Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Value of Meditation - an excerpt from a satsang

We are all familiar with the feeling of being small and constricted in our heart. When we feel insecure, inadequate, angry, sad, frustrated, blaming, hateful, greedy, jealous, rejected, isolated, craving,  what we do experience is a the sense of smallness or constriction of our sense of being and that is what we are calling as the sense of apoornata.

When we are experiencing a sense of apoornata, naturally our responses to life will come from that sense of Apurnata.  In fact our whole life is run under the spell of apoornata. Apoornata is characterized by the basic sense that I am separate from, different from, distinct from everything else and therefore  naturally I am incomplete. With apoornata there is a sense of dissatisfaction, a sense of all not being well with me.

This sense of apoornata comes from ignorance of my real nature being Poorna, complete, whole.  As we have been studying now the consciousness that one is is totally Poorna. Purna means that there is no form of limitation whatsoever in the consciousness that one is. Infact consciousness is the illumining  presence because of which even the sense of apoornata Is revealed.

In the presence of self revealing consciousness pleasant thoughts, pleasant sensations, pleasant feelings as well as unpleasant thoughts unpleasant sensation unpleasant feelings are revealed. We can use an analogy of the sky, the blue wide open sky, in whose presence the clouds are floating around. These clouds keep changing their shape. They come and go. Our consciousness is like that wide open blue sky, in whose ever-presence, thoughts both pleasant and unpleasant, feelings both pleasant and unpleasant, sensations in the body both pleasant and unpleasant come to go.

As we meditate over a. of time we become aware that we are  an unconditional presence, in whose illumining presence, different types of  thoughts, feelings, sensations, come, mark their presence, only to go away. The consciousness that we are,  we realise is clear. It is not affected or tainted by the quality of thoughts, feelings, sensations, objects that are revealed in its presence.

This is why meditation becomes so important.  This topic of samadhi which is coming up now is meant to show you in what will become the truth for you, when you take to a practice of meditation. Naturally when I say a practice of meditation it means a consistent practice of meditation.

Meditation is a training of your mind. Therefore it requires consistent practice. The nature of the mind is to be restless and to wander. So our first job is to train the mind for ekagrata, for being focused. We can adopt very simple practices for training our mind to be focused at a particular point of attention.  We don't really need guided meditation for training our mind to develop focus. Guided vedantic meditation comes after that and then comes meditation without guidance where you are simply there and you can guide yourself and finally meditation in which you find that you do not really require thoughts to be there - you just are.

So these simple practices of focusing your attention, to develop ekagrata,  are undertaken by just sitting quietly in a very relaxed manner and fixing your attention and observing either on your breath or the sensations in your body or the sounds around you or a mantra or the image of a deity or a picture.  In these kinds of meditation, you are training your mind to come back to a constant point which you have chosen. So whenever the mind wanders away you simply notice it and in a very non-judgemental manner you bring back your attention to wherever you have chosen to fix it, either your breath or the sensations in your body or the external sounds or your mantra. The attitude is one of friendliness, openess, receptiveness to whatever is your experience now.

And in one particular meditation you can even alternate between all of these - for sometime you focus on your breath, the for sometime you can focus on the sensations of your body,  then you can listen to the sounds around you and finally you can come to mantra. The point is that whatever you have chosen to focus your attention on, when your mind wanders you bring it back as soon as you notice it.

These practices themselves are very fruitful because after a while you become aware that thoughts come and go,  feelings come and go, sensations come and go, in the conscious witnessing presence that you are. The conscious presence that you are is not really tainted by any of these. Then it becomes very clear that you are the drg, and these are all drshya - they are mithya because they depend on your conscious presence to reveal themselves, because though  they are imbued with consciousness thru and thru they are all impermanent.

You must become familiar with yourself as being the self-revealing conscious witnessing, illumining presence untainted by whatever is revealed in your presence.

