Marakani Dinakar
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 11
Month : April
Issue Number : 2
Year : 2012

For every one, life unfolds with time. In the wake of endless time, the person has to find his path. His path is circumscribed by birth and death which mark his entry and exit into this earthly scenario.

Though the flow of time is endless and incessant, the individual’s span is necessarily limited. This conveys that his journey is short and fleeting. Such a short span is again consumed by the needs of the body and the trivial cares of existence. Fending for the daily needs and feeding the near and dear obsess the person oftentimes with little exception.

Yet wisdom of the yore, as also our scriptures convey that human birth is much difficult to obtain (Durlabham Manusha Janmam). Only the field, human form (Kshetra) makes the understanding of truth possible as he is endowed with reason, discretion, and a reasonably well tuned thinking faculty as compared to other species.

Granting this, such higher pursuit of truth hardly becomes the rule and in fact tends to be a far too rare exception. This is so because the being is beset with many hurdles and roadblocks that are ordinarily insurmountable to commit him to the quest of truth. He finds ever too many distractions to take to such a course.

First and foremost, humans are confined to a finite existence. This finite fixation is again conditioned by the sensory apparatus which he finds inextricable even at the best of his sober, discerning moments of life. This sensory system is again lured by the instincts and impulses which he finds more engrossing in indulgence while the reality or truth tends to be remote.

This finite form of the human is again ruled by the ego. This ego gets into the fits of temper, distortions, indulgences and so on.

This becomes an impermeable filter to reach or scale up to any higher, lofty goal like the infinite reality, truth or godliness, one may give it any term of one’s choice.

To look at this entire process much more deeply the individual form is enmeshed from within and without by all these conditions. They overlap each other in a concentric fashion in layers that trap the being from within as also without. The person shall break out of this well layered cocoon to get at any glimpse of the timeless truth.

For the sake of conceptualization, or to help our understanding, they are termed the sheaths (Koshas). To elaborate these are numbered and regarded as the five sheaths. The food sheath (Annamaya Kosha), the vital sheath (Pranamaya Kosha), the mind sheath (Manomaya Kosha), the intellectual sheath (Jnanamaya Kosha), and the bliss sheath (Anandamaya Kosha).

The form (Kshethra) is merely wrapped up in all these sheaths which bind him fast to the urges or fixations at each level, giving the self within (Kshetrajna) little choice that he can pursue the higher ideals of truth or reality. Yet the inevitable and often insurmountable paradox is that the mortal has to necessarily seek the realization within the form only and not without. Because once the form ceases he has no means or recourse for any pursuit whatsoever be it higher or lower. As is well said over and again, the body is the only means for realization (Shariram Adyam Khalu Dharma Sadhanam).

The way out is often prescribed in restraint and control of the instincts and the senses which is of little avail in the majority of cases. The senses, when severely restrained or subdued, rebound in an unforeseen or vulnerable moment much more acutely and with renewed intensity over which the person shall have little control. The seeker very soon finds his pitfall.

Amma does not set any control over the senses or instincts. SHE said to put this in HER own words – “Nishedam Koodadhu Nanna”. In ordinary English this means, physical restraint of the senses is not advisable, for they are likely to rebound in an unguarded moment with far greater force finding the individual vulnerable. Even our scriptures are full of anecdotes where severe austerities and asceticism, nor even steadfast penance practiced did not endow the subject with lasting immunity against the lurking down slide caused by the senses.

The reasons are not far to seek. To start with, even the physical form (Kshetra), is an offshoot of ‘Maya”. It is bound and subject to change, as conveyed in the ‘Githa’ transient “Anithya ”. The so-called form is but a mere genesis from the very same physical forces which it seeks to overcome or control. This sounds apparently contradictory but verily true. The individual’s lot is hapless with little choice or option.

Even so to scale to the levels of total awareness or timeless truth one needs a path. Though, the path could be precipitous or rarely facile as the case may be. Otherwise the person is to be lost in the repetitious, endless cycle of existence; multiple births with the entire attendant affliction. The wise regard birth as an onset of grief (Janma Dukham).

The point of concern is that the self within the form has to scale up to the level of bliss ascending or transcending the remaining four sheaths that he is enveloped in. Given this requirement, it is more desirable to move along the concentric web of the five sheaths and ascend to the plane of bliss, rather than move against the current. Evidently it is understood that time and again moving against the current invites the fall more often than not.

AMMA is pronounced “Sadhyamayinde Sadhana”. To capture these succinct but fathomless profound words in English ‘Sadhana’, quest or spiritual pursuit is only what is possible for the subject. The effort to attain the truth is only what is possible for him that is within his capability, competence or reach.

