctions between these states is reinforced by his concluding remarks in Vichara Sangraham [Self Enquiry]:

Because of the grades in misery and happiness, the released ones, the jivanmuktas and videhamuktas, may be spoken of as belonging to four categories – Brahmavid, Brahmavara, Brahmavariyan and Brahmavarishta. But these distinctions are from the standpoint of others who look at them; in reality, however, there are no distinctions in release gained through jnana. (The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi p. 35)

That is to say, the apparent distinctions between jnanis exist solely in the eyes of those ajnanis who want to categorise them.

The varishta state, the highest on the list, is traditionally regarded as one in which there is a lack of awareness of the body, combined with an experience of extreme bliss. Bhagavan himself experienced this state around the turn of the twentieth century when he was absorbed in the Self in the Arunachaleswara and Gurumurtham temples. He was not in a ‘higher’ state then; it was simply that his prarabdha had decreed that he should spend some time in a state of blissful Self-abidance in which he was completely unaware of either his body or the world. He himself has remarked that there was no change in his state or his experience from the moment when he realised the Self in Madurai in 1896.

I did not include this jnana bhoomika list in the ‘Power to Enlighten’ post because there is no indication in Bhagavan’s words that he felt that the distinctions between the top four stages of the bhoomikas were in any way connected with the ability to transmit grace and enlighten devotees. He says, quite clearly, that the bhoomika state one ends up in is a matter of prarabdha, but he does not say that those in the higher states have more power and more capacity to wake others up. The higher bhoomikas, if they are valid at all, are states of experience, rather than states that indicate how much transmitting power a jnani has.

I spoke to Papaji about brahmavit, brahmavidvara, brahmavidvariya and brahmavidvaristha soon after I went to Lucknow in 1993. I was curious to know what his take on this list would be.

His response was: ‘There are no knowers of Brahman. Brahman alone is. How can you have ‘better’ or ‘best’ knowers if the knower himself is not there? Brahman alone exists. No one knows it. Brahman is so alone, when Brahman speaks, there is not even anyone who knows or remembers what Brahman has said.’

This conclusion is supported by Bhagavan’s comment in Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no 68: ‘How can one speak of him [the jivanmukta] as Brahmavid [a knower of Brahman]. Brahman can never be an object to be known.’


24 comments:

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...That is to say, the apparent distinctions between jnanis exist solely in the eyes of those ajnanis who want to categorise them...

In Be as you are, chapter The Jnani, you explained this even further. You wrote (I try to translate it into English from my german edition): "The truth about the Self is that there exist neither the jnani nor the ajnani but jnana alone."

"The Self is all shining and only pure jnana. So there is no ajnana in his sight."
Talk 499.

My understanding of this is: We have knowledge at all times. We know when we know something (in waking state), and we know when we know nothing (in deep sleep etc.). And at all times we know or experience that we are. Therefore there is nothing else then knowledge.

...Brahman can never be an object to be known...

Claro. Can the mirror of the consciousness, when mirroring itself, know itself as an object? Looking into a mirror I'm looking at my body form - not at myself in an absolute sense. But there is a consciousness understanding itself as pure consciousness, isn't it? I believe that this possibly is the meaning of sat-chit-ananda.

"Nothing but the one Brahman exists. (...) The one self perceives itself within itself as the infinite consciousness."
Vasisthas Yoga, V:5

Ravi said...

Ramos,
Theoretically it is okay!The test will be when we encounter ELEPHANT narayana!

