Day 339 | 16 December 2015 | Camp at Varanasi | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Satsang on Upanishads - Hotel Diamond Palace Varanasi
  • Welcome at Dr Rajendra Prasad Ghat immediately after the Ganga Cleaning Drive -Varanasi
  • Sri M's humble yet powerful message to all - Dr Rajendra Prasad Ghat Varanasi
  • Our own Ganga Aarati - Dr Rajendra Prasad Ghat Varanasi
  • Sri M addressing Padayatris, BHU students and the public at Dr Rajendra Prasad Ghat - Varanasi
Though a rest day for the Walk, the day's activities began at 11 am with the launch of two new DVDs: ‘Vedanta Talks’ and ‘What Upanishad Means to Me’. The launch was followed by a brief talk on the Upanishads by Sri M.

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The group then moved to Ramakrishna Seva Ashram for lunch. Sri M then addressed the padyaatris and the inmates of the ashram. Sri M said that Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji have been his inspiration since school days and that this walk pales in comparison with the work done by Swamiji more than a 100 years ago. He also shared his thoughts on how all those associated with Ramakrishna Mission share one thing in common, that they are always quiet about the progress they've made in the spiritual field. The Ganga Cleaning drive was done by the padyaatris along with the students of Banaras Hindu University at Rajendra Prasad Ghat. This ensured the work was done faster. Sri M addressed the padyaatris and the students of BHU at the end of the cleaning drive. The Ganga Arati followed shortly thereafter. Address at Hotel Diamond, Benaras at the DVD & CD release event: “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī guravenamah (Which) pervades the entire unbroken form of the circle (of creation), moving and unmoving. To that beautiful and benevolent Guru through whom that state was revealed (to me), salutations. ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena, tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ My Salutations to that reverential teacher, who opened my eyes, by applying the divine collyrium of self-knowledge in my eyes, which had got blinded by the cataract of ignorance Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara Gurur Sakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shree Guruvey Namaha The Guru is Brahma (The creator), Lord Vishnu(The preserver, and Lord Shiva (the destroyer) To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu May all beings everywhere, be free from suffering Har Har Mahadev Each and every being is Shiva” “Angrezi mein boloon? ( May I speak in English?)” “Bahut saare log hain jo Hindi nahin jaanate. Main to bol loonga. (There are many people here who do not understand Hindi... I can speak.)” In Hindi, “First of all, I would like to thank the owners of The Diamond Hotel and the people who have helped with the arrangements of this function and who have welcomed us to The Diamond. Diamond is also known as Vajra. First of all, I thank you all... Where is Madam? Thank you very much.” (Applause by the audience). “My Namashkaars to all of you. If there are any people from the Sikh faith, I greet them with Sat Sri Akaal. And to any Muslim brethren present, I offer my Salaam.” “Now, I’m shifting to English.” “This is an informal Satsang because no subject has been decided, which is wonderful. Because usually, we as human beings, are caught up in too many subjects. There is an expression, subject matter. Usually the matter is forgotten and only the subject is discussed. So it’s a good thing that we have a ‘free’ Satsang today where I can share what I like, you can disagree or agree, listen or not listen, be happy or unhappy.” “Now, just now, we released the CD which is about the Upanishad. There is one about the Upanishads, I think (titled), ‘What Upanishads mean to me’. So, let’s look at the guiding points and then do some research. First of all, let me introduce the word ‘Upanishad’. First you must remember, I’m sure most of you know that traditionally, the Vedas, the most ancient literature on metaphysics, religion, mysticism and wisdom - I think the world’s oldest literature was never codified or put into any structure till the time of Veda Vyas. Even the time of Veda Vyas runs into almost pre-history. Of course, the great Vyasa - in fact, the word Vyasa in Sanskrit simply means ‘compiler’. He is called Veda Vyas because he compiled the Vedas. So, he is Veda Vyas. See, we get confused, because, unfortunately, people have decided that Sanskrit is a dead language. I’m sure it’s not so in Varanasi, thank God. So, Veda Vyas was the one who codified, collected the wisdom, collective wisdom of the great Indian Rishis ( wise men) and then separated them into four parts and made the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda, the