This approach makes the path as also the effort much simpler, pragmatic and within reach. The individual need not go after esoteric endeavors; simply stick to the basics he is capable of in real time and real life, well within his ambit.

AMMA not merely pronounced this precept but exemplified and lived this truth in HER daily life and chores. For instance, during HER physical form, when people used to throng for her darshan, SHE insisted upon their having food first. Besides, SHE provided for the ‘Annapurnalayam’ where every one is fed to quench the hunger without any discrimination.

AMMA stressed that every one needs to be fed as per his hunger that has to be quenched and not in regard to the person’s dress or address. This is so because hunger is the basic, universal need of all life which sustains the same. Viewed a little more incisively this supports the food sheath “Annamaya Kosha” of the physical form “Kshetra” with the food given from outside and sustains the self, the “Kshetrajna” encased within the body.

Next in order comes up the vital sheath “Pranamaya Kosha”. The food that is fed or consumed by the physical form of the individual reaches the vital element which sustains the body through supplying life-giving energy.

At this level, the physical, vital form exists in the world that is exposed to the petty needs of survival, creature comforts, feeding the near and dear of the family and soon. Physical vitality is severely entangled in all these efforts.

Here again AMMA shepherded the being through life’s travails and struggles of survival. Bothered with his problems, needs of the kith and kin, counseled and steered many of the beings through the problems of life. So the being is ensured of his survival and assured of the vital needs of life by begetting HER grace that covers all the aspects of life. HER motherly love covered all the aspects of the subject’s life, just as the very natural mother does for her offspring.

Third in the pecking order comes up the mind sheath (Manomaya Kosha). For the sake of simple understanding we may call this the mindset of the physical form, the individual, the so-called ‘Kshethra’.

As of now the mind is caught in the mundane, earthly pursuits of existence. Besides, this is also caught in the whirl of the senses subject to every ambient trigger of irritability. This makes him chase the sensuous urges.

Here AMMA did not prescribe a virtual restraint of the senses but a synthesis or harmony with the sensuous urges and ambience. AMMA reckoned that the abstinence is possible only for the individual prepared for the same from the early stages of life prior to adolescence; or schooled since childhood for such a life of continence.

In the large majority of other cases, AMMA extolled matrimony as the much better, more practical way of life which is often devoid of pitfalls. This is much more desirable and suitable for the subject seeker for it is like fighting from within the fort.

SHE herself exemplified holy matrimony. AMMA lived and exemplified the role of a dutiful housewife which exalted HER to the stature of conferring divinity on HER husband and the daughter in a singular manner. That is the seeker moves along with the tide or current with the senses and does not swim against them inviting its perilous whirlpools.

Having dealt with three sheaths: food, vital and the mind, the fourth in the order comes up with the intelligence sheath “Vignanamaya Kosha”. It is from this level or sheath that the mind gropes into the realm of awareness, knowledge of life and life conditioning aspects. The person may delve into the aspects that govern the being’s life and the overall existence in its multiple facets.

At this level, or in this intellectual sheath reason, discretion, discernment and in some rare few cases, even introspection may dawn. This introspection probes into the other sheaths, the earlier three sheaths or levels that have been presented till now. Not unlikely the individual appreciates the relative relevance or significance of the various sheaths that envelop the self, his physical form.

Quite so, now that the elemental, vital needs of life are fulfilled and the mind is also satiated to a degree, the self within “Kshetragna” and the physical form, the being “Kshetra” is poised towards the truth. The quest or the pursuit may begin as the ground now is fertile for such an effort to make its beginning.

From here given the access to the right preceptor and granting that the effort is well directed, with the subject not being distracted in his course, he shall reach the bliss sheath “Anandamaya Kosha ”. Oftentimes quite probably this does not culminate in bliss and may fall by the wayside in the midst of the course. Yet our scriptures harp that any such well meaning and earnest effort does not get lost but gets registered to be picked up and led forward eventually at an opportune time.

The transition to the fifth state is the most crucial, important as also precipitous for the subject seeker. In this context AMMA pronounced that the spiritual and earthly are not far apart. Both converge at the very same point in the life process.

What is causative of spiritual attainment is also contributive to earthly success. If so the seeker need not draw a rigid line between spiritual quest and earthly effort. Both could be in harmony given the right intent and approach.

This is the real, essential crux of AMMA’S dictum “Sadhyamayyinde Sadhana”. To reiterate this again, sadhana’ or simply spiritual pursuit is only what is possible. The so-called higher endeavor can be actualized in your daily chores of living with a little change in the intent or application.

