Types of Jnanis – Spiritually Enlightened People

Tripura Rahasya‘, is a text on Advaita Vedanta which personifies the supreme consciousness as Tripura (three cities or the ruler of three cities), a feminine form who is also known as Tripura Sundari. The states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are the three cities ruled by Tripura.

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Click here to read quotes of wisdom from Tripura Rahasya

What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill

The following is an excerpt from the 19th chapter of Tripura Rahasya:

80-83. Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the
Master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this
case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).

84-86. Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worthwhile to eradicate their desire, etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place, because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation, as before. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of Jnanis.

87-90. Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or
ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal, though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a Sage’s activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.
[Note: His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.]

91. A Sage of this class has, by his long practice and rigorous discipline, controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of Sages and is said to be a Sage without mind. 

92-94. The last class and the least among the Sages are those whose practice and  discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the Sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely Jnanis and not Jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death. 

95-96. Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice. The mind is the soil in which the seed, namely prarabdha, sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless. 

97-103. There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous and extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing, while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the classroom and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best
among Jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded. 
[Note: Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was
indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.] 

104-05. The prarabdha of Jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the
mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure? 

106-08. Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out.
Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined victory of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; so the many-minded Sages have pleasure or pain from work.

109-12. The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of Jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.

What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill

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Tripura Rahasya, an old text of Advaita talks about what we call today as ‘Hedonic treadmill’. Human beings are miserable not because they are not happy; but because their happiness is limited and they crave for more! One keeps chasing for happiness in the objective outcomes of life. But his happiness always remains limited, leaving him in discontent. If that limited happiness recedes,  misery creeps in. The text deals with the path to moksha (liberation), that puts an end to this misery.

Tripura Rahasya was an ancient text that Ramana Maharshi recommended seekers to read. Parashurama, an ancient sage,  is said to have got the essence of this text as a upadesa (teaching) from Dattatreya, in Gandhamadhana mountains situated in Pamban islands, Tamil Nadu, India. Parashurama then attained Atma Jnana (Self-realization or spiritual enlightenment) and then moved to Pothigai hills near Papanasam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. (By the way, I live in Tirunelveli and it takes just about an hour to reach Pothigai hills by bike).

gandhmadha

The following lines from Chapter 1 of Tripura Rahasya explain how one gets a Vairagya Bhavana (an attitude of non-attachment) after looking at the hedonic treadmill, the inherent misery or Dhukka in life and finds his guru:

31. Even now I understand nothing of the workings of
the universe. Where does it rise from, in all its grandeur?
32. Where does it end? How does it exist? I find it to be
altogether transient.
33. But worldly happenings seem permanent. Why
should that be? Such happenings seem strangely enough to
be unconsidered.
34. How strange! They are on a par with the blind man
led by the blind!
35. My own case furnishes an example in point. I do
not even remember what happened in my childhood.

36. I was different in my youth, again different in my
manhood, still more so now; and in this way, my life is constantly
changing.
37, 38. What fruits have been reaped as the result of
these changes is not clear to me. The end justifies the means as
adopted by individuals according to their temperaments in
different climes and in different times. What have they gained
thereby? Are they themselves happy?
39. The gain is only that which is considered to be so
by the unthinking public. I however cannot deem it so,
seeing that even after gaining the so-called end, the
attempts are repeated.

40, 41. Well, having gained one purpose, why does
man look for another? Therefore, what the man is always
after should be esteemed the only real purpose — be it the
gaining of pleasure or removal of pain. There can be neither,
so long as the incentive to effort lasts.
42. The feeling of a need to work in order to gain
happiness (being the index of misery) is the misery of
miseries. How can there be pleasure or removal of pain so
long as it continues?
43-45. Such pleasure is like that of soothing unguents
placed on a scalded limb, or of the embrace of one’s beloved
when one is lying pierced by an arrow in the breast; or of the
sweet melodies of music heard by an advanced consumptive!
46. Only those who need not engage in action, are
happy; they are perfectly content, and self-contained, and
they experience a happiness which extends to all the pores
of the body.
47. Should there still be a few pleasurable moments
for others, they are similar to those enjoyed by one who,
while writhing with an abdominal pain, inhales the sweet
odour of flowers.

48. How silly of people with innumerable obligations,
ever too busy seeking such moments of pleasure in this world!
49. What shall I say of the prowess of indiscriminating
men? They propose to reach happiness after crossing interminable
hurdles of efforts!

