Thursday 6 June 2024

Yogopanishads – Advayataraka Upanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

Advaya Taraka Upanishad is one of the most important of the 20 Yoga Upanishads. Advaya Taraka Upanishad belongs to the Shukla Yajurveda and as a tradition the Upanishad has a Shanti Pat, a prayer before the study of the Upanishad. The Shanti Pat is the well-known chanting:

Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate

Puurnnashya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Advaya Taraka Upanishad belonging to the Shukla Yajurveda expounds beautifully the various concepts of Raja Yoga practice, methodology, philosophy and the benefits and the results of the Raja Yoga. Of course the name itself signifies it is Advaya - Without the two, that is the non-dual - Advaitaha. Taraka is crossing over. So, In Advaya Taraka Upanishad, the teaching is to cross the Dvaitas, Dvandvas, Dvayas and attain and experience the state of Advaitaha How to cross over? How to overcome? How to eliminate? How one can cross over this ocean of Samsara? Samsara Sagar? And by crossing over, how one can attain and establish in the state of Dvandvatitaha, Nir-dvandva sthithi, Dvandva rahitya sthithi which is the Advaita sthithi, and which is termed as the Brahmi sthithi, the Brahma sthithi? Those details systematically explained in the Taraka Upanishad, Advaya Taraka Upanishad The Upanishad introduces a technique called Taraka Yoga and the Upanishad itself begins the Adhikara, eligibility criteria for the practice of Taraka Yoga. Being a small Upanishad of 19 mantras, the first mantra itself is an exposition of the eligibility criteria for the practice of the Taraka Yoga. What are the eligibility criteria?

Athāto'dvayatārakopaniṣadaṁ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ.

Yataye jitendriyāya śamādiṣaḍguṇapūrṇāya.

The practitioner has to be Jitendriya: who will be able to conquer the Indriyas – Jitendriya, conquered the Indriyas, who has won over the Indriyas, all the Indriyas are under his control, the forces of the Indriyas, the rush, the push and the speed of the Indriyas, the demands of the Indriyas, the wants of the Indriyas, the needs of the Indriyas have been conquered. The Indriyas are kept under watchful, careful observation. The Indriyas have been properly maneuvered, navigated and they are under the control of the Buddhi, and finally win over the rush and the push of the Indriyas – Jitendriyatvam. This is one of the basic quality eligibility criteria for the practice of Taraka Yoga.

The next one is Samadhi Shadguna Poornaya - one who is Poornaha, embodied completely with the Shadguna Sampatti, the wealth of quality. They are Shama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Shraddha and Samadhana, it is Samadhi Sadka Sampatti which was beautifully explained in the Viveka Chudamani by Adi Shankaracharya while explaining about the Sadhana Chatushtaya he talks about Samadhi Sadka Sampatti. He calls it Shama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Samadhana and Shraddha, or Shraddha and Samadhana - these are the six qualities. The physical control, the physical senses are under control, the Kramendriyas, the Jnanendriyas are under control is called Shama and Dama.  Uparati is the ability to be away from the objects of enjoyment. Titiksha is the tremendous capacity of forbearance, and a sense of intense one-pointedness Samadhana it is called, the ability to focus, and the last one is the Shraddha which is the tremendous confidence in the practice which we take up. So, these are the basic eligibility criteria for the practice of Taraka Yoga.

Then the Upanishad takes up beautifully the Taraka Swaroopam, the form of Taraka. What is the form of the Taraka the state of the Taraka the state of the Taraka is beautifully explained in this one. That it is beyond the cycles of the Janma and Mrityu, and it is free away from all the webs, all the waves of life, and it is beyond the illusion, and it is beyond the state of all our perceptions that is the state of Taraka Stithi. Neti, Neti, Neti, Neti not all that what we experience, it is beyond all these experiences, and that is the state of the Taraka Stithi.

