NMT (No-Me Teaching) new series 2
A friend of a deep sleeper shakes the sleeper’s shoulder, awakens him rapidly, & asks quickly:
Do you exist ?
The former sleeper responds right away or later relates immediate response in his Mind:
Yes, certainly I exist ! I just know that’s true, spontaneously & undoubtedly.
The Wise questioner counters with an observation & a 2nd confirming question:
Oh I see, you “know” you exist like that.
The freshly awakened asks once for clarification & then listens for a while.
Granted what you say, what is the significance ?
That “inner place” in which you felt that certainty of your Existence, & also that certainty of your knowing so, your Consciousness, is actually the same “place”. Moreover that “place” is not a place, having size or shape, & has no location in Space, or in Time for that matter. The very same “place” where you are certain of your Consciousness is actually your Consciousness itself. As also the very same “place” where you are certain of your Existence, it truly is your Existence, it is what you are, your Self.
And not only your Self, but the same is my Self, & the Self of everyone & all that exist, have ever existed, or will ever exist. That singular Existence or Being is the literal Truth proclaimed by all Enlightened Masters. No culture, gender, creed, or period of history has unique claim to this recognition, this Knowledge known as the Perennial Philosophym as Advaita Vedanta.
Further observations include the fact that very same not-a-place “place”, or Brahman, or the Self is also experienced routinely [“in part, clouded, obscured“] as the Source of Happiness, Love, Bliss, Joy, Peace, Satisfaction, Freedom & the like. These are all one with Consciousness & Being, Happiness in full is often experienced the complete “reference value” we all intuit, perfect Happiness, the goal, whether we currently believe it to be attained or not. That Source of Happiness is the same “place” where true Happiness (not mere pleasure or triumph) is actually felt, routinely. Even the sense of its lack could be said to be felt there along with all negative emotions that seem so [negative] by coloration with conceptual self-delusion.
Much can & has been said & written about all the ramification & also restoring true Self-Identity through the meditation of inward Self-Inquiry. Any sincere seeker can find all that, especially now with the Internet to get started with. Given some sifting through apparently conflicting alternatives (& some are conflicting) & perhaps a few false turns, the one who truly desires Freedom (Liberation from ignorance) will have it, but almost always with guidance of a Guru.
You & I & all are that same Self, though we may seem to be “caught” in a Waking Dream world of Time & Space (at night, other dream words supervene, while in deep sleep, none at all). While seeming so “caught”, we best pursue Self-Inquiry, with authentic texts that support that & qualified live guidance [a Guru]when possible. Other wise we progressively shine in our World (even if obscurely), fulfill responsibilities, relationships, work, etc. in Peace. Any help offered to what can appear as a stricken World & inevitable death in that World, comes from the inner basis, & less-so, the practical basis just described. This quest of Enlightenment, Liberation, is the most satisfying & significant venture possible.
Again, the review of some of the illusory yet seemingly practical obstacles to be overcome in spiritual practice:
Ajnana – ignorance
Avarana / Avriti – veiling
Avidya – “blindness”
Bheda – differentiation
Khandha – separatiom
Maya – illusion
Moha – delusion
Rajas-guna – restless fantasy projection and craving
Samskaras – persistent tendencies
Tamas-guna – dull attenuation of discriminative intensity
Upadhis – modificatioms
Vasanas – deep-seated tendencies
Vikalpas – unquestioned assumptions (Sankalpa’s), doubts
Vikshepa – projection
Vivarta – superimpose
Vrittis – restless patterns of thought
Selected verses from Shankara’s the Vivekachudamani, the “Crest-Jewel of Discrimination”:
65. As a treasure hidden underground requires (for its extraction) competent instruction, excavation, the removal of stones and other such things lying above it and (finally) grasping, but never comes out by being (merely) called out by name, so the transparent Truth of the self, which is hidden by Maya and its effects, is to be attained through the instructions of a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation and so forth, but not through perverted arguments.
82. If indeed thou hast a craving for Liberation, shun sense-objects from a good distance as thou wouldst do poison, and always cultivate carefully the nectar-like virtues of contentment, compassion, forgiveness, straight-forwardness, calmness and self-control.
112. Lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, spite, egoism, envy, jealousy, etc., — these are the dire attributes of Rajas, from which the worldly tendency of man is produced. Therefore Rajas is a cause of bondage.
116. Ignorance, lassitude, dullness, sleep, inadvertence, stupidity, etc., are attributes of Tamas. One tied to these does not comprehend anything, but remains like one asleep or like a stock or stone.
119. The traits of pure Sattva are cheerfulness, the realisation of one’s own Self, supreme peace, contentment, bliss, and steady devotion to the Atman, by which the aspirant enjoys bliss everlasting.
125. There is some Absolute Entity, the eternal substratum of the consciousness of egoism, the witness of the three states, and distinct from the five sheaths or coverings:
126. Which knows everything that happens in the waking state, in dream and in profound sleep; which is aware of the presence or absence of the mind and its functions; and which is the background of the notion of egoism. – This is That.
185. This knowledge sheath, which seems to be followed by a reflection of the power of the Chit, is a modification of the Prakriti, is endowed with the function of knowledge, and always wholly identifies itself with the body, organs, etc.
188. It always mistakes the duties, functions and attributes of the orders of life which belong to the body, as its own. The knowledge sheath is exceedingly effulgent, owing to its close proximity to the Supreme Self, which identifying Itself with it suffers transmigration through delusion. It is therefore a superimposition on the Self.
191. Owing to Its connection with the super-impositions, the Supreme Self, even thou naturally perfect (transcending Nature) and eternally unchanging, assumes the qualities of the superimpositions and appears to act just as they do – like the changeless fire assuming the modifications of the iron which it turns red-hot.
198-199. Avidya or Nescience and its effects are likewise considered as beginningless. But with the rise of Vidya or realisation, the entire effects of Avidya, even though beginningless, are destroyed together with their root – like dreams on waking up from sleep. It is clear that the phenomenal universe, even though without beginning, is not eternal – like previous non-existence.
202. The cessation of that superimposition takes place through perfect knowledge, and by no other means. Perfect knowledge, according to the Shrutis, consists in the realisation of the identity of the individual soul and Brahman.
206. This knowledge sheath (Vijnanamaya Kosha) that we have been speaking of, cannot be the Supreme Self for the following reasons – because it is subject to change, is insentient, is a limited thing, an object of the senses, and is not constantly present: An unreal thing cannot indeed be taken for the real Atman.
207. The blissful sheath (Anandamaya Kosha) is that modification of Nescience which manifests itself catching a reflection of the Atman which is Bliss Absolute; whose attributes are pleasure and the rest; and which appears in view when some object agreeable to oneself presents itself. It makes itself spontaneously felt by the fortunate during the fruition of their virtuous deeds; from which every corporeal being derives great joy without the least effort.
208. The blissful sheath has its fullest play during profound sleep, while in the dreaming and wakeful states it has only a partial manifestation, occasioned by the sight of agreeable objects and so forth.
209. Nor is the blissful sheath the Supreme Self, because it is endowed with the changeful attributes, is a modification of the Prakriti, is the effect of past good deeds, and imbedded in the other sheaths which are modifications.
217. That which clearly manifests Itself in the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep; which is inwardly perceived in the mind in various forms as an unbroken series of egoistic impressions; which witnesses the egoism, the Buddhi, etc., which are of diverse forms and modifications; and which makes Itself felt as the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute; know thou this Atman, thy own Self, within thy heart.
230. Similarly, the whole universe, being the effect of the real Brahman, is in reality nothing but Brahman. Its essence is That, and it does not exist apart from It. He who says it does is still under delusion – he babbles like one asleep.
259. That which is free from differentiation; whose essence is never non-existent; which is unmoved like the ocean without waves; the ever-free; of indivisible Form – that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
267. Even after the Truth has been realized, there remains that strong, beginningless, obstinate impression that one is the agent and experiencer, which is the cause of one’s transmigration. It has to be carefully removed by living in a state of constant identification with the Supreme Self. Sages call that Liberation which is the attenuation of Vasanas (impressions) here and now.
291. That in which there is this reflection of the universe, as of a city in a mirror – that Brahman art thou; knowing this thou wilt attain the consummation of thy life.
