Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Secret of Time – Swami Dayananda

For the question Atma kah ? Avasthatrayasaksi saccidananda svarupah |

The saksi means saksat iksate, one who lights up, one who witnesses.

So the self assumes the status of being a witness with respect to an object witnessed. But in its own essential nature, what is it? It is said, cit.
Cit means awareness without any qualification, without any adjective, ….. Usually consciousness or awareness the word are associated with awareness of something. Here cit is not like that …. It is just awareness as such.

Cit is awareness, that which is not qualified, which is in the form of awareness as without doing the job of being aware of anything. It's nature is to light up whatever that happens in the mind, and through the mind everything else is lighted up. So, this awareness is said here as sat. It is sat cit ananda. That is the definition given here.

That awareness is said to be sat. The word sat, as we have seen, is the word that is used ontologically, that anything that does not depend upon anything else for its existence is satyam. If any thing depends upon something else, it is called mithya. This awareness is not dependent upon anything else for its existence. Its nature is awareness and therefore it is not something that depends upon anything else. This is number 1.

Another definition of sat that is given here is, that which is in all the three periods of time. That
which existed before, that which exists now, and that which will exist later. Means, not at all dependent upon time.

Everything that depends upon time is mithya. So, that which does not depend upon time is satyam. Time is an important factor which determines also the nature of mithya. So, anything that is now, not later, is mithya; even your ignorance is mithya. Why? because it is there now, and later it won't be. If it is later, then there won't be any study necessary. And therefore ignorance also is mithya.

Now it is, later it need not be. So, ignorance is mithya, because it is time-bound. That which is not time-bound is satyam.

Now how can you (prove that) this awareness is not time-bound. `Awareness is not time-bound' means it doesn't come into being (because of) at a given time. It doesn't exist in time. If it exists in time, awareness will age. It will become old awareness. Time will always tell upon any object that happens to be in time. So time is not something which will leave anything alone as it is. That is the nature of time. Therefore you will have wrinkled awareness. Awareness will develop wrinkles over a period of time. It is said (going to be said), awareness is not bound by time.

What is time? If you analyse the nature of time, time is always construed by you in terms of past, present, and future. This is all good for grammar and also for looking for your bank balance. If you really analyse the nature of time, the past itself when it existed it was present.

When past was, it was present. It was therefore all along present. Future, when it comes to exist, it will be present. Now the future is purely a figment in your mind. It has no real existence apart from its coming into being as time. So when future comes to pass, future will always come into being in the form of present. So, the past was present. Future will be present. Present of course is present. So, Past was present in its own time when it existed. And future will be present; and present is present. And therefore if you want to know really what is time, you should know what is present.

So we can consider the present as the soul of time – what we call as now. This now, present, if you want to know what it is all about, you have to understand the length of time involved in the present.

When you think of the present, what length of time can you impute to the present?
Present means time. Time means a length must be there. What would be the length of time in your understanding the present?

It is a very controversial thing. The present kalpa. Svetavarahakalpa (name also we have got, the White Pig Kalpa) and then the kalpa has got many manvantara (vaivasvata now) then we have got yugas. Kaliyuga. Then in the kaliyuga also there are many centuries. Now we are in the twentieth century. Can we say century is present? This twentieth also is from the stand-point of A.D. Problem. This is not the case. There are many centuries (not 20th).

Therefore you can say the present century. But that is also not present. There is present decade, present year, present month, present week, the present day, the present noon (after or before). The noon is just within a second. It lasts only a second. It strikes twelve: it is noon. If it is a second before or after, it is forenoon or afternoon, it is called abhidhita kala. The present is noon.

Let us say, an hour. Present hour. If the present is an hour, an hour has got 60 minutes. This sixty minutes is nothing. It is too long a period. So, what is present? One minute. Then it has got 60 seconds. So, what is present? A second. One second is great. Light travels so much in one second. So, one second is a very big thing in electronics. Therefore in commercial they charge you by seconds. So one second is too much. (In firing of space ships, rocket, one second matters.) Now therefore they have divided a second into so many microseconds. There are so many microseconds. Then picoseconds. Then again 1/10,00,000 part of a second. That is also further divided. They are ten of them. There are so many of them. Further divided, further divided...

Then what is present? Our ancient teachers, conceived an idea to tell you the length of time to think of the present. They said, even that is not present, it is just to give an idea. Suppose there is a flower bud with thousands of petals and you take a neat sharp needle, a clean needle. You take the bud and send this needle through the bud: and what time does it take? a split second. And you take the needle out. Then afterwards you see, every petal has got a hole. What time does the needle take to make one hole? That is time. What time does it take to make one hole? That is all time. This is how they used to think of time. So the Indian mind has thought about time so much. So they went all the way to ages, digits, hundreds of digits and then they came to this also. What time does the needle take to make one hole in a thousand-petaled bud? Like this, what is really time, present?

If you analyse it mathematically, you can always go -- divide -- so you can go on dividing and dividing. So thus you can say 0.000,000,000,000,01 and again put one more zero before the 1. The problem is very knotty. You can go on endlessly. You won't get to the present.

Then when will be the present, tell me. The present is when there is no length of time. That is the present. There is an observer of time. There is an awarer of time. So the awarer of time, when he has no length to be aware of, then what do you have? Awareness. Which is what? Which is present.

So, awareness is present. The soul of time is what? AwarenessConsciousness.

So you are what? You are the soul of time. You are time-bound or you are adhisthana of time?

So, it is something like shirt and cloth.

The shirt is, cloth is.

Time is, awareness is. Time resolves in the present and what is there? Awareness is.

Therefore there is no time without the basis of awareness. Awareness is not bound by time. This is called timelessness. This is what is, we say, eternal. Eternal is not hanging around in time for some time.

So that which is the very basis of time, that which is the content of time, on which time has its being, and itself not bound by time -- that timelessness is "present". And that present never grows to become past or to become future. It is the soul of time; the truth of time. Therefore everything else is existing in time and the whole universe is existing in time and time's nature is awareness. Time's nature is awareness. Time is awareness. Whether length of time is there or it is not there, it is awareness. Like wave is water, time is awareness.

Time resolves, awareness is. In deep sleep time does resolve. It is not that you don't have the experience of this. Time does resolve in deep sleep. There is no time in sleep. The moment you go to sleep, time also is gone. Time gone, place gone, all situations gone.

Only the thing that doesn't go. What is that? Awareness. Everything gone.

How many hours did you sleep without dream last night? Can you say that? One fellow said, "I went to bed at ten O'clock. I got up at six. So I slept eight hours." You are telling me how many hours you were in bed. That is not my question. I asked you how many hours you slept without dream. Calculate.

"Swamiji, who takes all this into account? I did not take into account."

"Okay, today you take into account. Tonight, when you go to sleep, make a note, how many hours you are going to sleep. For this you have to make sure one thing. To find out how many hours you slept, you must know the beginning of sleep and afterward when you wake up you must note the time. Then you can easily calculate. You are a very good calculator. So you can, you have to only register the beginning of sleep. When exactly the sleep begins. That time you should make a note. Tonight take a piece of paper and pen and keep by the side of you. The moment you go to sleep, immediately make a note. Don't ask somebody else to make a note. Because somebody else, how he would know that you have slept or not? only you know."

"Swamiji, if I sleep, others can find out."

"I can't trust; that becomes something you sleep without snoring. Sometimes you snore without sleeping, too. And therefore I can't really believe that. Therefore the only thing you have to note, the moment you go to sleep."

"Not possible."

The observer of time has gone to sleep meaning the mind has gone to sleep. With reference to mind, you are the observer. The mind has gone to sleep. There is no time either. Therefore sleep is a state when you experience no time. In dream you experience time. That also tells what the time is. In dream you experience 25 years in 25 seconds, you become old and all in dream. All that is possible. One second = one year. It is a time series. That is the nature of time. So when your mind sets itself into a type of time series, that is the time experience that you have. That is the reason why sometimes when you are waiting for someone, time hangs on. When you are absorbed in something, time flies. So that is the relative nature of time.

