Topics on Path to Self Realization

This section lists some reference material as reminder for  Jiva Yatra (Jiva’s journey) to Self Realization.  It is extracted mainly from Swami Paramarthanandaji’s teachings.  For comprehensive understanding, see the original texts.

Jiva YatraSpiritual JourneyValues of WiseIgnorance & Self InquiryTuriyamBrahmanSat Chit Ananda AtmaQ & A

Jiva Yatra

Extracted from JivaYatra Talk  by Swami Paramatmananda

Verse 4
प्राप्यं िि् परं सुखं दह मुनयो मोक्षं समाचक्षिे
जीवेशानजगदद्वशेषरदहिं ज्ञानैकसाध्यं ध्रुवम् ॥
येनात्मन्यतिरोदहिः स्वमदहमानन्दात्मको भासिे
ममथ्याध्यासममिश्च येन गलति ज्ञानं िदेवामलम् ॥४॥

The jivas journey towards moksha is not a physical journey as we think, covering a physical distance, but it is a travel from ignorance to knowledge. It is a figurative journey which one travels from ignorance to knowledge. It is because moksha happens to be my real nature.

Here we are going to approach this knowledge in four stages. Four important ideas are going to be conveyed which constitute the Vedantic teaching. (Kathopanishad pancha kosha viveka).  I will just tell you those four important ideas and then we will deal with them one by one:
1.  I am of the nature of consciousness.
2.  I am free from all attributes or properties.
3.  I am the only reality in the creation, only substance in the creation.
4.  I am of the nature of änanda.

Spiritual Journey

Notes and summary of Acronyms.

Creation is to be seen as:
1. Multifarious, has no-substance, is transitory, and not real (Aneka, Asara, Anitya Asatyam -Jagat mithya, Everything is Ishwara in different Name and Forms (NF) only.
2. Jagat is effect, and useful for transactions in NF. Holding on/relying on effect is Samsara with all its problems. Discover the cause (Brahman) of the creation to be free.
3. Dependence on world, leads to Samsara life which becomes MBBS leading to HAFD. MBBS -Meaningless, Burdensome, Boring, Struggle. HAFD – Helplessness, Anger, Fear, Depression

Objects of world have features of OMACT – Objectifiable, Material (panch maha bhuta), Attributable, Changing, Temporary/Transitory (drsyatvam, bhautikatvam, sagunatvam, savikartvam, agamapayitvam)

God is essence of the world. ESNS – Eka (one), Sara (substram), Nitya (timeless), Satyam (truth)

Karma Yoga path for life – Proper Actions + Proper Attitude (RIDE). R- Reducing Adharmic Activities, I – Increasing Dharmic Activities, D – Dedicating all actions to Ishwara. E –Experiencing everything as Prasada

Benefits of Karma Yoga are the 4Ss – increasing Self Esteem, Serenity (Samatvam), Setup Harmony (Pancha Maha Yagyas – Environmental care) and Spiritual Growth.

Link to Spiritual Journey PDF (by Swami Paramarthananda)

THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Swami Paramarthananda’s algorithm for contemplation
Compiled by N. Avinashilingam

 

NATURE OF WORLD – BAD
B- Bandakatvam
A- Atrupthikaratvam
D- Duka Mistutatvam

Karma Yoga = Proper action + Proper attitude
KARMA YOGA = RIDE
R- Reduce adharmic activities
I- Increase dharmic activities
D- Dedicate all actions to the Lord
E- Experience everything as Prasada

DHARMIC ACTIVITIES = PANCHA MAHA YAGNA
Deva Yagna
Bhuta Yagna
Manushya Yagna
Brahma Yagna
Pitru Yagna

BENEFITS OF KARMA YOGA = 4S
Self esteem
Serenity
Setup harmony
Spiritual growth

BENEFITS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH I = FIR DECREASE
Frequency of emotional disturbances
Intensity of emotional disturbances
Recovery period

BENEFITS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH II = CCC INCREASE
Calmness
Cheerfulness
Confidence

