Author Topic: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri  (Read 3838 times)

Subramanian.R

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Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« on: February 21, 2016, 05:52:07 PM »
(D.S. Sastri might have been related to Suri Nagamma, may be her brother or cousin.)

1. kartur-aajnayaa-praaptyate phalm
    karma kim param karma taj-jadam

By the will of of the Creator,  action bears fruit.  Is action, then, supreme?  No, it
is inert, unconscious.

This is the fundamental answer to the ultimate question.  We cannot perform actions and expect those
actions to result in the desired fruits.  The Creator, Isvara or Siva, is the Lord of Action and determines
what fruits and what subsequent actions will be forthcoming. We not only cannot control the fruits of our
behavior, we cannot even choose the actions themselves since these are influenced by an endless series of
past actions. So action, is, in itself, inert, unconscious.  It and its fruits are Isvara's.  Do we choose our
dream actions?  For the Maharshi, waking and dream have the same degree of reality. (Self Realization,
B.V. Narasimhaswami)

In the Yoga Vasishta, the crow-yogin, Bhusanda, was asked why he had survived for so many ages.
He replied, 'Who will be able to overstep the strict ordinances of Siva?  His will was that I should act
thus and other yogins should act in the way they did.  As every preordained event should work out
its results, such events will inevitably come to pass.  Such is the nature of the law.' (Yoga Vasistha,
Aiyer)

The Sanskrit jada is translated as 'inert'.  Referring to this opening verse, the Maharshi said, 'There
is no truth in the insentient (jada). One whole Consciousness prevails over all alone.' (Talks)

Karta means Isvara.  He is the one who distributes the fruits of action to each person according to his
karma.  That means he is the manifest Brahman.  The real Brahman is unmanifest and without motion.
It is only the manifest Brahman that is named as Isvara. (David Godman, Be As You Are.)

Verse 1 is completed.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 10:06:13 AM »
2.  krti maho dadhau patana kaarnam
phalam asaasvatam gati nirodhakam

The fruits of action are not everlasting and they cause one to fall into the great ocean of karma,
blocking spiritual progress.

Our actions, good or bad, obviously bring results which cause us to experience pleasure and pain.
Such are transient but they leave seeds of desire or fear in our minds, causing us to repeat or avoid
the previous actions.  These seeds or vasanas involve us in an endless series of commitments and events
which bind us to the outer world and prevent us from turning inward and discovering our true nature.
Therefore, no salvation or freedom from rebirth is to be found in activities, no matter how important
or virtuous they may seem.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 09:37:31 AM by Subramanian.R »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2016, 09:51:18 AM »
3. Isvaarpitam neechaya krtam
chitta sodhakam mukti saadhakam.

That action which is done without personal desire and whose fruits are surrendered to the Lord,
purifies the mind and leads to Liberation.

Actions in themselves, together with their fruits, serve to bind the individual. This verse shows,
nevertheless, how action may lead directly to salvation.  If one acts in a detached and selfless
manner, with no intention of obtaining personal benefit, this is a form of devotion to the Lord,
benefiting His creation and freeing the mind from craving and restlessness. 

The Maharshi, however, would sometimes point out the pitfalls of 'unselfish action':  It is easy to
think of oneself as a generous and kind person, helping someone who is beneath him, that the ego
becomes inflated and the fruits of praise, recognition, and self satisfaction are accepted and expected,
leading not to detachment but to greater bondage.

What is described in this verse, is what the Gita calls sattvic action:  'An action which is free from
attachment, which is done without love or hatred by one not desirous of the fruit, that action is
declared to be sattvic.'*  A person is said to be a sattvic agent when he is 'free from attachment,
not given to egotism, endued with firmness and vigor, unaffected in success and failure.**             

* Gita XVIII 23.

** Gita XVIII 26.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 09:38:41 AM »
4.  kaya vaang manah kaarya muttamam
poojanam japas chintanam kramaat.

Ritual worship, repetition of sacred names, and meditation are done with the body, the speech,
and the mind, and they progress in excellence in that order.

