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On death of the physical body We have three bodies. Gross body is obtained by us from our parents.

It grows, deteriorates and discarded at the time of death. We take a new physical body in our next birth. This cycle of birth and death continues until we merge with God. The subtle body and causal body survive the death of physical body. With them, we carry three things along with us: 1. Impressions (Stored in the causal body) 2. Preferences (Stored in the subtle body) 3. Knowledge (Stored in the subtle body) All these three are result of our actions and they in turn decide our future actions. God controls the functioning of every human being by residing in each one of us as our Impressions, Preferences and Knowledge. Upasana Yoga is a means to correct the course of action by modifying our thoughts and direct ourselves towards Joyful Living. Impressions All human beings are continuously performing action. Such actions can be good actions or bad actions depending on whether it helps or harms oneself and other living beings. We are bound to enjoy the results of good actions and suffer the consequence of bad actions. They do not cancel each other. Moreover, we do not exhaust enjoying/suffering the results of all our actions before the end of our current life-time. We carry the reminder over to our next birth. These accumulated results of all our past actions are called impressions. Impressions are born out of our actions. Impressions are responsible for determining our environment. Environment includes: 1. All the people we encounter in life including parents, siblings, spouse, in-laws, children, friends, colleagues and strangers. 2. All the places that we live or visit, including our residence and workplace. 3. All the equipments and instruments that we use, including computers, cars, washing machine and such. 4. All the events that take place in our family (like birth, death, parties, misunderstanding and such) and at our professional front (like promotion, punishment, award, reward, dismissal and such). 5. All things that we earn including money, wealth, name, fame, property, position, power, status, comforts and companionship.

Preferences All human beings are continuously performing action. Such actions strengthen our tastes. Our tastes, comprising of our likes and dislikes, are called preferences. Example: We drink coffee every morning. This act creates a strong preference in us. The more coffee we drink more fine-tuned our preferences become. When our preferences are weak, we will be satisfied if we get to drink coffee in the morning. If our preferences are strong, we will be satisfied only if we get a coffee matching strictly according to our taste. (The right proportion of coffee powder, milk and sugar) Thus, our preferences are set by our action. When our sense organs are exposed to sense objects, preferences play a strong role of classifying the experiences as our likes and dislikes. Preferences give rise to thoughts which are seeds of our desire. Our knowledge determines whether the specified object will do good or bad to us. After this filtering by our knowledge, thoughts are converted as desires. Desire to seek the object of desire will result in actions. Thus, our actions are guided by preferences. It is recursive in nature. Actions lead to preferences. Preferences give rise to thoughts and thoughts lead to actions. Knowledge All human beings are continuously performing action. Such actions increase our knowledge. We learn from every experience. Some of our actions like reading and listening directly contribute to increase in our knowledge. It should be noted that we would learn only from what we like to listen or read. Example: Most people will not read or listen to Vedanta because their preferences would have classified it as an object of dislike or indifference. However, it is possible to venture into a new branch of knowledge, using will power. Thus, Knowledge controls the conversion of thoughts into desires. A person, who has gained the ultimate knowledge of God, realizes that there is nothing other than God and therefore he has no desires. Therefore, Knowledge is the important component that can change our future. It is not possible to gain new knowledge when we are very young or very old. It has to be done when we are completely fit. Chart on the relationship between Impressions, Preferences and Knowledge

Action
Impressions
Environment

Preferences
Thoughts

Knowledge
Desires

Action
Explanation: 1. Action results in Impressions, Preferences and Knowledge 2. Impression presents opportunities (which are known as luck, chance or the unknown factor to the common man) and the action converts the opportunities as the environment. 3. Environment stimulates thoughts. Preferences select a part of the thoughts as desirable thoughts and reject the rest (indifferent and undesirable). 4. Desirable thoughts are validated by Knowledge and converted as desires 5. Desires push us into further action 6. Action creates the environment, environment to thoughts, thoughts to desires and desires to action. Thus, we are continuously going around in circle. 7. Such continuous actions keep increasing the stock of impressions, preferences and knowledge. 8. All the three, impressions, preferences and knowledge is carried forward to the next birth and the cycle continues. This is called Eternal Cycle. 9. When the knowledge becomes strong enough to eliminate desires, then the human being is liberated from this Eternal Cycle. Upasana Yoga is the process of refining our mind so that when the ultimate knowledge is gained, one can lead a Joyful Living. Journey after death

