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Friday, May 19, 2006

PANCA KOSA -4- Vijananamaya kosa and Anandamaya kosa

Who is there? Who exists beyond mind?

A very simple observation shows that it is our intellect which gives instructions to the mind. Not only the mind but the instructions of the entire body are from the intellect.

When you are at a shop buying a pair of items, each costing twenty rupees, and the person in the shop says fifty for two of them. You will at once be alerted and say, “Why fifty? Two of twenty each should only be forty”.

Who said this? Who directed you to say this? It is our intellectual personality called Vijnanamaya kosa. Vijnana or intellect is the one, which does all the calculations. It is the intellect which says, this is big and this is small. This is okay and this is not okay. It is the intellect which says in a work of engineering what formula should be applied. It is the intellect in the work of medicine, which says what count of blood is normal. So, it is the intellectual personality Vijnanamaya kosa, which not only guides you, but the whole world. When you say you are responsible, it means it is the intellectual personality, Vijnanamaya kosa.

The whole world goes by Vijnana. If the Vijnana says, ‘Yes’, the world says, ‘yes’. And if the Vijnana says, ‘no’, the world says, ‘no’. Vijnana saying means intellectuals saying. Earlier intellectuals said that cholesterol is bad for body and the ghee, butter, adds to cholesterol. Therefore, ghee is bad. Everybody stopped eating ghee. Recently, other intellectuals said the body needs what is called good cholesterol and ghee is of the good cholesterol variety. Once again, people started eating ghee.

At the individual level, it is the intellect which is responsible for all the activities. That is why we identify ourselves with the intellectual personality. If my intellect is trained in medicine, I am a doctor; if my intellect is trained in science, I am a scientist; and in architecture I am an architect. If my intellect is trained to lie I am lawyer; if I have no intellect I am a politician! We thus identified ourselves with intellectual personality as the Vijnanamaya kosa.

The student is excited, rushes back to the teacher, and says with joy, “I am the Vijnanamaya kosa, intellectual personality”. The teacher is not yet satisfied, he asks him to go further to investigate.

Tapasaa Brahma Vigijnasasva.

The whole world recognizes the intellect as something supreme. All the universities exist to train the intellect. All diplomas, certificates, and convocations are essentially to recognize intellect. A Nobel Prize is for intellectual excellence. It easily looks like the supreme aspect of us and like there can be nothing higher than the intellectual personality!

How can there be any thing subtler, deeper and nearer to us than the intellect?

The intellectual personality functions and survives on the natural laws on one end and rules and equations on the other. These are the boundaries. Once there are laws and rules, there is bondage. Therefore the personality, Vijnanamaya kosa, is bound within the laws and equations. There is no freedom at the intellectual level or intellectual personality. When there is bondage of laws and rules, how can there be freedom? And once the freedom is not there where is the happiness? Happiness has to constantly conform to remain within the boundaries, so there is no rest at the Vijnanamaya personality!

Intellect is important, because it can help a person to fully understand the universe around him/her. This intellect allows us to judge what is right and wrong; okay and not okay; and how to learn from mistakes. The intellectual personality is consistently taking laws and regulations into consideration. Therefore, it cannot be happy and restful. Therefore, one has to withdraw one’s sellf from the intellectual personality and rest in happiness. We do this everyday in our sleep where we shut down the intellect and go to the inner shell where we are happy.

Thus the teacher asks the student, what are we when we are free from the intellectual personality? What is that which is subtler than the intellectual personality? Is it an experience for all or for only a fortune few who meditate? If it is our nature, it should be there whether we do spiritual sadhana or not.
It is a very difficult question to answer. But once we begin investigating this, we can see this personality is in our daily activities because it is our inherent nature and that it alone is responsible for all our activities. On a simple observation it appears that the intellect is everything and is guiding our experience. But a more careful study shows that it is not the intellect, but rather, bliss which is propelling all our activities.


So the natural question of the student is, “How?”

If I ask my intellect if I should put my hand in the fire, the intellect will respond by saying that the fire will burn you. But the only way that the intellect knows this is through experience or another person’s advice. The intellect says I can only tell you if you put your hand in the fire it burns. And I cannot guide you beyond my preview whether you would like to put in your hand in fire. What we trained the intellect can only guide you in that. The intellect trained in medicine cannot talk about electronics. An intellect trained in electronics cannot talk about surgery of a heart valve. What information you give to the intellect, the intellect can only work within that fold.

I remember an experience. While I was in high school, I was teaching my younger sister, simple mathematics - ideas about addition and subtraction. She was very intelligent and her grasp was excellent. I was teaching her with simple day to day examples like 10 oranges plus 15 oranges equals 25 oranges; minus 5 oranges is equal to 20 oranges etc. She went for the exam and came back depressed. When I asked what happened, she replied, “The exam was too difficult and had questions that I didn’t know.” When I looked at the exam, I was surprised because it was what we had discussed. I asked her why she felt it was too difficult. She replied promptly, “You taught me orange math, and they give me question about apples”

What is given to intellect, intellect is bound within that, intellect does not go beyond.

