I, Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath sa-shaktikaayai bow down at the lotus feet of my first Guru, my revered father Pandit Shri Murli Dhar ji Mishr, Vidya Guru Kaul Shiromani Shri Shivanand Nath ji, Yoga Guru Paramhamsa Shri Balendu Giri ji Maharaj, Tantra Guru Shri Shri Anta Devji Maharaj, Vama Guru Shri Kaleshwaranand Ji Maharaj and all the compassionate Masters, divine souls of Gurumandala.. I pray for their love, support and guidance always..
अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च |
नित्य: सर्वगत: स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातन: ॥24॥
achchhedyo ayam adaahyo ayam akledyo ashoshya eva cha |
nityah sarva-gatah sthaanur achalo ayam sanaatanah ||24||
achchhedyah— unbreakable/ impenetrable; ayam— this soul; adaahyah— incombustible; ayam— this soul; akledyah— cannot be moistened/ dampened; ashoshyah— cannot be dried; eva— indeed; cha— and; nityah— everlasting/ everpresent; sarva-gataḥ— all-pervading; sthaanuh— unalterable ; achalah— immutable/ immovable; ayam— this soul; sanaatanah— primordial/ ever present
Meaning : This (soul) cannot be cut or pierced, It cannot be burnt, cannot be moistened, and also cannot be dried up. It is eternal, omnipresent, seat of all, immovable and changeless.
We have been contemplating death and clearly there is no real death ever! The essence in this body that is “I” or “self” survives beyond death. We can sense since few shlokas of Gita Krishna seems to describing “Self” or “Soul” to the warrior in Arjuna. His description of Soul is using the language and mindset of a warrior who thinks in terms of cutting and piercing down the bodies of enemy; Therefore in previous shloka he says “नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि” and now yet again he seems to be reiterating by saying “अछेद्यः अयम् ” which literally means “it can not be pierced”.
Krishna has already told that the Self is indestructible but such reiterations show that He is keeping Arjuna rooted in reality and at the same time giving him Upadesh.
In the last shloka you were asked to contemplate on these qualities of Truth. We can contemplate on a point when it is somewhat clear to us. If we haven’t grasped a presented postulation even intellectually there is no possibility of contemplation. Contemplation is aimed at absorbing the essence of teacher’s words. It is quite natural in the process of contemplation that it brings up our some hidden confusions. Sometimes while engage in contemplation we may even realize that some points we may have missed out and thus we would like to hear them again from our teacher. Here Krishna’s saying more or less the same thing i.e. indestructibility of Soul many times over. Why? The very ground, the essential precondition on which we can progress in the investigation of “Self” is the tenet or recognition “I am not the body”.
आध्यात्मिक यात्रा का पहला पड़ाव ही देहात्मभाव की निवृत्ति है!
First milestone that one must achieve in one’s spiritual journey is this recognition – I am not the body. If one continues to identify oneself with the body then there is no need of further investigation. In that case you will say.. I know very clearly who I am. It is so natural to feel that I am this body! But body is ever changing.. it is born and it decays.. it ends.. hence not “Sat“(सत).. rather it is too far from the definition of ‘Sat‘ i.e. “नाभावो विद्यते सत” Therefore, Without having recognized your existence separate from the body you can NEVER progress further. So like a teacher Krishna seems to be repeating the important point over and again. Unless Arjuna sees this point clearly.. there is no possibility of further discussion. Gita can not flow further if Arjuna is unable to appreciate and accept this body is not “Me” or Self.
This chapter of Gita is known as Samkhya Yoga that is about Gyaan – Attainment of Truth with use of knowledge. In fact every school of thought (barring Buddhism, Jainism) except the Chaarvaaka makes use of Vedic definition of “Truth”. It essentially begins with the negation of the body (matter) as self (Truth). Krishna, has taken an authoritative position, of a teacher and is trying to use ‘reason’ coupled with experiential understanding of the subject here for Arjuna. In all these verses he is indicating towards the ‘Soul’ or self that is not the body.
Like Arjuna every seeker has to understand this.. be convinced about it that he is not the body. Every spiritual discipline that aims to give us the taste or experience of the “Truth” shall take us beyond the body in some or the other way.
Yoga – Is a system for self-discovery through following a disciplined living. Herein after having given the Yama-Niyamas next step is Asana. A yogi needs to master any one Asana in which he can sit comfortably for minimum of 3.5 Hrs. Why? Because, when you can sit in one posture long enough without any discomfort, without the need of any movement in your body then you can forget your body. You can see your inner world existing and moving despite body. You are then ready to take control of your mind through Pranayama and Pratyahaara. Asana therefore is a way through you are creating a distance between your ‘self’ and ‘your’ body. Final practice culminating to Samadhi which is complete detachment from the physical body.
Seva – Many masters insist on Sewa or service. This is a kind of Tapa wherein you are now not concerned with the pains and comforts of your body but engage in your action for others. Your focus is other here. You are ready to relinquish your comforts and you forget your own pains when you serve others. Your emotions and your strong intend of serving other takes charge. You are ready to give your flesh and bones for the greater good and service of others. Shibi, Dadhichi, Shrawan Kumar etc. have shown this through their examples. Thus in this Tapa you again freedom from your body.
Bhakti – Is about being in love with your personalized God. It is about dedicating your life for him. He lives in the ecstasy of Love for his beloved. Only a Bhakta can be seen singing and dancing in front of the Idol of his Lord. This dance and singing is so engaging and intense that he loses the remembrance of his gross presence. In such an act his whole being is immersed in divine love.. in such intense moments he doesn’t remain a body.
Dhyan – In many systems they begin with the meditation.. for example Buddhist system of Anaapaan Sati or Vipassana. The system focuses on awareness of breath.. day in day out. Such a system makes the practitioners more available in the Antahkaranas rather than in the body. At the most he goes till his breath which is seen as a connection between the inner abode or self and outer – the body. The distancing from body is the technique here and it is so evident.
Tantra – There is Vama wherein many conjugal practices are used to move beyond the body instincts and body awareness. Aghor for example insists that the practitioner stays in a cremation ground for 12 long years. Multiple systems exist under the system of Tantra from Kaula to Samaya and many more. Each has its methods that use rituals, processes and mantras to make one’s energies move in such a way that they are introverted. In such practices the focus is on the subtle.. the energy.. Shakti or Kundalini rather than the body itself.
All the systems of self-discovery have elements wherein a seeker can loosen the grip on his/her physical body. We have examined few systems and their ways of creating distance from this physical body.
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath