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.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Upadesha Saram - Ramana Maharshi

1.कर्तुराज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम्। कर्म किं परं कर्म तज्जडम्।
The result of an action is obtained by the laws of the Lord. How can action, which is inert, be limitless?
कृतिमहोदधौ पतनकाराणम्। फलमशाश्वतं गतिनिरोधकम्।
Action is the cause for (one) to fall in the vast ocean of further action. The result of an action is limited and (hence) is an obstruction to (knowledge which is the direct means of) liberation.
ईश्वरार्पितं नेच्छया कृतम्। चित्तशोधकं मुक्तिसाधकम्।
Action done not out of desire and dedicated to the Lord, purifies the mind (and thereby) becomes the indirect means for liberation.
कायवाङ्मनःकार्यमुत्तमम्। पूजनं जपश्चिन्तनं क्रमात्।
The physical, oral and mental actions viz., ritualistic worship, chanting, meditation (on Him), are all most beneficial in that order.
जगत इशधीयुक्तसेवनम्। अष्टमूर्तिभृद्देवपूजनम्।
Serving the world with an attitude that it is the Lord, is the worship of the Lord of eight forms (five elements ie space, air, fire, water, earth; the Sun, the Moon and the conscious being)
उत्तमस्तवादुच्चमन्दतः। चित्तजं जपध्यानमुत्तमम्।
Compared to the loud singing of His praise, repeating His namealoud, (repeating) in a murmuror meditation in the form of mental (silent) chanting is better (in that order).
आज्यधारया स्त्रोतसा समम्। सरलचिन्तनं विरलतः परम्।
Unbroken thinking (of Him) like even the (unbroken) flow of ghee or the (effortless) flow of water (in a river) is better than interrupted meditation.
भेदभावनात् सोऽहमित्यसौ। भवनाभिदा पावनीमता।
Instead of meditating with an attitude of duality, (I am different from the Lord), the nondual vision ‘He I am’ is purifying – this is the view (of Sruti).
भवशून्यसद्भावसुस्थितिः। भावनाबालाद्भक्तिरुत्तमा।
The best devotion is abidance in one’s own Self, free from duality (of seer and seen) (brought about) by the strength of (repeated) contemplation (of He am I).
हृत्स्थले मनःस्वस्थता क्रिया। भक्तियोगबोधाश्च निश्चितम्।
Abiding of the mind in the heart (the core of myself) is action, devotion, yoga and knowledge. This is the confirmed view (of Sruti).

11 वायुरोधनाल्लीयते मनः। जालपक्षिवद्रोधसाधनम्।
Like a net for a bird, breath-control is a means for controlling the mind; by control of breathing, the mind is absorbed (but not resolved totally).
चित्तवायवश्चित्क्रियायुताः। शाखयोर्द्वयी शक्तिमूलका।
The mind and the prana are endowed with the ability to know and act, respectively. These two are like the two branches stemming from one power (Maya).
लयविनाशने उभयरोधने। लयगतं पुनर्भवति नो मृतम्।
There are two forms of control of the mind; laya, absorption and vinasha, destruction. The mind that has attained absorption is born again, but definitely not the mind that is dead.
प्राणबन्धनाल्लीनमानसम्। एकचिन्तनान्नाशमेत्यदः।
The mind that has gained absorption by control of breathing is destroyed once and for all by contemplating on the one non-dual Self.
नष्टमानसोत्कृष्टयोगिनः। कृत्यमस्ति किं स्वस्थितिं यतः।
For that exalted Yogi, whose mind is lost (totally resolved), and who has attined his own nature, is there anything to be done? (There does not remain anything to be done for him).
दृश्यवारितं चित्तमात्मनः। चित्वदर्शनं तत्वदर्शनम्।
One’s mind withdrawn from perceptions is the appreciation of Awareness (one’s real nature) which is appreciation of Truth.
मानसं तु किं मार्गणे कृते। नैव मानसं मार्ग आर्जवात्।
When an enquiry is undertaken as to the nature of the mind, it is found that indeed there is no mind, since there is directness in the enquiry.
वृत्तयस्त्वहं वृत्तिमाश्रिताः। वृत्तयो मनो विद्ध्यहं मनः।
Mind is thought-forms and the thought forms are but dependent upon the I-thought, ego. So know the mind to be the ego.(So enquiry into the mind is the same as enquiry into the I-thought).
अहमयं कृतो भवति चिन्वतः। अयि पतत्यहं निजविचारणम्।
Oh seeker! For the one, who enquires thus, “Where from does this ‘I’ arise?”, the I-notion drops. This is self-enquiry.
अहमिनाशभाज्यहमहन्तया। स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परमपूर्णसत्।
When the ego (I-notion) is destroyed, the limitless, full, existence that is the Self, shines by Itself as I, I.... (‘I’ is self-shining).

