Hridaya-Parikrama: The Spiritual Pilgrimage Within One’s Own Heart – Part 2

By Sajjana, see also Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Second ‘Pada’ — The Invitation to Moving in Love

Having been invited by our eternal Beloveds Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Govindasundara to enquire within ourselves: ‘What is my relationship with my thoughts?’, the first question which may be explored is: ‘What are my thoughts actually composed of?’ Upon looking within our own direct experience, we can immediately observe that they are primarily composed of four different types of vasanas (mental impressions): (1) the interpretation and evaluation of whatever perceptions, feelings, and sensations are being taken in through the five senses at the present time in the state of physical awakeness known as jagrati; (2) memory-impressions of past experiences; (3) imaginings in regard to future experiences based on desires and fears acquired from gathered information; and (4) images perceived in dreams during the sleeping state known as svapna

Are thoughts ever completely absent? Primarily in two conditions: either (1) in the state of deep dreamless sleep known as sushupti, which is characterised by complete unconsciousness due to being permeated by the darkness of tamas-guna; or (2) in the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, which means directly perceiving one’s unborn, uncreated true nature as pure, clear, boundaryless Consciousness perceiving only Itself and nothing else with no sensory phenomena of any kind, including those things which are extremely subtle such as the sounds of the different chakras or energy-centres within the body/mind instrument. As this is the exact opposite of deep dreamless sleep devoid of even the slightest trace of Nature’s three components, there is also no identification whatsoever with a particular person engaging in raja-yoga meditation. In fact, that ‘state’ of samadhi is not actually a state at all, but is rather That which we always already are, which is known as turiya, ‘the fourth,’ as described by Lord Krishna in His divine form as the Hamsa-avatar to the four Kumara sages in Srimad Bhagavatam 11.13.27:

jagrat svapnah sushuptam cha / gunato buddhivrittayah
tasam vilakshano jivah / saksheetvena vinishchitah

The three states of awakeness, dreaming, and deep sleep
are modes of perception in accordance with the components of Nature,
Yet it is definitively ascertained that the animating Presence
is different from them and situated as their witness.

What does Sri Krishna say is the actual nature of this jiva, the animating life-principle or presence of aliveness which is saksheetvena, situated as a witness, and vinishchitah, definitively ascertained to be vilakshanah, different in nature from gunatah buddhi-vrittayah, whatever modes or changes in perception occur in accordance with the three components of Nature? He graciously mentions at the very beginning of His transmission of timeless universal truth to Arjuna in verse 2.20 of the Bhagavad-Gita:

na jayate mriyate va kadachin / nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah shashvato ‘yam purano / na hanyate hanyamane sharire 

This Presence does not take birth or die at any time, 
Nor had It previously been [something] 
which was made to become [something else] again.
It is primeval, unborn, and eternal, 
and Its nature as such is permanent. 
Thus It is not slain when the body is slain.

Moreover, in verse 2.16 we find: 

nasato vidyate bhavo / nabhavo vidyate satah
ubhayor api drishto’ntas / tvanayos tattvadarshibhih

It is found that the temporary (asat) never comes into being
and the eternal (sat) never ceases to be—
The certainty of both these conclusions
has been directly perceived by seers of the truth.

And presently we may further recall verse 3.27 of the Bhagavad-Gita:

prakriteh kriyamanani / gunaih karmani sarvashah
ahamkara-vimudhatma / kartaham iti manyate

Herein we are reminded that all activities everywhere are movements within Infinite Consciousness being effectuated by the components of Its own Nature (Prakriti), yet when pure Awareness perceives through a dreamlike form appearing within It, a confused sense of self-identity (vimudhatma) is created by spontaneous, innocent identification with that form, and thus a belief ensues that ‘I, a separate entity, am an autonomously-functioning doer of my actions (ahamkara).’

Perhaps we may additionally mention here that the ‘It’ mentioned in the above verse is not a thing, not an impersonal object, as when for example we might say, ‘Do you see that table in the corner of the room? It is made of Italian mahogany.’ Rather, in Bhagavad-Gita verse 10.22 we find Sri Krishna stating that bhutanam asmi chetana, ‘I am the faculty of Consciousness in all living beings.’