David,
Thanks for posting the Sapta Bhoomika!I will just narrate what my Master had said-He says that Great Teachers who travel and preach vigourously OPERATED from the 5th-asam sakthi.He cited Sankara,vivekananda,Ramatirtha as examples.He further added that Ramatirtha(during the last year or so of his earthly sojourn)was in the 6th Bhomika called padarthaBhavana,it is impossible for the Great ones to FUNCTION in the world process!This is Nirvikalpa Samadhi state.Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Bhagavan often used to be in this state and have to come down to the 5th Bhoomika to even talk to the devotees.(I recall what you referred to papaji saying regarding the eyes of Sri Bhagavan-not looking at NOWHERE!Sri Ramakrishna used to mention this as the EYES of a Hen that is sitting on its eggs to hatch!I simply love sri Ramakrishna for his NATIVE GENIUS and his unique way of explaining complex truths!-Sorry about this confession!-He asked 'M' to get him a PICTURE of this!'M' could not do it during the Master's remaining few months of earthly life.However,he did get A PAINTING and kept it in his house!This is presently there as an exhibit in 'Kathamrita Bhavan'-'M's house.
Coming back to my Master's talk,he said that it is only a rare few that can continue in the 6th Bhoomika beyond 21 days!The Body will fall off!something like a towel wrapped around the horns of a cow falling off without he cow knowing anything about it!These souls have a tremendous concentration of ENERGY FIELD that can be unleashed into the world process.[Judging from the Lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Bhagavan-Towering Infernos-as S.rightly called them-This explanation is validated.It is to be noted that THIS TREMENDOUS reservoir of Grace seems to be distributed through other smaler tributaries and DISTRIBUTED for the Good of Mankind!we see this even in the EXAMPLE Of JESUS,The CHRIST and his apostles.This energy released by Jesus,The Christ is still inspiring supreme acts of Sacrifice !-My Master's words.]

Saluations!

David Godman said...

Clemens Vargas Ramos

Since you enjoy reading Yoga Vasishta, you can find the jnana bhoomika list in the third section (Utpatti Prakarana) chapter 118.

The jnana quote in the original English was 'There are no jnanis. Jnana alone is.' It's not quite how I put it in Be As You Are, since I wrote it from memory. At the time I couldn't remember where the quote came from.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... you can find the jnana bhoomika list in the third section (Utpatti Prakarana) chapter 118. ...

Yes, I found it. In the edition of Swami Venkatesananda it reads:

"I shall now describe to you, O Rama, the seven states or planes of wisdom. Knowing them you will not be caught in delusion. Pure wish or intention is the first, enquiry is the second, the third is when the mind becomes subtle, establishment in truth is the fourth, total freedom from attachment or bondage is the fifth, the sixth is cessation of objectivity, and the seventh is beyond all these."

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear All,

Interesting point in Verse 96 of the Kaivalya Navaneetam. It seems to suggest that passions rise, only to be distinguished intantaneously, in the Brahmavid.

Does that mean that the mind is still active in such beings?

And therefore, are such beings different from Bhagavan, whose mind had been extinguished? He Himself is reported to have said at some point in time that it took some effort for him to summon up a thought.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

sorry, the word 'distinguished' in the first para of my post should read 'extinguished'.

Ravi said...

David,
The word 'Prarabda' seems to be used for all 'unexplained' phenomena!very much like the word 'Allergy' is used by the Doctors!All we are able to make out is that this seems to be not due to any special EFFORT.It may be simpler to say 'Ordained by god'.
If it is not a result due to any effort in the Present Life of the Gnani-How then can it be attributed to the Efforts in previous Life!If we grant this premise,we need to grant that even through Efforts in the Present Birth,one may become a Brahmavarishta!There seems to be a contradiction here!I am sure Bhagavan would have definite basis for saying something,but may be we have got it the wrong way!

Broken Yogi said...

As David says, the bhoomikas appear to merely describe experiential qualities that may arise in the life of a jnani, perhaps some kind of progressive purification and transformation of his bodily existence, whereas his realization of the Self remains constant and unchanged. These transmormation and purifications of the body may indeed be related to the strength and quality of the power to enlighten, in that obstructions to this power are released, so that this power shines forth with greater strength.

However, it doesn't necessarily follow that the bhoomikas describe the process of these Siddhis of realization appearing in the jnani. There are said to be many siddhis that may or may not appear spontaneously in the jnani. He has no control over them, and does not do anything to ensure their appearance.