इदमहम्पदाऽभिख्यमन्वहम्। अहमि लीनकेऽप्यलयसत्तया।
Even when the ego is resolved daily (in sleep) there remains the ‘I’ in the form of destruction-free Existence; this awareness ‘I’ is the implied meaning of the word ‘I’(the content of the ego).
विग्रहेन्द्रियप्राणधीतमः। नाहमेकसत्तज्जडं ह्यसत्।
I am not the body, sense organs, physiological functions, the mind or the ignorance. They are inert and hence unreal. I am the One, non-dual Existence.
सत्त्वभासिका चित्क्ववेतरा। सत्तया हि चिच्चितया ह्यहम्।
Where is another awareness to illumine the existence (I)? Awareness is in the form of existence (I) and I (existence) is in the form of Awareness. (The two are not different)
ईशजीवयोर्वेषधीभिदा। सत्स्वभावतो वस्तु केवलम्।
Due to the reality given to the costume (upadhi), there is the notion of division between the Lord and the jiva. But from the standpoint of the essential nature which is sat, the Truth is only one.
वेषहानतः स्वात्मदर्शनम्। ईशदर्शनं स्वात्मरूपतः।
By removal of these costumes) by proper enquiry) there is the appreciation of one’s own Self (free from all limitations), and that is the vision of the Lord as one’s own essential nature.
आत्मसंस्थितिः स्वात्मदर्शनम्। आत्मनिर्द्वयादात्मनिष्ठता।
The vision of one’s own Self is the well-abiding (of the mind) in the Self. Because of the non-duality of the Self, there is natural effortless abidance in the Self.
ज्ञानवर्जिताऽज्ञानहीनचित्। ज्ञानमस्ति किं ज्ञातुमन्तरम्।
Awareness is knowledge which is free from knowledge (of objects) and ignorance (of oneself and objects). Is there anything else to know?
किं स्वरूपमित्यात्मदर्शने। अव्ययाऽभवाऽऽपूर्णचित्सुखम्।
(With the enquiry) ‘What is the essential nature (of myself)?’,when  there is knowledge of the Self, there is Awareness (Self) that is happiness, ever full, (being) unborn and never waning.
बन्धमुक्त्यतीतं परं सुखम्। विन्दतीह जीवस्तु दैविकः।
The limitless happiness (that is the Self) is beyond bondage and liberation. The individual with divine qualities indeed attains it here and now (as a result of teaching).

अहमपेतकं निजविभानकम्। महदिदं तपो रमणवागियम्।
The destruction of the ahankara (as a result of enquiry), leading to the shining of the Self (knowledge of the Self) is indeed the greatest tapas, penance. These are the words of Ramana.
Om Tat Sat

