Extracted from JivaYatra Talk by Swami Paramatmananda
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.
The first principle
we have to apply to know this is: I am different from whatever I experience. What is the logic behind it? I am the experiencer, and whatever I experience, is an experienced object.
Therefore the logic is, the experiencer, the subject has to be necessarily different from the experienced, the object. The subject cannot be the object. The experiencer is not the experienced, the knower is not the known, and the subject is not the object. This is the first lesson, and using this principle we have to decide the first point: I am caitanya svarüpa
. How do we do that? Applying the first principle, you go on negating every object of experience. Then Vedänta asks the question, what about your own physical body? Is it an object experienced by you or not? What should be our answer? I also intimately experience the body. My hunger I know; my thirst I know. When I sit down and get up, my knee joint pain I know well – it is intimate and intense. So Vedänta says if body is an object of experience it is also not you; so I am not the world, I am not the body.
Then you have to extend this to the mind also and ask the same question, “Do I experience my mind or not?” What will be the answer? In fact that is my problem – I am experiencing my mind too much. All my anxieties, worries, pains, and depressions; all of them including happiness are intimately experienced. Therefore I am different from the mind also. Then who am I? Then we say, “I am the consciousness principle who is aware of all of them”.
Then we have to arrive at the second one, for which we have to apply the second principle of Vedänta. What is the second principle? Any experienced attribute like colour, form, smell, taste or any property or attribute belongs to an experienced object only, and it never belongs to the experiencer – the subject. I am experiencing the flower; it is an object of my experience. I am experiencing the color; it is an experienced attribute. The experienced colour belongs to what? It never belongs to I the experiencer. When I experience the red color it does not belong to me. Similarly, I am experiencing a variety of attributes. Vedänta says all attributes; you know are all experienced attributes. It belongs to some experienced object or the other. It can never belong to the experiencer subject. Therefore I do not have any attribute at all. The moment you name an attribute, I will ask you the question, “Do you know it or not?” Suppose you say, “No, or don’t know”. Then how can an unknown attribute belong to you? It cannot! Then to avoid it you say, “No, No, I know it”. I ask you, “How do you know it?” “I have experienced”. If you say it is an experienced attribute, it either belongs to the experienced world or it belongs to the experienced body or to experienced mind. Always, it belongs to object anätmä, never to the subject – ätmä. Ahaà nirguëa svarüpaù asmi. This is the second important lesson.
The third one is still deeper and subtler. There are two things now,
1. I the experiencer is caitanya svarüpa asmi, of the nature of consciousness.
2. Everything else that is experienced
What are they? The world comes under the experienced category. The body comes under the experienced category; the mind also comes under the experienced category and all the attributes belonging to them come under the experienced category. What is the relationship between them? Vedänta (taittiréya Upanisad,) says, the relationship is ätmä is the käranum – everything else is product, käryam born out of ätmä. I am käranum and everything else is käryam, then one important corollary I can derive. What is that? No product can exist separate from its cause because every product is nothing but cause with different names and forms e.g. gold; the cause is there, ornaments, the products are there. Now what does Vedänta say, “ätmä is käranum and everything else beginning from space, that is all käryam”. That means what? ätmä + varieties of näma rüpa are everything else. That is the object. Therefore the object depends upon the subject for existence.
The käryam depends upon käranum; anätmä depends upon ätmä and object depends upon subject for its existence. That means the object or objective world has got a dependent existence and the subject has got an independent existence. Therefore the conclusion is ätmä svatantra” and therefore satya, whereas anätmä is mithyä.
Now we come to the fourth one . Vedänta says only what is limitless or full alone can be of the nature of änanda, fullness alone can be änanda and ananta alone can be änanda. As long as there is finitude, as long as there is limitation, as long as there is something wanting or missing there cannot be änanda. Therefore limitation or finitude is sorrow. (seventh chapter of Chändogya Upaniñad, called Bhümä vidyä). Then the question will be, if I am änanda svarüpa how come I am not experiencing? We say, because you are änanda svarüpaù you are not experiencing. Like you can never see your own original eyes, try! Therefore original ätmä änanda is myself: original nitya änanda is myself. There is no question of experiencing it as it is myself. Then the next question will come, if I alone am the source of änanda and if the world does not have an iota of änanda, then how come I am getting änanda from the world now and then? Nice music gives me änanda, nice food gives me änanda, and an interesting class gives me änanda, Before enjoying a music programme, no änanda, after experiencing the programme there is änanda. Therefore the programme is the source, we conclude. Vedänta says the programme is like the “dog bone”, programme has not produced änanda. Programme has helped in the manifestation of my own änanda or we can call it the reflection of your own änanda in a quiet sätvik mind. When the external world quietens the mind, it does not produce änanda; my änanda is manifest (like the blood coming out when dog chews a bone, and enjoys it) Therefore all the time whenever I am experiencing änanda, I am enjoying my own änanda. Imagine when the mind is disturbed again, the reflected änanda goes away but not I the original änanda. When the mirror is kept the reflection is there, when the mirror is removed the reflection goes away. I the original one ever remain. Every sensory pleasure is a Xerox copy or a poor carbon copy of my own änanda whether it comes or not.
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.