OLD AGE PROBLEMS = FEDEREL PROBLEMS
Fear of disease
Depression due to inability to do things
Regret over the past
Loneliness

JNANA YOGA PREPARATION I = PORT REDUCTION
Possessions
Obligations or responsibilities
Relationships
Transactions

JNANA YOGA PREPARATION II = CLASP REJECTION OR RENUNCIATION
Claim of ownership and controllership
Anxiety
Special prayers seeking special favours for special people

JNANA YOGA = SPIRITUAL EDUCATION
Consistent and systematic study of vedantic scriptures for a length of time from a
competent live Guru.
Receive and assimilate through Shravanam, Mananam and Nididhyasanam

JNANA YOGA
FIVE CAPSULES OF VEDANTA
1. I am of the nature of eternal and all pervasive consciousness
2. I am the only source of permanent peace, security and happiness
3. By my mere presence, I give life to the material body and through the body, I
experience the material universe
4. I am not affected by anything that takes place in the material world and in the
material body
5. By forgetting my nature, I convert life into struggle and by remembering my
nature, I convert life into a sport or entertainment

FIVE FEATURES OF CONSCIOUSNESS OR ATMA OR I
1. Consciousness is not part, product or property of the body
2. Consciousness is an independent entity or principle which pervades and enlivens
the body
3. Consciousness is not limited by the boundaries of the body
4. Consciousness continues to exist or survive even after the death of the body
5. The surviving consciousness is not accessible because of the absence of the body
medium

FORMAT CONVERSION
A karma yogi has a world view which can be presented in a triangular format of Jiva,
Jagat and Isvara
A jnana yogi has a world view which can be presented in a binary format of atma and
anatma
A karma yogi becomes a jnana yogi by format conversion to binary format

CONTEMPLATION
All the pains and pleasures belong to the material body and world, the anatma. I am the
atma or consciousness. I am nitya muktaha.
Brahma Satyam. Jagat Mithya. Aham Brahma Eva Naparaha.

 

 

Values of the Wise

Values of the Wise – Chapter 13

In Chapter 13 of Bhagavad Geeta, Bhagavan Krishna lists the virtues possessed
by the wise. These virtues together may be termed as “Knowledge” (jñānam)
because a mind perfected with these virtues is the vehicle through which the
seeker can easily reach his destination. Here are the 20 values practised by the
wise:
1. Humility / Absence of Pride (amānitvam)
2. Nonpretentiousness  (adambhitvam)
3. NonViolence / NonInjury (ahimsā)
4. Forbearance, Forgiveness (kṣāntiḥ)
5. Uprightness (ārjavam)
6. Service to the Teacher (ācāryopāsanam)
7. Purity (śaucam)
8. Steadfastness(sthairyam)
9. SelfControl (ātmavinigrahaḥ)
10. Detachment from the SenseObjects (indriyārtheṣu vairāgyam)
11. Absence of Egoism (anahaNkāraḥ)
12. Clearly seeing the Defects of Pain in Birth, Death, old age,  and Sickness  (janmamrtyujarāvyādhiduḥkhadoṣānudarśanam)
13. NonAttachment (asaktiḥ)
14. Nonidentification of Self with Son, Wife, Home and other possessions (anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ putradāragṛhādiṣu)
15. Constant EvenMindedness (nityam samacittatvam)
16. Unswerving Devotion (ananyayogena bhaktiḥ)
17. Seeking Solitude ( viviktadeśasevitvam)
18. Love For Quietude (aratirjanasamsadi)
19. Constancy in the knowledge of the Self (adhyātmajñānanityatvam)
20. Understanding the end of true knowledge to be liberation (tattvajñānārthadarśanam)

Each of the values are explained in detail, in order to get a complete understanding, and clear any doubts.

Ignorance & Self Inquiry

From Verse 17, Advaita Makaranda, Swami Tattvavidananda

Yet this ignorance is some inexplicable fog in the space of Awareness. It is kept alive by the absence of self-inquiry. The rise of the sun of self-inquiry ends it.

