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Author Topic: MYSTICISM OF THE UPNISHADS  (Read 3487 times)

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« on: February 15, 2007, 07:45:37 AM »
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    Mysticism is expressed variously. It is described as an experience beyond the grasp of the senses and mind itself. It is an unmediated experience of God,   an unadulterated bliss and ineffable peace with  silent  intimations  of immortal   existence-sat-chit-Anand: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss   Absolute.    This   transcendent super-sensory experience that comes out of a silent mind is said to be the mysticism of the Upanishads cryptically expounded by the Vedic Rishis in the upanishads.

    Religious mysticism is however different. Here it is the Reali­zation of the relationship with God and the soul experience. While Upanishad mysticism means complete identity with God, Religious mysticism is the union with God and the consequential experience in all its fulness. The awareness of the Personal God is all important with Religious mystics.  Impersonality of Reality is not advocated by these saints. To them Reality of God is not always an idealism but it is in the actual impact of God in the life of man. These Reli­gious mystics are convinced that God is not merely the uncondi­tioned Absolute Transcendent" Brahman " but He is also immanent within the creation.   They have demonstrated that steady and sustained Divine contemplation with concentration leads to the vision of Divine in all his splendour.   The Puranas abound in narrations of the God's constant activity and participation in lives of men. The incarnation of God from time to time and His miraculous intercession to set the creation in its rightous course reveals    "• that God is Trancedent and also immanent, regulating the universe (GITA ch; IV 7&8') Instances are not wanting where devotion and total surrender through inspired song culminating in the vision of   the   Divine and   ultimate union   of  the devotee  with  the very Divine. Religious mystics believe that the Supreme Godhead out of love for His creation could incarnate even in icons so that man could have easy access to Him & His Grace. We are aware of that great Kanhopatra, a Maharastra devotee of Panda-rinath, a historical figure. She was a dancing girl by birth of matchless beauty and attainments. Somehow she turned to be a devotee of Panduranga. Against all persuations of her mother, she left for Pandharpur and lodged herself in the Temple, worshipping Lord Panduranga all the time. The Mughal .Nawab having come to know of Kanhopatras beauty sent his men to drag her to his harem. Finding herself helpless she pleaded with the soldiers for one last darshan of Lord Panduranga. Little realizing the consequences, Kanhopaira was allowed her wish, and she rushed to the idol of Panduranga and fell at the feet of the Idol. A Jyoti (a flash of light) emanated from Kanopatra and merged into the Idol of Panduranga. The Bewildered soldiers returned with remorse.

    For the_Religious mystics the icons are Real, speaking, communi­cating presence of God and not merely a symbolic image of God or a medium for concentration. This would seem to be rather extraordinary; yet the innumerable instances where Religious mystics experienced God in and through the icons would leave 'none in doubt about the sanctity and Reality in this kind of worship. The Religious mystics are aware of the beauty of the Pheno­menal World in the vision of God and they are also equally condom of its illusory and deluding nature when considered apart from God's immanence.

    Who does not remember the immortal Saint of Dakshineshwar who lived in the last century; a Religious mystic par excellence who felt the presence of Mother Kali even as one feels the presence of his fellow beings. What is more, he was also an Upanishap mystic who experienced in all its fulness the Nirvikalpa Samadhi through the initiation of Totapuri. Totapuri was a Punjabi monk, a staunch (monist) Advaitist. In the course of his wanderings he came across Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at Dakshineshwar and was attracted to him. Totapuri voluntered to teach 'Adwaita-bhava' to Ramakrisrma who at that time was in-'Mahabhava'. The latter would not accept the offer unless be consulted Mother Kali and Her permission secured. This was something which Tota­puri could not reconcile, for to him all multiplicity and the Pheno­menal World is a pure illusion. Reality is beyond all dualities and personalities. Thus for him Ramakrishna's reference to Mother Kali Seemed a redicule, an idle superstition and an unfortunate illusion. Yet he dare not lightly dismiss Ramakrishna. He urged Ramakrishna to seek Mother's directions urgently as he could not remain in one place more than one day according to the tenets of Sanyasa Dharma.

    Ramakrishna returned with Mother's permission to go through the initiation. Ramakrishna surpassed his Guru Totapuri in the attainment of Nirvikalpa Samadhi in just few days whereas the latter had to struggle for forty years.

    The ways of the Divine are mysterious. Before Totapuri left Dakshineshwar he was made to realize through a strange  incident that 'Brahman' and 'sakthi' were one and the same, the two aspect of the same Reality. Here is the anecdote from the life history of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.   Totapuri believed only in the form-less Impersonal God and through severe penance for years attained a stage when he could get into Nirvikalpa Samdhi at will. Just as he was to leave Dakshineshwar he took ill and could not concentrate and enter into Samadhi much as he tried. Perplexed and dejected he wanted to end his life-connections by drowning himself in the Ganges. As he was attempting to do so, the vision of Blissful Mother appeared and the Realization came to him that very moment that manifestation was not an illusion but the handiwork of Sakti and that Brahman and Sakti are 'One' like the Gem and the lustre; like fire and its burning properties. Totapuri before finally leaving Dakshnieshwar confessed to Ramakrishna his ignorance of that mother aspect of God. The great monist Adi Shankara's Prayer to Divine mother for mercy bears the refrain '"Though bad sons are many, never has there been a bad mother"   The believers of only in a formless and impersonal God miss the rich emotional fare that is found in the traditional path of devotion. Infinite is Brahman, Infinite are the ways to Realize Brahman, and Infinite are the ways that Brahman reveals Himself. Om Tat Sat.

    By :—V.   S.   Pandurangam, 168,  Marred |pally,   Secunderabad.


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