With Sadhana chatushtaya Sampatti, one reduces FIR and increase CCC. FIR – Frequency of emotional disturbance, Intensity of disturbance, Recovery Period. CCC – Calmness, Cheerfulness and self Confidence
Sadhana Chatushtaya or the fourfold means for salvation (four kinds of spiritual practices), is a prerequisite
to the aspirant in the path of Jnana Yoga (Vedanta). The four means are:
1) Viveka -discrimination between Sat (real) and Asat (unreal).
2) Vairagya -dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter.
3) Shad Sampat (6 virtues):
a. Sama -peace of mind through eradication of desires, cravings and subtle Vasanas.
b. Dama -control of sense organs.
c. Uparati -satiety, renunciation of all activities not enjoined by scriptures (Sannyasa). Mind engaged in Sravana, Manana and Nidhidyasana
d. Titiksha – endurance, forbearance, without complaints or giving up.
e. Sraddha -faith in scriptures and the Guru’s words.
f. Samadhana -concentration of mind, balance of mind, equanimity to opposites.
4) Mumukshutva -Intense longing for liberation.
To be free of bondage of samsara, it is necessary to have internal sannyasa (vairagya – dispassion) and move towards PORT reduction, and CLASP rejection. PORT – Possessions, Obligations, Responsibilities, Transactions. CLASP – CL -ControLlership/ownership (aham-mama abhimana), A – Anxiety, SP – Special Prayers (sakama prarthana)
6 recognized pramanas are the means of gaining knowledge for humans:
1) Pratyaksha (DirectPerception),
2) Anumana (Inference after),
3) Upamana (Comparison),
4) Arthapatti (Postulation, presumption),
5) Anupalabdhi (knowledge of non-existence), and
6) Sabda (Verbal Testimony).
Due to Ignorance, Delusion, Projection, Reaction is the normal behavior of a Jiva atma in samsara (a person who believes himself to be a limited person), separate from others and Jagat.
Upon vedanta based enquiry: Body Mind (BM) is also experienced like other objects of jagat and is OMACT. -i.e. achetana. It borrows sentiency from Consciousness – C which is chetana. It is the divine principle behind all organs. Eye of eye etc. It is the subject / witness / sakshi of the objects.
1) C is Not Part, Product, property of body
2) C is independent principle, which pervades and enlivens the body
3) C is not limited by Body Mind (BM)
4) C continues to exist beyond BM
5) C continues to exist in seed /potential state but not available for transactions without
manifestation in a being.
Message of Vedanta is in 5 capsules
1) I am of the nature of the eternal and all-pervading C
2) I am the only source of permanent peace security and happiness
3) By my mere presence, I lend existence to the material BM complex; and through the material BM, I experience the world.
4) I am never affected by any event that happens either in the material world; or, in the material BM complex.
5) By forgetting my real nature, I convert life into a burden (HAFD). Once I know this, then Life is a blessing; because, it is an opportunity to claim my higher glory. Life is celebration ha vu ha vu ha vu.
Brahman manifests as Sat Chit Anantum in living beings, and as Sat in non-living beings. Thus Brahman pervades all of creation. Saguna Ishwara ritual devotion (God as separate) should be converted to Nirguna Brahma understanding.
Consciousness / Self is only understandable thru Vedanta based Sabda pramana as taught thru guru parampara. It teaches about claiming the Sat Chit Ananda – Atma as ones swarupa. Conversely, applying the neti neti principle, and using conventional pramana methods one needs to discard everything (anatma) that is experienceable. That is the Push/push method in Upanishads.
With dedicated Sravanam, (study) , Mananam (to remove all doubts), and Nidhidyasanum ( to internalize the knowledge) the inquiry leads to freedom, jivan muktaha.
– Karma Yoga + Gnyana Yoga = Bhakti Yoga (appreciation of the god’s grace)
– Karma Yoga mindset transformation into Gnyana Yoga mindset is necessary. For a Gnyana Yogi,
Moksha is freedom by claiming that I am Nitya Muktaha (Brahman) -Soham, Bramhasmi.
Spiritual Journey with Acronyms Notes
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
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
BENEFITS OF KARMA YOGA = 4S
BENEFITS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH I = FIR DECREASE
Frequency of emotional disturbances
Intensity of emotional disturbances
BENEFITS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH II = CCC INCREASE
OLD AGE PROBLEMS = FEDEREL PROBLEMS
Fear of disease
Depression due to inability to do things
Regret over the past
JNANA YOGA PREPARATION I = PORT REDUCTION
Obligations or responsibilities
JNANA YOGA PREPARATION II = CLASP REJECTION OR RENUNCIATION
Claim of ownership and controllership
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
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
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
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
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
A karma yogi becomes a jnana yogi by format conversion to binary format
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
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)
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.
- Humility / Absence of Pride (amānitvam)
Genuine humility doesn’t draw attention to itself. It refuses the comfort of praise and keeps us
listening to our inner self. The knowledge of our own strength does not need validation from
external sources. This was true of Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi; though they appeared to
care little for themselves, they personified humility, had a clear view of their purpose, and had
- Nonpretentiousness (adambhitvam)
Pretentiousness arises from our own fabricated accomplishments and abilities. A pretentious
person claims achievements that are not their own or feigns to have abilities that do not exist.
Nonpretentiousness on the other hand, is liberty from conceit and freedom from self delusion.
