Right understanding stems from the study of Scriptures.
“Prasthana Traya” provides essential insights for this understanding.
Following points are essential to understand.
1.Purpose of Life:
2.Nature of Brahman: The Supreme Reality:
3.The Origin of the Universe:
4.Karma, Rebirth, Maya, Afterlife, Immortality etc.
Right understanding emanates from a profound study of Scriptures, with the Prasthana Traya serving as a cornerstone in this pursuit. Within this journey, one must discern between Avidya, or ignorance, and Vidya, which leads to the experiential knowledge of the ultimate Reality, “Brahman”.
A pivotal concept, “Para Vidya”, as expounded in the Mundaka Upanishad, represents the Higher Knowledge that propels seekers towards enlightenment. The culmination of this spiritual odyssey lies in the state of realization.
This realization is intensely personal, transcending the constraints of verbal expression. It eludes encapsulation in mere words, demanding a direct, ineffable experience. While faith, devotion, speculation, and belief hold their place in the seeker’s arsenal, they stand as adjuncts rather than the linchpin. Realization emerges as the ultimate key to spiritual awakening and the attainment of higher consciousness.
All the above topics are part of Higher Knowledge: Para Vidya:
The Vedas clearly Speak of two distinct fields of Knowledge:
A) The Lower Knowledge (Apara Vidya)
B) The Higher Knowledge (Para Vidya).
Question: What is that by knowing which, everything else is known.
Mundaka Upanishad is one of the Ten Principal Upanishads, a Sanskrit Text embedded inside Atharva Veda. In this Upanishad, the aspirant Saunaka asks the Sage Angira, the famous question " What is that by knowing which, everything else is known."
Then sage Angira starts explaining about two kinds of knowledge.
Apara Vidya begins with the Karma Kanda. Those who follow the Karma Kanda Rituals (Agnihotra) are desirous of obtaining pleasures through actions. But this is not our goal. Sage Angria said to householder Saunaka : ” The Sages studied the Rituals described in the Vedas, went beyond them to the Truth. You may find it better to stay with them; if you seek the reward of your actions, stay with them”.
It is said that better than Karma Kanda (Actions/ Duties) is Upasana Kanda (Meditation) which is the middle path, and it prepares for the Gyan Kanda (Higher knowledge).
Sparks from the Flaming FIRE:
Know this Truth from the higher standpoint:
The fire sparks, though of one nature with the fire, leap from it; uncounted beings leap from the Everlasting, but these, my son, merge into it again.
Absolute Nature of Brahman: Nirguna Brahman & Saguna Brahman.
The Divine is Shapeless (Divine formless), Birthless, Breathless, Mindless, above everything, outside everything, inside everything. Absolutely Pure, verily even from the Indestructible (Causal), higher than Highest means transcending even the transcendent Ishwara” means beyond the Causal state.
Saguna Brahman: as “Hiranyagarbha” –the Subtle Macrocosm:
From Him (Brahman) are born the Prana, the Mind, and all the sense organs, the elements, sky, wind, fire, water, and earth which support all creation.
According to Bhasya, the creation of the Subtle Body at Samasthi or microcosmic level is emphasized here. Aim is to show that Prana, mind and all other elements cannot co-exist with Brahman. From Brahman, in association with Maya, arises Ishwara, the Creator. From Ishwara, arises the five subtle elements known as Tanmatras. From Tanmatras arise the mind and the pranas, from their Sattvic and Rajasic portions respectively.
Saguna Brahman as Virat- the Gross Macrocosmic.
HE is the inmost Self of all. Fire His head; Sun and moon, His eyes; the four quarters, His ears; The Vedas when uttered are His voice; Wind, His Breath; The Universe, His Heart; Earth, His Feet. He is indeed the inner Self of all beings. This is the macrocosmic picture of Virat that is Total Gross Universe.
The Five Fires in the Cosmos: The ” Panchagni”
Fire is from Him, its fuel Sun, moon from Sun, rain from moon, food from rain, man from food, seed from man; thus, all descends from Purusha (Supreme).
From HIM are produced the 1st Fire, whose fuel is SUN. From the MOON comes the Rain Clouds (2nd Fire), from Clouds, the Herbs (3rd Fire) on Earth. From Herbs comes Man (the 4th Fire). His semen is Shed into the Woman (the 5th Fire). In this sequential process, many living beings from the PURUSHA are produced. This is the “Cycle of Five Fires.” “The Panchagni- Five Cosmic Fires.”
Origin of Karma Kanda Rituals:
From Him come the Hymns of the Rig & Sama Vedas and the Sacrificial formula of the Yajur Veda, used in the preliminary rites. Then come the sacrifice, the sacrificial post, the sacrificial gifts etc., the time of sacrifice, the sponsor of the sacrifice, and the worlds (to be gained by the sacrifice); purified by the Lunar and Solar paths.
Origin of Upasana Kanda Rituals:
From Him also Gods of various hierarchies are born. There are the celestials, the men, the animals and the birds. There are the in-breath and out-breath, the corn and barley, and austerity; there are faith, truthfulness, sexual abstinence, and all the values of life.
Our Physical World: From HIM arise oceans, rivers, mountains, herbs and their properties. And in the middle of the elements is the innermost Self.
Brahman and Universe are ONE: [Universal Connectedness]
The Purusha alone is this entire Universe- the sacrificial works and austerities. He is The Supreme Consciousness. This highest and immortal Brahman. He who knows this as seated in the cavity of the heart, unties the knot of ignorance even here in this very life, O good-looking son.
This Universe, including all subjects and all objects, is only a condition supported by the Supreme Consciousness, on the basis of which appearances are experienced by the cognizing individual and without which the Universe has no Reality. In fact, what is real in the Universe is nothing more and nothing less than the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). The names and the forms are not existent substances. When the Purusha is known, all is known. In fact, there is no such thing as all, except this One Purusha. The Knowledge of the Purusha, therefore, means the absence of Duality which is the same as the destruction of Ignorance and attainment of Immortality and Absoluteness.
- Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite. **
- THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
- Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
- Commentary of Mundaka Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
- MUNDAKA Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
- EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
- THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary by Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
- Information available on internet.