DIFFERENT GITAS IN HINDUISM (PART1) GITAS FROM MAHABHARATA

Gita means a song or a hymn.  It is usually a dialogue or a conversation between a guru, preceptor, or a jivan mukta and a sishya, student, or an earnest seeker.  Sometimes the song will be in the form of an advice.  Gita is usually filled with many questions and answers.  Gitas are very important in Hinduism, because it is ripe with spiritual knowledge.  There are many gitas in Hinduism.  To my knowledge there are more than sixty gitas in Hinduism.  The source of these gitas is from the epics, puranas, upapuranas and other Hindu scriptures.  The most famous among all these gitas is Sri Baghavad gita.  Everyone knows about this gita.  In this article let us see the different gitas from mahabharata. 

Mahabharata has eighteen parvas, chapters, or books.  The longest among them is the shanti parva.  It has 365 chapters.  Shanti parva has three sections.  They are the Raja dharma parva, apad dharma parva and moksha dharma parva.  The source of majority of the mahabharata gitas is from the moksha dharma parva or raja dharma parva of shanti parva of mahabharata.

The background of shanti parva is, after the great mahabharata war was over, King Yudhishtira was in a dejected state of mind.  Nobody could console him.  After the coronation ceremony was over the five Pandava brothers went to see Lord Krishna.  Lord Krishna took them to see Bheeshmaacharya, who was lying on the bed of arrows, still alive.  When Bheeshmaacharya saluted Lord Krishna, He took away the pain of Bheeshmaacharya, and made his mind peaceful.  By the direction of Lord Krishna King Yudhishtira asked many questions to Bheeshmaacharya.  Bheeshmaacharya gave deep philosophical answers to each of King Yudhishtira questions.  Each one of his profound answers is traditionally considered as gita.  Majority of them are a dialogue between a Rishi and a king, which he refers to king Yudhishtira. 

Another parva which is the source of many gitas in mahabharata is the vana parva.  During the period of exile, the Pandavas especially Yudhishtira meets many sages.  He asks many questions to these sages regarding all important topics in life.  The answer by the sages to these questions is traditionally considered as gita.  This parva is about the moral ethics and values the Pandavas learnt during their period of exile in the forest. 

Now let us see the different gitas from mahabharata. There are 25 gitas in mahabharata.

1. Sri Baghavad gita – It is also said as Hari gita by Sage Narada.  It comes in the Bheeshma parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. It has 700 verses.  It discusses various aspects of life. 

2. Anu gita – After the mahabharata war was over, Arjuna completely forgot the gita.  Therefore, he approached Lord Krishna and requested him to repeat the gita.  Lord Krishna said what is said in a particular situation, at a particular time cannot be repeated again; and he said the essence of Baghavad gita, which is known as Anu gita.

3. Uttara gita – After ruling the kingdom for many years, again in the old age Arjuna approached Lord Krishna and requested him to advice Brahma vidya.  Lord Krishna advised many yogic practices and this collection is called uttara gita.   

These three gitas are known as Krishna gitas.  They are said by Lord Krishna to Arjuna.

3. Ashtavakra gita – This gita is the conversation between sage Ashtavakra and king Janaka of Mythila.  Sage Ashtavakra is the guru of king Janaka.  It comes in the vana parva of mahabharata.  It is about the core advaita vedanta philosophy.  During the period of vanavasa to one of the questions of Yudhishtira, sage Lomash recites the story of Ashtavakra.

4. Baka gita – It is a conversation between sage Baka and lord Indira. It is about dharma and renunciation.

5. Bheeshma gita – This gita has three hymns sung in praise of Lord Vishnu, Lord Narayana and Lord Mahadev by Bheeshma. 

6. Bodhya gita – This gita comes in the shanti parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between sage Bodhya and king Yayati.

7. Brahmana gita – It comes in the ashvamedha parva of mahabharata.  It is conversation between a learned brahmin and his wife about ways to escape from the bondage of maya.

8. Harita gita – It comes in the shanti parva of mahabharta.  This gita is the teachings of sage Harita on sanyasa dharma.  Bheeshmaacharya recites this gita as an answer to one of the questions by king Yudishtira.

9. Kama gita – It is very short gita with only eleven verses.  It comes in the ashvamedha parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Yudishtira on the importance of suppression of desires, and the ways to deal with desires.

10. Manki gita – It comes in the shanti parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva of mahabharata.  It is the story of sage Manki on his enlightenment, which Bheeshmaacharya recites to one of the questions of king Yudhishtira.