It is the ability to look at oneself honestly and about projecting ourselves truthfully. It is
empowering because truth is possible only if we have utter and quiet confidence in ourselves,
supreme inner strength and absolute selfrespect.
- Nonviolence / Noninjury /Nonviolence (ahimsā)
is one of the three cornerstones of Hinduism, the other two being Truth (satyam)
and Selfcontrol (brahmacaryam). ahimsā is more than mere physical nonviolene.
It is about living the principle in the physical, verbal, and mental plane. Respecting that God has created
unequal beings for a higher purpose, understanding every living being has a purpose in this
world, and remembering that the truly strong never attack the weak, will bring us closer to the
principle of nonviolence.
- Forbearance / Forgiveness (kṣāntiḥ)
Forbearance is the capacity and ability of an individual to accept in a spirit of accommodation
the physically and emotionally uncomfortable situations that we confront on a daily basis
without complaining or worrying about it. It is a cheerful exercise in patience. Forbearance is
not easy to practice; it asks us to tolerate those things that we find intolerable. The English
word forbearance has a connotation of resigned sufferance. However the sanskrit word kṣāntiḥ
refers to patience born out of positive acceptance.
- Uprightness (ārjavam)
Uprightness also referred to as straightforwardness, integrity, or, frankness is a key quality
necessary to clear the mind and prepare it for knowledge. In practical terms, it is being sincere
and honest. Uprightness means consistency in thought, word and action. That is one should
say exactly what one thinks, and act according to exactly what one says. When greed and
personal fulfillment come into play, being consistent in thought, action and deed, does not work
so well. One might lie to get a job, or make money; cheat to get good grades. However in the
long term being dishonest creates agitations within oneself, leaves one in a state of fearfulness,
and causes diffidence in oneself. On the other hand, the life of an upright person will be
worryless, fearless, pious, and therefore righteous.
- Service to the Teacher (ācāryopāsanam)
The willingness to serve, a state of being where there is respect and devotion to an extent that
nothing is too small or large to give this attitude is referred as the ‘Service’ to the teacher. The
contemplation on the teachings of the Guru and complete surrender and service to the teacher,
leads an individual further up the path of spiritual knowledge. It is of importance to remember
though, that the service and surrender is to what the teacher stands for and not to the individual
alone. True service and surrender lies in the student trying to attune to the principles advocated
by the master.
- Purity (śaucam)
Purity implies cleanliness in every aspect of living body, mind, intellect and environment. Inner
purity in thoughts and emotions, intentions and motives, passions and urges are as important
as physical cleanliness. Just as one’s physical activities pick up external impurities and dirt, so
too, in interactions with people, the mind gathers undesirable thoughts and feelings. Purity
involves the removal of such impurities ego, anger, envy, etc.
- Steadfastness (sthairyam)
Steadfastness means perseverance or firmness in resolve. It implies a commitment to the
completion of one’s pursuit, irrespective of obstacles. Once a worthwhile objective has been
set, the steadfast person acts with a firm resolve by working steadily towards it, and ensures
that laziness, excuses, and other distractions do not come in the way of reaching the target.
- SelfControl (ātmavinigrahaḥ)
SelfControl is the ability to make a choice on how we think and act rather than do so on an
impulse. If we cannot direct our own thoughts and desires we cannot hope to keep our minds
concentrated on the journey toward God. SelfControl begins at the body level, in controlling the
senses. Our eyes wish to see beautiful forms and colors, the tongue craves good food, nose
likes to smell pleasant fragrances, skin invites soft sensations, and the ears want to hear
pleasant sounds. When we meet the demands of one or all of the senses continuously our
passions will simply consume us. Five senses can be compared to five horses drawing a
chariot. Mind is the charioteer. If mind loses control of even one horse, the chariot would not
move in the proper direction. However SelfControl does not mean total denial either. Denial
could lead to frustration, bitterness and lead to an outburst of suppressed desires. Just like a
tortoise that withdraws all its limbs when in danger , we should also withdraw when we feel that
we are going to fall prey to our senses.
- Detachment from the SenseObjects (indriyārtheṣu vairāgyam)
vairāgya is dispassion for sensual objects. It is an advanced state of mind that has transcended
the struggle for control. As long as we are living in this world, it is not possible to avoid contact
with sense objects. What we need to do is develop a method of healthy contact with sense
objects. When desires are slowly minimized, and completely removed from our mind, the sense
objects lose the power to distract us, the mind then prompts us to direct our lives towards
spiritual saadhana, and contemplation of the glory of the Lord.
- Absence of Egoism (anahaNkāraḥ)
Ego is that which makes us say, “I”. It is this which makes us have attachments to our actions,
emotions, possessions, and fear. In our everyday parlance, ego is connected to our sense of
who we are: our name, our talent, our achievements. When there is an overestimation of this
and the feeling that it is the “I” who has achieved everything that is perceived as successful,
then the ego has triumphed. The ego is a good servant but a bad master. In the latter situation
it leads to conceit, selfexaltation, pretentiousness, and, impure thoughts. To be free of ego
means to feel God’s presence everywhere, at all times, in all ways.
