Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Kosananda and Athmananda

(Reflected happiness & Original happiness)

(adapted from the lectures of Swami Paramarthananda)

Each individual is constituted of three bodies, Sthula, Sukshma,  and Karana sareeras.  This division as three bodies is from matter angle; gross, subtle and causal that they are composed of.  These three bodies are also divided into five layers based on functional angle.  These layers are called KosasKosa means a sheath and it is as if they are the sheaths encasing the Athma.  It is said ‘as if’ because Athma is all-pervasive and it cannot be encased either by the three bodies or by the five kosas. The kosas are  Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya in the increasing order of subtlety.  Anandmaya kosa is the most subtle and pervasive and the innermost of sheaths and is called Anandamaya  because it is characterised by ananda or happiness.  This happiness is called Kosananda, as contrasted with Athmananda, the happiness and bliss that is AthmaAthmananda is the original happiness whose reflection in the mind is experienced as Kosananda.  All happiness can be classified as either of the two; Athmananda and Kosananda.  Of the two, Athmananda is the original happiness also called Bimbananda and Kosananda is the reflected happiness called Prathibimbananda.

Athmananda is Absolute Happiness and is everyone’s inherent and intrinsic nature, one’s real svarupa. It is not something acquired or dropped like the other attributes of the body/ mind, it is something which exists by itself as one’s Real Self, Athma, which is the Sat Chit Ananda, the very svarupa lakshana of Brahman, the Absolute One. This Athmananda is reflected in the individual’s mind as Kosananda.  What one thinks as happiness derived from an object is one’s own Kosananda only.  For if that object is the source of happiness, then happiness should be a part of its nature and this object should be a source of happiness to everyone in the world.  On the other hand, that object may evoke hatred, the contrary emotion, in certain other persons for different reasons altogether. So, happiness is not part of its nature and this object cannot be the source of happiness.  This can be illustrated through the example of a dog and the bone.  A dog trying to chew a bone hurts its jaw and the dog mistakes the blood oozing from its own jaw as coming from the bone and bites the bone still harder hurting itself more.

Kosananda that one feels at the proximity or even thought of a loved object is classified as priya.  This happiness deepens when the loved object comes under one’s possession and this state of happiness is called moda.  This happiness becomes more intense when one enjoys it and this climax of enjoyment in respect of the object is categorised as pramoda.  Kosananda whether it is priya, moda or pramodha is only inside oneself and not from outside and is only a limited expression of Athmananda, the original ananda, being its reflection in the mind.  Further Kosananda is experiential happiness which is subject to condition of the reflecting medium, mind.

Athmananda being the very experiencer is not an object of experience; rather it is one’s higher nature. Just like one cannot see one’s original face and can see it as a reflection only in the mirror,  Athmananda is not directly experienceable as an object.  But, it is there at all times as one’s own Athma svarupa, the Sat Chit Ananda Athma without the experience/ experiencer division.  So one does not have to get Athmananda since he is himself that at all times and one should only claim it as oneself attaining Atmajnanam. Taittreya Upanishad refers to it as ‘ananda Athma’ to emphasise that Athma and ananda are one only.

We saw earlier that Atmananda is original ananda and Kosananda is only reflection in one’s mind.  Being reflection, it is under the influence of the medium.  The more calm the mind is, better will be the reflection and the higher the level of ananda. The level of happiness experienced therefore will depend upon the level of the calmness of the mind and the extent to which the mind is satvic and turbulence-free.  So this happiness is transient, subject to gradations and hence anityam. Taittiriya Upanishad says that the ananda enjoyed by a manushya and Hiranyagarba (Brahmaji) – the lowest level of ananda and the highest level of ananda, all fall under the category of experiential ananda alone, though there may be varying degrees of the level of ananda.

