Maya, Mãn and Parmananda
|Kamal (Kam) Joshi|
These days whenever I talk to anyone I always get a feeling that everyone is full of confidence about ones knowledge with a sense that “one knows it all”. After all, almost everyone can Google or Yahoo or Bing - the source of all modern instant knowledge.
But, invariably after listening to them, I question the usefulness of their knowledge. I observe that it is based on believing in what they read and the fancier the web page the stronger is their belief. “I only believe what I see or hear” - is the basis of their faith in their absolute and instant knowledge of everything.
For example - it is amazing how fashionable it has become for them to totally reject God as the sole creator of everything. Instead of that they believe in almost any often repeated theory, displayed in a variety of web pages, propagated by unknown unseen so called scientists, like a big bang or small bang theory, as the source of all creation. Little do they care - who heard the bang?
And when I go little deeper with them and tell them about the knowledge available in our Vedas and Puranas - how God created the Universe - many get upset, rather irritated responding that they only believe what they see and dismiss me as if I were an ignorant idiot.
They very easily say that God is a creation of manipulating swindlers of the past propagated by exploiting the fear of unknown in ordinary masses. That is their argument of the last resort, and they think that modern scientific thought always trumps the Vedas and Puraans of our sacred Sanatan Dharma - and they very forcefully say they “believe only in what they see or hear”, and not some outmoded cant. That is so, I think, because of a total European domination of their thoughts, a characteristics of recent times. Everyone has mastered this art of ridiculing the ancient knowledge of Vedas. Acquiring that mastery from their teachers, friends, the media and lately from computer based sources of knowledge - “only believe in what you see or hear”. They think it is a very appealing and a powerful argument full of logic - seemingly irrefutable - that gives them authority and they are genuinely proud of it, after all knowledge is power.
And exactly that - the preceding, is what made me write this article. To make people, especially the thoughtful ones, think about their ignorance and hypocrisy. This is my way of taking a step towards improving the education and logical thinking of many, derived from Puranas.
I only ask one or two questions and they start to fumble for responses.
You get the drift of my questions - so much for believing what I see and hear!
Have you heard about Antares, Aldebaran, Alnitak, Arcturus? If you have not, these are Western names of only a few stars that begin with the letter “A”, that the Western Astronomers, have so far discovered in our universe. Antares alone could be as bright as 90,000 Suns and it is 300 times larger than the Sun.
Our solar system is located in the outer reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy is described as the “Akaash Ganga” in the Bhagvad Purana, and it contains roughly 200 billion stars. Most of these stars are not visible from our Mother Earth. Almost everything that we can see in the sky belongs to the Milky Way Galaxy.
The sun is about 26,000 light Years from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is about 80,000 to 120,000 light-years across, and slightly less than 7,000 light-years thick. One light year is the distance travelled by light at a speed of 186000 miles per second, in one year.
Our solar system is located on one of Milky Way’s spiral arms, out towards the edge. It takes the sun (and our solar system) roughly 200-250 million years to orbit once around the Milky Way. In this orbit, we (and the rest of the Solar System) are traveling at a velocity of about 155 miles/sec (250 km/sec) or 55900 miles/hr.
None of that we can hear see or feel!
The Milky Way Galaxy is just one galaxy in a group of galaxies called the Local Group. Within the Local Group, the Milky Way Galaxy is also moving about 300 km/sec or 67100 miles/hr. The Galaxy is moving in concert with the other galaxies in the Local Group - the Local Group is defined as those nearby galaxies that are moving in concert with each other, independent of the "Hubble flow" expansion. “Hubble Flow” is a name given by Westerners to a small part of God’s “Ganga”.
And our Vedas say that there are “infinite” such galaxies making the sum total of “Bhav Sagar” the ocean where “Ganga” eventually merges. Each one of the solar systems, like ours, in every Galaxy of these “infinite” Galaxies, has a finite life of about 4 Trillion Years. God “Maha Vishnu”, according to Vedas, creates a new Solar System as an old one vanishes; to always maintain each Galaxy complete and balanced. That is written in every Purana.
This concept of “infinitely large” is similar to that of “infinitely small” - if one goes to minimization of matter; the neutrons, protons, sub atomic particles, neutrinos, quarks and then to nothing as a source of all. Did you get it - “nothing (infinitely small) as a source of everything”? The modern scientists playing in their atomic accelerators have recently discovered that.
But, all this is described in great details in our ancient Vedas and Puranas - leading to the concept that God is “Infinitely Big and Infinitely Small, That is He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent”. It also is written in every Purana – God creates everything from nothing.
You may be thinking as to where I am going with all these condensed facts of Stars and Galaxies and many myriad fast speed motions of the same, of magnitudes as high as 100000 miles per hour. I am doing so to illustrate the hypocrisy and complete ignorance of all those who say that “I only believe in what I see or hear” - because none of this phenomenon one can see or hear - none!
Yet, we can hear the sound of and see a pin drop. And we very confidently say “I only believe what I see or hear.”
Our ancestors, the Sages of the Sacred Sanatana Dharma, did not say that - they always said this is Prabhu Ki Maya - what one sees is not what it is. On the contrary they realized whatever one sees and feels and hears is not true - and they did not waste time naming too many stars, it is impossible to name infinite.
They realized from ancient times, billions of years before, Copernicus and Galileo that it is the earth that rotates around the Sun and not what we see - the Sun going round and round the earth. They knew that earth is round and not flat although we see it as a flat earth, they knew from Vedas that the moon does not change its size, as we see it display, but is always of the same size. They knew that the Sun moves around our Galaxy and the whole Galaxy moves also and at amazingly fast speeds but one cannot see, feel or hear it. They knew there are infinite such Galaxies although we do not see even a single star during day time, even when many stars are 100000 times brighter and thousand times larger than our Sun.
The sages, also knew that smaller than quarks is “nothing” - the infinitely small source of everything - that cannot be seen or heard or felt. They knew all colors are black. They were wise to clearly understand that what one sees or hears is not true and named this amazing phenomenon - “Maya”.
They realized it is not easy if not almost impossible to ignore what one sees and hears and focus only on what one does not see - God. They found that the human Mind (“Mãn”) drifted from concentrating on unseen - to what is seen. Mãn always develops thoughts that attach one to “Maya” - to ones possessions, allure of things, ones parents, siblings, children, friends, jobs, associates, foods, homes and things that one sees, hears, and feels.
Whereas they had figured out all that is completely very temporary, “Khsan Bhagur” in the big scheme of things, all that, 100%, will be taken away from one, guaranteed, thus making everyone very unhappy.
To protect one from that sorrowful outcome --they wanted a way to attach the “Mãn” and thoughts to the permanent - “God”. Amazingly they called Him “Permananda”. “Permananda is Permanent - nothing else is. Period. It was almost a dauntingly impossible task to get the “Mãn” detached from “Maya”.
But the Sages of Sanatana Dharma, our ancestors, had grit they were wise “tapasvi”, and would not give up finding a way to focus completely on what one does not see - God. With great scholarship and effort “tapasya” they connected the dots and called them “Sutras” - Sutra is that which threads. There are many “Sutras” about 200, threading the knowledge of Vedas and Puranas. And one of the most prominent Sutra is Maharishi Patanjali’s “Yog Sutra”. Yoga, the basis of connecting to God, was thus developed with eight steps to calm the Mind (Mãn).
1. Yum - Ahinsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truthful life) , Asteya (No stealing) , Brahmacharya (Self control and disciplin) , and Aparigrha (No greed).
To become a Yogi one must live one’s life practicing Yum and Niyum. For example one must practice Ahinsa, Truth, Non-Stealing, Cleanliness, Contentment - etc. One must do Asanas and Prayanama and Concentrate and Meditate.
But, the extremely powerful, “Mãn” tries to distract one from meditation taking one’s thoughts towards “Maya”. To resolve this activity of “Mãn” the Sages discovered “Mantras”. Mantra means - “Mãn” (the mind) and “Tra” (protection from distractions). Tra is from Trahi –a Sanskrit word meaning - “Protect”.
That Naad, the sound, they called the “Aghora Naad”, the “Aghora Mantra”. Great sage Pushpadanta, who was a gandharva, wrote “Oh beloved God, grantor of protection, I have learned that the sound “Om” consists of three letter A-U and M these three represent the entire knowledge of Rig, Yajur and Samveda, the three states - Awakened, Dreaming and Semi Dreaming and Awakened, the three worlds Bhu, Bhuva and Swaha, the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Oh my beloved God, I have learned there is no one higher than you and no mantra better than Om”.
Thus the Sages of our ancient Sanatana Dharma - who truly knew it all, found the trap of Maya and also how to escape from it. Become a Yogi and meditate on the Mantra “Om” especially in “Bhramri Mudra” - while practicing Pranayama.
As a foot note this knowledge can only be attained by practice and not by reading.
If one wants to get detached from Maya and get attached to the permanent to obtain Parmananda -“God”; one must practice Ahinsa and all Yum and Niyum, practice yoga and meditate in Bhramari Mudra on the Aghora Mantra - Om.
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