- Clearly seeing the Defects of Pain in Birth, Death, old age, and Sickness (janmamrtyujarāvyādhiduḥkhadoṣānudarśanam)
Every physical body goes through modifications such as birth, growth, sickness, old age and
ultimately death. Each of these metamorphoses causes pain to a living being. The only way to
end this pain is to release the self from the cycle of birth and death. Until we recognize the
futility of this cycle of birth and death, we cannot realize the Self. It starts with a realization that
all happiness is only temporary. The only lasting happiness is to be found when we become
one with the allpervading, omniscient, infinitely blissful Brahman, the Supreme.
- NonAttachment (asaktiḥ)
Nonattachment is the ability to perform our duties without worrying about the results of our
actions. Neither failure, nor success; profit or loss, shall affect the Self. Mind by nature, is
extroverted and gets attracted towards a thing or being. The relationship of the mind with the
object of fascination is called attachment. Once that relationship ends, the attachment also
ends. For instance, how do millions of people enjoy watching a movie with a tragic story line? It
is, quite simply, detachment. We look at the pictures on the screen just as a viewer. When we
get involved with the characters, or develop an attraction, it is source of sorrow. So it is with the
world. When we look at the world impersonally, and objectively, as a viewer, it is beautiful and
wonderful. We enjoy every bit of it. But we become miserable and suffer, if we get attached to
the things and beings we interact with, in the world!
- Nonidentification of Self with Son, Wife, Home & other possessions (anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ putradāragṛhādiṣu)
Our association with another person or group to the extent where there is an assumption of the
qualities, characteristics, or views of that contact is referred to as identification. This form of
identity can be with an idea, country, religion, principle, our own mind or body. Children,
Spouse, and home are the most common examples of this state of being and represents the
range of possessive thoughts that we are entangled in on a daily basis. This quality is about
discarding mental identification with our possessions; our feeling of possessiveness and of
“mineness”. King Janaka was one of the richest men. Sudama was a pauper. Yet both were
stalwarts in detachment ; they never identified with anything this world offered . This calls for
completion of duty with affection and care, but with objectivity. Nonidentification
frees us from the fear of being nothing, because in fact we are ‘nothing’.
- Constant EvenMindedness (nityam samacittatvam)
A person whose mind is undisturbed in sorrow or in joy is said to possess the quality of
constant evenmindedness. It is a balanced internal state where mind is unagitated by
adversities, delusions or emotions. Evenmindedness should not be mistaken for apathy or
indifference. In fact it is the very opposite. It is not lack of emotion, but positive emotion lacking
in bias and partiality. The quality of equanimity has a practical meaning even in the material
world. We make our best decisions when our mind is calm and clear. Great leaders think calmly
and rationally even under critical conditions before making a decision. Can we trust an angry
President of the United States with access to powerful nuclear weapons? Or will we respect a
leader who trembles with fear in times of adversity? Hence being evenminded is a great virtue
- Unswerving Devotion (ananyayogena bhaktiḥ)
Devotion or bhakti is the love which flows toward God. It is a state when love for the Supreme
fills the heart and every other love we harbor, is reduced to nothing. To develop love for the
divine, it is necessary to subjugate the ego. Bhakti is enumerated in a ninefold
discipline which can be practiced to achieve Divine Bliss: SravaNam, Keertanam, SmaraNam, pAdasevanam,
archanam, vandanam, dAsyam, sakhyam and Atmanivedanam.
- Seeking Solitude (viviktadeśasevitvam)
The mind that seeks solitude is one that wants to be with itself and is free from the fear of loneliness.
While in loneliness mind is frantic and seeks an outlet through companionship, in solitude the mind is
calm and in pursuit of higher goals. The only mode of communication possible with the Self is silence,
and hence the Wise seek solitude. It is in solitude and through solitude that one reaches a state of
tranquility and through serenity, bliss is achieved.
- Love For Quietude (aratirjanasamsadi)
A man of wisdom resorts to solitary places with an aversion for the society of men. The seeker
spontaneously withdraws his mind from the multifarious activities around him. It is a natural inversion of
the mind towards noble thoughts, not a deliberate aversion to external influences and
attractions. The seeker is selfreliant and not dependent on society for his happiness and
peace. Naturopaths believe that if you give sufficient rest to the body, it will correct itself and get
rid of diseases. Similarly the sages believe that by giving “rest” to the mindintellect
equipment through meditation, it will revive itself. Quietude is relaxing and refreshing.
- Constancy in the knowledge of the Self (adhyātmajñānanityatvam) Satisfaction in the knowledge that We are whole and complete within ourselves bring about a realization that happiness is not available in external things and objects cannot fulfill desire. The principle by whose mere presence the intellect thinks, the mind feels, and the body perceives, is the Supreme Reality. A spiritual seeker is ever conscious of this understanding and every
thought and act with the outside world is a reflection of this realization. The knowledge of the
Self is to be lived and not merely learned.
- Understanding the end of true knowledge to be liberation (tattvajñānārthadarśanam)
The end of true knowledge is to perceive the Lord in everything. It is to feel the oneness of the
universe and through that feeling become closer to the divine within and without. It takes a lot of
inner strength to remember God at all times, and keep the love for God flowing. One of the
practical ways to bring God in our daily life is to keep repeating His name. Doing Japa helps
when we find ourselves forgetting or when we just can’t see God at all, let alone everywhere.
The goal of true knowledge is twin attaining perfect inner enlightenment to perceive the Lord
in everything and through this attain liberation. The twenty virtues that Lord Krishna has enumerated are correlated, taking a seeker, step by step, progressively further in the pursuit of this Knowledge.
