atmanyabheden vibhavayannidam bhavatyabheden mayatmana tada yatha jalam varinidhau yatha payah ksire viyadvyomnyanile yathanilah.
Just as when water is poured into the ocean, as milk is poured into milk, as space is merged into space, as air is merged into air to mingle together and become one indistinguishable sameness, so, too, when the seeker contemplates upon this world of plurality as identical in essence with the Self, he comes to realize and live his total oneness with Me, the Self.
In the seat of meditation, through intense contemplation, the seeker persuades his individualized self to entirely drop all its identifications with the body-mind-intellect. He then effortlessly glides into the higher state of Conciousness and becomes indistinguishably one with it. When a river reaches the ocean, it loses both its name and form and becomes one with all the oceans around the world.
To vividly portray this total Oneness, Sri Rama repeatedly employs the classical examples that one meets with in the Vedantic tradition. When water is poured into the ocean, you cannot, later on, remove that specific sample of water, as it has merged completely with the oceanic waters. After a cup of milk is poured into a bucket of milk, that specific cup of milk can then no longer be separated from the total quantity of milk in the bucket. When a jar is broken, the space contained in the jar immediately and irretrievably merges with the space in the room, without effort, readily and naturally. Similarly, when a window is suddenly opened, the air inside the room and outside the room mingles. In all these examples, the idea hammered into the student is that on waking up to the higher state of Consciousness, the Essence in the core of the limited individual is realized as being identical with that which is at the core of the whole universe, the one nondual Self, the sole Substratum upon which the plurality of names and forms appears to dance, creating the illusion of a timebound world of flux.
“The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman,” say the scriptures. The distinctions between the individualized ego (jiva), the world of plurality (jagat), and the Creator of it all, the omnipotent, omniscient God, all merge together to be one Self divine.
The Mundaka Upanisad declares clearly. “This world of dynamic action is nothing but Brahman.” This is again supported by the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad. When it declares. “All these are nothing but this Atman.
ittham yadikseta hi lokasamsthito jaganmrsaiveti vibhavayanmunih nirakrtatvacchrutiyuktimanato yathendubhedo disi digbhramadayah
Even if a wordly minded person of reflection were to practice this abheda-bhav (experience of nondifference), he, too, shall experience Me, because the world of plurality is indeed a delusion, which is proved by the words of the Upanisads and by logical thinking. The worl is a delusion just as the many moons seen, or as teh confusion of direction we may experience in a new place.
Even if a person of reflection is still earth-bound, still has body-fascination, and is attracted by the fancied charms of sense objects (lokasamsthitah), if such a person dwells on the idea that the world of plurality is no-thing other than pure Conciousness, he, too, shall in time develop more and more detachment and move ahead into the spiritual dimension. In the end he will realize Me and My glory, the Self, pure and nondual.
As the spiritual seeker’s sadhana gathers momentum, his identification with the body becomes relatively diminished, and to that relative degree his sensuous life of passion naturally transforms itself into the contemplative life of spiritual pursuit: he moves from the undivine world of passions and yearnings into the divine realm of inner peace and fulfillment.
This world of names and forms is indeed a delusion, a misapprehension. The names and forms are impermanent, and therefore false. However, Reality, which is their substratum, is permanent and true. Through the authority of scriptural statements and through our own logical thinking we can come to the conclusion that this world of names and forms is delusory in nature.
“Brahman is one without a second.” “In Brahman there is no plurality.” “This dynamic world of happenings is nothing but Brahman.” “This entire perceived world of names and forms is all nothing but Atman.” All these vivid and forceful statements from different Upanisads given out by different masters, in different periods of time, arrived at from different angles and through varying logical approaches, should clearly give authority to the claim about the delusory nature of the world.
Not only the authoritative statements of the scriptures command us, but by careful observation and close study of the data so collected, we can logically and rationally arrive at the same picture of illusoriness of the world of multiplicity. During sleep or under chloroform, when the mind is folded up, the world of plurality is not available for our experience. That which remains in all the three periods of time is Truth, Reality. In the dream, the waking world is negated. In deep sleep, both the dream world and the waking world are negated. When we wake up, yesterday’s dream and the peaceful deep-sleep experience are both totally negated.
Only the Substratum upon which these three realms of experience came and danced and from which they disappeared remains, Waves rise, clash with each other, and disappear, but the ocean upon which they came to play their game was continually there – before the waves took shape, while they clashed, and after they totally disappeared. In order to drive home the idea that names and forms are delusory and the Substratum is permanent and true, the teacher in Rama is tempted to string together some examples. In all these examples, certain entities are as though “seen,” yet, on analysis, our rational mind discovers them as mere illusions:
We know there is only one moon; yet, we can see many moons reflected in many pools of water. Also, by pressing the top of the eyeball and thus creating defective vision in our eyes, we can actually “see” two moons in the sky !