296. Therefore give up the identification with this lump of flesh, the gross body, as well as with the ego or the subtle body, which are both imagined by the Buddhi. Realising thy own Self, which is Knowledge Absolute and not to be denied in the past, present or future, attain to Peace.
302. The treasure of the Bliss of Brahman is coiled round by the mighty and dreadful serpent of egoism, and guarded for its own use by means of its three fierce hoods consisting of the three Gunas. Only the wise man, destroying it by severing its three hoods with the great sword of realization in accordance with the teachings of the Shrutis, can enjoy this treasure which confers bliss.
315-316. Look upon everything, under all circumstances, always, everywhere and in all respects, as Brahman and Brahman alone. Through the strengthening of the longing to be one with Brahman, those three are annihilated.
320. One should pass one’s time watchfully, if there be any residue of Prarabdha work left.
325. If the mind ever so slightly strays from the Ideal and becomes outgoing, then it goes down and down, just as a play-ball inadvertently dropped on the staircase bounds down from one step to another.
333. Give up dwelling on the unreal, which causes bondage, and should always fix his thoughts on the Atman as “I myself am This”. For the steadfastness in Brahman through the realisation of one’s identity with It gives rise to bliss and thoroughly removes the misery born of nescience, which one experiences (in the ignorant state).
335. When the external world is shut out, the mind is cheerful, and cheerfulness of the mind brings on the vision of the Paramatman. When It is perfectly realised, the chain of birth and death is broken. Hence the shutting out of the external world is the stepping-stone to Liberation.
344. It is extremely difficult to conquer the projecting power unless the veiling power is perfectly rooted out. And that covering over the Atman naturally vanishes when the subject is perfectly distinguished from the objects, like milk from water. But the victory is undoubtedly (complete and) free from obstacles when there is no oscillation of the mind due to the unreal sense-objects.
349-350. Like iron manifesting as sparks through contact with fire, the Buddhi manifests itself as knower and known through the inherence of Brahman. As these two (knower and known), the effects of the Buddhi, are observed to be unreal in the case of delusion, dream and fancy, similarly, the modifications of the Prakriti, from egoism down to the body and all sense-objects are also unreal. Their unreality is verily due to their being subject to change every moment. But the Atman never changes.
351. The Supreme Self is ever of the nature of eternal, indivisible knowledge, one without a second, the Witness of the Buddhi and the rest, distinct from the gross and subtle, the implied meaning of the term and idea “I”, the embodiment of inward, eternal bliss.
352. The wise man, discriminating thus the real and the unreal, ascertaining the Truth through his illuminative insight, and realizing his own Self which is Knowledge Absolute, gets rid of the obstructions and directly attains Peace.
360. The truth of the Paramatman is extremely subtle, and cannot be reached by the gross outgoing tendency of the mind. It is only accessible to noble souls with perfectly pure minds, by means of Samadhi brought on by an extraordinary fineness of the mental state.
361. As gold purified by thorough heating on the fire gives up its impurities and attains to its own luster, so the mind, through meditation, gives up its impurities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and attains to the reality of Brahman.
363. By this Samadhi are destroyed all desires which are like knots, all work is at an end, and inside and out there takes place everywhere and always the spontaneous manifestation of one’s real nature.
393. The Supreme Brahman is, like the sky, pure, absolute, infinite, motionless and changeless, devoid of interior or exterior, the One Existence, without a second, and is one’s own Self. Is there any other object of knowledge ?
407. This apparent universe has its root in the mind, and never persists after the mind is annihilated. Therefore dissolve the mind by concentrating it on the Supreme Self, which is thy inmost Essence.
408. The wise man realizes in his heart, through Samadhi, the Infinite Brahman, which is something of the nature of eternal Knowledge and absolute Bliss, which has no exemplar, which transcends all limitations, is ever free and without activity, and which is like the limitless sky, indivisible and absolute.
409. The wise man realizes in his heart, through Samadhi, the Infinite Brahman, which is devoid of the ideas of cause and effect, which is the Reality beyond all imaginations, homogeneous, matchless, beyond the range of proofs, established by the pronouncements of the Vedas, and ever familiar to us as the sense of the ego.
