The Way To Eternity
The following conversation between Sri Suka Deva Sage and Parikshit (An Ancient King) taken from Bhagavatam gives us an idea about the importance of dispassion and knowledge in the path to self realization.
“Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, leave many subject matters for hearing in human society.The lifetime of such an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or maintaining family members. Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction. One who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries. The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life. Mainly the topmost transcendentalists, who are above the regulative principles and restrictions, take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord.At the end of the Dvapara-yuga (Age), I studied this great supplement of Vedic literature named Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is equal to all the Vedas, from my father, Srila Dvaipayana Vyasadeva. What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest. In the the last stages of one’s life, one should be bold enough not to be afraid of death. But one must cut off all attachment to the material body and everything pertaining to it and all desires thereof.
One should leave home and practice self-control. In a sacred place he should bathe regularly and sit down in a lonely place duly sanctified. After sitting in the above manner, make the mind remember the three transcendental letters [a-u-m], and by regulating the breathing process, control the mind so as not to forget the transcendental seed. Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness. Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Visnu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of the complete body. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.
One’s mind is always agitated by the passionate mode of material nature and bewildered by the ignorant mode of nature. But one can rectify such conceptions by the relation of Visnu and thus become pacified by cleansing the dirty things created by them.By this system of remembrance and by being fixed in the habit of seeing the all-good personal conception of the Lord, one can very soon attain devotional service to the Lord, under His direct shelter.One should control the sitting posture, regulate the breathing process by the yogic pranayama and thus control the mind and senses and with intelligence apply the mind to the gross potencies of the Lord [called the virat-rupa]. This gigantic manifestation of the phenomenal material world as a whole is the personal body of the Absolute Truth, wherein the universal resultant past, present and future of material time is experienced.The gigantic universal form of the Personality of Godhead, within the body of the universal shell, which is covered by sevenfold material elements, is the subject for the virat conception.Persons who have realized it have studied that the planets known as Patala constitute the bottoms of the feet of the universal Lord, and the heels and the toes are the Rasatala planets. The ankles are the Mahatala planets, and His shanks constitute the Talatala planets.
The knees of the universal form are the planetary system of the name Sutala, and the two thighs are the Vitala and Atala planetary systems. The hips are Mahitala, and outer space is the depression of His navel. The chest of the Original Personality of the gigantic form is the luminary planetary system, His neck is the Mahar planets, His mouth is the Janas planets, and His forehead is the Tapas planetary system. The topmost planetary system, known as Satyaloka, is the head of He who has one thousand heads. His arms are the demigods headed by Indra, the ten directional sides are His ears, and physical sound is His sense of hearing. His nostrils are the two Asvini-kumaras, and material fragrance is His sense of smell. His mouth is the blazing fire. The sphere of outer space constitutes His eyepits, and the eyeball is the sun as the power of seeing. His eyelids are both the day and night, and in the movements of His eyebrows, the Brahma and similar supreme personalities reside. His palate is the director of water, Varuna, and the juice or essence of everything is His tongue.
They say that the Vedic hymns are the cerebral passage of the Lord, and His jaws of teeth are Yama, god of death, who punishes the sinners. The art of affection is His set of teeth, and the most alluring illusory material energy is His smile. This great ocean of material creation is but the casting of His glance over us.Modesty is the upper portion of His lips, hankering is His chin, religion is the breast of the Lord, and irreligion is His back. Brahmaji, who generates all living beings in the material world, is His genitals, and the Mitra-varunas are His two testicles. The ocean is His waist, and the hills and mountains are the stacks of His bones. The rivers are the veins of the gigantic body, the trees are the hairs of His body, and the omnipotent air is His breath. The passing ages are His movements, and His activities are the reactions of the three modes of material nature. The clouds which carry water are the hairs on His head, the terminations of days or nights are His dress, and the supreme cause of material creation is His intelligence. His mind is the moon, the reservoir of all changes.
The principle of matter [mahat-tattva] is the consciousness of the omnipresent Lord, as asserted by the experts, and Rudradeva is His ego. The horse, mule, camel and elephant are His nails, and wild animals and all quadrupeds are situated in the belt zone of the Lord.Varieties of birds are indications of His masterful artistic sense. Manu, the father of mankind, is the emblem of His standard intelligence, and humanity is His residence. The celestial species of human beings, like the Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas and angels, all represent His musical rhythm, and the demoniac soldiers are representations of His wonderful prowess. The virat-purusa’s face is the brahmanas, His arms are the ksatriyas, His thighs are the vaisyas, and the sudras are under the protection of His feet. All the worshipable demigods are also overtaken by Him, and it is the duty of everyone to perform sacrifices with feasible goods to appease the Lord.