Clearly, in this verse, the Maharshi advises that the less physically active and exteriorised religious
disciplines are, the more effective they become. He has said, 'We project ourselves into idols and
worship them because we do not understand true inward worship.' (Self Inquiry).

But when asked if such practices as bathing, prayer, chanting, and pilgrimage to sacred places were
useful to spiritual aspirants or merely a waste of time, Sri Bhagavan replied, 'All of them advance the
purification of neophytes whose worldly propensities have just begun to lose force.  Virtuous thoughts,
words, and deeds nullify their contraries in the past.'  (Ramana Gita, Ganapati Muni.)

The Maharshi thus assigns a limited and preliminary values to rituals, but does not go as far as
Vasishta in dismissing them;  'The vain waste their time, like brutes, in the fruitless illusions
of tapas, (austerities), yajna (sacrifices), holy waters, visiting sacred shrines, the worship of gods,
gifts etc.,  But you should abandon all these as tending to rebirth. (Yoga Vasishta - Aiyer)

Karma, or 'action',  in some contexts refers to religious ritual and, in this fourth verse, the Maharshi
continues discussing the path of Action /Devotion.  In this case, the path is that of the Karmakanda,
the portion of the Vedas which prescribes obligatory ritual and other activities.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 09:39:48 AM »
5.  Jagata isadhi yukta sevanam
     ashta murti bhrd deva pujanam.

To serve the world, looked upon as the manifestation of the Lord, is to offer worship to the Lord
of the Eight Forms.

The 'Lord of the Eight Forms' is identified by the poet, Kalidasa, in the prologue to his famous play
Shaakuntala:

Eight forms has Shiva, lord of all and king:
And these are Water, first created thing;
And Fire, which speeds the sacrifice began;
The Priest;  and time's dividers, Moon and Sun;
The all-embracing Ether, path of sound;
The Earth, wherein all seeds of life are found;
And Air, the breath of life. May He draw near,
Revealed in these, and bless those gathered here.

To perform our ordained in life, remembering always that in doing so we are serving the Lord's
own creation,  is to worship Siva effectively.

Having described the path of action in previous verses, the Maharshi, in this and the next five,
discusses the path of devotion and shows its relation to action and to meditative practices.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 11:18:26 AM »
6. Uttama stavaad uccha mandatah
    chittajam japa dhyanam uttamam.

Silent meditation, in the mind, is higher than the best devotional praise, or the uttering of sacred
names, loudly or softely.

We see here, as in the fourth verse, a scale of excellence. Again, the Maharshi's theme is that the
quieter and more internal the devotional practice, the more effective it is.

The Maharshi is not rejecting the singing of hymns or the recitation of devotional poetry. His devotees
sang His verses while begging food in Sri Ramanasramam or walking with Him round the sacred
Arunachala Hill.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2016, 01:16:18 PM »
7.  aajya dhaarayaa srotasaa samam
     sarala chintnam viralatah param.

Like unbroken flow of oil or a stream of water, continuous meditation is better than that that
which is interrupted.

The potential power of meditation is to be achieved only when attention is prolonged. The power
is dissipated when the mind turns to exterior matters.  The Maharshi has at times  commented
that fixed programmes of meditation at certain hours are of limited value. One should endeavor
at all times to hold on to the 'I' thought.  He advised that meditation depends on the strength
of mind and must be unceasing, even when is engaged in work.  Special hours may be helpful
but are meant for novices.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 10:01:02 AM »
8.  bheda bhaavanaat so'ham ityasau
     bhavana'bhidaa paavani mataa.

Meditation on the identity of the individual and the Lord, 'I am He',  is more purifying than meditation
which assumes a difference between them.

To assume that there is an ultimate distinction between the Lord and the meditator is to deny His total
presence and to limit His Being and Power and Knowledge.  It involves the person in all the contradictions
of dualism, causing one to wrestle with imagined problems of identity and behavior which only strengthen
the ego.  Nevertheless, at a certain level of devotional meditation, the Maharshi accepted a dualist approach
as helpful.  He Himself wrote poems of great beauty and deep devotion to Arunachala.  Sankara too wrote
devotional hymns, seemingly dualist in tone but ultimately moving the devotee toward a sense of oneness
with the Lord.  In any case, the final necessity for the meditator is to turn his attention inward to the Self
rather than outward toward any image or concept, no matter how sacred.