four Vedas. Each has it’s own importance, the Rig Veda being the oldest." “Now, when there is a Veda, there is always a complementary or a commentary or an attached scripture to it, called the Brahmanas. So, first, you have the Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. And at the end of each Veda, there is a whole subject called the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas were compiled (Addressing a guest - aap saamne aa jaayein (Please come to the front.) Mahendar wo kapda utha do (Mahendar, please remove that cloth). So.. as I, sorry we started I said, so the Vedas were divided into four by Veda Vyasa and each body of literature which is now called Samhita. When you say Vedas, it is not just the Samhita portion. There are many sections of the Vedas. The first part is the Samhita.” “The second part which describes, what to do, how to do, how to go about life, how to bring about what is written in the Vedas, in the Samhita portions into daily life is called the Brahmanas, that body of literature. And the next section is what is called the Aranyaka. The Aranyaka section is the third section of the Vedas but everything inclusive, included is called the Vedas. Now, the Aranyaka, from the word, as the word indicates, was something that was studied in the forests. Aranya is a forest. So, this… or that portion of the Samhitas and the Brahmanas which were studied in the ancient forest academy, where the Rishis sat with his students and shared his knowledge with them. So, therefore, those were the days where there were no microphones and loudspeakers. So, they are called ‘rahasya’ . These were things which were discussed in secret with the students – not broadcast. Today, we are broadcasting. In those days, people, I think were afraid of broadcasts. Not afraid but they thought that universal truths need to be discussed individually with the students. Which is why the ancient shloka ‘Saha Nau-Avatu, Saha Nau Bhunaktu, Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai’ , which means May both of us together, understand the essential truth which has been expressed.” “Now, from Aranyaka, if you go further up, you'll see that it kind of merges into the subject, this body of literature called The Upanishad. So the Upanishad, being the last part of the Vedas. And you see, I want to talk about this subject because we are in the centre of Varanasi, which is a city where Vyasa himself is supposed to have sat and done his work on the other bank, on the other side of where the ghats (banks of the river) are ... It is also a pertinent subject here because this is also the city of Shiva, Mahadev, that they call it Mahadev Nagari. We are sitting here and it’s important that we understand the meaning of the word Shivam which does not mean just the form but beyond. So, the Upanishads form the last part of the body of literature called the Vedas. Because they are at the end of the Vedic teaching, they are called Vedanta. That’s the reason why they are called Vedanta, ‘anta’ means end. So, they come at the end of the Vedas, of the Samhita, Brahmanas and the Aranyaka, therefore, they are called Vedanta.” “The other reason why Upanishads are called Vedanta, it’s because it is understood that once the secrets of the Upanishads are understood, which of course, in one way, it’s very simple and the other way, it’s not so simple, because we have ceased to be simple. We are too complicated. When I say ‘we’, I include myself. So, therefore, Vedanta also means when you have understood what the Upanishad teaches, there is nothing more to study; which is another way of putting that you cannot find the ultimate Truth through study but only through intuition. So, therefore, so, all this that I am saying, you may not find in the CD because, everyday I am new about these matters. So, therefore it is called Vedanta.” “Now the word, Upanishad. Why is it called the Upanishad?. This has to be looked into. Actually, it consists of three syllables, Upa, Ni and Shad – Upanishad. Upa, the first word means, to be close, (he spells it out) close. Not closed. Not close but intimate - to be very close to each other. Upa means close. Which is why, when you fast, people say ‘upavasa’ which means.. vasa means move into; upa means the higher; To be close to That which is the Highest. This is why it is called Upavasa. So, Upa means close. Now this has many meanings.” “Sanskrit is an ancient language. One word has several meanings. Upa could mean, that in the forest academy, the Rishi : the teacher and the student, sat close to each other and discussed intimately, not that there were many people; that is a broadcasting system. You sit close to each other and you discuss the matter together. This togetherness is greatly appreciated in the Vedas.” “In the Rig Veda, comes the