Non-Duality revisited [after ½ a year of health limitations, the author recommences this blog with a recap of the “last batch”, including classic Analogies & 1 additional new Analogy as well. Substantial new material follows tomorrow & hopefully every day]
[for a while, the following will preface all these blogs – so please skip over if seen before]
In order to hint at how serious this Blog is, let the author unequivocally state that the Knowledge here imparted, none of it original, none to be credited to the author, that Knowledge is THE MOST VALUABLE treasure that exists. If hypothetically offered 100 Billion dollars to forgo this Knowledge, that offer or any other would be disregarded in the blink of an eye. Even with all the good that might be accomplished with $100B, this Knowledge is beyond the World & comes from beyond the Mind. This is no hyperbole.
the Mahavakyas – great proclamations
Prajnanam Brahma “Consciousness is Brahman” Aitareya U. 3.3, Rig V
Ayam Atma Brahma “This Self is Brahman” Mandukya U. 1.2, Atharva V.
Tat Twam Asi “That Thou Art” Brihadaranyaka U. 1.4.10, Yajur V.
Aham Brahmasmi “I am Brahman” Chhandogya U. 6.7.8, Sama V.
In one possible sequence, the one above, the gist of the Mahavakyas:
Consciousness is the actual nature of Absolute Reality, nothing else actually exists, but rather only seems to appear in that Consciousness. The Self of all, of you & I, is just that same Brahman, Consciousness. Precisely, That is what you are. “I am Brahman”
(Non-Dual Consciousness) is the inescapable conclusion.
Dakshinamurti is also the name given to the primal Guru, as form taken on by Absolute Shiva, Supreme God or Brahman. The non-sequential lineage of Dakshina–murti includes the Sage Ribhu of the Ribhu Gita, or Song of Ribhu. Included is Guadapada who pronounced Advaita Vedanta’s acme school of Ajata-Vada, the most UQND Un-Qualified Non-Duality. Guadapada was the guru of the guru of (param-guru) of Shankara & in the 20th century, Ramana Maharshi. Herein is only their Teaching & that enunciated by Ramana’s disciple Master Nome. The author can claim none of the essential content, but only some quirks of wording & occasional analogies & interpretations.
Master Nome aphorisms:
HAPPINESS – Desire is the urge to be happy. The sense of Happiness in any experience does not come from the thing experienced. Happiness is within. When Desire is faced inwardly, it yields Wisdom.
WORLD – Illusion is that which is not. All that is objective is illusion. The World is unreal. Do not be afraid to let go of a World that does not really exist. It is better to say the World is in you than you are in the World. There is no World (any objective thing), & there is no one to experience or know it. There has never been a single objective thing. All objective things change, that which is Real does not change. It is you who say that anything is real. the object does not declare its own reality. To know the Reality, know yourself. Objects of experience have no existence separate from the Self like printed letters on a page of paper, or waves from water. Unreal Bodies performs unreal actions in an unreal World.
DREAM – Ego, manifestation, form & ignorance: these are like an optical illusion, a mirage, a Dream without substance, the life-history of a fictional character. Regard all manifestation as an hallucination or as a Day-dream lasting but a moment. Consider the World to be a Dream, & discover the absence of the Dreamer. Regard all Thought as an empty echo & the World as a Dream. Know the World to be unreal & yourself as not a character in it, & the Dream is over. To expect the perception of forms – the World, Body, Senses, & Thought – to disappear at its own level to transcend them is like expecting the Dream character in one’s Dream to see the Dream forms – Dream World, Dream Body, Dream Senses, & Dream Thoughts – disappear within the Dream, before waking up. When the forms – the World, Body, Senses, & Thought – vanish, the Reality of pure, transcendent Being alone remains. Even when the World is thought of as appearing, the Reality of pure, transcendent Being alone remains.
SPACE – World, Time, Space, life, death, objective things, the Mind, ignorance, bondage, & an experiencer of these are just concepts. Concepts are unreal Absolute Being alone is. The conception of Space requires misidentification with the Body. The conception of Time requires misidentification with Thought. The Self is neither the Body nor Thought. It is Spaceless & Timeless. As Space is endless, clear, formless, embracing all, bound by none, all-pervading, ungraspable, & has no within or without, so it is with the Self.
TIME – Now is not a Time. Here is not a location. Here & Now is formless, real Being. The past & future have no reality. The fleeting present moment is also an illusion. Timeless Consciousness is conceived as Time & all that Time measures. When does Time begin ? When there was no Time. But if there was no Time, no then or now, did it begin at all ?
CAUSALITY – Absolute (the Self) is neither Caused by anything else nor does it Cause anything else. Infinite, there is nothing beyond it produced by it. The Cause is always seen in the Effect. The Effect is just the Cause appearing as such. In Truth, there is only one Cause. The ultimate Cause of all, the Absolute is itself uncaused. Causality is itself illusory. No Cause for illusion; for illusion is unreal, & for an unreal Effect there cannot be a real Cause.
EGO – Ego has no form of its own. Strip it of its covering, & nothing remains of it.
Superimpose Being: the Ego seems existent. Superimpose Consciousness: the Ego seems sentient, a second knower. Superimpose Bliss: Happiness seems external. Go back the way you came. All illusion if ignorance. Ignorance is misidentification. All mis-identification is the Ego. The Ego is nonexistent. The Ego is a false assumption assumed by no one. All the known is for the “I,” but the “I” does not exist at all. All illusion is based upon the Ego, & all illusion is contained in the Ego – but the Ego itself is an illusion ! No one has seen an Ego at any Time. An Ego is an absence. The Ego cannot be produced by the Self, cannot be produced by anything in the Universe, & cannot be self-produced. So, where is bondage ? All illusion is for the Ego, based upon the Ego, & contained within the Ego. Self-Realization is the Knowledge of the absence of the Ego & the utter unreality of illusion. Upon the Ego is based all ignorance & misidentification. The discovery of the absence of the Ego is the end of all ignorance & misidentification. With the imagined rise of the Ego, all else appears, with the disappearance of the Ego, all else is not.
MIND – The entire Universe is in the Mind & the Mind does not exist. Be free from Thought’s definition, from the notion of a second knowing principle, & from the notion of a differentiated Mind. This is merger of the Mind.
BODY – To see the World, one must stand as the Body. To see the Body one must stand as the Mind. To see the Mind one must stand as the Ego. Who are you ? If the Ego is not, creation is not. An incalculable number of cells are given the name “Body,” & such is considered an existent entity. Remove one cell at a Time & see what actually is the Body. A name, such as “body” does not make “body” a reality. There is no inner & no outer. It is ignorance to assume the Body is the boundary line between them. The self is not the Body & has no inside or outside. The Body is objective, divisible, changeful, & dependent for its very appearance. The Self is non-objective, indivisible, changeless, non-dependent & self-existent. How can the 2 be confounded ? The bodiless Self is birthless, locationless, & deathless. The Self comes from nowhere & goes nowhere.
EXPERIENCE – All experience is of the nature of the experiencer. The sense of reality in every experience does not come from the things experienced. The Self is the source.
REALITY – Do not mistake a definition for Existence itself. Being is forever undefined but realized as “I”. Both the appearance & disappearance of a thing or a Thought are forms. The Formless is neither. No form can yield the Formless, forms can give rise only to other forms. Neither dualism nor a concept of unity is the Non-dual Truth. Non-objective Being is neither a multiplicity, nor one-in-many, nor many-in-one. The Absolute is not a part of Reality relative to other things. Being is seamless. Where there is plurality, one sees only false appearance, where there is Non-Duality, one see clearly & truly. There cannot be Non-Duality with forms viewed as forms, & there can be no duality in the Formless. There cannot be 2 that are formless. The Formless is real & infinite. There are no forms within the Formless & none beyond the Formless. All forms arise from, appear in, & dissolve into the seamless, indivisible, formless Reality. The Absolute is formless & non-dual. There is nothing outside it & no “outside.” Nor is there anything within the Absolute.