How do we attain this Taraka Stithi, the actual performance methodology, the technique of the practice of Taraka Yoga? The Upanishad gives three methods: Antarlakshya Lakshanam, Bahirlakshya Lakshanam, and Madhyalakshya lakshanam. The three methods the techniques of the Taraka Yoga and this Lakshatrayam, the three Lakshanas are beautifully explained in the Upanishad.

The first one is the Antarlakshya Lakshanam you focus, contemplate and observe, feel the inner experiences the inner happenings in the mind when the mind is quiet withdrawn from all its external movements when it has been focused within, not engaged in any external activities then it gets focused in its own internal activities, a part of the mind which is focused within its own activity within, and that observation and that process. A guided process, a process where diligently the mind is moved, diligently and intelligently the mind is under the watchful control of the buddhi keeps on understanding without wavering from its point of observation that is the Antarlakshya Lakshanam. This movement the Upanishad beautifully describes as taking the mind from the Muladhara then it goes into the direction of the Brahmarandra, on the way it passes through the Kundalini with the radiance myriads of lightning flashes and a very delicate form, and delicate form is beautifully given as the central thread of the lotus stalk, and that is how the light, the feeling, the effulgence, the inner light, moving and rises up its outward journey. This upward journey is very guided, it is done carefully and this is done incessantly and continue to see, observe feel this effulgent light within and this radiance within from the base of our seat, the Muladhara till it is continued up to the Bhrumadhya, center of the eyebrows, then a sound resembling "Phoo" is heard then both the ears are closed. When the mind is attuned to this state, observing, feeling, and experiencing, and actually seeing the light between the two eyebrows, then a very subtle whispering sound within the ears - this experience is the Antarlakshya lakshanam. We should all remember these things are not created these things are not generated; these are the things happening but we are not aware because the mind is engrossed in things which are extremely external, intensely extrovert. Once this extrovert exterior and external things have been deleted, removed and the mind is allowed to be within itself, what is happening within is exposed. What is happening within is known. Till now what is unknown comes to be known. So, it is not generated or produced or created it is the unmanifested or the manifested is came into our experience. This is Antarlakshya lakshanam.

Then what is the bahirlaksha lakshanam? The Upanishad describes beautifully that the ethereal space of a blue color, slightly bordering on the color of the indigo, then apparently shining like a wave of blood red color but really orange in front of the nose of the practitioner at a distance of 4, 6, 8 10, 12 maatras digit lengths, maatras are the units of measurement in the yoga and in the Indian traditional system and that maatras there are radiant beams in a strange vision of the person and he sees, the practitioner sees radiant beams, rays sparkling like a molten gold either at the end of his sight glances on the eyes or on the earth, such a sight gets fixed and this is the experience of bahirlakshya lakshanam. You should remember, bahirlakshya lakshanam is dependent on the external. Antarlakshya lakshanam is not dependent on the external.

Then the description of the madhyalakshya lakshanam that is intermediate perception beautifully the Upanishad describes the methodology the methodology is by seeing them over and over again the sadhaka ensues Akasha devoid of qualities, no qualities, nirguna sthiti, then ensues transcendent akasha even from the saguna level goes into the nirguna level takes the saguna as a tool, gives up experiences, the nirguna, and he drops off even that so dropping off the saguna taking up the nirguna process, giving up and before taking and then dropping off, giving up the nirguna and experiencing the taraka that phase between after dropping the saguna and taking up the nirguna and after giving up the nirguna and experiencing the taraka, those intermediary spaces that is why it is called as the madhyalakshya lakshanam.

