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Introduction

Everyone of us is/will become a Seeker at some point of time in our long cycle o
f (pseudo-eternal) life of births, deaths and rebirths, bothered by the Who/What
, How and Why of the Self, the World and our relationship with it.
Briefly, the Who/What is the sat (real and present nature) of our Self; the How
is the cit (the action of the storage of our vAsanAs or past impressions); and t
he Why is the AnandA (the happiness and peace) we are seeking.
Who/What represents the icchA shakti (power of desire), How the kriA shakti (pow
er of creation) and the Why the jnAna shakti (power of knowledge) in our manifes
t Self.
A number of other questions remain: What happens to me after death? Will I be re
born, cast into hell or enjoy the heavens for ever after death? What is death an
d why should I die? Is there a way I can be immortal and live happily forever? W
hy is there so much of difference in the teachings of various religions? What is
the ultimate Truth? Is that Truth Advaita, Dvaita or Vishishtadvaita? Which is
the true knowledge, Physical Science or Metaphysical Science? Looking at the law
ful order of things in the manifest world, it should be Science after all; and l
ooking at the life and harmony of Nature, it should be beyond Science too...
At the root of all such questioning is Desire: the desire to know, how to live f
orever, and live happily in peace. Desire for the knowledge of immortality and p
eace (happiness) coupled with the fear of annihilation drives all the quest of t
he seeker.
This was precisely what Nachiketa sought to know from Yama, the Lord of Death. T
he spirit of Nachiketa is immanent in us. With some knowledge from our own readi
ng, we have an inkling that the answer to all our questions remains inside us, i
n our own Self, rather than in the outside World. As we progress, we seek the ul
timate peace and happiness, even as we need to remain in this chaotic world and
live the turmoil of this life.
Our scriptures, both sRti (heard, revealed) and smRti (written, remembered) show
us ways to realize the Absolute Truth through the variety of chaos of the saMsA
ra (the World-Process). Since the scriptures approach the Absolute Truth in many
angles, a seeker is often confused with their apparent contradictions.
Bhagavan Das (1869-1958) has authored a powerful work in the manner of a textboo
k on science that seeks to synthesize all the variety and chaos of the saMsAra a
nd lead us to the Absolute Truth, by offering a way to reconcile the apparently
contradicting statements in various Hindu texts. Titled The Science of Peace, th
is book also touches on the concepts of Western Philosophy and Physical Science
and places them in their proper hierarchical context in the holistic 'Science of
the Self'.
Honoured with the Bharat Ratna award in 1955, Bhagavan Das was born in Varanasi
and became a scholar of Sanskrit. He joined the Theosophical Society in 1894, an
d with Annie Besant established the Central Hindu College, Varanasi, which later
became the Benaras Hindu University. He wrote around 30 books, many of them in
Sanskrit and Hindi. Some of his works include: A concordance dictionary to The y
oga-sutras of Patanjali, Indian ideals of women's education, Krishna, a study in
the theory of Avataras, The essential Unity of all Religions, The science of pe
ace, The science of religion, The science of the emotions, The Science Of Social
Organization, or, The Laws Of Manu In The Light Of Atma Vidya, and The superphy
sics of the Great War. A prominent road in New Delhi is named after him and a co
lony is also named after him in Sigra area of Varanasi as 'Dr. Bhagwan Das Nagar
'.

