Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya

Adi Shankaracharya is the Jagat-guru, the Guru of the entire Universe. Today, the Vaishakh Shukla Panchami, 5th day of the bright fortnight of the Vaishakh month, is celebrated as his birth anniversary. There is no clarity on when he actually lived in his physical form, but he is the essential Advaita Nirvishesh Brahma so life/death are meaningless words in his context.

I feel very deeply about him, Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya, he is the Sat-guru. He is the reason why I am able to, albeit dimly, understand the highest philosophy, Advaita and progress surely towards myself. The force/Guru which pulls me towards the Sat/Truth. ‘I am the Truth’, I wish to experience this realisation in its entirety.

Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya

His books and literary compositions are immense, voluminous, full of real enlightenment, Jnyan. Books include Vivek chudamani, Upadesha Sahastri etc. Commentaries include the first ever commentry on the Bhagvat Gita, ‘Bhagvat Gita Bhashyam’. The epic commentary on the Brahma-Sutras, on the several Upanishads etc. Several verses which describe the Eternal Advaita, eg Nirvan shatak and my very own favourite Brahma Jnyanavali mala. Verses in praise of the deities and Prakruti, ie Soundarya lahari, Kanakdhara Stotram etc. All his work is in Devbhasha Samskrutam, Sanskrit. These books are all translated into various languages and you will find them in bookshops near you if you wish to read.

Adi Shankaracharya established the four Math-s for the 4 Ved-s in the four corners of Bharat. In these Math-s the Ved-s are worshipped ie taught and learnt, pure knowledge. His Samadhi is at Kedarnath behind the Kedarnath temple. (if you are a follower of Sanatan Dharma, you should try to visit this Samadhi if you can travel physically.)

Adi Shankaracharya is the Sat-Guru of every single soul who desires to know himself in the real sense. If I desire Sadyo-mukti, I am requesting guidance from the Advaita none other. That is why listening or reading his works is important, he writes with the authority of experience of the Self. When I listen to his upadesh/ teachings, I realise that I am listening to my own self. I am to realise My Self, so I will do it only when I listen to descriptions of myself. As I contemplate on myself, meditate on myself, bit by bit I remember myself. I become myself.

I listen to the Brahma Jnyanavali Mala once a day.

A pdf with the text and a reasonably good translation Brahma Jnaanaavali Mala, there are 20 shloks/verses.

The first Shlok is this,
“asangah aham asangah aham asangah aham punah punah, sat chit anand rupah aham, aham evah aham avyayah”
Unattached am I, untouched am I, unconnected I am, ever and always. I am the truth, pure, eternal happiness. I am the only one. I am. I am indestructible, unchangeable.

And the last shlok is this

“antah jyotih bahir jyotih pratyak jyotih paratparah, jyotih jyotih, svayam jyotih Atma jyotih, Shivah asya aham”
I am the inner light. I am the outer light. I am the light within the light. The greatest light, higher than the highest light. I am self- luminous. I am the light of the ever-lit Self. I am the ever auspicious One.

In this short composition, Adi Shankaracharya, very succinctly, clearly unambiguously declares that ‘I am the Unchanging, I am’, in the strongest words possible. Even more than his ‘Nirvan Shatak’, the ‘Brahma Jnyanavali Mala’, resonates with indescribable power of the Advaita

This composition, is the essence of all philosophy in the simplest words. The power of these words in Sanskrit shakes me to the core, dissolving the Illusion of the creation that surrounds me. If I have time, I try to contemplate on every word in this Brahma Jnyanavali Mala. This will help me realise that I am the ‘Light’ the Advaita, and the power of this Light, Atma-Jyoti.

I am required to contemplate on the concept of ‘Aham sakshi’, ‘I am the Witness‘. Saying these words ‘Aham sakshi’ is rather easy, but bringing it in practice when I have the entrancing dance of creation before me is difficult. That is why I listen/read these words again and again. So that I gain the mental strength to continue focussing on what really matters, ‘Me’.