Therefore time is. It all depends upon your attitude, mind etc., that time is. Even the chronological time, the time taken for the light to travel distances, that time, even that chronological time, the earth to go round the sun spinning on its orbit, what time does it take to make one spin, this time -- all time whether it is chronological time or subjective time, all time is nothing but present.

Present is nothing but the presence of awareness alone. The awareness is the svarupa of kaalam, time. And therefore awareness does not come into being.

Suppose let us say, awareness begins. Then how do you know its beginning?

You can know the beginning of a thing only when you are aware of its absence before its beginning. "Swami enters," you can say. You can know that only when you were there in the absence of Swami, you must be there. The observer you must be there before the beginning of an event. Then only you can arrive at the beginning of an event.

Any event, any beginning, presupposes the observer's existence before the event's beginning.
And similarly any departure can be registered only when you see the later absence. Then departure is clear. You the observer must be there. Therefore the beginning implies prior absence, the end implies the later absence. Both the absence you must be aware of.

Example : A pot is born. There is a horoscope for the pot. So you can make it if you are an observer. Just when the pot is taken out from the wheel, you make a note of what the time is. So, previously it was not. The fellow was standing there. That now it has begun.

So the ghatapragabhava, the pot's prior absence or non-existence, which you are aware of it, you are observing it. And therefore you know ghata began, the pot was born. Similarly, pot is destroyed: You see what? The later non-existence of the pot. Therefore the begining of the later non-existence of the pot is the beginning of the pot. Pot means = namarupa.

Another example: Think of a pot. What is there in your mind? Pot-thought. When did this pot-thought begin? Just now. Now, how do you know just now it began? Because you are aware of the prior absence of pot-thought. Pot-thought is gone: How do you know? Because of the later absence. After the thought has gone, I am there. Therefore I am survivor of the pot-thought. Therefore I can say pot-thought is gone. Therefore there is awareness of the condition before the pot-thought. Therefore I can say, "Pot-thought began." "Pot-thought is gone," because there is awareness of the absence of pot-thought; after the departure, the absence of pot-thought I am aware of. And therefore there is an awareness prior to the beginning of the pot-thought, there is an awareness after the pot-thought.

So too for awareness to begin you must be aware of the prior absence of awareness; before awareness began you must be aware of the absence of awareness. That means there must be awareness of that …. hey that is the awareness I am talking about. The awareness because of which you are aware of all beginnings, all ends, all departures, and all arrivals, that awareness has no beginning and no end.

So what is eternal? Eternal is therefore timelessness. That which is not subject to birth, growth, death, aging, etc. Asti, vardhati, + First jayate. It is. It is growing. It is old. It is gone. All these are registered by what? Because of awareness. That awareness is not subject to birth etc.

What is that awareness? It is I. Not elsewhere. That I, what you say as `I,' happens to be awareness which is not bound by time. Therefore the conclusion `I am mortal' is due to what? Due to ignorance and error.

Mere ignorance is okay. In sleep you have mere ignorance. There is no problem also. Do you have a problem in sleep? No. That is why everybody loves sleep. When you are sleeping what problem do you have? Everybody else around you may have problem. Therefore ignorance is not a problem.

In sleep there is mere ignorance. You don't know anything about you there. At the same time, there is no error. Once the mind is up... So the enlightenment is for whom? Enlightenment is not for awareness. For whom is it? Mind only. Manasa eva anudrastavyam. By mind alone you have to resolve the problem created by the mind.

Therefore one good thing about awareness is that it is very much with the mind all the time. Only we have to remove the notions. What we are doing now is we are removing all the notions... Time notion, `I am the mortal' notion, is removed. What is there then is pure simple awareness. And this awareness is not subject to time. Therefore satyam. Satyam is sat and chaitanyam is cit.

Now who are you? I am sat cit. In fact, when you say `I am' what do you mean? Am = sat, and I is cit. I is always cit because I is the subject. About that cit I understand something.

`Understand' means I am no more ignorant about cit. That means, cit, I, is not subject to time. That it is subject to time -- I no more have this conclusion. Therefore cit becomes sat. I understand cit as sat. When you say I am, awareness is. Am = is. I am = in fact I is, you is, etc. Is is the nature of awareness. It exists all the time. It is not sunyam. It is not `O' or non-existent. It is the content of time itself. All existence is in terms of time. This is something, that content of time itself. Timelessness is called sat and cit.

One more word is added here. That is aanandah most confused word. This awareness is not subject to time; therefore not subject to death. Again, it is not spatially limited; it has no spatial limitation.

`Spatial limitation' means what? A particular form. This room is spatially limited. This table is spatially limited. My body is spatially limited. It means if I am here, I am not there and if I am there, I am not here.

Sometimes we want to do two things at the same time. If we have two bodies, it would have been nice. One body you can send here, and one body you can keep there also. Both you can manage at the same time. That if you are here you are not there, and if you are there you are not here -- you have to all the time choose. You have to go for priorities all the time. Therefore that is spatial limitation. The body is spatially limited.

Now, what is the form of awareness? What is the height of awareness? You are aware of heights. You are aware of space itself. Awareness has got no form. Like even the light has got no form. Therefore it has no height, it has no width. Therefore it is not formful. It is timeless, as well as formless.

Not only it is formless, it is something on which space depends upon. You are aware of space. Space is not aware of you. Space is accommodated in awareness.

So tell me, what is the size of awareness, spatially? What is the distance between awareness and space? If there is a distance between awareness and space, then what is in between space and awareness? There must be a lot of space inside your head! There is nothing else. That is called inner space, it is called hardakasah. Between space and awareness there is nothing else, like even between time and awareness there is nothing else.

Time is mithya, depending upon awareness; space is mithya, depending upon awareness.

Space is, awareness is.

Space gone, awareness is. That is the thing.

Chain is, gold is; chain gone, gold is.

In sleep what space is there, tell me? Sleep is a wonderful experience revealing so much to us. In deep sleep, space gone. So "I am in Dehradun" is not there. Desah -- earth, solar system -- gone. The whole thing gone. But you are there. Having devoured everything including space, he remains. Time and space he has swallowed, and therefore all situations.

Between an object in space and awareness also there is no distance. Very simple: Between these two hands what is the distance? You can say, approximately two feet. Now I take away one hand. What is the distance between space and the hand? No distance. Why? All distance is between two points in space. And therefore between space and a point in space, there is no distance. Hand is moving all the time in space. Wherever it is, it is in space only. It is nil distance. Between space and hand here (P1), space and hand here (P2), ... there is no distance.

Similarly, between awareness and a thought I have in my mind, what is the distance? In awareness is this thought. There is no distance. Between awareness and the hand in front of me, what is the distance? I am aware of this hand. Hand falls in my awareness. Between awareness and the hand which falls within awareness, there is no distance. Awareness and the stars that you think of, there is no distance.

Where are you then? Because `You' means awareness. In Sastra `you' means awareness. Between you awareness and the stars known and unknown, there is no distance. Between you and heaven, awareness and heaven, there is no distance. Heaven is in space. Space is in awareness. Between you and Brahmaloka there is no distance.

So, you are what? Sarvagatah, all-pervasive. So, the freedom from spatial limitation, formlessness, is the nature of awareness (which is the) content of space itself. That is why it is sat. It is the very soul of time and the very basis of space. Space is, awareness is. In awareness is space and time and everything.

Therefore awareness is called limitless. Desatah aparicchinnah. That is aanandah, spatial limitlessness is aanandah. Time limitlessness is sat. This ananta belongs to what? Anantah is what? Cit. I is cit.

