Swami Atmapriyananda | Cultivating an Illumined Mind: Urgent Relevance in the Modern Age of Science

[music] [Music ]
(Dr. Mohan):-
We have amidst us Srimad Swami Atmapriyanandaji Maharaj. He is a professor of Physics by professional
training.No. He is actually a professor of Metaphysics
by the vocation that he has chosen. He is the Vice Chancellor of the Vivekananda
University as it is popularly known. Swami Vivekananda Education and Research Institute
in Kolkata. It is a multi-campus
facility. Trying to mould youth along the lines of how
Swami Vivekananda wanted youngsters to grow up. I’d like to now request Srimad Swami Atmapriyanandaji
Maharaj to share his thoughts on ‘Cultivating illumined mind:
Urgent relevance in the modern age of science’ .
Swamiji.>>>>>(Swami Atmapriyanandaji):- Mohan always talks about 18 minutes. I was just wondering what is the magic number. And
it is divisible by 9. He said 9 slides, 18 minutes.It is a kind
of mystification…why 18 minutes? So, as it is customary to begin with a peace
chant Shanti Mantra, and I will begin a shanti mantra that is very relevant to the youth. You know our Rishis, the ancient seers were
well built, extremely physically healthy. They ate very nutritious food, in our pictures
we see rishis emaciated and famished. No! They were extremely powerful people. Look at Vishwamitra, look at Vashishta. So there is a beautiful Shanti Mantra
It is (from) Sama Veda. It is prefixed and suffixed into Kena Upanishad
which begins by saying that all your limbs should be strong. You should be extremely powerful and you should
be energized by the power of the supreme spirit. And most interestingly, this is the mantra
with which a Brahmachari who is ordained into Sannyasa
is initiated with a Guru ..I shall tell the secrets. Some of you
may later on embrace sannyasa if God wills. So this will be the mantra with which we will
start. First your limbs should be strong, eye should
be powerful. Before you begin spirituality,
your body, your mind, and your limbs all of them, senses should be strong. Swami Vivekananda said, that most of the problems
of India come, from physical weakness .(Shloka)
Naayam Atma balaheenena labhyah .. Is a statement of the Mundaka Upanishad. Vivekananda
interpreted it by saying, even physical weakness will not lead a person to
the realisation of the Atman. His very dear
disciple Sharadchandra Chakraborty told him, ‘But Shankara does not say that.’
Swamiji thundered,’ Let Shankara say what he says. But I say, that a person who is
physically weak, will not be able to realise the self”. Look at our sports, Olympics or Asian
games,… We have all the talent but we are physically
weak. Swamiji told youth of India ‘Be
physically strong, mentally powerful and spiritually be awakened.’ So unless you have
physically strength, the Atman cannot be realised. So I begin with this Shanti Mantra
(Shloka) Om aapyaayantu mamaangaani vaak
Praanashchakshuh shrotramatho Balamindriyaani cha sarvaani sarvam brahmopanishadam
Maaham brahma niraakuryaam Maaham brahma niraakuryaam maa maa brahma niraakarod
astu Aniraakaranamastva aniraakaranam mestu
Tadaatmani nirate ya upanishatsu dharmaaste Mayi santu Te mayi santu. Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi. Hari hi Om Tat Sat
So when I was asked to talk about what kind of vedantic inputs the youth will have in
order to manifest the potential divinity Or the perfection
within them. A sort of ancient Indian
education. Swamiji repeatedly emphasized the Guru Griha
vaasa, Living with an illumined Guru, in close contact. And what does the Guru do ? He does’nt teach
at all. That is.