This fog is shining. Ignorance is like fog. It appears thick as a wall, but there is nothing. It is intangible, undefinable. It is, yet it is not. One cannot draw definite conclusions about it, but it asserts its presence. For example, there can be no darkness in the presence of the sun and yet there is ‘as though’ darkness when thick fog rolls in. The fog obscures the sun that illuminates it. This is the irony of life. Atman, the Self, is the self-evident Reality and ignorance cannot touch It even remotely. However, the human being remains ignorant of his own Self because ignorance, which is illuminated by the awareness of the Self, covers the Self, its illuminator. This is the paradox.

The face of the truth is covered by the golden disc. For example, the brilliance of the sunlight covers up the orb. Dark glasses that filter excessive light are necessary to see the sun’s orb clearly. Necklace covers up gold. To see the gold, it is necessary to shift the focus of attention from the ornament. The multiple names and forms of the world exist and shine in Atman, but they cover up Atman. The world is empty of essence, yet very glittering. The glitter misleads us.

What is the strength of ignorance? How is it able to cover up the self-shining Atman? Kept alive by the absence of self-inquiry. Fog is kept in place by certain weather conditions. So too ignorance is kept alive by lack of investigation into one’s own nature. People keep away from spirituality because they are too busy in the affairs of the world. They want peace, harmony, and happiness, which is a perfectly legitimate aspiration. But unfortunately, they search for them in the world, and get frustrated. As you live an extroverted life, problems accumulate. They come into focus only when you start looking at yourself. If you transfer the responsibility of security and welfare to a god man, it will be fruitless because there is no substitute for intense atma vicara, self-inquiry. ‘Look within, search within’, be with yourself. You will come to know your true Self.
Self-inquiry begins with sravana, listening to the Shastra, like the Gita, as it is expounded by the enlightened. It gains momentum as you shut the mind off to the world, suspend the ego with its web of desires and fears, and listen to the teaching with love. In sravana, doubts are raised and refuted. Follow it up with manana, self-study and reflection, and nididdhydsana, meditation. Sri Krisna advises in the Gita, (13-10,11), stay in a place of solitude, shun the attachment for company of people, and live in constant abidance in the Self. In simple terms, be with yourself. Psychological dependence on others, and the need for their company, is a burden to you as well as the others. Abide within yourself; be the awareness of the Being. Just try to ‘be’; that alone matters.

Even while living a normal life, while practicing an honest profession, be alert to the movement of the mind. Such alertness, called samadhana, is indispensable for spiritual life. In fact, watch the mind every moment. You take yourself to be the body without questioning and believe many things about yourself based on hearsay. Ask yourself, ‘who am I?’ ‘Thisness’, which pervades the body, is proof enough that I am not the body. I am not this or that, I am what I am. As you gain clarity about ignorance, you become free of ignorance. Atman, the Awareness, is not opposed to ignorance; on the contrary, It illuminates and blesses ignorance. For example, the wrong notion that you are the body is illuminated by awareness only. If Atman were opposed to ignorance, nobody would be ignorant because everybody is Atman alone.

Bhagavan has given us a will and it has to be used for the purpose of self-inquiry. Shallow digging will not bring ground water up. You have to dig deep till you hit water. Investigation is not raising superficial questions, answering them, and again going back into the world. The Taittiriyopanisat says: aspire to know Brahman by reflection (3-1-1). Look within and abide in the Self. In fact, tapo brahmeti, your effort to look within itself is Brahman. You are the awareful Being and be aware of It. Ahamasmi, am’, is an incontrovertible truth. You are the only truth in this apparition called the world. You are saccidananda. Your inability to stay with yourself is the veil. All you need to do is to remove that veil. Its only strength is your laziness to investigate, attraction for the world, and the greed for its pleasures. The vicara, inner abidance, helps to overcome ignorance.
Ignorance is the fog in the space-like consciousness. Fog disappears when the sun rises. Similarly, as the sun of self-inquiry rises in the heart, as you abide in yourself, ignorance melts away.