Therefore cit is the one that we understand. Cit is the truth about which we understand. How? It is not bound by time and space. Hence aanandah. Therefore saccidanandah means not existence-knowledge-bliss, it is existence-knowledge-limitlessness.

Om Tat Sat

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Key To Success and Happiness

What is it that we all uniformly seek in life? Everybody seeks to be happy, to be free. Happiness, shanti, freedom is what we are seeking. Is it that I want to be happy only at a particular time, place, relationship or situation? No. I want to be happy 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, in all places, in all relationships, in all situations.

We live our life assuming that happiness is the property of whatever we like. I like gulab jamuns, I like a particular person, I like power, I like money and I assume that what I like has the property of happiness and that it makes me happy. In fact our ideas of success often revolve around this conclusion that happiness is the property of what we desire.

Let us enquire if that is true.

If happiness belongs to what I like and desire, then that object should give happiness to me and others all the time. Yet we find that it does not happen that way. I love gulab-jamun. I have just received this mouth watering gulab-jamuns and I have just put one in my mouth. The phone rings and I hear that my beloved friend has had an accident and is critical and in hospital. Now, the gulab jamun cannot give me any happiness.

Again, no matter how much I love gulab jamun, the 10 th gulab jamaun does not give me as much happiness as the first one does. So happiness cannot be a property of the gulab jamuns that I seem to love.

Slaking one's thirst is the property of water. So whenever we feel thirsty we drink water. In the same way, if gulab jamun had a special property of happiness, then it should give happiness to all people uniformly, all the time. Yet my friend thoroughly dislikes gulab jamuns.

Thus on enquiry I find that happiness cannot be the property of what I like.

So then what is the source of happiness?


To understand this let us examine a moment of happiness. When something desirable happens I feel happy. What is desirable? That depends upon me, at that time. My own definition of what is desirable keeps on changing. My definition of what is desirable is different from your definition. And my definition at this moment could be different from my definition, the last moment.


And when that desirable situation happens, I am happy. Why am I happy? Let us analyse that moment of happiness.


At the moment of happiness, you are pleased with yourself. What does that mean? It means that the situation does not bring out of you the wanting person, the lacking person, the non-acceptable person.


Suppose you see a beautiful sunrise – it is quiet, it is cool and the vast expanse of the sky that you are watching is soothing to you, the colours of the sky are beautiful and you are happy.


At that moment you don't want the sky to be any different, you don't want anything to be different from what it is. You don't want the time to be different or even yourself to be different at that time. You find yourself acceptable, you find everything else acceptable.
You don't want anything to be different. That is the moment you are happy.


Thus, in a happy moment, what happens to me then, is that I see myself as free of all lack – I find myself as acceptable. At that moment I am totally free of the wanting "I". Seeing myself as totally acceptable, totally free of the wanting "I" is what makes me happy.


Thus the totally acceptable "I" is the true source of happiness. Behind our quest for happiness and success is our quest for the acceptable "I". So our real success is in discovering in ourself our acceptable self.


When can I find myself totally acceptable? Only when I see that I am free of all lack, when I see myself as whole, as complete.


You may think that this can never happen. I don't like my nose, I don't like my hair, I don't like my weight, I don't like my lack of skills. I don't like my lack of knowledge. I find myself wanting in every way – then how am I going to find myself acceptable?


This is where our Vedas, the most ancient body of knowledge of mankind, comes in and declares boldly that right now, you are the acceptable self. You are essentially divine – you are fully acceptable. In fact what you don't like about yourself is not you. You are the very source of ananda. Goodness is the truth about you. Your life is not for BEGGING for crumbs of happiness – for seeking acceptability, seeking wholeness. RIGHT NOW you are the very source of ananda, fully acceptable, totally whole. In fact your life is for owning up yourself,
the acceptable self that is the source of ananda.


How is that possible?


By living your life in a way that will not create conflict, guilt and unhappiness for yourself and others.


Living life is about making choices. On what basis shall we make our choices?

We can live our life by making choices that invoke our essential goodness and put is in touch with our intrinsic wholeness. We can make choices that increase our happiness and the happiness of others. Or we can make choices that create conflict and guilt and increase our sense of discontentment and restlessness. Our choices can increase unhappiness for ourselves and others. The choice of how we live our life is in our hands.


Our own ideas of what constitutes happiness and success is often responsible for our unhappiness. Is success an object in the world? Here is a child Avinash, whose idea of success is getting 95%+. Another boy Manoj feels he is successful if he passes with 50%. Now when Avinash gets 70% he gets dejected and feels he is a failure. And when Manoj gets 60% he thinks he is highly successful.


So what is success really? That is answered when we answer the question why do we seek success. To be happy. Why do we want to be happy? Because it our nature. Everything likes to come back to their own nature. Heat a bucket of water, leave it in the cold. The nature of water is to be at room temperature. so the water comes back to its own nature.


We already saw that we feel happy when we see ourself acceptable.



  1. you keep a commitment,
  2. tell the truth as you know it,
  3. act responsibly with consideration for others,
  4. be compassionate,
  5. act kindly,
  6. you feel good about yourself.



Thus whenever you act in keeping with universal values like honesty, commitment, compassion, respect, responsibility , love, peace, your mind is free of conflict, free of guilt and so you find yourself acceptable.


And when you find yourself acceptable you feel happy just being yourself.


When you are happy, you are able to make others happy. Thus when universal values become the basis of your choices, your decisions, your actions, you find yourself acceptable and happy.


The Basis of Values is Our Knowledge


Universal Values don't have to be taught, because we already have knowledge of them. We know very well how we want others to behave with us. We want others to tell us the truth, be kind to us, keep their commitments with us, treat us with dignity and respect, act responsibly with consideration for our feelings, forgive us for our omissions and commissions.


We also know very well how we don't want others to behave with us. We don't want others to lie to us. We don't want others to win at our cost. We don't others to treat us disrespectfully. Nor do we want others to break their commitments, and act irresponsibly without consideration for us.


This knowledge of what we want and don't want from others is what forms the basis for universal values and it becomes the norm for our behaviour with others. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. You want others to be honest with you – then you be honest with them. You want others to be kind to you – that means you be kind to others. You want others to accept you inspite of your mistakes, then be that person who accepts others inspite of their mistakes. Living thus a life of values you find yourself acceptable and you enjoy happiness.


Lord Krishna gives a clear message – 'Take responsibility for your action' and the result will come from the laws that govern actions. These laws are maintained by the law-giver who is the all-knowledge, all-intelligent Lord.


Lord's Krishna tells us a secret which we don't normally know… about the laws governing our deliberate action. The result of a deliberate action is two-fold. One is the SEEN RESULT and the others is an UNSEEN RESULT. The seen result is the result you percieve. For example if you hit a ball with a bat, it will move a particular distance.


The UNSEEN RESULT is the result for a deliberate action, in keeping with its impact on the society. So if your action benefits the society, you earn credits – called as PUNYA – which will translate into a comfortable situation for you now or later. If your action harms society in any way, you earn penalty points – called PAAPA- which will translate itself into a painful situation for you now or later.


ACTIONS based on universal values ALWAYS take into account the impact on society – and so value-based actions will always earn punya for you. And actions which are purely based on your likes and dilikes and which do not take the universal values into account will bring disaster for you in the form of :-


So a value-based decision is always the right decision.


When to apply values?

Now comes the question, when should we apply values? The answer is 100% of the time.


Let us understand the criteria for applying values at all times. The basic criteria is that in every decision the totality or society should not be the loser.


You can have good or bad options in every decision. So what are the possible options?


Why do we say that no. 2 is a good option even though we may face some kind of personal loss? This is because we are an integral part of the society in which we live – so if the society gains there is some gain in it for me also. Also because I am a part of the society, if I gain at the cost of society it has to cause loss for me – certainly I will earn penalty points … so no 3. Is a bad option.


