Friday, September 21, 2012

Do "No-thing" by A. Krishnamurthy

Do "No-thing" 
by A. Krishnamurthy

[My close friend and class-fellow during undergrad years, Shri Annapragada Krishnamurthy retired as a Director of the Geological Survey of India. He was a rebel and non-conformist by nature and faced many an ordeal in life and his job. He found solace in the teachings of Chinmayananda and Vedanta and was finally led to his Guru Shri Kamilibaba, a Sufi Mystic who, he believes, guides every step of his journey in life constantly watching and taking care of him. Krishnamurthy follows the Ajativada of Gaudapadacharya and all his doubts on the philosophical part were set at rest by Swami Somanatha Maharishi of Hyderabad.  Krishnamurthy authored the well-received book, "Silent Thunder" published in 2010 and now lives with his wife in Hyderabad, India. He has also a web site with the name Silent Thunder.

Shri Krishnmurthy is a large-hearted and helpful person who readily assumes other's problems as his own and rushes to their aid irrespective of his own delicate health. I am grateful to him for this contribution to be posted at the Blog -- ramesam.]

Do "No-thing" 
by A. Krishnamurthy

The other day I was reading an article in Times of India. In the column narrating spiritual thoughts, a disciple asked his Zen master as to what he will gain after observing severe spiritual practices; the Master replied “Nothing. The disciple was surprised and repeated the question. He got the same reply. So you do all spiritual sadhana, including meditation just to get “Nothing”? The greatest Hindu philosopher Gaudapada, Adi Shankara’s master’s master also emphatically said the final benefit of all spiritual practices is to realize ultimately “Nothing.” 

In the karika 23 of Mandukya Upanishad, Gaudapada says: The sound letter ‘A’ helps the meditator to attain a well developed waking state personality. The meditator on ‘U’ attains a well developed mind and intellect and He who meditates on ‘M’ attains ‘Prajna.’ In the soundlessness after AUM, ‘there is no attainment.'

Let us examine what happens practically. Let the spiritual seeker or the Sadhaka do severe penance, pranayama, and observe other austerities such as keeping quiet (Silence), not eating food or eating less. Ultimately he has to die and his body made up of five elements, Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Space merge with five fundamental elements of Nature. ‘Water goes to water, air to air and earth to earth' is what Christianity tells us. The life spark, technically called as 'Atma' in Sanskrit language as per Sanathana Dharma and now commonly called as 'Self' in English merges with Self. The Self does not gain anything and there is nothing else which can claim any gain. This is the absolute Truth. 

In Prasnopanishad, Yaksha asks Yudhistira “Kim Ascharyam?” For which Yudhistira replies “ Death. Although we see every day people around us die, we feel that death will not come to us.”  Bhagavadgita says that whosever/ whichever takes birth has to die.
So it is certain we gain “Nothing” in the end even if we do every thing/anything either spiritually/or in the materialistic world . So conversely or logically we have to do “Nothing” to gain everything i.e. By gaining which there is nothing else that needs to be gained? This is the crux of Philosophy either in Advaita or Zen. Osho says “Be Nothing; Do Nothing and desire Nothing. You do “Nothing” to gain the ultimate, Self or Atma or whatever name you call it. “Kasmin Bhagavo Vijnathe Sarvamidam Vijnanam Bhavathi (By Knowing which, you know everything).

Now let us examine how to do “Nothing”. This is the most difficult part of a practice. Try to do “Nothing” for at least a day, or an hour! In the Silence you reach Eternal says Jiddu Krishnamurti. In Mandukya Upanishad it is stated : “ Om ityetadakSharam idam sarvam. Ayam Atma Brahma. Soyam Atma Chatushpada.” This ‘ATMA’ is Brahman and all, and is divided into four parts. ‘Jagarita sthana’ means waking stage, about which only western philosophers and even Islamic religion speaks much. Dream state is talked of as unreal and mind imagines the unreal objects. Mind itself takes dual role. Sushipti is the best part of our life as we enjoy as we know nothing except that we slept well. The fourth which encompasses all is the Turiya state, wherein the individual ‘Self’ merges with the vast omnipotent energy, Universal Consciousness or GOD. To attain the Turiya state is called as ‘Nirvana’. Thre is nothing beyond, or before, above or below. 