the.(laughs). Swamiji also said, ‘If I had any say in
the education and if I had to go through the whole
thing over again, I will not teach any content at all. I will only teach the students, the youth,
the children, how the mind could be awakened, how the mind could be illumined and (with)
such an awakened mind, they will be able to gather facts of information just at will’. It is just
like saying in the modern parlance. Nowadays nobody reads books. All of you know this. You have the iPod. You have Android. So you don’t carry hard copy. paperless office
Cashless transactions. Everything is less. Not more. So exactly what Swami Vivekananda
said was, as soon as a child goes to school, give him a scanner. With that he will be able to
scan all the books and keep it in his brain. His brain and his mind should be awakened
to be able to scan any book at will. You know the stories of Swami Vivekananda. He had
appeared to be extremely mysterious. Somewhat magical. Rather unbelievable. You know
several stories. He went to the library. Every couple of days he used to borrow a book
which has 500-600 pages.And the librarian said ‘Swamiji
are you reading them or are you returning them without reading?’ Swamiji said ‘ I
have read through everything.’ He used to say, ‘In
the beginning I used to read line by line. After that, paragraph after paragraph. Then page
after page. When we were children we are taught the alphabets. We used to read when we
were children (kootti kootti padikkirathunu solvaanga theriyumilla ungalukku) every line
every word. The child goes on struggling. Afterwards he reads through lines. And after sometime
he can just know what is there. How much time does it take to scan a book
600 pages? That
is exactly what Vivekananda did. Took the book scanned the whole thing and
returned it. And retain it in your brain . You create a
folder and put it there. A small pen drive will contain about 100 thousand
books. You carry it in your pocket. That is
it.So the human brain has extraordinary possibilities. Neuroscience people will tell you .
The possibilities that the human brain has . they have not been exhausted They say
even a genius like Einstein, has used only
a few percent of his brain. There is no limit to the
extent of human brain and human mind. It is extraordinary. Then if mind is so vast, what about the spirit? Even the body! I was telling you yesterday, those of you
who are here, a simple book on Biology or physiology will
tell you that a DNA has 100 thousand coded messages. If the whole thing is decoded and a typist
types the whole thing down, it will occupy 100 thousand volume Encyclopaedia. This one DNA! And we have a trillions and
billions of such DNA and this entire hall will not be sufficient to declare the glory
of half a dozen DNA. And you have such trillions of them sitting
in this multiple cell system and crying, �I am weak,
I am small, this man is my enemy, I should kill him. Are we not ashamed ?
Even a book on Biology will tell you, you don’t have to go to Science, you don�t have
to go to the religion and spirituality. A book on Biology will tell you how much is
the possibility of the human body, not to speak of the mind. The body is so powerful! How it beautifully
coordinates! I also used to wonder, when the tongue is
moving inside the mouth. I speak so
fast, how is it that the teeth are not biting the tongue? Isn’t it a wonder? We don�t wonder our
small wonders.It is an extraordinary wonder, how the tongue is able to negotiate so fast
and the teeth are constantly cooperating. And even if the teeth bite the tongue,
you don’t knock off the teeth. Who do you punish? The teeth or the tongue?
you don’t punish both because the teeth is me and the tongue is also me. So the human
body is such a tremendous wonder. And the human mind is much more. Last days of his life,
Swami Vivekananda was at Belur Math �very ill. He was very trying to book the ticket for
the mahasamadhi, as we book the rail tickets or the air tickets. He was booking the ticket
online. Got the almanac, 4th of July, you stop. That’s it. Shining volumes of encyclopedia Britannica
were purchased. 25 volumes. Belur Math did not
have the necessary funds. They were quite poor but the love of knowledge
was so much the Vivekananda said we should have in our library all this volumes
of Encyclopaedia Britannica. His dear disciple
once again Sharadchandra Chakraborty was very free with Vivekananda asked him,
�Swami, it is impossible for a person to master these volumes in his lifetime.�
Swami said �What do you mean? I have finished 10 volumes, going through
