Amṛtabindu Upaniṣad Session #2 by Sri Swamini Svatmavidyananda
Here is the video of the recording of the session —
Amruta Bindu Upanishad #2 – Feb 21st 2016
We are building mansions in our mind. Some we inherit from our parents and society. These are the beliefs, customs, practices, etc. The mind gets caught in these. These things that make up one’s identity are the raw material for the mansion that we build in our mind. It is a subjective reality. It is there because I see it. Everybody feels trapped in this mansion of our own making. Since everybody feels it, it seems to be real. We cannot surpass this. The experiencer is called Jeeva – as he or she jeevathi – continues to live through different births. It is our original nature to feel free forever. Any object is finite and can’t exist forever.
A Zen guru was approached by a new student with some gift. This custom of carrying a gift has always been there. Rikta paanir na pashyet, raajaanam daivatam gurum – Don’t go to the head of state, to a place of worship and to guru with empty handed. The student carries a china tea cup. The teacher looked at it and asked why it is broken. He asked the guru what he meant. Guru says that it is broken because he says so and asks the student to ponder over it. Even in the Upanishads, Brighu goes to his father – adheehi bhagavo brahma – teach me about Brahman. A statement is made by the father – yato vaa imaani bhutaani jaayante, yena jaataani jeevanti, yat prayanti abhisamvishanti , tat vijignaasasva tat brahmeti . Brahman is that which is the cause of the universe, out of which all these elements have come, by which all these are sustained, into which everything goes back – go and contemplate on this. He thinks that it has to be food – annam. Everything depends upon food. I came into being because my parents ate food. Annaat eva khalu imaani bhutaani jaayante. annena jaataani jeevanti, annam prayanti abhisamvishanti. He tells his father. Varuna causes rains. His father sends him back to think about it and that story goes on. Coming back to the story of the zen teacher’s student, he realizes that it will end up some day broken.
The feeling of entrapment is the problem. The problem is subjective because it is not ultimately real. We reject this entrapment as it is not our nature. Fishes, birds and insects – they are want to run away from the predators. It is not evident that we are struggling. We are managing to keep ourselves going. We have a paramparaa of self-ignorance which is handed down from generation to generation. The subjective perception which is the fruit of self-ignorance leads to wrong conclusion about “I”, fear, sorrow, feeling of bondage, etc. As a society, to handle this issue, we just find solutions by keeping ourselves busy with other things. This misperception has to be corrected. A pencil placed in a cup of water appears to be bent. The pencil gives the appearance of being bent. What needs to be corrected is not the pencil but our understanding. Just understand that it is an apparent reality. Similarly, the antidote, for the misconception about the self, is self-knowledge. This cannot be done by breathing in or breathing out – anuloma and viloma. The agent is the शास्त्र.
शासनात् त्रायते इति शास्त्रम् – That which protects you by instructing you about your ultimate good. Shaastra clears the wrong perception. (Refer previous lesson notes for the 3 meanings of the root ‘सद्’ धातुः in Upa+Ni+Shad where “उप” and “नि” are the prefixes उपसर्ग). विशरति – it dissipates. अवसादयति – removes forever. ब्रह्म गमयति – takes us to the Brahman. The police dog runs quickly and drags the police officer towards the offender. Some people says that upa – refers to sitting near the teacher. Let’s take this opportunity to go towards Brahman.
The word Nimagnah is used extensively in the Upanishads. In मुण्डकोपनिषत् also, समाने वृक्षे पुरुषो निमग्नोऽनीशया शोचति मुह्यमानः | समाने being the same | वृक्षे on a tree | निमग्नः immersed — absorbed completely | अनीशया due to powerlessness | शोचति – feels miserable/lamenting | मुह्यमानः being bewildered or perplexed | On the same tree there are two birds – jeeva and ishwara. The jeeva fails to notice the ishwara.
There is no recourse other than to know about “I”. Upanishads are attached to the Vedas. (Appendix is also an important organ in the body). Poorva Meemaamsakaas are interested only in the karma kaanda of the Vedas and they ignore the Upanishads. Vedas are Apaurusheya – not created by Humans. No founder for Hinduism. During creation, तत् एव अनुप्राविषत् – That conscious being became the creation. Vedas were received through rishis. ऋषयो मन्त्र द्रष्टारः. | People are required to live by the set of values. They are required to stick to the rules and lead their lives with mega ambitions. At some stage, there will be maturity. Sometimes, it comes out of despair. Then they graduate into Vedanta. It requires mental resolve. There are different types of seekers. The ideal type – उत्तम अधिकारी | On the other end – there are अधम अधिकारिणः who are not interested. In the middle of continuum there are many people like us – मद्यम अधिकारिणः – where the desire is strong to learn Vedanta but still there is some resistance.
What is the solace for those who are stuck in the first part of Veda itself? There are upanishadic portion even in the middle of the Samhita portion of the Veda. The Isaavaasya Upanishad occurs in the middle of the Yajur Veda. The maha naaraayana Upanishad is also in the Samhita portion.
Mira bhai says in her bhajan that she was looking for the guru to learn swimming. But it has now dried out. Bhava Saagar sab sukha gayaa hai, Phikar nahee mujhe taranan kee The ocean of samsara has dried up I have no worries of how to cross it. Mira Ke Prabhu giridhar naagar, Ulat bhaye more nayanan kee My guru, Krishna, changed my vision.