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.
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.
We separate Turīyaṃ from the three states only by knowledge. This is the essence of Māṇḍūkya
This has to be understood. Knowledge has to take place in the waking state. How can
knowledge help me dissociate from the three states? The knowledge that I gain from the study of the
Upaniṣad is that I, the experiencer consciousness principle, am satyaṃ and the three states belong to a
lower order of reality otherwise called mithyā
. The moment I get this knowledge, I have dissociated
from the three states. Satyaṃ and mithyā can never get associated. They are in proximity but cannot get
associated. Mirage water and sand are together but the mirage water cannot wet the sand. Movie and the
screen are in proximity but they are never associated. I am a seeming waker, dreamer, and sleeper but
factually I am Turīyaṃ all the time. I only appear as the waker, dreamer or sleeper but not actually
become a waker, dreamer or sleeper. I only play these roles. Therefore, when Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad says
is said to be the fourth quarter of ātmā
it is not really the fourth quarter but it is the ātmā.
is considered to be the fourth. However, it is not the fourth but it is only ātmā
. I should know
only by claiming that I am Turīyaṃ
, which is a thought that should happen in the waking
The nature of that Turīyaṃ ātmā is described in mantra 7. Each description is profound worth
meditating on for weeks. Gauḍapāda will extensively elaborate on this mantra in the later chapters. I am not the waker, dreamer and sleeper even when I appear as all of these. I have three appearances but I am
always Turīyaṃ. I am different from the waker, dreamer and sleeper. I am the consciousness principle
that seems to have the statuses of the waker, dreamer or sleeper. This is the first part of the description.
The second part of the description is that Turīyaṃ is not any object available in any one of the three
states. So don’t search for Turīyaṃ in any one of the three states as an object. It is not an object of
knowledge. Neither can you see it outside or inside. It is not available for organs of action. It is not
available for jñāna or karma transaction.
Beyond inference: There is nothing else other than Turīyaṃ and so it cannot be inferred.
Beyond thoughts: It is not available for sensory objectification or mental objectification. No one can
claim the he or she has experienced Turīyaṃ. It does not have any color or form.
Beyond description: It cannot be described by words. It is indescribable. Words can function in only
five areas of description. Those five areas are: specific substance (mango tree), any generic substance (a
tree), property (color, form), varieties of activities, and relationships (father). Any word in any language
functions in only these five areas. Turīyaṃ does not fall into any of these five areas. Specifically, there is
no second thing of the same order of reality as Turīyaṃ and so it cannot have any relationship. Turīyaṃ
cannot be described in words.
Free from the world: Turīyaṃ is free from all the three universes and the three bodies. The Upaniṣad is
negating this world itself. How can the Upaniṣad negate this world when we are experiencing this world
solidly? It can negate this world only under one condition. What is experienced can be negated only if
what is experienced is not factual. Blue sky and blue waters of the ocean are examples. Turīyaṃ is free
from the world because the world is mithyā.
Therefore, Turīyaṃ is advaitam. When there is no second real thing other than Turīyaṃ, every second
thing is mithyā and therefore is as good as not there. So Turīyaṃ is non-dual.
Turīyaṃ is called the fourth quarter only figuratively but really it is not the fourth quarter but the only
quarter available. Viśva, Taijasa and Prājña are simply names and Turīyaṃ only really is. It is like
saying gold, ring, bangle, and chain. Even though you count four, on enquiry you find one gold and
three names for the same gold. Only one Turīyaṃ is present and three names for that Turīyaṃ are given.
Therefore, Turīyaṃ is tranquil, ever undisturbed because mithyā universe cannot disturb the satya
Turīyaṃ. One mithyā object can disturb another mithyā object. A dog can bite the human body in the
waking state. A dream dog can bite the dream body in the dream state. Pain will be felt in both
situations. My body, being of the same order of reality as the universe, will be disturbed by it. However, the entire universe can never disturb me, the Turīyaṃ. So Turīyaṃ is ever śāntam, tranquil. Therefore,
Turīyaṃ is śivam, free from sorrow.
This Turīyaṃ alone is the real I, and the other three are roles that I play in life. Life is a play but it can
get serious if I forget that it is only a play. This fact should be remembered. If life appears to be a
meaningless, burdensome, boring struggle, life has become saṃsāra. Life becomes saṃsāra when I do
not understand my higher nature and if I do not remember the fifth capsule of Vedānta: by forgetting my
real nature, I convert life into a burden, by remembering my real nature I convert life into a blessing
wherein I can claim my higher glory. Make your life beautiful by knowing that you are Turīyaṃ.
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
- Brahma asti nimitta kāraṇatvat Brahman exists as the intelligent cause of this vast, intricate and orderly universe, with complex natural laws.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
When I see a flower, or hear a sound, it is the sense of being. As explained by Sri Sankara in the Gita bhasya (2-16), in every cognition, there is the sadbuddhi, sense of being, and the asadbuddhi, sense of the unreal name and form. The sense of being is the invariable substratum of every cognition, while the name and form constantly change.
For example, in the cognition of a flower, the name and form are superimposed on the sense of being. When the cognition changes to that of a pot, the substratum of the sense of being remains the same, while the name and form are replaced. There cannot be a pot without isness, the being. Is that being the other? Is it not Myself? One has to reflect on that.
