Prof. Sharma’s talk during the 8th Gita Conference, Bangalore

Prof.Sharma is a Sanskrit scholar from Sheshadripuram College, Bangalore. He has a vast knowledge of the Vedas. During his talk, he quoted so many slokas from the scriptures and many keertanas from great saints. (It has not been possible to put in all these slokas and keertanas in this transcription.)

After offering his salutations to the Gods and Gurus Prof Sharma started by saying that Lord Shiva, the form of Dakhsinamurhty, who was in silent meditation reincarnated on to this earth in the form of  Jagadguru Shankara Bahgawatpada for the purpose of loka kalyana.

Quoting Viveka Chudamani, composition by Sri Shankaracharya, he said that there are three things that are difficult to get in this world. They are, he said:

  1. Birth as human. The soul has to transmigrate through various forms of life 8400000 times before it gets an opportunity to take the form of human.
  2. After having taken the birth as human, it is still more difficult to remember the god, meditate on Him and strive to attain Moksha. Quote sloka 3, chapter 7 of the Gita: “Among thousands of men, one strives for perfection, and among those who strive and succeed, only some will know Me in essence”. (Manushyanam sahasreshu–)

Sadguru who is a realised soul will assist the sincere seeker, he said. We must take shelter under the guru who fulfils the criterion of a jnani as enumerated by Sri Krishna in sloka 7, chapter 13 of the Gita.

Amanitvam adambhitvam ahimsa kshantir Arjavam

Acharyopasanam shoucham sthairyam atmavinigrahaha.

Humijily, absence of pretension, non-injury, fortitude, uprigheousness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control.

  1. To find such a guru is still more difficult.

It is very difficult to get satsanga. “Shankara’s composition of Bhaja Govindam”

Satsangatve nissangatvam, nissangatve nirmohatvam, nirmohatve nischala tatvam, nischala tatve jivanmuktam, bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam, govindam bhaja moodha mate’.

Bhagavathas spread the glory of the Paramatma, he said. Bhagawatha (sacred text) says that Bhagavathas by visiting, glorifying and singing the glory of the Lord have enhanced the greatness of centres of pilgrimage. Taking shelter at the lotus feet of Sadguru will bestow punya of having visited the great centres of pilgrimage, he reiterated. He who by this course of action shows Sraddha and Bhakti in Sadguru will, by the grace of such Sadguru experience “Sat, Chit, Ananda”.

It is our good fortune that today we have assembled at the ashrama of such a Sadguru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamy and I offer my salutation at his lotus feet, said Prof Sharma.

Srimad Bhagawadgita which deals with the “Maha Vakya” “Tat, Tvam Asi” brings out the essence of “Tvam” through the first 6 chapters, “Tat” through the next six chapters and “Asi” through the last six chapters.

“Tat, Tvam, Asi” reiterates the fact that each one of us is “That”.

What is “That” it is referring to?

“That” is “Akshara” and this is the topic for the day. This aspect is taken up by Lord Krishna in the eighth chapter “Akshara Parabrahma Yoga.”

 

Taking up the theme of slokas 9 and 10 from this chapter, he said that Lord Krishna is giving an idea to Arjuna about what type of spiritual seekers come to understand and experience the “Tat Tvam Asi.” This yoga is the best gem in the garland of 18 chapters that adorns the Lord. Slokas 9 ad 10 are the best gems from this chapter.

Slokas:

Kavim puranam anushasitaram anoraniyamsam anusmaredyaha

Sarvasya dhataram achintya roopam adityavarnam tamasaha parastat

 

Pranyana kale manasa calena bhaktya yukto yogabalena cha

Bhruvor madhye pranam aveshya Samyak sa tam param purusham upaiti divyam

 

Who, meditating upon the Omniscient, the Ancient, the ruler of the worlds, supporter of all, subtler than an atom, of inconceivable form, self-illumined like the sun and beyond darkness.

 

At the time of death, by the power of yoga, fixing the “prana” between the eyebrows, he attains the Supreme Purusha.

 

We are blessed with commentaries on the Gita by famous scholars and we have Shankara Bhashya, commentary by Sri Shankaracharya himself.

 

He discussed in detail about the interpretation of the words used in sloka 9:

 “Kavim.”

“Kavi” is a “kranta darshi”. (omniscient) Shankaracharya says that “Kavi” refers to “Sarvajna” “Sarvajna” knows everything, conducts all actions and is the controller of all lokas.  It is said in Bhagawatham that He creates, sustains and causes dissolution of what He has created He is Sarvajna. He exhibits rajoguna for creation, Satva guna for sustaining and tamoguna for bringing dissolution but at the same time He remains as the power beyond the three gunas. Only that being is the best Jnani and Parama Purusha.