Om Tat Sat

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Psychological Processing of Kashaya- the old hurtful impressions

Kashaya is the term, I use  for indicating old impressions which come up when we are meditating or even in our daily life, which totally hijacking  our wisdom,  put us in a trance of unworthiness , incompleteness, insecurity, fearfulness etc. You cannot avoid kashaya.  It is better to learn how to handle it. Kashaya is actually useful because we can use it to understand what our old out-dated beliefs which no longer serve us are. Kashaya  gives us an opportunity to understand the layers of old beliefs that have the potential to rob us of our wisdom and put us in the old trance of unworthiness and insecurity.  
Since it hijacks our wisdom, it is not possible to have sakshi bhava towards it.  Shastra recommends ignoring it using sakshi bhava,  however unless you are an advanced sadhaka,  you will not find it possible to do that.
Is there a way out?
Yes there is.
Our first assumption for this method to work, is that one is a student of Vedanta, who has had a insight into one’s truth being self-evident, self-revealing, ever-existing consciousness, that is free of one’s mental world. It is not difficult to have this insight if one has been doing pranayama or japa meditation, or any kind of meditation for that matter,  for a while. During pranayama, if one does it consciously, one’s mind becomes very quiet and one finds that the self-evident consciousness one is very much present there. So because of shraddha in Shastra and using  anvaya and vyatireka logic one can come to the conclusion that the self-evident consciousness one is, is always present and it is not dependent upon the condition of the mind. In fact we should use our moments of quietness to firm up this understanding. That is why the practices that enable us to enjoy a quiet mind are useful and important.
When an incident of kashaya  coming up happens, then one wants be able to practice the sacred pause, so that one does not get overwhelmed. How to do that? Any states of mind in which you are feeling you are unworthy and insecure is a result of kashaya -  so as soon as you feel this sense of something not being okay with me, some sense of unworthiness, insecurity, a critical inner voice, feelings of anxiety, anger, shame, fear, hurt and guilt,  it means kashaya has emerged. Recognize it as kashaya  maybe by just whispering to yourself ‘this is kashaya’. Immediately you BREATHE slowly several times and saying to yourself  ‘Time to pause’.
We are not interested in doing anything to make the difficult painful state to go away. We simply recognize it as kashaya  and allow it to be there. There is no attempt to avoid it or fix it or make it go away by doing something. Letting it be there does not mean that we believe in whatever it is saying to us. It is just acknowledging without denial, that these feelings are there. So simply allowing it to be there, we take up the next step.
We allow our cognitive mind to investigate and enquire more into it with interest and gentle care, with a natural curiosity to know the truth.  This naturally demands more focussed attention towards this experience. We can use the following questions to help us :- How am I experiencing this feeling in my body? What is my belief behind this? This is a vulnerable area of my psyche. What is it telling me. What does it most need?
 The kashaya  will be felt in your body somewhere perhaps in the throat, heart, belly as irritation or tightness, or a sinking feeling in your stomach, or restlessness or constriction or even pain. So just pay attention to where in your body you are feeling it.
It is very important  when investigating, that your attitude is  non-judgmental and kind, because that creates a safety net whereby you can honestly connect with your feelings.

Now you can understand your suffering. And let the natural outcome of your understanding that you are suffering, be compassion towards yourself and not demeaning self-criticism or dismissing it as mithya. Compassionately try to sense what that wounded, hurt, frightened part of psyche needs at that time. Don’t think as Vedantins do, that all this is mithya, and so why should I appease it? If it was truly mithya for you, it would not hijack your wisdom.

Now having understood one’s suffering offer a gesture of your care that would address this need of the wounded psyche. Nourish that wounded  psyche. Maybe you need to offer a message of reassurance that you are there to hold and comfort the suffering psyche, even as one would comfort a child in pain. Maybe you need to offer to be there in companionship or love. Maybe a gesture of forgiveness. You will need to discover which gesture of kindness will comfort the wounded psyche. It could be just a whisper. Thich Naht Hanh offers a whisper of comfort such as “Darling I care about your suffering”.  Or it could be ‘I love you’ or ‘I am here for you’ or ‘It’s not your fault’.