So the stages of the bhoomikas may appear, and also the various siddhis of realization may appear. Some of those siddhis have to do with the Guru-function. Or they may not appear. The jnani is inherently free of all appearances, and has no siddhis in reality. The siddhis that appear in the jnani do not belong to him as an individual. They belong to the Self, and appear through the body of the individual as the Self desires and dictates. To the jnani it makes no difference whatsoever, but there is a practical difference in their ability to serve as Guru to others.

This is why, I think, Ramana generally refused to call himself a Guru. He always pointed to the Self, not to his own bodily person. He directed people to meditate on the Self, not on his bodily form and person. He directed them to practice self-enquiry, and felt that attention to his person would distract from this process. I'm not sure where I read it, but there's one passage in the talks or even David's book where a devotee is saying that they want to meditate on Ramana, and he says, no, meditate on the self through self-enquiry. The devotee persists, however, and so Ramana says (paraphrasing), "Here is the bodily Guru himself telling you to meditate on the Self, rather than on his person, so if you are devoted to him, you must do as he says."

I find Ramana's persistence in this attitude throughout his life to be one of the most refreshing examples of selfless devotion to the realization of devotees, rather than the glorification of Gurus, to be found anywhere in any spiritual tradition. It of course can be said that this is a testimony to his greatness, but one cannot ignore the steadiness of his conviction on this point. In Ramana's view, true devotion to his person is to do as he instructs, which means to practice self-enquiry rather than a devotional practice with his person as the object of one's devotion. In his view, the proper avenue of devotion is self-enquiry, and the proper object of devotion is the destruction of the mind that would be devoted to anything at all, even his person.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I am not at all sure that these are without significance.All I can say is that we do not know this sufficiently(even theoretically!Practically it is a very far cry!).

In the vedas there is the the Legendary bird called HOMA-This bird lives high up in the sky and rarely comes to the Ground.It lays its eggs in those rarefied heights and as the eggs fall they hatch and the young ones come out of it;as they hurtle downwards they realise that they will be dashed to the ground.In a supreme effort they check their movement downwards,and fly upwards to join their mother in the sky.
Sri Ramakrishna gives this example to explain that in like fashion there are Nitya Siddhas(Siddha is a perfect person-not the persons who dabble in siddhis) who come to this earth for the upliftment of mankind.Right in their childhood they realise the purpose of their coming and engage in spiritual practices which serve to uplift the suffering humanity.
These Nitya siddhas are not born of any UNCLEARED PRARABDA.
Ordinary Gnanis are the ones who move up the chain from the Subecha plane and reach the 4th plane.
I believe that Sri Bhagavan had not spoken much on this DELIBERATELY as he also kept mum on so many other things which were not vital to sadhana.FOR INSTANCE,HE DISCOURAGED DEVOTEES FROM GOING AFTER THE ARUNAGIRI YOGI!

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I would not doubt that there are very highly evolved being who occasionally incarnate on earth for our spiritual upliftment. I would simply question whether such souls are true jnanis who have transcended all of conditional illusion and ego. The jnani seems to be of a different order entirely, one who has transcended all levels and achievements and purposes, including the high-minded one of incarnating to help other people. The jnani transcends such desires and is a help to others precisely by not incarnating, by transcending incarnation entirely, on any and all "planes", and does not linger at any levels of existence, but goes to the heart of the matter entirely. This is a greater help than staying active at various high levels and occasionally coming down to lower levels, because we are not suffering from being at a low level, we are suffering from believing ourselves to be at any level at all. As long as we think we are a certain level, even a very high one, we are still deluded with ego. It is necessary to let go even of high levels, and not think of the jnani as someone who exists on a certain higher plane and navigates through lower planes to "help" others. Anyone who operates in such a fashion is not a real jnani, they still have something they identify with to transcend. Take it as you will.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"As long as we think we are a certain level, even a very high one, we are still deluded with ego. It is necessary to let go even of high levels, and not think of the jnani as someone who exists on a certain higher plane and navigates through lower planes to "help" others. Anyone who operates in such a fashion is not a real jnani, they still have something they identify with to transcend. Take it as you will."