So in consideration of all of the above in conjunction with Krishna’s statement in Gita verse 7.19 that vasudevah sarvam iti, ‘All that exists is this divine Omnipresence’, we may find Sri Hamsa-avatar’s instruction to the Four Kumaras in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.13.29 to be especially helpful to us:

ahamkarakritam bandham / atmanorthaviparyayam
vidvan nirvidya samsara- / chintam turye sthitas tyajet

Acquisition of the egoic sense of oneself as an autonomous entity
is the cause of one’s experiencing bondage and all other misfortunes;
Yet regardless of whether one is greatly learned or uneducated,
One can be free from all of the concerns and anxieties
associated with the rotating cycle of illusory states (samsara)
by simply abiding as an uninvolved witness.

‘Abiding as an uninvolved witness’ here refers only to the function of Consciousness as the faculty of attention; the body/mind instrument does not become inactive or negligent of one’s practical well-being or of one’s necessary engagements within the world. All of the activities of the body/mind vessel continue to be observed by one’s true Self in Its expression as the pure, non-participating witness.

And the magnificent swanlike Lord also states in Bhagavatam verse 11.13.28:

yarhi samsritibandhoyam / atmano gunavrittidah
mayi turye sthito jahyat / tyagas tad gunachetasam

As long as there remains an assumed connection
Between the rotating states of being (awakeness, dreaming, deep sleep)
and oneself, their witness,
The components of Nature
will continue offering engagement with them.
One should therefore relinquish this ‘relationship’
and abide within Me in the fourth position (turiya)—
That is the way of withdrawal from the interaction
between Consciousness and the objects of the senses.

All phenomenal objects, whether physical or subtle, derive their hypnotically mesmerising power from the interested attention of a portion or partial expression (amsha) of undivided Consciousness, and this usually happens reflexively and ‘unconsciously’, so to speak. Yet if there is a conscious noticing of being the perceiving witness of whatever is perceived, then there is the immediate opportunity to utilise one’s always-available natural ability to drop interest and withdraw attention, thereby breaking the first link of a ‘chain’ which generally follows to ‘bind’ attention in the absence of such conscious awareness.

The extended subsequent ‘links of the chain’ are comprised of interpretation of an object, identification with it, energetic involvement with it, emotional investment in it, and the intention to establish a particular type of relationship with it. Interestingly, all of the above ‘chain links’ begin with ‘I’—the sense of being an autonomous separate self who wants to experience certain objects or objectives and wants to avoid experiencing other ones. Hence we may recall Sri Krishna’s teaching in regard to the perennial igniting power of desiring (‘I want’) which He explains to Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita verses 3.37-43, beginning with: ‘The force of desire and anger is produced from the activating component of Nature (rajas-guna). Please know that energetic force of opposing and separating (vairinam) to be the all-consuming producer of misery in this world.’  

The overwhelmingly good news, however, is that as soon as we clearly recognise that maya, illusion, or ‘the material world’ is not holding onto us, but that it is rather we who are holding onto it—that it is only one’s own fascination with either physical or subtle phenomena which becomes one’s ‘fasten-ation’ or entanglement in trance-inducing dreamlike experiences—we then have the opportunity to become free from the repetitive sequence of torments initially spawned by the instantaneous and unintentional movement in Consciousness from ‘I am’ to ‘I am this body/mind.’ 

What I have also found over the decades to be consistently supportive of moving in love and trust throughout all life-situations rather than moving from a place of fear and internal conflict is the divine message from Srila Sridhara Maharaja that ‘The ever-vigilant eyes of our affectionate guardians are always above our heads.’ 

Totality Willing, perhaps on the next ‘leg’ of our journey we can continue conjointly exploring the nature of shamelessly unadorned Consciousness with the extremely relevant question: ‘How can one live from the ongoing recognition of one’s true nature as unborn Spirit in the midst of the numerous distracting events which inevitably occur in routine day-to-day life?’ Until then, I wish you a ‘deityful’ day (whomever your cherished Ishtadevas may be), and any Harmonist readers wishing to contact me with questions or comments are most welcome to do so at alandi108 at gmail.com.


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