Just as the waves, bubbles, etc. are water alone, the entire creation, including the body-mind-senses, is one Being. That Being is not any particular cognition or knowledge. It is the Being that is itself the knowledge. Even when you say, ‘there is nothing’, it is the Being on which the idea of nothingness is superimposed. Nothing is always relative to something.
The Chändogyopanisat reduces the entire universe into three categories: anna, solid state, äpah, liquid state, and tejas, energy, and then gives a method of arriving at the truth Sat, Being: sungena mülamanviccha, search out the cause through the effect (6-8-4). Do not get engrossed in the effects. The Upanishad further resolves the three effects in the cause, Being. In a different model, the Being alone appears as the five elements: earth, waters, fire, wind, and space. I am That, I am the Being.
What am I? ‘I am’ is the truth about myself. If you add anything to I am’, it is no more the truth. You cannot describe yourself as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’. Therefore, there is no need to describe or define yourself; just know yourself as ‘I am not this or that’ and abide as pure ‘I am’, the Being. ‘I am’ is the door to the ultimate truth, Being.
Mind divides and opposes by habit. It is addicted to particulars, names and forms. Reality has nothing to do with particulars. Mind divides the Being into subject and object. All subjectivity is nothing but ‘I am’ and all objectivity is nothing but ‘there is’. What is this pair? Suppose I say ‘there is a pot’. It is the being sensed through eyes and the mind. ‘I am’ is the being shining as the knowing. If you reflect, it should not be difficult to appreciate that it is the same being, appearing, as though, divided due to the ignorant mind.
In this universe, all existence is experienced as a particular something. As long as you take such experience as real, you are caught in the web of opposites. When the focus is on näma-rüpa, name with a form or form with a name, the opposites cannot be avoided. Pain is always lurking behind pleasure; ‘is not’ behind ‘is’. That is the cause of all the fear. ‘Is not’ projected into the future causes fear. Therefore, you should rise above the opposites by abiding in the underlying reality of the being in all. Being is universal; there is nothing particular about it. ‘I am’ is the inner and ‘there is’ is the outer and being is common to both. You are That Being.
As long as I take myself to be a particular and the universe as consisting of many particulars, conflict is inevitable. Being is universal, ever free from conflict. The particular is perennially caught in the process of becoming. Change, birth, and death are inherent to it. On the other hand, in the Being there is no becoming, no change, no birth, and no death. It is silence, peace, and harmony. That is my true nature.
In practical terms, you should develop some space with the mind. Without the inner space, there is no solution to the problem of mental unrest and agitation. It can be gained through association with saintly persons, listening to the scriptures, and the practice of discrimination in meditation. Having problems in day-to-day life is understandable but without space with reference to the mind, one becomes the victim of the mind. As you abide as the unassailable witness of the mind, the issues of life would lose their capacity to hurt.
When you find that the activity of the mind is painful, instead of ruminating and building up further stress, step back into the Being, get connected with the Being. You are the Being all the time but you are out of it in ignorance and suffer. Allow the mind to resolve in the Being. When you focus on the breath, the mind soon merges in the Being. Your Being is yours; you owe it nobody else. You are the svayambhu, the Self that is the Being.
You may say ‘I owe my being to God’ out of humility and devotion, but in the core God and you are one. If you take the I-am-ness superficially, you feel ‘I am this’ or Il am that’. Do not commit such mistake of identifying with the non-self. Try to find the deepest meaning of ‘I am’ and you get connected with the Being. Being is your true nature; not becoming. There is no duality in the Being. This is not an utopia; It is a solid rock of reality and that is what you are. One has to discover the vastness, glory, and depth of the Being by abiding as the Being.
You can only say so much about Atman only in terms of negation and not something in particular. If there is one thing that can be described in positive terms, it is the Being. It is amenable for positive descriptions. You can get connected with your Being now and here. Nothing can prevent it because it happens to be your svarüpa and inheritance. All you have to do is to find the deeper meaning of Il am’. You hold on to flimsy things, imaginations and end up in frustration. Nothing finally remains in your hands. Entire life, you hold on to something that is outside but there is nothing outside of you. Finally, all that is outside is lost and the inner reality is never held on to. Therefore, try to get connected with the Being. I have explained earlier the practical terms, but I will say it again.
You are aware of the world, body, actions, thoughts, feelings, intellect, and emotions. They do not define you. They are the non-self because they are known to you. Stop identifying with them. Be aware of your own being. The awareness of being is your true nature. Know it first hand by abiding in the awareness of being.
Be a witness to all. Witnessing is not new to you. You are familiar with it. Witnessing purifies the mind, opens the door to reality, and opens the eye of wisdom. Uninvolved witnessing is none other than the being. You establish a connectedness with the Being by remaining as an uninvolved witness. If you shift the focus of attention from thinking, feeling, and doing to being, you need not search for the Being because it is you.
Pots are many and they constitute a class among various classes of objects. Every pot is distinct from every other pot by virtue of a specific characteristic. Pots as a class are different from every other class of objects by virtue of an attribute called potness that is common to all pots. This is the logic of division. There is a logical fallacy called anyonyäéraya, mutual dependence, in this argument. What is pot? It is an object belonging to the class defined by potness. What is potness? It is the attribute of a pot. Self does not belong to a particular class distinct from other classes. It includes all; it is one of its kind; it is one without a second. Being is Myself, not an attribute.