I have to differ with you on this because the 'we' you are referring to is not the 'I' of the Avatara. THIS IS THE CONFIRMED VIEW of my master who is a GNANI himself.THIS IS A BIG ASSUMPTION THAT WE ARE MAKING THAT AN AVATAR IS NOT A GNANI!Simply because he is recognising the Planes.If we subscribe to this SIMPLISTIC IDEA,then the Vedic seers will have to belong to the Agnani Category which is definitely not true. There was no greater Gnani than Sri Krishna.SUKA Brahmam was ANOTHER GNANI who expounded Bhagavatha that extols the GREATNESS OF SRI KRISHNA.If we carefully examine the PROBLEM IN ACCEPTING THIS,IT may be our ATTACHMENT to SOME pet idea of ours!(I am aware of Bhagavan's saying that Gnani is superior to Avatar!He might have said this to OFFSET another 'pet idea' in that devotee!)
There has not been a Greater Gnani than Jesus,The Christ and He is truly an Avatar as well.There is surely no Higher wisdom that is not there in his SERMON ON THE MOUNT.(This is another favourie of mine.Yet,I am not saying ts because of this.I am basing it on the MATURE WISDOM of my Master)

This is something I am totally convinced and have absolutely no doubts whatsoever.This CONVICTION IS BASED ON the sayings of other Gnanis.

All the same,I understand that you have your right to your conviction that Gnani is Supreme and you may have your reasons for believing so.

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I don't want to contradict your experience or your Master's teachings. I just see things a bit different, and I don't know if it's any better or worse. In my view, all Avatars and planes and levels and so forth are simply more "mind". I don't beleive that "Krishna" exists except in the mind of the Krishna-bhakti. The mind of the devotee creates "Krishna" in order to have someone to devote himself to. This is all quite excellent, and it produces profound spiritual results, but all those results are still part of "mind". The jnani, on the other hand, is one who has no mind, and who does not believe in the reality of mind in any and all respects. So even all the Gods and Avatars are to him merely a "lila", a play within the mind that serves devotees to some degree, but which must all be transcended in the end.

This is not to say that such beings don't "exist", but as Ramana said when asked about this, the Gods exist only in the same way that you yourself exist, meaning, not in reality, but as an illusion of mind. On the other hand, they do exist in the same way and to the same degree that you exist, and can be found through perception. It's just that all perception is the mind, and that is what is to be transcended through self-enquiry, not reinforced as being real and self-existing. As he told Papaji, any God you can see is not the true God. So even Ramana's own human form is not the Self, because it can be seen. And neither is any vision or story of Krishna God, because it to is merely a perception of mind. In reality, there is no Krishna, no Avatars, no created worlds at all, because there is no mind in which they can be seen and heard and contemplated. This is discovered by deconstructing all visions and experiences of Gods and Avatars by addressing the one who has such experiences. The important point is not to know Krishna or any Avatar, but to know who it is who might know such things.

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
"I don't beleive that "Krishna" exists except in the mind of the Krishna-bhakti. "
Do you feel the same way about Bhagavan and papaji?If 'Yes',then this is 'your' approach and this is a validd approach that will lead to Truth.
Wishing you the very Best!

Salutations!

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
Just thought it appropriate to place this thought for your consideration(My previous post was a little too 'pragmatic' and may not have done justice to your keen interest!).
I believe that what Sri Bhagavan had pointed is not to get attached to the 'visions' and stagnate.THIS DOES NOT DENY THE EXISTENCE of Sri Krishna.WHAT HE HAS MEANT IS TO SEE SRI KRISHNA AS YOUR 'SELF' and not as someone apart from yourself.This is what Lord Sri Krishna says in the Gita.
I sincerely believe that BHAGAVAN's TEACHING if not properly digested may leave a person starved and hungry.
In papaji's case also I remember how Sri Bhagavan ,when presented a picture of Sri Krishna by some devotee, shed tears of Love!
Look at this from the perspective of Nisargadutta Maharaj's wonderful saying-LOVE IS REAL.