11. Nahusha gita – It is a dialogue between king Yudhishtira and Nahusha in the form of a serpent.

12. Parasara gita – It comes in the shanti parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between Rishi Parasara, who is the father of Ved Vyasa, and king Janaka.  Bheeshmaacharya recites this gita, which is about good values, to a question asked by king Yudhishtira.

13. Pandava gita – This gita is a hymn dedicated to Lord Krishna.  It has 76 verses.  This gita is about the saranagathi tattwa.  Many people including the five pandavas, Draupati, Kunti, Narada, Bhishma, Dronacharya etc tell about their saranagati to Lord Krishna and how they were protected by Lord Krishna.  This gita is also known as Prapanna gita.

14. Pingala gita – It comes in the santi parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva of mahabharata.  When king Yudhishtira asks Bheeshmaacharya about knowledge and renunciation, Bheeshmaacharya recites this gita.  Actually it is a story of a dancing girl named Pingala, who realizes that the cause for her sorrow are her desires and she gave up her desires and attained enlightenment.  It also comes in the Uddhava gita. 

15. Sampaka gita – It comes in the shanti parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva in mahabharata.  Sampaka was a learned and pious brahmin who realized that only renunciation can give everlasting happiness.  When king Yudhishtira questions Bheeshmaacharya the reason for the same kind of sorrow and happiness affecting both the rich and the poor, Bheeshmaacharya recited this gita.

16. Sanatsujata gita – This gita comes in the udyoga parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between king Dhritharashtira and Rishi Sanatsujata.  King Dhritharastira was disturbed by the exile of the Pandava brothers.  Vidhura invites Rishi Sanatsujata to advise the king.  The advice given by Rishi Sanatsujata based on brahma vidya is Sanatsujata gita.

17. Shaunaka gita – This gita comes in the aranya (vana) parva of mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between sage Shaunaka and Yudhishtira based on the secrets of life. 

18. Vamadeva gita – It comes in the shanti parva, sub-section raja dharma parva of mahabharata.  To a question by king Yudhishtira on raja dharma, Bheeshmaacharya recites this gita.  It is a dialogue between Rishi Vamadeva and king Vasumana of Kosala kingdom.

19. Shadaja gita – This gita comes in the shanti parva, sub-section apad dharma parva of mahabharata.  Shadaja means originating from six; this gita has individual views about dharma from the five Pandava brothers and Vidhura.

20. Utathya gita – It comes in the shanti parva, sub-section raja dharma parva of mahabharata.  King Yudhishtira asks about raja dharma and Bheeshmaacharya recites this gita which is originally said by Utathya (son of Angiras) to king Mandhata.

21. Vicakhnu gita – This gita is from the shanti parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva of mahabharata.  It is a small gita with eleven versus.  Bheeshmaacharya tells king Yudhishtira about the views of king Vicakhnu on non-violence.  King Vicakhnu says that the animal nature in man must be sacrificed rather than sacrificing the real animals in the yagna (sacrifice). 

22. Vidhura gita – It is also famously said as Vidhura neeti.  It comes in the udyoga parva of mahabharata.  It has 500 versus.  This gita is the advice given by Vidhura on raja dharma, dharma, individual and social morality, politics and the art of governing to king Dhritharashtira.

23. Vritra gita – It comes in the shanti parva, sub-section moksha dharma parva in mahabharata.  It is a dialogue between Vritrasura and Sukracharya, which Bheeshmaacharya refers to king Yudhishtira to a question based on detachment and moksha.

24. Vyadha gita – This gita comes in the vana parva of mahabharata.  It is the advice given by sage Markandeya to Yudhishtira in the vanavasa period of the pandavas.  It is a story of a butcher (vyadha) who does nishkama karma (selfless act) and dharma (righteous act).

25. Yudhishtira – This gita is also known as yaksha prashna.  It comes in the vana parva of mahabharata.  It is a conversation between a yaksha and Yudhishtira.  A yaksha in the form of a crane asks many questions to Yudhishtira for which Yudhishtira answers brilliantly.

These are the gitas from the greatest epic mahabharata. 

In my next article I’ll write about the different gitas from Srimad Baghavata purana.

SACRED TEXTS IN HINDUISM

SACRED TEXTS IN HINDUISM

Hinduism has many sacred texts.  Though the most famous among them is Baghavad gita, there are many other sacred texts.  What is a sacred text?  The text that explains the concept of God, the profound principles and beliefs in a religion is called the sacred text.  On this basis, Hinduism has many sacred texts.  The sacred texts in Hinduism explain the universal concept of God, the relationship between God and the individual, the concept of Jagad (world), the rituals and beliefs that help an individual to evolve in life. 