11th volume. You pick up any volume ask any question. The disciple was testing the Guru- that is
the Indian tradition. The Guru should be examined. Tested. Sri Ramakrishna the illustrious Guru of Swami
Vivekananda told him, �Test me as a money changer tests a coin. And watch Me by the day
and by the night. And then only you shall accept Me.� And
he was very glad to be tested. So
this disciple took out volumes at random 6th volume, 4th volume opened a page at random
, asked questions. It is reported Swami Vivekananda not only
answered the questions (he) on several occasions, exactly quoted the very
words which are in that book. Then as we
normally usually say, his disciple said, �Swami, this is superhuman power. This is not
possible for us�. Indians have a peculiar way of worshipping
people and not following them. That is a clever way of bypassing the strenuous
task of following spiritual or intellectual people. You simply put him on a pedestal. Put some flowers.Jai Vivekanandaji kee Jai!. You
don�t read a single book of Vivekananda. Swamiji therefore said, on one occasion, �Don’t
worship me! If anybody does arathi to me, I will become
a ghost and break his neck.� So, when we do arathi in Belur Math on the
special occasions of Vivekananda’s birthday, the
pujari is mortally afraid, when Vivekananda will break his neck! Which means we bypass
strenuous effort by saying Vivekananda is so great. He is not a human being. He is a godly
person.And therefore his efforts are not for us.We are so small, so simple and we will
only follow him, to the extent of doing worship
and having prasada. So Swamiji immediately thundered � Don�t
say that. Everyone of you has that possibility. Only you have not attempted it. You have not tried to manifest it�. There are several such occasions. Once he was in the West in the America, you
know the cowboys, Cowboys were very strange people who used
to ride on the horses and wear the, what we call the jeans pant. You know jeans pant much more than we do. I asked a boy. You know it was all torn all over. I said �It is all torn�. �No, you don�t know. The more it is torn, the more costly it is�. Jeans pant, if it is torn in several places,
it is supposed to be extremely expensive. That is the culture. Cowboys are extraordinarily good shooters. Gunsmen. They were playing a game. Eggshells were floating on the river. And they had to shoot at them. You know eggshells are extremely light and
the current of the river is so fast, every time they
fail. You need a little of physics for that. By the time the bullet emerges from a gun,
what will be the time taken for the bullet to reach there, by the time where this eggshell
would have moved. They were failing every time. Swami Vivekananda was looking at them
and derisively laughing. Then they got furious. �Do you think it is easy? can you try it?�
Swamiji smiled, �I can�. He took the gun. Every time he shot. �How many years have you been practising
that?� �This is the first time I am touching a
gun�. �How is it possible?�
�I told my mind, �Mind, Shoot� and it did.�
The idea being your mind, your body should be your master. Our young people constantly complain � We
have no freedom. Our parents are controlling
us.� In Tamilnadu, it is much better because you are all obedient people. The place where I
come from, in Bengal, is turbulent, all the time. All the time revolting. �We don�t have
freedom All of you are keeping us like slaves.� I said, �Plenty of freedom you have.Your
freedom to improve yourself. Freedom not to waste
your time. Freedom to observe purity. But you will not have any freedom to spoil
yourself. You will not have any freedom to waste your
time. If you need that kind of freedom, the door
through which you entered, is still open for you to leave.�
Swami Ramakrishnananda ji , the illustrious disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, to whom we owe
everything of the Ramakrishna movement in the Southern part of India said, � There
are two kinds of freedom. Freedom of the senses. Freedom from the senses.�
Do you need freedom of the senses or freedom from the senses? The senses are clamoring for freedom. The eye says, come on see. The ear says you
should hear everything. The tongue of course constantly clamoring
for good food. The senses want freedom. But if you want freedom from the senses you
come to religion. He said politics is freedom of the senses. Religion is freedom from the senses. This is Swami Ramakrishnananda�s �. this