50. A beggar in the street labours as much for happiness
as a mighty emperor.
51, 52. Each of them having gained his end feels
happy and considers himself blessed as if he had reached
the goal of life. I too have been unwittingly imitating
them like a blind man following the blind. Enough of
this folly! I will at once return to that ocean of mercy —
my Master.
53. Learning from him what is to be known, I will
cross the ocean of doubts after boarding the boat of his
teachings.
54. Having resolved thus, Parasurama of pure mind
immediately descended the hill in search of his Master.
55. Quickly reaching the Gandhmadan Mountain, he
found the Guru sitting in padmasana posture as if illuminating
the whole world.

(I will soon be making a video regarding Tirupura Rahasya; subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive my new videos on your feed: Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment – Youtube Channel )

 

The Fruit of Wisdom – Poem

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The fruit of wisdom lies deep inside
the forest called mind,
behind the veils of its unconscious layers..

Deep inside the heart, it hangs in the
branches of the tree of love
that glitters with its aromatic flowers…

Thoughts, emotions, sensations and experiences
are the other trees in the forest…

As a hungry seeker, you begin to seek
that fruit of wisdom…

Along the way you eat
some fruits of pleasure that are sweet,
and some fruits of pain which are bitter..

You say, ‘not this!’, and move on, as you see
every tree and its fruits…
There are ups and downs on the way;
forbearing heat and cold, you keep seeking
the fruit of eternal wisdom!

At last, you taste it! and then,
only the taste remains…

– Shanmugam

As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم) – Peace Be Upon You: Some Quotes, Mantras, and Comments on Love and Peace

I love the Arabic way of saying ‘hi’, which is As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم). It means ‘Peace Be Upon You’. I want to greet the readers of my blog with a loving ‘As-salamu alaykum’ today.

This is a personal post. Today is my birthday and I just finished writing an answer in Quora for the question “Are birthdays over-rated?”:

As an individual human being, you are one in 250 million; because you are a unique pattern created by the combination of nature and nurture, with one part of your ancestry coming from one sperm cell that won the race among 250 million sperm cells! Your birthday is the day when that one sperm cell and one egg became a fully developed baby to take its first breath! Don’t we have to joyfully celebrate this at least once a year?

The celebration doesn’t have to be grand though. Your birthday can be a day when you do things that you like so much, talk to people whom you love very much and look back at life to cherish past memories. A birthday can also be a day of thanksgiving to your beloved ones because they were with you all these years.

Your birthday is your personal new year! For me, a birthday makes more sense than a new year. As far as you are concerned, your birthday is the new year for you in this life. It is a milestone in your journey.

I don’t think birthdays are overrated. But they are probably celebrated in a cliched, and mechanical ways these days.

Today, September 26th, is my birthday… 🙂 . It is 1:43 AM as I am writing this answer. Today I am going to do everything that I love doing. One of them is writing answers on Quora.

…………………..

So, I am going to do things that I love to do today. I don’t want to make a video since my throat is not good; so I just thought of writing a casual post.

I have been recently making some pictures to share on social media; they are about peace, love and meditation. If you like them, please feel free to download and share. Here they are:

peace mantras

vasudaiva

World family

Truth is one;the difference is only in the names

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU

LOVEANDPEACE

love is god

who am i

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brain

secular

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The Origin and the Meaning of the Word ‘Avyakta’ – The Unmanifest

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This infographic explains the meaning and the origin of the word ‘avyakta’ (unmanifest) and it’s connection to the spiritual path and spiritual enlightenment.

Avyakta is a Sanskrit word. The verb root present here is ‘anj’ (a~nj), which means smear with, anoint, to apply to ointment or pigment.

The word ‘anjana’ which means kajal, a pigment applied to the eyebrows to blacken them comes from this verb root ‘anj’.

Kajal makes the eyebrows distinct and well defined. Once applied, the eyebrows become more manifest with clearer boundaries.

The word ‘akta’ is an adjective, which also comes from the root ‘anj’. It means ‘smeared’.

When you add the prefix ‘vi’ to ‘akta’, it becomes ‘vyakta’; vyakta means anything that is manifest, defined and has a boundary. Anything that can be observed or witnessed through sense organs and mind and by the awareness is vyakta or manifest.

The word ‘vyakti’ means identity, person, distinct or defined. It also comes from the same root. When you identify yourself as a person, you automatically feel separate from the universe. According to Vedanta, this sense of separation is the cause of the psychological suffering.

Avyakta is the opposite of vyakta. Avyakta is the undefined and boundlessness. When you lose the sense of separation, you realize that you are avyakta. You realize that this avyakta is the only truth there is. Avyakta is synonymous with absolute reality, Brahman, Tao, Satchitananda etc. When you realize you are that, you no longer identify yourself with a person, a mind or body, or anything that is manifest or defined. If anything has any definition or seen as distinct from the rest of the world, avyakta is not seen anymore.

Avyakta is like the screen of infinity where the everchanging manifest world is being played. It is the unmanifest which manifests itself as distinct objects or things. The essence of anything that is manifest is the unmanifest or avyakta. The objects on a screen doesn’t have any separate existence other than the screen itself.