shloka, ‘Sangchhadhwam Samvadadwam Samvomanamsi Janatam’. May we put our minds… May we walk together, Maybe our Walk of Hope isSangchhadhwam, from which the Buddhists found, Buddham sharanam gachhami, Let us walk with The Buddha, let us surrender to Buddha, let’s walk, move towards Buddha. Sanvadadhwam, with our minds together, put together, may we study. Samvomanamsi Janatam,with our minds put together, may we understand. So, therefore, Upa means, that the teacher and the taught, the Rishi and the shishya (student) together, are examining certain aspects of the world, to figure out the ultimate Truth, and therefore they are together in it and sitting close to each other. Now, close to each other also means, not just physically close to each other;” With a touch of humour, he continued, “Physically close to each other, on a summer day in the afternoon, without a deodorant maybe difficult. But close, meaning that our minds are together. Some people think to be close together means to give you a hug. God forbid if he’s not had a bath. But what it means actually, to be close to each other means that the minds are close to each other. Which means, your mind and my mind, I am figuratively using this expression, actually the Rishi’s mind and the student’s mind are in rapport with each other. That’s what is meant by Upa: To be close - in rapport with each other. When the minds’ frequencies are in rapport with each other, then many things can be understood even without speaking words. In fact, the Upanishads themselves are on record ‘Yad vaacha anabhyuditam yena vaak abhyudhate’ - that which words cannot explain but which form the basis of the formation of words. So, the question of bringing the minds together, so that one is at the same wavelength, or a similar wavelength - it can’t be the same, similar wavelength as the teacher, so that when the teacher passes on the information or experience, it goes seamlessly into the student. That is the meaning of Upa.” “Don’t think I am speaking anything original. This is what I learnt from Maheshwarnath Baba ji, my Guru and like Jesus Christ said, its only old wine in new bottle.” “So, Upa, then we have Upanishad. ‘Shad’. Let’s leave the ‘ni’ for some time, because its a connecting word, connecting syllable. Shad means, literally it means Sit. 'Sit down', shad – sitting down. So, naturally, when the teacher and the student sat together... they did’nt stand together and talk. In fact, in ancient times, they didn’t even stand together and eat, they sat and ate, which is why it digested properly. Here, in fast food times, you have to stand eat and push. If you sit and eat, eating itself is quite a different matter altogether. And to study, you have to sit. If sitting was not required for studying, classrooms wouldn’t have benches. Everybody would stand and… You sit down. So shad means, physically to sit. It also means that the mind has to settle down. You can sit physically here, but if your mind is not settled, one will not hear anything that is being said. Imagine, you left your car in a non-parking zone and you are sitting here. Suppose. Where’s your mind? Which policeman is going to pick up my car? You cannot settle down. So, shad means, to actually allow the mind settle down.” “So, when the mind settles… Now, Adi Shankaracharya, while interpreting the word shad, used another meaning for it. Because Sanskrit, as I said to you, all words have different meanings. He referred the word shad to shake up. That’s also one of the meanings - to shake up. So what does shake up mean? To shake us up from the sleep of ignorance. To shake us up from our ordinary modes of thought and existence. To shake us up from the imaginary structures that we give to truth. Basically, it means to wake us up. Utthistha Jagrat... Wake up. Stand up. So, shad also means that. “I give more importance, because that’s what Baba ji gave more importance to - to shaking up our established patterns of thought, to see that there are other ways of thinking, and other ways of going out. Which means in this matter of the Upanishad, 1 + 1 may not mean 2 as in arithmetic, it could be 6 or 10! Which of course, it’s not possible if you look at it arithmetically as we know. But you know, that in modern Newtonian physics, where all laws are laid down, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction and all that. So we know, haan...ya...this is this. Enter the world of Quantum physics, everything becomes uncertain. Now, entering of the physicist into Quantum physics, it’s like entering into an unchartered territory where nobody knows what exactly happens. In fact, much of Quantum physics is ruled by the word - The Theory of Uncertainty. Here, we were thinking that to succeed or to move forward we have to be certain. Here is somebody saying that as you go closer and