I have thus explained to you the gross material gigantic conception of the Personality of Godhead. One who seriously desires liberation concentrates his mind on this form of the Lord, because there is nothing more than this in the material world.One should concentrate his mind upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who alone distributes Himself in so many manifestations just as ordinary persons create thousands of manifestations in dreams. One must concentrate the mind on Him, the only all-blissful Absolute Truth. Otherwise one will be misled and will cause his own degradation.
(Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter One – The First Step in God Realization)
The first stage in the path to self realization is said by the sages to develop a desire for association ofwise men. Strong desire to studythe literatures of Sarvam Kalvidam Bramha Foundation and listen to discourses onthe meaning of life. Second step of evolution is by association of wise men and study of thesetranscendental literatures you develop a special new quality of intelligencewhich loves to contemplate and ponder over and speak over extensively upon thistopic–Who am I? What is thisworld? What is the purpose of mylife?
Third step of evolution is repeated application of discretion whichspreads detachment by analyzing everything–up to its futility. Momentary glimpses of awakening from ignorance slumber-experience such asthere is no world as such. World isan illusion. Fourth step of evolution is all passionate urges are gone, no sensationalpull and push, you abide in the atma for hours, then when you descend to thebody level you find the world as illusion, as dream only to get lost forever. Then no sensation arises. Fifth step of evolution comes when you see the world asunited unto your Self. Then blissoozes out and spreads around. Seventh level comes in which bliss of Brahma becomes so intense and densethat the person become oblivious to everything. this stage is officially called “Nirvana”.
The first three stages are of waking state. Fourth stage is dream like. Worldappearance ceases to be. In fifth you go merged in bliss.In sixth you become witness of waking, dreaming and sleeping.In seventh there is no even bramhakarakarit vritti. All are submerged in fathomless ocean of Bramha.Onewho has risen to the third stage has the symptoms like,transcending the desire for respect and clinging toinfatuations, no involvement in worldly affairs and resentment for bad things, equal in suffering and happiness and in fourth stage; there may be the appearance of sleepiness to the outside world. In the fourth stage, great wisdom shines in his heart and this world appears as a recently passed bad dream, but interaction with people and worldly affairs are done disinterestedly…
Forgetfulnessof the Self and identification of the object and acknowledging the perishableobjects as truth and fact and the only reality. This is waking. Understandingthe world existence by analytical investigation as illusion but acting as allobjects of needs as true and valid, this is dreaming state. In which your acknowledgement of reality shifts to a higher stage andexcludes the objects of needs and requirements too from the field of truth andfact and where waking and dreaming both are merged, that is sleeping state. Where all the three are submerged, that is turiya state.
In fourth stage one becomes occasionally aware of the world and finds itas clouds of autumn season. Whereasignorant ones find it as clouds of rainy season.In fifth stage one finds it as fast, dispersing away clouds of autumnseason. And like clean, vast,infinite sky of Brahma expands in and out and all around. Then the person does not find or feel at all the world’s existence. His normal functioning of body would be like the opening and closing of a lotusflower.
Infifth stage when ego is evaporated, the person never rejoices finding objects of sensesand is never offended finding he is being insulted. He would be able to see all pervading consciusness permeating into each and every quarks and atoms.In fourth stage the world becomes like dream,in fifth stage world is as dark as you are in a fast deep sleep, and in sixth stage light shines in.
In seventh stage light shines in and out both together.This light is of ever aliveness, wisdom and bliss. As sun and moon makes lotuses open and close, his limbs, his senses, hismind, his intelligence, his feelings too are continuously functioning accordingto the divine laws as ordained by the Divine directed directly by the cosmic. As soon as ego is withdrawn no karma is able to ever touchthe jiva. Although the persons eyes are open he sees no world. He sees only the supreme consciousness. He seesonly himself in the form of sun, moon, stars and the vast universe surrounded and like a drop in the vast ocean of consciousness.
Seven staged understanding is supposed to be the real path of Enlightenment. All material desires are supposed to fall off by the third stage, and only one desire which would remain would be the desire to attain Truth. If one dies then he attains it in the next birth. By the fourth stage, the mind would be tamed enough to transcend birth and death.