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Calling the Ego’s Bluff - 2

Vedanta points out that there has been a major error in the understanding of ‘I”. Let us understand the error.
We find that our understanding of ‘I’ is dependent on a number of conclusions, which are based on observed experiences.
This is beginning of the cascading errors which constitute our understanding of ‘I’.
Vedanta points out that I is  the changeless sakshi,  of the nature of self-evident consciousness  in whose ever-presence all experiences are illumined, observed to  take place. The changing world is an observed experience, the changing body is an observed experience and the changing mind is an observed experience.
Vedanta points out that it is our common conclusion that being the subject, I am not the observed experienced world. How then can I conclude that I am the observed, experienced body or mind?  
This opens up the enquiry.
Let us look at facts which are pointed out by Vedanta.
1.      There must be a changeless observer otherwise called the sakshi or the true ‘I’ in whose presence change is observed – otherwise it is not possible know that there has been change.
2.      So everything observed/experienced becomes an object of knowledge for the sakshi. Indeed all conclusions regarding the self are all objects only for the sakshi.
3.      Whatever is observed/experienced is in state of flux always – so its presence as a constant entity cannot be established. The body is in a state of flux, so is the mind, and of course so is the world.
4.      Again the object experienced/observed be it thought or any physical object can never be independent of the observer – nor is it independent of n numbers of local factors.
Vedanta asks this question, how can any conclusion which is based on the changing, dependent, observed objects, regarding the self-evident conscious being, the ‘I’, the changeless sakshi,  be true?  Any conclusion regarding the sakshi,  the true ‘I’ based on anything observed can only be FALSE.
The self is not a conclusion based on any experience, or series of experiences, or memory of experiences. The self is self-evident consciousness, who is independent of every experience and yet the essence or content of every experience.
What is the sense of ‘I’? Really if we analyse it, it is a set of conclusions which poses as an independent entity – and all actions are rooted in this entity interacting with the environment.
We already saw that all conclusions based on the body-mind and attributed to  ‘I’, the self-evident basic conscious being, are false.
When we examine the conclusion ‘I am a doer’, we find that the ‘doer’ conclusion is based on observed fleeting experiences of actions – for example folding clothes, cooking food, eating the food, walking, talking etc. All these actions were observed in the presence of the changeless conscious being – the sakshi.
The changeless sakshi does no action – in its presence, the action is revealed to be taking place at the level of body-mind. We cannot call the changeless sakshi as doer.
Then who is the ‘doer’. This ‘doer’ is not a permanent entity. The action takes place thru the agency of the mind-body and the action is over even as it takes place.  Is there a real entity here, an independent entity here to own up the action?
If the doer-entity is real, it must always be present. But it is not always there – in waking itself sometimes a doer, sometimes an experience ... again absent in deep-sleep. Is there any permanent entity here to whom we call the ‘doer’?
There is only a sort of constructed pseudo-entity, who is the result of endless conclusions based on observed experiences superimposed on the changeless, ever-present conscious being. This constructed pseudo-entity poses as an independent, permanent entity and concludes it is a doer and experience as well.
For the one who has recognized the truth of the changeless self, there is no more concluding anything based on any observed experience – and the person is free of the conclusion that ‘I am a doer/experiencer’. The sort of constructed pseudo-entity dissolves in the wake of recognition of truth. So the empirical doer is not taken to be real anymore.

Om Tat Sat

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Japa A Support for Concentration - Sri Chandra Swami Udasin

A type of support that can be given to the mind for concentration is that of a name or word. Let us consider this now. The support maybe in the form of one name, or in the form of any mantra. The mantra is a phrase or formula bearing a certain meaning that affirms the existence of God and embodies a certain idea of feeling in relation to God, such as surrender unto the Lord or the feeling of the divine presence,  or it may inspire devotion with a certain prayer raised unto the Lord. Any one name of God or Mmantra or phrase is selected according to one's faith and conviction. It is to be mentally or vocally chanted. It is to be repeated gently and calmly. Gradually consciousness is centred on hearing of this name or mantra. This practice is called Japa. Science may not prove it today, logic may also fail to do so,  but experience has proved that such intonation and repetition of God's name has a marvelous effect in tuning The mind with God - the spirit that is all and beyond all. There is tremendous power in the name of the Lord. The Lord's Grace does descend  through His name on one who has faithfully and wholeheartedly repeats it.  This is a fact confirmed and  reconfirmed by the saints of all religions. The proper place for concentration on the Lord's name or on Mmantra is in the Heart Centre, which corresponds to the anahata chakra in yogic parlance.

Let it be pointed out here at the shorter the mantra or word the better it is,  because it becomes easier to concentrate on.

The japa of any name of God or mantra can also be practiced by connecting that name or Mantra with the rhythmic incoming and out coming of breath and by chanting it mentally. And in this practice the attention of the mind should not be focused on the navel centre because through this practice the vital being becomes active which might cause a severe agitation or sudden explosion of the pranic force. If the discriminating power in the sadhaka is not sufficiently developed, if he does not possess complete mastery over his senses and mind and if above all he is not single- mindedly devoted to the ideal of God- realisation, the violent awakening of the proanic force may lead him astray in his  Sadhana and consequently, throw him into the absyss of sin and sorrow.  Unless the centre of command what is the aajnaChakra and the heart centre of the aspirant have been adequately purified and unless they have resumed full control over the navel Centre, it is not proper for a man to practice Japa with the incoming and outgoing of breath by fixing the mind on the navel Centre. This practice should not be performed by anyone. If a practitioner wants to do Japa by associating with incoming and outgoing of breath then he or she should keep the attention at the heart Centre. There is no danger in doing this. The practice of Japa can lead even if performed to the exclusion of all other methods of concentration to the highest spiritual recognition. In fact in its advanced stage the Japa itself turns into deep and dynamic spiritual concentration. As such by becoming a dynamic concentration, it brings about an extraordinary transformation in the external life of that  sadhaka, who practices it regularly and sincerely.

