The spiritual spark is innate in all beings but remains latent until it is aroused. This happens when worldly involvement invariably begins to show signs of dissatisfaction and inspires a search for something beyond. In a lecture, Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal pointed out that the revelations of the spiritual experiences of the sages of yore in the Upanishads enrich an individual’s life and he gradually learns to correlate the material and spiritual polarities.

Sage Yagnyavalkya is a great teacher who features in Upanishads such as Brihadharanyaka, Chandogya and Jabala. The Jabala Upanishad quotes the dialogue between Brihaspati, the preceptor of the Devas, and Yagnyavalkya. Brihaspati asks Yagnyavalkya, “Do you know Kurukshetra?” Brihaspati then explains that “Kurukshetra is for the gods and is their resort and for all beings it is the abode of Brahman. It is also synonymous with Avimukta where, it is said, when the lives of living creatures go upwards, Rudra teaches the Taraka Mantra. By it, they become immortal and are liberated.” Brihaspati then advises Yagnyavalkya to constantly meditate on Avimukta. Avimukta Kshetra or Varanasi is thus extolled as aiding one to become realised. But Yagnyavalkya shows Avimukta is situated in our own bodies. This is disclosed to sage Atri, who is keen to be enlightened about the Atma. Yagnyavalkya says: “Go to Avimukta. Meditate on Avimukta because the Self which is infinite and unmanifested is established in Avimukta.” Atri then asks: “In what is Avimukta established?” Yagnyavalkya replies: “It is situated in between ‘Varana’ and ‘Nasi.’ ‘Varana’ means that which prevents people from committing sins. ‘Nasi’ is that which destroys the past karma. The meeting place of the eyebrows and the nose is as sacred as Avimukta which the knowers of Brahman worship as ‘sandhya.’ He who knows it gains the knowledge for liberation. The Lord Himself enlightens one who does Upasana in this manner.”

Another group of students seek out Yagnyavalkya to find out if immortality can be gained by repetition of mantras. Yagnyavalkya replies that by meditation on the names of eternal life, such as Satarudriya (the names of Rudra) one becomes immortal.

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