From the seat of Ramashram Satsang Mathura welcome is extended to each and all who are participating in this bhandara through the live webcast of On this occasion of Bhandara, His Holiness Sri Hemendra Kumar Ji sends each and all of you his greetings and his blessings. With his blessings, today we are also launching a blogsite. The blogsite is owned by Ramashram Satsang Mathura and on interim basis I will be hosting the blog.
The Bhandara extends over five sessions. These five sessions symbolize and perhaps correspond to the five sheaths known as Punch Kosh. Guru Maharaj tells us that in order to achieve liberation we must discard these five sheaths. There are five kosas or sheaths in which the self, the atman is manifested as the ego or Jivataman. These sheaths in descending order are: Anandmaya Kosh or the sheath of bliss, Vigyanmaya Kosh or the sheath of intellect, Manomaya Kosh or the sheath of mind, Pranamaya Kosh or the sheath of vital force, and Anamaya Kosh or the physical sheath.
The concept of these five sheaths, punch kosh play very important role in the teachings of Guru Maharaj. Basically, the sadhana he taught us is for the destruction of these sheaths; removal of theses sheaths; total annihilation of these sheaths. The sheaths destroyed – liberation achieved. In the very first paragraph of Guru Maharaj’s monumental work, Sadhana Ke Anubhab, we are told that before knowing what is sadhana? What needs to be done in Sadhana? We need to understand where we are and how we got here? To answer these questions – where we are and how we got here we would need to look at the creation, the process of creation and its structure.
All great teachers, sages and saints have advanced their theories of creation based on their own experiences, mostly a single theory. One of the theories of creation advanced by the Upanishads is the theory of Punch Kosh or five sheaths. Guru Maharaj leaned very heavily on this concept of Punch Kosh to explain to us the creation, the process as well as its structure. The theory that he explains is based on his personal experience – the various routes he took to experience the creation in its entirety which led him to incorporate most of the Upanishadic theories of creations in this Punch Kosh concept, the concept of five sheaths.
Now, what I am going to be talking about is mostly based on the last few pages of chapter 21 of Sadhana Ke Anubhab. Where, we are told that creation takes place progressively in three forms – causal or Kaaran, subtle or suksham, and physical or esthool. These three forms are further divided into two each – causal into causal and great causal, subtle into subtle and subtlest, and physical into physical and gross. These six sub forms manifest themselves in the five sheaths in this fashion; the great causal in the sheath of bliss, causal in the sheath of intellect, subtlest in the sheath of mind, subtle and physical together in the sheath of vital force, and gross in the physical sheath.
We are also told that prior to creation universe stays in seed state and Prakriti in equilibrium. Prakriti is said to be composed of three gunas – Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Creation begins when equilibrium is disturbed; imbalance in the three gunas of Prakriti takes place. Guru Maharaj describes for us the order in which these gunas occupy various sheaths.
Positioning of the three gunas in various sheaths is: In the sheath of bliss – tamas at the top Sattwa in middle and Rajas at the bottom. Positioning of the three gunas remains same in the sheath of intellect. It changes a bit in the sheath of mind – tamas remains at the top while sattwa and rajas change places – sattwa goes to the bottom and rajas moves up to the middle. In the sheath of vital force and the physical sheath the order changes – sattwa moves up to the top, tamas moves down to the bottom, while rajas stays in the middle.
In one of passages in Sadhana Ke Anubhav, Guru Maharaj in an informal way introduces distribution of elements in various sheaths. In doing so he introduced another concept of creation as outlined in Taittiriya Upanishad Balli 2 verse 1, where we are told that in the beginning from Atman arose space; from space arose air; from air arose fire; from fire arose water and from water arose the earth. Guru Maharaj incorporates this concept of evolution in the overall concept of five sheaths by establishing one to one correspondence between various elements and corresponding sheaths. Guru Maharaj tells us that dominant element in the sheath of bliss is space; in the sheath of intellect is air; in the sheath of mind is fire; in the sheath of vital force is water; and in the physical sheath is earth. Traces of non-dominant elements do remain present in dormant state in all sheaths. This correspondence leaves one to infer as if the creation of universe and evolution of individual were taking place in parallel, simultaneously, at the same time. We are here exposed to the famous Vedic statement, “Yatha Pinde, Tatha Brahamande”; relationship of equivalence between macrocosm and microcosm. What is in macrocosm is in the microcosm. This macrocosmic and microcosmic equivalence relationship was borrowed by Carl Sagan in his declaration that we are all star-stuff.
I have put forth in front of you in brief various concepts of creations as established in the Upanishads and Guru Maharaj’s incorporation of these into Punch Kosh.
To sum up all this briefly, creation is here described as an evolution outward, from undifferentiated to differentiated consciousness, from mind into matter. Pure consciousness is as it were, gradually covered by successive layers of ignorance and differentiation, each layer being grosser and thicker than the one underneath it, until the process ends up on the outer physical surface of the visible and tangible world.
It is necessary to keep this idea of evolution clearly in mind if we are to understand Guru Maharaj’s technique of meditation – sadhana. Meditation is evolution in reverse. It is a process of devolution. Beginning at the surface of life, the meditative mind goes inward and inward and inward until the innermost Reality is reached.
Those of you who are joining any bhandara on the webcast for the first time or any newcomer on the live webcast, here are the sequence of events: 1 there would be discourses, 2 Technique of meditation instruction, 3 Singing of Two hymns – first for the guru, 2nd for the God 4 Meditation, 5 Singing of Hymn for Guru followed by recitation of two Vedic Hymns, 6 Closing discourses and 7 Offering to Guru Maharaj, 8 Singing of some devotional songs before concluding the session. Discourses, meditation instruction, singing of hymns and devotional songs will be in Hindi. Some of you do not understand Hindi. For you the signal to get into meditation would be the start of the singing of Hymns and would continue through the silence during meditation at the bhandara site. You will need to come out of the meditation with the singing of hymns after the silence of meditation. Now, I will read for you the technique of meditation:
Please sit in a relaxed posture, a posture in which you can stay without moving for about 30 minutes. Close your eyes lightly and envision that the Divine Light of God is coming in front of you and entering your heart. That Divine Light is illuminating your heart and you are getting immersed in that Light of God.