It is very healing to additionally gently place a hand on the heart or cheek. What is particularly helpful is  visualizing  the heart center filling up with warm, radiant light.  You can even visualise  your Guru or a loved family member or friend sending you love. Even the smallest gesture of offering love will nourish your psyche.

What happens as a result of this kind of psychological processing, is that there is a space now. In that space you can go to the next level of investigation, to understand the conclusions or beliefs behind the feelings. Possible conclusions centered on ‘I’ may come up, like “I am not lovable”, “I am not worthy”, “I am a failure”, “I am insecure”, “I am not safe”. At the level of your own individuality, you need to be able to dismiss each of these, cognitively. For this you may need to take help of a wiser person.

It is only after this that you are ready to see the kashaya as mithya ­ - in fact as you repeat this process several times, you will find these conclusions no longer affect you the way they did before – now they have become mithya for you and you will be able to appreciate your self to be self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that is invariable in every experience and unaffected by them. Not only that you will recognize that everything here is in the all-pervading consciousness that you are – so nothing is really separate from you.
Om Tat Sat.

.... This article is inspired by Tara Brach's talks on RAIN of Self-Compassions

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Handling Kashaya - the old old hurtful impressions


Every seeker, will be face, at different times, the force of hurtful old old impressions or vasanas. Life is designed to trigger these old stored impressions which come up with a great force, leaving the seeker in a daze, unbelieving of how easily they seem to have forgotten any wisdom, they might have gleaned.

As one's knowing of oneself being the invariable, self-evident, all-pervading consciousness deepens, it seems these old impressions, which were hidden from one's consciousness,  feel safe to surface. These impressions are often wired in with negative conclusions formed from painful experiences in one's childhood, perhaps even in one's previous life. 

A typical example is of the feelings of helplessness which is wired in with the conclusion 'I am alone, unsupported and I can't go on' which could be triggered when a close friend suddenly leaves the body. When these feelings surface, they appear very very real and it is extremely difficult to recognize them for what they are - which is old impressions in the memory which in the current situation are not relevant.

So the first thing is to be able to recognize that they are old impressions which are not based on the truth of  one's life today. These old impressions are useful, in as much they reveal the unresolved areas of one's psyche. So their being triggered reveals an occasion for emotional growth.

 Viveka (discriminationat the vyavaharika  (empirical)  level is required. For the above example, one would again list out one's support system etc. so that one is able to recognize that these are old old impressions which have been triggered.

Having understood this, one invoke's one's cognitive self and again becomes aware that in point of fact one is the self-evident,ever full consciousness, in whose presence these old impressions are being illumined. As ever full consciousness, one is pure love, pure acceptance and so one remains in utter non-resistance, in loving acceptance of these old feelings - holding them as it were in one's loving presence. One does not try to get rid of them through some technique - instead one allows one's heart to be soft and open allowing the stream of one's loving conscious presence to surround, inundate the old painful feelings - and over time, in that non-resisting loving presence they resolve. 

When they resolve one allows oneself to see the falsity of the conclusions based on insecurity and inadequacy, behind the old old feelings. One must be able to see  conclusions based on taking the body-mind to one's self, as false. A FALSE CONCLUSION MUST BE SEEN AS FALSE.  When one allows one's heart to soft and open, one is giving reality to one's wholeness.

Learning to allow one's heart to be open and soft toward unpleasant, painful situations in one's life, which one cannot change is an invaluable sadhana.  Letting go of one's resistance to life as it presents itself in its varying colours and hues, allows one to grow emotionally. Understanding of Ishvara as the infallible order in life  and surrendering to Ishvara, in the form of whatever situation one faces, changing what can be changed, and accepting what cannot be changed allows for great emotional growth.

Om Tat Sat

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Coming back to one's real self

My best friend and mentor leaves his body. The feeling is 'I am lost/alone'.

