Mahasiddha Saraha’s (Sarahapada) quote on the Sahaja Yoga

 

Mahasiddha Saraha,sung the following doha (couplets) expressing the path of Sahaja (the natural way) in his famed Dohakośagīti ( do ha mdzod kyi glu).

 

घरही म थक्कु म जाहि वणे, जहि तहि मण परिआण |
सअलु णिरन्तर बोही-ठिउ, कहिँ भव कहिँ णिब्बाण ||

 

णउ घरे णउ वणेँ बोही ठिउ, एहु परिआणहु भेउ |
णीम्मल चित्त-सहावता, करहु अविकल सेउ ||

 

gharahi ma thakku ma jāhi vaṇe jahi tahi maṇa pariāṇa
saalu ṇirantara vohi-ṭhia kahiṃ bhava kahiṃ ṇivvāṇa

ṇau ghare ṇau vaneṃ vohi ṭhiu ehu pariāṇahu bheu
nimmala-citta-sahāvatā karahu avikala seu

 

Don’t stay at home, don’t go to forest, 
Wherever it may be, recognize your mind.
As everything dwells in bodhi incessantly,
Where is samsara? Where is nirvana?

 

Bodhi dwells neither in forest nor in home. 
Recognize this point thoroughly,
Leave the mind in its stainless state,
Free from all conceptuality.

 

Saraha – The Arrow that has been Shot

Mahasiddha Saraha (सरहा  /Sarahapada) was one of the great Indian Buddhist Mahasiddhas. He lived around 8th/ 9th century CE in Eastern India. He taught the path of sahaja (the natural-state). His songs are probably the first of doha style of poetic works that came in the early variants of Hindi, much before those of Kabirdas, Surdas and Tulsidas. Saraha’s dohas are composed in Apabhramsha, a dialect spoken those days in the North Indian plains.

 

Before becoming a Yogi, he was a famed scholar at Nalanda University. His name was Rahulabhadra. At that time, he composed many Sanskrit treatises on Vajrayana. Later, he left the monastery and became a wandering Yogi. His realization poured out in the form of doha songs in the common-man’s language, Apabhramsha. Three cycles of Doha-kosha are among his most famous works in Apabhramsha.

 

He received his yogic name Saraha, which means ‘the arrow that has been shot’, He shot the arrow of non-duality into the heart of dualistic perceptions. In iconography, Mahasiddha Saraha is depicted as holding an arrow to indicate the same.

 

It is also said that his teacher was a lady who was making arrows. She used an arrow to symbolically instruct Saraha into the nature of mind. During the yogic part of his life, he is also said to have lived as an arrow-smith.

 

Sahaja yoga – The Union with the Natural State

Sahaja yoga of Saraha teaches that leaving the mind in its most natural state – pure and uncorrupted by conceptuality – is the way to perfect awakening. Sahaja means co-arising. The manifestation of one’s own Buddha-nature always arises with every sprout of awareness. If we just leave the mind in that freshness as it is, the qualities of Bodhi (perfect awakening) will naturally flourish.

 

Explanation of the Verses

घरही म थक्कु म जाहि वणे, जहि तहि मण परिआण |
सअलु णिरन्तर बोही-ठिउ, कहिँ भव कहिँ णिब्बाण |

 

gharahi ma thakku ma jāhi vaṇe jahi tahi maṇa pariāṇa
saalu ṇirantara vohi-ṭhia kahiṃ bhava kahiṃ ṇivvāṇa

 

Don’t stay at home, don’t go to forest, 
Wherever it may be, recognize your mind.
As everything dwells in bodhi incessantly,
Where is samsara? Where is nirvana?

 

Enlightenment does not result by abandoning home and going to the mountains or jungle. Nor does it result by simply staying at home in the midst of all worldly chores. Awakening has nothing to do with where you are. Wherever you may be, just turn back and recognize your own mind. 

 

We always take note of the world around us with its homes, forests and people, with things to crave for and things to reject. Being lost in the objects of the world, we hardly notice our own mind that perceives the world. We are always aware of a world – both in waking state and in dreams. But, hardly are we aware of being ‘aware’. The way we live in Samsara is like looking into a mirror and seeing many forms without seeing the mirror itself. Then, we get confused. 

 

Only when we step back slightly and recognize our own mind, can we see how everything that we perceives dwells in bodhi (in our own awakened awareness) continuously, without any exception. Everything plays out like images coming and vanishing in a mirror. When everything is a play of awareness, where is Samsara and where is Nirvana? Thus, utterly go beyond the dualities about Samsara and Nirvana.

 

yid kyi dri ma dag la lhan cig skyes pa ste //
de tshe mi mthun phyogs kyis ‘jug pa med //
ji ltar rgya mtsho dang bar gyur pa la //
chu bur chu nyid yin te de nyid thim par ‘gyur //

 

When the mind is purified as sahaja
Then, dualities enter no more;
Just as how, when the lake becomes clear,
Bubbles dissolve into water, its very nature.

 

These lines are missing in the available manuscripts of the original doha in Apabhramsha, but appears in the Tibetan translation that is well preserved. 

 

When is mind is purified by the recognition of its nature as it is (sahaja), then dualities arise no more. The mind is left in its original simplicity, as it is. This is like how the bubbles and froth in a lake dissolve into water, its very nature when the lake becomes clear. Like how bubbles and froth appear in a lake when stirred by the wind, dualities appear when the wind of confusions stir the mind..As one relaxes in the sahaja nature, dualities like bubbles dissolve into their original nature. If this is recognized, there is nothing to particularly eliminate and cultivate in the way of bodhi.

 

णउ घरे णउ वणेँ बोही ठिउ, एहु परिआणहु भेउ |
णीम्मल चित्त-सहावता, करहु अविकल सेउ |

ṇau ghare ṇau vaneṃ vohi ṭhiu ehu pariāṇahu bheu
nimmala-citta-sahāvatā karahu avikala seu

 

Bodhi dwells neither in forest nor in home. 
Recognize this point thoroughly,
Leave the mind in its stainless state,
Free from all conceptuality.

 

Bodhi is not to be sought in one thing or the other. It is found neither in forest nor at home. As the Buddha said in Diamond Sutra (Vajra-cchedika-sutra) (refer Beyond Seeking for explanation).

 

Whoever looks for me in form, whoever follows me as sound,
Engaged in the mistaken endeavours, they do not see me.

 

Bodhi, one’s own awakened nature, is not an object to be sought anywhere. It is the very nature beyond seeking and abandoning. By understanding this thoroughly, leave the mind in its stainless state. Free from all conceptuality, leaving the mind in its natural stainless state, bodhi dawns effortlessly. Then, in the way of Bodhi, forests, home, and everything are awakened. That is the essence of sahaja-yoga, the Way of Saraha. 

 

May all be auspicious ! sarvamaṇgalam

(Painting of Saraha by the author)

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