When I really desire to know myself, I feel an intense internal turmoil, just like a fish is breathless out of water. I know what I am deep within me, but the illusions of Prakruti, do not allow me to experience myself fully. Then appears the Sat-guru, the one who grants clarity, dissolves the illusions. When I give myself over to the power of the Guru, I do not get deeply caught in even more illusions of this world. He makes me realise that the ‘karma’ which I thought bound me is in fact insubstantial, imaginary, does not exist. At one point of time I used to think that I have this karmic pendency or that I owe this other person something. And unless I give it back or experience its negativity through, I won’t be free. I would think that I had to complete the karma I had created in my past lives etc. But nothing is complete in this incomplete illusionary world. So I disregarded this thought of ‘completing the karmic baggage’ and instead focused even more sincerely on ‘Me’. I am the only Reality. So best focus on Me. My one single mantra, my Soham. And as this got even more intense, these other ‘karmic ties’ evaporated as if they never existed over me. I experienced all of them in my dreams or during Dhyan, I died several times in my swapna-avastha, travelled astrally, did the work in the astral realms, let the astral body suffer, break down, get hurt, all the karma was experienced by this body.  Then my Guru repaired the bodies, while I did even more Dhyan. The only use of these bodies is to do Dhyan. So if you do your Dhyan, your so-called ‘pending karma’ will get resolved in dreams, like the dream they actually are. Whatever level of Karma may exist, it will be dissolved if you do your Dhyan systematically and regularly. (This is a bit difficult to understand if you do not do Dhyan. But if you do Dhyan, you will notice that you also are doing this same thing.)

You get deeper and more powerful glimpses of your own self as you focus on your self. There is only one thing which deserves your focus and this is your Own Self, none other. But then the created illusions, Maya, also tests you, so you need support from such verses, books, commentaries, which help you navigate thorough these tests. Use your Intelligence and the blessings of the Guru, and keep focussing intently on Your Own Self..

May you and me both realise that we are the Advaita, the Non-Dual, in the gentlest, happiest and kindest way possible.

Dedicated to the Lotus feet of the Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya, the Nirvishesh Brahma, the Advaita Himself in all gratitude and Shraddha/faith.

Kedarnath Palkhi

This is a photograph of the Palkhi, palaquin of the Kedarnath Mahadev taken yesterday. In the winter months the Moorthi of the deity comes to his temple at Ukhimath and then goes back to Kedarnath in the summer. The temple at Kedarnath is to be opened on 29th April. In this current lock-down situation, 6 people are travelling with the Palkhi, barefoot, carrying Him over 25kms in the snow, rocks and through the cold Himalayan streams. In reality He is carrying his devotees in all his love and compassion. Jai Kedar! Har Har Mahadev!

Sagun and Nirgun Brahma, Moksh of two types

The Brahma sutra written by Shri Vyas-Badrayana is a very important book on philosophy combined with experience. It is the gist of all the Upanishad. Adi Shankar-acharya has written the first commentary on it. Later other Acharyas wrote their commentaries on the Brahma Sutra and started their own schools of thought. These several schools are essential because there are several types of people. If anyone wants to really study Ved/ Vedanta, study of the Brahma Sutra is compulsory. And Ved/ Vedanta is Sanatan Dharma/Hinduism.

I follow the philosophy of Adi Shankaracharya. Advaita, non duality, the goal being attainment of  Nirvishesh Brahma.

Sagun and Nirgun Brahma, Moksh of two types

I wrote about the several deities that followers of Sanatan Dharm aka Hindus worship. But we all ultimately worship the Para, the ‘beyond’, and we know ourselves to be this Para. Every Hindu wants to experience himself as the Para, ie achieve Moksh. This happens when the soul experiences the ultimate knowledge of his own reality.

Now there are two types of Intelligent knowledge.

