The second chapter, which consists of 22 verses, reprimands the faculties through which the external world is apprehended. After discussing about the physical body and disowning it, now Prabodhasudhākara proceeds to discuss about senses.

{This note does not form part of Prabodhasudhākara: An effective meditation causes extremely subtle physiological and biochemical changes and these changes are related to the quality of relaxation (blood pressure, pulse rate and more importantly breath rate). Though meditation in the initial stages could cause some stress, ultimately it has to bring complete relaxation of both body and mind. If this is not happening in about 45 days, it means that something could be wrong in the techniques adopted. Those who have the luxury to take a nap for an hour during intensive meditative practices should do so between 2.00 and 4.00 pm, as during this time, human body has the highest temperature. Any meditation produces heat in the gross body and this enormously decreases the effective functions of various organs of the body. Hence, a good nap is recommended.

“When the senses and thoughts are annihilated, all the passages to the mind are blocked and during this state, the original mind is to be recognised along with the working of the senses and thoughts, only it does not belong to them, nor it is independent of them. Do not build up your views on your senses and thoughts…but at the same time, do not seek the mind away from your senses and thoughts.” (Huang-po)

Sensory deprivation is not simple and it need not be total too, as total sensory deprivation is not possible. Quicker results can be attained by observing our breath using the technique of abdominal breathing. This is one of the ways of controlling the mind. When we are able to effectively use our breathing for controlling the mind, we can easily make the mind pure, devoid of too much of sensory afflictions. As already discussed, concentrating and observing our breathing works on multiple levels such as mind control, BP control and body temperature. During intensive meditative sessions, body temperature wildly fluctuates from simply being cold to development rashes all over the body. A proper breathing technique alone can minimize such side effects.

This brief note is required as this chapter and next few chapters deal with senses and the mind.}

Now to Prabodhasudhākara, chapter 2.

A human body is ravaged by senses like floods ravaging buildings. There are few verses which talk about beautiful women and how they are looked upon by everyone. Husbands of such beautiful women do not have happiness, says Prabodhasudhākara. Similarly, if a spouse (could be husband or wife) transgresses the opinion of his or her partner, then there can be no worse enemy than that spouse.

It is not the progeny or various other rituals that give spiritual knowledge, Self-realization and ultimately Liberation (cessation of transmigration). Only the spiritual path alone will lead to the path of realization and Liberation. It is also said that if one begets a child, parent’s responsibilities increase manifold. Many times, sons and daughters are after wealth of their parents and do not shower love and affection. (One of greatest sins is repudiating aged parents and performing ceremonies after their deaths. One of the recent incidents goes like this: Aged mother passed away in a paid old age home. Aged mother lived a happy life and she was well taken care of by the old age home, as his son paid for her. The old mother during her last days wanted to see her son. Old age home administration was constantly in touch with her son with a request to see his mother before her death. Son on some pretext was postponing. Suddenly his mother died and son was contacted to come immediately to perform her last rites. He replied that he has no time and was willing to send any money for the funeral rites. Old age home management refused to accept his money and they themselves carried out the last rites. How can this son can live happily? Within few weeks, there was some misfortune for him.  In kaliyug, guilty are mostly punished in this birth itself.) Prabodhasudhākara says that even if a son performs ceremonial rites at the time of his parent’s death, his or her liberation or transmigration is only due to his/her own karmic account and not due to the ceremonial rites done by his or her son. (This aspect is discussed in detail in the ongoing series “Shiva in conversation with Shakti”; the ritualistic aspect is explained in Garuḍa Purāṇa series.)

There is also a reference about group karma. (Mass destruction during natural calamities is based on the principle of group karma. The group contains both good and bad beings. During the operation of group karma, evil doers are killed and good souls are liberated. Good thoughts and actions cause good karmas and bad thoughts and vicious actions cause bad karmas. Bad thoughts are more dangerous than evil actions and cause huge amount of bad karmas. By surrendering unto Him, through one’s mind and carrying out all actions on His behalf does not cause any karmas.) It says that father, mother, wife, son, daughters and host of other relatives come together to form a family for short duration, which refers to lifespan. Even if one lives for 100 years, without realizing the Self and finally getting liberated, the goal of the life is not achieved. There is no point in transmigrating endlessly, as every birth and death is painful for the gross body (it is always the gross body that alone suffers at the time of birth and death).

As long as one has wealth and fame, many are with him and when he loses his wealth and fame, everyone leaves him in lurch. The Scripture not only stops with this, but proceeds to say that when wealth is not there, everyone becomes his enemy. If one is given food, he is appreciated and for some reason, he is not offered food on a day, the giver is criticised. (There is a saying that even while giving charities, one should not cross limits. For example, if someone is offered food every day out of compassion and due to unavoidable circumstances food could not be offered on a particular day, then the person who is not able to get his food finds fault with the regular giver. It should also be remembered that benevolence also has a limit and transgressing this limit is not good both for the giver and the taker, as this causes addiction and expectation.)

One should work hard to make a decent living and save enough wealth to protect his wife, children and others. If one earns too much of money by working hard, there is always a fear of losing due to taxation, theft, loss, etc. Whoever earns in unlawful manner are monitored by the King (in the present context, it is the Government) as well as thieves. Further, there could be family feud which could also destroy the wealth. Kings (Governments) need to amass wealth in order to develop and protect their army. These kings (governments) also earn money through unlawful ways and thereby committing sins; as the money is not earned in a proper way (by invading other nations and killing many in wars). They are also under constant mental agony, as they are under perpetual threat from their enemies. Their enemies are not only kings of other nations; but also his own countrymen due to treason, treachery, etc.

Though this chapter is about senses, more emphasis is on dispelling mental afflictions, detachment, dispassion, etc as these topics are taken up for discussion in the subsequent chapters. This chapter is almost like a prelude to the subsequent chapters, which deal with higher spiritual status.

More related articles:

Prabodhasudhākara - Part 1

Prabodhasudhākara - Part 3