‘Adhyatma Upanishad’ – the great scripture that empowers the seeker to master the art of scriptural knowledge, soulful awareness & ritualistic practices and thereby attain the equanimity that can conquer the inner enemies.
In the roll of honour of spiritual stalwarts of Jainism in recent history, one name stands out as a legendary figure for his incomparable contribution to the Jain school of philosophy.
Having adopted monkhood at the tender age of just eight years, this great luminary was quickly identified as a genius by the congregation of monks as also householders. Such was his unprecedented talent, knowledge and memory that it was decided that he was too special to be confined to Jainism only, when in fact he had the capacity to universally benefit all religions.
He was sent to Kashi while just a teenager to study the six schools of philosophy prevalent in ancient India. Not only did he master these in a very short time, but he also meditated upon Goddess Saraswati (the ancient Goddess of learning) and having pleased her, attained the boon of brilliance in knowledge.
His name spread far and wide across the land, and whenever he was challenged in debate, he proved victorious, thereby earning the titles of ‘master of logic and philosophy’, ‘supreme authority on logic and philosophy’ etc. But his heart lay at the feet of his Guru and the Lord Tirthankars, and he dedicated his life to spiritual prose and poetry. It is said that in those days, he would have forty people seated in a row, each of whom would be writing a different scripture. One by one he would dictate a verse to them and then go back again, thus composing numerous books at one time. So voluminous are his writings, that Pujya Bapuji would say that even an entire lifetime would be inadequate to study them all! But it is not just the volume of his contribution that stands out; it is the sublime essence of spirituality that he has masterfully intertwined in his writings, in a language popularly understood by all, which makes his writings truly marvellous.
His Guru by order of monkhood was the great Nayvijayji Maharaj Saheb, and his Guru for spiritual attainment was the ascetic Anandghanji Maharaj Saheb – both these souls had showered their grace upon this exceptional young man and had chiselled him to bear the burden of the revival of Jainism in those times – a job he accomplished like none other could have. That great soul was the one and only – Upadhyaya Yashovijayji Maharaj Saheb.
Unfortunately many of his writings have been lost in the sands of time, and yet the handful that have survived are more than sufficient to quench the thirst of a true seeker.
At a young age when Pujya Bapuji was progressing on the path under the guidance of his enlightened masters, he was blessed by the sermons of a Jain Monk called Manikyasagarji in the Upashraya in Sayla. The Maharaj Saheb’s discourses were based upon two scriptures composed by Yashovijayji – Adhyatmasaar and Gnansaar. Both these compositions had a very deep impact on Pujya Bapuji’s soul, and along with Param Krupaludev’s Vachanamrut, became the very core of his spiritual progress.
It is no wonder that once Raj Saubhag Ashram was established, it was Bapuji’s keenest desire to make accessible to his followers the very scriptures that had helped him reach the zenith of spirituality. It was therefore decided to commission a worthy scholar of the times to translate these works in the Gujarati, along with suitable commentary for the benefit of all. Professor Ramanbhai C. Shah was graciously requested to undertake this monumental task, which he gladly agreed. He would spend days on end in the Ashram at Sayla in solitude toiling away on these books. Eventually his hardwork and the vision and guidance of Bapuji and Bhaishree paid off and both these books were once again revived in a familiar language (Gujarati) for the benefit of souls.
Along with these two scriptures, there was however one more composition of Yashovijayji that was close to Bapuji’s heart and that he desired to be translated as well. That book was the ‘Adhyatma Upanishad’. Bapuji would say the three texts of Adhyatmasaar, Gnansaar and Adhyatma Upanishad were the pinnacle of Yashovijayji’s creations, but even among them, the masterpiece ‘Adhyatma Upanishad’ stood out as the most superior.
In 1984, Bapuji advised Bhaishree Nalinbhai Kothari to pay a visit to Acharya Vijayyashodevsuriji who was resident in the Palitana Sahitya Mandir, so as to discuss the possibility of translating this book. The Acharya recommended the highly learned and scholarly monk Acharya Shrimad Ramchandra Vijayji as the most appropriate person for this task.
Bhaishree headed out to Khambhat to meet the Acharya. The Acharya directed him to the great ascetic Gunyasvijayji, who instructed his disciple who has been universally influential in spreading the Jain philosophy, the venerable Acharya Kirtivijaysurishvarji Maharaj, to accept this task. The venerable monk undertook this task with much diligence and committed much of his time towards its research and writing. Eventually after nearly twenty-seven years, Kirtivijaysurishvarji succeeded in this task and the translated edition has seen the light of the day, thanks to the vision of Pujya Bapuji.
On Wednesday 13th November 2013, the book was launched at the Walkeshwar Upashray by Pujya Bhaishree in the presence of Kirtivijaysurishvarji Maharaj Saheb, amid much pomp and enthusiasm.
Thanking Kirtivijaysurishvarji Maharaj Saheb for his painstaking hard work in translating the great scripture, Pujya Bhaishree said, “This sacred text encompasses the entire moksh-marg and answers any and every question a true spiritual seeker might have. It is an information bank of knowledge.”
Kirtivijaysurishvarji Maharaj Saheb said, “The revered saint Yashovijayji Maharaj Saheb in this scripture – Adhyatma Upanishad has emphasized that Right Knowledge and Right Action (spiritual practices) are both important to progress on the spiritual path. There are some people who have misinterpreted some sentences in the text to conclude that Right Knowledge (Gnanyog) alone is enough to lead one to self- realisation (samkit); and Right Action (Kriyayog) is not required. However this conclusion is wrong and equal importance needs to be given to both Gnan and Kriya.”
Drawing everyone’s attention to an important verse in the scripture, Kirtivijaysurishvarji Maharaj Saheb added, “A yogi has been described as one who is unmoved by any kind of worldly or material possessions and feels no ownership of any living or non-living object, and therefore he experiences a state of permanent bliss. To reach this state of equanimity (samatva), one has to give up ‘mineness’ (mamatva)”.
A brief introduction of the book:
The ‘Adhyatma Upanishad’ consists of 207 verses, which elucidate the entire path to self-realization and liberation (moksh). The beautiful name of this scripture itself bears testimony to the divinity of its contents.
The word ‘Adhyatma’ represents the quest for the happiness that lies within, and the word ‘Upanishad’ represents the mystic vibrations of those great souls that have attained this inner bliss. Thus its very name implies that this book is a compendium consisting of the great secrets for the attainment of inner happiness.
The scripture consists of four main chapters, which are chronological steps towards attainment of self-realisation and ridding the soul of all sorrow and duality. These are as follows:
Shastrayog Shuddhi (purification of scriptural knowledge)
Gnanyog Shuddhi (purification of knowledge)
Kriyayog Shuddhi (purification of ritualistic practices)
Samyayog Shuddhi (purification of equanimity)
The first step starts with attainment of the essence of the path as laid down in the scriptures, this is followed by purification of true knowledge. Next comes implementation or practice of this knowledge. These then eventually lead to the attainment of true equanimity, which is nothing but the soul’s true state of existence – free from all sorrow, aversion and attraction.
We pray that by the grace of Sadguru Pujya Bhaishree and extraordinary spiritual intellect of the great Yashovijayji Maharaj Saheb and Acharya Vijay Kirtiyashaurisharvaji, our souls may attain true everlasting happiness (moksh).