closer to the reality, everything is uncertain. And uncertainty is wonderful actually, even psychologically. People like to be certain, but it’s very good to be uncertain. It’s beautiful. Look at Bholenath, what certainty?” “One day I was travelling in an autorickshaw here so I asked one of the auto driver, abhi toh government badal rahaa hai, (the government is changing now), I have nothing against the government. Badal rahaa hai to kya hoga, kuch pharak padega? Usne kaha ki Sahab, aise hai, Bholenath to bhangi hain. Hum sab bande hain. Hota kya hai? Hum araam se bathe hain. Shaant baithe hain. Koi kuch nahi karega asal mein (I asked him whether the change in government would make any difference? He answered that Bholenath is watching and all of us are sitting quietly. Who are we to do or say anything). I am not saying we should be like that. We have to move forward. What I mean, that the attitude that action may solve all problems; May not. We have to understand other modes of existence, other modes of understanding than this here to there.” “See, usually we think in a very linear manner. We think okay, Truth is here and I am here and l have to move towards the Truth. So, there is a linear journey. What do you do to a Truth which is not ‘there' but ‘everywhere'. How will you move? The Upanishad says – Tad doore, tad vadantike; One of our friends keeps repeating that, because she’s walking with us and I am never talking to her. Tad doore, tad vadantike –it’s so far and yet so near. So when something is all pervading, how do we move from here to there because it is also here. What do you do? So, you have to change your modes of thought. Linear thinking has to go. In computer language you say - fuzzy logic. Similar to that. Something close. Not that of course. I still don’t know how to have a Facebook or a Twitter account, so I don’t know how that works. So, this is shad. First it means to settle down, let the mind settle down. When the mind settles down, half the problem is solved. What the Upanishads are trying to teach is already done if the mind is totally settled down. But it is an attempt to settle the mind and to shake up our ordinary mode of thought, to go to undefined territory.” “Then, there is the middle word, the syllable which connects the two, upa and shad together, upa ni shad. That ni, it’s a term that indicates the connection between the teacher and the taught. Physically, this is ideal, the teacher is here and you are sitting down. You know the Hindi word Neeche comes from the word ni, down. But actually, it makes no sense. I can also sit down. What makes sense, is that to learn, one has to start with the understanding that one doesn’t know. If one starts with the understanding that one knows, nothing can be learnt. Yes, you can hear. But there’s a great difference between hearing and listening. To listen, you have to keep away all your old learnings and say this is fresh and new. Can I learn something? This is the meaning of the word ni. That means that the receiver is empty to receive, and at lower level, so that what is given will be received. You see that even in ordinary physical matters, if you have to pour something from one vessel to the other, you have to keep the other vessel down. You can’t pour like this (demonstrates). And two, the vessel into which you are pouring has to be empty. Otherwise, there is no space.” “Now before I go into that, I would like to.. I think if you understand the word Upanishad, then you don’t have to go too much into the Upanishads proper. I’d like to tell you a little story, about emptiness and how important it is. In fact, the Buddhists call the ultimate truth –Shoonya. We call it… The Vedantin calls it Brahman, Parabrahman and Poorna. The Buddhists call it Shoonya. Shoonya doesn't mean that there is nothing. Nobody works hard all one’s lives to come to nothingness. The Buddhists have more common sense than that. Shoonya means that which cannot be explained through our norms and conditions, and expressions and definition… And for that, you have to have an empty vessel. So, I will tell you a story.” “There was a very learned professor, please, I have nothing against professors. A very learned professor, who wanted to learn Zen. So he went to a Zen Master. He said to him, ‘Master, I need to learn Zen, I want to experience Satori’ . Satori, in Japanese, in Zen Budhhism, is equivalent to saying ‘I want to attain Moksha’ - Freedom. I want to attain Satori. In Yogic terminology - Kaivalya - Freedom. He went to the Master and said, I want to attain Satori, I need to learn Zen. Please do something. Master said, ‘Satori, Zen aside, let’s have a cup of tea’. So, the Master went and prepared a cup of tea, a kettle full of tea and brought it out. And this man was wondering - What is this response from this man? I