Suppose you are sad, do not accept it blindly.Close your eyes and ask yourself, ‘to whom is this pain happening’? ‘To me,’ is the answer. Then enquire, ‘who am I?’ Sleep can be cited as an example to show the effectiveness of self-inquiry. In sleep, you are an unself-conscious being. In the waking state, you are a self-conscious person. When you are deeply immersed in something like a movie or a joke in the waking state, you are not self-conscious, but you are there. You are another self-conscious person in the dream state. Therefore, you cannot be a person. You are the origin of the consciousness with its persona. Once you understand this, ego can be overcome with ease, because now it is objectified. It cannot parade as the subject any more. Vicara, insight, brings out a very meaningful conversion in the heart. That is the real conversion that we need.

The world is full of contradictions and cannot give happiness. One has to discover this for oneself. If you want to find peace and harmony, you have to go within. The thing called world comes into being only when you are a body. They come together and merge together in the consciousness. When there is absorption in another world, the movie world, the world in which you live is absent. Inquire what this body is and whether you are the body.
It is very important not to allow life to be ruled by contradictions. Life of a striver should be orderly, simple, and sober. It should assist the pursuit; not be contradictory to the pursuit. What you gain should not be undone. You have to hold on to the conquered ground. Vicara includes the tenacity of purpose and honesty of pursuit, which will take you to the goal. A sincere seeker gains Isvara krpa, the blessing of God, guru krpa, blessing of the preceptor, Shastra krpa, blessing of the teaching, and atma krpa, blessing of Atman, the inner sadguru. Ignorance, which seems to bind you to samsara, becomes powerless with vicara.

This ignorance is something or somebody. Ego is the ignorance. It has no existence of its own. It is a phantom, an imposter. It draws its being from the inner Self, and shines in the shine of the Atman, but still manages to cover the truth. It arises between Atman and the body and creates problems. Atman is beyond hurt and guilt and body, being insentient, does not know. Until you start inquiring, the ego remains with you and causes suffering.
Ego is alert not only when a person is arrogant, but also in sorrow. It wants the wealth and power of the world, and even psychic powers. These expectations cannot always be fulfilled, and therefore, ego becomes sorrowful. It is the source of all pain. As you live in identification with the ego, it does not occur to you that it is false. The darkness of ignorance and lack of inquiry are ego’s main strength. It is like an owl, which survives in darkness.
Religious ego is very dangerous. Sri Krsna describes it as:  “I am rich and noble, who equals me? (16-15)”. Sri Sankara describes the religious ego as:  “I am endowed with the qualities of scholarship of Vedas etc. for seven generations (Gita bhasya, 16-15).” If there is one obstacle for Self-knowledge, it is the ego. In Vedanta, another name of ego is abhimana or ajnana. The striver has to observe ego’s method of operation in various situations, and be wary of it.

The fog in the spacious awareness. Ego is the fog. All relationships are ego-ridden so one has to be very cautious of its machinations. When two egos clash, the issues can never be settled because for the ego, prevailing is more important than seeing the truth. Setting aside one’s view amounts to negating or rejecting the ego itself, because ego has identified with that view and asserts itself to make that view prevail. Ego never likes to disappear. It will not allow itself to be decimated. It will put up a last ditch fight. Therefore, be alert and do not allow ego to gain mastery.

Fog covers up the whole vision. Even great people sometimes cannot accept the truth if somehow, wittingly or unwittingly, they have taken the opposite stance. It is very difficult to admit a mistake or apologize, for that signifies death for the ego. There is only one enemy and that is the ego. It creates enemies outside, so that it can masquerade as a friend. In reality, there is no within or without except in body-identification. Once you know that you are not the ego, you will know that there is no within and without.

The fog disappears when the sun rises. As one abides in Atman, ego dissolves. Ego is not a constant entity. It rises and subsides in the space of consciousness all the time. The ego is always objectified, whereas the true Self can never be objectified. You can only ‘be’ That. If you encourage the ego, it will grow and flourish and when you restrain, it becomes weak. When you witness the mind, you gain control over it.
Vicara, Self-inquiry, is seeing the false as false. You need courage to see the false as false. The social ego and relationship-based ego are false, superimposed. As the obsession with the objects of the world, desires, and fears are rejected, you abide in yourself. Once the sun, the ability to see the false as false, rises, the fog of ego lifts.