  1. Experience of Sagun Brahma, which has attributes linked to the three types of Gun. The three Gun ie Prakruti/Purush still exist, it is a state of duality.
  2. Experience of the Nirgun Brahma, where the three Gun ie Prakruti/Purush do not exist, it is a state of non-duality.

A bit of background. The Shri-yantra is the essential geometry, the energy of the manifested universe represented as a mandal. Mandal is a Sanskrit word which means, round, planetary orbit, snake, collection, whole body, royal company, a round plaything, halo etc. All these meanings can be understood in context of Prakruti, the topmost deity of the Shri Chakra, also called Devi Lalita Tripursundari. She is a serpentine Kundalini, she controls the universes, the Shri-chakra is a collection of her subordinate deities who cluster round her in perfect geometry, they form her halo and ultimately all this is a plaything devised by her for her own amusement. She has created it and she is the Empress of the Shri-chakra. She pervades the Shri-chakra with her energy, you might think of the chakra as her body. Each line and intersection in the Shri-chakra mandal is linked to an intelligence, a ‘god’ including the topmost Brahmadev, Vishnu, Shiv and their wives Sarasvati, Laxmi, Shakti. Each of these ‘gods’ is not the final goal but an energy from Prakruti herself.

These ‘gods’ are tremendous in their own right. Theymake up your body and also your mind. You are not your body/mind, you are not even the individual soul. The individual soul carries a baggage of karma. You are the Eternal. If you focus on these ‘gods’, pull in their energies, you balance the body/ mind and reduce the karmic baggage. The body gets perfect the mind gets stilled, the soul beings to realise its reality. You get a huge boost on your way to moksh. But just never forget that they are not the ultimate goal. You are.

(In astrological terms, your Moon is your mind, your Sun is your individual soul, your ascendant sign ruler is your body, so who are you then?)

Sagun and Nirgun Brahma, Moksh of two types

Sagun brahma is a product of Maya ie it is under Prakruti. If you intensely worship a ‘form’ ie Vishnu, Shiv, Devi etc, and reach one-ness with it, you achieve Krama-mukti. The soul achieves the highest knowledge, Brahma-Vidya, and achieves final release from the cycle of birth-rebirth. It now resides in one of the three possible highest dimensions/ Lok ie Brahmalok or Vaikunth or Kailas. It is not born again as its karmic account has been balanced. It remains dissolved in its Ishta-devata / adored ‘god’,  Brahmadev, Vishnu or Shiv. However it remains here in this Lok, till the end of the creation cycle called Kalpa-anta. At Kalpa-anta, everything that contains duality is dissolved. Ie the ‘gods’, their Lok, Prakruti, Purush and Maya vanish as if the never existed. At this point of dissolution of everything, this soul also attains Nirgun brahma and experiences Advaita, ’non-duality’.

Most people you see around you are doing this. They will worship a ‘form’. Adoring a ‘god’ eg visualising the blue Vishnu with 4 arms, wearing radiant yellow clothes etc. Immersed in this beautiful form, they do pujas and external forms of worship. Always mediate on the form of their ‘god’. If they remain attached to this ‘form’ they will ultimately gain Sagun-mukti. If you believe your source is Vishnu, you will become one with him and reside at Vaikunth. You have achieved your goal.

Now you will wait here till the Kalpa-anta to achieve the final Nirgun brahma.

Hindu ‘gods’ are neither ‘immortal’ nor ‘liberated’. These definitions do not apply to them. They are various aspects of Prakruti, they are aspects of conscious intelligence. Even the highest trinity of Brahmadev Vishnu and Shiv are basically the three gun, satva, raja, tama. They are derived from and constitute Prakruti. She is very subtle, the Empress of the manifested. (There is a Kundalini stavah from the Rudrayamala tantra, it very beautifully describes the Kundalini/ Prakruti.)

