Jeevan Vidya an Introduction

 
* English Translated version of Original Hindi by A Nagraj

This is the transcript from a 5 day introductory workshop conducted by Shri A.Nagraj in 1997.

My fellow human beings!

I went through the ancient Vedic scriptures from my own
initiative. There was no external pressure on me for this.
Thereafter, I wished how this Earth should be. I wished – “May
Earth be heaven, May humans be divine! May religion (universal
orderliness) get realized, May Goodness arise always.”
I would like to present its background before you. I began this
bodily journey in a hard working, selflessly serving, religious, and
highly respected family in Vedic tradition. Every child starts
believing in some faith, accepts the constitutional law of some
nation, offers himself to the education available from tradition
and tries to follow guidance of his teachers. I also started going
through these things.

 

Along with this, there were dictates of
tradition such as, “sit with them – don’t sit with them”, “do this –
don’t do that”. My mind could not accept these dictates. This
happened in my childhood itself. Initially elders thought that all
this is merely childish behaviour. Later on their disposition
towards me started changing. I felt, my elders are not happy with
me. This became the first cause of my misery. But how to make
them happy! If I were to do as they say, I would have to put them
to test on their own dictates. I could see that they themselves
were not happy every day and all the time. That was the crux
point. I started feeling that my elders, while telling me what to do
and what not to do, whether they themselves did or did not do
those things, were not happy all the time – while it was not
possible to find more respected, bigger scholars of scriptures than
them anywhere.

 

After all this, I concluded – I will never follow
the dictates of tradition blindly. It started becoming like an oath
for me. Another reason which got added to this was that my
elders could not make me understand their point. The more they
failed the more my pride grew. The growth in my pride and my
rejection of dictates happened side by side. Where would it all
end? Now my elders started saying – he obstinately negates every
tradition and everything that we say, without having understood
any of our Vedas, Vedanta, and ancient scriptures. How can it go
on like this? They started worrying about it. This became second
cause of my misery. Now what could I do? With no other way left
for me, I went through Vedanta in accordance with scriptures,
which they believed to be the supreme knowledge.
First stage is Vedanta, which is karma based on Vedic thoughts.
According to Vedic thought karma is those actions which would
get one heaven, and all other actions are called something else.
Upasana are the ritual acts for becoming gods and goddesses.
Third stage says – Knowledge alone is supreme. I asked – What is
knowledge? The answer came – “Knowledge of Brahman.” What
is Brahman? – I asked. They said – “It is beyond your
comprehension.” I asked – without understanding it, how could
we realize it? The way told by elders is – “Follow the dictates of
scriptures.” What is to be done? What will happen? – I asked.
“You will get answers to these questions in samadhi.” My elders
gave me assurance that one gets answers to all questions in
samadhi. On this basis, I made up my mind that I have to see the
state of samadhi for once, and there is no other way out for me.
My claims do not mean anything. Neither my “doing” means
anything nor my “not doing” means anything. I must find
answers to my questions.

 

After thoroughly listening to Vedanta, the first question that got
formed in me was: – What is bondage and what is
salvation? “We remain in bondage due to delusion.” They call
atma’s becoming dissolved into Brahman as salvation. Where did
atma come from? Then they said – “Brahman itself resides in the
hearts of jeevas in the form of atma.” If upon salvation of jeeva
(end of transmigration) the atma has to eventually dissolve into
Brahman, then why did Brahman go and sit into the hearts of
jeevas in the form of atma? When jeeva originated, that time
there was no atma in it, then what was the need for Brahman to
go and sit inside it? This turned into a pointless argument.
Because I did not blindly consent to what my elders said, they
started saying that I argue pointlessly. I said, what you
understand may be right but you should still answer to my
questions. After this they said that you will find answer of these
questions also in samadhi. Now what could be done? I gradually
prepared my mind for samadhi. It all started from 1944, and by
1946 I had become mentally prepared for samadhi.

 

That was the time when India became independent. In 1947, as
we were expecting the power got transferred to Indians from the
British. I kept listening to the great thinkers, elders of that time
and observed how changes came in them with this success. That
too pained me. After this one hope arose that now we will have
our country’s own Constitution – perhaps that will provision
appraisal of a ‘right human being’. I myself kept thinking that I
will surely get guidance from our constitution.
As Constitution was being framed I used to keenly listen to all the
newspaper reports, trying to understand. By 1950 after listening
to all that, I concluded that under this Constitution a right human
being’s appraisal is not possible, because it had no
characterization of right human being which we could term as
National Character.

 

Now what could be done? I was already with
the challenge that – “All questions on Vedanta will be answered in
samadhi”, so I accepted that this question will also get answered
in samadhi. No more did I need to argue with elders and scholars
over this matter. If I get my answers in Samadhi, well and good –
otherwise I offer this bodily journey for learning, so I concluded
within myself.
One more person got ready in this endeavour along with me and
that was my wife. We used to hear about Amarkantak as a sacred
place, the place from which the Narmada River originates. Why
not give one last attempt after going there; thinking thus we came
to Amarkantak.

 

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– English translated version of Original Hindi by Rakesh Gupta
Madhyasth Darshan