BEING – Being & Consciousness are one & the same. That which is real ever is, continuously. What is discontinuous is never real. Every form is dependent on something else to be experienced. Being, which is Consciousness, is non-dependent. What is dependent is unreal. What is self-existent is real. In relation to all things, Consciousness is the Witness. Seen clearly as it is, Consciousness is formless, & there has never been an objective thing; there is neither knower nor anything known. Being can never change its nature. Being has no attributes. It is the Void, Brahman, forever free of definition. It is called the Self because it is your very Being, who you are. It is called Being because it always is, Timelessly, & can never cease or be destroyed. It is called Consciousness because it is nonobjective & can never be a known or unknown object. It is called Supreme Love because it surpasses all emotion & is indivisible. It is called Bliss because it is full with exquisite perfection that can never be flawed or deficient. It is called God because it is nothing else. It is called Eternal, for it is uncreated & imperishable. It is called the Absolute because its Existence is non-dependent & it is not in relation to anything. What is this formless undefined Self in itself. That which is Real does not depend on anything else to be or to be experienced. This is Being. Again & again examination of the dependent in this way will emphasize the Self as the residual Reality. Changeless Being is the root of peace. Space-like Consciousness is the root of Freedom. The Bliss of the Self is the root of joyful Love.
CONSCIOUSNESS – Consciousness can never be a known or unknown object. The known depends on the knower & does not exist apart from the knower. Consciousness is self-luminous. None knows it. It knows all. It knows itself. Thought is only Consciousness, yet Consciousness is not Thought. The World in the Senses, the Senses in the thinking process, thinking within Consciousness; Consciousness is vast & formless, this is the clear perspective. The origin of the Universe is the origin of one’s present experience. It is Consciousness. All things originate from That which is not a thing. All Thoughts derive from That which is not any of them. That is formless, inconceivable Consciousness. There is no experience apart from Consciousness. All experience rises, appears, & dissolves in Consciousness, which has no rise, appearance, or dissolution. Consciousness alone appears as all experience. Known as it is, Consciousness has no appearance whatsoever. That which illumines Thoughts, sensory perceptions, & all experience is known by none of these. It is Consciousness, formless, & infinite. He who knows the Truth of the Self has neither birth nor death, neither attachment nor fear, for he is one with Consciousness. Only Consciousness can know itself. Nothing else can do so. First, see that Consciousness contains all that is ever experienced. Then, see that Consciousness is forever unmodified & there is no all for it to contain. That which knows the presence or absence of Thoughts is neither the presence or absence of Thoughts. Neither the presence or absence of Thoughts obscures or clarifies that Knower. Consciousness, which is the Knower, is never defined by the known. That is ever still, that in which the 3 states of Waking, Dreaming, & Deep Dreamless Sleep, along with all that they contain, appear as the illusion of motion. Likewise illusory is form in the Formless, or a modification in That which is unchanging. This is the Reality of infinite Consciousness. Consciousness requires no light other than itself to illumine itself.
The entire manifestation is rightly said to be only one small corner in the infinite, formless Consciousness. Examining a corner to see what actually is the corner, it reduces itself to a single conceptual dot. That dot is the notion of an “other,” a “2nd”. In Ultimate Truth, as there are no corners in Space. There is not a sing objective thing in the Reality of the Self.
SELF – Negate the attributes superimposed on the Self & the concepts about the
Absolute, & realize their identity. The Self is in all sentient beings, the Consciousness which is their Being; in all things, the unseen Existence which is; in all locations, the Space; in all Space, the vastness; in all Time, the endlessness, in every heart, the Love.
Veiling & differentiation are the characteristics of ignorance. As dimension of depth of the image in a mirror does not truly exist, so differentiation does not exist in the one Self.
MEDITATION – Meditate on Consciousness without an object. If you ask yourself what do you know for certain, you will release all ideas & form & abide in ever-existent Being.
Sri Bhagavan Maharshi’s Wisdom
Regardless of what the “others” may say, the Waking World actually is an unreal Dream – You are bodiless & Space-less in Deep Sleep, yet in the Waking state & in Dream appear to be the opposite. Whatever the Dream, the only thing that has value & is worth doing with regard to Dream is to wake up. Although within the Dream, everyone they would have tried to convince you of it, when you wake up, do you say that the experiences of the Dream were real ? No. Similarly, when you wake up to the Self these experiences of the World will be unreal, like in a Dream, although others in that state will try to convince you that they are real.
Confusion is due to ignorance – Man is always the Self & yet he does not know it. Instead he confounds it with the non-Self, the Body. Confusion is due to ignorance. If ignorance is wiped out, confusion will cease to exist & the true Knowledge will be unfolded.
Only lose the Ego – Be what you are. All that is necessary is to lose the Ego. That which is, is always there. Even now you are that. You are not apart from it The thought, “l have not realized”, the expectation to become realized, & the desire of getting anything, are all the workings of the Ego. The Ego-Self appears & disappears & is transitory whereas the real Self is permanent. You wrongly seem to identify the real Self with the Ego-Self. See if that mistake has come about. The Ego-Self does not exist at all. To whom is the trouble ? The trouble also is imagined. Trouble & pleasure are only for the Ego. Take care of yourself. Let the World take care of itself. See your Self. If you are the Body there is the gross World also. lf you are spirit all is spirit alone. Do it yourself 1st & then see if the question of others arises afterwards.
It helps to lose concepts – The degree of the absence of concepts is the measure of your progress towards Self- realization. But Self-Realization itself does not admit of progress, it is ever the same. The Self remains always in Realization. The obstacles are concepts. Progress is measured by removal of obstacles to understanding that Self is always realized. So thoughts must be checked by seeking to whom they arise. Go to their source, they arise not.
Self-Inquiry & the Mind – The Truth of your Self alone is worthy to be scrutinized & known. Taking it as the target of your attention, you should keenly seek to know it in your spiritual heart. This knowledge of yourself will be revealed only to the Consciousness which is silent, clear & free from the activity of the agitated & suffering Mind. The Mind is only a bundle of thoughts. How can you extinguish it by the thought of doing so, or by a desire? Your thoughts & desires are part & parcel of the Mind. The Mind is simply enhanced by new thoughts rising up. Therefore it is foolish to attempt to kill the Mind by means of the Mind. The only way of doing it is to find its source & hold on to it. The Mind will then fade away of its own accord. The Mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts & objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self. To ask the Mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you & pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained S0 you must turn inward & see from where the Mind rises & then it will cease to exist.
It is with the inward-going Mind that you eliminate the outward-going Mind. You do not set about saying there is a Mind & I’m going to kill it, but you seek the source of the Mind. Then you will find that the Mind does not exist at all. Whenever you are disturbed by thoughts you need merely withdraw within to the Self This is not concentration or destruction of the Mind but withdrawal into the Self. Know that the Consciousness always shines as the formless Self, the true Your duty is to be, & not to be this or that. All required is to realize the Self is to be still, since the Self is not now understood to be Truth, the one Reality. When one daily practices more & more abiding in the heart, the Mind will become extremely pure due to the removal of its defects, & the practice will become so easy that the purified Mind will plunge into the heart as soon as the Inquiry is commenced. All that you need do is to find out the origin of the “I-thought” & abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the beyond will take care of itself
Guru’s Grace though Liberation is always – Liberation is ever present & bondage ever absent. That which is, is only Grace; there is nothing else; but as long as the Dream prevails, the Master must be sought & served to evoke the Grace. Every plane of Worldly existence has its own illusion, which can be destroyed only by another illusion on the same plane. For example. a man takes a full meal & goes to sleep. He dreams of being hungry in spite of the food he has in his stomach. To satisfy the Dream hunger, he has to take Dream food. A wound in Dream requires Dream treatment. A great King once dreamt that he was ill but was too poor to call a doctor. Although he had fabulous wealth in the Waking state, it was of no use to him in the Dream state. Similarly, the illusion of ignorance can be destroyed only by the illusion of the Mind.