THIS IS ONE DEFINITE SHORTCOMING in exclusive pursuit of 'SELF ENQUIRY' among others.
The Other misconception is to view 'MIND' itself as some disposable and incidental garbage!MIND is the POWER OF BRAHMAN.IT IS BRAHMAN IN MANIFESTATION.As Sri Ramakrishna says that snake is a snake whether it is coiled at rest or in Motion.we tend to catch hold the snake at rest-as THE FINAL DESTINATION!There is no such destination,beyond the SEEN!The SEER is the SEEN.Finally the emphasis may be said also as the WORLD IS BRAHMAN and YOU ARE THE WORLD.THE INFINITE IS NOT ONLY TRANSCENDENT BUT IMMANENT.This is what Sri Ramakrishna says that if you want to weigh the Fruit you have to way it as WHOLE-its skin,pulp and seed all put together.The mind may initially say -Discount the skin and the seed.The Pulp alone matters!Yet that is not the end of the matter.

We have to get back to our earlier discussion-MIND IS INCAPABLE OF PROJECTING THE WHOLE-IT SEES IN PARTS!The SUPERMIND as a manifested instrument will have this INTEGRAL VISION.The Vedas have expressed this Truth;Yet what has happened is that each school of thought have seized upon this and USED it to project their VIEW!The Advaitins have one perspective,the Vishistadvaitins theirs and dvaitins theirs.What Sri Ramakrishna says is that THESE ARE NOT GRADATIONS but all are True;Sri Aurobindo carries this forward from here.

This is just to do justice to your interest(which I thought I have not done earlier in my previous post).THIS IS THE THEORY part,As far as Practice is concerned,I will feel blessed to even have a 'vision' of Sri Krishna.I have just began.Unless I learn to walk how to attempt running!

Salutations!

Broken Yogi said...

"Do you feel the same way about Bhagavan and papaji?"

In most respects, yes. Neither Ramana nor Papaji set themselves up as objects of worship for their devotees, and I don't approach them in that way. I respect Bhakta as a practice, but one must recognize that there is no eternal existence in anyone, whether it is Ramana, Papaji, or Krishna.

Furthermore, I'm not even of the view that Krishna was an historical personage like Ramana or Papaji. I at least see no evidentiary reason to think of him in that way. To me, he is an archetype of the universal mind. Only those who are brought up in Hindu society see visions of God in the form of Krishna, which suggests that he has no real existence apart from the psyches of Hindus. Christians don't see visions of Krishna, they see visions of Christ or the Virgin Mary. This is purely because the mind of the Bhakta conjures up these visions through the energy of their devotion.

This does not make Krishna "garbage". Quite the contrary. Krishna is a manifestation of God, just as Ramana is, just as Papaji is, just as you and I are. The mind itself is a manifestation of God. But to know it as God, one must first no oneself as God, as the Self. If that is done, then all these forms and names are also seen as the Self. But the road to Self-Realization is not through them, it is through the Self. "Krishna-Consciousness" is not the same as Self-Realization. It is a high and profound realization of mind, but still mind.

This is just how I see things. I could well be wrong, however, or have a very incomplete understanding.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"But to know it as God, one must first no oneself as God, as the Self."
I prefer to go by what the vedas and great sages have said-MATHA,PITHA,GURU,DEIVAM-From the known to the unknown.I have come to feeling the first three in this series, as of now.May be it will take some more maturity to go further;As Sri Ramakrishna said -As long as I live,so long do I learn!

I respect your views.

Salutations!Wishing you the very Best!

David Godman said...

Ravi said...

