A couple years back when I was at Sagara, I met an Ajja in the ashram. He was residing there in a hutment for a few months to do his mantra japa which was recommended to him when he asked the maTh guru for saMnyAsa dIkshA. We had a good satsanga few times which gave me the food for thought which makes up the content of this blog.
Usually a sAdhaka wonders at the breadth of scriptures that he needs to study to get to a level that he can make any sense out of it at all. This would have been fed initially by imagination of the Supreme Truth in various ways. Sometimes that imagination is inline with the scriptures due to the person's pUrva saMskAra and while at others it is lateral to it, totally opposite or even unrelated. For such, gradually the scriptures open up the meaning wherein whatever he would have read earlier too suddenly makes a lot of sense. Then, he may end up thinking that all of what he did was unnecessary had he understood the first simplest scriptural content he came across! But, as it is well known, a long journey is necessitated to know that no journey was necessary. Another part that bothers some is the time it is taking or has taken in reaching the so-called 'goal'. That it takes so much time for a sAdhaka to get to That is because he is biased with the time concept and the multiplicity of learning which is difficult to unlearn. The time itself is lost on one who is immersed unto the path. Having reached there, time has no meaning whatsoever.
Lets return to the width of scriptural study needed, which is what I want to bring out with an example here. There are many deities in the Vedas and several mantras, yajnAs, stotrAs, shlokAs, upanishads, etc, for all of them. Then there are purANAs with more such. Even the literal meaning is lost on most who chant them for many years, but they learn it. At some point of time, the true meaning is bound to reveal itself to those who have faith. I'll list the shvetAshvatara upanishad pramANa to this effect at the end of the blog.
For now, lets take a simple example of a sAdhaka chanting gaNapati atharvaSIrsha upanishat. Most of us would chant with a focus on Ganapati as a deity and praise him through this upanishat. Having done that, we would study the same and other upanishads and learn that they too contain similar passages of description for other deities. These do result in phala as described through the presiding deities. However, upanishads contain the higher truth, not a stuti alone. So various upanishads take a principal deity and describe brahman through it! When upanishat says त्वं ब्रह्मा त्वं विष्णुस्त्वं रुद्रस्त्वं इन्द्रस्त्वं or त्वं कालत्रयातीतः etc, it is talking of brahman as represented through the deity. Over a period of time, the description sets in, phala expectation drops and the meaning strikes us towards the beginning of the upanishat itself. To close on what this means brings me back to the satsanga with Ajja that I started this blog with. We somehow had drifted into discussing the ganapati atharvaSIrsha upanishat and came to the conclusion that the beginning itself is sufficient to tell it all! I said what more could be said when it starts with त्वमेव प्रत्यक्षं तत्त्वमसि? And Ajja went a step further and asked why so? Even before that नमस्ते (which is broken as नम: ते) गणपतये is well complete in itself! Surely, in the end, the first step of ॐ *alone* will be sufficient to reveal the brahman fully!!
shvetAshvatara upanishat ends with:
यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ । तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः ॥ २३ ॥
To one who has great devotion to God; to whom as is the God, so is the Guru; knowledge reveals its shine to such a great soul.