am asking him for something so lofty, so spiritual - Satori, and he wants to drink a cup of tea! Zen Masters are famous for... they can change their moods very fast , And he thought, If I don’t sit down, I may get a kick on my butt, so he sat down quietly. You know, like our Avadhootas (Mystic Saints). Instead of teaching, give a shot! So, he sat down. The Master put the cup on the table and brought the kettle of tea and started pouring. He poured. Our man was waiting. The cup became full. He continued to pour the tea.. Slowly, the tea started trickling down the sides of the cup on to the table cloth and down. For few minutes, he could keep quiet. Then very intelligently, he shouted. He said. ‘Sir, the cup is overflowing’! Then the Master stopped pouring. He told the Professor, ‘Sir, your cup is overflowing. How can I give you Zen? You are already so full of material that if I put Zen, that will also come out’. This is the meaning of the word ni, where you listen to the Rishi, not to me… with the attitude that you do not know. That I want to learn, my mind is open. So, there is space. You need space. Because, these are things which cannot be, in conventional terms explained, even words fail. Yad vaacha anabhyuditam - even the mind, ordinary mind cannot touch it. And Manasa na manyute -Upanishads.” “In fact, there is a story that when Adi Shankaracharya was walking, in some part of Karnataka, he came across a family who had this little child who was already 6 - 7 years old and refused to say a single word. They thought he's dumb. So, they came to him and said, you are a great yogi, a saint. So, maybe if you put your hand on his head and bless him, he may start talking. Please come. So they took him home. Shankara saw a small boy, 6 - 7 year old boy sitting in a corner… like that… So, he went there and he said, Why don’t you talk? Straight. For the first time the boy spoke. and he said, ‘about what’? (Sri M laughs and the audience join him in his laughter). And then the boy said, ‘What I talk, is always the false because the truth cannot be expressed in words. So, I prefer to keep quiet’. Shankara named him Hastamalaka. He was his first disciple, Hastamalaka. Which means, one who kept the truth, like an amalaka (indian gooseberry) fruit in the fist of his hand. Hasta – Amalaka. This is the meaning of the Upanishad. So you see, on one hand, it is so simple, because what you seek is already here. But on the other hand, it is not so simple, but you don’t see that it is here. Why? Because ‘I’ am there always, preventing ‘That’ from being seen. It is ‘Me’ that interferes, not’ That'. So, this is the Upanishad.” “Now, to give roughly an idea of what Upanishads could be dealing with - to take a concrete example, I would like to go into, little bit into a very small Upanishad. It is in fact the smallest Upanishad. It has only 12 verses, just 12 verses. And in these 12 verses, the essence of the Upanishad is explained in simple words. It’s called The Mandukya Upanishad. Now, people wonder why an Upanishad should be called Mandukya, because Mandukya means a frog. Manduk! People have explained saying there was a Rishi called Mandukya, frog. Don’t believe (these) things - no Rishi called Mandukya, frog. And also, none of the Rishis who wrote, who discussed the Upanishads ever used their name, usually (remained) anonymous. In fact, when the Rishis refer to any wisdom, instead of saying, ‘I am saying so’ - So, I don’t think any Rishi worth his name, had any ‘I’ left inside. Iti shushruma purvesham ,This is what the sages of the ancient times have said. They did’nt even give credit to themselves. So, what did I say? Haan (yes)... So, I had this discussion with my Guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji – Why an Upanishad is a Manduk? He gave me one or two explanations which I have accepted – not that it is important why it is named so. He said, for one thing, the most common creature that we know of, which lives both on water and on land, I’m is a frog. He said, that a Rishi who has understood the truth is one who can live there and live here at the same time. He may be living in this world but his mind is centered out there. He can function. People wonder if it's possible? It is possible. The other reason is, that when the frog is very small, it has a tail, like a tadpole with a tail. When a person is a student, a brahmachari, or a brahmacharin he has a small 'shikha' on his head. When it is removed, you take sanyaas (stage of renunciation). Same way, when a tadpole’s tail falls off and it becomes a full fledged frog, ready to move in the water as well as on the land. Two. And three, frog is a very strange looking creature. It’s a very funny looking creature. I don’t want to use the word ‘ugly’ but it’s a very strange creature. So the truth is, that Truth