The sacred texts in Hinduism can be broadly divided into sruti and smiriti.  In the ancient times, knowledge of Veda and Vedanta were passed on to generation after generation only by oral rendition.  The students hear the teachings, register them in their mind and teach them to their students.  In the ancient times the entire Veda and Vedanta were passed on in the Guru sishya parampara (teacher student lineage) in this manner.  Therefore, the Veda and Vedanta are called as sruti (to be heard).

The texts written remembering the sruti is said as smiriti (to be remembered).  Ithihasas, puranas and smiriti literature are said as smiriti.  Ithihasas, puranas and smiriti literature were written with the underlying touch of the Vedas.  The concept of Veda and Vedanta are included in the smiriti. 

There are many texts in Hinduism to suit the different mentalities of people.  People who are more ritualistic go after the ritualistic part of Veda.  People who are emotional go after smiriti.  People who have spiritual mentality go after Vedanta.  Whatever an individual follows it gradually leads him to the ultimate goal, self realization.

Sruti

Veda and Vedanta belong to sruti.  The Veda is divided in to four parts.  They are the Rig, Yajur, sama and atharva Veda. 

Rig Veda consists of entirely mantras.  The mantras that are to be chanted during different sacrifices and the mantras that help mental evolution are given in the Rig Veda. 

Yajur Veda has mantras, explanation of the sacrifices, and the rules, regulations that are to be followed during the sacrifices are given in yajur Veda.

Sama Veda is the musical rendering of the mantras in the Rig Veda.  It is very powerful because the musical notes have a great impact in the mind and in the atmosphere.

Atharva Veda was included in the Vedas in the last.  It includes mantras which help to manipulate the energy either in the positive or in the negative way. 

All these different parts of the Veda have an end portion called Vedanta.  In the Vedanta portion the core concept of Hindu Dharma is explained. It explains about the concept of nirakara, nirguna, niswarupa Brahman.  The mantra and sacrifices section of the Veda is called the karma kanda and the Vedanta section is called the Jnana kanda.  All the mantras, rituals etc in the karma kanda helps to lift a person intellectually to understand the concept of Brahman. 

Smiriti

Ithihasas

Ithihasas are the life history of the divine rulers of Bharata.  They are two itihasas, the Ramayana written by Sage Valmiki and Mahabharata written by sage Vyasa. 

Ramayana is the life history of the divine rulers of the lineage of the Sun god (surya vamsa).  It mainly tells about the divine ruler Raja Ram, the avatar of Mahavishnu.  Ramayana was originally written by Sage Valmiki, but later many people recreated Ramayana including the ritual dogmas, beliefs, and social code of conduct that were prevalent in their period of time and in their region.  They never changed or rather cannot change the main story of Lord Ram.  Recreating Ramayana is still considered as a scholarly work by many scholars. 

Mahabharata was written by Sage Vyasa.  Though Mahabharata is the story of the two major clan of Bharata, the main hero of Mahabharata is Lord Krishna.  Mahabharata tells about the rulers of the lineage of the moon god (chandra vamsa).  The famous text Baghavad Gita is a part of Mahabharata.  It has eighteen parvas or chapters.  Each parva forms a book. 

Puranas

There are eighteen puranas.  All of them were written by Sage Vyasa.  Srimad Bhagavata is the famous among them.  It is also said as the fifth Veda.  The life history of Lord Krishna explained in Srimad Bhagavada is very profound.  The puranas are written by Sage Vyasa based on the concepts of Veda.  Many concepts of Veda and Vedanta are included in the puranas.  Puranas are the detailed explanation of the Vedas.  Each purana tells about a particular concept of Brahman, like vishnu puran, skanda puran, Brahmanda Puran etc and it also explains the evolution and dissolution related to that concept of Brahman.  Many rituals and festive celebrations in India are based on the Puranas and itihasas.