Turiyam

Mandukya Upanishad Chapter 1, Mantra 7

by Swami Paramarthananda

In the most significant mantra, mantra 7, the Upaniṣad talks about Turīyaṃ, the ātmā. The essential
message is that Turīyaṃ is the name of ātmā, I, the consciousness or witness principle and I, the
consciousness principle, am called the waker, dreamer, or sleeper when I am associated with waking,
dream or sleep. I myself am called Turīyaṃ, the fourth, when I am dissociated from waking, dream and
sleep. The question is how can I dissociate from the three states. We saw that dissociation from the three
states cannot happen physically because consciousness being eternal and all-pervading cannot dissociate
from anything. Physical dissociation is not possible. Experiential dissociation is not possible because I
am always in one state or another. Other than the three states, there is no fourth state. If there is a fourth
state, I can enter the fourth state and bring about disassociation, but the fourth state is not there. How do
we know there is no fourth state? The Upaniṣad talks about only three states but the word fourth state
does not occur in Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad. So the Turīya state does not exist. Experientially I have to be
always in one of the three states and cannot get away from the three states.

Arguments to Establish the Existence of Brahman

From Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmananda Valli:  Swami Paramathananda Notes.

Brahman cannot be logically established because He belongs to the field that does not fall in logic, just as sound cannot fall in the field of visual perception. It does not mean it does not exist.  In the same way, Brahman exists, but logic cannot prove it because He is beyond the purview of logic.   There are two types of logic: a) Independent logic Kevala tarkah   b) Scripture backed logic – sruti-sammata tarkah. Vedantin’s logic is always based on scripture and avoids deficiencies in the processes of independent logic.  Sraddha is included as an important factor in sadhana catustaya sampatti (4 steps of sadhana for self-discovery)

Supporting arguments to establish the existence of Brahman

  1. Brahma asti nimitta kāraṇatvat Brahman exists as the intelligent cause of this vast, intricate and orderly universe, with complex natural laws.
  2. Brahma asti jīva rūpeṇa vartamānatvat Brahman is existent as the jīvātma in the living being. After manifesting the forms in the creation, with a non-binding desire, He enters/participates as Jivaatma. Therefore, the existence of jivaatma is proof of existence of Brahman. (e.g. a dreamer enters dream as one of the subjects to experience objects in the dream)
  3. Brahma asti upadana karanatvat Brahman is existent as the material cause. 3) The material cause of the gross and subtle manifestation of creation is Brahman only. Matter cannot be created, it can only be transformed from seed state to object state, in cyclic manner and thus always transient. As a subject & witness, the sensory experience of anyTHING, is Knowing the presence of Brahman.
  4. Brahma asti sukr̥tam iti prasiddhavat Brahman is existent as he is a well-known as the self-creator (he becomes the creation). As visualizer, creator (using maya shakti), maintainer and destroyer of this time cyclic transient creation for the purpose of exhaustion of the karmas and vasana of jivas.
  5. Brahma asti rasaḥ iti prasiddhavat Brahman is the source of ānanda . Priya (desire of an object), Moda (purchase of an object), Pramoda (enjoyment the object) are only impermanent graded happiness “experiences” in the reflected personality. Atmananda/ Brhmananda is the inner permanent, in-experienciable fullness which is the source of all ananda.
  6. Brahma asti acetana śarīra ceṣta darśanat Brahman is the giver of sentiency to the inert body (which is constantly decomposing matter), e.g. like unseen electricity in a fan making it function. Inert subtle Mind, is able to reflect Consciousness as Chidabhasa. This sentiency, like akasha is everywhere and extent of the shining reflected Chidabhasa is appropriate to the purity of the medium (Human mind, animal min, plant etc).
  7. Brahma asti bhaya-abhaya hetutvat Brahman is the source of fear and fearlessness for an ignorant and wise person respectively. Realizing Aham Bhrahmasmi gives total security. Any understanding of duality, or separation (e.g. being separate from or even as a small part of Brahman) can lead to fear, even of God (Rudra) as the destroyer.

