23/05/2024

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Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Purification of Mind

Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Purification of Mind

Vrata is when the mind is denied something that it wants. It is more like telling a child what he/she can’t have at a particular time. (ex: like eating ice cream at 6 am or 10 pm). Mind is like a child, wanting pleasure things continuously at any time of the day or life. This denial is a healthy spiritual aid if followed with proper understanding and is sublimation but when done without understanding it is suppression (the desire will burst out at any time). The mind thus sublimated by vrata must be directed towards spirituality leading to the mighty God

Tirtham: It is common to hear that people go on thirtha yatra. (Pilgrimage to holy places). (Sadly, it has now become a sort of vacationing now days!) The idea is to go to spiritual places, meet with spiritual saints, discuss, learn about Atman and anatman. Thirtha in Sanskrit means that which helps you cross the ocean of ignorance & confusion.

Danam – is to share those results of your accomplishments with others – also called charity. This creates the mind of contentment, recognizing the needs of others around one and helps in releasing one from selfishness, greed and attachment to the worldly objects.

To give something away without expecting anything in return – may it be in time, knowledge, mentorship or emotional comfort with kind words or donation is Danam.

Today charity has become political by publicizing and makes the person a hero for his/her contribution. Then it is not charity it is sales!! (Getting something for something)

Astamurtibhrt: We often heard ‘Work is worship’ simply means that whatever we do in this universe, in this birth should be considered as a contribution as the service to the Lord. To a mature devotee the entire universe is one big temple.

Lord is described as ‘astamurtibrt’ meaning he represents himself in eightfold form of 5 elements, (pancha mahabhutas), the sun, the moon and the jiva. He is present in all these. There is nothing beyond these and He is present in each one of them.

Karma yoga means union through’ action – meaning that every action that we do must be divinized by our prayerful attitude. ‘To remain equanimous in success and failure and do our duty with the attitude that with all our talents, skills and knowledge we are serving the Lord’ is the worship of God. Focused, single pointed serving to the humanity in any form of action without expecting anything in return is karma yoga.

How is japa a very powerful method to attain both ‘citta-suddhi’ (purity of mind) and ‘citta-ekagrata’ (single pointedness of mind)?

Japa – repetition of Lord’s name. Practice of japa is that by continuous and conscious repetition of a word or words, the mind becomes single pointed-‘citta-ekagrata’.

In the western culture it is said as the positive affirmation. One keep saying with intense desire with deep feeling, work with dedication to achieve one’s dream. Japa is an effective technique to purify one’s mind, stay focused & single pointed to develop long lasting concentration.

One may question, if that is the case, I can focus and desire for anything that I want in the material world. Sure but that would develop an attachment to the impermanent worldly objects thereby distracting one from the spiritual progress. It will lead one further into the bondage, and the cycle of birth & death.

On the contrary using the same technique to focus single pointedly on the Lord, who is permanent Bliss will advance one in the spiritual path.

The spiritual practice of japa has very high position in all religions because it imparts the twofold results of citta-ekagrata (mental concentration) and citta-suddhi (mental purity).

The art of practicing vicāra (enquiry)

The negative emotions anger, lust, passion, desire, jealousy, likes & dislikes are all impurities of the mind that intercept a person from seeking the spiritual path. Vicāra is the enquiry into the problem and can help eliminate these emotions.

Awareness & knowledge are the very essence of the path of vicāra. In this method, we enquire what it is, the cause of it, how it expresses and what the results are. It is an objective analysis of the emotion without labeling it without trying to get rid of it in a hasty manner.

When one is completely objective without attachments and understands the cause of it, the choice is an educated choice. Such a choice will end the mental impurities once and for all. Currently we’re unable to get rid of these mental modifications of negative tendencies because we have no knowledge of these mental impurities. Not only we try to justify our emotions as a survival mode but also have accepted them as normal course of life – like ‘I am human too and no one is perfect.” “It is normal for a man to get angry” “Life is hard and you have to play the game”.

We have detoured too far away from the spiritual path and it will take lot of effort & time to make the u-turn and be on track. Vicāra (enquiry) is one way to make that conscious effort to get back on path.

There are three simple steps that one who is interested in moving forward in this path of vicāra.

ABC’s of vicāra.

1. Always be conscious of the negative emotions when they arise in one’s mind.
2. Better not label them as good or bad, positive or negative. Observe them AS IS.
3. Carefully understand them fully in totality including the consequences of those emotions.

Try keeping a log of your negative emotions; studying the ones that need to be addressed, find out the origin, reaction & the consequences.

Anything is effective only when we practice with due diligence and understanding. Doing them blindly will not produce any results. There should be a commitment to have the discipline to follow the process consistently and achieve the desired result. This is much more strongly needed in spiritual path to stay away from worldly distractions.

When one is committed to follow this vicāra, his mind becomes pure with knowledge and understanding and is freed from negative vasanas. He is then capable of deep meditation with a quiet mind and actualizes the teachings of his guru. Lord will then save him from all dangers.