Smiriti literature

Smiriti literature explains the social code of conduct.  There are eighteen smiritis and the famous among them is the manu smiriti.  These codes of conduct were derived from the Vedas.  Veda explains many sacrifices and rituals which help us satisfy our desires and needs.  Many code of conduct including rules and regulation for the priest, yajaman (owner of the sacrifices), helping priest etc were given in the Veda.  These codes of conduct were collected and written in the sutra form.  This is known as the kalpa sutra.  Kalpa sutra is one among the six Vedangas.  All the smiritis are based on these kalpa sutras.  Manu collected these codes of conduct, included the code of conduct prevalent during his time, and wrote the manu smiriti.  Manu Smiriti is only a book of suggestions; it is not a book of commandment.  The Government of India formed its Law book based on the Manu Smiriti.  Many laws for women, property rights, individual and social rights etc are based on the Manu Smiriti.  The code of conduct of the Smiriti is subject to change.  It changes with time.  It is said that Manu smiriti was written in the 2nd century.  Those laws may not be applicable in the modern age and so the laws are subject to change. 

In the Manu smiriti there are different codes of conduct for the different ashramas and for the different varnas.  Importance is given for the varna and individual who sacrifice their life to attain knowledge.  Smiriti literature aims for spiritual purity through physical, verbal and mental purity.

The itihasas, puranas or smiriti literature, they all aim for self realization in their own way.  Itihasas tell about self realization through the life history of the divine personalities.  Puranas tell about self realization through different stories and explanations.  Smiriti literature explains self realization through the code of conduct.  Since the ultimate principle of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is self realization, all these texts are considered as sacred texts in Hinduism.

TRIVITKARANA AND PANCHIKARANA

TRIVITKARANA AND PANCHIKARANA

Before creation there was only Sat.  Brahman alone existed.  At that time, its inherent power maya did not manifest.  Then, Brahman with maya made sankalpa (imagination) to manifest and maya manifested as these different forms.  Maya from the unmanifest state began to manifest.  Maya is dependent on Sat (Brahman) and so it is called mitya.  Maya is inert.  When it combines with Brahman it appears as intelligent.  Maya has three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas.  From the tamo aspect of maya evolved the sukshma bhutas; otherwise known as tanmatras.  These sukshma bhutas (subtle elements) undergo a process called trivitkarana and transform into sthula bhutas (gross elements).  Trivitkarana is a process of transformation of the three elements agni (fire), aap (water) and pritvi (matter) from its sukshma state (subtle state) to sthula state (gross state).  Trivitkarana is explained in the Chandogya Upanisad, in the sixth chapter, section three, mantras 3, 4.  Trivitkarana is a process of combination of the three elements.  When agni manifested, by its power manifested aap (water) element.  By the power of aap manifested prithvi (matter) element.  At this stage agni, aap, prithvi are in the pure and subtle state, which cannot be perceived.  This pure subtle agni, aap and prithvi combine and become gross, then it can be perceived.  This combination process is called trivitkarana.

Trivitkarana process is

1/2 portion of agni combines with 1/4th portion of aap + 1/4th portion of prithvi to form the gross agni element.

1/2 portion of aap combines with 1/4th portion of agni + 1/4th portion of prithvi to form the gross aap element.

1/2 portion of prithvi combines with 1/4th portion of agni + 1/4th portion of aap to form the gross prithvi element.

Trivitkarana is explained in Chandogya Upanisad.  Similarly, when the pancha sukshma bhutas (five basic subtle elements) combine, it is called panchikarana.  When the five elements combine the proportion of combination will change.  Panchikarana is the process by which the five sukshma bhutas combine, undergo transformation and become the five sthula bhutas; this is the sthula bhutas which we perceive as the five basic elements.  Panchikarana is explained by Sri Adi Sankaracharya.   

Panchikarana process is

1/2 portion of akasa (ether) element combines with 1/8th portion of vayu (air) element + 1/8th portion of agni (fire) element + 1/8th portion of aap (water) element + 1/8th portion of prithvi (matter) element to become sthula (gross) akasa element.

1/2 portion of vayu combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of agni + 1/8th portion of aap  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) vayu element.

1/2 portion of agni combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of aap  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) agni element.

1/2 portion of aap combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of agni  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) aap element.

1/2 portion of prithvi combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of agni  + 1/8th portion of aap to become sthula (gross) prithvi element.

The pure and subtle akasa, vayu, agni, aap and prithvi combine and undergo transformation to become the sthula (gross) elements.

Now, the sthula pancha bhutas (five gross elements) combine to form different sariras (gross bodies).  Whatever form we see in this world is the combination of these five elements.  The sthula sarira shrishti are of four types.  They are

Jarayujam – that which are born from the womb.  Examples are human beings, animals etc.

Andajam – that which are born from the egg.  Examples are birds, reptiles, insects etc.