When Ram was chosen to become the next king, Kaikayee was happy with the decision. She was thinking that Ram is the eldest son/capable son and according to family tradition he should be the next king – (she was thinking what is good for the family).

Then, Manthra gave her opinion that 'you should decide based on what is good for you (personally) and for your son, Bharat; even if it is bad for all other family members including your husband'.


So now Kaikayi was faced with :-

  1. Or


    We all know that she chose 2 – bringing untold loss to the entire family. Even today nobody will name their daughter Kaikayi because nobody respects Kaikayi because of her decision.


    When two universal values are applicable what should we do ? We should prioritize the one which brings gain to the society (totality). For example: Your friend repeatedly cheats the office, by tampering with transport log books. You advise him not do so. He repeats the action again. When there is an enquiry about this matter, and you are asked about it what should you do? Here the value for friendship is pitted against the value for honesty which will bring savings for the office and help your friend to get out his destructive nature. However if you follow the value for honesty you might lose your friend.


    Here it is correct to prioritize the value for honesty over the value for friendship, even though it will bring you a personal loss of friendship, because the larger society, the office will gain.


    For example a doctor has to cut a tumor in his patient's body – here the doctor is faced with the having to go against the value of ahimsa (non-violence or non-hurtfulness). He looks at the larger gain of the patient's health. So he prioritizes the value for life over the value for ahimsa. We will not say here that he broke the value of ahimsa. Rather we will say that he priortizes the value for life.


    So this is Lord Krishna's message that for your actions to be in harmony with God, Yourself and society, let them be in keeping with the universal values – also called as dharma.


    When your life is in keeping with dharma, you ensure your long-term happiness. You will gain long-term happiness, improved relationships, self-confidence, respect of others, stability, strength of character, power – the capacity to lead others and prosperity.


    Why we break values?

    When choices based on universal values are the means for a happy life, why do we find it so difficult to live them? Simply because we have not assimilated their value. We know that we should follow values of honesty, kindness, respect, responsibility, commitment etc – because we were told to by our parents, teachers and society. We have not really chosen them for ourselves through a process of understanding what we gain when we follow them and what we lose when we don't. So they are placed in our value structures as a set of 'shoulds' only. They have not been assimilated by us.


    Along with these set of unassimilated 'shoulds' in our value structure, we also hold acquired values that often conflict with our set of unassimilated universal values.


    Let us look at our acquired value for money. From childhood onwards I have learnt that money is valuable – money gets for me all that I want, to have a comfortable life. I also feel that it gets me the respect and love of people. As I grow older I find that people with money have power over other people and different situations. With money I will be a somebody and so my personal value for money grows and money becomes an important priority in my life.


    One day, I decide to sell one of my items of jewellry. My friend offers to buy it at cost. I hike the cost by Rs. 10,000 and sell it to her. Why do I lie to my friend? Because my personal value for money is greater than my value for honesty. My value for honesty is more a 'should' or a half-value, given by parents, teachers and society. In fact my acquired value for money is more a fully assimilated value than my half value for honesty.


    Now what happens when I have told a lie. I feel very uncomfortable with myself. There is conflict in me. Then there is guilt. Guilt is natural and inevitable, because there is conflict between what I know and what I do. I know that I expect truth from others and therefore I should speak truth. Now I know that I am not telling the truth, so I cannot escape the consequence of guilt.


    Now I can only hide from my guilt, by denying the guilt. And I deny it by buying all the things I want with that extra Rs 10,000. Yet the guilt is there underneath.


    In this way, I live my life, making choices that make my conflict and guilt mount and I keep hiding from it. Yet, the underlying conflict and guilt adds to the tension and growing feelings of insecurity. A day will come when I will face a total break-down of my mental and physical health.


    I told a lie to my friend thinking that I will be comfortable by that extra Rs 10,000. All comforts are for what? They are for seeing myself comfortable.Yet even with all the comforts that I can buy by lying, I cannot be comfortabe with myself. Is money really worth lying for when I cannot be comfortable with myself?


    What I really value is not just comforts outside. What I value is the comfortable me. Yet by adding money through a lie I find I am not comfortable with myself. Is money really worth lying for, when I cannot be comfortable with myself?

    Thus we see that conflict, guilt, tension, insecurity, low self-esteem, and eventual break-down of physical health, is the perceptible result of making choices that break universal values.


    It is important to know that every action comes with a consequence both seen and unseen, and that we are responsible for the consequence of our actions. Our society is plagued by corruption because we fail to acknowledge our personal responsibility for the consequences of our actions.


    Anything that I choose is because I see a connection between that thing and myself feeling good. If I see that my choice will make me suffer I will not make that choice. Breaking universal values makes me suffer – ALWAYS. I might get seeming temporary benefits like respect, money, fame, power, objects and even people that I like by breaking the universal values – but I end up suffering from ashanti and earning paapa, which cannot but fructify now or later.


    When I see clearly that what I am seeking is comfort with myself and that it is impossible to be comfortable with myself when I do not make the choices that I expect others to make, then I have no choice but to follow the universal values. My set of 'shoulds' or half-values become my chosen full values.



    Intelligent living is about making the right choices. The goal of life is to be happy. Choices based on universal values are the means for true happiness – the happiness of being comfortable with oneself. When the clarity is there about what I gain by following universal values and what I lose when I do not – I cannot but follow them.


    Vedas declare dharmo rakshati rakshitah. When dharma is protected, it protects me. How can the universal values be protected? Are universal values something in the external world – like any other object? No. You cannot point them out as an object. They are to be found in the person who lives them – in thinking of the person, in the actions of the person. That knowledge of goodness is protected and maintained, when you live from your goodness. And in turn it protects you. That is the law.


    How do we learn it? We learn it from our elders, our role models. May our children find their role models of dharma, of happiness and success in us. May we pass on to them

    1. the ability to judge what is right.
    2. the passion to care deeply about what is right.
    3. And the capacity to do what is right.


    Om Tat Sat
























Friday, September 18, 2009

Viveka & Vairagya

In the text Tattva-bodha there is description of the qualifications required to gain self-knowledge. The very first one is called viveka – nitya-anitya vastu vivekah..

nitya-vastu ekam brahma| tad-vyatiriktam sarvam anityam|

The timeless is one Brahman. Distinct from that, all else is time-bound. This is discriminative knowledge between the timeless and the time-bound.

So first is a discriminative enquiry which culminates in our ascertaining that there is ONE NITYA VASTU – ie there is one truth which cannot be destroyed – and everything else is anitya.

This viveka is a slow process. We live our life… we begin with many desires and ambitions. We fulfill each of them. Yet we find an emptiness inside – that emptiness inside is the feeling of being wanting… (remember the tanpura example) which leads us to imagine that by doing something else we will become fulfilled.

Slowly we begin to understand that no matter what I do, no matter how many ambitions I fulfill, the emptiness inside does not seem to go. So the solution is not in doing something - nasti akrta krtena.

Then what is the solution? This is where all the paper-back knowledge comes in handy… you read a book, or you go for a satsang. There you hear that the TREASURE you have looking for all your life is within you… is you. It is not out there in the changing world – the changing world cannot give you what you are looking for … you are looking for PERMANENCE – permanent happiness and permanent security…… that is God … who is your True Self. So turn your attention now to God, who is your True Self…. who never deserts you. God is permanent happiness and God is permanent security.

So NITYA VASTU is GOD who is your TRUE SELF. Now there is a longing to get one's TRUE SELF. So far one was happy with the crumbs of happiness given out by life. Now, one understands it is anitya - temporary…. and the interest in gaining anitya happiness and security etc simply drops.