 Chanting of the Lord's name is an exercise divine and spiritually rewarding indeed. There have been many Saints who devoted themselves to this method of spiritual concentration alone and to none other and realised the Lord.

Sri Chandra Swami Udasin

Satsangs Schedule at Dehradun

All Online Satsangs thru Google Hangouts

Revised Schedule for December 2017  and January 2018

Monday     7.30 - 8.30 pm Rudram Chanting

Tuesday     11.00 - 12.00 am  Bhagavad-Gita Chanting from Dec 12th Online

Wednesday   5.30 - 6.30pm   Vishnu Sahasranama

Thursday    11.00 - 12.00 am  Upadesha Saram

Friday         11.30 - 12.30 am  Tattvabodha  (Satsang)   from Dec 15th Online
Friday           7.30 - 8.30 pm   Rudram Chanting

Saturday       5.30 - 6.30 pm   Vishnu Sahasranama


From Feb 2018 Chanting continues online - rest below
Monday        11.30 - 12.30 am  Upadesha Saram
Sewla Kalan

Tuesday         11   - 11.30 am Chanting
Sewla Kalan  11.30 -1 pm Bhagavad Gita

Wednesday                         Upadesha Saram (Online)

Thursday       5  - 6 pm     Drg-Drshya Vivek
Indira Nagar

Ram Vihar     11.30 -12.30pm Tattvabodha
Vasant Vihar   2 -2.30 pm  Chanting BG
                           3.30-4.30 om Bhagavad Gita      

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sep 2017 Revision of 'Pujya Swamiji The Mahatma I Know'

Press the link below to go the page on 'Pujya Swamiji The Mahatma I Know' - I have revised it slightly to include some mention of Pujya Swamiji's writings.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Calling The Ego’s Bluff