David,
The word 'Prarabda' seems to be used for all 'unexplained' phenomena!very much like the word 'Allergy' is used by the Doctors!All we are able to make out is that this seems to be not due to any special EFFORT.It may be simpler to say 'Ordained by god'.
If it is not a result due to any effort in the Present Life of the Gnani-How then can it be attributed to the Efforts in previous Life!If we grant this premise,we need to grant that even through Efforts in the Present Birth,one may become a Brahmavarishta!There seems to be a contradiction here!I am sure Bhagavan would have definite basis for saying something,but may be we have got it the wrong way!



Bhagavan taught that 'Actions bear fruit by the ordinance of God' (Upadesa Saram verse 1). God here means 'Iswara', not the Self.

The 'ordinance of God' is not a random infliction; it is a consequence of the things we have done in the past. According to Bhagavan, Iswara may arrange the sequence of the events we have to experience and undergo, but each of these experiences is a consequence of something we have chosen to do in the past.

Brahmavidvarishta cannot be 'attained' by the jnani, the stage four Brahmavid, because there is no one left who make the effort or desire it. Either one says that varishta is a consequence of prarabdha (actions done in the past bearing fruit after liberation), or one has to admit that it is random.

Though the varishta has transcended the body, that body still has a sequence of God-ordained actions to go through, Prarabdha pertains to the body, not the Self.

Saying that something is 'prarabdha' is not a cop-out for inexplicable phenomena; it indicates that Iswara has ordained that the rules of spiritual cause and effect will pertain to bodies and their experiences

Ravi said...

David,
The point I was trying to make is that 'Prarabda' or any other Karma has a QUNTIFIABLE ,LIMITED nature. (With the corresponding 'Fruit' of ISWARA of a corresponding limited nature),if these differences between the top four states are attributed to THIS QUANTIFIABLE EFFORT/RESULT then it should be possible to Relate efforts to these differences in a one to one Fashion.A MORE DEFINITIVE REPLY WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE IN THIS CASE.
Somewhere it seems to be some other UNKNOWN 'factor' coming into Play-LIKE THE POSER FROM RAMOS THAT IS CURRENTLY DOING ITS ROUND!

David Godman said...

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Dear All,

Interesting point in Verse 96 of the Kaivalya Navaneetam. It seems to suggest that passions rise, only to be distinguished intantaneously, in the Brahmavid.

* * *

There are a few incidents recorded in which Bhagavan appears to be very angry with someone, but a few seconds later he is back to his normal mood. Jnanis do occasionally display anger, in my experience, but such outbursts do not result in recriminations, mental post-mortems, rationalisations and bursts of 'anger' chemical that swamp the body and keep it on edge for hours. The outburst comes, and disappears instantly, leaving no trace.

The behaviour of jnanis is often the result of the activities of the minds that appear before them. The thoughts in those minds can be mirrored in the jnani and reflected back as anger, but when this happens, such outbursts leave no trace or trail in the jnani.

Ravi said...

David,
"such outbursts leave no trace or trail in the jnani."
Absolutely true-Like a line drawn on water!

A Gnani's Anger is a BLESSING to the recipient!Nothing from a Gnani goes waste!
Remember How Annamalai Swami got the treatment from Seshadri Swami!

Also I have observed how the Gnani gives this treatment not for anything expressed but for WHAT LIES SUPPRESSED!

Thanks very much David.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
I am not at all sure that these are without significance.All I can say is that we do not know this sufficiently(even theoretically!Practically it is a very far cry!).

In the vedas there is the the Legendary bird called HOMA-This bird lives high up in the sky and rarely comes to the Ground.It lays its eggs in those rarefied heights and as the eggs fall they hatch and the young ones come out of it;as they hurtle downwards they realise that they will be dashed to the ground.In a supreme effort they check their movement downwards,and fly upwards to join their mother in the sky.
Sri Ramakrishna gives this example to explain that in like fashion there are Nitya Siddhas(Siddha is a perfect person-not the persons who dabble in siddhis) who come to this earth for the upliftment of mankind.Right in their childhood they realise the purpose of their coming and engage in spiritual practices which serve to uplift the suffering humanity.
These Nitya siddhas are not born of any UNCLEARED PRARABDA.
Ordinary Gnanis are the ones who move up the chain from the Subecha plane and reach the 4th plane.
I believe that Sri Bhagavan had not spoken much on this DELIBERATELY as he also kept mum on so many other things which were not vital to sadhana.FOR INSTANCE,HE DISCOURAGED DEVOTEES FROM GOING AFTER THE ARUNAGIRI YOGI!