can come from anything, don’t look at the shape of the one who gives you the Truth. Don’t respect a teacher because he is good looking or has a long nose. For all you know you may have a completely flat nose. Soordas did’nt have eyes. Can you say he did’nt see? If Soordas is here and I am sitting here, I would say he sees more than I see, even if I have eyes. So, it’s not important from which form, or from whom it comes, but what comes out. The subject, what is the essence of the teaching, that is more important than the form.” “Anyway, so, this Mandukya Upanishad, the 12 verses is so important, that Gaudapada, the grand Guru of Adi Shankara, wrote a voluminous commentary on it. After him, Shankara wrote a Karika (commentary) on it, which runs again into several pages - and it has only 12 verses. So, if we examine this a little bit, we will get to know what the Upanishads deal with.” “Mandukya Upanishad starts with the description of the sacred syllable ‘OM’. And splits the syllable into three... splits Om into three syllables - Aa, Uu and Ma. Now the normal definition for Aa, Uu and Ma is A standing for creation, Brahma, originating of something , the origin of something. And U stands for the preservation of that which has been created and Ma, mmm, standing for destruction of that which has been created... Which means that the whole cycle of creation, preservation and destruction which somebody defined as G-O-D, generating, operating and destroying. Now, this cycle is, we see everywhere, so Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. We have a Trinity in every word. Now, destruction is very essential because without destroying the whole, nothing new can come about ... Very important. And that’s what we run away from all the time. The moment we see ourselves moving towards old age and destruction, we try to run away from it in different ways… It is inevitable. I am not saying we should plunge into it, it’s a natural process, inevitable... We move towards it. And destruction, without destruction, nothing new can come. Imagine, from a thousand years, all the people living from then, staying here all the time, living here. Is it possible to do? There won’t even be space to sit here or to move about. So the old goes and the new comes. It happens. We are so stuck to the old that we don’t want the old to go away. Therefore, we successfully prevent the new from coming.... Especially this is so, when somebody sits in the position of power, we usually apply Fevicol on the seat and sit down… You cannot even pull them out. So, but, nature always moves - there is creation, there is preservation, there is destruction.” “But, the Mandukya Upanishad, defines OM in a different way. Very interesting. It does not say it tn usual way of creation, preservation and destruction - Srishti samhaara. It says OM, again divided into three syllables. 'A' the word, the sound Aa (phonetic) represents something which is common to all living beings, it is what is so important, that the Upanishad is a universal literature, it is nothing to do with you or me or this or that, it’s what applies to all humanity, in totality. ‘A’ means, according to the Mandukya, the sound ‘A’ represents, the waking state of existence, which we all know. I am sure you’ll know what is waking state of existence. I hope we are awake. Or am I too boring? Waking state of experience is common to all living beings including humans... I am sure everybody knows what is waking state. And then, in the waking state, there are two things possible, we may be awake with our eyes open but the minds may still be closed, that’s a different matter. Let’s not discuss that. So, waking state is ‘A’ because it is the first normal sound that comes. When you wake up, even before you can form a word, easy for anyone to say ‘Aa’. Usually many people wake up like that, ‘Aaaah’ (stretching out his arms). The next sound ‘U’… So it's called jagrata avastha (waking state). ‘A’ is jagrata avastha. ‘U’ (phonetically as in oo), is called the swapna avastha. It’s also called tejasa. That means, state of dreams, when we dream. It’s also very important. Many of us cannot survive if there are no dreams. What we don't experience in the ordinary world, sometimes we experience in dreams. It’s a dream that completes our life. It’s called tejasa, because, even though we dream in darkness, total darkness inside, with our eyes closed, we see that the dreams as fully illumined, in light. We don’t see dark dreams, they are all illumined. So, its called tejasa... that is illumined, bright light.” “The second stage is stage two, swapna, tejasa - the dream state. This is also common to all human beings. In fact, it’s so real, that very often, when we wake up from a dream, suppose in the dream, we are chased by a tiger, there are no tigers in Florida, but