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (I.4.10) this same theme is found: "He who worships the Lord,
thinking, 'He is one and I am another' does not know."  Again, (IV. 4.19) 'He goes from death to death
who sees difference, as it were, in Brahman.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
             

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 09:16:48 AM »
9.  bhaava soonya sad bhaava susthitih
     bhaaavana balaad bhaktir uttamaa.

By the power of meditation, devoid of thoughts, one is established in true Being, and this is supreme
devotion.

When asked by visitors for spiritual instructions, the Maharshi sometimes referred to them to Upadesa
Saram and gave its central message as, 'stilling the mind and remaining free from thoughts.'  The
ending of thought is true Bhakti and is the beginning of Wisdom and Bliss.  It is supreme devotion
because the Self and the Lord are identical.  'Often He has told us that only a true Bhakta can be a
true Jnani and only a true Jnani can be a true Bhakta.  (Devaraja Mudaliar, My Recollections).
Total attention to the Self, unclouded by extraneous thoughts, is the same as surrender to the Lord -
there being no activity of the ego. 

This inactivity of the ego occurs when the meditator turns his attention away from all 'other' matters
and focuses attention solely upon the 'I'.  Paradoxically, the ego is thereby destroyed, being deprived
of the support it requires from otherness.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 10:22:34 AM »
10.  hrtsthale manah svasthataa kriya
        bhakti yoga bodhaasca nischitam.

The practice of fixing the mind in its own source in the Heart, is without doubt, true bhakti, yoga,
and understanding.

Whatever path is used by the aspirant for Self Realization, and whatever may be emphasized, whether
action or devotion or breath control or knowledge, it all amounts in the end to the necessity of absorbing
the mind and thereby freeing the Jiva from the tyranny of thought.  The 'heart' referred to here is not
the physical heart on the left side of the body but the 'spiritual' heart on the right.

Yet this must not be taken too literally. When a devotee remarked that the Maharshi 'specified a
particular place in the body, that it is in the chest, two digits to the right from the median', He
replied, 'Yes, that is the center of spiritual experience according to the testimony of sages.... Truly
speaking pure Consciousness is indivisible.. There is no 'right' or 'left' for it... It is coming down to the
level of ordinary understanding that a place is assigned to the Heart in the physical body.. Since,
during the bodiless experience of the Heart as pure Consciousness, the Sage is not at all aware of the
body, that absolute experience is localized by Him within the limits of the physical body by a sort of
recollection made while He is with the bodily awareness.'  (Maharshi's Gospel.)

When Maharshi was asked specifically about this verse, by Devaraja Mudaliar, 'What is the heart referred
to..?'  Maharshi replied, 'That which is the source of all, that in which all live, and that into which we finally
merge, is the heart referred to'.  Mudaliar continued, 'How can we conceive such a heart?' Maharshi
again, 'Why should you conceive of anything?  You have only to see from where the 'I' springs.'
(David Godman, Be As You are.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2016, 09:15:56 AM »
11. vayu rodhanaal liyate manah
      jaala paksivat rodha saadhanam.

The mind may be subdued by regulating the breath, just as the bird is restrained when caught in a net.
This practice controls the mind.

Breath restraint (vayurodhana) is effected in rather violent ways by hatha yogis, resulting in complete
stoppage or kumbhaka.  The Maharshi did not recommend such extremes and used the word kumbhaka
in the sense of 'regulation', to be accomplished by watching the intake and outflow of breath.  This causes
the rate of respiration to slow down and in turn to quiet the mind, which is then able to keep its attention
on the 'I' or the Self.  In any case, the Maharshi did not give breath control a high priority.  He said, 'One
need not attempt breath control; mind control is enough.  Breath control is recommended for the man who
cannot control his mind straight away.....  It may do as an aid but can never lead to the goal itself.....
A more advanced man will naturally go direct to control of mind without wasting his time in practicing
control of breath.  (Talks p. 418, 313, 134)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 09:53:34 AM »
12. Chitta vaayavas chit kriyaayutaah
      saakhayor dvayi sakti mulaka.