The Science of Peace is a book of over 500 pages, that discusses the way to synt
hesize and reconcile the variety and chaos in the World-Process and understand t
hem in a scientific way within the Unity and context of the Self. I have attempt
ed a compilation of this rich and powerful book. Since the material is vast, I s
hall present my understanding of the discussions (quoting, elaborating and parap
hrasing them as necessary) with some of my illustrations, through several conven
iently related threads, under the title 'adhyAtmavidyA' in Synthesis, in order t
hat members may freely interact and add value to the discussions under each thre
ad.
This compilation can, however, serve only as an introduction to the great book,
which is a must read for every seeker. (The book can be downloaded in PDF format
at http://www.archive.org/details/scienceofpeace029498mbp - 23.1 MB).
The great question of Nachiketa
Katha Upanishad illustrates the path to immortality with a beautiful story that
is replete with hidden meanings. We discuss the story briefly here and about the
great question Nachiketa asked Yama, without going into the hidden meanings of
what is known as the Nachiketa Vidya.
With an eye on the heavenly pleasures, King Vajashravasa ('vAjashravasa') once p
erformed a fire sacrifice. As part of the sacrifice he gave all his wealth in ch
arity. He had a son, a young boy named Nachiketa ('naciketA').
The boy saw his father give away all useless things in addition, in the name of
charity. Nachiketa was advanced in knowledge and knew that by givng useless thin
gs his father would also need to reside in painful worlds. So he gently accosted
his father with the question, "Father, to whom wilt thou give me?" He asked his
father this question three times.
His father got annoyed and said, "mR^ityave tvA dadAmi (Unto death I offer you).
" Though his father spoke the words in anger, they were commitment enough and th
us Nachiketa reached the portals of Yama Dharma Raja. Since Yama wasn't there, N
achiketa waited for three days. When Yama came back and received the boy, he off
ered three boons to the boy in return for making him wait for three nights, beca
use a guest had to be treated on par with God.
The first boon Nachiketa sought from Yama was that his father should accept him
(because he is returning from Yama in bodily form!). Yama readily gave the boon
and said that his father would receive and accept his son as before and be happy
that his son was released from the jaws of death.
Then Nachiketa spoke thus to Yama for his second boon:
1-I-12. There is no fear in heaven; nor art thou there; nor is there any fear fr
om old age. Transcending both hunger and thirst and rising above grief, man rejo
ices in heaven.
1-I-13. O Yama, thou knowest the Fire that leads to heaven. Instruct me, who am
endowed with faith, about that (Fire) by which those who dwell in heaven attain
immortality. This I choose for my second boon.
Yama gave Nachiketa the details of performing the fire sacrifice that leads to h
eaven and said that henceforth the ritual will be known by the boy's name. Yama
also indicated that the Agni to perform the sacrifice resided in the cavity of t
he heart. Thus the Nachiketa Vidya in essence means the inward sAdhanA (spiritua
l practice) rather than the outword yajnA (act of sacrifice).

The third boon


And then Nachiketa asked Yama for his third boon a question, that was amazing fo
r a boy of his age:
*
yeyaM prete vicikitsA manuSye .astItyeke nAyamastIti caike |
etad vidyAmanushiSTastvayA.aham varANAmeSa varastR^itIyaH ||
1-I-20. "The dread doubt that seizeth the beholders when a man passeth away, so
that one sayeth, 'He still is,' and another, 'No, he is no more'. I would know t
he truth of this, taught by thee, O Yama! This I crave as the third of the three
boons thou promised!'
Yama Dharma Raja, the Judge of departed souls, shrank from the great task impose
d on him and answered: "Even the gods have suffered from this doubt, and very su
btle is the science that resolveth it. Ask thou another boon! Besiege me not wit
h this. Take all the pleasures that the earth can give; take undivided sovereign
ty of it!"
But Nachiketa would not budge: "Where shall all these pleasures be when the end
comes! The pleasures are no pleasures, poisoned by the constant fear of Thee! Th
e gods too suffer from the doubt, for they are only longer-lived and not eternal
; and that they suffer is but reason why I would not be as they. I crave my boon
alone. Nachiketa asks not for another."
Other similar great questions
Brhad-Aryanyaka-Upanishad II.iv, speaks of a similar great questioning by Maitre
yi to her husband Yajnavalkya: "If all this earth with all its gems and jewels w
ere mine without dispute, should I become immortal?"
And Yajna-valkya answered: "No, thou couldst only live as the wealthy live and d
ie as they. Wealth brings not immortality!" Then Maitreyi: "What shall I do with
that which makes me not immortal? Tell me what thou knowest brings assurance of
eternity."
So Rama also asks Vasishtha: "The books that say that Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh
a are the three highest gods that rule our solar system, say also that they die.
Brahma, the highest-seated, falls; the unborn Hari disappears; and Bhava, the s
ource of the existence of this world, himself goes into non-existence! How then
may feeble souls like mine find peace and rest from fear of death and change and
ending?" (Yoga-Vasishtha, Vairagya Prakarana, xxvi,29.)
"To be dependent on another (to be at the mercy of another, to be subject to the
relentlessness of death)--this is misery. To be Self-dependent--this is happine
ss." (Manu Smriti, 4.160)
Spiritual distress that kindles the burning Fires
Thus Jiva feels the terror of annihilation and struggles to escape from it, into
the refuge of some faith or other, low or high, instinctively in the beginning,
and consciously and deliberately at the stage when self-consciousness and intel
ligence are developed. Religion and philosophy begin in such struggles only.
When this fear of death of body and soul, this fear of loss and change and endin
g pervades the intelligent and self-conscious Jiva:

it destroys his joy in passing things;