you’re chased by a tiger. What happens when you wake up? You wake up, the first response, reaction is to look whether it is still there and then you are still sweating and the heart is still beating hard. Because it’s so real at that time. So, very often what we can’t do in the waking state, we do during the sleep state also. This satisfies us. But, don’t say whether its an illusionary state because when we wake up we don’t see it. Sorry, when you are actually dreaming…it’s very real. When you wake up, it’s an illusion. Yes. You think this is not real. Not so when you are dreaming. But this is also common to all human beings.” “Then the ‘M’, the ‘um’ sound, when you say Om… If you have to utter a new word, you have to open your mouth again. So it’s finished for the time being. Om... That represents - Sushupti. In the Upanishad it is called Sushupti. Which means, deep, dreamless sleep. This is also common to us, although its rare. Where you know nothing. The outside world doesn’t exist. Since you are not dreaming, the inside world doesn’t exist. You have no outward cognition, no inward cognition. You don’t know where you are. In fact, you don’t know who you are? In fact you don’t know where you are, who you are. Because you don’t know who you are, you have no problem. When you get up, you are rejuvenated because for the time being you’ve forgotten who you are. When you are awake, if somebody comes into your room and doesn’t say Namaskar, you get agitated. When you are asleep, who cares? One doesn’t even know if one exists. One doesn’t know one exists, one has no idea who one is! Normally if you insult somebody they’ll say, ‘who do you think I am’? And who? Nobody is there. Which is why, deep sleep is essential for all human beings to rejuvenate, because at least temporarily, you have set your ego aside. No reaction! There can be a flood, there can be… I‘m not saying you should… I’m just looking at the state. Why dp some people die in their sleep? Because they’re suffocated by the smoke inside. But they are not aware. They’re gone. They know nothing about the world or the smoke or the fire as nothing exists for the time being. But, it’s not that nothing exists! Something exists. Why? Even though you are not aware when you’re deep asleep, when you wake up, usually you say, Ha! What a blissful sleep it was. How nice!. In fact, you don’t want to wake up. Half way through, you are still enjoying it. There is a state, when you are half awake and you don’t want to get up. You roll back into bed and sleep. That is the most blissful because then, you also kind of enjoy that which you never knew what was! That is the proof, that you were in that state, when you didn’t even recognize who you are or what your ego is. There is a witness which is enjoying.” “Then the Upanishads say, ‘When you say Om, its like the ringing of a bell’. (Chants)… Om... When you write Om, on top you put a crescent and a small dot up. That’s called ardhmatra. It continues silently like a vibration. (Chants)…Om... That ardhmatra, represents what the Upanishads called as Turiya, which is the aim of the student of the Upanishad to discover. And what isTuriya? Very difficult to define Turiya, because Turiya means... Its not because the Rishis didn’t know about it, that he said, “No. I can’t define it". In fact the Rishis confess: ‘Na vidmo na vijanimo yatha etat anushishyat.’ - I don’t know how to explain this to you. The thing is, it’s as if all the parameters of deep sleep are there. All the parameters of deep sleep are there and yet, there is an awareness. Now this is not possible to conceive. Because either you are in deep sleep or you were aware. Conceive of this imaginary situation for the time being... of this bliss of deep sleep where you don’t know that you are so and so. But you exist of course. It is - you are aware of it. Then you realize that in fact, everything is Ok! That all pervading Truth is everywhere. In pain, in pleasure, in praise..” “Gita defines it as, “ tulya ninda stutir mouni ". Ninda mein ya stuti mien, agar tulya samajh sakta hai, then that person’s mind is under what is ‘Turiya’. (equanimity in praise and criticism) . And, it’s not as if it’s far away. Not as if you have to learn everything to understand it! In fact, in the Mundaka Upanishad, the student asks the teacher a question. ‘You said there is para vidya and apara vidya which means the higher knowledge and the lower knowledge. Please explain to me, what is higher knowledge and what is lower knowledge? What is para vidya and what is apara vidya?’ Beautiful. The list of lower knowledge, very interesting to read. The list of lower knowledge starts like this – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Saam Veda, Atharva Ved… That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the Rig Veda. So what they are trying to say. So the disciple says, ‘If all this is lower knowledge, what is higher knowledge’? Rishi says, ‘that which leads you to the Truth’. Which means, even after studying all this, if it doesn’t lead you to the Truth, it’s still lower knowledge and not the higher knowledge. So I told you a small sample of what an Upanishad is. And then as all Upanishads do, in the end there is a practical description of saying how Om can be used in meditation to touch Turiya. You use Om as an arrow and shoot… That’s a sadhana (spiritual practice)- How to use Om. So, since I think most of us are in Turiya by now, so I want to stop the session. I just wanted to evoke… certain understanding of what the Upanishads stands for us. It is eternal and not something that was studied today and yesterday or ten years ago.” “Before I wind up this particular session, I want to tell you something very interesting. You know, there was a time when the Upanishads were so closely guarded in this country that very few people had access to the Upanishads. Because it was considered sacred and not to be taught to everybody for certain reasons. It’s like, if you understand that you are a part of the all pervading divinity, you also become so powerful and strong. Imagine a person who does not have the morality to understand goodness from badness or something like... It is a distraction for them to hand over the entire knowledge of the Supreme to that person would be dangerous. It’s like today's situation where we have atomic energy, and we have so many people sitting, who can press the button at any time. What would happen to the world? So it was closely guarded. However, time changed when the human race had evolved, to be able to generally understand the Upanishads. The person who was responsible for that, you would be very surprised! I don’t know, some of them might not.” “Aurangzeb had an unfortunate elder brother, who was killed, murdered practically by royal order. His name was Dara Shikoh. Every year I go for the Dara Shikoh conference in Srinagar. I haven’t gone for the last two years. Dara Shikoh was the eldest son of Jehangir - No Shahjehan sorry. And he was a great scholar of all the texts of most of the religions. He also happened to be a Krishna bhakt (devotee). He had a Guru who was a Sufi, he had a Guru who was a Hindu. And Dara Shikoh, decided that this wonderful body of literature called Upanishads - the world has to see it. He was fascinated by it. So if you go to Kashmir, beyond the Dal lake, you see a place called Pari Mahal. It was once upon a time used by the Buddhists. There were Buddhist monks living there. There’s a small niche in the form of a rock where they used to light a thousand lamps. It was called Pari Mahal - the place, palace of fairies - pari. He gathered a whole body of scholars, in Persian, in Sanskrit, in Arabic, in Upanishads, in Vedas, all together in one place and spent several months, translating the Upanishads and other literature, the Gita, into Persian. I think also Arabic. Franc might know. He says he’s an expert on it. So he tried to translate/read it. So the first Persian translation of the Upanishads went to Greece, where Greek scholars, who knew Persian, because Persian was by then a big language, very important to be read. “ “They studied it and suddenly realized that this country where they thought people were wearing loin cloths and walking along like savages had so much wisdom to offer to the world. They had never seen anything like that. So they translated it into Greek. So the first Greek translation of the Upanishads was done by someone called Duperron. It was called the Upanikhad. It was that Greek translation which travelled all over the world, because then Greek was a classic language. It was the language of intelligence and culture.” “So there in the western world came the awareness about something called the Upanishads. It’s tragic that Dara Shikoh had/was beheaded by Aurangzeb. And being an ambitious to usurp the throne, he gives precisely the excuse that this man is now become a turncoat. He has become a Hindu. So there is no harm in killing him. So who knows what fate awaits us.” “So this is… I will take time to tell you the essence of this ancient train of thought called Upanishads There’s much more in this ancient Indian civilization. Here I wanted to do this in Benaras because this is the centre of Shiva and so many scholars, so many great saints have come here. And where you actually go with an open mind to Bholenath, then you also drop everything and there is only that awareness called Turiya.” “Har Har Mahadev” “Thank you very much.”

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  1. Amazing. Thank you so much for all these reports. Really grateful.

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