 

Kapila Maharshi in his discourse to his mother Devahuti gives answer to the question:

Who is a Purusha?

Purusha is He who is the tatva beyond the 24 tatvas, namely:

Prakriti, Mahat, Ahamkara, Buddhi, Pancha Maha Bhutas, five sense organs, five organs of action, the five tanmatras,

Purusha is omnipresent and supporter of all but is not attached to the actions or the results of actions.

 

Kavihi karoti kavyani, rasam janati Panditaha.

Kavis compose poetry and the Jnanis know the essence of such compositions . Shankaracharya says the pandita is he who is a jnani in the truest sense. Jnani is he who has understood the “Sarvajna”.

Quoting Vishnu sahasranama: stanza 1:

Viswam vishnum vashatkaro bhoota Bhavya bhavati prabhuhu

Bhootakrit bhootabhridbhavo bhootatma bhoota bhavanaha

 

He is Viswam, whose manifestation is the total universe of all forms,

Vishnu: that pervades everywhere

Vashatkaro: who is of the form of yajna, he who is invoked and for propitiating whom the oblations are poured in Vedic rituals.

Bhoota Bhavya bhavat prabhuhu: who is the Lord of the past, present and future

Bhootakrit: the creator of all

Bhootabrit: nurtures and nourishes all

Bhavo: one who becomes (into moveable and immoveable forms)

Bhootatma: atman of all beings

Bhoota bhavanaha: who creates and multiplies the creatures

 

The Vedas are the in-breathe and out-breathe of the Supreme.

The word “Kavi” is to be found in the Vedas.

Saint poet Purandara Dasa in one of his compositions has sung:

You are all-pervading, you know everything in the world,

Vittala, you who is the unseen Atman within all, support me, you are to my right and to my left, you are in front of me and behind me, you are my family and relatives,

You act as though you do not know anything, he proclaims.

 

The next word in the sloka is:

Puranam:the most ancient

“Adyatana”: the one which is prevailing today

Shwattana: the one which is going to prevail tomorrow

Hestana: the one that prevailed yesterday

Sadatana: the one that is going to prevail at all times

The dharma is “Sadatana” and has four limbs to it:

The Lord is the form of dharma and the four limbs of dharma are: Satya, daya, Tapaha, shoucham. (Truth, Comassion, Austerity and Purity)

He is the Purana Purusha and has been looking after and protecting us from ancient times to this day and will be continuing to do so in the ‘morrow to come.

 

The “Brahma Tatva” (essence of Brahman) is in the form of a “Kavi” who is Sarvajna and  Purana Purusha.

 

The next word is:

Anushasitaram:the ruler, administrator over the entire world. “Shasana” means “to give orders” “Shasta” means he who is able to give orders. The sastras say that without His will not even a blade of grass can move. There is a Telugu saying that without the orders from Shiva, not even the ant can bite.

Narayana Teertha in Krishna Leela Tarangini sings:

Kalaya sakhi sundaram

 bala krishnam kalaya sakhi sundaram

krishnam gata vishaya trishnam

jagat prabha vishnum

surari gana jishnum

sada bala krishnam

kalaya sakhee sundaram.

He is “Prabha Vishnu” which means he is the one who can command over anybody. Without any “Arhata” we cannot command. (“Arhata” is competency.)

Without “adhikara” (post of authority) we cannot do or say anything at any place.

 

Only with adhikara we can:

Adheto Bodha acharana pracharaihi

Adheto Bodha: We must properly study, recollect/understand clearly what we studied/were taught (it is manana and nidhi Dhyasa)

Only then we can put it into practice—“acharana”

“Prachara” is propagating.

Unless we first put into practice what we have studied/were taught we have no right to propagate the same teaching to others is the meaning of this statement.

 

Who is Eeshwara?

Swatmanaha api eeshwaraha:

The Lord (eeshwara) is the lord over himself (eesha). There is no Lord over Him.

 

Other Gods like Indra, Chandra, Yama, Varuna can bestow what is within their capacity.

But, the Lord will give Himself over to those who worship Him with Sraddha, Bhakti and Jnana.

The common feature in all of us is that we would like to show/exhibit our power over others but we do not try to be boss over ourselves. Hence the Lord says in the Gita:

Uddharedatmana—(sloka 5, chapter 6.) To uplift ourselves we must first of all know and understand ourselves.

What are we then?