definition… of politics and religion. Vivekananda demonstrated everytime. Another time the cowboys challenged. �You talk
about the immortality of the soul, the fearlessness , the atman. Can you take a challenge? �
What was the challenge? It was terrible. �You stand here.� They improvised a kind
of platform. �You stand here. We will shoot at you.�
And they were extraordinarily good shooters. � And the bullets will whiz past your ears. And you should stand there, fearless, and
speak about atman, about the indian spirituality
for about an hour.� Swamiji said yes. He took the challenge. Bullets were simply whizzing past his ears.He
simply stood there , motionless and spoke for
an hour. Then they said, �You are our Guru�, they
took them on their shoulders and went around. So he visibly demonstrated the power of the
human mind. What kind of mind? There
is a lower mind and a higher mind that Bhagavad gita talks about. There is a remarkable
verse in the Bhagavad gita sixth chapter. Young people should know something about the
Gita. Do you read the Gita sometimes? I suppose there is a book called Bhagavad
Gita exists. It is not for religious people, old
people. It is for young people.Arjuna was quite young
when he was instructed in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. In sixth chapter Dhyana Yoga there is a wonderful
verse that says
�You raise yourself by yourself.Do not demean yourself. Because you are your friend and
you are your enemy.� (Shloka )
� udharet-atmana-atmaanam na-atmaananam-avsaadyet aatmaiv hiyatmano banduhu aatmaiv ripuraatmanah�
This is one lesson I want to give to the youth of this assembly. Never blame anybody. � I was so good. That boy spoilt me. This situation spoiled me. No. You spoil yourself. Or you do not spoil yourself. The choice is yours. You are grown up. You are young. Uddaret aatmanaat aatmaanam…The higher mind
should rescue your lower mind. The lower
mind constantly clamors for the senses. The higher mind says� You can�t have it�. You have
heard of Norman Vincent Peale. He always talked about positive thinking. All his life, (he)
wrote books. There is one article which he wrote, which
was published in the Reader’s� Digest. Swami Bhajanananda Ji pointed out to me the
power of the positive No . Sometimes there are situations in which you should tell
your mind NO and that should be a positive No. �I have exams tomorrow and my friend is
asking me to go for a movie. I shall say No. I shall
not go�. And it shall be positive. Very often we have a very weak No. Come Lets go. Classes are so boring. Lets go and watch a movie. Well no…I will not go�
A very weak no and after sometime when you are pushed you simply yield. Power to be able stick to your conviction
and say No . That should be developed in your mind. Where to say No and where to say Yes is also
important. My teacher, …I studied in the Vivekananda
College here in Madras, �when we went to class eleven, …in those days the pre-university
was there….immediately after class ten, we
have to go to the university, He wrote two sentences on the blackboard, I remember even
now, after nearly 55 years He wrote there on the board. These two sentences should guide you. Why should I? Why not I? To be able to ask this right question in the
correct situation will save you. Everybody is avoiding classes and going for
movies.You ask yourself , Why should I? .
Nowadays everybody says, �Oh this is nothing. There is no harm in it. Everybody does it�. You must have heard �ellarum panrache namakku
ennappa ) Everybody may do it. But I shall not do it. Why should I do it? There is a critical situation.One of your
friends has fallen ill. He has to be taken to the
hospital. Everybody says, �No, I don�t have the
time�. Why not I? Why should I? Why not I ?
Ask this question, right question, Later on I realized this comes up in Bhagavad Gita
where the Bhagavan says the saatviki buddhi about
which I will talk very briefly now. The saatviki buddhi, the buddhi the intelligence
which has become satvik, extremely illumined, that knows when you should do what. This is called
Pravrittim cha nivrittim cha karyaakaarye bhayaabhaye;
Bandhammoksham cha yaa vetti buddhih saa paartha saattwikee. Oh Partha Arjuna,
That buddhi is saatviki buddhi which knows pravritti and nivritti, when you
should do certain things; when you should not do
certain things. Kaarya Na Kaarya. Which should be done. Which should not be done. And
bhaya and abhaya. Where you should be fearless and where you
should always be fearful. Swami Vivekananda
said, �Be fearless�. Sarada Devi, the holy mother said �bhoya
bhoya�.. …Shloka�.
