“itu kutam” ennathil adhyamam “ite”nnu-
llatu vishama kutamo viseshamakum
mati mutalaya mahendra jalamunda-
vatinitutan karuvennu kandidenam.
In ‘this is a pot’, the initial ‘this’ is common which leads you into trouble and ‘pot’ is its specific attribute. Understand this is the basic cause from which the mind and similar magic of Great Indra come and manifest.
As soon as we wake up in the morning, we start with the sense of ‘I’. Only when we open our eyes and look around, we see other objects. The ‘pot’ has been referred here as an example. When we say ‘this is a pot’, the word ‘this’ itself fixes our eyes on the pot. Thus the word ‘this’ leads us to confusion. When we start saying ‘what is this?’, ‘what is that?’, ‘this looks good’, ‘what is the price of this?’, ‘what is the way to get one like this?’, and so on we have moved into the world of objects. Just as Seetadevi got into trouble when she was fascinated by the golden deer, the concept of ‘this’ leads us into trouble.
‘Mathi’, means the mind and its functions like thinking ‘I must do this’, ‘I must achieve this’, and such thoughts related to the future. This is also Maya. Hence, it is said try to understand (the cause behind) the great magic of the mind and similar things (that lead us to confusion).
“idamarive” nnatil adyamam “ite”nnu-
llathu sama thante viseshamanu bodham
mati muthalayavayokke mari mel sad-
gati varuvan itinebbhajichitenam.
In ‘this is Awareness’ the initial ‘this’ is same, while its attribute is Consciousness. For the mind and all else to vanish, and for the path of Awareness to come, one should contemplate on this
In the phrase ‘This is Awareness’, the first ‘this’ refers to ‘same’ and its attribute is Awareness. Our mind leads us to sense objects. What takes us nearer to Awareness is ‘sadgati’ (the path of truth or liberation). Only when the mental modifications and similar things are removed, liberation is possible. To achieve ‘This’ contemplate on ‘This’ (Awareness).
prakrithi pitichu chuzhattitum prakaram
sukrtikal polumaho chuzhannidunnu !
vikrti vitunnatinayi velacheyvee-
As if caught by nature and whirled round in vicious circles, the men of good action too, keep turning round. Non-action will not counteract mis-action. One should know (Awareness) by selfless action
Prakriti is primordial matter (or nature) proved by the manifest world (Maya). Not only the ignorant but even the virtuous can be seen caught in the web of Maya, and whirled around just like a deer which seeing a mirage, mistakes it for water and runs around to drink it. ‘Vikriti’ refers to an ignorant or confused person. He does what is required and also what is not required. Even inaction does not remove his ignorance and make him knowledgeable. One must know Awareness by selfless action.
Those actions which are performed with their fruits in mind create bondage. They are called actions of desire (Kamyakarma). To think we can attain liberation by such actions is as foolish as to think that blood can be washed away with blood. Only by selfless action (Nishkamakarma) an ignorant man can attain salvation. God decides and gives the fruits of our actions. These should be treated as his blessings and accepted with contentment. Where there is no ego (‘I’ sense) there is no room for the thought ‘I should get the fruits of my action’.
pala matha saravumekamennu para-
tulakil oranayil andharennapole
pala vidha yukti paranju pamaranma-
Not knowing that the essence of various religions is the same, in this world, fools roam, advancing various arguments, like the blind men and the elephant. Having seen this, without roaming like that, settle down in Awareness.
Just like the blind men who perceived the elephant differently, the ignorant wander aimlessly, with various views about religions. Instead of this, they should accept the fact that the essence of all religions is one.
Settle down in Awareness
In stanza 100, it is said ‘One should gently, gently merge in SAT-AUM’. This means one should have Satvaguna (pure or noble attributes). Those who talk aimlessly without understanding the facts have Rajo and Thamo gunas. Just like the two sides of a scale stand in equilibrium, they should realize the truth, and upgrade (merge) in to Satvaguna.
oru matamanyanu ninnyamonnilothum-
karuvaparante kanakki noonamakum
dharayil itinte rahasyamonnutan e-
One faith is despicable in another’s view. The most important teaching in one is defective in another’s critical view. This confusion will persist, until he recognizes that the secret of all these is one alone.
Some people from other religions talk disparagingly the worship of Sivalinga by Hindus. At the same time Hindus find shortcomings in the Christian belief that only faith is necessary. They say faith alone is not enough but also realization of Truth is a requirement to achieve salvation. All these are mental aberrations. These controversies will continue in this world, until people realize the ultimate secret truth, that the essence or message of all religions is one and the same.
Guru’s statements ‘that the essence of various religions is the same’ in stanza 44 and ‘the secret of all these is one alone’ in stanza 45, have been misinterpreted by some as secularism. But this is not correct. It is a vision of equality of all religions. Secularism means dissociated from religion, different from religion. In that sense it may be even termed as atheism. Guru’s teaching is not something different from religion, but that of one religion.