Sat Chit Ananda Atma

There can be an objection that Brahman, the Existence-Awareness, cannot be absolute because the existence (Sat) and the awareness (Chit) are attributes of Atma. This is refuted in the following verses:

From Verse 22,23,24,25, & 26 Advaita Makaranda Book, Swami Tattvavidananda

Verse 22  Sat (Being)

Being is my essential nature alone—not an attribute— like the spaceness, because there is no Being other than Myself. Being is indeed not accepted as a class.

What am I? There must be an openness of mind to find one’s own true nature. We assume that we are so many persons. Is it true? No. What am I, is the most fundamental question of philosophy. It implies a readiness to find the truth without prejudice or prior fixation. The person that you take yourself to be is false. There is no person; there is only the play of consciousness. When a number of functions appear— eyes see, ears hear, mind thinks—based on memory, reflex behavior and habit, an ego arises. The ego needs an anchor, and so it identifies with the physical body, and you take that ego as yourself. If I am not the person, then what am I? I am the Being.

Vedanta is the Science of Being. It is not a theoretical discourse; it is practical philosophy. Here, everything is about oneself. No one can question the fact Il am here and now’. The world, sun, moon, stars, galaxies, etc. are there only after ‘I am’. ‘I am’ does not need further proof. It is the proof of itself and the proof of everything else. Is the ‘I am’ a person? Taking oneself to be a person, born on a given date into a given family is ignorance. I am the Being, pure.

Verse 23 Chit (Awareness)

There can be an objection that Atman, being the source of knowledge, has the attribute of knowledge, and hence cannot be attributeless. This objection is refuted in the next verse:

Awareness is My essential nature alone; not an attribute. Suppose it is an attribute; is it known or unknown? If it is known, it is not the Self anymore. If it is unknown, it does not even exist.

The argument that satya and jnäna are attributes of Atman is not valid. This argument is based on the psychology of division. It is an effort to posit division where there is none. It is the nature of the mind to divide and oppose.

Once I met a scholar of logic. He had a book in the hand and asked me, ‘how many things are there’? I said, ‘two’. He said, ‘no, four’. How? ‘The book is in the hand. The relation between the two is samyoga, conjunction. But then, samyoga itself is related to the hand through samaväya, an inseparable and intimate relation. Thus, there are four things, hand, book, sarmyoga, and samaväya’. He was very sure about it all. This is indoctrination. He is a victim of the psychology of division. Anyone can see that there are only two things. You can go one step further and say that there is only one, matter.

A material object like a flower can have a few attributes like color, fragrance etc. But Atman is not a material object. It is unfortunate that some of the ancient logicians believed that Atman is insentient and awareness is an attribute acquired by contact with the mind. Awareness is to Atman like sweetness is to sugar. The distinction is purely verbal. I am crystallized nirvisesa jnäna, attributeless awareness. I am the monolithic, rock-like awareness. I am the Awareness primordial.

There are two approaches, of division and unity. The division is apparent and we try to see the underlying unity. That—unity in apparent division, the one in all—is the approach of science and Vedanta. The dualists are committed to see division where there is none. When mind has its way, it ends up in divisions. You have to train the mind to rise above divisions and see the underlying truth. Sri Krisna describes (Gita, 18-20,21) two kinds of knowledge. Sättvika knowledge makes one see the underlying reality of all, unity in diversity and räjasik knowledge makes one see diversity in unity. As long as one is committed to names and forms, assuming them to be real, one will not know the truth.

The argument that Bliss is an attribute of Atman is refuted in the following verse:

Verse 24 Ananda (Bliss)

I am indeed the Bliss. Bliss is not an attribute. If it were an attribute, it would be no bliss at all. Because, if it is the other (attribute) and not meant for me, there is no joy in it (contradiction). If it is meant for me, it cannot be pleasing by itself.