The feeling I am lost is seen. Who sees this feeling? Is the one who sees the feeling lost?   Can the one who witnesses the feeling be lost?

The feeling 'I am lost/alone' comes and goes. When it comes, one's attention is fully on it. One believes in it. One identifies fully with it and one says 'I am lost, disconnected, alone' and consequently feels sad, bereft etc.

When one is distracted because of doing something else, one's attenton moves away from the conclusion and one is free of the sadness till such time as one is distracted.

Now the question is am I whatever I am feeling? I say it is 'my feeling'. If it is 'my' feeling ...it must be different from me, the one who is aware of the feeling.

Is the one who is aware of the feeling, the same as the feeling?

Because when the feeling goes I am aware of that too. So I am constant awareness in whose presence the feelings/ conclusions come and go. I am different from what I witness.

Can I shift my attention to who I am, instead of giving my attention to whatever I am feeling and then believing and identifying totally with it?

Attention is a power I have.
Believing is a power, as is identifying.

When I give my attention to what I witness, believe in it as my reality and identify with it ...i am not in alignment with who I really am....which is simple awareness-consciousness free of whatever is witnessed in my presence.

To give one's attention to anything is a CHOICE. To turn ones attention from the object, to the one who is aware of the object is a choice in which the attention and choice gets swallowed and one remains as objectless awareness.

Awareness-I is always free of all that is witnessed in its presence....be they be external objects or internal ones.

Without understanding this when I use any coping method, it is giving reality to the feeling  as being the truth about me the one who is in reality only a witness.

Understanding this, one can use a coping method as an interim measure to get some space inside, when the identification  with whatever one is feeling is too strong.
Om Tat Sat