Container Analogy – Initially, surrounding the vague sense of “Other”, conceived as different from one’s Self, the feeling that “there seems to be something” coalesces, as previously stated, with some kind of location, some size or extent, some “substance” constituting this “something”. But what seems to be this “other” ? In a way, this can be said to be a kind of “pure extent” or Space. Seldom formalized, this universal sense of Space was simply systematized by Rene Descartes as mathematical Coordinate Space, familiar to grade school students as “graphs”. Now there is no pretense that such formal ideas crystallize in the initial sense of “Other” as Space, but adopting this device simplifies our discussion.
In essence the idea of Space is that of a Container, one that is formless, boundless, with no edge or boundary, empty of texture, unchanging, & vast when we so consider it. One aspect of this idea of Space is Dimension, a bit of form if you will, first formalized by Descartes in the manner of rulers or knotted ropes first borrowed by the Egyptians from fishing nets. The two-dimensional simplification used by Descartes had appeared among the Greeks as Latitude & Longitude in Geodesy. Such a concept was preserved by Arab philosophers during Europe’s Dark Ages. Leaking back of these ideas from Islam-conquered Spain to Italy prompted Perspective Drawing, Scaling, & the Architecture that allowed the Renaissance & later on, Analytical Geometry & ultimately Computer Science. Greek mathematics of Conic Sections played a major role in Descartes’ Coordinate Space as well.
While Descartes’ “graphs” are two-dimensional or 2-D, our everyday sense of Physical Space & the World are 3-D. And yet, we start next time to formalize the sense of “Other” this way, including the Body, by initially looking at 0-D & 1-D Spaces of Ego, Now, Here, & God for 0-D, followed by Time, & Mind in 1-D. Basically, like all the rest of the World, the Body is “out there” while one’s Self, the primordial Consciousness called “I” that knows of it sown Existence, that Self is “inside”. Terms like “out side” & “inside” take on more formal definition later in this series. “Objective” refers to the “objects” that are “outside”, the “objects” that are known by “Perception” [physical objects] or “Conception” [subtle mental objects]. The Knower, the Consciousness is “Non-objective”, Only if we accept a Duality of Knower & Known, then do we similarly refer to the Duality of Subject & Object. In that case we can somewhat equate “Non-objective” with “Subjective”, but until then, “Non-objective” is more generally applicable. “Attributes” are the specific qualities by which individual gross Perceptions or subtle Conceptions are distinguished, one from the other. Being “Non-objective”, the Self has n attributes while the Body, an Object, does have attributes, Non-Duality characterizes the “substance” of the Self, while particular details characterize the body & other Objects. This applies to Continuity in Time, or its opposite, in the case of the Body. Just at the Body is only known through Perception, so to is each Perception partial. For those from the Vedas through philosopher George Berkeley through modern Islamic author Harun Yahya, the World is Unreal. When perceiving the Leg, the Arm just isn’t there. Earlier quotes about how the Body “appears only in the moments of perception” is a caution that applies piece by piece. We only experience a Body, or a Universe, one thin slice at a time. Mentally we “fill-in” the rest just as does the Optical system in vision.
On the basic Duality of “Self” & “Other”, we can modelin terms of Descartes’ Coordinate Space, we go pack to zero-dimension, 0-D, the infinitesimal Point, the Sanskrit bindu which stands for conceptions of the Self, the Atman, & therefore of the identical Brahman, known in the objective sense as God. This projected “empty substance” is the “taken for granted” background, in the objective sense. Other 0-D Space “shadows” of this same include the false “I”, the Ego. This Ego, like the even more objective 0-D Spaces also serves as a Reference Origin Point for higher dimension spaces. For instance, Ego (or “Me”) stands as Reference Origin Point for the Flow of Thought which constitutes the 1-D model of Mind. Mind like every other Coordinate Space is inherently limitless if only due to the Space’s objectively “formless” nature. To that extent every Coordinate Space in our model is an Analog continuum, while the Reference Origin Point is the central Discrete point which specifies meaning to all the other Discrete Coordinate Points. This Discrete quality introduced by Coordinate Points contrasts with the Analog continuum of the Space itself & this Discrete quality introduces situated separation, duality, multiplicity, duality, variation, diversity, & comparison – all due to the imagined infinitesimal Gaps dividing one Point from another. Gaps are entire topic in themselves & the focus of the Eleatic Sages: Parmenides, Zeno, & Melissus. The Flow of Thought, which solidifies further as a flow of Words, thus comparing to a flow of Sound as well, is like all just mentioned a 1-D “Number–Line” laid out along a Flow of Time. So each of these linear 1-D Coordinate Spaces features a Referenced Origin Point of “Now” that divides Past from Present. [The meditation on the “3 times” is taken up in a later installment.] Thought are Past or Present, just as Words & other Sounds are coming or gone. Now is a 1-D Reference Origin Point for Thought, Words, & Sound just as Ego is a 1-D Reference Origin Point for Mind. The other Discrete Coordinate Points are Thoughts, Moments, Sounds, etc. Every Thought pertains to what is good/bad for Me, big/small or near/far to Me, & so on. All thoughts are referenced to the Origin Point Me, as all Moments are to the Origin Now. But Mind is also modeled in 2-D, 3-D, & 4-D, as seen in the next installment. Ancient philosophers, & Bishop George Berkeley a few centuries ago, rightly reasoned that we mentally experience Perception, which is Thought in the Mind. Even if there were “outside” Objects, none could ever be contacted, ever directly experienced. All we touch, all we experience are Thoughts which include Perceptual thoughts or Perceptions. The role of the Body-idea in our Coordinate Space model of “Other” is yet to be detailed in later installments. But as a stand-in for one’s Self, the Body is an illusory Perception, not a “thing” to hang your hat on.
The history of various dimensions Spaces we use here in a model of “Self” & “Other” Duality, we saw how the Egyptian pyramid builders took the fisherman’s knotted anchor line, related to the knotted network or the fishing-net, took that measuring line to be a Number-Line for building. The knots was a 0-D Space like Ego & Now Reference Origin Points for the 1-D Spaces of Thought-Flow & Time. Words & Sounds are modeled by similar 1-D Spaces. Well, given those 0-D Spaces & 1-D Spaces, we continue to a prominent 2-D “screen of the Mind”, the “windshield” through which we imagine each coming encounter with the World. Vision too shifts from a 2-D “screen of Vision” into 3-D focus. Likewise the 2-D “screen of the Mind” scan of Imagination holds up to fill out a full 3-D “inner theater of the Mind”. As is with 2-D Imagination & Vision, for the 3-D counterparts that are ultimately modeled by “Physical Space”, the Reference Origin becomes spatial Here instead of temporal Now of 1-D Spaces. Thought flow may be 1-D, referenced to Now like Time & Sound, but Imagination is 2-D & 3-D, referenced to Here, like Physical Space. And what is referenced, the other Coordinate Points, are therefore Locations rather than Moments along the Number-Line or Time-Line of Time, or Thoughts within the Flow of Thought constituting the Mind, at least in the 1-D sense. We take this further next time, but before passing by 1-D Time, we need to review the promised meditation on the “3 times”. Similar to McTaggart’s A & B theories, our review starts with enumerating 3 “times”: Past, Present, Future. What is Past is gone-by, never to be experienced again. What is Future has not yet come to be. So if there is to be Reality, it would seem to necessarily be found in the Present. But if the Present should be seen to vanish, what then of Reality? Not found in Time anyway. Now watch the Present vanish. Take a Planck Quantum of Time, about ½ of 10–43 sec, take that bit of Time into the Future – still no Reality because it has no come to be. Go the same interval into the Past – well again, that’s gone. However thin we want to slice Past & Future to make a “sandwich” of the Present, we find nothing yet existent, or still existent. That thin sliced “sandwich” of the Present vanishes, with no Reality left in it.
