The Young Rama sits, asking questions to Sage Vasistha. He is asking how the jnani – the one who has achieved the quiscient state – experience the body, the self, the Universe. Sage Vasishtha says for the ignorant, it is all about name and form, nama-rupa. For the realised, everything is Brahmam.
Brahm-abhyas spiritual discipline; practice leading to realisation of Brahmamn
jnani: wise, liberated person
ākāsh Hin. m. ākāsha San. m., n. (ambara) sky, space, an expanse; the element of ether, the subtlest form of matter. Space gives things form and keeps them discrete. Its quality is sound. Ākāsha pervades the cosmos but remains unstained.
daiva San. adj. relating to the gods, divine, supernatural n. a deity; God; divine will, divine ordinance, providence, destiny, fate, chance.
sadhana – sustained effort or striving
Question 104: Sir, how does a jnani – a one who has attained the quiescent Atmic state – perceive the body with the self and how does his body subsist according to destiny (prarabdha)?
Answer:Ramji, the primeval ideation in Brahman is called nature. Everything has a life-span according to the nature and this principle operates even this day. Various names such as great consciousness, supreme power, etc., have been ascribed to this nature. This supreme power is the creator of infinite universes. As is the ideation in this supreme power, so is the manifestation of the universe. In fact, there is no flux in Atma, all these are just ideational.
To a jnani, (a wise one) all is Brahmam, but an ignorant person cognises the universe and Atma as distinct from each other. This universe is like the perception of non-existent trees in the akasha.
This primeval order is also called as daiva or Ishwara. Whatever is obtained by anyone happens according to the volition of daiva or the ideation, because all that is obtained is according to the content and strength of the primeval ideation. It is also ordained in nature (primeval ideation) that a particular discipline or practice (sadhana) will lead to a prescribed result; and things happen accordingly even to this day. As is the sadhana (sustained effort or striving) of a jiva – an individual, so is the reward granted by nature (daiva).
A jnani is firmly established in spiritual discipline (Brahm-abhyas). An ignorant person experiences a body and a universe with names and forms.
In the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Bhrgu Valli, which comes after the Brahmananda Valli, has the story of Bhrgu, son of Varuna. While teaching the son the Brahmam phenomenon, he says: “Son! Bhrgu! Brahmam cannot be seen through the eyes. Know that Brahmam is that which enables the eyes to see and the ears to hear. He can be known only through tapas (extreme yearning in a cleansed mind and concentrated thought). No other means can help.” He added, “Dear Bhrgu! Know that everything in the Universe originates from Brahmam, exists in Brahmam and unfolds through Brahmam, and merges in Brahmam alone. Discover it yourself through tapas,” The father gave him only these indications, before directing him to enter upon spiritual exercises which will ultimately reveal the Truth.
With full faith in the words of his father Bhrgu was engaged in tapas. The process of self-control and self-inquiry raised his consciousness and he believed what he understood at that stage as Brahmam and decided that food (Anna) was Brahmam! When he declared what he has come to know, his father, Varuna, told him that his answer was not right. So, he continued the tapas and found out that Prana (vital air) was Brahmam, since without Prana, other things are vain. Prana causes life, promotes life and puts an end to life. But the father pronounced this inference too wrong and sent him again for further tapas. In this manner, Bhrgu has a third period of austerity when he came upon manas as Brahmam and later, a fourth when he revised that conclusion and believed that it was Vijnana. At last, after undergoing a fifth course of tapas, he became aware that Ananda was Brahmam. He stayed in the Bliss of that awareness and never more proceeded to his father. The father sought him out and approached him. He congratulated Bhrgu, who had cast the world away from his memory. He said, “Son! You have now visualised Brahmam; you have merged in that Vision.”