A government can be secular. But to keep all people away from their faiths is not possible. Most people are believers in God (theists). They can learn to see others as equals and have religious tolerance. The absence of differentiation between individuals is the bedrock of Vedanta. (Sarvadharma samabhavana). How can there be a view of differentiation for the one who sees ‘all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings’ (Isavasya Up 7)
The Semitic religions advocate religious differences, because each of them proclaims only their religion as the true one. Thinking deeply, we can see that this is a form of extremism. If everyone starts proclaiming this, and tries to force or establish their beliefs, it will result in ethnic and caste wars. Christianity talks about love (Love thy neighbour as thyself), but this they consider as applicable only to the Christians. In their view, followers of all other religions are non-believers (pagans). Pagans are not destined to go to heaven. If others want to escape (from hell) they must convert themselves to Christianity. Similarly when the followers of Islam talk about brotherhood, they limit its application to their own religion. They call non-Muslims as kaafirs (non-believers). Islam’s approach is either to convert kaafirs into Islam or kill them. In these two major religions we do not see even an iota of what Guru calls as religious tolerance (equality among religions). A person, even though a believer in God, is branded as a pagan or kaafir, because he does not belong to their religion. This narrow-minded view has sown the seeds of religious strife and intolerance. Such casteism and fundamentalism were alien to Indians, who were spokesmen of religious tolerance and equality amongst faiths till the Muslims came as invaders. Since Muslims consider Hindus as kaafirs they resort to terrorist activities in the form of Jihad (holy war).
The basis (or doctrines) of equality of all religions can be seen in the 7 and 8 stanzas of Isavasya Upanishad. (Guru’s translation)
‘ He who sees all beings in the Self itself, and the Self in all beings, feels no hatred. (for him what is there to be contempt or disrespected.)’ (7)
‘When to the man of realization all beings become the very Self, then what delusion and what sorrow can there be for that seer of Oneness?’ (8)
nnoru mathavum porutal otunguveela
para matavadiyitorthidate pazhe
porutu polinjitumenna budhi venam.
It is impossible to fight and win. By fighting no faith can be abolished. Without remembering this, the opponent of another faith, fights in vain and perishes. One should be intelligent to know this.
No religion can be destroyed by force or suppression. (winning by force or fighting is impossible). No religion will give up against force. The Arabs and the Jews in Middle East, are fighting today in the name of religion. No one wins, no one looses. When it comes to religious beliefs, victory by force is not possible. Without realizing this, one argues or fights against other religions destroys himself unnecessarily. But the religions do not get destroyed.
varumitu vadikal aarumorkkuveela
All men plead for a single faith to prevail, which no disputant ever recognizes. Those wise ones free from other-faith-dispute, know the secret of faith in full.
Everyone talks the same thing- ‘we all should become followers of single religion.’ The Pentecostal says everyone should become Pentacosts. Does this not make everyone of one common faith? The problem is not in this. Everyone wants his religion to be that one single religion. There lies the hitch or obstacle. The people who have given up the arguments and animosities against other religions are those who have really understood the meaning of ‘one religion’.
tanuvil amarnna sariri thante satta-
tanuvil “atente” “titente”tennu sarvam
tanutayozhinju dharichitunnu saksha-
The self within the body, from its existential body, understand everything, as ‘that is mine’ and ‘this is mine’, forgetting body identity. On considering this, it is evident that everyone really experiences this (Awareness).
The one that is enclosed in a body is Atma (Awareness). It is also called Jeevatma (human soul). This Atma, living in the body that supports it, perceives all forgetting body identity. This is a truth that is experienced by day-to-day experience.
Forgetting body identity
When a person talks of ‘his’ body he has an inner feeling that ‘I am not (the) this body’. Similarly when one talks of my hand, my leg, my intelligence, my mind, and so on. This is the realization of oneness (in Awareness) forgetting the body identity. Such a belief (feeling) comes when (as) he believes he is Atma. If we ponder on this, everyone experiences the presence of Atma in his daily life. ‘Satta tanu’ is a figure of speech employed here.
Having discussed about religion, Guru says in the next stanza, that everyone works for the happiness of his Atma (Self). Before doing this he has introduced Atma here in stanza 48.
sakalavumingu sadapi cheytitunnu
jagathiyil immatamekamennu chinti
Every man makes effort in everyway, all the time, for the happiness of the Self. Therefore in this world, know this as one faith. Understanding thus and without becoming subjected to sin, the inner self should be merged
Effort means work or vocation. Everyone works constantly for the happiness of his Self. Thus everyone is a worker. This is what Guru calls as one religion. In respect of Guru, the distinctions like employer, employee does not exist. Some work using their bodies (physical work). Others, with their brain (mental activity). If a man who does physical work gets body ache, the man engaged in mental work gets headache. That is the only difference. In a workplace, all workers (physical and mental) are members of the same family of workers (working class). No one is an enemy of another. Therefore, there is no room for a class war here. In the place of class-war Guru recommends class-cooperation.
As workers, everyone strives to achieve happiness of the Self. Considering work to achieve happiness of the Self as the one religion for the world, everyone should realize this, and without committing sins merge with the inner Self.
A devotee should consider work as a worship or Gurupooja.
nilamotu neeratupole kaattu tiyum
veliyumahamkrti vidhyayum manasum
The earth, together with water, air, fire and sky, the ego, the right knowledge and the mind, also all worlds including waves and ocean, they all transform into Awareness, at a higher plane.
‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ (Every thing, indeed is Brahman); ‘Sarvam hi Sachitanandam’ (Everything is Satchitanandam). The principles embodied in these sentences are clarified here. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space), ego, consciousness, the mind, waves, seas and whatever else is there, all become Awareness at the higher plane. The three planes are, the plane of the body, the mental plane and the plane of Atma (Awareness). Amongst these, the plane of Awareness is the highest. The same concept is amplified in stanza 61 last two limes.
‘Ignorance, along with the sky and other many sets of names, merge with the Awareness, at a higher level’.