makes him withdraw from old accustomed objects of enjoyment;
fills him with sadness and disguest for worldly pleasures that really hide pain
inside them;
thus, left in solitude and sorrow, when the Jiva yearns and pines for a way out
of this vast slaughterhouse into the Permanent, the Eternal, the Restful, then i
s that searching soul passing through the fires
of burning thought, reflection and discremination between the Transient and the
Permanent;
of passionate rejection of all personal and selfish pleasures and attachments in
himself and in others;
of the self-suppression, the intense quiescence and compassionate sadness, of ut
ter renunciation;
and of a consuming, ever-present, craving and travailing for the means of libera
tion, from that seeming slaughter-house, for himself and for all others.
These fires that the Jiva passes through makes him worthy of ved-Anta, of that '
final knowledge' which he craves, and which alone can bring him peace and fit hi
m for the work that lies before him.
Then is his consciousness, his individuality, his personal self, focussed into a
n infinitesimal point, and, thus oppressed with the feeling of its own extreme l
ittleness, is it ready for the supreme reaction, ready to lose itself and merge
into and realize the All-Consciousness of the Infinite and Universal Self.
Grasping and understanding the mystery of the World-Process and its underlying U
nity of the Self can speed up the onset of this most fearful and most fruitful m
ood that leaves the Jiva desperate in his search for immortality.
saidevo
Re: 'adhyAtmavidyA' in Synthesis: 1. The Great Questioning
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hari Om
~~~~~

At the root of all such questioning is Desire: the desire to know, how to live f
orever, and live happily in peace. Desire for the knowledge of immortality and p
eace (happiness) coupled with the fear of annihilation drives all the quest of t
he seeker.
Grasping and understanding the mystery of the World-Process and its underlying U
nity of the Self can speed up the onset of this most fearful and most fruitful m
ood that leaves the Jiva desperate in his search for immortality.
Namaste saidevo,
what you offer can be a great conversation as others engage on this matter.
Many confuse immortality ( even King Dhritarashtra of the Mahabharaha ) as livin
g with the body for eternity. Immortality is the nature of the SELF, wouldn't yo
u say? It is being possessed of the SELF that brings this notion of immortality
to life.
It will not take long for this conversation to address whether this immortal sta
te of the SELF being ubiquitous, is accomplanied by the experience of one being
aware of this immortality (a SELF referal condition) and takes delight in it, ex

periences it. Or is it the state of pure awareness itself, having no interest in


being bound to a notion of experiencing. The Upanishads can assist us with thes
e questions.
There never was a time when I was not, nor you nor these rulers amonst men; nor
will there ever come a time when we all shall cease to be. Krsna ( Chapt 2.12, B
hagavad gita )
pranams __________________
____yajvan___
o nti nti nti
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Re: 'adhyAtmavidyA' in Synthesis: 1. The Great Questioning
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Namaste Yajvan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by yajvan
Immortality is the nature of the SELF, wouldn't you say? It is being possessed o
f the SELF that brings this notion of immortality to life.
Search for immortality, as Bhagavan Das says in Chapter 2 of his book, is condit
ioned by an instinctive need for unity.
Why should there be search for immortality? Because the Jiva knows instinctively
about God as the only Almighty and wants to become like God and perhaps play Go
d. To know God and exist like Him for ever, the Jiva progressively finds that he
needs to be in unity with God, and ultimately realizes that He is already in su
ch unity!
Every human being seeks unity in one form or another. Even scientists, who profe
ss to be rationalists, are in search of a unified theory of everything in the un
iverse. From the downward curve of divide and conquer, science is today turning
into the upward curve of unite and realize. Still science has one great duality:
inanimate and animate matter. Ultimately, however, science has to realize that
life in the form of consciousness is immanent in all matter, so there is no dead
or living matter.
If a drop of the ocean wants to become the ocean itself, it should first realize
that both are of the same nature, though the ocean is infinite and drop is infi
nitesimal, and although the drop finds in its present condition only drops aroun
d with no sight of the ocean; and then the drop should lose its individuality an
d merge with the mighty ocean.
saidevo
Re: 'adhyAtmavidyA' in Synthesis: 1. The Great Questioning
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hari Om
~~~~~
Quote:
Originally Posted by saidevo

Namaste Yajvan.
Every human being seeks unity in one form or another.
If a drop of the ocean wants to become the ocean itself.
Namaste saidevo,
You have offered some very good points. Its been said that every desire in the f
inal analysis is the desire for this wholeness for this samasta, to feel complet
e.
One desires a home, a spouse or children, more friends, more something. Adding t
his something, then the analysis , do I feel whole, full (Bhuma)? This acquiring
, looking for that peace of the puzzle that makes one feel fullness.
For me rishi Sanatkumara says it best: nalpe sukham asti - 'finite things do not
contain happiness'.
If we continue to look to things that are within limits to find the limitless, i
t ain't gonna happen.
I hope others give their POV on the initial string , as the wisdom of the Katha
Upainshad is a wealth of knowledge to consider.