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Upadesha Saram Verse 8

In the first two verses, we saw that Shri Ramana criticizes karma as incapable of giving us what we really want in our life, which is permanent peace and  security  called as param, which is in other words, freedom from limitation. Then in verse 3, 4, 5 Shri Ramana, shows that karma is not totally useless. It is capable of giving us antah-karana shuddhi, when there is the attitude of karma-yoga in the form of ishvara-arpitam karma, and the attitude of prasada-buddhi -  the attitude gracious acceptance of all life-situations, pleasant and unpleasant, knowing them to be coming from the Lord as the giver of all results of actions. The main aim of karma-yoga being gaining mastery over one's ways of thinking. 
We saw before that when there is mastery over one’s mind we find ourselves:-
1.Comfortable with our self and the world.
2. We enjoy a non-reactive mind and therefore growing degrees of calmness and cheerfulness.
3. We become less and less emotionally dependent on the world for our sense of well-being – this is because, we are no longer bound by our raga-devsha.
4. Consequently our desire for self-knowledge grows and we are able to spend more and more time and energy for our sadhanas and for study.
In verse 6 Shri Ramana touched on meditation or upasana in the form of silent japa. We saw that upasana is defined as a flow of thoughts centered on the Lord, undistracted by dissimilar thoughts. Shri Ramana compared this flow of thoughts in verse 7, to the continuous flow of a thick viscous fluid like ghee poured from one vessel to another. So initially an effort is required to get a continuous flow of thoughts and later on with practice, the upasana will be effortless like the flow of a river.
Upasana upon the Lord does involve duality initially. Because the one who is meditating, being the created, is different from the Lord, the creator. So for the meditator, the Lord is sarvajna, sarvashaktiman, sarvavyapi  and therefore infinitely superior to the meditator.
Thus in this kind of upasana also called as bheda upasana the basic attitude is ‘I am different from the Lord’. So one takes oneself to be limited to the body-mind and one is unable to see the identity of oneself with the Lord. Thus one is a devotee meditator, who looks upon Lord as separate from oneself as one’s well-wisher, support, guide, protector. This kind of meditation will give the drhsta-phalla of steadiness of mind and purification of mine. It will also give the adrshta phalla of punya, the Lord’s Grace.  For this type of bheda upasana the Lord can be invoked in any form and prayed to in any language. It is indeed noble and auspicious to mediate on the Lord in this manner.
However if the Lord is considered to be basically different from oneself, then one can never be free from one’s sense of limitation.  Thus in verse 8 Shri Ramana says :-
bhedabhaavanaat soham’ityasau
bhaavanaabhida paavani mataa
Instead of meditating with an attitude of duality (such as ‘I am different from the Lord’) the non-dual vision ‘He I am’ is purifying.
Thus one needs to progress from bheda upasana  to abheda upasana. How to progress? Firstly one can have full reverential trust in the fact revealed by the Scriptures that Lord and I are not different  - there is oneness between the Lord and I. One has deep love for the Lord, and one can’t bear to be separate from the Lord. So the attitude is of wanting oneness and one fuses with the Lord through bhakti in meditation. Eventually the grace earned through meditation, will lead you to a teacher who will unfold the oneness.
Shri Ramana points out that this attitude of oneness with the Lord is better than an attitude of being separate from the Lord.
The vision of the scriptures is “so’ham” which means ‘He I am’. How can this be so? That is unfolded in the teaching.
In Bhagavad-Gita and Tattvabodha we saw that the Lord is the conscious being, who is the intelligent cause as the creator, and who is the material cause of the universe as the very isness or existence of space and time and everything in space and time. That sat or isness is the fundamental material out of which everything is manifest. The universe is an effect and being an effect, the cause pervades the universe in a two-fold way – as the intelligence,as the all-knowledge that manifests as all the laws of cause and effect that pervades this universe of energy and matter. Scientists have also begun to understand oneness of the universe (saguna brahman). Here is what a scientist Gregg Braden writes;” We are not separate objects floating around in empty space, but part of an undulating, pulsing, multidimensional; uni-being organism from the realm of all suns and planets down to the sub-atomic quantum level.  All vibrating together at various frequencies, transmitting, absorbing, digesting, reflecting, radiating light and energy, endlessly held together by this invisible yet omnipresent force of consciousness.” The same scientist writes again “All things are interconnected through consciousness from the farthest reaches of outer space the macrocosm, to the farthest reaches of inner space, the microcosm and quantum physics – all are reflections of one thing.”