Human mind sees division where there is none. In logic, there is the description of gupa gupi bhäva, relation of the object and its attribute. For example, gold is the object, and shinning yellow color its attribute. The endeavour of the divisive mind is to create a separation where there is none, and then posit a relation. The separation mentioned above is only verbal, not factual. You do not need to say that spaceness is an attribute of space because there is no second space.
It is one Being, which is the universe, I, God, you, and everything. Being is universal, non-dual, without clashes and conflicts, birthless and deathless. You are That Being. One cannot give any example to Being, except probably space or water. Water is the only reality and waves, etc. are superimpositions. The poet Bhavabhüti says in Uttara Räma Caritam: ävartabudbudataraigamayän vikäränambho yathä salilameva hi tatsamastam, whirlpools, bubbles, waves, etc. are modifications of water; they are all water alone.
Being is knowing, and knowing is being but being is deeper than knowing. You have to ‘be’ to know’, but you need not know to be. Knowing is a movement in being. That saccit is änanda, bliss of the fullness. There is no other purushärtha, thing to be accomplished in life, than knowing oneself as saccit änanda.
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.
Just as gold manifests as various ornaments, the awareness appears in various forms like rüpa jnäna
, knowledge of forms, sabda jnäna
, knowledge of sounds, etc. It is essentially beginningless, endless, uncaused, unsupported, partless, and changeless. It is the common matrix of all thoughts and experiences that construct the world.
The mind is within and matter without. Mind is the subject and matter object. They are relative to each other. There is no mind without matter and no matter without mind. They arise from and sink into the same source simultaneously. Both are manifestations of the same waking consciousness. Consciousness manifest in a subtle form is the mind and in a gross form is the matter. Unless you relate to the world, there is no mind. If you stop relating to the world and abide in your own svarüpa, mind and the world sink into their source, which is Atman. You are the Atman, not the mind.
Mind and matter are a dipole. When a thing manifests as the two opposites, it is a dipole. Magnetism expresses and there is a dipole—north pole and south pole; electricity expresses as positive and negative charges. Mind expresses as pleasure and pain. Dipole has its origin in a single reality. ‘Gross consciousness is matter and perfect matter is consciousness’.
Awareness is my true nature and not an attribute because attribute is a mental pattern, name, and form. Atman the Awareness is free from all mental patterns. In fact, Atman gives existence to the mind, which in turn gives existence to the body. Therefore, Atman is beyond the patterns or categories of the mind. Suppose we agree, for the sake of argument, that awareness is an attribute. Is it known or not known? Suppose it is known; it becomes non-self. Anything known is non-self. Anything that is perceived or conceived is non-self. If it is not known, it is not there.
A thing must become an object of consciousness to exist. Asti, is, and bhäti, shines or becomes evident, are the same. They seem to be different because asti seems to be without and bhäti within. This kind of division arises because of identification with the physical body. There is no real within and without. Thinker and thought are the same. Thinker is thought, and thought is thinker. Without thought, there is no thinker and without thinker, there is no thought. We create a division between the two. Asti is bhäti and bhäti is asti. Dreamer and dream are the same. The dreamer is the dream, and the dream is the dreamer. You are the dreamer and the dream. Therefore, the thinker-thought, asti-bhäti, dreamdreamer divisions are verbal. If the attribute of Atman is not known, it becomes non-existent and hence cannot become an attribute to anything.
Any talk of an attribute to Atman is an effort to define Atman. Any attempt to define Atman makes it a concept of Atman, not real Atman. Atman is described in the gastro through negation as uncaused, independent, undivided, indivisible, unopposed, unshakeable, unreachable, and unassailable. Every definition that we give has its origin in the memory of the mind, whereas Atman is beyond the ken of the mind. You are Atman and you are the proof of everything.
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.
Where is the happiness that is in me?
It is not in the body. Mind is thoughts, and obviously thoughts do not contain happiness, as otherwise nobody will be unhappy. In fact, thoughts make us sad. To become sad you need not do anything but to have thoughts. Happiness is an experience that cannot be denied. I desire an object, I get it, and I am happy. As long as there is desire there is no happiness because desire is a distraction, projection of a sense of deficiency, a want, and misery. When the object of desire is gained, the desire disappears. The projection of desire stops temporarily, before another desire crops up. There is a gap between two successive desires. During the gap, mind is not desiring, demanding, or projecting; it is éänta, peaceful. When it is in the desiring mode, it is asänti
, agitation, which is unhappiness. When it is calm and serene, there is no mind. It has merged in its source, Atman, like the whirlpool merges in its source, water, and I am happy. That means only one thing, Atman is happiness.
You are happy in sleep for no reason. When you laugh heartily on hearing a joke, you are happy for no reason. If happiness were not intrinsic to Atman, there would be no laughter, no spontaneous joy, in life. Humor has the capacity to stop the whirlpool-like mind and bring out the inner happiness. This is the reason why people love humor. Joy is like an explosion. It is the reflection of the Infinite in the finite. Atman alone is the happiness, there is no other source of happiness. The world, body, and mind do not have the attribute called happiness. Therefore, if you want to know happiness, look within and abide within. The attitude of looking without is wrong because you are the center and source of all happiness.