Here sukha is not the opposite of dukha. It is änanda, bliss. The Chändogyopanisat says: yo vai bhümä tatsukham, Brahman the limitless alone is Bliss (7-23). Bliss is beyond pleasure and pain. It is peace and silence. Änanda, Brahman, is Bliss because It is ananta, endless, and pürva, fullness. The poet uses the word sukha in that sense.
I am the sukha, happiness. In a very superficial way, people take happiness to be the property or attribute of various objects in the world. A gift that brings happiness seems to possess a quality of happiness. In fact, you cannot point out one single object possessing the attribute of happiness like the saltiness of salt and the sweetness of sugar. The fact is happiness is not a property or an attribute of an object.

Where is happiness? A given object may make me happy but not another person. It is not like sugar is sweet for both of us. Even I may not be happy with the same object tomorrow. This is the law of diminishing proportions. The happiness derived from an object drops exponentially with time. Happiness of a second ice cream is ten percent of the first and the third would be revolting. Objects do not have happiness in them. But, somehow they seem to invoke happiness from within me.

The entire creation can be reduced to four: oneself; priya, the liked; apriya, the disliked; and upeksya, the ignored. The entire universe is covered. Happiness cannot be the property of the disliked or the ignored. We have said above that it is not a property of the liked. That leaves myself and I am intrinsically happiness itself.

Verse 25 One without a second

Even if we agree that being, awareness, and bliss are intrinsic and not attributes to Atman, how can Atman have the three as intrinsic nature and yet remain One without a second? The following verses addresses this point:

A single thing can never have many intrinsics. Therefore, I transcend the divisions caused by the world and remain undivided alone.

We have seen three things: Sat, Being, is Atman. Similarly Awareness is Atman, and Bliss is Atman. Atman is intrinsically three. Therefore, Atman is a composite; not single. This is the objection that is refuted here. Atman is ekam, One that pervades and interpenetrates all. Atman is the vastu, what ‘is’, the Reality. The world is not vastu; it is merely pratiti, appearance. Normally the word vastu is used to mean an object. But, in Vedanta, vastu means the Reality Atman is the only ‘vastu’ and everything else—the faculties of thinking, feeling, sense organs, organs of action, body, and the world—derive their being from Atman.

There is no division between sat and cit. The being shines as the knowing. If the being were not the knowing, it would be insentient, and hence cannot be Atman. If the knowing is other than the being, it would be non-existent. And, saccit is änanda, Bliss, the fullness. Bliss cannot be other than cit. Otherwise it would be insentient. Insentient happiness is untenable. Happiness is always in the form of knowledge.

The following verse expounds on the non-difference between the individual and Brahman by rejecting the apparent limitations superimposed by the limiting adjuncts:

Verse 26 Tattvamasi

I am the brilliance of Awareness that is homogeneous. I am the pure awareness that remains after rejecting the divisive superimpositions of unknownness (and otherness) of Brahman and the limitedness of the individual.

The individual is essentially one with Brahman, the cause of the universe. The individual takes himself to be the bodymind, thereby becoming isolated from the totality called the world. There is jiva, the isolated individual, and Brahman, the cause of the universe. One has to tread the path of sodhana, rejecting the superimpositions, to discover their identity.

The method is also called bhägatyägalaksana. In it, the trappings around the individual are rejected and the essence is retained. Do the same thing with the ‘unknown’, the ‘other’. Take the example, devadattah, this is that Devadatta. I met Devadatta after a long gap and exclaim, ‘this is that Devadatta’. How can ‘this’ be ‘that’? Drop the space-time limitation and keep the essence, which is Devadatta. In the same way, drop the identification with the body-mind from the individual; the pure Awareness that is beyond space-time remains. Isvara is always visualized as the ‘unknown other’ associated with all space and all time. Drop all these definitions and designations. You are Brahman.

Vedanta Profound Q & A

By Swami Paramarthananda

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