In simple terms, the singular Non-Dual Self is “God-like” while the Body is an animated corpse. The Eleatic Greek philosophers who we will soon reference for the topic of “Gaps” are also our source for denial of “motion” itself as an illusion [especially Zeno].
What is Coordinate Space? we find a simple inner image of the Mind & also of the Universe’s vast Outer Space. Both images are of an essentially empty, formless Void, without boundary or inherent location, veritably infinite ∞. To get to ∞–D we started at 0-D Space, the perfectly Infinitesimal Point, followed “up” by Extension for a virtual Quantum Fluctuation within a Planck quantum of Time, barely nudging into the 1-D Space of a infinite Line, which upon bending extends onto the infinite 2-D Plane. Not perfectly flat, the 2-D Plane warps & buckles into 3-D Space, & then with Time, a 4-D Space–Time, & then higher String Theory dimensions to Infinity as each bend, warp, or wrinkle invades a next higher-D Space. Beginning to end, the series is bracketed by interplay of 0 – ∞, Zero–Infinity Duality.
Indian Philosophy considers the Ego–self as the infinitesimal bindu 0-D Point. By analog duals, this bindu is the inverse of akash, the vastu the vast (actually translated as Reality), infinite-dimensional Ananta, the Infinite, like the Greek Apeiron, the All. The All in turn is the obverse of the zero point binding bindu. The interplay of these 2 extremes, in Cartesian Coordinate Space terms, dictates that the Container has no measurable size or locations without the reference Origin.
Consider oneself as if an invisible 0-D dimensionless & infinitesimal Point of View called Me, suspended as it were, in vast boundless Space. Are you near, or are you far ? “From what ?” you might well ask. How can you tell with no other point for comparison? Given some Other, another point in the Space, you are still at a loss to respond to the implicit how near/how far in any near–far query.
Coordinate Space references position & motion by establishing relative distance along x & y dimensions. Keeping track of positive & negative direction further completes relative distance to a relative displacement. In this way we get an answer to how near, how far. The Reference Origin Point establishes the absolute numerical value or Coordinate Position of any Point in the Coordinate Space. Furthermore, with the absolute numerical value for our starting point, that is with respect to this Reference Origin, we address the preceding relative displacement question of “near / far” to where ? In the first case, we see that any Point & Location within a Cartesian Coordinate Space Container has that Location specified, firstly with reference Origin, a 0-D dimensionless & infinitesimal Point by which all other points are defined. Since the mathematical structures Coordinate Space & Reference Origin are so Objective, even if they could vaguely reflect Brahman & Atman, by their Objectivity, they do better at standing in for Mind & Ego, or Universe & Individual.
Limitless Coordinate Space has all points defined with respect to an infinitesimal Reference Origin Point, (0, 0) if we consider a 2-D example. A limitless Universe is a container for Objects that all have meaning with respect to a specific Individual that I objectively call Me. Limitless Mind is a container for Thoughts that all have meaning with respect to a specific Ego Reference Origin called “I” .
In each version, the Origin is contained within, but also defines the vast Space. Analogously, the Self is non-different from the vast Absolute Brahman. Thus the purest analogy, that Cartesian Space can claim, is that of an objective shadow of Self or Atman & the vast Brahman, in terms of Origin & Container. Murkier or more Dense is the equivalence of Mind & the Ego-Thought, & likewise Time & Now, Space & Here. The World & Body are the crudest Dual Analog in this series. In the poetic comparison of vast infinite Space akash with its dual counter-part, the bindu or “bind” Point of 0-D, what is seen is the “forbidden” Arithmetic of reciprocal for Zero and Infinity, as duals of each other.
0 = 1/∞ ∞ = 1/0
The Ego-Thought is itself a more hardened, crystallized development of a pre-Thought Ego-notion imagined within Consciousness. In the Ego–Thought, the Me is a tiny thing, while Mind as a Space is considered boundless & vast. In Cartesian Space the Universe or the Mind is relative to that juxta-posed, Me or Ego Origin within Mind, & any 0-D point within infinite Space. The vast Mind is anchored & first delineated by the Ego or Me Origin. The Coordinate Space & the Origin then, the Mind & the Ego mutually Bootstrap each other into illusory existence by Dependent Origination. Vast Mind & infinitesimal Ego are like inverses or reciprocals of each other, much like Zero is the “reciprocal” of Infinity, & Infinity is the “reciprocal” of Zero. Zero or 0-D is the infinitesimal point of no Extension, dimensionless, formless, indiscernible. This stands better as a symbol for the Non-Dual Absolute Reality, Brahman, or better yet for the identical Atman, the universal Self. Contrariwise, ∞ stands in better as an Objective symbol for Brahman, perhaps, but more truly for the Creator God, Isvara who is Brahman imagined with attributes, such as infinite Extension. Without the Origin, the Coordinate Space of Mind is neither vast nor small, there would be no scale. Without placement within the Coordinate Space, the Ego would be neither minute nor huge, without some scale of reference. And so they both complete each other. Another illustrative phrasing could be that Mind is not actually differentiated from Consciousness without the Ego Origin, & Ego is not differentiated except as taken to be the reference Origin of Mind. Mind stripped of Ego is Consciousness. Ego stripped of Mind is the Self within this analogy. Newton conceived Space as Aristotle did, as an unlimited Void. Einstein acknowledged relative distances between Objects but no intervening Space, at least not one of fixed & determined properties. The Eleatic philosophers lead by Parmenides denied the possibility of an empty Void. “Nothing” by definition is not something. Void Space it is not a cosmic swimming pool through which we can fly space-ships. Nor is it the Vacuum a Quantum piggy-bank out of which God or some inanimate Big-Bang can fashion Matter-Energy and Space-Time. In more relative human terms, the same 0-D bindu reflects the supposedly fixed point of Me or Ego. Vast empty Space by the same token reflects the inner concept of Mind, the empty Container of Thoughts. Rene Descartes represented the variation of simple functions by constructing graphs within the Mathematical device of his Coordinate Space. While physically represented as a piece of graph paper, the concept of Coordinate Space is that of a vast, boundary-less, formless, & empty Container which remains steady & constant like Newton’s absolute Physical Space. Each Location in the Coordinate Space is a potential Coordinate Point, defined in every case with reference to the central Origin Point where the Coordinate Axes cross. Going past zero-dimensional, 0-D Point , & also 1-D & 2-D Surface to finish 3-D Volume Container & 4-D. But at the same time we introduce an additional key concept for 1-D through 4-D, that of the Mini-Container / Macro-Origin. Now is the infinitesimal 0-D Reference Origin Point for 1-D Time. But on a larger timescale, such as human history, or the evolution of the Universe, then “my Lifetime” could be a relatively small Reference Origin without strictly being an infinitesimal 0-D Point such as Now. This practical 1-D Macro-Origin is also a Mini-Container to Me, since my Lifetime is an especially significant span of Time, as far as my interest goes. So a Lifetime can be a Mini-Container / Macro-Origin. For a Coordinate Space model of Mind, or whatever dimension, 1-D through 4-D, something like the collected ideas of my Personality could be a Mini-Container / Macro-Origin. A “world” in itself to Me, the Personality can also be a practical, though larger, Reference Origin. In 3-D Physical Space, my Vicinity could be a Mini-Container / Macro-Origin. In these examples, other Mini-Container / Macro-Origins could also be considered to fit a given application of the Coordinate Space model. One important use of the Mini-Container / Macro-Origin lies in extending 3-D Physical Space or 4-D Space-Time to the grosser Coordinate Space of the “World” or Universe. When Coordinate Points become physical Objects in a World, there is no single infinitesimal 0-D Reference Origin Point available like Here which serves for the mathematical abstraction of 3-D Physical Space. One very useful Mini-Container / Macro-Origin for the World is the Body, & this is just where the Body comes into the Coordinate Space Model. The further significance of Mini-Container / Macro-Origins & the Coordinate Space Model is presented in the next & final installment along these lines. For now, suffice it to note that the Brain might be a smaller Mini-Container / Macro-Origin within the Mini-Container aspect of the Body. For again, physiologically speaking, the Body is a “world” in itself. The Body as a Mini-Container also clearly demonstrates how key Mini-Container / Macro-Origins always serve to define the Inside/Outside Duality, be that for the Body, my Vicinity, my Lifetime, my Personality, or whatever might be the Mini-Container / Macro-Origin considered. Just as this concludes the basic outline of our Coordinate Space model of imagined Reality, so to does the following conclude Master Nome’s discussion of Inquiry & the Body & how the Self is subjective, while the Body & World are objective. But the subsequent installment will lay out meditations based on the Coordinate Space model. Subsequently we begin Master Nome’s discussion of Inquiry & the World.