If happiness is outside of me, other than me, it is not happiness at all. It becomes dependence. Freedom and happiness go together. If you are free then you are happy. If you are dependent, it is misery. Happiness derived through the other is not real happiness, because the other, the second is a source of fear. Whatever sense of euphoria that may come in its presence disappears soon. There is nothing but fear in the second.
The Brhadäranyaka says: ätmanastu kämäya satvam priyam bhavati, anything is liked only because it evokes the pleased self (2-4-5); na svatah priyam, not because it is intrinsically likeable. Take the example of a comforter. It keeps me warm, but the warmth is not intrinsic to the comforter, it is derived from myself. The glory of anything in this creation is indeed reflected glory, glory reflected from Atman. I like something or someone because it or he is like a comforter that invokes the happiness in me.
The father loves his son. He buys a gift that he likes for the boy. But it is not the love for the object perse. His love for the son is reflected onto the object. Extrapolate this one more step. The love for the pleased self is translated as the love for the son. When he says that he loves his son, he indeed loves the pleased self only.
We have to give up the psychological burden of unforgiveness. Suppose I forgive the person I dislike because I recognize in him the same play of consciousness, I see isvara in him as I see in my own heart. Then he does not invoke any discomfort in me. The ideas of adversity, enmity, etc. cover up the inner springs of joy. Every situation can be converted into a happy situation by developing the attitude of acceptance. Atman is the source of all happiness and love. Realize that and be happy. There is no selfishness in that because Atman is not the ego. When you are happy the ego resolves
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.
Plurality is characteristic of the known. The knowingness behind the knower can never be plural, for all plurality shines in it.
You are that Awareness, birthless and deathless. The knower and the known, subject and object, emanate from and resolve in the waking consciousness. Subject and object are absent in sleep and in moments of joy. The fact that they emerge and resolve simultaneously proves that they are not absolute; they are relative to each other.
One must be there for the other to be there. In such a situation, both are unreal and their source alone is real.
The reality is one, not a composite of three. The plurality is in the mind. It insists on seeing plurality where there is none. To divide and particularize is the nature of the mind. If you allow the mind to have its fertile imaginations, it projects plurality, all kinds of divisions. As you inquire, the plurality disappears.
There is an interesting discussion in the Brhadäranyakopanisat (3-9-1) between Yäjnavalkya and Säkalya. The latter asks, ‘how many are the gods?’ Yäjnavalkya replies, ‘three thousand three hundred and six.’ As the question is repeated again and again, he answers sequentially that the gods are thirty three, six, three, two, one and a half, and finally one. That One is Brahman. To begin with there is plurality, but on investigation, it resolves into the One without a second.
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.
This is me. How did ‘me’ become ‘this’? By identification with the body, the perceiver became the perceived. Why is God ‘That’? Because the mind conceives so.
Rise above säbalya
, the imperfections, of perception and conception and be the pure Awareness. You are God. In that silence of pure Being, there are no divisions. Know that the divisions are created by the ignorant mind. One has to note that space and time are mental categories. They are not absolute. The Reality is beyond space-time and hence free from divisions. All divisions belong to the domain of space-time alone.
The sages declared, That art thou. Obviously, as long as we take the words ‘That’ and ‘this’ literally, the identity sounds hollow; no unity is possible with the primary meaning of the words. ‘That’ is the sense of being; ‘this’ also is the sense of being. Suppose, space-time is dropped from them. Then what is it that divides the awareness of being? Nothing. The words are pointing to ‘something’ that is bigger than words and concepts. The words can only measure. When the ‘measure’, which is the imperfection, is negated from the word, the immeasurable comes into focus. Laksana is implied meaning, which is arrived at by bhäga tyäga, dropping certain unreal aspects of the primary meaning.
I readily identify with the names and forms of the world. I am the being at the beginning and end of every experience. Then, am I limited? I appear limited in space as I identify with the body, and in time as I identify with the mind. But, as Myself and in Myself, I am the Being Unlimited. All existence is Myself. As I realize my true being, I merge in Isvara who is the all.
As long as you imagine yourself to be a person, Isvara appears to be a person, very great, but far away. If you know the Self as all, that Self encompassing all is Isvara. Suppose you see a pot in the dream. The pot and its seer are in you, are you. In the waking state also, when you see the pot, the pot and its seer are in you. Just rise above the identity created by body-mind, and realize that you are the God that you assume to be far away. Drop the paroksatä, unknownness, and otherness from the Being called Isvara and the limitation from the being called jiva—what remains is Being, which is Brahman.
Isvara is a Being but unknown and you are a being but limited. Suppose you consider a possibility. Suppose the unknownness of the Being is dropped by knowledge; then It remains as the Being. Knowledge alone can help you to drop the unknownness. There is a wonderful world before you and that is God. God is not far away because God pervades and interpenetrates the world. Consciousness transcends space and time; therefore you, the conscious being, are spaceless and timeless. Tat tvamasi, That art thou. As you know your true Self, the seer-seen, individual-total, part-whole divisions are transcended.
The one who knows the truth of oneself is liberated from the bondage of worldliness here and now even while living in this body. There is no difference between him and the Godhead.
Vedanta Profound Q & A
By Swami Paramarthananda