in Bengali it means, �you should always be afraid. the person who is afraid always wins.�
Now you reconcile these two statements. You should know when you should be afraid. Suppose a gang of people who are addicted
to certain things try to pull you. Don’t show
bravado there. You will simply be sucked in. There you avoid, �No I shall not�. So there, you
should be afraid. You should be afraid of doing the wrong thing. You should be afraid of
getting into Immoral things. You should be afraid of doing things which
will bring down your dignity as a human being. Na aatmaanam avasaadayet! Do�nt lower yourself. Bandhammoksham cha yaa vetti buddhih saa paartha
saattwikee. which is bondage and which is freedom. Our young boys sometimes complain �we don�t
have the freedom�. Actually you have so
much of freedom to improve yourself, because a person who happily, joyfully, embraces the
outer bondage, will always grow inwardly. Several boys tell us, �You Swamis, have
gotten into a terrible bondage. You have an organisation, and every time you
have to take permission from this person,.. you can’t freely
do things�. I said �We have happily voluntarily
joyfully accepted outer bondage so that we can have inner freedom. if you have outer
freedom your inner bondage will increase. Most of the remarkable books were written
when people were in jail. �Discovery of India was written by Jawaharlal
Nehru when he was in jail. Because outwardly he had no freedom, so inwardly
he grew. Some of the remarkable
experiences of Rishi Aurobindo were in jail. So I don’t want you to go to jail. So you jail your
senses. tell the senses you can’t go out and dictate. What is the secret? Would you like to be
a master or a slave? You tell me. Would you like to be a master or would you
like to be a slave? Obviously you like to be a master. Master of what ? You be a master of your own
senses. Your senses dictate to you. There is a pleasant smell from outside. High Tea. You
are just looking at your watch. When will Swami stop? So,your senses are dragging you
outside. You tell the senses �you shall not! come
on, sit down. behave�.you should be the
master of yourself. your senses. your body shall not dictate to you. I will be the master. A
person who has mastered is called a Raja.He is a king. And a person who has mastered his
own senses and body is called a Maharaja. So all of us are called Maharaj. You know why ? Because our kingdom is inwardly
and the inward kingdom is the greatest joy that we
have. And therefore the saatviki buddhi the
illumined mind which I wanted to discuss very briefly. Three traditions of yoga , Vedanta and Buddhism. So the illumined mind is called right mindfulness
, right vision Samyak Drishti and is also called Dhi in Vedanta and Pragyaloka in the
yogic tradition. I will stick to the vedantic tradition only
for the moment. so, when a boy or a girl used to go to
school, even girls had this privilege, they were given a small Mantra by the Guru, which
is the gift of a scanner. the Guru says �I will not teach you anything. I will not give you books. I will give you a
scanner and how to use it. With this any book which comes to you can
be scanned and remembered.� The scanner is a small Mantra
called Gayatri Mantra, which is the most famous Mantra given by the Guru, to a disciple
or a student just at the time of the beginning of education. This mantra the last portion dhiyo yo nah
prachodayat. Dhi is a very important faculty and
the plural of Dhi is Dhiyaha. interestingly all the words in Sanskrit connected
with wisdom and knowledge are all feminine. there is no masculine intelligence. Dhi is feminine. Vidya is
feminine. Buddhi is feminine. Pragya is feminine and Saraswati is the Goddess
which presides over all knowledge. So, this wisdom called the Dhi is a very interesting
faculty For which we should go to the next slide .