The Self is not located in a Body. lt is not in Space. It is not located in relation to a Body. That is, it is not located in relation to a Body. lt is simply undefined by the Body. The Self being Space-like but not in Space, has no location. Being is neither a particular part of the Body nor confined inside it. If it were a spot or in a spot, the spot could be pointed out, & that very form would be the Self or would contain the Self, but, then, the Self would neither be Existence nor Real, neither Infinite nor Eternal, & there would be no Liberation from bondage. Then, the very declarations of the Wise would become false. This result & its causes are absurd. If the Self would be located throughout the Body or in a bodily spot, such location would be objective. The Self, though, is non–objective. The non–objective cannot have an objective location or other objective attributes. lf the Self were located in the Body, when that part of the Body underwent change or decay, so would Existence itself. If that part of the Body would be lost, the Self would be lost; if forgotten. then forgotten. The Self which is which is Real Being is never modified, is always present & is never forgotten. If the Self would be located throughout the Body, Existence would diminish & change as cells of the Body change. If one part were lost, even a single hair or cell, Existence would diminish accordingly. This, though, is not so, for the Self is changeless & ever undiminished. The Self is not located in the Body. The entire assumption of being located in a Body, as if the Body were a Container for the Self, is not true. The perception. or idea of a Body & the notion of location appear in Mind, which is, & illumined by, Consciousness, which is beyond all that. The known occurs within the knowledge of the knower, which is of the nature of Consciousness, & not one bit otherwise. Therefore, the Self is not the Body & is not in the Body. There is no Birth or Death for the Self, & the Self does not enter into or exit out of the Body. It is not in relation to a Body. It is not in the Body now, nor is it out of the Body at some other time. It is locationless. The Self ever is ever as it is, with no modification. What it is, it is always. The Body, with its transience & mutability, is not an attribute of the Self. The Self does not possess a Body, for, otherwise, it would always have it, which is not so. Possession of a body is not in the nature of the Self & the Self, being Reality, never changes its nature. The Self does not have a Body, as possession implies division, or the duality of the possessor & the possessed & posits their relation. Being is Non-Dual & indivisible. Existence is Absolute. It is not in relation to anything. There is not anything to which it could have a relation, as a finite object might. The Self does not have a Body, as an attribute can only be for a “thing” & pure Existence is not a thing. The Self does not have a body. In this lies its great freedom. The Body does not possess, or have as an attribute, the Self. The attributes of the Body are not the attributes of the Self. The Body is a form. The Self is formless. The Formless does not have a Form in any manner. The Self is Infinite & Space-like, ever the same, & bodiless. The Infinite does not wear a Body, & the Space-like has no Form. The Body does not possess the Self, & the Self does not possess a Body. The Self is not the Body, the Self is not in a Body, & the Self does not have a Body. Know the Self to be bodiless. Thereby, abide as the Self, the bodiless Absolute.
The “Who am I ?” Self-Inquiry, known as Vichara Atma, is a sublime Meditative device for wresting the attention away from the External & Objective so as to focus Consciousness upon Itself, upon the Existence aspect of pure Consciousness by seeking the true “I”, the real Self in this open function of Self-questioning. To question at all is to give rest to the Projection of mental declarations & to switch the Mind into a most receptive mode. When the Mind becomes thus receptive to the Mind itself, on the deeper level, Consciousness is turning in upon itself. The Answer to “Who am I ?” is of course the true “I” who is also the meditator, but not the thinker. When that “I” reports in the guise of a Body, the discriminating Inquirer should be able to disqualify the Body as “I”, but the real trick is to live in that Discrimination throughout Life. The Body is intermittent & partial in our experience, & has changed completely many times since childhood. Being inert, objective gross matter, it differs too little from a corpse for it to successfully pose as the true “I”. Putting the Body corpse aside, even the Life Force [prana] itself is far too mechanical & insentient to be “I”. The Mind full of Thoughts is even more changeable than the Body & is still inert & insentient without the Consciousness that illumines each Thought. Even the intellectual function that carries on the Inquiry is clearly searching inside for something closer to the Self, something more all-embracing & constant to stand for “I” . When I consider My Mind & My Intellect, what position am I in to so deem Mind & Intellect as objects ? The assumption of Personal Identity, the Ego or I-thought is the last to be discriminated & rejected. Left with Consciousness turned inward & directly focused on “I”, the Meditator is afforded the opportunity for direct experience of absolute Self-Consciousness in the deepest way. The irrevocable identification of the Non-Dual Self, Atman, as “I”, characterized as Existence itself, as pure Consciousness, as highest Bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, one with Brahman is the culmination of Vichara Atma in steady Self-Realization. Samkhya philosophy [nominally atheistic] describes primal forces of inertia, agitation, & harmony, a scheme found to be expedient for partial half-step explanations within Vedanta. The point throughout that short paragraph is that Sense change in many ways, all the time, exhibiting no completely steady form or nature.
Unlike the steady Self, the Senses change for the Dreamer, or even when the seer becomes the listener. Like the “strange loop” [ala Douglas Hofstadter] Image that has itself again in the image, & even more convoluted than that, the Senses are housed in & are part of the Body. But the Body is only known by & in the Senses, just like the rest of the World.
Comparing to the Waking-Dream of everyday Life. the blissful inner Space of pure “I” where Existence is immediately known, where Consciousness is the Substance, where Ananda [Bliss] arises & remains, this allows direct Awakening to That which has always been. Every preliminary Taste [Rasa] of this Freedom is both surprising in its easy Peace & familiar like a long-forgotten Memory dawning once again. Written Summaries serve to spark the interest. But what is needed is actual removal of obstructing Assumptions (Sankalpa’s), Tendencies (Samskara’s), thought Patterns (Vritti’s), & sheer Dullness [Tamas], & thereupon, direct Entry into Self-Realization, derives from Vichara Atma & proceeds with the Guidance of a Teacher, Realized Rishi, Acharya, Avadhuta, Buddha, Jetsun, Sansei, Master, Shaik, Christ, Sage or Enlightened-Realized-Liberated-Awakened Guru, that beloved Lord-Bhagavan who stands as the Truth to be realized. For the Absolute Reality to appear in one’s Waking state Mind as a Teaching, as a Text, as an Experience, as an Intuition, as a Guess, as a Hope, as a Wonder, or even as a Rumor is indeed Blessed. For the Self to enter one’s life in the guise of a Living Master whose Presence one can readily experience, whose Words one can listen to, whose Silence one can bask in, whose Bliss one can perceive, whose Love one can feel, whose Perfect Example one can emulate, whose unerring Guidance one can enjoy along the Path, this Good Fortune towers unmatched as the greatest Grace, the most priceless Treasure, the most wondrous Assurance of limitless & unending “Happiness”.