Our scriptures point out again and again that this Consciousness, the Lord, pervades the body-mind as the very intelligence that makes it what its is. The very same consciousness pervades the body-mind as the very fundamental  material of isness or existence. Skin is, bone is, flesh is, muscle is, gland is, cell is – It is the isness or sat taking on different forms  as skin, bone flesh, muscle, gland etc., – as feelings, thoughts, sensation, ego – as the diverse universe of sentient beings and insentient objects. When the Lord is everything in this universe, the body-mind in reality, belongs to the Lord. So where shall I put my ‘I’?
Who am I? Body, sense-organs, prana,  mind, intellect, ahankara,  the world – all these are objects of my knowledge. I am the subject, the one who knows them. In myself,  I am simple conscious being. Space and time are in my awareness. The universe is in my awareness. My mind is in my consciousness.  The intellect is in my awareness. Every thought, feeling, activity, sensation.... every experience of waking, dream and even deep sleep – are all in my awareness-consciousness. All these are objects of my consciousness. They come up, to go, in my consciousness. All these experiences are in time. Whereas the witnessing consciousness-awareness that I am, is always there. I am the fundamental consciousness, the fundamental level of existence who is not in time. This unchanging ever-present consciousness that I am, is the Lord – so’ham. He Indeed I am. When taught like this, we can directly see it and know it.
However our notions are very strong. And the so’ham meditation first as an upasana  in which I recognize that the body-mind cannot be separate from the Lord. Later in nidhidhyasana, I recognize that the fundamental consciousness that I am is indeed the Lord.
Shri Ramana points out that this abheda meditation is paavani mata -  that which is considered most sacred because it is based on truth and it free you forever from the sense of limitation that one has.
As Upasana, instead of invoking the Lord on a deity outside, one invokes the Lord within oneself because the Lord is all-pervading. In Upasana one must see the fact that the Lord pervades one’s body and mind being the nimitta-upadana karana. This kind of an upasana prepare you for self-knowledge.
It is worth noting that Taittiriya Upanishad says ‘uta antaram kurute atha tasya bhayam bhavati’ -  if one makes even the slightest difference between oneself and the Lord, one is fearful. Shastra consistently points out that where there is a belief in duality, there is the sense of limitations and so naturally there is either desire to complete oneself, or fear. Meditation on the identity between the Lord and I, on the other hand is paavani – most sacred as it destroys the sense of incompleteness  therefore eventually destroys the greatest of fears mrtyu bhayam.
Some people object to the attitude of non-duality saying that if I become God how can I love Him? Is God really another object whom I can love, like I love my parents and family? Shastra very practically points out that in reality we love only our self. How so? We love others because they are instrumental in bringing out the sense of purnata,  they bring out the pleased self in us. So what we love is really only our own pleased self. Husband loves his wife because she brings out his pleased self. So in love, in reality, there is no second thing. Not understanding this the person says ‘how can I love God if I become God’.
Love for the Lord is the most exalted love – it is called parama prema- in parama prema you cannot keep yourself separate from the Lord. You realize that the Lord is infinite – totally limitless – so how can the Lord exclude you? If Lord is separate how can the Lord be infinite? Can the limitless Lord be separate from the world? Can the limitless Lord be separate from ‘I’?
Proper enquiry will help you understand first that even as an individual , identified with the body-mind complex, you cannot be separate from the Lord. The next level of appreciation of the Lord is recognizing that as self-revealing, self-evident Consciousness, I am indeed  He. This is real bhakti where there is no duality possible. I simply fuses into the Lord.
This happens when the ahankara, the false-I, surrenders its notional ownership of the body-mind complex. Without self-knowledge, we take ourselves to be distinct entities separate from the Lord.  As a distinct entity I become an individual devotee of the Lord.
But the point is am I really a distinct entity separate from Bhagavan? As we saw earlier, my body,my mind, my intellect, all are included in the universe, which is the Lord. So I can never be separate from the Lord.
The only way I can be separate is through ignorance and ignorance born thinking and behaviour.
This understanding that everything belongs to the Lord is surrendering one’s notional ownership of everything including the body-mind. This is real bhakti. This is advaita bhakti.
Thus in the knowledge ‘I am the Lord – so’hum – there is no separation. Now is there a difference between bhakti and knowledge? Seeking knowledge of the Lord is also bhakti – not just puja japa etc. It is indeed most auspicious assimilating this advaita bhakti – hich we will see further in the next sessions.