Udhbhijam – that which are born from the seed, comes out splitting earth.  Examples are plants.

Svethajam – that which are born from the moisture.  Examples are bacteria, germs etc.

All these type of bodies are the different combination of the five gross elements.  These sariras are inert.  Brahman as chitabasa enters in these sariras and makes it conscious.  Thus the creation goes on.

Trivitkarana and panchikarana are the process by which the sukshma bhutas undergo a process of combination and transform as sthula bhutas.

OM – THE SOUND AND SYMBOL

OM – THE SOUND AND SYMBOL

Whole existence is reverberation – vibration of energy.  When there is vibration there will be sound.  Where there is vibration and sound there will be creation.  Om is the fundamental sound of the relative reality (creation).  It is the basic sound of this creation.  All the other sounds are the manifestation of Om. 

Om is the combination of three basic sounds A + U + M.  All the other sounds are the mixing of these three basic sounds using the tongue.  If you notice we can pronounce Om or A, U, M without the use of tongue (we can pronounce by using only the lip movement).

In the Vedas almost all the mantras start with Om.  Om is used in karma kanda widely.  In Vedanta it is mainly used for meditation.  It is used to represent saguna Brahman as well as nirguna Brahman.  Om is the basic vibration of this universe.  It is the divine sound, symbol and mantra.  It is the beej mantra for universal Consciousness.  More than a japa mantra Om is used extensively for meditation.  Since Om is the basic vibration of the universe when we meditate on Om we can easily connect with the Universe.  Mandukya upanishad explains a unique technique for meditation on Om.

Human existence is based on three states (avastas).  They are the waking, dream and deep sleep states.  These states exist in Consciousness, which is known as Turiya.  Turiya cannot be said as the fourth state.  It is the underlying state.  All the experiences exist in Turiya.  We are able to experience the three states because of Turiya.  Turiya can also be said as prapanjopashama, where all the other experiences of the universe disappear.  Turiya is that state where all the other three states merge and reappear.

Three states (avastas)

In the waking state (jagrad avasta) we come in contact with the gross universe with our body, senses and mind.  The Consciousness or Turiya in association with the body, senses and mind experiences the universe in the waking state.  In other words, the Consciousness (Turiya) appears as the waking experience.

In the dream state (swapna avasta) we come in contact with the world of impression in the mind in sleep.   The Consciousness or Turiya in association with the projection of the mind is the dreaming experience.  In other words, the Consciousness (Turiya) appears as the dream experience.

In the deep sleep state (sushupti avasta), there is no internal world or external world.  It is experience of darkness or ignorance.  The Consciousness in association with the non-functioning of the mind is the deep sleeping experience.  In other words, the Consciousness (Turiya) appears as the deep sleep experience.

That Consciousness (Turiya) is expressed as Om.  Om is the symbol of Consciousness.  All the three states appear and disappear in Turiya.  Turiya is not a mystical experience; it is the fundamental nature of man. 

Meditation on Om

Now, the three base sounds in Om are taken for meditation.  Only for meditation Om is split as A, U, M (as its base sound).  For chanting and mantra japa it should be pronounced as Om.  According to the sandhi rules of sanskrit, when you combine A + U we get only O

(that is A + U = O), but when we meditate we split by its base sound. 

All the waking experiences are identified with A

All the dream experiences are identified with U

All the deep sleep experiences are identified with M

When we meditate on Om we must bring in to mind this knowledge.  All the waking, dream and deep sleep experiences appear and disappear in Consciousness or Om.  There is a small gap between finishing and starting of the next Om.  That gap is silence.  That silence represents Consciousness or Turiya.  So all the experiences appear, disappear and merge in Consciousness and again the same process.

Thus meditation on Om is explained in Mandukya upanishad.  There are no experiences without Turiya.  We are not aware of Turiya.  To bring one to that deep pure Consciousness is meditation on Om.