Tat Tvam Asi – You Are That

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For more elaboration of this screen analogy, read the following links:

Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy

The Meaning of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss – Satchitananda

The Good News – A Poem Connecting Biblical and Vedantic Thoughts

good news

Your life is the most beautiful mystery
And the screen which plays your private history;
Your life is the truth, consciousness, and bliss
That can’t be pointed out as that or this.

The life screen is the only truth you know;
All that are manifest move in its show;
This essence of life is your true nature;
Knowing this ends the distress and torture.

The one truth that pervades the time and space
Shines in the heart and showers love and grace;
By the veil of darkness it is concealed;
By nonstop inquiry, it is revealed.

That one truth is called by various names;
Deep inside you, it eternally flames;
It is the immortal life and the way;
Look inside, you can find its sparkling ray!

From the dawn of life, seers have seen this
And were reborn by its transforming kiss;
Unless you’re reborn as a wide-eyed kid,
It remains tucked away by a dark lid.

Those who mourn will be appeased by its shade;
Their craving thirst will be killed by its blade;
Those who cleaned their heart are blessed by its touch;
The mere words can convey only this much.

Neither moth nor rust can impair this truth;
None can steal it and none can cause your ruth;
No spade can cut it and fire can’t burn it;
Water can’t wet it and wind can’t dry it.

The birds of the blue sky don’t sow or reap;
About tomorrow, they don’t grieve or weep;
Like those blissful birds, you can become free
Then You’re not the wave, but the boundless sea!

Listen to this good news and wipe your tears!
Wake up from your dream and destroy your fears!
The guiding good shepherd is inside you
As a light that shines with a golden hue!

Whoever has ears, let them hear this song;
With their friends and foes, let them get along!
The kingdom of heaven is filled with love
where the peace descends on you like a dove!

 

Bhavacakra – The Wheel Of Life: Infographics

Bhavacakra or Bhavachakra, known as the wheel of life is painted in the Buddhist temples in Tibet and India. It is a symbolic representation of the wheel of life.

Here is the gist of Bhavacakra:

  1. Ignorance of mistaking non-self as self-leads to aversion and attachments.
  2.  This, in turn, leads to volition, action and the pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the actions.
  3.  Depending on the consequences, a person enjoys or suffers the fruits of his action.
  4. The 12 nidanas give a clear picture of dependent origination. It states that everything is interconnected with various casual links. Nirvana or liberation is the only thing which is not affected by dependent origination.
  5. The five aggregates are impermanent and clinging to them causes suffering.
  6. There is a way to get liberated. It is called as eightfold path.

This is a mandala and can be used for meditation. To know more about the mandalas, read the following posts:

(I will make a detailed video about this shortly. Subscribe to my Youtube channel to watch the videos in time: http://bit.ly/shanmugamy )

Bhavacakra Mandala

Bhavacakra Mandala

Here are some useful infographics which give the details about various aspects of Bhavacakra mandala.

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(You can also interpret these realms as the periods of your current life. For example, a person might be in any of the following realms for a few months:

Sometimes we are like devas, very happy and pleased;

Sometimes like asuras, even though happy we don’t feel content and this leads to craving, attachment and aversion;

Sometimes like humans, being more responsible and showering love to friends, families and others;

Sometimes like animals, just eating and sleeping;

Sometimes like a hungry ghost, deprived of our needs and feel totally dissatisfied, frustrated and helpless;

Sometimes like beings of the hell, going through extreme suffering that seems to be endless.

The idea is to convey that none of these states are permanent and a proper spiritual practice is the only way to find permanent bliss in life.)

 

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3

Talks on Spiritual Enlightenment – Videos On The Spiritual Path and Traditions

 

I have started uploading videos on Youtube on a regular basis, in order to help spiritual seekers who are truly seeking self-realization. I would like to inform this to the regular readers of this blog so that they can take advantage of it.

Here are some of the recent videos that I have uploaded:

Videos regarding Spiritual Enlightenment:

Sadhana Chatushtaya  – Fourfold Qualifications for a Spiritual Seeker

The following video addressed a very important but forgotten concept in non-dual traditions. I have given a detailed speech regarding ‘Sadhana Chatushtaya’ and I will be soon writing a post regarding that.

Conversations About Spiritual Enlightenment 

This is a series and it has casual talks addressing spiritual seekers regarding various topics. These speeches address the friends I have, who have been reading this blog and my Quora answers. This video series will address many things discussed in this blog, including some questions asked by the readers regarding the spiritual path and spiritual enlightenment.

There are some older videos too. You can watch them on my Youtube Channel here:

Shanmugam’s Youtube Channel