Om Tat Sat

Friday, December 29, 2017

You are the witness of waking, dream and deep-sleep experience

Excerpt from a Satsang
As you have been seeing, Vedanta is a methodology of teaching, which reveals to you that you are self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that is neither matter nor energy.  In romantic language I can say you are Divine – by Divine I would mean you are something which is not of this world of matter and energy – you are non-material consciousness. The consciousness that you are is neither the body nor the mind. It is the permanent, independent reality that supports, sustains, illumines and enlivens the ever-changing mind, body and world. It is the invariable presence in every experience of waking, dream and deep-sleep, which can never be negated, which is always effortlessly present.,
The consciousness that you are is present in waking state. When waking gives way to the dream state, it does in the presence of the invariable consciousness that you are. When dream gives way to the deep-sleep state, the consciousness that you are is present. Consciousness is the sakshi, the one in whose presence these three states are illumined.
Each of these three states of experience, depends on consciousness to illumine them and enliven them. Like wave depends on water, the three states depend on consciousness.  Again like water is free of the wave, as the wave does not have an independent existence to  limit water in any way, so too Consciousness, being satya, absolute independent reality, is free of the three states which are mithya –  dependent, changing reality.
The question was asked atma kah?  Who is atma?  Who is the self?
To answer this,Vedanta being a teaching methodology, first negates what the self  is not. Why? Because there is already a firmly ascertained conclusion regarding who the self is. Each of us has a self-identity in place – which is a mixture of self (consciousness that is the non-negatable, permanent independent reality satyam)  and non-self (the dependent, changing reality of the body and mind). It is this mixture that poses as the self.
So Shruti (Vedanta) having to first point out that what is ‘I’ is indeed distinct from whatever it is taken to be says – the self is sthula-sukshma-karana-sharira vyatirikta.  The self, is neither the physical body, nor the mind, nor the causal ignorance. Nor is it the five levels of experiences of the body, vital energy, emotions, thoughts, ego or ignorance. In fact it is the avastha-traya-sakshi, the invariable self-evident consciousness in whose presence the waking state, dream and deep-sleep states are illumined, sustained and enlivened.
Thus the self-evident consciousness that one is, being SAT, is the independent reality that sustains every experience  and is yet uninvolved or unaffected by any experience.
This is not easy to accept. So some supporting logic is given. That everything is changing, and changing all the time, is a matter of our experience. To know change of state of being to another state of being, for any object – there must a changeless presence who witnesses the change. Shastra (Vedanta) points out that the consciousness that you are, is that changeless presence, who witnesses all the changes that take place in the three states of experience of waking, dream and deep sleep. You, the self-evident consciousness are invariable and changelessly present in every experience of waking, dream and deep-sleep.
Waking, dream and deep-sleep are states of experience – they come to go and you are changelessly present in all of them. This is a fact which one must know and assimilate.
The purpose of the avastha-traya-prakriya  is to highlight the fact that different experiences come to go ... in the changeless invariable presence that is the self-evident consciousness that is you.
Tattvabodha goes into detail of what is the waking-state, dream state and deep-sleep state. When you are experiencing waking states, you use your physical body, sense and mind and you are given the name Vishwa in that state.
When you are experiencing the dream-state you have withdrawn from the physical body and sense, yet your mind is active. Shastra gives you the name Taijasa in the dream state.
When you are experiencing the deep-sleep state you have withdrawn identification from the physical body and mind, only prana is functioning. In this state you are totally free of any limiting conclusion and so you have the name praajnah here. You, consciousness are present illumining the absence of the subject-object relationship. In waking and dream states, you experience the subject-object relationship. In deep-sleep state the mind is not active and so there is an absence of the subject-object relationship.
The example I usually give is that of a lighted room. There is a room with a central light. Many objects can be seen in the room as they are all illumined by that light. Now you remove all the objects in the room. The light continues to be there illumining the absence of all objects in the room.

You are consciousness endowed with 3 bodies – physical, subtle and causal - each more subtle than the previous.  Identified with all three of them you are a waker. But in yourself who are you – is the waker intrinsic to you? Is the waker you? Or is the dreamer you? Or is the deep-sleeper you?

Here is a crystal with a purple coloured cloth behind it. The crystal looks purple coloured. Yet if we think the purple colour belongs to the crystal that would be an error, because when you remove the cloth, you see the crystal is crystal clear! The purple cloth is an upadhi for the crystal – it makes the crystal appear to be other than what it is. So too the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body are upadhi’s for atma who is pure consciousness free of the physical body, the subtle body and the mind. If you take the self to be the physical body, the subtle body or the causal body it would be an error.
The crystal example is a good one. In reality the crystal is clear – do you really have to remove the purple cloth to render the crystal clear of the colour? I leave you with that question!

Om Tat Sat

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nidhidhyasana- Baby Steps

Now comes a very important topic of this teaching – namely bringing it into my life, in my understanding of myself. My understanding of who I am, has to match with what we have studied. So before we get into the topic of samadhi, let us understand the few first steps.

The very first step is sharangati – so  the mind is free from seeking security and pleasure in anitya jagat and more or less free from fear, anxiety, hurt, guilt, anger, sadness and mental restlessness. This kind of mind-set is required for this study to become fruitful in one’s life.