If you are drawn to this form of Moksh, read the commentary on Brahma Sutra by Ramanuj. (I have skimmed through it, but did not appeal to me. Perhaps you might like it.)

Now I have used a word, ‘krama’, this means a series, sequence, evolution, movement etc. You take on several lives again and again in higher and higher energies. This is called krama, spiritual evolution. When the soul leaves the body at death, it does so through any of the available naadi/ energy channels, this movement is called Pitrayana. The soul moves to the dimensions of the spirits/ Pitr-lok. Ayan means to travel, to go from one place to another. The soul moves to from the dimension of the mortals/ Martya-lok, to the dimension of the spirits called Pitra-lok.

When a soul attains Vidya, the deepest knowledge linked to Sagun Brahma it leaves through the Brahmanadi and exits via Brahmarandhra at the top of the head. This leads to Krama-mukti as Sagun brahma is experienced. This is also a movement, the Higher Lok is somewhere, the path of light, the Devayan, takes the soul there. There is going and coming. Krama-mukti is possible only in the Videha mukti format.

Sagun and Nirgun Brahma, Moksh of two types

Nirgun Brahma. The deepest understanding of yourself comes with Nirgun brahma. This has no attributes, Nirgun brahma is beyond Prakruti. It is beyond the dual-nature of Purush and Prakruti. It is more difficult to attain compared to Sagun mukti as it takes a few steps more. It is transcending this fundamental duality of Purush-Prakruti and achieving the non-dual, Advaita. This state is beyond definitions. It is always described in negations, ie Nirgun, Nirakar, Niranjan, etc. No attributes of this manifested can be linked to it. You have to leave all the attributes of the manifested, including the ‘form’ of your adored god, the concepts of worship etc. Everything that is of Maya is discarded. Adi Shankaracharya has always written about this as Nirvishesh Brahma. The intelligence from which all differentiations have dissolved away. This is achieved when the soul achieves Sadyo-mukti. This is the highest Kevala-advaitya. Adi Shankaracharya calls this state Advaita, Non-duality. Even this is a definition in terms of negation. It is not duality, but what it is, will have to be experienced. (If you understand Sanskrit do read/ listen to the Brahma-jnyanavali-mala).

Worshipping ‘forms’, with time and experience, some people are able to look beyond the simple form. They are able to realise that the form is external to one’s self, even if the form is that of their adored object of worship. ‘I’ am my goal, the ‘god’ and his ‘form’ is my support, who will help me reach myself.

Prakruti herself sits in front of you in all her power to administer this final test. She decides if you are worthy of the highest knowledge. If you get caught in illusion and desires she sends you back again. You will fulfil your desire and then try the test again. If you succeed she allows you to transcend her duality and reach the singular Para-Brahma/ non-duality.

If a soul achieves this Sadyo-mukti his pran/ vital energy are absorbed in the Parabrahma at the very instant of his experience. He can now continue as an Jivan-Mukt, it now makes no difference. He can also experience Videha-mukti but the route of Devayan is meaningless to him as there is no going/ coming. He has already experienced Everything.

Majority of people cannot visualise much less focus on a formless, attribute-less Parabrahma. So different schools of thought exist. It is just like school, concepts  at class 5 are different from the concepts taught in class 10. All are relevant and necessary.

This post is rather esoteric, so unless you have read my earlier posts it may not be intelligible.


Sagun and Nirgun Brahma, Moksh of two types

(There was this question. As my answer was too long posted it as a full-fledged post.

Hi, what about the gods who are part of the manifestation? Are they Liberated ? or they are just immortal? Is experiencing oneness with Ishta Devata the same as Moksha? My question is can there be Moksha in manifested universe as the deities are still part of manifestation. Shri Krishna says He alone is the Giver of Moksha. So where does deity worship takes us after a point as they are themselves not liberated? We know the 14 lokas that make up the manifest.. What is your idea on spiritual heavens like Vaikunta and Kailash? Are they same as Unmanifest? Thank you)