MAHESHWARA SUTRAS AND SANSKRIT LANGUAGE

MAHESHWARA SUTRAS AND THE SANSKRIT LANGUAGE

Sound has the power to create and destroy this creation.  Sound is the subtle tanmatra from which the gross space emerged.  There are different levels of sound vibration in space.  Some of them are perceived by human beings, some by animals, and some by birds and so on.  Some people can perceive very subtle and high intensity sound vibrations.  They have trained their mind for higher concentration and have yogic powers.  They are called Rishis or sages.  In ancient period, these sages were able to perceive very subtle and high vibration and they were able to record it in their mind.  These sound vibrations are of three pitches (svaras).  The three pitches are the high pitch (svaritha), the middle pitch (udatha) and the low pitch (anudatha).  Later, the Rishis substituted these sound patterns with the letters of Sanskrit language that match these sound vibrations.  Only the vibration of the Sanskrit language can match the vibration of these sounds.  Vedas are originally these sound patterns and the sound of the Veda is known as vaidhika basha.  Analysing the Vedic sound is called sabdha sastra.  Later the Rishis converted the sound of the Veda into sanskrit language and thus the Vedic mantras are in sanskrit language.  In the Vedic texts, Vedic mantras have a small line below some letters, which implies the low pitch.  Some letters will have a small line above them, which implies the high pitch and some will not have any line, which implies the middle pitch.  Some letters will have two lines on top or bottom of the letters, which implies the dhirgha, meaning the duration of chanting, which is based on the matras.  These rules must be strictly followed while chanting the Vedic mantras.  That is why it is said that the tone and pitch of the mantras are more important than the pronunciation.  Vedic mantras are important for its sound. 

Each letter in sanskrit has its own energy, like colour, form, force etc.  When you chant a mantra combining different letters, a particular energy is formed, which is connected with the devata or deity.  When you pray to that energy that energy will influence and transform our weak energy in to positive energy and our wish gets fulfilled.  This is how a mantra works generally.   

SAGE PANINI AND MAHESHWARA SUTRAS

It is said that sage Panini lived in the 4th century BCE, in a small village called shalatula, which is now in Pakistan.  He was a dull and illiterate son of a great scholar called Pani.  By the advice of his father he meditated on Lord Shiva.  In his meditation, he was able to perceive fourteen crude sound patterns.  These fourteen different sound patterns are called the maheshwara sutras.  It is said that these fourteen different sound patterns emerged from the damaru of Lord Shiva.  At the end of the cosmic dance, Lord Shiva rattled his damaru fourteen times in order to bless the Sanaka sages.  This was recorded in the space and when sage Panini meditated on Lord Shiva he was able to perceive that sound.  There is a definite sound pattern behind the organization of these sutras.  Sage Panini formed the varna mala (alphabet sequence) of the sanskrit language based on these sutras.  All the vowels and the consonants of the sanskrit language can be found in the fourteen sutras.  Sanskrit language emerged from the maheshwara sutras.   Maheshwara sutras are also known as “akshara samamnaya” (recitation of phonemes).  Sage panini has mentioned about the maheshwara sutras in his famous work Ashtadhyayi, book of eight chapters.  It is a sanskrit grammar rule book.  There are nearly 4000 sutras in ashtadhyayi.  It is the only grammar book which is followed for more than 2500 years.  All the modern books in sanskrit grammar are based on Ashtadhyayi.  The fourteen maheshwara sutras are,

Aiun, rlrk, eon, aiauch, hayavarat, lann, namangnanam, jhabhai, ghadadhash, jabagadadash,

Khaphachatathachatatav, kapay, sashasar, haul.

These are the fourteen very crude sound patterns which were perceived by sage Panini during meditation, and they emerged from the damaru of Lord Shiva.  Sanskrit language emerged from the maheshwara sutras.  Maheshwara sutras are also known as Shiva sutras.

HEALING POWERS OF MAHESHWARA SUTRAS

Sanskrit phonemes (sound) closely relate to the energy centers in the human body.  There are nearly 72,000 nadis (energy centers) in the subtle body.  Each point has a distinct sound vibration that matches the sanskrit letters.  At some points two energy currents intersect and that point is known as sandhi.  At some points three energy currents intersect and that point is known as marma sthana.  At some points three or more energy currents intersect.  These points are known as chakras.  There are nearly 108 chakras in the subtle body.  Among them seven are very important.  All the intersecting points can be accessed by touching the corresponding points in the gross body.  If one maintains the seven chakras then all the chakras can be fine. 

Where there is energy there will be sound.  At the center of each chakra a sound predominates and other sounds are centered on it.  Each chakra is represented by a sanskrit letter corresponding to that sound.  When we pronounce that particular letter, that chakra gets activated.  Thus, the predominant sound of the muladhara chakra is  Lam, swadisthana chakra is Vam, manipuraka chakra is  Ram, anahata chakra is Yam, visuddhi chakra is  Ham, ajna chakra is Aam, sahasrara chakra is Om.  Each chakra can influence some organs in the gross body.  When a letter of a particular chakra is pronounced that chakra is activated by that letter.  Then the organs connected with that chakra get healed.  However, when you chant the maheshwara sutras the entire body can sense its vibration and all the organs are benefited by it.  When we chant the maheshwara sutras all the nadis and chakras get the healing vibration. 