Let us list the differences between Athmananda and Kosananda as follows;-
1)    Athmananda is the original happiness, Bimbananda and Kosananda is the reflected happiness, Prathibimbananda
2)    Athmananda is ungraded happiness, taratamya rahitah niratisaya ananda, and Kosananda is graded happiness, taratamya sahitah satisaya ananda
3)    Athmananda is permanent (nityah) and Kosananda is impermanent (anityah).
4)     Athmananda is experiential and Kosananda is non-experiential.
5)    Athmananda is jnana prapya, attained only through Jnanam that I am Athmananda and Kosananda is visaya prapya or vairagya prapya, attained through a mind that becomes calm and peaceful either on experiencing the desired object or by developing vairagya through viveka

This Athmananda was called Mokshananda in the blog “Vedic view of happiness” and Permanent happiness in the blog “Plan for Permanent happiness” and is the state of the Jnanis all the time.  Even Ajjnani jivas are in this state temporarily during  sushupthi, deep sleep, when there is no sense of ahankara, awareness of the body/mind or the world, a state as good as moksha.  But it lasts only as long as the deep sleep lasts and at the end of sushupthi the ajjnani individual is back into the world of samsara due to ajnanam and adhyasa which automatically come into play when the jiva is back in the waking state and the mind continues to entertain all types of worldly desires leading to athripti and apurnathvam.  But a Jnani through Athmajnanam overcomes these hurdles and remains in the state of Athmananda, a state of total bliss and fulfilment, in all the three avasthas, Jagrat, Swapna, Sushupthi i.e. waking, dream and deep sleep states.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Plan for Permanent Happiness

(adapted from the lecture of Swmi Paramarthananda)

“Happiness ever, Sorrow never” is the aim and ambition of every living person,  irrespective of their age, sex, religion and nationality. But this cannot be achieved through any worldly object or relationship. This is possible only through the realisation of one’s identity at the level of Athma with Brahman through Self-knowledge, Athmajnanaam.  Brahman is described as Sat, Chit, Anand i.e. pure Existence, pure Knowledge and pure Happiness. So attaining this Atmajnanam, one is liberated from the feeling of limitedness and no more for him, while living, the struggle for happiness.  At death his Self, Athma, merges with Brahman and he is released from the cycle of birth and death. So Athmajnanam is a liberating knowledge that confers Liberation from Samsara while living and liberates one from the cycle of birth and death at death. This Liberation is called Moksha and this only confers permanent happiness.

Vedas, the only source for Athmajnanam, also show the way how one can plan for Moksha, by generating in one an ardent desire for Moksha, Moksha iccha, to be followed by efforts for acquisition of Moksha yogyatha, qualification for Moksha.  Both iccha and yogyatha are essential as without iccha, one will not exert for yogyatha and without yogyatha, iccha alone will not bear fruit.  Veda prescribes two types of karma yoga to develop Moksha Iccha and Moksha Yogyatha.  When one develops both Iccha and Yogyatha, that person will  sincerely and seriously embark on the step of seeking Athmajnanam.  Veda then through jnana yoga guides the person to spiritual enlightenment and Liberation.

In the first stage of karma yoga the seeker is made to become aware of the value of Moksha and develop a serious and committed desire for Moksha, Moksha Iccha. For this the Vedas suggest a life style designed to help the seeker to refine his mind to gain samathvam i.e equanimity and to be free of other preoccupations. And if a person goes through such a karma yoga exercise, he will learn a very very important lesson, which the scriptures present   as “Sarvam Paravasam dhukkam, Sarvam atmavasam sukam”. Paravasam dhukkam means depending upon the external world emotionally brings sorrow as it is the cause of anxiety and frustration. The reason is two-fold. One, the conditions of the external world is constantly changing and so the world and the people and the relationship are all unpredictable. The second reason is the conditions of the world are not under one’s control.  No doubt, one has a free will to contribute to the universe, but one doesn’t have sufficient power to control. One has a contributing freewill; one doesn’t have a controlling freewill.   As a karma yogi one will soon discover that the world is unpredictable, uncontrollable and unsustainable and depending on that world for one’s peace, security and happiness is a great risk.  To avoid disappointment, frustration and even anxiety, the only way is, one should stop depending on the world.  One may live in the world, one may use the world, one may serve the world, one may experience the world, one can do everything except emotionally leaning on that. We have the example of the cardboard chair; the cardboard chair is beautifully made, well decorated; one can keep it in the showcase, but one cannot sit on that.  In the same way, world has got beauty, world has got variety, world has got novelty, but world doesn’t have stability. Therefore, one cannot lean on the world and if he does he will have regrets later.  So as karma yogi one learns to discover peace, security, and happiness in oneself rather than from the world.