When we discard our physical body, the course of the journey of our subtle body is determined by our thoughts. Even before we die, our thoughts travel ahead and determine the appropriate environment for our next birth. Example: In a class room, students stop listening to the teacher during the last few minutes of the class. Their mind would have already travelled to the next event. Similarly, in our deathbed, the thoughts prevailing at that time will determine the next course of journey. If we are craving about any particular objects of desire, we will continue our journey in the next birth in search of the same objects of desire. Example: A person is craving for good food. He might be born to a restaurant owner or to a cook in the next birth depending on the impressions he has created during the current birth. It is not possible to live our life the way we want and then think about God during our last moments. Firstly, we do not know when we are going to die. Secondly, our thoughts are the results of our preferences. Unless we are thinking about God throughout our life, suddenly it is not possible to start thinking about God during our last moments. It is also important on how we think about God. If we treat God as means to our goals then during the last moments of our life, we will be thinking about our goals and not about God. On the other hand, if we are doing Karma Yoga, we will be doing our action as a dedication to God. This means our goal is God. In this way, we will be remembering god during our last moments. Our mind is influenced largely by our involvement in chasing a goal. Whether it is a material goal or a spiritual goal, our mind is the tool, which will make us progress towards the goal. We will continue to work towards our goals, even after the death of our physical body because the Preferences and Knowledge travel with us. While the accumulated Impressions determine the type of environment, how well we use the environment depends on our Preferences and Knowledge. Thus, the journey of the current life continues after death as well.

Role of Upasana Yoga in determining the course of action What we are is decided by our thoughts. Our personality and character are the direct result of our thoughts. All our actions are the results of our thoughts. How we interact

with the world is determined by our thoughts. Our thoughts influence the way we respond to the objects and events of the world. Just as our physical body, which requires right quantity/ quality of food and exercise to keep it in a fit condition, our mind also requires right input and exercise. If we do not exercise our body regularly, our health will be in a poor state. Similarly, the status of our mind is the result of our past actions. We need to build our mind with right inputs. Mind gets the inputs from the five sense organs. What we see, hear and taste should be of right quality to keep the mind fit. Upasana Yoga is one of the good exercises for the mind. Thought by thought we need to build our mind and keep it in a fit condition. It will be difficult to exercise the mind during our old age. It has to be done while we are still young. It is not possible to decide what we should think. However, it is possible to decide what sort of actions we do and thereby we can influence the quality of thoughts indirectly. It is the nature of mind to keep thinking about what it is used to or exposed to regularly and for a long duration. Example: Take one week off from work and keep reciting Bhagavad-Gita for eight hours a day. At the end of the week, it will be difficult to get back to work. The mind will tend to start the recitation. Similarly, if the week is spent on playing card games, the mind will jump at the first opportunity to resume playing the game. Similarly, when we go to bed, the most repeated activities of the day will dominate our mind and thoughts with respect to them will keep us haunting. When we wake up on the next morning the hangover of the previous days thoughts will continue if the preferences were strong enough. Thus, it is important to decide what we do in order to correct our thinking. Upasana Yoga is a right tool to make our mind fit. Mind is a result of repetition of particular thoughts. Due to our ignorance, we tend to think about object of world and therefore, the mind does not think about God. In order to make the mind turn towards God, we need to practice thinking about God, which is done through Upasana Yoga. Mere knowledge is not enough to correct the mind. Practice is required. Example: Smoking is injurious to health. This knowledge will not correct our behavior if our mind is strongly inclined to smoking due to past actions. We need to practice non-smoking for sufficiently long period to remove the thoughts of smoking from the mind. Else, this practice will return at the first opportunity.

Similarly, the mind is used to chase the objects of the world for happiness. The knowledge that God is manifested as world will not arrest the mind from chasing the objects of world. The mind should be given a practice of thinking about God, in order to make it function in line with the ultimate knowledge. This practice is Upasana Yoga. Requirements to do Upasana Yoga 1. We must have interest in doing Upasana Yoga. It will not be useful if it is done as compulsion or without involvement. 2. We must have the required understanding on the purpose of Upasana Yoga and the method of doing it. 3. We should adopt appropriate lifestyle that is conducive to do Upasana Yoga. Upasana Yoga is done in many ways. 1. 2. 3. 4. To keep repeating the name or form or attribute of our personal god To do all actions as a dedication to God To think about the various attributes of God To read/ listen to Vedanta and other Holy Scriptures

