Monday, November 07, 2005

How not to still the mind

Once King Janaka was sitting on the bank of a river, repeating 'SOHAM' mantra at the top of his voice.

Sage Astavakra was passing by. The sage was a knower of truth and an enlightened being. He was surprised why king Janaka was chanting the mantra in this loud fashion.

Astavakra wanted to instruct King Janaka the proper way of chanting a mantra. So, he sat down near King Janaka and chanting loudly, :' "This is my Alms Bowl and this is my Yoga Stick " so much so that Astavakra's chanting drowned the chanting of Janaka's chanting!

Now, King Janaka , not to be left behind starting chanting his 'SOHAM' mantra even louder --- this went on for some time -both vyeing with each other in this 'mantra recitation'. ...

Now, King Janaka got really annoyed and asked Asthavakra what the sage was doing. The sage replied "I am repeating - this is my Alms bowl, this is my yoga stick".

King Janaka replied, " Have you lost your mind? Who told you that the Alms bowl and the stick do not belong to you ? Why do you have to keep shouting about it.?"

Sage Astavakra replied , " O Mighty King ! It seems to me you are the one who lacks understanding. who told you that you are not 'THAT '? Why do you to go on shouting that 'I AM THAT' ? 'SOHAM' ?

When king Janaka heard this, he suddenly realized the trut. He understood that he need not go on repeating 'SoHam' mantra , he only needed to understand it and practice 'living' it!

'You are really unbound and actionless, self-illuminating and spotless already. The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to stilling the mind.' -- Ashtavakra Gita 1.15

2 comments:

sj said...

These stories really justify the title of your blog :-). Can you also post the source?

The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to stilling the mind

I thought I had got the gist of the story, but I am not quite sure if I understood it in its entirety.

amar said...

I got the story from the advaitin mailing list on yahoo groups. The source of the quotation at the end of the story is from the classic Ashtavakra Gita. I got it from Atanu's blog. I am also planning a post on Ashtavakra Gita.

Incidentally, the passage from Ashtavakra Gita is very similar to what Sri Ramana said in his forty verses on Reality. I have a brief post on the forty verses. A script prints a random selection per day to the sidebar. The verses numbered 23rd, 33rd and 36 (in the online translation) convey the same meaning as that of the verse from Asthavakra Gita.

Another way to put the moral of the story maybe:
Meditation is essential to realization. Not the mechanical repetetion of the particular verses/passages.

Also, this story is like one of the classic zen stories, which say: if you are trying to meditate, you are not meditating.