410. That which resembles the placid ocean and is without a name, in which there are neither merits nor demerits, and which is eternal, pacified and One.
413. After the body has once been cast off to a distance like a corpse, the sage never more attaches himself to it, though it is visible as an appearance, like the shadow of a man, owing to the experience of the effects of past deeds.
419. The result of dispassion is knowledge, that of Knowledge is withdrawal from sense-pleasures, which leads to the experience of the Bliss of the Self, whence follows Peace.
424. When the sense-objects excite no more desire, then is the culmination of dispassion. The extreme perfection of knowledge is the absence of any impulsion of the egoistic idea. And the limit of self-withdrawal is reached when the mind-functions that have been merged, appear no more.
425. Freed from all sense of reality of the external sense-objects on account of his always remaining merged in Brahman; only seeming to enjoy such sense-objects as are offered by others, like one sleepy, or like a child; beholding this world as one seen in dreams, and having cognition of it at chance moments – rare indeed is such a man, the enjoyer of the fruits of endless merit, and he alone is blessed and esteemed on earth.
453. Prarabdha work is certainly very strong for the man of realization, and is spent only by the actual experience of its fruit; while the actions previously accumulated and those yet to come are destroyed by the fire of perfect knowledge. But none of the three at all affects those who, realizing their identity with Brahman, are always living absorbed in that idea. They are verily the transcendent Brahman.
454. For the sage who lives in his own Self as Brahman, the One without a second, devoid of identification with the limiting adjuncts, the question of the existence of Prarabdha work is meaningless, like the question of a man who has awakened from sleep having any connection with the objects seen in the dream-state.
456. He has no desire to substantiate the unreal objects, nor is he seen to maintain that dream-world. If he still clings to those unreal objects, he is emphatically declared to be not yet free from sleep.
462-463. “If the effects of ignorance are destroyed with their root by knowledge, then how does the body live?” – it is to convince those fools who entertain a doubt like this, that the Shrutis, from a relative standpoint, hypothesize Prarabdha work, but not for proving the reality of the body etc., of the man of realization.
472. Thou, too, discriminate this Supreme Truth, the real nature of the Self, which is Bliss undiluted, and shaking off thy delusion created by thy own mind, be free and illumined, and attain the consummation of thy life.
473. Visualize the Truth of the Self with the eye of clear realization. If the meaning of the (Scriptural) words heard from the Guru is perfectly and indubitably discerned, then it can lead to no more doubt.
474. In the realization of the Atman, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, through the breaking of one’s connection with the bondage of Avidya or ignorance, the Scriptures, reasoning and the words of the Guru are the proofs, while one’s own experience earned by concentrating the mind is another proof.
475. Bondage, liberation, satisfaction, anxiety, recovery from illness, hunger and other such things are known only to the man concerned, and knowledge of these to others is a mere inference.
476. The Gurus as well as the Shrutis instruct the disciple, standing aloof; while the man of realization crosses (Avidya) through Illumination alone, backed by the grace of God.
477. Himself knowing his indivisible Self through his own realization and thus becoming perfect, a man should stand face to face with the Atman, with his mind free from dualistic ideas.
478. Jiva and the whole universe are nothing but Brahman, and that liberation means abiding in Brahman, the indivisible Entity.
479. Realizing, at a blessed moment, the Supreme Truth through the above instructions of the Guru, the authority of the Scriptures and his own reasoning, with his senses quieted and the mind concentrated, (the disciple) became immovable in form and perfectly established in the Atman.
481. My mind has vanished, and all its activities have melted, by realizing the identity of the Self and Brahman.
520. The universe is an unbroken series of perceptions of Brahman; hence it is in all respects nothing but Brahman. See this with the eye of illumination and a serene mind, under all circumstances. Is one who has eyes ever found to see all around anything else but forms? Similarly, what is there except Brahman to engage the intellect of a man of realization ?
531. The consciousness, “I am …”, is independent of circumstances; similar is the case with the realization of the knower of Brahman that he is Brahman.
574. There is neither death nor birth, neither a bound nor a struggling soul, neither a seeker after Liberation nor a liberated one – this is the ultimate truth.
[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 ]