Kathopanishad Retreat 2019

HariH Om Swamiji, HariH Om dear friends.

My salutations to all our gurus from Lord Dakshinamutyhi, to AdiGuru Shanksracharya to Pujya Swamiji and you our dearest Swamiji.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude and love for your tireless teaching, your clarity and your compassion.You, as our guru, light the lamp of Self Knowledge for us, and we bow to you with love and reverence. When Nachiketas asks Lord Yama, “Upon death what remains?”, Lord Yama answers that The Atma being the unchanging limitless Self transcends the body and all that happens, happens to the body alone. So, With Shravanam may we understand the implied meaning of the scriptures. With Mananam, may our doubts be erased. With Nidhidhyasanam may we dis-identify with the body-mind-sense complex, abide in the knowledge of the Self with commitment, thus invoking the grace of the Self. Our life being a journey with a destination is compared to a chariot as in the Bhagavat Gita wherein the intellect is the charioteer, the horses the organs of perception and action and the mind the reins that direct the horses in the right direction. In order for this chariot to proceed toward it’s ultimate goal, the intellect and the mind must be aligned; We must walk the talk.

May we be blessed with the attitude needed to gain this antaH karana shudhhi, through the alignment of our thoughts, words and actions making me an integrated personality to discover my true Self as unlimited. May we see the imposition of the limited upon the unlimited and transcend it. May we arise and awake to discover that we need to give love to discover love, be kind to discover kindness and live joyously in the internal discovery of Ananda as unlimited Self.

May we strive to be a discriminatory person, a dhiraH who asks the question, what am I searching for? A dhiraH is one who sees that the desire behind all desires is to be free from lack and want. You taught us that like Nachiketas, may our desire to know ourselves not be swayed by the temporary ephemeral pleasures. As a dhiraH may we chose the preferable Shreyas with long term gain over the pleasurable Preyas, with long term pain.  Like the dhiraH may I measure my Self satisfaction as the true measure of the happiness that I have to discover from within., becoming more and more selfless, giving and kind in the process. What I am seeking is the discovery of the Self as the Sat Chit Ananda svarupaH which is praptasya praptiH. But how do I discover the Self? By becoming an introvert, turning the sense organs inwards and through karma yoga. Only the jiwatma identified with the BMS complex becomes the self-conscious, limited being, the experiencer of karma phala, a habitual superimposition upon the Akarta, Abhokta limitless self.

May I see that Ishwara is the uncaused cause, the uncreated creator. The Self Shining,Swayam bhu, the Unchanging Consciousness and that I am none other than Ishwara the one non dual Consciousness; The differences being only in the many and varied costumes or Upadhi. Giving reality to this as though duality is the error we make, creating the notion of separateness., creating conflicts and what makes us go from death to death, May we contemplate on the Ajasya atma, the consciousness, as the king who resides in the palace of the heart, in whose presence everything is illumined and functions. Everything else is mithya, a notion of superimposition upon the Sat Atma.

So what does it mean to gain immortality?  Immortality is to understand that I need not be born if I do not have an agenda. Immortality is to become free from the need to protect myself, free from fear, abhaya, because, I recognize the oneness of everything, the one non dual entity as myself and hence everything becomes a source of joy. Immortality is known by the mind alone, but how? By a satvic mind, with values that are ultimately based in non-duality, recognizing that which is praptasya praptiH. Consciousness being myself, there is no need to objectify consciousness, instead the mind has to recognize consciousness, as the very swarupaH, the indivisible reality of the self-effulgent self. Knowing myself as the one unchanging limitless consciousness and recognizing myself as the limitless ananda, liberates me from the as though bondage of samsara.

May I not fall into the trap of comparison, leading to a heightened sense of self consciousness, with a strong identification with the Body Mind Sense complex, developing a superior or Inferior complex both leading to dukha. May I have the wisdom to remove the very cause of sorrow, knowing that I am the One Non Dual, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Self of all, who lends its existence, by it’s mere presence to the universe of nama rupa just like the dreamer that becomes the dream. The Atma is the self shining light, the illuminator, the consciousness in whose presence all the luminaries shine, all the objects of the world shine, the sense organs shine, the mind shines, because anything can only be known when the light of consciousness illumines it. Only the Atma, the I is the self shining, self revealing I am, I shine and I am purna, asti bhati Priyam.

May we used the imagery from the Kathopanishad as models for contemplation on the cause and the effect as in the upside down peepal tree., like the tree of samsara where the roots above enjoy a higher reality, and the branches below a lower reality. Roots being Satyam and branches bring mithya. This imagery of the moving leaves on the bowing branches of the ashwatha tree., is sacred because the Self, the most auspicious dwells in it. Just like Lord Shiva the most auspicious dwells in the midst of the inauspicious. Brahman the limitless dwells in this tree of samsara, but this tree of samsara that is constantly changing, it is not real and is incapable of giving me unlimited happiness. but one that can be cut asunder., with viveka and vairagya., turning my mind inward, to discover that I am the very truth of the universe and not the names and forms superimposed upon the Asti Bhati Priyam. As the Asti Bhati Priyam I am resplendent, pure, self-shining and immortal like the limitless Brahman, the Brahman that is the substratum of the whole universe upon which everything is superimposed, that nothing can transcend , because the effect cannot transcend the cause.

Being the subject, the seer, the Atma is without any attributes names or forms in order to illumine everything, and it is not available for objectification. So, how will we know the Atma? When the mind is turned inwards and purified, when it has been exposed to the teaching, the Self can be known by the intellect, which resolves in the immortal Self revealing Brahman., the cause of the universe., the existence principle,Brahman, the Issness that can never be negated. May I have the conviction of God, truth, and harmony, in the universal Order as being true and just. Ultimately may I discover the absolute harmony of Brahman as myself, thus eliminating the very cause of desire, the desire and the desirer.

May I tune up with Brahman so that He may become favorable to me by revealing Himself to me., as myself. May I be a devotee where my total life is centered on Brahman. Once and for all may I discover myself as Brahman liberated in the here and now. We end with the prayer that helps us to understand and carry forth this fullness as we go along with each day.

Swamiji you are a masterful teacher, skillful with the words to explain the tattparya of the shastra, but most importantly you are the embodiment of love. May we live in your heart as you live in ours and may we remain blessed with your guru krupa to study at your lotus feet year after year.

Zarina Kaji