This is VAIRAGYA – iha-amutra-phala bhoga viraga. People get scared by the word vairagya – really vairagya is not absence of raga – it is the shift in the focus of your raga or love. All human beings have love in their heart. The love is for different things, different situations, different people … because one thinks that by gaining these, I will become full, purna. So really the love is for the purna "I"…. the pleased self. … only thing is we don't know it.

Once it is understood that what I am looking for is the permanently purna 'I" – that means I am looking for NITYA vastu – then there is question is that what is that NITYA vastu. If the NITYA vastu is understood as GOD - then the focus of love shifts to God. If the NITYa vastu is understood as the truth of oneself, then the focus of love shifts to KNOWLDEGE of the truth of oneself. So vairagyam is another name for LOVE OF NITYA vastu. Even LOVE for GOD has to culminate in love for knowledge of the true nature of GOD, who is your TRUE self.

For the person who has vairagyam, no more there is running after enjoyable objects either in this world or in heavens … because the person has understood, that no matter what I enjoy, I will still remain the same empty person inside. Self non-acceptance and self-emptiness cannot be removed by going after enjoyments. Enjoyments differ – different things make me happy. These things keep changing. Maybe when India wins in a Cricket match. Or a funny scene in a movie. Or my favourite food or music. Different things make me happy. The only constant factor in all my experiences of happiness is my Self. I am the constant factor in all the experiences of happiness. Which I? The I that emerges free of all notions, free of all inhibitions. At the moment of happiness, "I" is totally free of all inhibiting notions. In fact, the external event whether it is an object or a person, or a sitaution, only causes my own nature of happiness, he happy self, to emerge. This the person who has vairagya has understood. And so focus of love changes to the PURNA self.

Many ideas exist about how to gain this purnatvam. Your love will be according to what your idea of where and how to find PURNATVAM is. You may think you will gain purnatvam when you physically merge with Bhagavan your beloved…. this is a very popular belief. You may think you will get purnatvam when you shed your individuality and acknowledge the presence of the All-knowing All Powerful Lord everywhere in everything… . so much so that only the All-Knowing All-Powerful Bhagavan exists. You may think you will get purnatvam when you sit close to your Beloved Bhagavan in some heaven – Go Lok Brindavan…

Our Shastra points out that if you think that there is even the slightest difference between you and Bhagavan – there will be fear for you, because there will be duality for you. Yes GOD is the NITYA you have been seeking all your life – and that GOD is Your TRUE SELF. So vairagyam is LOVE for GOD which is the same as LOVE of one's TRUE SELF. That GOD is your TRUE SELF – you are ignorant of. You have to gain knowledge of that fact. … and so finally vairagyam becomes LOVE for KNOWLEDGE of the TRUE SELF

Pujya Swamiji describes vairagyam in a very interesting manner – SEEING THE ABSENCE OF CONNECTION BETWEEN WHAT I WANT AND WHAT I DO. What I want is NITYA and what I run after is anitya… which cannot give me NITYA. And so the person turns away from actively pursuing money, power, status, objects, situations and even people. Vairagyam is freedom from emotional dependence … so no more is your sense of well-being dependent on the object.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Contemplation – Pearl Richards

Beloved Isvara, who is ones Soul, fills one with peace.

Chanting any nama and visualizing any form When dark storms move

across the mind Bhagavan makes them cease.

Only One quietly hears the grateful devotee's prayers.

Isvara is the breeze of the wind and the swaying trees.

Birds' songs are Bhagavan's pleasing bhajans reaching ones ears.

The love in a friend's eyes opens into Isvara's heart Where one has

walked into a door of radiating light.

Sitting alone there is an ever present sweet Presence Inviting

devotees to linger in this solitude.

When returning into activities there is no loss; Each moment is an

offering unto Bhagavan's feet.

The jagat, often tumultuous and sometimes quite still, Is the dancing

feet of Siva in motion and in rest

Consciousness – Pearl Richards

Are we conscious of Consciousness or Consciousness conscious ?

' I ' , not seeming to unmask ' I ' but knowing that ' I am ', Sliding

vision to see a nose along with running thoughts, Surmise it the

latter not seeing behind those ramblings.

Ah ! But told I am intelligently put together, Searching through

machinations of accumulated quests, Expecting handshakes with myself

reading books on ' self-help ', Am much surprised and disappointed

turning blank pages.

Looking for Bhagavan to answer questions in my prayers, A Presence

which seems to be strangely familiar to me Permeates the questions,

thoughts, prayers and moments of silence.

My Guru tells me that there is only One Consciousness.

Everything else is apparent to this One Being.

So, in this mind, beloved Isvara is my refuge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saksi Caitanya – Pearl Richards

Who and what is the Saksi Caitanya here in this mind ?

Is it a stranger passing through without regard to me ?

Peeking around corners of the mind who is seeing who ?

How does one know the svarupa of Saksi Caitanya ?

The tears filling the well of sadness of humanity cannot change this svarupa, an ocean of happiness.

Feeling released tears falling from Saksi Caitanya eyes Isvara manifests as waterfalls of empathy.

Through crying eyes much compassion finds non-resistance, Gentle hands reaching to comfort hearts in the seat of prayer.

When children's laughter is heard through Saksi Caitanya ears It meets the fulness of ones self reflected in shared joy.

My Guru has surprised me with answers unexpected.

This Saksi Caitanya in all beings is the same ' I '.

Freedom – Pearl Richards

Where is freedom for this soul that seems to be reaching out ?

Amongst white chipped mountain tops inhabited by gruff goats, Wind born eagles soar with eyes sweeping lofty nests and prey At breath gasping heights where no competitor comes to play.

Where is freedom for this soul that seems to be reaching out ?

Sun scorched grunting space shuttles hurtle through earth's atmosphere.

Their destination, flung beyond earth's thinning nebulae, Is endless dark planets hidden behind yesterday's stars.

Where is freedom for this soul that seems to be reaching out ?

Wisemen wander where no eagle talons or space ships land.

Sadhus, yearning to find spacial dimensionless places, Looking all around, are sincere seekers missing the sought.

Wisemen know that there is no place to go or see or leave.

' I am ' freedom from which this soul seems to be reaching out.

Mangalam – Pearl Richards

The seat of peacefulness of this mind is all mangalam, Quietude, completely self satisfied, needing nothing.

Nothing is required when there is no other being.

Subtle shadows reveal something other than what is seen.

The mind is a reflecting pool where one finds space to pray.

Sometimes beside this hushed alter images of worship, Bhagavan in special forms, arise to greet the mind.

Siva, Krishna, Rama, Durga, Laksmi, Saraswati, Ganesha, Daksinamurti, ones very own Guru.

At other times Isvara is seated with no form.

How can Bhagavan be formless yet seated in the mind ?

There is no place where Isvara is not as though seated.

This is the mangalam of all pervasive Isvara.

Everywhere one joyously abides in Bhagavan.

Sri Ganesha – Pearl Richards


Gentle eyes of Sri Ganesha, reflecting pools of love, Draw one to that which is profound , unseen and fathomless.

On first introduction confusion stalls understanding.

The mind takes flight hiding behind walls of familiar sights.

But Ganesha's presence beckoning one to the unknown Reclaims hidden connections to this form's beautiful soul.

Here stands worshipped deities enchanting, solemn and still In a temple of lingering devottees' devotion.

Struggling to make sense of the source of Ganesha's presence, Which invokes the devottee in all who come to Ganesha's feet, Searching for the link between Ganesha's feet and ones own soul, A mysterious fusion is discovered at those feet.

No longer are there two, the worshipped and the devottee, But One Being, a Presence of limitless, boundless love.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meditation on The Changeless

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 13:38

The deha is made of a conglomorate of cells. Each cell is subject to birth, disease, old age and death. Each cell is time-bound. Changes in the cells / body are revealed in the presence of self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that is ever changeless - nitya. Pleasant and unpleasant changes in the body are ever-revealed in the presence of self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that is ever changeless - nitya. The consciousness that is indeed 'I" is never altered by any of the changes in the body…. Nor by the apparent presence of the body.