Sloka 24, chapter 2:

Achedyoyamaddhyoyam, akledyososasya eva cha

Nityaha sarvagataha sthanuhu achaloyam sanatanaha

 

This Self cannot be cut, nor burnt, nor wetted nor dried. It is eternal all-pervading, stable, immovable and everlasting.

Only with this knowledge we can uplift ourselves.

As Sheshashayi, (lying over the thousand headed serpent Adishehsa,) He is actually contemplating about Himself. Similarly, Lord Shiva in meditation at Kailasa, is actually contemplating on Himself.

Every-day we must make it habit of self-analysing ourselves.

We should put this question to ourselves:

Did I conduct like a satpurusha or dushpurusha today? (good or bad person) or did I act like an animal?

Only when we analyse and make corrections in our way of living, we are competent to be “Shasthas” (commanders.) when we learn to be commanders over our mind, we have competency to command over others.

It is a custom to visit the temple of “Lord Shani” and do the circumabulate (pradakshina) clockwise and anti-clockwise directions because we have fear of getting caught by Him and suffer as a consequence.

If we learn to surrender to Him to whom even Lord Shani surrenders to we have greater chance of overcoming the problems in life.

Hence the usage of the word: Anushasitaram.

 

 

Anoraniyamsam:subtlest of the subtle.

Sloka 90, Vishnu Sahasra nama:

Anur bruhat krishaha sthoolo gunabhrin nirguno mahaan

Anuh: subtlest

Brihat:greater than the greatest

Krishaha: lean, subtle, delicate

Sthoolo: the grossest

Gunabhrit: supports all gunas

Nirguno: without any properties

Mahaan: great

 

We consider atom to be the smallest particle and the Lord is even subtler than the atom.

He who is so subtle has pervaded the entire Brahmanda  We use the same superlatives in Sree Lalitha Sahasranama: “Abrahma keeta janani” (the Goddess pervades from the smallest insect to that of Brahma.)

We are alive because of the presence of that atom of the Supreme within us. When Shiva departs from this shareera (body) it becomes a shava (corpse).

Yajur veda: Anter Pravishtuhu shastha jananam: as long as this “shastha” (commander) is inside, we are alive. (susthithi)

 

Shankara in Moha Mudgara:

Yavat pavanoni vasati dehe’ tavat pruchati kushalam gehe’

Gatavati vayo deha paye bharya bhibhyati tasmin kaye:

As long as the life breathe is inside us all relations like wife and others will be near us and as soon as the life breathe departs (jeevatma) from this mortal body, they are not with us anymore. The dearest wife also cannot and will not sit next to the dead body for ever.

As long as the “anu” is within the body, there is life and all the attachment experienced from it.

The presence of gold gives value to the various ornaments. Many a times we do not recognise the gold within the ornament.

As the Paramatma has pervaded the entire universe as “Anu”, we are all living and experiencing the life.

 

“anoraniyana mahato maheemana aprameyana adisidalu yashoda jagadoddharana” says Purandara Dasaru.

He says that Yashoda played with the Lord who uplifted the world and that Lord is the subtlest of the subtle and grossest of the gross.

The Lord came down as Vamana to Emperor Bali and requested for a portion of land that can be occupied by his three steps. Bali asks if the portion of land equal to the space occupied by the three steps is sufficient. In reply Vamana says that he who does not get satisfied with the land occupied by the three steps will not be satisfied even if he is given the three worlds.

The Supreme is both subtlest and the grossest. The reason for dwelling on the subtle form so much is because everything arises only from the subtlest form of the Supreme.

Einstein who gave the relation of energy, mass gave quotation: The atom.: e=mcsquare.

“e” is energy and it is equal to the  Mass into the square of velocity.

We have various forms of energy like solar energy, wind energy, water energy etc. The light is coming out of the bulb because of the collision of the electrons present in it. On this topic he has quoted in his life history with a reference to the Bhagawadgita. The science agrees that there are smaller particles than the atom. The “Akshara” is the smallest particle and is most powerful. It is pervading the 14 lokas. The Brahma Tatva is in the form of the special “Anu”.

 

Sarvasya dhataram:The nourisher and supporter of all.

Sri Krishna once asks his father Nanda as to why they were worshipping Lord Indra?

 Indra is the Lord who holds the post of leader over the devas in heaven.

Even Brahma, the creator is also holding on to the post of office of the creator.