Veda says “ getting Iccha for Moksha alone is not enough: one will have to develop the Yogyatha as well”  For that one requires karma yoga number two through which alone, can one get the Yogyatha.  In karma yoga number two the scriptures prescribe a life of service and contribution, a life of giving rather than taking.  Consumer to contributor conversion is a very important conversion and the Vedas themselves prescribe five levels of contribution known as “Pancha Maha Yajna” They are:
1)    Brahma yajna – This is also called Rishi Yajna. This involves daily study of the scriptures and regular sharing of the scriptural knowledge with others through teaching, writing and satsang.  By so doing one discharges the debt to Rishis who by preserving and passing on made this knowledge available to us.
2)    Deva yajna– This involves ritual worship and prayer of Devas including Homams and Nitya karmanushtanam like Sandhyavandanam. Lord Krishna refers to this yajna only,when he tells Arjuna in Gita (3-11)
Devan Bhavayathanenate Deva bhavayanthuvaha
Nurture the Devas with this sacrifice and may the Devas nurture you. Mutually nurturing each other you shall attain the highest good.
3)    Pitruyajna - offering tarpana, libations regularly in respect and gratitude to all Pitrs and Pitr Devathas.   The word Pitrs primarily means the immediate ancestors i.e. father, mother etc. In Srartha ceremony three generations like father, grandfather and the great grandfather etc., are remembered and pindas, cooked rice balls, are offered to them. 
4)    Manushya yajna — Caring for, looking after and feeding fellow humans. Food and clothes to the poor and needy and shelter to the homeless all come under Manushya yajna.  In short all social services and  anna dhanam in functions and festivals besides feeding a guest will all come under Manushya yajna.
5)    Bhutha yajna — Caring for nature and all life. Not only feeding animals like cow, insects like ant and birds like crow but also caring for them as well as the plants and trees etc., in the environment come under Bhutha yajna.
This fivefold contribution is Karma Yōga number two. Along with this fivefold contribution, scriptures talk about developing healthy ethical values also which is also a part of Karma Yōga number two. One part is contribution, second part is developing ethical values.  In the 16th chapter of Gita Lord Krishna talks about the positive virtues and the negative mental traits under Daivi Sampath and Asuri Sampath.

So Samatvam is Karma yoga number one, Sat Karmani plus Sat Guna is Karma Yoga number two. If a person follows these two Karma yogas, then he becomes ready for entering Jnana yoga, for receiving the Self-knowledge. The two forms of Karma yoga are given in the Veda Purva Bhaga, the first part of the Vedas and, Jnana yoga for self knowledge is given in the Veda Anta Bhaga, the latter part of Vedas.

This essential teaching of Vedanta, Self knowledge, Swami Paramarthananda presents in the form of five capsules.  These together sum up the Self knowledge given by the Jnana Yoga part of the Vedās. The five capsules of Self knowledge are:
1) I’m of the nature of eternal and all pervading consciousness principle.
2) I’m the only source of permanent peace, security and happiness.
3) By my mere presence, I give life to the material body and through the body, I experience the material universe.
4) I’m never affected by any event that happens in the material universe and in the material body.
5) By forgetting my nature; I convert life into a struggle and by remembering my nature; I convert life into a sport (lila).

Therefore, the life plan as given by Vedas is as follows: - Follow Karma yoga one, develop Moksha Iccha; follow Karma yoga two, develop Moksha Yogyatha; follow Jnana yoga in the form of sastra vichara, comprising sravanam (study), mananam (reflection) and nitidyasanam (assimilation), attain Athmajnanam; and  with the absorbtion of the five capsules of Vedanta and rememberance of one’s true nature make the life a source of permanent happiness as Jivan Muktha.