This is a discourse series given by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha during the Gurupoornima Retreat at Narayanashrama Tapovanam, in Kerala. As the name suggests, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a voluminous text. It is a treatise on Self knowledge and it covers all aspects of human life.
Chanting the shanti Mantra of the Upanishad, (ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते।पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥), Swamiji discusses why this chanting is taken up before the study of the Upanishads. He explains that to understand this subtle and profound knowledge, there has to be a conducive and harmonious environment and right attunement of the body, mind and intelligence.
Discussing the Shanti Mantra, Swamiji deeply analyses the word ‘Poorna’. This Poorna is the non-dual consciousness. It is different from anything in the objective world. This Consciousness or Brahman is Poorna in essence and when it produces the objective world, then also it is full and undergoes no change at all. Swamiji emphasizes that the Self is changeless, causeless, immortal and always in its pristine form. When the whole world is manifested, the Self does not undergo any change.
Swamiji concludes the day by discussing the three kinds of shanti or peace.
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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.
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Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.