Reflections on V 58- 61 and Selection for Reflection 16/17 ( 2.59 and 2.61)
In the previous verses, ie upto 57, Bagavan has given a PROFILE of the person who has converted his Pragna into Sthitha Pragna, who has converted his cognitive Knowledge of the Self,which he acquired from V 12 to 25 ( Aham Akarta, Abokta,Eka,Sarvagathaha,Nitya etc) into Emotional Strength.
From verse 58, he is explaining the PROCESS OF HOW a person can covert his Knowledge, into Emotional Strength.
V 58 – 60 explains the features of first sadhana viz Indriya Nigraha, mastery or management of senses V 61 – explains the second sadhana i.e Nidityasana.
Indriya Nigraha – Regulation of sense organs. We should never allow violent sensory inputs indiscriminately, until the knowledge becomes steady and contribute to emotional strength.
When the knowledge is like a small plant, it needs to be fenced and protected from goats. Once the knowledge is fully assimilated and become like a tree, we can even a tie an elephant in the tree.
The example of tortoise given by Bagavan is superb. Tortoise can easily be killed because it does not have any weapons to fight back like horns or nails etc. But Isvara has given it protective armour of thick shell. The moment it senses a danger, it withdraws the 5 limbs (4 legs and head), not for ever, until the threat goes. After that it happily moves around with its 5 limbs. Similarly, we can transact with the world freely with our 5 sense organs. Te moment we see situations where Ego can get hurt, where Kama, krodha, moha, lobha, madha, matscharya can attack us, we need to get into the protective shell of knowledge.
A pragna, until he becomes a sthitha pragna, with draws his sense organs from sense objects, judiciously and intelligently. He is choosy with respect to his sensory interactions, the type of TV programs he sees, the books he reads, the friends he keeps, the movies he watches, the websites he browses etc etc.
Vali is an example of every sensory addiction. As long as he is in the back, there is no serious problem. When he is in front of us, half of our strength goes to him.
Even if a person gives up sensory addictions, the mental addiction which is deeper, lingers on for a long time. Even if one is physically away from sensory attractions, the mental fancy goes on. One has to grow out of them rather than suppressing them. Until a person grows out, the rasa, the urge, craving, earning continues.
How to grow out of sensory attractions: Two steps are there.
I step – Clearly understand their fleeting and binding nature. II Step – Replace the Vishaya ananda with Vidya ananda, Sastra ananda and Atma ananda. In front of that Parama Ananda, the material anandas are zero. After discovering Ananda in oneself, there is no more craving for vishaya anandas.
It does not mean that a sthitha pragna does not find joy in happy worldly occasions such as marriage in the family, birth day of his child, Diwali festival, victory of Indian cricket team or a joke cracked in work place etc. These are bonus anandas for him. He does not lean on them. Whether they come or not, he is not affected.
Bagavan says in V 60, Sensory regulation is not that easy. Two lessons are to be learnt from this statement:
L1: If we fail initially, we need not feel guilty.
L2: Since they are so powerful, it requires lots of alertness on our part. If we are not alert, they churn our mind creating violent disturbances, the mind becomes turbulent and Vedanta goes out immediately.
Mother Sitaji was very much with Rama, the Brahmananada. Once she was attracted by Maricha golden deer, the sensory attraction, she lost Lord Rama, the Spiritual Ananda for a length of time.
Therefore, Bagavan advises in V 61 – May you keep all sense organs as your instruments, do not be enslaved by them.
The wheels of the car should move according to where we want to go under the control of our steering and not according to where they want to go. We need to take our dog for a walk and not the dog takes us for a walk.
In this verse, Bagavan introduces the second sadhana to become Sthitha prgana. Viz Nidityasana.
When sense organs are withdrawn from unnecessary pursuits we have lot of quality time at our disposal. (No surfing of all the 72 channels in our satellite TV from 1 to 72 channels and again from 1 to 72 and so on), That quality time is to be used for dwelling upon the Truth of Vedantic Teaching, Me the inner self of every one, dwelling upon the teaching which says I do not depend upon anything to be happy.
We are thinking that we need people, objects and situations to be happy. We never questioned that assumption. For a habitual smoker, life is impossible to think without a cigarette. We have to break this rut of thinking and cure that ulcer in us.
I need things for my physical survival to some extent, like food, clothes and shelter etc. But for me to be happy psychologically I do not need anything, I need only myself. I am chidananda roopam shivoham shivoham.
Umaji’s example of upavsa fasting and Padmajaji’s example of cutting the weed uprooting its roots and quote from Sadhana Panchakam are quite apt to explain the gist of these verses.