Salutations!

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

...That is to say, the apparent distinctions between jnanis exist solely in the eyes of those ajnanis who want to categorise them...

In Be as you are, chapter The Jnani, you explained this even further. You wrote (I try to translate it into English from my german edition): "The truth about the Self is that there exist neither the jnani nor the ajnani but jnana alone."

"The Self is all shining and only pure jnana. So there is no ajnana in his sight."
Talk 499.

My understanding of this is: We have knowledge at all times. We know when we know something (in waking state), and we know when we know nothing (in deep sleep etc.). And at all times we know or experience that we are. Therefore there is nothing else then knowledge.

...Brahman can never be an object to be known...

Claro. Can the mirror of the consciousness, when mirroring itself, know itself as an object? Looking into a mirror I'm looking at my body form - not at myself in an absolute sense. But there is a consciousness understanding itself as pure consciousness, isn't it? I believe that this possibly is the meaning of sat-chit-ananda.

"Nothing but the one Brahman exists. (...) The one self perceives itself within itself as the infinite consciousness."
Vasisthas Yoga, V:5

Zee said...

"There are two elements of Nibbana. What two? There is the element of Nibbana with result of past clinging still left, and the element of Nibbana without result of past clinging left. What is the element of Nibbana with result of past clinging still left? Here a bhikkhu is an Arahant with taints exhausted, who has lived out the life,done what was to be done, laid down the burden, reached the
highest goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and who is completely liberated through final knowledge. His five sense-faculties remain,
owing to the presence of which he still encounters the agreeable
and disagreeable, still experiences the pleasant and painful. It is the
exhaustion of lust, of hate, and of delusion in him that is called
the element of Nibbana with result of past clinging still left. And
what is the element of Nibbana without result of past clinging left?
Here a bhikkhu is an Arahant who has lived out the life ... and
is completely liberated through final knowledge. All in him that is
224 THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA
felt will, since he does not relish it, become cool here in this very life:
this is called the element of Nibbana without result of past clinging
left."
Iti. 44

[Translated by Bhikku Nanamoli]

Zee said...

"There is that (external) base where no earth (is), or water or fire orair or base consisting of infinity of space or base consisting of infinity
of consciousness or base consisting of nothingness or base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception or this world or the other world or moon or sun; and that I call neither a coming nor a going nor a staying nor a dying nor a reappearance; it has no basis, no evolution,
no support; it is the end of suffering.

"The Unaffected is hard to see;
It is not easy to see Truth.
To know is to uncover craving;
To see is to have done with owning.

"There is an unborn, an un-brought-to-being, an unmade, an unformed. If there were not, there would be no escape made known here for one who is born, brought to being, made, formed. But since there is an unborn, an un-brought-to-being, an unmade, an
unformed, an escape is therefore described for one who is born,
brought to being, made, formed."
Ud. 8:1-3

[Contrast the above to the below...]

" 'Void world, void world' is said, Lord; in what way is 'void world'said?"—"It is because of what is void of self and selfs property that 'void world' is said, Ananda. And what is void of self and selfs property?
The eye ... forms ... eye-consciousness ... eye-contact... any feeling... born of eye-contact ... The ear, etc ....
"The nose, etc .... The tongue, etc .... The body, etc .... The mind,etc .... any feeling whether pleasant, painful or neither-painful-norpleasant
born of mind-contact is void of self and selfs property."
S. 35:85

[Translated by Bhikku Nanamoli]