Mind, breath, manifesting in thought and action, branch out from a common source, the Sakti.

Since breathing and thinking are rooted in the same life force, the control of one amounts to
control of the other.  One might oversimplify saying, 'Each time an individual breathes, the mind
cerebrates.  No breath, no thought, no thought, no breath.'  In the story of the goblin, Vetala,
Vasishta tells Rama, 'Both are one only, like the flower and its fragrance or sesame seed and the oil
in it.  Prana (breath) and mind stand to one another in the relationship of the supporter and the supported.
If either of them is slain, then the other will also cease to exist.  The destruction of both will confer moksha
on all.' (Aiyer, Yoga Vasishta).

The greatness of Upadesa Saram, lies not so much in the content of each verse as in the way that
the poem ties together all the major Margas, or paths of spiritual discipline.  In this verse, for instance,
there is nothing new.  In the earliest of all His writings, Who am I?, Maharshi says, 'The source of the mind,
on the one hand, and of breath and vital forces on the other, is one and the same,

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2016, 11:29:13 AM »
13.   laya vinaasane ubhaya rodhane
        laya gatam punar bhavati no mrtam.

Absorption, or laya, and destruction, or nasa, are the two kinds of mind control.  When merely
absorbed, it emerges again, but not when it is destroyed.

When the Jiva is able to bring about the temporary absorption of the mind, by Pranayama, he
experiences in that state a form of Samadhi or experience of Reality in which the ego ceases
to intrude and intense happiness is enjoyed.  But as soon as breath control ceases, the 'I am the
body' sense resumes and the Jiva returns to his 'normal' active state of bondage, with its pains
and pleasures. Sri Maharshi describes this way:  'The involution of the mind in the Self, but without
its destruction, is Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi.. Even though one practices it for years together, if one
has not rooted out the vasanas he will not attain salvation. (Ramananda Swarnagiri - Crumbs from the
table). 

Again, referring to this verse, 'Breath control can only produce manolaya, temporary suspension of mind.
One pointed meditation alone can lead  to destruction of mind.'  (G.V.Subbramaiah, Reminiscences.
See also Talks.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2016, 09:45:23 AM »


14.  praana bandhanaal lina maanasam
       eka chintanam naasam etyadah.

When the mind has been suspended by breath restraint, it may then be annihilated by single-
minded attention to the Self.

Once the mind has been calmed by the regulation of breath, one should hold one's attention
on the Self, seeking the identity of the 'I'.  If this practice persists, eventually all other mental
activity will dry up and the stream of thoughts will disappear.  Then, in the absence of separateness
from the Lord and from the world, -- a sense of thought has sustained -- one arrives at the knowledge
that there is only one Consciousness, and the individual is only That.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Upadesa Saram - Tr. D.M. Sastri
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2016, 10:13:10 AM »
15.  nasta maanosot krsta yoginah
       krutyam asti kim svasthitim yatah.

What action remains to be done by that great Yogi whose mind has been extinguished, and who rests
in his own true and transcendent state of Being?

Here the question refers to the state of the Jivanmukta, or realized man. When asked about this,
the Maharshi explained that, 'The Jnani is fully aware that his true state of Being remains fixed
and stationary and all actions go on around him.  There may be no difference between a Jnani and
Ajnani in their conduct.  The difference lies in their angles of vision.  The ignorant man identifies
himself with the ego, and mistakes its activities for those of the Self, whereas the ego of the Jnani
has been lost.'  (Talks p.560)

The liberated state is described by Sankara in his Atma Bodha:  'I am attributeless, function-less,
eternal, doubtless, stainless, changeless, formless, free and unconditioned.  (Atma Bodha Verse 34)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.