The ego which believes itself to the body-mind complex, separate from everything else, poses as a real entity.
What is the meaning of being a real entity? A real entity is that which is always there. If you can prove its absence even in one instance, then you cannot call that thing as real.
First let’s understand what are the constituents of the ego?
That I am a conscious being I cannot dispute. I am a conscious being, conscious of myself as a historical being. This historical being is just the roles assumed by the conscious being during the process of living life, as well as an intricate network of association of ideas, memories constituting the sub-conscious, the unconscious, and conscious memory etc.
If you really analyse it the historical person has no autonomous existence of its own, moreover  it is always in a state of flux changing from one personality to another, as conditions changes and the situation demands, or as some event triggers some memories.
Is the historical being intrinsic to the consciousness that I basically am?
To be intrinsic to consciousness that I am, it must always be there, exactly in the same form.
However what I find is that it not always there. Consciousness is always there, illumining not only the changing flux that is the historical being, but also the absence of the historical being, as in sleep, or a moment of joy, or a quiet moment in meditation.
Historical being is there -------- > Consciousness is there
Historical being is absent --------- > Consciousness is there.
I am the consciousness in whose ever unchanging presence, the absence as well as the presence of the historical being is illumined, is revealed.
So in the consciousness that I am, the historical being is an appearance only – the personality is not intrinsic to consciousness.
Consciousness is in reality totally free of the historical person, whereas the historical person is totally dependent on consciousness to enliven and reveal its presence.
This knowledge is very freeing, very stabilizing.
To recognize that one is indeed independent of the historical personality at all times, is truly stabilizing and liberating.
I have a friend, a Vedanta student, who in the core of her psyche, suffered from the extreme sense of helplessness and powerlessness. It controlled her whole life, in an unconscious manner. She was a dependent personality, always unconsciously looking out for support from stronger personality figures. 
As she began understanding Vedanta, she began sitting for longer hours of meditation. In one of her meditation sessions, she experienced an incredible sense of helplessness, powerlessness – a black black feeling. She was completely identified with it and sank along with it.
For a day or two she suffered with this nameless sense of helplessness. Finally she called me. I had to work with her at several levels. First I explained to her it was old feelings from her troubled childhood coming up. Instead of rejecting the feelings, could she just stay with the feelings in loving awareness of it – holding them as it were, even as she would a helpless child. Just compassionately stay with the feelings and it would dissipate. She did that and reported that though they did dissipate, she had a very uncomfortable feeling inside.
I then asked her, “Are you helpless in your life right now?”. She had to admit that she was not.  In fact her life was going well – she had adequate support from the people in her life on all counts. Now she was able to see, that these helpless feelings were from the unconscious from the past – stored there and being triggered now. Understanding this was a big relief. I pointed out to her that these experiences of helplessness had left her with a strong conclusion centered on ‘I’ – namely ‘I am helpless, I am powerless’.
Now I asked to examine if this conclusion was true in the present time. She had to admit it was not true. Then I gently pointed out that in fact she did not need to hold on to this conclusion in her life anymore. She could let it go. If again she faced difficult situations, she could always ask for help either from Lord or people or both. She agreed.
Now since she was an advanced Vedanta student, I took it further. I reminded her that essentially she is consciousness, the witness,  in whose presence this feeling of helplessness is being  illumined. She must ascertain for herself, if the feeling of helplessness belonged to the consciousness being that she is.
Her years of Vedanta study helped her. She told me the helplessness feeling is drshya ( seen) and I am the drk  (the seer, the subject). The subject being always different from the object, the feeling of helplessness  cannot belong to the consciousness that she is.  Again she herself pointed out that this feeling of helplessness, was not always there – it came up very occasionally. Again in deep-sleep it was totally absent – whereas the consciousness is there.
So she ascertained for herself very conclusively that the conclusion ‘I am helpless, I am powerless’ was false – totally false. This was very liberating for her. She understood the importance of immediate recognition of consciousness being changelessly ever-present and independent of the body-mind complex.
So in Vedanta, it is important to negate obtaining erroneous conclusions about the self, and recognize the nature consciousness that one is essentially, being totally independent of the body-mind complex. Logic in keeping with what one has studied from the scriptures is very helpful for this.
Firstly intimately understand the nature of the body and mind being mithya. Mithya means it has no autonomous existence – this is easy to understand – you can see that the body-mind complex is only a coming together of various interdependent constituents, which are ever in state of flux. And eventually the entire body-mind complex is dependent on consciousness to enliven it and reveal it. So dependence, change, and being objects of consciousness characterize both body and mind.... so it is mithya not real. Again the presence of body-mind is not always there – the three states of experience show us that. The consciousness of absence of body-mind, in deep-sleep, again helps us to see that any conclusion about oneself which has reference to the body-mind is false.
Thus any conclusions, centered on Consciousness-I, who is the drk,  which have the body-mind as a reference point can only be false and they must be negated as false, at an empirical psychological level, as well as at the level of ascertaining the true I.  In the process of negation the emotional holding onto those conclusions loosens and wears off eventually.
Om Tat Sat

Friday, August 25, 2017

Surrender - Om Harih Sharanam

Dedicated to all the SadGurus

All that is here is Ishvara.

This body which I thought is mine, I  recognize now, that I did not create this. I simply hold it in trust. For whom? For its owner – Ishvara. I did not create this body nor the mind-stuff. Nor did my parents ....  they knew nothing of how all the systems here work – the skeletal, muscular, endrocine, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, reproductive systems – what a wonderfully intelligent community of cells living in harmony to provide a grand instrument for me, to use and experience this amazing world in which I find myself placed.

Like the body-mind-sense complex was given to me, so too is this universe. I, a simple conscious being, endowed with this body-mind-sense complex, did not create this universe. It is given. The intelligence that pervades this universe through a complex network of laws of cause and effect, is the same intelligence that pervades this body-mind-sense complex, making all of it what it is.
This super intelligence has to rest in a conscious being – and that conscious being who is endowed with this super intelligence is who I call Ishvara. Ishvara is the cause of this universe which includes the body-mind-sense complex I am endowed with. Usually we in the universe we find  there are two types of causes. For example, a watch has a watch-maker, the intelligent cause as well as the material it is made of . So in the case of the universe the intelligent cause is Ishvara. And where did Ishvara get the material that this universe is made of?

After all before the universe came into being, there was no time, no space, no material . There was only Ishvara. So the material for this universe could have come from only place – that is Ishvara. Meaning Ishvara is both the intelligent cause as well as the material for this universe.
This truth has huge implications. It means the body-mind-sense complex that I think of as ‘mine’ – is really not mine. It belongs to Ishvara all the way. I am just the simple conscious being, who is aware of this body-mind complex, who has been entrusted with it, to use as an INSTRUMENT for participating enthusiastically, alertly and cheerfully in Ishvara’s universe.