Oh, this is by the way… I wanted to show this to you. 1920 WB Yeats poignantly wrote:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Is full of passionate intensity. Exactly what is happening now. The best lack all conviction while the worst
is full of passionate intensity. Why does it
happen? Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Next one. So this comes from Pancha kosha. Most
of you must have known this. the kosha exactly is the word used by Shankara. But the
Upanishads themselves do not use the word kosha anywhere. Taitriya Upanishad talks
about Atma. Annamayya Aatma pranamaya Aatma, Mano Maya
atma, Vigyan Maya atma, anandamaya atma, Kosha word is used only in
one place in Taitriya Upanishad. ��
�brahmano kosho se that is used in an entirely different context. To suit his philosophy, Shankara changed the
Atma into kosha but let us stick to the original. Upanishad. Atma means the self. Now we talk
about the Atma as a spiritual entity. the Upanishad says every one of the dimensions
of the human being is an atma, a five layered human personality. My advice to the youth is – stick to a certain
paradigm. It could be
Tantra. It could be vedanta. it could be Yoga. But the most beautiful and the safest paradigm
Swami Vivekananda gave us is the vedantic paradigm. Vedantic paradigm has this Pancha
atma: Annamaya, pranamaya, Mano Maya,, Vigyana Maya Ananda maya. The body itself has its own sensitivity. The neuro scientists now say, the body itself
tells you what you should do and what you should not
do. It has its own sensitivity. Then you have the
pranamaya which is in between the manas and the body. Who feels hungry? who feels
thirsty? it�s not the body. The body is jada. the aatman the spirit does
not feel hungry. There is something in between
called prana which feels hungry and pranaya swaha apaanaya swaaha and so on.And
the manas which is full of thoughts and the fourth dimension. what we will emphasize now is called Vignanamaya. next one. i have
compared the shadchakra of the tantra. So let’s skip that. now the idea of the Dhi is the
Vignanamaya. so your role as youth in education, spiritual
education or secular education is somehow to awaken the Dhi through prayer,
through brahmacharya, and through concentration. When we talk about purity and brahmacharya
everybody gets flabbergast. It is very simple. It
simply says �control your senses� . The senses are outgoing. And Senses are constantly
scattered out. You can’t focus on anything least of all. ��
How do you do that? You should have a tremendous abiding interest. I always used to give
this example. Some boys say, �we can�t concentrate. concentration level is very low�. Then i
say, �suppose you are watching a match. india pakistan. the kurukshetra war. they are
cousins fighting. world cup final. 6 balls 10 runs. should anybody tell you � concentrate
on the television screen?� your whole heart
is drawn there. So Christ said, where your treasure is, there
your heart will be also. You love something
then constantly the mind will flow. when you awaken your higher consciousness
which is the Dhi, then you have a mind which is illumined,
in that illumined mind, impressions will immediately be registered. It is just like you awaken the technique of
the photographic technique. When you switch it on, immediately whatever
you click, it is immediately retained. So this illumined mind which is called super
conscious …the way to super consciousness �.what we now are, Vedanta will say, we
are not conscious at all. We are in unconscious
state. Consciousness first begins with the awakening
of the Dhi. Which is called pragya in yoga .
the pragya is called the light of consciousness. Pragya aloka, just like people go for mining
, they have a hat in which a light is fixed. The light guides their way. From the heart the Pragya aloka the light
of consciousness will guide you through life. Next one. The Buddhist tic I have compared the Buddhistic
the idea of the Vipassana. Vipassana- idea
of mindfulness and awakened state of consciousness. Next one. In the modern relevance, Swami Vivekananda
said,… the theme of seminar,- manifestation of the potential divinity in the potential
perfection �.you have it already. the Annamayya
PranaMaya, Mano Maya, Vigyan Maya , Ananda Maya. They are there with you. They are
priceless possessions. Only you have not awakened to the higher level. We are moving in
the Annamaya , pranamaya , ManoMaya all the time and if you are intellectual it means
that you have read a lot of books. That is not intellectuality… real intellectual
awakening comes when you awaken the vigyanamaya atma. and
therefore these are potentially there for you. only you have to awaken them. the potential awakening of the divinity. Next one. So i will end with this. Albert Einstein, our great hero in science. He said,my religion consists of a humble adoration
of an illimitable intelligence which our dull faculties can comprehend in the most primitive
form. He also said, the most profound and the most
sublime the emotion one can have is the sensation of the mystical. It is truly the power of all science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger who can no longer stand and wonder in rapt awe is as good as dead. To know what is impenetrable to us really
exists manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull
faculties can comprehend the most primitive form. This feeling, this awareness is the centre
of all religiousness. And I end it by saying
this cosmic religious or mystical consciousness, is truly the mainspring of all scientific
research. In this sense and in this sense only, I am
a most devout religious person. Look at
the remarkable statement which comes very close to Vedanta. Thank you. (Doctor Mohan):
Thank you Swamiji. you brought out the remarkable nature of Swami
Vivekananda in being so scientific and spiritual and bringing out
the immense possibilities, infinite possibilities that
each one of you are capable of. [Music}


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