 The life span of Brahma who holds that post is 100years but not the same years we have.100yrs of Brahma is a “Maha Kalpa.” One year of Brahma has 365 days. One day of that year is one kalpa which is equal to 2000 chatur yugas. (1000 chatur yuga for day and 1000 chatur yugas for night) each chatur yugas is made up of four yugas: Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali yugas. Brahma is in the act of creation for 1000 chaturyugas which form one day of his life. He is in sleep in the second half of the day which also lasts for 1000 chatur yugas. The entire world is in darkness during that period.  The period between this day and night is “Naimittika pralaya.” In this long period of Brahma, our stay is a tiny fraction only. It is important that we do some good work during this short period of existence.  It is a good idea to carry out the good deed the moment when it flashes in front of us (samkalpa: resolve)  rather than postponing the act.

The present day of Brahma is “Shweta varaha kalpa”. 432 crore human years is one day of Brahma. At the end of his 100years Brahma gets merged into the lotus and the lotus into the naval of Vishnu. That is one day of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the “dhata” (supporter) of “Vidhata “ (supporter of life, Brahma)

Vishnu does come to those who do call him. But for this to occur, we must know whom to call. Those who think of him at the time of death will surely get blessed by Him and get united with Him, says the Lord in the sloka.

He then recited a very popular keertanas, the meaning of which is: “This great Lord came down to receive and eat the fruit offered by Shabari and to protect the dignity of Droupadi. It is a pity that we do not call him the way Droupadi shouted for help and the way Shabari offered the fruit. He consented to enlighten Udhava with the spiritual knowledge and it is a pity we do not approach Him for enlightenment like the way Uddhava did.

 Do not forget His name at the time of death and do not forget His name at the time of happiness or sorrow.”

We can experience the Bliss even in this life and this is “Jivan Mukti.” Vaikunta and Kailasa are not to be found in a far off land. Both are in this world only. We can experience these when we realise our true nature and His aspect of  “Sat, Chit, Ananda”. This is known as the state of “Paramahamsa”.

 

Achintya roopam:Of inconceivable form.

It means that the moment we think of Him, He can take any form and come in front of us.

In a keertana He is described as the oldest of the old and the newest of the new which is forthcoming. You are there today, you were there yesterday and you will be there tomorrow to come.

 “Ajo’pi Sannavayatma—(sloka 6, chapter 4): Though I am unborn, Imperishable and the Lord (Ishwara) of all beings, the Atma for all, yet subjugating My Prakriti, I come into being by My own Maya

In Lalitha Sahasranama, one of the mantra means that Rajarajeshwari will uplift those who are drowned in the pit of this dirty water of Samsara called Bhava sagara. The Devi is Brahma Vidya Pradayini. (Gives the gift of Brahma Vidya).

Devi mahatmya: The feminine form of the Lord is “Maya” when we visualise Him in “Saguna form”.(imagine Him with a form).

Markandeya Purana: even the Chitta is also made to fall into the clutches of maya. Jnanis are those who know all in relation to a particular field of study. Even Jnanis like Vyasa, Sadashiva Brahmendra were victims of maya for a moment in their lives.

It is said in Srimad Bhagawatham that once Suka Brahma (son of Veda Vyasa) was walking along the banks of a river. His father Vyasa was walking a few steps behind and was shouting “Putra, putra” (son, son) with all the love of a father. Suka who was totally merged in the contemplation of Parabrahman did not hear his father calling. At that time a number of damsels were swimming in that river. Suka passed along that path but the ladies carried on playing in the water of the river. But when Suka passed forward and Vyasa came to that spot, they all ran to cover their modesty. Vyasa asked those ladies: “My son is hardly 16yrs old and is totally naked. I am an old person and fully clothed. Yet, when he passed along you did not feel shy but as soon as I approached you are feeling shy. Shy?”

They replied that Suka was beyond the clutches of “Dwandwas” (pairs of opposites like happiness, sorrow, pain, pleasures etc) and hence was a true jnani.

The two, namely, Suka Brahma and Sri Krishna are both the same and not different people. In the guise of Jnanis, Sri krishna takes the avataras on this earth. Or, in the form of His choice, using the Maya as His tool, He takes the birth (incarnates) eon after eon to protect the righteous, uphold Dharma and uproot the evil. (sloka 7, chapter 4). Incarnations as Rama, Krishna and many more are for this purpose only.

Jaya Deva says that all the 10 avataras of Lord Vishnu were for the same reason.

 

Aditya varnam tamasaha parastat:Luminous like the sun and beyond darkness.

Vedantameham purusham mahanta, Adityavarnam tamasastu pare, Sarvani roopani vichitya dheeraha;  says the Purusha sooktam.