 The mind is teeming with thoughts and feelings. Every thought comes … to go. It arises, is sustained and disappears. The thoughts, the feelings keep changing. Pleasant and unpleasant changes in the thoughts are ever-revealed in the presence of self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that is ever changless - nitya. The consciousness that is indeed "I" is never altered by any changes in the mind. Pleasant thoughts and feelings don't alter consciousness. Unpleasant thoughts and feelings don't alter consciousness. These are illumined in the presence of consciousness - they have no power to alter consciousness - even as wave has no power to alter water - being not other than water. Even as the sun ever-illumines and is ever unaltered by what is illumined in its presence, so too the light of consciousness is ever unaltered by whatever is illumined in its presence.

 Sakshi - consciousness the only truth that never deserts one - that is ever present - totally lovable, totally acceptable, not having an iota of limitation - being totally free of every thing that is illumined in its presence. In the total freedom that is one's truth, one is totally acceptable as one is to oneself. Total acceptance of oneself as is … is possible, when one recognizes the total freedom from all limitation, that is one's truth.

 Let go holding on to the idea of "I' being limited by anything whatsoever. Simply let go. Don't hold onto any limiting belief about "I". Let go. Be Bold. Be Fearless. Let Go.

 You are sakshi - the limitless, changeless, awareness, Truth. You are That, right now. All you have to do is let go of the notion that you are what is revealed in your changeless presence.


Om Tat Sat


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Are Self-Evident Consciousness

You are unlike everything else in this universe. How is that so? Everything else is an object of your knowledge. Sounds, touch, forms, tastes, smells, memories, thoughts, feelings, doubts, resolutions … all of these are objects of your knowledge. You are the one, in whose effortless presence, knowledge takes place.

To assimilate this fact … here is tiny meditation.

Sit quietly. Close your eyes and relax totally. As you relax, there is no will being used. You are relaxed and awake to the world around you, even though your eyes are closed. Without any deliberation, or effort you simply hear the sounds around you. The fact is 'hearing takes place'.

Why does it take place? Well, the ears can hear and there are sounds around-any sound, the mind is not else where, and so hearing takes place. The sounds are an external fact. Your mind is reporting them is also a fact. Yourself being there, without willing or wishing is also a fact. You have a capacity to will, is a fact. Now it is kept suspended, is also a fact. There is no judgement.

You, the simple conscious being, being present –effortlessly, hearing takes place.

The simple effortless conscious presence that you are, is not altered by the hearing.

Now open you eyes. You, the simple conscious being, being present – effortlessly, sight of different objects takes place. The forms are an external fact. Your eyes and mind are reporting them, is also a fact. Yourself, being there, without willing or wishing is also a fact.

You, the simple conscious being, being present – effortlessly, sight takes place.

The simple effortless conscious presence that you are is not altered by the seeing.

The basic truth about you, which is EVER-PRESENT, is simple conscious presence. A table also is present … yet the table is not conscious. Your presence is a conscious presence, to which we give the word CONSCIOUSNESS.

Basically you are simple consciousness in whose effortless presence, all knowledge takes place. Seeing form is a piece of knowledge. Hearing sound is a piece of knowledge. The sensation of touch is a piece of knowledge. The taste of a fruit is a piece of knowledge. The smell of a ripe mango is a piece of knowledge. The feeling of sadness, or love or happiness is also a piece of knowledge … that takes place in the consciousness that you are. All these become evident to you, the self-evident, self-revealing consciousness.

The objects of your knowledge don't reveal you. In you, the self-evident, self-revealing consciousness, all the objects of knowledge are revealed. They are all objects of the consciousness that you are.

Like in the light of the sun, all objects are impartially revealed, so too in the light of consciousness, all objects of knowledge are impartially revealed. Like the sun is never altered, by what it reveals, so too consciousness is never altered by anything revealed in its presence.

About the self-evident, self-revealing consciousness that you are, much is to be discovered, for which the words of Vedanta are a means of knowledge. The discovery of the TRUTH of the consciousness you are, frees you from all sorrow. Then you really live life in fullness – without fear, without projecting your fullness onto anything else.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nididhyasanam – Guided Meditation on Sakshi – Swami Paramarthananda

Imagine a brightly illumined room. Every object in the room is pervaded and illumined by the light. And therefore, I am able to experience the object. When I experience the object, I am experiencing the light also which pervades the objects. Whichever object I experience, it includes the experience of the light. Every object experienced includes the light experienced.

I don't require any special effort to experience the light. We take the light for granted. Even empty room experienced includes the light experienced because the emptiness itself is experienced because of the light. I don't require any special effort to experience the light. I don't require any special experience to recognize the light. I don't require any guru to give the experience of light. All experiences include light experienced.

My only problem is I take the light for granted. I don't register the ever experienced light in my mind. A guru is required only to register this fact in my mind. The fact that light is ever experienced, effortlessly. A Guru is required only to turn our attention towards the ever experienced light.

I come to know that the light pervading every object is free from the shapes of the objects. The illumined objects have different forms. But the illuminator light is formless. And being formless, it is limitless. Formless limitless light illumines the formed limited objects.

Our mind is exactly like this brightly illumined room. It is illumined by the light of conscious-ness. Every thought in the mind is pervaded by and illumined by the light of consciousness. The experience of any thought includes the experience of consciousness. In fact every thought is experienced because of consciousness. Even the experience of an empty mind, thoughts-less mind, includes the experience of consciousness. Emptiness is experienced because of consciousness.

I don't require any special effort to experience consciousness. I don't require any special experience to recognize consciousness. I don't require any guru to experience consciousness. My only problem is I have taken the consciousness for granted. A guru is required only to register in the mind the ever evident fact. A guru is required to turn our attention towards the ever experienced consciousness.

Once our attention is turned towards the consciousness, we can know more about the nature of this consciousness. It pervades the thoughts of various forms. Itself is formless. The formless consciousness illumines all thought forms. And being formless, it is limitless.


This ever evident consciousness is sakshi caitanyam. This is my essential nature. I am a sakshi caitanyam.

…..Thoughts arrive in the mind. I am.

…..Thoughts are resolved. I am.

…………………..Active mind is, I am.

…………….Thoughtless mind is, I am.

…..Sakshi caitanyam ahamasmi. ….. I am witness consciousness.……I am witness consciousness.


All features come and go. Physical features, emotional features and intellectual features - all are incidental. I use them, but they do not belong to me.

My only permanent feature is formless consciousness.


…….Nirakara caitanyam aham asmi. …….. Formless consciouness I am. Just repeat these words and see the meaning. ……Formless consciousness I am.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pramanam – Swami Paramarthananda

Scriptures seems to know what is human struggle. It seems to assist me in that struggle and so they are dependable. So they are useful guide. Any knowledge can be gained only by using a means of knowledge called pramanam. To know the colors I should use the instrument called eyes. To know the sound, I should use the instrument called ears and so on. Without an instrument I cannot gain any knowledge. And there are some people who talk about meditation as means of knowledge, but that also cannot be true because in meditation you must be either thinking or not thinking. If he is thinking he can think around what already he knows and he cannot know anything know. So thinking cannot give him any new knowledge. Not thinking also cannot give any new knowledge. So meditation or silence cannot help. So he should find out a proper instrument of knowledge.

Types of Pramanams

A human being has got different means to gain knowledge. All of them can be divided into two types.

  1. Sense Organs
  2. Sense organs based thinking or analysis like inference etc.


If you understand this much it is enough. Like a doctor who uses sense perception to get some data which is based on study of blood etc. Based on that he arrives at the diagnosis. He does not see the disease but he infers the disease. He gets rock from the moon. Rock is seen by the eyes but the age of the moon is not seen. Age of moon is arrived by inference.