The scriptures point out that Ishvara in reality is One, Without A Second, ekam eva advitiyam,  partless whole.  Ishvara in reality has never changed to become many, Ishvara only appears as this manifold universe through his inscrutable and undefinable power to do so – that power has been given a name Maya.  Maya is not independent of Ishvara.  Maya  is not a parallel  reality to Ishvara.  Maya  is Ishvara’s shakti and so fully dependent on Ishvara. Ishvara can withdraw his shakti at any time – Ishvara is independent of Maya.

Based on this understanding, I take refuge in Ishvara. Ishvara is my strength, my Guru, my friend, my well-wisher, my father, my mother, my all. I look upon this universe of which this body-mind-sense complex is a part (I say this, because it is Ishvara’s, not mine) as a grand stage in which the drama of life is going on. Endowed with this body-mind-sense complex, I am an ACTOR in this drama, playing various roles, whose scripts are written by Ishvara. As far as living this life is concerned, all I have to do is follow the scripts and play my part, even as an actor does, with enthusiasm, alertness and cheerfulness. I do not invest a sense of reality in roles I am playing, nor in the situations that I play them in – because I know it is a drama. I am centered in Ishvara, not on this body-mind-sense complex. Ishvara has the script for this body-mind-sense complex all ready – I don’t resist His script. Sometimes it is not easy, especially when the script is unfavourable to this body-mind complex – then I simply affirm Ishvara is my strength, my well-wisher and allow myself to accept His script cheerfully. Om Harih Sharanam

Ishvara is my well-wisher. I accept that. Ishvara is also the karma-phalla-daata. I used to find this very difficult to reconcile these two aspects of Ishvara.  The law of karma by itself is inert. It is Ishvara who gives the karma-phalla.  How can my well-wisher dole out so much pain? I realize now that pain, physical or emotional has a purpose.

The cause of pain, in the karma model, is a prior unworthy action, an action not in keeping with the harmony of Ishvara’s universe. What caused that unworthy action? The sense of apurnata (incompletness).  Where did the apurnata comes from? Because I took the body-mind-complex to be both ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Why did I do that when it is not true? Because of ignorance.

So the presence of pain, points out that there was ignorance behind the pain. That ignorance must go. For that ignorance to go, one must pursue knowledge and discover that one is free of this body-mind-sense complex.

My taking refuge in Ishvara, my surrender to Ishvara is the natural outcome of this knowledge of my truth. This surrender means that I accept fully that all that is here is Ishvara, and all that is here is ok, it is all meant to be exactly how it is meant to be. I don’t have to run after anything here in this universe, because nothing here has the capacity to give me what I wanted all the time (before the surrender) namely security and happiness 24x7 without a trace of sorrow. So now I can allow myself to fold up my mind and simply rest in Ishvara, my home, my refuge, my Self.

