The great philosophy proclaims that the ultimate goal of man is to attain liberation from the world of pain, pleasure and sorrow. Thereby he attains the state of eternal bliss. For this he prepares steadily through all the four stages of brahmacharya, grihasthasrama, vanaprastha and sanyas. He enters the fourth state of sanyas to make the final plunge into the ocean of divinity. He has acquired essential worldly and spiritual knowledge, discharged his responsibilities, and started withdrawal from the world and its activities. On entering the stage of sanyas he lives a life of austerity, renunciation and meditation. His only thought is God and by constantly chanting His name he dispels all other thoughts.
.He seeks his daily food from households and never thinks of tomorrow. If he does not get food after three attempts he gives up the pursuit and lives without food for the day. It is not that every one will go through these four stages before attaining liberation. Among millions of people one may have the urge, capacity and fortune to attain it. But the vast majority will achieve it through undergoing all stages.
Some straightway jump from sanyas to liberation. They are born with traits, which reduce the gestation period to liberation considerably. Right from the sanyas stage they move liberation. Sankara Bhagavadpada was one such realized soul. He was an incarnation. Some reach fast; this is facilitated by the accumulated tendencies of the previous lives, which take one to liberation.
. As a brahmacharin Sankara learnt the essence of the philosophy from his great master Govindapada and set out to preach and propagate it all over the country even at a young age of sixteen. He lived up to thirty-two years and it is amazing how he achieved so much in so short a time. He created an impact on spiritual thoughts in the whole world .His interpretations of the Upanishads and prevailing tenets of philosophy were undisputed. We will have more discussion on Sankara later.
Another great sage Sri Ramakrishna, of the nineteenth century, lived the life of a householder. Though married, both he and his wife lived the life of celibates. Sri Ramakrishna had vision of the Goddess whom he worshipped. He had frequent visions of the Divinity and his experience was transmitted to others in the form of words of wisdom.
Several sages moved across the holy land where the golden philosophy manifested and they propagated it. In recent times Sri Ramana Maharshi appeared on the scene. He realized God. His teachings are widely accepted by disciples all over the world. Even today several sages and great men who have manifested divinity in them, are present in the world. Some are known. Many others are not known because they don’t seek publicity and popularity. Even in the interiors of the Himalayas in the coldest of winters when for months people do not tread the soil, saints meditate and contemplate on the Lord in the caves praying for the welfare of mankind. and to to show the path of realization and liberation from bondage.They have a universal mind.
They see divinity in man and urge others to realize this. Their teachings are the product of their own experience and they speak with conviction. They are firmly rooted in the Lord, which is the supreme consciousness. They attain a state of deathlessness since death is only for the body and not for the soul. They totally forget the awareness body and do not experience misery or suffering. They merge with the Ultimate Reality and become one with That.
We cannot deny the presence of such souls. Some of them make their appearance on this plant during different periods of history in some form or other. Throughout their lives they speak of God and propagate His teachings. They proclaim universal brotherhood. Their teachings have relevance to practicality if one tries to live a life of virtue and real service to humanity. (To be continued)