Similarly, at dusk, a traveler to a new town in his weariness gets confused about his sense of direction. He will have to inquire of others and realize that what he thought was east is actually north. Once he has ascertained the true east, all his confusions end, and he gains the true knowledge of all the four directions.
yavanna pasyedakhilam madatmakam tavanmadaradhanatatparo bhavet sraddhaluratyurjitabhaktilaksano yastasya drsyo ‘hamaharnisam hrdi
As long as one is not able to “see” the entire world of plurality as My divine nature, so long one must worship My form with all devotion. In the pure heart of him who is endowed with deep faith and mighty devotion I become self-evident.
When the individual (jiva), in moments of deep contemplation, leaves all his identity capers with the body-mind-intellect equipment, the experiencer-ego awakens to the state of God-Conciousness, the Self. In that state, the familiar world of names and forms, interpreted by the equipments of experience, gets wiped out. The usual world of objects-emotions-thoughts disappears into the vision of the pure, blissful Self, Sri Rama.
As long as this mind-transforming experience of the one Self, without properties (nirguna), has not happened to a seeker, let him engage himself in the worship of Me, in My enchanting form (saguna). Worship nourishes devotion to the Lord, and when love is directed to an altar, the mind gravitates easily, readily, and effortlessly toward it. When we live in an attitude of surrender to Him – “Lord ! Thy will be done, not mine” – the existing vasanas get exhausted, and the inner personality of the devotee becomes extremely quiet and peaceful. In such a purified heart, rich in understanding and in supreme devotion, the Self, which is ever with us, comes to shine out, just as the sun emerging out of the clouds.
Behind the thick wall of our mental agitation lies the Self, apparently hidden, veiled form our direct apprehension. When the mind is de-clutched from its preoccupations with the world of perceptions, feelings, and thoughts, in that still moment of utter silence of deepest contemplation, the individuality disappears into the vision of Sri Rama, the supreme Self.
rahasyametacchrutisarasangraham maya viniscitya tavoditam priya yastvetadalocayatiha buddhiman sa mucyate patakarasibhih ksanat.
This discourse that I have given you here, dear brother, is upon the great secret, the very essence of the Upanisads, which I have assimilated and ascertained in my life’s personal experience. Any intelligent man who reflects upon these ideas shall, too, get liberated from all his host of sins.
“You are dear to Me,” says Rama, because Laksmana had purified himself by his selfless service to Rama, with deep and abiding devotion to the Lord. To Laksmana, Rama was never a mere elder brother. He was Lord Rama, the supreme Self.
That which Rama revealed in the Rama Gita is the very essence of all the Upanisads (srutisarangraha). And it is a great secret (rahasya). This great secret of the Upanisads can be ascertained only with the help of a sadguru and through sincere efforts in contemplation by the seeker. Sri Rama confesses to his brother that the theme he is giving out in this Gita is what “I had ascertained in my own subjective, direct realization.” You, too, strive with ease to realize this state and be one liberated while living (a jivan-mukta), Rama encourages us.
“Anyone who has your qualities of head and heart,” Rama is saying to Laksmana. “and who can seriously reflect upon this science of Reality (Brahmavidya) that I have revealed, can learn to enjoy the state of total fulfillment as a jivan-mukta.” Such a person very easily goes beyond all vasanas – both good and bad – patakarasibhih; and it takes no time (ksanat mucyate). When the criminal dies, the punishment for the crimes committed has no bearing; when the doer_I, the ego, ends, all vasanas must cease to be effective.
bhrataryadidam paridrsyate jaga - nmayaiva sarvam parihrtya cetasa madbhavanabhavita suddhamanasah sukhi bhavanandamayo niramayah
Brother ! This perceived world of experiences is all but an idle projection of Maya (delusory, not real). Renouncing all identification with this, turn to Me alone with a purified heart. May you become thus ever blissful, with no restless sorrows, continuously happy.
Dear brother Laksmana, the world experienced as objects-emotions-thoughts, through the vehicles of experience (body-mind-intellect) are all mere products of delusion (Maya). Leave your misconceptions that they are real and all the consequent identification which you have cultivated with them. With your thoughts and emotions so purified, quieted and becalmed, turn your attention from the snare of Maya through steady contemplation upon My infinite, divine nature. May you thus become sukhi, away from all the sorrows of plurality; niramaya, peaceful, as you will be away from the vasana-tickled mental agitations; and blissful in the direct experience of the Self. At the end of all nonapprehension, all misapprehension of plurality ends: you will reach the final state of beatitude.
yah sevate mamagunam gunatparam hrda kada va yadi va gunatmakam so ‘ham svapadancitarenubhih sprsan punati lokatritayam yatha ravih.