Om Tat Sat

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Sadhana of Witnessing

Vedanta points out that what shine here as ‘I’ is pure consciousness ... who is independent, timeless (indestructible) and purna (whole) – who is ever the one who illumines, enlivens, empowers the body and mind, who is indeed never the illumined.
There is a rule given by Vedanta – the subject ‘I’, the conscious being who experiences life, is distinct from every object of experience even though no object of experience is ever separate from  consciousness, the one who experiences. One can understand this in several ways. No object of experience can reveal its presence without the presence of a conscious being who cognizes it. Again the very being of the object of experiences, its ‘isness’ is not separate from the ‘isness’  or existence of the conscious being who cognizes it. It is one Being-consciousness who manifests as the conscious-experiencer as well as the experienced object.
This rule that the conscious-experiencer is distinct from, independent of the experienced object is easy enough to understand  ... I see the wall... I experience the wall ... so wall is an object of my experience of seeing ... I am different from the wall. Easy enough.
What about I see the body,  I experience the body, I experience the mind in its various forms of thoughts, feelings, doubts, memories, ego  .... when it comes to the body and mind that I am endowed with I am not able to say that I am distinct from them. In my understanding the body is me, the mind is me.
Here is where we need more knowledge. What is difference between consciousness-I and every object of experience which includes this body and this mind.
Vedanta points out that consciousness that shines as ‘I’ is not the body-mind, nor is it a part of the  body-mind, not a property of the body-mind, nor is it a product of the body-mind. It is self-existing and self-revealing – in fact it is the only self-existing, self-revealing INDEPENDENT, CHANGLESS REALITY (satya), ever-free of energy and matter which are its apparent every-changing manifestations. Consciousness is oneself- so it can never be an object of experience. Consciousness is ever the subject and never the object. Consciousness is oneself- so it can never be an object of experience
 Consciousness illuminates, reveals everything else – we find that not even the brilliant sun can reveal its presence in the absence of a conscious being to cognize it. No object of experience can reveal itself – therefore objects of experience are considered as basically inert as they do not have the capacity to reveal themselves. Thus every object of experience is a DEPENDENT, CHANGING  REALITY (mithya). And  consciousness, the independent absolute reality is basis of, the content of the dependent changing reality of energy and matter.
Consciousness  is indestructible, free of time – it ever was, it ever is, it ever will-be. Whereas objects of experience are all within the purview of time – they arise to go. They manifest and again resolve back into the unmanifest again.
Consciousness is all-pervading – it is here, there and everywhere. Whereas objects of experience have limitations in pervasiveness.
Consciousness-I is to be recognized as it is. Recognising Consciousness-I to be as it is is to have true knowledge of ‘I’ and this knowledge liberates one from the sorrow of taking oneself to be the mortal body-mind.
A very useful sadhana which helps us to recognize that  what shine here as “I”is self-evident, self-revealing, immediate consciousness which is indeed distinct from whatever is experienced in its presence, is the sadhana, the discipline of ‘witnessing’ one’s thoughts. This discipline trains us to separate  self-evident consciousness-I from thought and recognize that I am indeed independent of thoughts/ mind. We can extend it to witnessing actions also – which will not be considered in this article.
Witnessing means one observes one’s thoughts without involvement. We can also put it as ‘observing’ without attachment. So I am the one who observes the thoughts that arise in my mind, and the thoughts are what are observed. I am the drshta, the observer of thoughts, the self-evident conscious being, the atma and the thoughts are drshya, the observed, which is dependent on me for being observed.
Our Shastra gives us a thorough understanding of thoughts by guiding us to observe our thoughts, gain more understanding about them by labelling them, and then letting them go.  So we start by observing individual thoughts as they arise, we label them and let go of any holding onto them – or subscribing to them by allowing them to create a story. This allows us over a period of time, to discover, that the conscious that I am is the invariable, in whose presence thoughts are illumined, and even though I am intimately present when thought is there, I am unaffected by the thought.
When we observe we can find out:-
1.      In which state is my mind currently – is it
a.      disturbed/troubled (kshipta)
b.       dull/heavy (mudha)
c.       Distracted, partly focussed (vikshipta)
d.     One-pointed, focussed (ekagra)
e.      Disciplined, mastered (niruddha)

2.      Is this thought
a.      coloured or afflicted (klishtha)
b.       not colored or not afflicted (aklishtha)

3.      Is this thought
a.      Useful to our growth
b.      Not useful to growth

4.      Which qualities or gunas are dominant with this thought
a.      Sattva – noble, knowledgeable, light
b.      Rajas – active, ambitious, moving
c.       Tamas -  inert, stable, stagnant
5.      If the thought is coloured, which colourings are dominant?
a.      Forgetting of one’s truth, veiling (avidya)
b.      Claiming ‘I’-ness – (asmita)
c.       Being attracted to or drawn towards (raga)
d.     Having aversion for, or wanting to avoid (dvesha)
e.      Fear of death, loss, anxiety –(abhinivesha)
6.      Which type of thought is this?
a.      Clear, correct, valid knowledge – pramana
b.      Unclear, contradictory, misunderstood – viparyaya
c.       Conceptualizing, fantasy –vikalpa
d.     Sleepy, focussed on anatma  -nidra
e.      Memory, recalling –smriti
7.      How strong is this colouring? You can grade it as low, medium, high
8.      How do I know this is true?
a.      Through perception (pratyaksha)
b.      Through reasoning /logic (Tarka)
c.       Through scriptures (pramana or Agama)

Having labelled the thought, I can ask myself is this thought pattern who I am, or am I the conscious being who illumines the thought, who is the one who has the thought, who is distinct from the thought.

I discover that like light, in whose all-pervading presence all things are illumined, and yet light is untouched by what it illumines, I too am the self-evident conscious being, in whose all-presence, different thought arise  and resolve, and yet I am untouched by the thought.

Om Tat Sat.