Mohe Laagi lagan guru charanam ki,
Mohe Laagi lagan guru charanam ki …..
I am attached to the feet of my Guru
Charan bina mujhe Kuch nahi bhaaye,
jhuthee maayaa sab swapanan ki ………
Other than the Guru’s feet, nothing else interests me;
All is mithya, the stuff of dreams
Bhava Saagar sab sukha gayaa hai,
Phikar nahee mujhe taranan kee …..
The ocean of samsara has dried up
I have no worries of how to cross it.
Mira Ke Prabhu giridhar naagar,
Ulat bhaye more nayanan kee ….
Mira’s Lord, the lifter of the mountain,
has revolved my vision completely
Upanishads are attached to Vedas. Rig Veda has Aitereya Upanishad; Shukla Yajur veda – Ishaavasya Upanishad, Bruhadaaranyakopanishad; Krishna Yajur Veda – Many Upanishads – Kathopanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad; Atharva Veda – Mundaka, Maandookyo and Taittiriya Upanishad, Kaivalyopanishad, amruta bindu Upanishad, many other Upanishads; Saama veda – Chandokyopanisha, Kenopanishad;
Veda Vyasa classified them and gave it to different sets of families to protect it. Every family studying Veda is associated with a specific veda – “Saama shaakaadyaayi” – they would say when introducing themselves.
The teachings are in the form of dialogues. In Prashnopanishad, 6 students are asking questions or Prashnaas to their guru – Pippalaadah – pippalaani atti iti – one who eats berries. Kenopanishad – interaction between the teacher and the students. Taittiriya – also संवाद or dialogue. आहो विद्वानमुं लोकं प्रेत्य कश्चन गच्छति | Where does the knowledgeable person go after leaving this world?
There are 4 kinds of Dialogues. Vada – dialogue between 2 friends. Samvada – Lord Krishna and Arjuna – where the student asks the teacher in the right way with shreddha – trust and receptivity with reverence to take in the teaching. Third is Jalpa – to say the opposite. Vitanda – biased – whatever you says is wrong because you say it.
The subject matter of Upanishad is freedom from the ocean of bondage or samsaara. It is meant for the seekers those who desire for knowledge and liberation – मोक्तुम् इच्छुः मुमुक्षुः | ज्ञातुम् इच्छुः जिज्ञासुः | Have Shraddha and learn. It is OK even if one falls asleep.
There is a story. Once Gudaakaa devi, the goddess of Sleep approaches Krishna that the humans are not sleeping. Krishna said wherever there is Hari Katha, where my praises are sung, you go there. J
The qualifications are to be cultivated as Upanishads speaks to the qualified person. The fruit or the phala is the gain of self-knowledge which is the dissipation of ignorance. The teacher is sharing the knowledge found in the book. The book and the subject matter have the pratipaadaka-pratipaadya sambandha – the revealer and the revealed relationship. Between Moksha and the book – there is kaarya kaarana sambandha. Anubandha chatushtayam – vishaya, adhikaari, sambanda, phala. These aspects are clearly marked in the Upanishads.
[ Additional Notes – from an earlier post on Kathopanishad.
- विषय: – ग्रन्थप्रतिपाद्यवेद्य वस्तु विषया विद्या | परब्रह्मविद्या | Subject matter – Brahma vidyaa
- अधिकारी – जिज्ञासुः | एषा विद्या अवगन्तुम् इच्छव: | Target Audience – Seeks of knowledge
- प्रयोजनम् – ब्रह्मज्ञानम् | आद्यन्तिकी संसार निवृत्ति: , ब्रह्म प्राप्ति: लक्षणम् | Purpose – Salvation
- संबन्द: – प्रतिपाद्य प्रतिपादक भाव संबन्द: | (proving the hypothesis) | Relationship – Revealer and the revealed between the author and the work
There are numerous Upanishads. 108 of them have been recognized. Adi Shankara commented on 10 of them which are being considered as Major Upanishads. Taittiriya Upanishad, chandokya and Bruhadaaranyaka are huge. Amruta Bindu Upanishad is small in terms of its size. It is like a cataract surgery to remove the cataract which prevents us from seeing the truth.
Live teaching by a teacher is required. Just reading the book will not suffice. Teacher = श्रोत्रिया – who has been trained about the Vedas by his/her teacher. Teacher is the amplifier of the message of the Upanishad. Teacher has to be a Brahmanishata – who is committed to the knowledge, being immersed in the knowledge. Karna parampara is the lineage of learning through hearing.
This Upanishad comes under the 108 Upanishads. There are 5 upanishads ending in Bindu namely Yoga Bindu, Naada Bindu, Gnaana Bindu, Tejo Bindu and Amruta Bindu. AB is the most well known Upanishad. Sometimes AB is translated as a drop of nectar or immortality. From the tantric stand point, Bindu means a point or a center. It is a center or a point of power. AB = Amrutasya Bindu – shashti tatpurusha. If we take it in Karmani shashti (passive – 6th case compound) a drop for which the subject matter is immortality.