“Aptavani 9” is the ninth in a series of spiritual books titled “Aptavani”. In this series, Gnani Purush (embodiment of Self knowledge) Dada Bhagwan addresses age-old unanswered questions of spiritual seekers.
Dadashri offers in-depth answers to questions such as: “What is the definition of ignorance, the definition of self awareness, and the definition of freedom – and are they all related?”, “What are the signs of spiritual awakening?”, “If I gain spiritual power from spiritual practices, is that dangerous to my spirituality in any way?, “What is liberation, or moksha?”
For those desirous of attaining moksha, Dadashri explains that certain pitfalls must be avoided in the process of spiritual development. He describes how, in spirituality and practice, one must be careful not to fall into a lack of awareness. From understanding “Who am I?” and attaining knowledge of Self, true spirituality unfolds within, which supports a spiritual life leading to ultimate liberation.
Life after life, human beings have been struggling for liberation (moksha). Many times, one has made progress and many times he has fallen down. What holds one back from achieving the desired result? Those who are performing the practices or helping to perform the practices of attaining liberation, achieve to some degree the success in knowing the ‘Helpful causes’. To know and see the ‘Harmful causes’ and to remain unattached from them, can only be done by a Gnani Purush who manifests very rarely. Once a Gnani Purush has visibly manifested among us, the path to liberation (moksha marg) opens up completely. And with that, one can reach all the way to the end of that path!
One finds the ways up to the path of liberation but while going up, there are ‘Danger points’ and ‘red signals’ that alerts one to these danger points, and usually these are not shown. As significant the upward road is, the knowledge and precautions for the slippery slopes along the way is of much more significance. Therefore, without those precautions, no matter how much labor one exerts, he inevitably falls back.
The success in Self-realization does not occur without the extremely sharp awareness of where one becomes an impediment to his own self. This means, in the endeavor of Self-realization, it is extremely important to stop the losses than to gain the profit.
Once the seeker meets the Gnani Purush and knows and understands Him, he begins the worship of the path of liberation. Prior to meeting the Gnani, those who were deeply entrenched in the worldly life (sansar), now turn towards the path of liberation. However in their remaining worldly obligations, which they must fulfill and complete, often knowingly or unknowingly, they get dragged and immersed back into the worldly life. Who can show them this ‘leakage’ (their weakness)? To ‘seal’ that ‘leakage’, here in this Aptavani is shown the practical knowledge (vyavahar gnan), the spiritual knowledge (Gnan), the Science of spiritual knowledge (Vignan), the art of knowledge (gnan kada)as well as the art of explanation ( bodha kada) of the Gnani Purush.
Moksha-margmeans the path to freedom; it is the path of attaining freedom from all worldly attachments. Whatever practice one resorts to believing them to be instrumental for his freedom, it does not give him the experience of freedom. His attachments are not broken in spite of performing many different practices. Where is the mistake being made? One should serve the ‘causes of freedom’ in order to achieve freedom, and whatever causes one serves, if he experiences freedom and detachment; then only can he say that the causes served are those for liberation. Instead, his attachments are not broken in spite of serving the causes for freedom. Why is that?
The Gnani Purush has seen the complete path to final liberation. He has known that path, He has the experience of it and he has completed it. Therefore, he can show us the mistakes obstructing that path; he can show us the difficulties, obstacles and dangers along that path. To those who have embarked on the path of liberation, the Gnani can give complete knowledge and complete remedy as to how to eradicate those mistakes.
There are mistakes, which cause bondage. People in this world cannot see those mistakes and so because of constant bondage due to those mistakes and supporting them, people have turned away from the path of final liberation altogether.
The Gnanis of the past had cautioned people about the mistakes that hinder the path to final liberation. However, one can steadily progress on the path, if the truly desirous devotee has, prior to achieving the path and after being on the path, a detailed description of the mistakes that hinder him. Nevertheless, the correct path is to complete it by completely surrendering to the Gnani Purush.
The Gnanis have said that bondage and obstruction on the path of liberation is because of kashayas (anger, pride, deceit and greed). Being absolutely rid of these faults one attains final liberation. All faults within a person are encompassed in anger, pride, deceit and greed, but how do these faults unfold and manifest in worldly interactions? This can only be understood when The Gnani Purush explains them to us in detail.
Gnani Purush is perfect light, and in his manifest illumination, it is inevitable that, in order to break free from all one’s mistakes, one must review and confess all the mistakes (alochana) to the Gnani Purush. The Gnani Purush, by direct interaction with the seeker can erase all his inner mistakes. Whenever one has suffered from pain, has experienced difficulties, uneasiness or lack of spiritual experience, or has troubling attachments, and he does detailed alochana to the Gnani Purush, the Gnani will show him the light. And in that light, he can see all his mistakes, and find a way to get rid of them.
The main issue is that these mistakes or faults have remained in the form of ‘tubers’. These tubers are always buried ‘underground’ (they remain hidden within). Under the right circumstances, when these tubers get ‘water’, they germinate and sprout into branches and leaves, and from that, one can discover which kind of tuber he has; he can discover what ‘disease’ lies within him. Unless the nature of the mistakes is identified, the mistakes continue to get support and nourishment. By coming to the satsang of the Gnani Purush, by repeatedly listening to his speech, and by repeatedly understanding his interaction with specific questioners, the seeker develops awareness and gets the strength to identify and visualize his own mistakes and faults. After that, he gains awareness to weed out the sprouts and by effectively practicing this; he can completely eradicate the tuber. However, this process has to be carried out under the guidance and instructions (Agnas) from the Gnani Purush who shows him his mistakes in detail, helps to identify the nature of those mistakes, thus helping him become free from them.
Thus is perfected the path of final liberation (moksha marg).
Here in this Aptavani is the speech of Dadashri who is the manifest form of pure Absolute knowledge. This compilation of the causes that obstruct the path to final liberation is presented in an eloquent, basic and heart-touching discussion, for all on the path of liberation. It will help the spiritual practitioner at every step from falling down. In this Aptavani, if the informed reader finds any defect or shortcoming, it is not because of the Gnani’s speech, but because of the defect of compilation. For that, we offer apology and prayer.
- Dr. Niruben Amin