Every routine task can be elevated to spiritual pursuit by addressing the same or committing or dedicating the same to the divine, even unmindful of its outcome. The individual shall reckon every act or action or effort in life as part of the divinely ordained lot for him and if so shall be committed to the very same divinity with little expectation or choice.

To illustrate this aspect in greater focus, while eating the food you may think of the same as bestowed by grace; share with the fellow beings or even the less provided for. Or at its acme, you may deem that you are feeding the self “Athman” within which is nothing but a reflection of the divine within the being. If so, your daily meal becomes a ritual of self surrender or submission in the purest form of “Atma Nivedana”.

Likewise, this can be applied to other daily tasks. For instance sweeping the interiors one shall deem as cleaning the self within of all negative or unwanted, unworthy thoughts. This turns into a process of self searching, introspection as also purging the self of all impurities as the process gets refined or fine tuned.

With such a condition your daily life is always in tune with spiritual pursuit. The earthly human action is upgraded to the unearthly pursuit; dedicated to the loftier goal beyond.

Furthermore, cultivating such renounced, detached outlook in life, while apparently being involved, frees the individual from all bondages. Even the bonds of karma may be freed, if one acts without expectation or does not look for the outcome or reward.

At this phase, while adopting such a mode of life, there is a continual mindfulness of the divine, a deeper awareness or an unbroken chain of attention on the godly aspect. Such attention is but the purest form of worship. It is pertinent to cite the AMMA’S aphorism here in AMMA’S inimitable words “Dhyase Dhyanam”.

Such a one is in the world, yet very much out of the world. He is physically in the world yet out of the world, in the sense the world is not within him. Simply, he is not carried away by the world, its urges and lures. The individual is truly liberated from all bonds and is at complete ease with the self. Such is a state of emancipation, freedom from desire and verily a posture of inner contentment.

Thus the very effort that works for worldly ends, with a change in the orientation and outlook is also addressed to spiritual advancement equally. In all this, the individual is at total ease with the personal self, as not much of difficult adjustments, deviations from his regular life are called for. What all is required is a change in the mindset and outlook in all that he does in life.

Furthermore, the individual with such an approach shall serve the call of his duty admirably, truly fulfill his anointed duty at his life’s post whatever is assigned or ordained in his lot. Thus for the subject in this mode, the all elevating, ennobling earthly duty, “Swadharma” is more than fulfilled which also entrenches him on the path of realization, total awareness, or perception of the timeless truth. In the process, summoning him ever closer to the truly divine almost unawares in his discharge of daily duty. This is what even the scriptures(Sanathana Dharma) decree.

This is all what is contained in AMMA’S fathomless, profound aphorism – “Sadhamayyinde Sadhana” – “Sadhana is only what is possible”. This stance shall bring the much needed relief to the ardent seekers of truth and GOD all over, be of whatever background, faith or religion. AMMA pronounced for the one who follows any more or faith is good enough and leads him forward on the path, (Acharinchevadiki Edina Okkate).

If so, without getting daunted by the intricacies or complexity of rituals, austerities, severe practices, the subject can start from his very station in life, whatever he is placed with little difficulty or trepidation often associated with these aspects of spiritual pursuit or ‘Sadhana’.

Thus AMMA’S path is unique. It is the path of amity and harmony with the life course or the lifestyle of the subject. It is not remote, or esoteric, perched in lofty far away heights. It is here and now very inclusive of all life’s cares and concerns. It is down to earth dealing with the tangible reality, every day cares and concerns, from there elevating him in the natural mode.

AMMA’S path is not distanced from the tangible aspects of life or the earthly woes of the subject which AMMA always as a truly loving mother of all beings and all existence has been overly concerned with. While doing so, feeding him like the child, caring for all his worldly woes, earthly concerns, as also the familial obligations shepherded him on the path of bliss.

Even at times, such progressive movement on the spiritual path is hardly perceptible or keenly felt by the subject with the guiding, loving, caressing hands of the MOTHER ever hovering over the child(aspirant / seeker). The subject steeped in AMMA’S love and grace moves on merrily with little difficulty towards the divine and enters the bliss, treading on AMMA’S loving path. This change from within is often unseen and hardly observed.

Such path of bliss prescribed by AMMA causes a rare synthesis and harmony between the early life as also the unearthly goal of complete freedom from all bonds, culminating in realization of the self for the subject and by the subject..

Pray AMMA BLESS us all and lead us on to HER motherly path of limitless love that emancipates the being.

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