Meditation upon the personal gods, God or Brahman is called Upasana Yoga. Meditation is the process of refining our mind. Only when we attempt Upasana Yoga, we will realize the difficulties in controlling our thoughts. Example: I sit down to do meditation on my personal god but mind is thinking about the pending work at the office. Thus, it is a difficult process to bring the mind into our control. In all through the activities listed, it is essential that the mind be kept on the chosen task. It is easier to direct the mind on a chosen task provided the task is according to ones desire. Example: A child does not need any effort to concentrate on the cricket match on TV. However, it needs lots of effort to concentrate on the studies. Similarly, if we are to concentrate on God during Upasana Yoga, we need to understand God and love god. If God is not our object of our desire, it will be almost impossible to concentrate and do Upasana Yoga. Living life according to Dharma will help the process of Upasana Yoga. Dharma is the set of rules formed by God at the time of creation. Since the world is governed by God, we need to obey his rules. We will get Gods grace to do Upasana Yoga well if we are to live life according to Dharma.

Joyful Living through Upasana Yoga It is seen that we are caught in an Eternal Cycle where our action is controlled by thoughts and our thoughts are controlled by our action. The only way to get out of this cycle and merge with God is Upasana Yoga. The steps involved in this path are as follows: 1. Live life according to Dharma a. This may not be possible since our actions are born out of our thoughts and our thoughts might tell us to ignore Dharma. b. Therefore, we need to surrender to God and pray to him that we will obey his rules (Dharma). c. If we do not surrender to God and live life the way we feel, not following Dharma, then we will start suffering in life. In order to relieve us from the pain, we will be forced to surrender to God. d. Then we will have to live as per Gods rule, which is to follow Dharma. 2. Living according to Dharma will give us positive impressions. This will give us good opportunities to do Upasana Yoga. 3. Upasana Yoga will set our preferences to be more devoted to God. As a result, we will start liking the process of praying to God and reading Holy Scriptures in praise of God. This will increase our knowledge. 4. When we get the right knowledge, the filtering of thoughts into desire will be more effective and our life will progress towards god at a faster pace. 5. When we get the ultimate knowledge on God, we will start living joyfully. Thus, God will guide us to Joyful Living.

Chapter 8: Attaining the supreme

Verse: 05 28

8.5 And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt. 8.6 Oh Arjuna, thinking of whatever object one gives up the body at the time of death, that very object one attains without fail. 8.7 Therefore, remember Me all the time and fight. With your mind and intellect fixed upon Me, you will attain Me without doubt. 8.8 Constantly thinking of the Brahman with a mind that is undistracted due to constant practice of meditation, one attains the divine, Oh Arjuna. 8.9 One who thinks of the Brahman, who is omniscient, ageless, controller of all, smaller than the smallest, sustainer of everything, incomprehensible, effulgent like the sun is beyond ignorance. 8.10 One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Brahman, will certainly attain Him. 8.11 Persons learned in the Vedas, who utter Om and who are great sages in the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation. 8.12 The yogic concentration is restraining all the sense organs, confining the mind to the heart, and fixing the life air at the top of the head (vasi yoga). 8.13 Uttering the sacred syllable Om, which is the name of the Brahman and remembering Me, one who departs this body attains the supreme goal. 8.14 For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, Oh Arjuna, because of his undistracted mind. 8.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, never return to this world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the ultimate liberation. 8.16 From the highest planet to the lowest, all are places are subject to repeated birth and death. But one who attains to Me, Oh Arjuna, never takes birth again. 8.17 By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of his night. 8.18 When Brahma's day is manifest, this multitude of living entities comes into being, and at the arrival of Brahma's night they are all annihilated.

8.19 Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, Oh Arjuna, and they are helplessly dissolved. 8.20 However, beyond that un manifest there is another, which is eternal. It does not perish when all beings perish. 8.21 That supreme abode is infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode. 8.22 The Brahman, who is greater than all, is attainable by undivided devotion. All beings are in Him and all this is pervaded by Him. 8.23 Oh Arjuna, I shall now explain to you the different paths departing which paths yogis attain the world, one does or does not come back. 8.24 Departing by that path of fire, flame, day, the bright fortnight and the six months when the sun passes to the north, those people who meditate on Brahman attain Brahman 8.25 Departing by that path of smoke, night, the dark fortnight and the six months when the sun passes to the south, those people attain the lunar light and return. 8.26 According to the Vedas, these are the two ways of passing from this world--one in the light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns. 8.27 The devotees who know these two paths, Oh Arjuna, are never bewildered. Therefore, be committed to meditation at all times. 8.28 A person who accepts and follows this path is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing austere sacrifices, giving charity or pursuing philosophical activities. At the end he reaches the supreme abode.

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