What shines here as ‘I’ is self-revealing, self-effulgent consciousness who is independent of all that is observed or perceived in its presence.
For understanding the self-evident nature of Consciousness that shines here in this body-mind complex as ‘I’, all you have to do is unload from one’s understanding, all that is observable, as well as all that is changing and taken to be “I”. That means one would unload the notions of being a body-mind complex from one’s understanding of “I” because the body-mind is observed and observable. What about the deep impressions that are in the mind, which are not available for immediate observation? Well the deep impressions, whatever they may be are observable, as and when they surface into one’s conscious mind. Since they qualify to be observable, they too are not inherent in consciousness.
What is left after this unloading, which is really unloading of one’s sense of self-identity in the body-mind complex, is just self-evident consciousness.
Is arriving at, ascertaining for oneself the nature of “I” being self-evident consciousness equivalent to enlightenment? NO. There are some teachers who claim this is equal to enlightenment – that is false – it is cheating gullible troubled beings, who need some respite from the agitations caused by their mistaken self-identity. That respite is only temporary as many of them do discover.
Ascertaining for oneself that who I am is self-evident self-effulgent consciousness, that is indeed INDEPENDENT of the body-mind complex is the first step. Without understanding the purport of the Upanishad statement tat tvam asi – You (the self-evident consciousness) are That (absolute reality that apparently manifests as the ever-changing universe) how are you going to ascertain for yourself that the self-evident consciousness is indeed independent, changeless and infinite and therefore absolutely free?
Freedom is recognizing the “I” to be the self-evident consciousness that is independent of everything illumined in its presence and therefore to be always free of whatever you had considered yourself to be bound by. Therefore self-evident consciousness that shines as “I” is always free of
- · Samskara (deep impressions) even when they are present in the mind
- · Results of action -Punya and paapa
- · Restlessness and agitations of the mind
The freedom is total.
Perhaps it is only on understanding one’s freedom that one understands how free the human free-will is. All vyvahara continues as before – and yet now one is free enough to choose out of one’s love and joy, what to associate with and what not to.