The simple prayer I sent out today, is a prayer that is based on sharangati. It will bring about sharantagati. What was the prayer?

Om Harih Sharan

Om Vishwa-chaitanyaya namah

 O Lord, my profound thanks, a thousand, thousand times unto You who are all-powerful,all-knowing, who are here, there and everywhere.

 Whatsoever I am, whosoever I am, I am Your and Yours alone. You are my support, my Guide, my Protector.

 Your Divine Light  is always with me. Bless me, at all times, with unswerving devotion towards You, who are the Truth.

 Om Harih Sharanam

Om Vishwa-Chaitanyaya Namah

 Now assuming we have sharanagati we go ahead  in understanding the truth about ourselves.

Ask yourself, do I understand myself as self-evident consciousness. If I do not, then we must start there itself. Who am I? I am consciousness that is self-revealing. And everything else is an object of my consciousness. Is this clear to me? Do I understand myself as svaprakash chaitanyam?

If it is not clear to you totally – then ask yourself, who do I think I am? Many different ideas will come up. Your roles in life will certainly come up. So now examine them – are they not objects of your awareness, objects of your consciousness – because you know them. You are the knower of your roles, distinct from them. Can you see this clearly? If not, spend time understanding this fact.

As knower of the roles you assume, you are a conscious being. And nobody needs to tell you that you are conscious. You are self-evident consciousness, in whose presence the roles which involve identification with the instruments of body and mind, are known.  So do you understand that the body and mind are instruments of experience, rather than you. You are the conscious being who USES the mind and body, by identifying with them, to have different experiences. This consciousness that you are is a continuous constant presence – it is present in every experience of waking, dream and deep-sleep, witnessing as it were every experience.

This fact must become very very clear.

How to become clear about this? By spending dedicated time to see these facts again and again. When you are doing anything, just pause and step back, and ask yourself right now who am I? Am I what I objectify or am I the one who objectifies, using the mind as an instrument to objectify?

As the one who objectifies, am I not consciousness? For me to be consciousness, do I need anything else – do I really need a thought to be consciousness? Or is it that thought is revealed in my conscious  presence?

Just do this again and again – until you totally assimilate that you are self-revealing consciousness and everything else is an object of your consciousness. Body and mind are naturally included in objects of consciousness. And you are consciousness that is a continuous constant presence in every experience.

You go to the next step only after understanding the previous one. This assimilation you have to do. The teaching can only take you this far. The assimilation is to be done by each of us.

The next step is to understand very intimately that consciousness is the changeless, independent illuminator of every experience  and is not displaced by any experience. Use the example of light to understand this – is light displaced by whatever it illuminates? In the presence of light all objects are revealed. Whatever is seen does not in any way change the light does it? Light is formless, it pervades the objects illumined and yet it is never stained by them.

Similarly in the presence of the light of self-revealing consciousness that you are, every thought, feeling, decision, doubt, sensation, activity, body is revealed – they are all known, drshya and they have no power to change consciousness in any way. Again in terms of reality, they are mithya, so they cannot change consciousness. Like wave does not change water, or ornament does not change gold. Consciousness is not an object to be changed by another object. Consciousness that you are is SATYA- whereas drshya is mithya.

Again understand intimately that consciousness is the changeless principle because of which it is possible to know change. To know change, we need a changeless reference or substratum and consciousness that you are is that changeless substratum. The changeless nature of consciousness must be assimilated very thoroughly.

Spend time to assimilate the differences between consciousness-you and objects of consciousness. Consciousness is never an object. Drshya is ever an object. Consciousness is always present, always the same. Drshya is changing all the time. Consciousness is the independent reality, whereas drshya is dependent on many factors, and eventually dependent on consciousness. Drshya is jadam, not self-revealing. Whereas consciousness is self-revealing. Drshya is limited, consciousness is not.….. and so on and so forth.

So thus we need to spend dedicated time to assimilate what we have studied, so that we can own up the knowledge. That spending dedicated time is called as nidhidhyasana.