The last word is more “unofficial” than all the rest. In the spirit of handling the hypothetical Body-Person objection to the need for a Teacher, the whole Mystery of Non-Duality can be entertained in an even more casual manner. Rigor here would be beyond the capability of words, but perhaps some Hint can be imparted, some inspiring Clue can be groped for, & all to the good it this attempt were successful.
Response to the sometimes encountered “don’t need a Teacher” objection can be a simple comparison to the relationships of Parent-Child, Instructor-Student, Mentor-Protégée, Master-Apprentice, & such to be found throughout the Arts & Sciences, throughout Trades, Crafts, Academia, & all the examples of skills & information acquisition in all of Life. New & important Knowledge often comes to us by Dialogue. Writing & Media are lifeless substitutes, being bereft also of the inspiring Power of Example. In a similar vein, we can imagine those who becomes so enamored of their Computer Hardware & Software, for instance that they neglect or delay proper implementation of the technology to achieve desired & necessary Results. This would compare to being so enamored of the Mind & its Ideas that they neglect or delay proper implementation of the Mind for the purpose attaining Self-knowledge & Liberation. More than such comparisons, Non-Duality has the more penetrating response in the Teacher Objection case, but now it is Non-Duality itself to which a similar light-hearted discussion is applied. The puzzle of Non-Duality & the contrary impression of Dualism & Multiplicity is really quite bewildering. Countless Self-Realized Sages within the sacred lineages of Advaita Vedanta & other Traditions of Non-Dual Teachings have independently discovered & declared that Multiplicity is an illusory concept. The initial Duality of believing that there could be an Other different from one’s Self is the core Ignorance. One Non-Dual Consciousness illuminates Thoughts of “Other” & as it does all other Thoughts. Behind the apparent Mind there is only the one Consciousness which is not only one’s Self, but is in fact The Self, since there is no Other Self. Nor are there Other Minds, except as the imagined mental characteristics that I attribute to Other beings. I can perceive what you say & do, but generally, I cannot not know what you are thinking, or even that you are thinking, or have ever had Thoughts. Whatever may be the mechanism of Mind-reading in a given case, should a valid one be investigated, that situation can be described either as the Experience of some sort of Subtle Signal, or the Blending of the two Minds into One Mind. All that aside for the moment, most of the time, my impression of some Other’s Mind derives from their Words, Gestures, & Actions which I then interpret to construe some Guess as to that Other’s Thoughts & Mind. If need be, the Subtle Signal possibility can be added to the list of Words, Gestures, & Actions with much the same conclusion. The Mind-Blend alternative amounts to a non-Multiplicity of Mind in that case, & as will be seen below, this plays right into our final conclusion anyway. Trusting that the Mind-Blend alternative will not upset the discussion then, we can summarize to the point that Sense Experience, Ordinary or Subtle, leads me to assume the Existence of: Others, Other Minds, & similarly: Other Objects, Space, Time & Events Other than my Self, & so on, the whole seemingly separate Universe or World of Multiplicity. This I can say for my Self. But what about You ? I can say “there is no You” but I am the You when you call yourself “I” just as I do. If You really do exist as a separate Other, my “there is no You” Statement would then be foolish & useless. If you are Imaginary, how can these Non-Dual insights be of value to You. What is the good of my communicating them ? If you remain imaginary, then the good intention could only benefit Me, & the Meditation of sharing this insight with You ends up being an inspiring but symbolic conversation with my Self. To ask “Why ?” again would be to only invite the Teacher-Student comparisons again, so that by Analogy, Dialogue with one’s Self could be offered the same justification as Dialogue with an Other, that is, because it works so well. What seems a Dialogue could be just another mode of Thought & Focus.
Two other possibilities could also be entertained, however. One is that, whether it be accurate or merely expedient to do so, Mind can be considered to extend as a larger field of Thought, embracing all seeming Individuals, all the while this greater Mind remaining only a Reflection of the one Consciousness. One Mind comprising all minds is a view consistent with various degrees of connection we find between apparently separate Minds. Short of the full Mind-Blend possibility alluded to above, we see shared Thoughts & also a great similarity of human Nature & Experience throughout the range of Time & Space. We all Smile, Laugh, & Cry; we all Love & Fear, & so on along surprisingly similar patterns. You & I may not see the same Color Red, nor may 2 charging Bulls. But the similarity in behavior of the Bulls, & in subtle ways, the similarity in the Aesthetic & Emotional response that You & I exhibit suggest that the 2 Bulls see similar or the same Red, as do You & I, & likewise for Other Colors & Sense Perceptions. Erwin Schrödinger, who proposed the Wavefunction in Quantum theory, was latter a student of Advaita Vedanta & discussed at length this Coincidence of Perception in his essay Mind & Matter. He felt that, even give personal & cultural differences, the close or identical fashion in which all people do see the World is a fact that supports Non-Duality of Consciousness. However many Dream characters we may conjure up, we never experience ourselves as more than one character or narrator at a given time. Seemingly split personalities only display on character at a time. Despite Quadrillions of cells & Billions of Neurons, we feel unified as One, always, & never as Multiple as our Body cells. Many otherwise inexplicable phenomena support such a One Mind perspective. This leaves all beings as sharing the One Mind despite the apparently diverse Bodies. These Bodies, in turn, are only known by the Senses which are, in turn, only known by Mind. The impression of separate Bodies then need be no more confusing than the many Forms that Dream characters display. One Mind dreams the Dream with all its characters & Bodies. Likewise, in the expedient One-Mind perspective, this One Mind reflects One Consciousness & projects insubstantial Thoughts that only seem to represent many Individuals. In One Mind the many Individuals & many Object just become many Perspectives & Viewpoints. All the above are practical half-steps to begin contemplating Non-Duality. With the Liberation of each such Individual, the ever-true Non-Duality is again realized, from yet one more Viewpoint. Each such Awakening is inevitable & yet the most urgent & worthwhile of Dream endeavors. The Compassion with which the Teacher guides each sincere Student to this Awakening to the Always-so is the Dream Drama that is so noble as to take part in the Real. Along with the One-Mind Perspective, another more elusive Perspective can also be considered. What if the idea of Multiplicity were so Illusory that even as various Individuals are considered, there would still be no Multiplicity, there would still not be many Individuals, there would still be only ONe Consciousness. Within the one Non-Dual Consciousness, a thought of Other leads the one Self to be mistaken for an Ego-self, One-of-Many. A Dream of Life amid many Beings is only a Waking-Dream. When the Dream hero becomes spiritually oriented, the Dream finally gives way to spiritual Practice & Realization. That would be how it is for Me, my story. How would it then be for You? What is your story ? Well, again, for You too, a Thought of Other leads to a now different Ego self Thought, & from there another Dream of Life & Liberation. If it can happen once, why can it happen twice, especially since both Dreams are unreal ? As to Simultaneity of Dream stories, well, what is Time & Simultaneity anyway. Time & Simultaneity are only part of the Dream anyway. When we seriously contemplate how Consciousness is beyond any Thought of system of Thoughts, & how the one Self, the one Consciousness, is Infinite & Vast, how could such a Simultaneously-Multiple Waking-Dream Perspective be discounted. There need be no surprise in the fact that a derivative, down-stream Thought-churning function called Mind cannot encompass the true situation. We still cannot put it past Consciousness, we cannot insist that Infinite Consciousness is incapable of such a multi-character Show. Ultimately, who can say, at least who could say from the viewpoint of an individual within the Waking-Dream ?
Many spiritual aspirants “work on the Ego” to complete its erasure [Maharshi’s term], as if it were an Abnormal Psych “complex” like a 2nd or 3rd Personality in a schizophrenic. But Self-Inquiry, along the lines of searching out the Ego, is essentially complete when thoroughly discovering that the Ego just isn’t there, & never was.