The Upanishad introduces a beautiful term called as tattva akashaha, surya akashaha and akashaha and that is the state of mano rahityaha - Nirmana sthiti it calls it. These experiences of the taraka are of two types: jividham and tarakam. It says tat tarakam jividham purvardham and uttarardham it calls it. What is the purvardham and the uttarardham? And this is where the Upanishad beautifully elaborates on the types of the tarakas, the twofold techniques taraka and amanaska it is called, and after these twofold jividham and tarakam where the Upanishad explains one is the tarakam and one is the amanaska tarakam. It is something like you use an external or an object even within the mind with mana using an object, an idea, a concept and the mind is dwelling on that, this is exactly the saguna upasana. It can be a murti, it can be a vigraha, it can be a pratika, it can be a pratima, it can be any idol it can be any concept, this all comes under the taraka. And amanaska is you don't use any concepts, the sadhaka maintains that state where the mind is not allowed to move no second thought is allowed to come or the entire focus in the sadhana is not to have any second idea, second thought only the one ekamatraha. It is then from there the Upanishad introduces beautifully the Shambhavi mudra it calls it,

Antarbāhyalakṣye dṛṣṭau nimeṣonmeṣavarjitāyāṃ satyaṃ sāṃbhavī mudrā bhavati | tanmudrārūḍhajñāninivāsāt bhūmiḥ pavitrā bhavati | taddṛṣṭyā sarve lokāḥ pavitrā bhavanti | tādṛśaparamayogipūjā yasya labhyate so'pi mukto bhavati ||

What is the shambhavi mudra? It says that in case of both internal and external perceptions where both eyes are devoid of the power of shutting and opening, there occurs what is known as the mudra, means the eyes are not moved, eyebrows, eyelids eyelashes, eye muscles no part of the eye, no component of the eye has any movement an absolute perfect stability in the eyes, and that state of absolute perfect stability is the shambhavi mudra. For people who see for the sadhaka who practices shambhavi mudra it may be, it looks like no movement of the eyes but even the drishti, even the chakshu, even the internal perception, there is no movement of the mind not just movement of the eyes, and the eyeballs, not only that, there is no movement of even the mind. That is the shambhavi mudra it is said, and that is where the then the Upanishad describes the Acharya lakshanam, description and qualities of the Guru.

Guśabdastvandhakāraḥ syāt ruśabdastannirodhakaḥ | Andhakāranirodhitvāt gururityabhidhīyate ||

This particular mantra, the 16th mantra is well known as we keep on quoting this particular mantra when we talk about the Guru:

Gurureva paraṃ brahma gurureva parā gatiḥ | Gurureva parā vidyā gurureva parāyaṇam ||

Guru is the param brahma, Guru is the Paragatihi, Guru is the Paravidya, Guru is the parayanam.

Gurureva parā kāṣṭhā gurureva paraṃ dhanaṃ | Yasmāttadupadeṣṭā'sau tasmādgurutaro gururiti ||

Beautifully the Upanishad describes the qualities of a guru, the various qualities, importance and the greatness of the guru, and of course the Upanishad concludes by the Grantaabhyaasaphalam. Following a text, following a textual practices, a sadhaka following practices as in the text what will happen, what should happen and why he should follow that that is an important dimension and that is where the Advaitaraka Upanishad proposes, presents - the importance of following a shastra following a granta and practicing as per that a shastra, a granta is a record of the experiences of the sadhakas, and taking that as a guidance, one can evolve, one can expertise in the practices. So Taraka Yoga, Advaitaraka Upanishad talking about the Lakshyatriyam, Jivita Tarakam then the Shambhavi Mudra then the Acharya Lakshanam and the Grantasafalyatam. This is how beautifully the Advaitaraka Upanishad expounds one of the important dimensions of the practice of Yoga and that is how the Upanishad says wonderfully by practicing this method of the Taraka Yoga one can attain the Advayasthiti. So, this Upanishad explains the beauty of the quiet silent and deeply involved mind where the mind is not only getting dissolved the mind lost its mindness, the mindfulness is lost it is called and that is the highest dimension of the Taraka Yoga. That is the real state of Advayasthiti. And this is the teaching of the Advayataraka Upanishad. Let us see other Upanishads also in our coming sessions. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti:

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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