BEEJ MANTRAS AND SANSKRIT LANGUAGE

Beej mantras are sanskrit consonants.  They manifest high energy.  These mantras do not have any particular meaning, but when chanted they connect us to the different planes of existence.  Each deity has a particular beej mantra.  In fact, it is the direct address to that deity which is represented by that beej mantra.  They work in the unseen planes of the universe.  Beej mantras are the call of the soul to that plane of existence or deity or saguna Brahman.  It is said that when the universe emerged, the power of that particular sound created that plane of existence.  These sounds are detected as beej mantras.  Different vibrations of sound were produced during cosmic evolution.  Sanskrit aksharas (letters) resemble the sound of different planes of this universe, hence sanskrit language is said as the deva basha and it is a powerful language.  Sanskrit language is said as imperishable because its close sound vibration always exists in space.

THREE TYPES OF REALITY

THREE TYPES OF REALITY

There are three types of reality as explained in Vedanta sastra.  They are the pratibhasika satya, vyavaharika satya and paramarthika satya.  In our life, we exist in any one of these realities for the majority of the time.  Let us see each one of them with appropriate drishtantas (examples).

PRATIBHASIKA SATYA

Pratibhasika satya is otherwise known as individual reality or subjective reality.  Personal experiences of an individual like dreams, plans, imagination, thoughts, spiritual experiences, experiences from the sense organs etc are called the pratibhasika satya.  They may or may not be real for others.  In our jagrad avasta we mostly depend on the pratibhasika pramanas that is we mostly depend on our ideas, thoughts and sense organs.  Individual decisions are important in life; they may be right or wrong for others.  I may think and conclude on certain matters regardless of others feelings, emotions or facts.  Many people misinterpret certain values or facts in their own convenient way.  They may be right values expressed in the scriptures, but they interpret in their own way, mostly in a negative way.  Even though we live in this materialistic world, most of the time we live in our world of thoughts and imagination.  This is the root cause for worries and miseries; and this is called samsara.  We superimpose our world of thoughts on the existing world of matter and we live in a world of asatya (our dream world).  All these belong to the pratibhasika satya.

VYAVAKARIKA SATYA

Vyavakarika satya is otherwise known as objective reality or common reality.  It is the world of matter that we experience in our life.  It is the materialistic world.  It is otherwise said as Ishwara srishti (creation of God).  It is the common experience of the world.  This is the world of mitya and it loses its importance by knowledge.  The common experiences of all people is called the vyavakarika satya.  

PARAMARTIKA SATYA

Paramartika satya is the absolute reality or the complete reality.  That which is true (satya) for the three periods of time is the paramartika satya; and that satya is Brahman and Brahman alone.  Brahman cannot be realized by the sense organs.  It is not explicit.  One must do vichara (analysis) to realize the inner reality.  It is the cause that does not change to give the result and for that reason it is known as vivartha karana.  It is not removed by any pramana (instrument of knowledge).  It is the satya and it is omnipresent.  That eternal reality is the paramartika satya.

Now, an example can make us understand the three types of reality in a more clear way.

A man sees an object at a distance.  First it appears as gold in the bright sunlight.  Therefore, he thinks that it is a gold ball.  He went near it to take it.  When he neared it he realized that is a golden colour pot.  When he took it and had a closer look, he realized that it is a clay pot which is painted in golden colour.  In this example, his illusion that it is gold ball is the pratibhasika satya.  It is only his thought and not true.  When he realized that it is a golden colour pot, it is the vyavakarika satya.  When he realized in a subtle way that it is only a clay pot painted in golden colour, which implies that it is only clay, it is the paramarthika satya.  The clay existed even before becoming a pot; it will exist even after the pot breaks.  It is the base, it exists in the three periods of time, and so it is the paramartika satya.  

As said earlier, even though we live in the material world, world of matter and energy, for the majority of the time in the jagrad avasta (waking state) we live in the pratibhasika satya, the world of our thoughts and imagination.  In order to understand the truth of the material world, we have to come in terms with the vyavakarika satya.  Then to understand the reality we have to gradually shift to the paramartika satya. 