Analogies – Love is natural, valued, something we want. As infants in the Waking Dream, the fortunate children find themselves loved & care for by 1, or better yet, 2 parents. More or less, friends show up in our lives. With luck, Life rewards us with a lover, a spouse, whatever.
Other dimensions of Life: learning, sport, art, etc. follow the same pattern. We have teachers, coaches, masters, & so on. This is simply the way this Waking Dream works.
Why imagine or assume that the most important endeavor, waking from this Dream, should be an exception, why should we expect it to be different. If you take the Waking Dream World to be Real, then random chance militates against odds & probabilities involved in the Great Pattern we now summarize: Initial transcendent intuition & spiritual aspiration may begin with a sense of the Presence of God. Whether formally religious, counter-culture spiritual, or otherwise, a dyad is imagined: self & God. Other patterns of entry can be found, but let this one stand in for all the others, for the sake of discussion. When Ego is attenuated & Desire for Liberation grows, perhaps for many decades, perhaps for many lifetimes [all in the Waking Dreams], “Grace” allows one to “hear” about a higher Teaching. Pursuing in good faith that form of the Teaching, however imperfect & partial, leads to access to a higher version of the Teaching that leads to Liberation. Ultimately, like the parent, friend, lover, spouse, teacher, coach, master, …, the Guru appears in one’s Life. Some overlook that precious opportunity, some check it out, only to drift away later. Others follow the “breadcrumbs”, thus leading them out of the forest of Ignorance, and attain Liberation in minutes, days, weeks, years, or decades. Some will only “make it” in the next or some subsequent Lifetime. Ultimately all are freed, to gloriously find there never was an “all”, an Ego, an Individual at all. But Grace does take the form of the Guru, 99% of the time, In that Great Pattern, the individual is found to be a fiction. The Guru was the True Self all along.
Some more of the instruction of Master Nome [Maharshi disciple] regarding this Waking Dream World:
In as much as the view of the world is a mirror image of the view of oneself, as the identity of oneself determines the definition of the World since the Seer himself appears as the Seen, the “I” as “this”. For the purpose of knowing Reality without veils, one should inquire to know oneself, giving up the objective outlook, as well as the Ego to whom it belongs. Those who are detached from the World & the Senses, who are not identified with the Body, who perceive the transient nature of all in the World & who yearn for the direct experience of the Knowledge of Reality as it is should so inquire. View the World as transitory, as inert, & as in a passing Dream. Never expect the World to provide what is one’s own Happiness, Identity, & Reality. To transcend it is to remain blissful, at free in the Knowledge of the unreality of the World & the Self’s freedom from that illusion. This is the perception of Reality free of the forms of illusion. Abidance in worldless Being, true perception, transcendence of the World, experience of indivisible Existence, & true experience beyond debate or doubt are for those who inquire to know the Self which is the sole-existent Reality. By the term World is meant all that is perceived, all objects, all activities, all events, the forms of living beings, anything in Space & Time, & anything seen, heard, touched, or sensed in any manner. Transcendence of the World is Liberation from bondage & suffering in relation to all of this. Abandoning the objective outlook constituting the World yields the perception of Reality as it is. Such cannot be by anything of the World, but only by Knowledge of the Self, the Reality that is. Where could one go in the World so that one would be beyond World ? Yet one’s real Being is ever beyond the World, & Knowledge reveals its nature.
The Self is changeless & permanent. The World is changeful & impermanent. Each Object has a creation, a changeful duration & a destruction. This is true for all objects & for the World as a whole, without exception. The Self is permanent with no creation or destruction. The perception of the World depends on the changeful senses. A change in the Senses brings a change in the Object & the World perceived. The Self does not change as the senses do because it is immutable Being & the unchanging Witness of all the changing Senses. A change of mode or state of Mind yields a corresponding change in the Senses & the perceived World. The Self is not changed, being immutable Existence & Consciousness & the witness of the Mind as well as the Senses.
Jungle environments provide cobras, asps & other poisonous vipers that terrify the human population to an extent that any elongated sinuous form like a Rope lying in a dark corner. Seeing through the understandable concept of fear, the jungle inhabitant cannot clearly see the true nature of the Rope. Seeing through the unnecessary concept of Ego, the Samsaric [typical less spiritual] being cannot clearly see the true nature of the Self, the Absolute Reality of Pure Being & Consciousness. Seeing through the fear, the inhabitant imagines a dangerous Snake where there is only a Rope. Seeing through the Ego, the Samsaran [worldy person] imagines a World where there is the Self alone.
Rope–Snakes cannot be seen in broad daylight, nor Rope itself in thick darkness. In broad daylight a Rope does not look like a Snake. The Rope itself cannot be seen in thick darkness; so there is no chance of mistaking it for a Snake. Only in dim light, in the dusk, in light darkened by shadows or in darkness lighted by dim light does a Rope mistakenly seeming to be a Snake. Unless the jungle dweller can release the assumption of a Snake, the false superimposition, it is not possible to perceive the Rope. Unless the individual can release the assumption of an Ego & a world, the false superimposition, it is not possible to perceive the True Self. Dispensing with the Illusion of the Snake, nothing more is needed for the Rope to be clearly known for what it is. Dispensing with the Illusion of the Ego, nothing more is needed for the Self to be clearly known for what it is. Shining a bright light into the dark corner to illuminate the supposed Snake can facilitate recognition of the Rope.
Shining a bright light of Guru’s instruction & Self-Inquiry into the dark corners of the Mind to illuminate the supposed Ego can greatly facilitate recognition of the Self.
Inspection revealed the “Snake” to be a “Rope” – Similar in some ways to Snake & Rope, the Stump & Bandit analogy utilizes the experience of rural country folk in a dangerous region where bandit or attackers of any kind might be lurking in the forest at dusk to pounce upon a passerby. Wary of being caught so close to dark, but still walking through the forest, the rural person might barely pick up the outline of tall tree stump, just vaguely in the corner of his eve, in blurry limits of peripheral vision. As with the Snake & Rope situation: Glancing obliquely in the dim light, through fear, the rural person cannot clearly see the true nature of the stump. Glancing obliquely in the dulled discrimination & focus, through the Ego, the Samsaran cannot clearly see the true nature of the Self. Specifically, looking with blinders this way, the apparent Body [only a jumble of perceptions of such] is taken, in a “side-long glance” to be a “marker”, a symbol for oneself. But in truth the Body is only an innocent “tree-stump”, an inert object. Instead of being the physical actualization of the “bandit”, the Ego, this tree-stump Body is not a real Ego-thief, stealer of Happiness & producer of Suffering. More light [Consciousness] would help the traveler to recognize the stump for what it is, not a Bandit at all. More discriminating awareness [Discrimination] helps one to recognize that the Body is not a knower, a “thief”, & to recognize the Self for what it is, with no Ego at all. Reducing fear & attachment to a security that can never be guaranteed can attenuate tendencies to hallucinate. Reducing all self-concepts & attachments can attenuate tendencies to identify the Self as the Ego. Analyzing the actual likelihood of a bandit’s presence at that time & place can be helpful, to a limited extent. Analyzing the preposterous contradictions inherent in the Ego-idea can be helpful, to a limited extent. Immediately helpful it would be to face the stump directly & examine it without oblique peripheral vision. Immediately helpful it would be to directly inquire into the nature of the Ego to recognize its unreality & make it vanish. Facing the fear, the “bandit” initiates best self-defense & is in the “same direction” needed to recognize the stump.
Inquiring into the nature of the Ego initiates release of concepts & is in the “same subjective direction” needed to recognize the Self.
TREE STUMP BANDIT
Similar in some ways to Snake & Rope, the Stump & Bandit analogy utilizes the experience of rural country folk in a dangerous region where bandit or attackers of any kind might be lurking in the forest at dusk to pounce upon a passerby. Wary of being caught so close to dark, but still walking through the forest, the rural person might barely pick up the outline of tall tree stump, just vaguely in the corner of his eve, in blurry limits of peripheral vision. As with the Snake & Rope situation:
Glancing obliquely in the dim light, through fear, the rural person cannot clearly see the true nature of the stump.