Perception, inference etc are various instruments of knowledge. But all those instruments of knowledge are meant for studying the world. None of them is useful for studying myself. Sense organs are objective in nature. They are extrovert in nature and so they cannot help in the study of subject. Sense organs cannot see the sense organs themselves. Eyes cannot see the eyes themselves. Then what to talk of mind! They can never see the mind. What to talk of my true nature?

Thus we discover that all the regular instruments of knowledge are useful for objective study and they are not useful for the subjective study. And at that time the Scriptures comes and tells that there is only one means by which one can know the self and that is scriptural teachings themselves.

There is a branch of scriptures called the upanishadic words or the philosophical portions which alone reveal the true nature to oneself. They are called sabda pramanam. That is the only subjective instrument. All others are objective instruments. This alone can help in the discovery of one's true nature. Now the person becomes interested in the study of scriptures.

What part of scriptures? Not the ritualistic portion of the Scriptures. They only talk of rituals. I have to see that portion of the sastram which will analyze my true nature and reveal my true nature to me or which will serve as a mirror.

When my eyes cannot see themselves and when I want to see my own eyes I require a mirror. Similarly we require a finer mirror which will show my true nature to myself. That wonderful mirror is sabda pramanam or upanishadic words. It is verbal mirror or word mirror. The sastram promises that they can show the inner nature. You use the mirror and see. I tell you that if you see the mirror you see your face. Unless you use it how will you know it. You use the mirror and you will discover the inner nature. Now the next goal is analysis of the Upanishads. Upanishad vicaarah is the next goal.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Moksha is freedom from being the insecure person – Swami Dayananda


Even though it comes last, mokÀa is a very important puruÀ¡rtha, as we shall see. MokÀa is recognised as a pursuit only by a very few people in any given generation. Because a certain appreciation, a certain maturity or insight, about life and its struggles is required to understand mokÀa, people do not discerningly pursue it, although everyone is in fact, always seeking freedom in one form or other.

Although we think of freedom in a very positive way, the word mokÀa is actually defined in a negative sense. There is something binding you, from which you want to become free and that freedom is mokÀa. We say, for example, that a man who is not in jail has freedom, whereas if he is in jail, he does not. Because he cannot choose to come out, he has lost his freedom of mobility and wants to gain it. He wants freedom from the shackles of jail.

If you are using crutches because of a leg fracture, you want freedom from the crutches. Similarly, an infant requiring the help of the wall or mother's hand in order to stand wants to be free of the wall or the hand and therefore strives to stand on his or her own. Freedom, then, is always freedom from something.

MokÀa means freedom from something I do not want. And because mokÀa is a puruÀ¡rtha, a human end common to all, wanting to be free is not peculiar to me alone. Everyone wants to be free from certain things that are common to all. That I am attached to particular forms of security, artha, reveals a certain fact about myself — that I am insecure. That I also seek pleasures, k¡ma, reveals that I am restless, that I am not satisfied with myself. I have to do something in order to please myself, which means that I am displeased with myself.

If you are always seeking security and pleasure, when will you make your life? When will you really be able to say, 'I have made it! You can say that only when you see yourself as secure and are pleased with yourself. Then you are free; you have mokÀa.

MokÀa does not mean salvation. In fact, there is no word in Sanskrit for salvation, which is just as well, since salvation implies a certain condemnation of yourself. It implies that someone has to salvage you, has to save you, which is not what is meant by mokÀa at all. The word mokÀa refers only to the freeing of myself from certain fetters. The basic ones are the notions that 'I am insecure' and 'I am displeased with myself.'

I must see myself as secure and be pleased with myself as I am. Only then do I have mokÀa. If I am secure and pleased with myself, what situation is going to change that? I require no security or a situational change whatsoever to be secure and at peace.

This should be understood well. You spend your entire life manipulating the world to please yourself. In the process, you find that two hands and legs, five senses, and a mind are not enough to contend with all the factors involved. There are just too many events and situations, as well as natural forces, over which you seem to have no control.


With my limited powers and limited knowledge, I find that I can never measure up to the demands of gaining the securities and pleasures that I seek. This is why life seems to be a problem. Only when you reach thirtynine or forty, when you undergo what is sometimes referred to as the 'Mid-life crisis,' do you begin to understand this. Even though you may think your marriage or your job is your crisis, actually you are the crisis. Your crisis has nothing to do with marriage or any of the other situations in your life. Your tendency, however, is to find a scapegoat for every problem you have and the immediate scapegoat available is often your partner in life.

When we look into our various pursuits — artha, k¡ma and dharma, we find that, what we really seek is none of these. We seek only freedom from being a seeker. Everyone is a seeker pursuing artha and k¡ma mainly and, to some extent, dharma. But, ultimately, everyone is seeking only mokÀa. Therefore, mokÀa alone is the real end. In other words, freedom from being insecure is what we seek when we seek security. When I seek certain securities, I am not really seeking the securities themselves. I am seeking freedom from being insecure. This distinction should be clearly understood.

The shift in emphasis that this distinction represents is what we call learning.

Seeking security is very natural. For an uninformed person, one who does not think about or understand his or her own ideas and urges, security is a particular thing and is always taken to be outside oneself. That — 'I am insecure' — is a totally accepted conclusion for such a person, a conclusion that is never doubted or questioned.

Various philosophies have arisen from this insecurity. One person says, for instance, that money will not give you security, while another person says it will — but only here on earth, not later. Later security, we are told, can only be gained by doing certain prescribed acts. Thus, we have varieties of religions and philosophies, all of which have been born out of accepting that, 'I am insecure' and that, security is something outside of oneself.

Even as a child, one's security depends on the constant availability of protection, love, and care of one's parents. On the other hand, once the child has grown up, the situation is reversed. Now the parents' security depends on the attention of the child. Parents often feel neglected by their grown up children who are now occupied with their own lives. Once a child has grown up, security is no more in the parents; it lies elsewhere.


As a child I was insecure and now also I am insecure. There is a constant shift in what I take to be securities, which is considered to be a normal life for everyone. No one, however, deserves to have this problem. Security is not the problem. That I lack something is not the problem. The problem is that 'I' lack. This difference must be seen clearly.

What I lack is always variable — I lack iced tea; I lack children; I lack a house. What one lacks is always peculiar to the individual at a given time and place in one's life. This differs from individual to individual, from culture to culture. However, this 'I lack' is common to all and is entirely different from what I lack. I may lack a healthy body, a taller body, a thinner body, a turnedup nose, longer eyelashes, or a different skin colour. And this may only be the beginning of an endless list! But the fact that I conclude that 'I lack' is universal.

For instance, what can you do if your height is less than you would like it to be? The most you can do is to wear highheeled shoes, which does not really make you any taller. In fact, in the eyes of others you may be shorter. It is only when you are being recruited for a basketball team that anyone else thinks about your height. Height is your complex. I do not think about your height until you get into highheeled shoes and try to walk. Only then do I see your height because you have drawn my attention to it; and I immediately cut it down by a few inches. I may actually reduce it more than the actual height of your heels.
You not
only fall short of my expectation, but also you become shorter than what you really are!

Thus, if you have a complex with reference to your height, you are stuck. If you were a wire or something stretchable, your height could be increased but, here, no stretching is possible. Similarly, there are a lot of things that you are stuck with because the things you are not, known and unknown, are countless. And what you lack you can never totally fulfil. The more you go after what you lack, the more you breed what you lack because what you lack has a knack of multiplying itself. It is like going to the supermarket to pick up a few things you lack and coming home with a few more desires to be fulfilled when you get your following week's paycheque. This is why we say desire is like fire that leaves a black trail after itself. No matter how much you feed it, fire never says, 'Enough!' Similarly, human beings can never say 'Enough!' to securities and pleasures.