Only in waking state we have a choice to do any thing or ‘Nothing’. In the waking state, the mind is ever receiving impulses through senses from objects; sounds, tastes feelings etc. Mind is not an organ in the conventional sense. It is not situated in the Brain or any other organ. Brain is a computer coordinating all the body functions. Hence we take that a man is dead only when his Brain is dead. You might have followed the TV News when Puttaparthi Sai Baba was in his last days. Every organ was malfunctioning, but he was kept on Lifeline and declared dead only after his Brain was dead. I read it in Scientific American journal that a team of doctors interested in organ transplantation wait eagerly for the team of doctors attending on the patient to declare that his Brain is dead before they salvage the useful organs.

Mind is only energy at the subatomic level of every single human cell of which there are one hundred billions in all. Matter and Energy are the two sides of the same coin; they are not two distinct entities at the subtlest level. Hans- Peter Duerr, Emeritus President of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, who succeeded Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg, realized that there is no matter distinct from energy at the subtlest level. That vast omnipotent energy is the Universal Consciousness (or GOD). We humans are but a tiny bit of that Consciousness, the individual consciousness. (Courtesy : Prof B.M.Hegde )
Coming back to our discussion, we can control our physical actions, but controlling our mind in waking and dream states is next to impossible. Even Lord Krishna agrees that “Asamsayam Mahabaho Manah durnigraham chalam” (No doubt it is difficult to control mind). But Mind is a bundle of thoughts and thoughts arise in calm mental lake, our Manasa sarovar, due to energy disturbances created by impulses received by mind through senses. Gaudapada says that the mind can exist and maintain its personality only if there are objects of perception. He who with discrimination withdraws his entire attention from the external objects and totally rolls of his attention from his body, mind and intellect comes to recognize his own spiritual personality. Swamy Chinmaya says “ On meditating regularly upon the silent aspect of AUM, the individual self meaning the egoistic idea of separativeness in us, gets merged into the divine experience of the All-soul, the Eternal and Immortal.” When you are continuously meditating on AUM, between chanting of one AUM and other, there is a blissful moment of silence however imperceptible it may be. While we are trying to capture the silence between two successive AUMs , our mind and intellect become steady and sharp and single pointed.

Yogis depend on the control of their mind for the knowledge of ‘Self’, fearlessness and peace. Yogi’s method is to sublimate or eliminate ‘thought’ by thought. By thought he empties the thought, controls the mind and maintains that state of ‘Thought less ness.’ in the mind. A Vedantin purifies his mind and controls it by his intellect. Discrimination is the subtle motive force by which Vedantin controls and regulates his mind.

Aum Shanti! Shanti, Shanti


Peter Francis Dziuban said...

Thank you ramesam! As always, a series of insightful, clear, and informative posts!

Timothy Campbell said...

While reading this article by A. Krishnamurthy I came across the word “jagarithasthana.” I tried to look it up on the net and only found it in one other place besides the Beyond Advaita blog. The closest match I could find was the word “jagrata,” which is used in the Wikipedia article about “turiya.”

I like to look up words I don't know, and as I delve deeper into Advaita that means looking up a word every few minutes! But this one (jagarithasthana) has me puzzled. Is it spelled wrong in the article?

Ramesam Vemuri said...

I think the author meant the same thing as "jagrata" in his transliteration of the Sanskrit word. I am not sure which convention he followed in developing the diacritics.

jagrata = jagRRt = wakeful;
sthana = place (state).

Anonymous said...

My dear Timothy Campbell,
The life spark, omniscient universal Consciousness, termed as ‘Atma’in Vedantic terminology and also expressed as .Self. is divided into four states for the sake of explanation.; ‘Jagarithasthana’ waking state, swapna sthana, dream state, Sushupthi, deep sleep state and Tureeya, the transcendental state. The world of objects, feelings and thoughts with different names and forms is available for our cognizance in ‘Jagarithasthan’ waking stage. Mandukya Upanishad deals with the subject very clearly. The theme explained in 3rd Chapther of tries to explain the same.krishnamurthy

Ramesam Vemuri said...

Response from Shri A. Krishnamurthy through an e-mail:

It is spelt as "Jagarita sthana". There is no 'h' in jagarita.

(The letter 'h' in Jagaritha is now deleted).