Glancing obliquely in the dulled discrimination & focus, through the Ego, the Samsaran cannot clearly see the true nature of the Self. Specifically, looking with blinders this way, the apparent Body [only a jumble of perceptions of such] is taken, in a “side-long glance” to be a “marker”, a symbol for oneself. But in truth the Body is only an innocent “tree-stump”, an inert object. Instead of being the physical actualization of the “bandit”, the Ego, this tree-stump Body is not a real Ego-thief, stealer of Happiness & producer of Suffering.
More light [Consciousness] would help the traveler to recognize the stump for what it is, not a Bandit at all.
More discriminating awareness [Discrimination] helps one to recognize that the Body is not a knower, a “thief”, & to recognize the Self for what it is, with no Ego at all.
Reducing fear & attachment to a security that can never be guaranteed can attenuate tendencies to hallucinate.
Reducing all self-concepts & attachments can attenuate tendencies to identify the Self as the Ego.
Analyzing the actual likelihood of a bandit’s presence at that time & place can be helpful, to a limited extent.
Analyzing the preposterous contradictions inherent in the Ego-idea can be helpful, to a limited extent.
Immediately helpful it would be to face the stump directly & examine it without oblique peripheral vision.
Immediately helpful it would be to directly inquire into the nature of the Ego to recognize its unreality & make it vanish.
Facing the fear, the “bandit” initiates best self-defense & is in the “same direction” needed to recognize the stump.
Inquiring into the nature of the Ego initiates release of concepts & is in the “same subjective direction” needed to recognize the Self.
Note on true Happiness
Happiness is felt, experienced, sourced & “contained” in the very heart of the conscious Mind.
Happiness is in no way connected [affecting or deriving from] any external Object, but only in & from ourselves. We, as Consciousness, are the One that experiences Happiness.
Though we seem to derive Happiness from external objects or experiences, the Happiness that we actually experience derives from Consciousness at the core of our Being.
Desire for Happiness, fear concerning its diminution or absence, such “thought–waves” or vrittis leave the Mind troubled & unhappy. But “beneath” the superficial Mind, Consciousness ever remains peaceful & happy.
Agitation [rajas guna] in the Mind obscures [tamas guna] innate Happiness in the center of our Being.
Upon temporary satisfaction of obscuring desires, some temporary subsidence of such vrittis in the Mind is felt as “partial happiness” – all to the extent & for that interval consistent with the degree & continuance of subsidence.
That “partial happiness” is a “whiff” of the limitless innate Happiness that is Consciousness.
Sri Shankara, & before him the Buddha, among many sages from various traditions, delineated some details of this illusion of unhappiness. Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths concerning the nature of Happiness could be roughly summarized as follows.
Life is of the nature of Suffering.
Suffering arises from Desire.
Desirelessness is Liberation.
Spiritual practice [as in his 8–fold Path ] is the way to Desirelessness & Liberation.
Further interpretive intuition implicit in the instructions of the Buddha could be extended thus:
Not getting what you want is Suffering.
Getting what you don’t want is Suffering.
Even getting what you want is Suffering, because deep down you know that the temporary enjoyment is fleeting & will slip away, so that future loss is already intuited & is already painful.
Sri Shankara contribute additional insights amid his thorough discussion of the nature of Happiness:
That an external object cannot produce Happiness is suggested by the fact that its enjoyment is less or even absent at certain other times & by certain other people.
Furthermore, increasing access to the supposed “happiness–producing” [such as having twice as much, etc.] does not increase the enjoyment proportionally, & sometime not at all. Even reversal to aversion to excess of the imagined “happiness–source” can be the case.
Further, Happiness is not within the Mind. Mental replay or memory of the supposed “happiness–producing” experience may be slightly enjoyable, but never to full extent of the immediate experience. The Mind cannot fully [or at all] replicate a happy experience, thus possibly leading the former illusion of attributing the Happiness to an external Object.
In fact, it is removal of obscuring mental waves [vrittis], as mentioned above, that allows some glimmer, little or great portion of innate Happiness to shine through.
Full & lasting Happiness, Liberation arises from transcendence of the Mind & naturally complete Renunciation regarding unreal external objects.
Generally, disturbance in the Mind obscures the calm Peace of the Self, which is Pure Consciousness.
To enjoy full & lasting Happiness, we need only return, consciously to the Mind-transcendence naturally but unconsciously experienced on a daily basis in Deep Dreamless Sleep. [Specific hints & instruction in succeeding blogs.]
Note on true Happiness – Happiness is felt, experienced, sourced & “contained” in the very heart of the conscious Mind. Happiness is in no way connected [affecting or deriving from] any external Object, but only in & from ourselves. We, as Consciousness, are the One that experiences Happiness.
Though we seem to derive Happiness from external objects or experiences, the Happiness that we actually experience derives from Consciousness at the core of our Being. Desire for Happiness, fear concerning its diminution or absence, such “thought–waves” or vrittis leave the Mind troubled & unhappy. But “beneath” the superficial Mind, Consciousness ever remains peaceful & happy.
Agitation [rajas guna] in the Mind obscures [tamas guna] innate Happiness in the center of our Being.
Upon temporary satisfaction of obscuring desires, some temporary subsidence of such vrittis in the Mind is felt as “partial happiness” – all to the extent & for that interval consistent with the degree & continuance of subsidence. That “partial happiness” is a “whiff” of the limitless innate Happiness that is Consciousness. Sri Shankara, & before him the Buddha, among many sages from various traditions, delineated some details of this illusion of unhappiness. Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths concerning the nature of Happiness could be roughly summarized as follows. Life is of the nature of Suffering. Suffering arises from Desire. Desirelessness is Liberation.
[new] Janaka–Asthavakra Analogy – One ancient tale of renunciation describes the liberation of the Indian king Janaka which precedes the dialogue with his guru known as the Asthavakra Gita. The wandering vagrant Asthavakra, a homeless man in our time, is abused by some of the citizens. King Janaka compassionately offers his hospitality and protection. Discovering the identity of the wandering guru, Janaka asks of sage Asthavakra about the path to Liberation. In response to Janaka’s question, the sage alludes to “sudden” Enlightenment through absolute surrender of all that he has to the divine. Janaka asks, how sudden? In answer, Ashtavakra declares that Liberation is possible in less time than it takes, having put one foot in the first stirrup, to swing over the other leg and place that foot in the second stirrup. Asking for such liberating teaching, Janaka in turn is questioned by Asthavakra: “What will you give over to God for the priceless gift of Liberation?” Self-surrender emphasizes inner spiritual renunciation in the same selfless extinction of the ego achieved by self inquiry. Requisite for Enlightenment by whatever means is giving every drop of energy, not a bit less, but not a bit more. Traversing the span from ego to Absolute entails a complete giving over of delusion. By either path the giving is the complete giving over of limited personhood. In the story, Asthavakra successively rejects as insufficient each kingly fortune that Janaka offers. Eventually Janaka is thus prompted to offer his entire kingdom and still that is not enough. Asthavakra sees that he has surpassed Janaka’s imagination, so he asks specifically for Janaka’s wife and children, and finally Janaka’s body, and then his mind. With ownership of all this verbally transferred by Janaka, Ashtavakra offers no apparent instruction but calls for horses so that he and Janaka can ride and survey the new kingdom given over. Remaining otherwise silent, the sage mounts up, and Janaka places a foot in the stirrup to do the same. But in this intervening time Janaka has lost his patience and asks: “When do I get the teaching?” Asthavakra’s immediate response is: “You have given over your mind, you have no right to ask questions.” Taking in the completeness of this surrender, Janaka is thereby enlightened before his next foot finds the other stirrup.
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]