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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MEANS OF WISDOM: By GOPINADHAN PILLAI

( Our Distinguished Scholar and Editor Mr. Gopinadhan Pillai has sent us this excellent article. We can get a lot of information, guidance and meaning of life from this essay. He explains many things including 'Atmavidya'(Spiritual knowledge) , 'SamyagDarshana' (Vision Of the World) and various parts of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Very interesting and knowledgeable article.!!
"New World"is always thankful to Mr. Gopinadhan Pillai for all the valuable essays he has placed in our publication..(Republishishing this article)New World


Means of Wisdom
Gopinadhan Pillai
Ato vimuktayi prayatet vidvan Sanyastha-bahyartha-sukhaspraha: san Santham mahatham samupetya desikam tenopadishtartha-samahitatma
“Therefore, the learned seeker who is striving to gain this freedom within and who has renounced his desires for pleasures in the sense-objects should duly approach a good and generous Master and must live attune to the true significance of the words of the master.”
[i]
There are several pre-requirements for a true seeker of Atmavidya (spiritual knowledge). Doing noble actions, practicing prayers, visiting holy places are some of the means to redeem the inner weakness of a seeker of Atma Vidya. These spiritual sadhanas will help a person to develop the subtlety of his inner instruments for experiencing the world as it is. This state of mind is called the ‘samyag darshana’ or the vision of the world through the eye of philosophy. A person who has realized the futility of life would no longer be interested in sensual desires. These are the means for a student of Atmavidya to attune oneself mentally to learn the subject.
The famous Prasna Upanishad begins with the information on how to prepare the students for learning spiritual knowledge. With the intention of gaining knowledge on Brahman, six disciples approached a learned Master called Pippalada. “To them then that seer said: Dwell with me a year more, with austerity, chastity, and faith. Then ask what questions you will. If we know we will tell you all.”
[ii] This would have been for preparing the students mentally attune them to learn the subject.
The most essential requirement in learning Atmavidya is to find a true teacher who should be a self-realized person. An ‘Acharya’ is one who has an intimate personal experience of the Divine so that he can lead the disciple further toward the path of Self realization. He should have thorough knowledge of the scriptures and possess skills of communication. He should be sympathetic and generous, lest, he will not be able to come down to the level of the imperfect seeker.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a clear example for Guru-sishya relations in teaching Atma vidya. Spiritual advices are given to a student only when he is completely attuned to receive that knowledge. Lord Krishna starts the advices only from verse 11 in Chapter II after the seeker surrenders absolutely to the master. The philosophy of Gita is an educative process of bringing the individual soul from a state of wrong understanding to a higher state of right understanding, and from a state of utter confusion to absolute clarity.
The first chapter of Gita sets the stage, when the student Arjuna is made to surrender absolutely to the Divine Master – Lord Krishna. He thus becomes the best qualified aspirant to receive the supreme knowledge of the Self in his own words: “yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me sisyas te ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam (I am Thy disciple. Instruct me, who have taken refuge in Thee)”.
The context of Gita is the field of action. “It is Kurukshetra. In Sanskrit, kuru means do, act”.
[iii] It is a common tendency for a person to run away from his duties when he faces a problem in life. The advice of the Divine Teacher is applicable to all. An action with knowledge will not bind the individual to the inevitable fruits of action. He will attain the state of yogarudha through discrimination. One is thus able to elevate oneself from the sludge of inner weakness through correct thinking and continuous self-analysis.
Miseries in life are born out of our misunderstanding and ignorance of the Reality. The purpose of the study of Vedanta is to remove the fear and sorrow created by the delusory understanding of the Self. This is possible only through right thinking and right thinking is the way to self redemption. Let every moment in our life bring us the rays to noble thoughts. May 2009 be filled with noble thoughts for a Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year to everyone.


Republished from 10/5/11
[i] Cited from Swami Chinmayananda’s Talks on Sankara’s Vivekachoodamani (Bombay: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1989), 16.[ii] Ways of Mysticism The Upanishads (Exter England: Delian Bower Publishing. 2000) 57. The six disciples are Sukesan, son of Bharadwaja; Satyakaman, son of Saibya; Garggyan, son of Surya; Kausalya, son of Asvalayana; Bhargavan of Vaidarbhi and Kabandhin, son of Katyayana. This is the opening verse of Prasna Upanishad.[iii] The Gita Vision by Swami Chidananda (Shivanandanagar, U.P. India: The Divine Life Society, 1992), 14.

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