I have a friend in Texas in a small town. Coming from Bangalore, his house is like a small Bangalore with decorations, food, culture, music etc; it was like a mini Bangalore. He has a brilliant child 6 year old, who is fond of any thing of from Bangalore. Every summer they would come to Bangalore and spend their vacation! The child is very inquisitive. Anything that Dad brings home, he has to rip it open and see. Dad wants to ensure the child does not spoil precious things like a camera, TV etc., so he gave instructions to the child, “These are electronics, so do not touch them.” He cannot play with electronics. The child is very well-behaved. The first day when I went to their house, Dad took me to the house and I was sitting on the couch. The boy was hiding behind the dad looking curiously at the stranger. The dad pulled him forward and said to him, “Do namaste to uncle Raghuram. He is from Bangalore, speaks your language, and you can enjoy his company”. But seeing the glow on the child’s face, the dad thought If he lets the child loose, he will jump on me. Not knowing how I would take it, dad cautions the child, “He is from Bangalore all right, but don’t touch him. Ok?”

The child whispered in dad’s ears about me, “Is he electronics?”

Intellect takes what is given to it. Intellect cannot advise whether you should put your hand in the fire or not. So what guides your intellect? It is happiness which decides. There is no happiness in burning our hand, so we don’t put our hand in fire. It is not because the fire burns.

One might raise a question, “Why should we make such a hair splitting distinction between intellect and bliss or happiness”?

Take the example of a smoker. He smokes not because his intellect is telling him to smoke. No, his intellect is also telling him smoking is bad for his health. But he still continues to smoke. Why? A friend of mine, a brilliant engineer, took up smoking, and I wanted to advise him against smoking. An engineer, a brilliant scientific mind, can easily be convinced with numbers and statistics. So I asked him, why you do you smoke when 59% of lung cancer patients are smokers?
He replied to me, “Where have you been Raghuram? The latest statistics show it is not 59%, it is 86%.” I was speechless. If he knows this, why does he go on smoking?

When I asked him repeatedly, he felt as though I was nagging him. Any good advice repeated few times will be nagging so one as to be careful!

He felt nagged and countered me with a question, “Raghuram you advise me not to smoke. Did you ever smoke?” Nobody had ever asked me this question. I mumbled saying, “Well, no, I never smoked”. Like an arrow his comment came, “That’s why you advise me not to smoke. You don’t know the joy of smoking”.

It is therefore not the intellect which guides us but it is the happiness, joy which guides us. All our actions are because of happiness. Smoking we do for the sake of happiness. We eat because it gives us happiness. All of our activities are done for the sake of happiness, consciously and unconsciously. Even in sleep, in the unconscious state, it is this happiness which is responsible for even simple activities, like rolling on the bed unconsciously.

Consciously or unconsciously we are guided by happiness alone. Nobody else or nothing from outside is guiding us. It is this happiness that is there within us, which is our nature, and which is guiding us. One slight objection could be, I see every activity which gives happiness has an object or situation or recognition behind but how can we say happiness is our nature. It appears contradictory to our experience.

Our experience is that the object outside gives us the experience of happiness. And you seem to suggest happiness is our nature.

To answer this objection, observe your state of deep sleep experience. We all experiencer joyfulness in deep sleep. We are happy and in that state without the need of external objects. The reporter of the deep sleep is absent but the experiencer is there in deep sleep. That is the reason why when we getup, we indicate that we had very good sleep. It is the reporter who was absent in deep sleep and he comes back when you wake up. It was pure bliss; it indicates that we are happy even though when there is no external object to give us happiness. Even the most cherished object of your choice like a music or dance etc. can not enter into your deep sleep state. When somebody plays your favorite song when you are in deep sleep, you tell them to turn it off so you can sleep.

In this deep sleep, we have experienced happiness without the interference of external objects. This is where we begin touching the state of happiness within. Hence, it is said that happiness lies within. It is responsible for all of your activities. When there is happiness or joy independent of the influence of external objects, it is referred to as bliss. Both happiness and bliss are the same in regards to the experience felt. But bliss is independent of objects. This bliss is our innate nature.

The source of happiness, since it is our nature, is our soul and it flies on the wings of joy on one side and ecstasy on other. It is beyond the intellectual boundaries. That is why both, a wise man and a stupid man, can both be equally happy. The happiness experience does not depend on the pairs of opposites. For example, both silence and noise can give us happiness and good and bad can give us happiness. Deep within our nature, or soul and the actual self, is happiness

Once the student knew that his nature is bliss after his thorough investigations, he is still confused, “Why am I so far away from happiness, when my very nature is happiness?” With this realization that he is bliss, he established himself in it.

The Upanishad states that not only the student establishes in bliss, but any person who recognizes that his nature is bliss and happiness will automatically establish themselves in bliss.

It is thoroughly convincing to know that our nature is bliss and all other kosas are out side of the bliss. In order to make one understand this I have not taken any example from any saints sitting in the forest of the Himalayas and meditating and found he has all these personalities. Instead, I quoted the examples from simple day to day experiences of life. The Upanishad asks, are you convinced about it. The student today says, “Yes, I suppose.”

But once we are convinced we are in big trouble!

to be continued...


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