Topics for today:
- Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
- Pages 10 – 19 of “Introduction” chapter of the Study material
Highlights of today’s class:
Understanding moksha further:
- Analyzing human pursuits for artha, kama and dharma will lead to an understanding that
- these pursuits are for my sake and not for somebody else or for the sake of the pursuits themselves. Not only artha and kama, but dharmic actions like prayer are also meant only for me. A pursuer of artha and kama prays for success in those pursuits. A spiritual seeker prays for knowledge and maturity. Pursuits meant for ‘my’ family members, ‘my’ community, etc. are also for my sake alone. [ “atmanastu kamaya sarvam priyam bhavati” ]
- these pursuits are endless because they don’t solve the fundamental problem viz. the notions of “lack of security” and “lack of happiness” within oneself.
- Pursuing moksha means taking steps to resolve this fundamental problem which is definitely for my sake. Hence moksha is really the only and ultimate purushartha even though we say there are four purusharthas.
Becoming vs being:
- Pursuits of artha and kama involve ‘becoming’ someone – such as a respected member of society, a rich or influential person, a parent, a senior in designation at work, etc. etc.
- By contrast, knowing that I am secure and happy does not involve any ‘becoming’. It can be termed as just ‘being’ who I essentially am.
Means of knowledge to know the nature of our self:
- To know that I am already secure and happy means to remove the ignorance which is hiding this fact from me. Self-ignorance is removed through self-knowledge. What means of knowledge should we employ to obtain this knowledge of our self?
- Two conventional means of knowledge that we always use are direct perception which is called pratyaksha (प्रत्यक्ष) and inference or anumana (अनुमान). A means of knowledge is called pramana (प्रमाण).
- Pratyaksha pramana are the five sense organs – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Each pramana is unrivaled in its domain of operation. Eyes and only eyes can give us knowledge of forms and color. The ears or nose or skin or tongue cannot give that knowledge. Same is the case with other four organs.
- Anumana pramana involves an intellectual conclusion based on prior pratyaksha experience. For example we infer that there must be fire even though not visible, when we see smoke, because we have seen earlier that smoke comes only in the presence of fire.
- Pratyaksha and Anumana pramanas are not capable of revealing the nature of our self as being secure and happy. We also cannot stumble upon self-knowledge nor will it arise by making the mind thought-free nor will it come by going to any loka after death.
- A third means of knowledge is the sabda pramana (शब्द प्रमाण), which is the Vedas. This is the means available for us to know about the self.
Veda as pramana:
- Veda is the body of knowledge whose domain is something that cannot be proved or disproved by pratyaksha or anumana pramanas.
- For example – punya, papa, rebirth, law of karma – are in the domain of Vedas. Rituals such as putrakamesti are also in the domain of the Vedas.
- The portion of Vedas containing rituals, prayers, karma, punya, papa, etc. are called the purvabhaga or karmakanda.
- The later portion of Vedas that deals with the nature of the self is called uttarabhaga or jnanakanda or Vedanta.
om tat sat