Sadashiva Brahmendra says:

 Manasa sancharare,

brahmani manasa sancharare,

ada shikhi pincha alankrita chikure,

 mahaniya Kapola vijitha mukhare,

 manasa sancharare

in front of his luminosity, even the mirror gets defeated as it cannot truly reflect His luminosity. The crown of the Lord is brighter than the luminosity of the sun.

Those who recollect him thus, understand that His luminosity is beyond all the known luminous objects including the sun, the entire loka gets illumined by Him:

 

Brihadaranyaka Upanisad:

na tatra suryaso bhasi, tasya bhasa sarvam idam:

With His luminosity, the entire world is illumined.

Without His luminosity, nothing in this world gets illumined.

Thus the eight qualities of Brahma Tatva have been put forward in this sloka.

 

We decorate the Nirguna Brahma after making Him Saguna Brahma through the process of images of Him.

As the image of the Lord gets on more beautiful as one carries on doing the alamkara (decoration),

we who are His images (prati bimba) keep on getting illumined like Him with the knowledge of the Supreme.

Shankara Bhagawatpada says:

cheto bringha brahmati

vrita Bhava maru bhoomou

virasayaam bhaja

bhaja lakshmi Narasimha —-.

By doing the chinta on the reflection, we automatically get illumined like him.

Sastras say:

Om ityekaksharam

nama iti dwe akshare

 narayana eti panchaksharani.

On the other hand, we who have taken birth into this world do not recollect Him as such but we keep on recollecting and repeating worlds like tea, coffee etc.

Those who at all times contemplate on the superior “Omkara” and the divya tatva, especially at the time of:

Prayana kale manasa chalena(and rest of sloka 10):

Those who meditate on Him at the time of travel in the form described so far as kavi etc are real Jnanis. They have come out of tamas (ajnana, ignorance) Ajnana is a big hell and to come out of this hell, we have to surrender to the Lord. True sharanagati (surrender) does receive the grace of the Lord.

The confirmation of this promise is given in sloka 22, chapter 9,:

Ananyas chintanto maam –.

Sree Rama has also given such promise.

Purandara Dasa says:

Innoo daya barade dasana mele

pannaga shayana parama Purusha

hari ye innoo dayabarade—.

Have you no compassion on this servant, I who have out of ignorance gone through so many births and has now realised your true nature.

 

He who, through the practice of Ashtanga yoga, having gone through the stages of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi and Samyama and having entered into Nirvikalpa samadhi state, remains in that state at the time of death, reaches The Supreme.

 

“Tam Eva Adi Purusham Upaiti”: such an eternal Purusha, the seeker will enter into.

The same statement reverberates in the keertanas of Purandara Dasaru:

adhara modalada aru chakra sodhisi

bidabeku ishana mooru sadhisi

shumna eru

alli bhedisi nee parabrahma seru.

drop the six wheels like dependence etc, achieve victory over women, wealth and wine, reach the height of sushumna and join the Isha.

The “Ajna Chakra, at the top of our head. On the eight petalled Lotus He is sitting on:

 In this spot is His triangle. The atma Shakti of the yogi, through the process of dhyana, reaches this spot. It unites with the light of the Atman. In the short period of our existence on this earth let us therefore practice the art of equanimity towards the opposites like sukha, dukha, pains and pleasures and victory, defeat.

Please do not get the meaning of the word “at the time” as reaching ripe old age. Learn to control your senses from young age. Develop the Bhakti on the Lord from childhood. We are sure to reach the abode of the Supreme who is of the form of “Akshara Parabrahman.”

 

Kulasekhara Alwar, in the Mukunda Mala says that if kapha, vata, pitta reach the throat, what chance we have of reaching him?

Sri Krishna says: jnani tu mamaeva me’ matam

He who understands the eight qualities enumerated in sloka 9 and meditates on them, at the time of death reaches the Supreme. “Akshara” and “Supreme Parabrahman” are one and the same. Let us climb the three steps “Sameepya, Saroopya, Sayujya” and unite with Him and attain Moksha in this life itself.

Sameepya: (approaching). Realising that there is God, the all-protector, the friend in need is the first step and this is Sameepya.

Sarupya: (to be seen) it is coming face to face with the object of devotion. The object of devotion is right in front.

Sayujya: (to enter into) entering into the object of devotion totally. It is attaining unity with the Lord. There are now no more two entities. It is only Parabrahman, the all pervading, Omniscient and Omnipotent.

Let us therefore think of Him constantly, develop the knowledge of the Supreme and surrender to Him totally. Let us say “Daso’ham”: I am your servant, My Lord. Following this procedure, let us become eligible to receive the essence of the teaching of the sacred text, “So’ham” (I am no other than You as I am not existent)