In the world of pratibhasika satya, mind will be mostly in a negative state or it will be ignorant of the reality.  To understand the paramartika satya, we have to clean up the mind and it is a two step process.  The first step is the karma yoga and the second step is the jnana yoga.  Karma yoga prepares the mind for knowledge and jnana yoga imparts knowledge. 

One must concentrate on the duty and must accept the result with contentment.  One must not justify failure or our weakness, by doing so may lead to future complications.  Failure must not be accepted in a personal manner and at the same time success must not boost a person’s ego.  Karma must be done for the sake of doing karma.  Practicing sadhana chatustaya will remove all the negative effects from the mind.  Bhakti (devotion) and self surrender to God are prime importance to attain jnana. 

When the mind is prepared for jnana, one must do shravana(listening) and manana on Vedanta sastras.  If the mind is not prepared to grasp the highest truth, shravana and manana will purify the mind automatically. 

Sastra explains that everything, jiva, jagad, Ishwara (God), liberation, has three states of reality.  Let us see each one of them separately and briefly. 

THREE STATES OF REALITY IN THE JIVA

When a jiva is in his world of imagination and when his thoughts are projected by ego then he is in the state of prathibhasika satya.  When the same jiva, discriminates himself from anatma and see himself as I, the Atma, which is separate from the world of experience (anatma) then he is said to be in the state of vyavakarika satya.  When the jiva realizes that he is the Atma and not the anatma, the world is only an illusion set by the mind, then he is said to be in the state of paramarthika satya.   

THREE STATES OF REALITY IN THE JAGAD(WORLD)

The world will remain the same.  However, we view the world in three different ways according to our knowledge. 

When we consider this world as the cause for our worries and miseries, then we have pratibhasika drishti on this world.  Drishti means view.  When we view this world as the play of maya and it is subject to change then we have vyavaharika drishti on this world.  When we have complete knowledge and do not give any reality to this world and view this world as asat then we have paramarthika drishti on this world. 

THREE STATES OF REALITY OF ISHWARA (GOD)

When we assume the Universal Consciousness as having a name and form, and consider that form as very personal, like Ishta devata or Kula devata, then it is the pratibhasika drishti on Ishwara.  Pratibhasika drishti leads to pratibhasika satya.  Pratibhasika drishti on Ishwara is the root cause for many religious fights all over the world.  People try to own the consciousness which is Universal.  People fail to understand the inner reality and fight over the external form.  It is complete misunderstanding of the reality.  When we have pratibhasika drishti on God, we pray to God and we have emotional attachment towards God.  We feel that He is the dispenser of our karmic result.

When we view the Universal Consciousness as the creator of this Universe and He is the Ishwara (God), the combination of Brahman and maya, then we have vyavakarika drishti on God, which leads to vyavakarika satya.  We understand that Ishwara (God) is the nimitta karana and upadhana karana of this world.

When we view Consciousness in its true sense, as absolute and infinite then we have paramartika drishti on the reality, which leads to paramartika satya.  When we realize that the Truth is not different from us and it cannot be explained by words, then we have paramartika drishti on Ishwara (God).

THREE TYPES OF REALITY OF LIBERATION (MOKSHA)

When we think that liberation or moksha is going to heaven and enjoying luxuries or going to pitru loka or Brahma loka then it is called the pratibhasika satya of liberation.

There are two types of liberation in Jiva.  One is jivan mukti and the other is vidheka mukti.  Jivan mukti is living in this material world and leading ordinary life with complete knowledge that “I am Brahman”, and they live with this knowledge till the prarabhdha karma gets exhausted.  Jiva is well aware of its true nature and after realizing he lives a detached life.  He remains as a silent witness. 

When the realized jiva leaves the body after the prarabhdha karma gets exhausted then it is called the vidheka mukti.  He has no rebirth.  By the power of his knowledge his sanchita karma as well as the agami karma is erased. Both jivan mukti as well as vidheka mukti comes under vyavakarika satya of liberation. 

Paramarthika satya of liberation is that the jiva attains nitya mukti.  He does not even feel that he once existed as a jiva with a body and mind.  He feels that he is Brahman alone.  It is the most advanced state of mukti and this is the paramartika satya of liberation (mukti). 

One must understand every state of reality in a proper way.  A common man usually exists in the pratibhasika satya.  He must move to the next level of reality that is to vyavakarika satya and then to paramartika satya.  By doing karma yoga one can elevate oneself from pratibhasika satya to vyavaharika satya.  By jnana yoga one can elevate oneself from vyavaharika satya to paramartika satya. 

These are the three types of reality as explained in the Vedanta sastras.