God’s creation does not bind. That which does so is Jeeva’s own creation.
We alone are responsible for our misery.
How do we bind ourselves?
The scriptures say: मन एव मनुष्याणाम् कारणम् बन्ध मोक्षयो: | = Our mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation. We bind ourselves with our wrong notions.
A man came to Nagarjuna, the great Buddhist mystic, and said, “I would like to meditate, but I am not able to concentrate. Please help me.”
Nagarjuna looked at the man and said, “Do you love anybody?” The man felt a little embarrassed. With a little hesitation, he said, “I love only my buffalo. But I really really love her, she is such a beautiful being.”
Nagarjuna said, “That will do. You go and sit inside that cave, and continuously think only one thing – that you have become your buffalo.”
The man said, “I can do it. In fact, I am wondering how you came to know of it, because sometimes I think… I love my buffalo so much that sometimes I think of how it will be if I become a buffalo in my next life.”
Nagarjuna said, “You go, and don’t come out of that cave until I ask you to come out.” One day passed. The second day passed. The third day passed. On the fourth day, in the morning, Nagarjuna went to the man’s cave and called him from outside, “Now please come out.”
The man did not come out. After waiting for a while, Nagarjuna enquired, “What is the matter? Why don’t you come out?” The man responded from inside, “I am trying hard, but I don’t think I can come out. I am so huge and the cave-entrance is so small… and don’t you see my horns? I think I am permanently stuck here!”
Three days, continuously thinking that he is a buffalo, a buffalo, a buffalo… He had auto-hypnotized himself!
The man, having lost all hopes, started weeping. He said, “Now it seems that I will never in my life be able to get out of this cave. And for three days I have been hungry and thirsty, and now I cannot get out. Help me please. Please do something…”
Nagarjuna said, “I can see it is so difficult. But don’t worry. Do what I say. Now think that you have become a man, and that you are no more a buffalo.”
The man had to think for at least three hours that he was a man and not a buffalo.
And in three hours the buffalo disappeared, the delusion disappeared. He opened his eyes. He came out, greatly relieved, extremely grateful, and fell at the feet of Nagarjuna.
Let us apply the above quote to this incident.
1. He was a man. This was God’s creation.
2. But he imagined himself to be a buffalo. This was his (Jeeva’s) creation.
3. His creation (wrong notion) caused bondage, and made him miserable.
4. Even when he thought he was a buffalo, he was always a man. God’s creation alone is real, not the imaginary creation of the Jeeva.
In the same way:
1. Our nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda. This is God’s creation.
2. But we think we are the body. This is our creation.
3. Our creation (wrong notion) causes bondage, and makes us miserable.
4. In reality we are never bound. It is only an imagination.
The law of nature is – we experience what we strongly believe in. Hence the experience of misery is not because of the reality, but because of our wrong notions.
Bhagavad Geeta says: न अनुशोचन्ति पण्डिता: | = The wise people never grieve, because they are ever in touch with the reality. And the reality never gives us grief.
Mulla Nasruddin and his wife were lying in bed. They had no children, and the wife was very eager to have a child. As they were about to fall asleep the wife said, “Listen, if we have a child where will we put him to sleep? – because there is only one bed.”
So Mulla slid a little towards the side, saying “We will put him right here between us.”
And the wife said, “And then if we have a second?”
Mulla slid over a little more saying, “We can put him here also.”
The wife said, “Miserly fellow! And if a third comes?”
Mulla slid over more and was just going to say “Put him right here,” when he fell off the bed with a crash. His leg was broken. He howled and yelled in unbearable pain. The neighbours gathered. They asked, “What happened?”
He said, “This child – who does not yet exist – broke my leg. And when a non-existent child can cause so much trouble, what to say of a real one!”
He turned to his wife and said, “Excuse me, I don’t want any children. This experience is enough!”
Who broke his leg? Not the real child, but the imaginary one.
So too, who causes misery to us? Not the reality, but our wrong notions.
Q=How does the wrong notion ‘I am the body’ make us miserable?
A=Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says: वृत्तय: तु अहम् वृत्तिम् आश्रिता:|
The notion that ‘I am this body’ is called ‘aham vrtti’. It is also called as the ego or the ahankara. All the agitations of the mind are because of this wrong notion.
Q=How is ‘aham vrtti’ related to the agitations of the mind?
A= There are millions of demands for the body regarding health, security, self-respect, looks etc. The mind becomes constantly busy worrying about the ‘yoga-kshema’ – the welfare and wellbeing of the body. Hence the cause of mental chattering is ‘I am this body’ notion.
Q=How to stop this chattering?
A=The cause of mental agitation is ‘aham vrtti’. Hence to eliminate agitations, we have to eliminate ‘aham vrtti’.
Q= How to eliminate ‘aham vrtti’?
A= Bhagavan says: Do self-enquiry. When we enquire into the nature of ‘aham vrtti’, we come to know it doesn’t even exist! अहम् अयम् कुतो भवति चिन्वत: अयि पतति अहम् निज विचारणम्| ‘I am this body’ is a wrong notion which has crept in the mind due to lack of self-enquiry.
Q=What are the consequences as a result of self-enquiry?
A= Bhagavan says: अहमि नाशभाजि अहम् अहंतया स्फुरति हृत्स्वयम् परम पूर्ण सत् | With self-enquiry, the ‘aham vritti’ – the false ‘I’- falls, and the real ‘I’ – the supreme Reality – shines forth in its place.
I come to know that I am the supreme Self which is infinite and immortal, all-perfect and all-bliss. The chattering of the mind stops, as there are no more demands or cravings, desires or expectations. The mind rests in eternal peace.
Somebody asked the great Zen master Bokoju, “What do you do? What is your religious discipline?”
He said, “I live an ordinary life. That is my discipline. When I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel sleepy I sleep.”
The questioner was puzzled. He said, “But I don’t see anything special in it.”
Bokoju said, “That is the point. There is nothing special.”
The questioner was still puzzled. He said, “But this is what everybody else is doing –
when hungry they eat, when feeling sleepy they sleep.”
Bokoju laughed. He said, “No. When you eat, you do thousand-and-one things also. You indulge in aimless thinking. The mind thinks, plans, imagines, worries. You are not at all in the present. When I eat, I simply eat. Then there is only eating and nothing else. It is pure. When you sleep you do thousand-and-one things – you dream, you have nightmares. When I sleep I simply sleep, there is nothing else. When sleep is there, there is only sleep. Not even Bokoju exists. When eating is there, there is only eating. Not even Bokoju exists. When there is walking, there is only walking – no Bokoju. There is walking, simply walking.”
Chattering of the mind is bondage. Quietude is freedom.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says: कृत्यमस्ति किम् स्वस्थितिम् यत: | And the Bhagavad Geeta says: तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते| = For the one who abides in the Reality of his own Self after destroying the illusory ego through self-enquiry, there is nothing else to do, for he has attained the highest.
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