Friday, September 11, 2009

Journey Of The Spirit That Brings You Back Home.

Journey Of The Spirit That Brings You Back Home
Pranav Khullar

The Taittiriya Upanishad offers a cosmic perspective by throwing light on the concept of Brahmn or Consciousness through the story of the young Bhrigu who has set out in search of the bliss of Brahmn.

Varuna sets the tone for his son’s initiation with this opening line: “Food, vital force, eye, ear, mind, speech – these are the basis to the knowledge of Brahmn.” He instructs him to do tapas, to meditate. On doing which Bhrigu finds himself concentrating on the idea of anna or food that nourishes and sustains all beings. Bhrigu understands the physicality of food to be the first principle, which pervades all matter and nourishes it, and understands this to be the physical manifestation, the gross cosmic virat swaroop or manifestation of Brahmn. 
With this knowledge of the annamaya kosha, the physical sheath, that still leaves him  with a feeling of incompleteness, Bhrigu goes back to his father to learn more about attaining the knowledge of Brahmn. But the teacher directs him to delve deeper into the origin of food.

Bhrigu’s next meditation focuses on the life force, the vitality throbbing behind matter, the prana, which energises all matter and runs through all physical systems, as electricity runs through wires to generate power. Bhrigu recognises this vitality to be behind the physical sheath, and the understanding of the pranamaya kosha, the energy-astral body, as the next manifestation of Brahmn. He goes back to his father.

Once again, Bhrigu goes back to meditate, entering the third phase of his spiritual  journey, to focus on the subtler aspects of this energy, to go into the idea that is behind all this, that which has triggered the vitality. Bhrigu discovers that it is the mind that provides the stimulus for the vitality. It is the manomaya kosha, the mental sheath, that triggers all senses of knowledge – though still instinctual only, but emanating from the mind itself. Bhrigu becomes aware that the mind, too, is a manifestation of Brahmn, but senses that this knowledge too is incomplete. 

In the fourth phase of meditation he enters the subtle mind, the vijnana kosha of buddhi, the intellectual ability to understand cause and effect, an awareness that enables the mind to distinguish and discriminate – the cognitive sheath. The manifestation of Brahmn as Intellect excites Bhrigu, for it takes him closer to comprehending the real nature of things.

Yet, the restlessness is back, prompting him to seek out the very origin of thought. Eventually, Bhrigu enters the fifth and final phase of meditation at the behest of his father, Varuna, who helps him become aware of the inner space in which all of existence, sat, and all of consciousness, chit are to be found, leading to ananda, bliss. It is the sat-chit -ananda or attainment of ultimate bliss that satisfies the spiritual quest of the hitherto restless mind and body.
Brahmn manifests as every atom of existence and every perception of consciousness, but realising this need not necessarily make one happy and content. Bhrigu’s intense desire to now Brahmn leads him to that state of bliss, the anandamaya kosha, which lies beyond all thought and desire, and to the realisation that the entire manifested world reflects the bliss of Brahmn equally. The atman, the Self, is manifested in five different sheaths, five different energy levels, each as essential and central to the knowledge of Brahmn as the other. 
The understanding of the five koshas leads one back to the Self.

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