Anyone who contemplates upon My pure, formless nature, or on Me with qualities and form, becomes of My nature, Brahman. Wherever such a fulfilled seeker goes, he makes the place holy with the mere touch of his sacred feet, just as the sun purifies the earth its atmosphere.
Sri Rama earlier advised Laksmana that in case one was not capable of directly contemplating upon the pure Self in its unconditioned, absolute nature, he could “worship My form.” In order to conceive of the vast, infinite Self, the mind must have the canvas-area to embrace and accommodate the full spread of the all-pervading Substratum of the universe. In its attachments, its limit vision and interests, its petty selfishnesses and laughable vanities, our distorted, stunted mind cannot successfully lift itself to the Absolute.
In the present state of our mind, then, the only available technique is devoted worship of the Self with form and qualities. This worship of an “idol,” a symbol that represents the highest Essence, is a sanctioned technique. In this verse, Sri Ramacandraji places his signature of approval on this method of worship.
“No doubt, in My ultimate nature, “Rama confesses, “I am without gunas – I am beyond gunas. “In fact, Rama is the very Consciousness that illumines all gunas. But in case a seeker, due to the agitated nature of his mind or due to his compelling sensuous nature, is not able to conceive of and contemplate upon this formless, pure nature, the Paramatman (mukhya), let him worship “My lower nature” (gauna), Rama as the son of Dasaratha, with qualities – omnipotent, omniscient, Lord of the Universe, beauty-incamate.
This worship is not to be a mere mechanical, physical routine, but must issue forth from the pure heart (hrda sevate), with ardent prayers, sincere surrender, and steady contemplation. In contemplation upon the pure, unconditioned Self, learn to identify yourself with Me, the Self, or in abiding devotion steadily contemplate upon My form and qualities, says Sri Rama. In either case, you will arrive to realize Me and become Me. The Bhagavad Gita also assures us of this final state. Those who worship the Lord’s form will also reach the supreme state of fulfillment. In the final stages of his intense devotion, the devotee comes to realize that he is not separate from Me; I shall lift him up to this higher state of realization.
Both the devotee of form and the contemplator of the Formless, render everything divine in their inner, direct knowledge; they sanctify whatever they touch, and wherever they roam about, they make the place holy with the mere touch of their feet. Jerusalem, Mecca, Saranatha, Kashi, the Himalayas are all famous and spiritually holy because of the masters whose presence sanctified them. Such masters need not “do” anything: their mere presence is sufficient, just as the sun nurtures, nourishes, and purifies everything it illumines.
vinnanametadakhilam srutisaramekam vedantavedyacaranena mayaiva gitam yah sraddhaya paripathed gurubhaktiyukto madrupameti yadi madvacanesu bhaktih.
This entire science of Reality, along with the techniques of realization (sadhanas), forming the essence of the Upanisads, is sung by Me – the “quarter” that is to be realized only through the Upanisadic declarations. He who with firm devotion to his teacher with ardent faith merely reads or hears this Rama Gita, he, too, can reach My form – if he has faith in My words.
The contents of this Gita, elucidating the supreme Knowledge, is the very Truth enshrined in the Upanisads. It speaks of the nondual Self, the One without a second, and “I, Sri Rama, the Self.” am giving it out. This Self, Sri Rama, is the state to be known through study of and contemplation upon the pregnant declarations of the Vedas.
“I am that quarter declared in the Vedas” – the quarter with which the Supreme supports the entire universe of names and forms. The world of change rests only upon a part of the Infinite, three-quarters of which is untouched by the plurality twinkling in time and space ! The Bhagavad Gita also expresses the same idea: “I am carrying the entire universe with a mere portion of Me.”
This quarter is the very support of the entire universe of names and forms, the stage upon which the entire dynamic drama of life is being played out. This Lord of the universe, now acting as Sri Rama, is giving out this Rama Gita.
Whoever (yah) can reflect upon the meaning of these verses and contemplate upon their significance, if he has cultivated deep devotion to the guru, and also the ability to intellectually gain an understanding of the subtle impact of these verses (sraddhavan), even if he only reads or hears this Gita, he too, can gain “My form divine.” Rama-form here is identical with the nature of the Self (Atma-svarupa).
Thus ends the fifth chapter, in the Uttarakanda of Srimad Adhyatma Ramayana – a dialogue between Uma and Mahesvara – Rama Gita, by Veda Vyasa.