When, then, are you going to completely fulfil your arthas and k¡mas? I am not saying you should not seek out security; that is not the emphasis here. We are only trying to understand the very pursuit itself. Money definitely has its value. But, if you think that there is security in money, or in anything else, the process of seeking becomes endless. The insecure me, the one who wants to be secure, does not really become secure by the addition of what I consider to be securities. No one can say, 'I am secure,' even with all possible securities.

As long as I require crutches, the sense of insecurity centred on me will remain with me. Feeling secure because I have crutches does not mean I am secure. I feel secure only because of the crutches, whereas the sense of insecurity centred on me remains.

Suppose I am insecure and what I think is secure is as insecure as I am. For example, if one insecure person marries another insecure person in order to be secure, the result is not security. All that results is a marriage between two insecure people. Can there be a greater hell anywhere? When two such people come together, it is a problem because insecurity plus insecurity do not make security, only double insecurity.

There is a story about a man who, as he was bathing by the side of a river, slipped and was swept away by the current. Because he could not swim, he prayed, 'Oh! Lord, please help me!' Just then a log came along and, catching hold of it, the man said, 'My God! God is great!' Then he realised that the log had fur on it — and hands also. He had thought he was holding on to a log, but now he realised that the 'log' was holding on to him. Still he thought that the Lord was saving him. He found, however, that the Lord was a grizzly bear that, having fallen from a tree, had also been swept up by the current. Once he realised he was holding on to a bear, he wanted to escape, but the bear already had too tight a hold on him.


Similarly, you do not know which holds what or who holds whom. You may have thought you were holding on to something, only to find that you cannot give it up, which means that it is holding you. This is a problem. Any habit is the same. An alcoholic was once a free person. When he or she took the first drink, the person poured the alcohol into the glass and, then, holding on to the glass, drank from it — no problem. However, after some time the person finds that he or she does not drink at all. As soon as 'Happy Hour' arrives, the bottle tells the person, 'Come here,' and he or she goes like a zombie. Then the bottle says, 'Come on, pick me up!' And the person picks it up. It says, 'Come on, pour me into the glass! Drink!' And the person drinks. Then, it says 'One more, one more.' And the person takes more and more alcohol without his volitional control. Who is this person now, the one who was previously free? Does he or she drink? Or does the drink, drink the person?

In so many situations, no one knows who holds on to what. I see no difference between the grabber and the grabbed, the holder and the held. Even inert things like drinks, cards, or dice, have the capacity to grab me — to say nothing of relationships, since people are equally insecure. Therefore, an insecure me plus anything in this world that happens to be within the framework of time is not going to make me secure. This we should understand well. We are not trying to develop a particular attitude here, just a simple appreciation of the facts.


That I am insecure is a fact and that I seek securities is also a fact. That which I consider secure is not secure because it also is finite. This, too, is a fact.

You may think that, by giving away whatever securities you have, you will become secure. One man did this. He gave away his house, his business, and his bank balance, and went to a Swami. But the Swami was also insecure and wanted to have a following of disciples. Previously, the man was on a husband trip, a father trip, a businessmoney trip, and now he is on another trip — a Swami-¡tm¡trip minus a house, wife, children, money and so on. To think that subtraction is going to help, when addition does not, is nothing but a lack of understanding. And if artha is like this, k¡ma is the same.

No pleasure is going to be lasting. Take music, for instance, You buy a recording of a hit song. Why is this song a hit? Because, like a hit man, it knocks off all the other songs out of the running. Last month's hit song has been hit and is no longer a hit song. It only gathers dust on your tape deck. No one bothers about it any more.

Similarly, your attitude is always changing. What made you happy before no longer provides the same joy. You get tired of everything. Even if God were around you all the time, you would eventually want some privacy. This constant changing is natural because you are basically displeased with yourself. Therefore, you are pleased only now and then. The only silver lining in life is one's hope. This is all that keeps you going. Perhaps hope is nature's way of enabling you to survive so that you can discover nature herself.

Suppose those moments of pleasure, which are so few and far between, were denied to a given person, suppose they were not there at all, do you think a selfconscious human being, the displeased human being, would want to live? He or she would surely commit suicide. And, in spite of these moments of pleasure, if a person thinks there is no possibility of being happy, either because of a loss of some kind or an apprehension of some great calamity, the person would
choose not to live. This is the thinking behind all suicides.

Therefore, moments of pleasure are worthwhile
because they keep you going. The hope is that you will discover that you do not need a motherinlaw to be displeased; you need only yourself. If you close the doors, put aside the world and sit in an easy chair and try to be with yourself, then you will understand whether you are pleased with yourself or not. You will find that you do not require a world of perception, a world of books or anything to be displeased. All that you require is yourself. After just a few minutes of sitting with yourself, you want to get up and go out or take a shower — anything other than sitting with yourself.


To be displeased, then, requires nothing but yourself. It is not the world that displeases you; you are displeased with yourself. And whatever pleases you is going to be time-bound.

Because any k¡ma, any pleasure, you pick up is limited by nature — in terms of time, content, and degree, the one who is displeased remains in spite of occasional moments of pleasure. Therefore, we have now discerned the problem to be the conclusion about myself that, 'I am displeased.' This is a fact that is not going to be altered just because I pick up moments of pleasure. That I am insecure does not change merely because I acquire or give up certain securities. Thus, the only solution is to see myself secure and pleased with myself. But how is it possible to do this?

If, with all these securities and pleasures, I am displeased with myself, how am I going to see myself pleased without them? This is where the teaching called Ved¡nta comes in and tells you that your problem is not one of lacking something, but of not knowing that you do not lack anything. It converts all one's pursuits into a pursuit of knowledge.

In the vision of Ved¡nta, there is no reason for you to be displeased with yourself because you are totally acceptable to yourself — not in terms of attitude, but in reality. It is not a belief; it is a fact, a discoverable fact. Only something that can be discovered is a fact; and the discoverable fact here is that you lack nothing. You are totally free. This is a vision of you and this is the heart of Ved¡nta, the heart of this teaching. The problem that 'I lack' is thereby converted into ignorance, the cause of which I do not know for the time being. Until I come to know, the vision assumes the status of a promise.


Ved¡nta defines the problem as not
what you lack, but that you lack, and says that you are the solution because you are the problem.

There are two types of problems. One has its solution outside the problem and the other has its solution within the very problem itself. The solution to the problem of feeling cold, for example, is outside the problem in the sense that you have to cover yourself, go to the fireside, or go out into the sun. You may even decide to go to the Bahamas. When the solution to a problem is outside, it means that you have to do something to solve the problem. If hunger is your problem, you, have to feed the hunger by eating food, which is also outside. The solution to a jigsaw puzzle, however, is within the problem, within the puzzle itself. Because the solution is within the problem. There is no problem, in fact. The only problem is you and the solution is also you. When you do not understand something, it is a problem for you, whereas when you do understand, there is no problem. The understanding is the solution. In the vision of Ved¡nta, you have no problem, in fact.

Then, you may ask, how
can I recognise that I do not have a problem
? This seems to be one more problem to add to the ones I already have. But is it? One problem is not there — the problem of selfnon-acceptance. Because, in the vision of Ved¡nta, the self is acceptable. What else do you want really? The only problem any human being has is selfnon-acceptance. Therefore, you are the problem and you are the solution. Now your pursuit becomes one of knowing yourself and it can be a game — fun, all the way. This, then, is the teaching.

A discriminative analysis of dharma, artha, and k¡ma leads one to a certain fundamental human problem. Once this human problem has been discerned, you will take special steps to resolve it, even though you may continue to pursue artha, k¡ma, and dharma. The solution to this original fundamental problem is called mokÀa.


Excerpts from the Gita Home Study