Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 21

Idam Aham pada abhikyamanvaham
Ahami leenakepyalaya Sattayaa

Word meaning
Idam – This (Self)
Aham pada abhikyam – which is indicated by the word Aham or I
Anu Aham – following the merger of the individual I and
Ahami Leenake api – when the total I also merges
Alaya sattaya – (shines) due to the indestructible nature of it (of the Self).

Sloka meaning
This pure Consciousness or Self which is indicated by the word “I”, following the merger of the individual “I” or jeeva and when the total I or Ishwara also merges – shines due to the indestructible nature of itself.

Maharshi introduces two Egos in this sloka and goes on to explain this in detail in the future slokas.

Vedanta speaks about two distinct terms – Ishwara and Jeeva.
The common notion among people is that the “I” is an individual “I” which is qualified by limited space of body and limited knowledge. This “I” is called Jeeva. Since an individual jeeva is assumed, the world needs to have a creator who has the notion that “everything is Mine” and who is endowed with all-pervasiveness and all-knowing qualities. This total “I” who identifies himself as the ruler of the world is called Ishwara or in simple terms God.

Vedantic theory of creation tells that Ishwara is the reflection of Brahman in Maya. The jeeva is the reflection of Brahman or Self in the intellect born out of ignorance or Avidya. The Ishwara creates different objects out of Maya for the enjoyment of jeeva or the individual.

Thus, the individual “I” first has to merge into the total “I” which again merges into the ultimate reality of Consciousness or Brahman or Self. The essence of both Ishwara and Jeeva is Consciousness alone. But this Consciousness when seemed to be limited by all-knowing nature is called Ishwara and when this Consciousness seems to be limited by qualities of limited-knowledge and body is called Jeeva.

Thus, this jeeva has to merge into Ishwara – which then merges into the ultimate reality of “I” or pure Consciousness.

One should not get confused with these various terms. The individual “I” is the individual Ego. The total “I” or Ishwara is the total Ego. When the total “I” or Total Ego merges into its source of Consciousness, only Consciousness remains.

This is the reason why Sri Sri Ravishankar says that make the local I – global I. This Ishwara then becomes the ruler of everything, he knows everything, he is the creator of the world, he is the protector of the world, he is the destroyer of the world – he is that in which the world is created, protected and destroyed. But here also, limitations due to Maya remain. These limitations are to be removed by realizing the essence of this total “I” which is pure Consciousness alone.

WE find that great Mahatmas proclaim that “I am the creator of this world, I am the one ruling the world” etc. We find Krishna himself explaining that “I gave this knowledge of the Self first to Sun God”. Here, Krishna mentions himself as Ishwara endowed with all-knowing and all-pervasive nature.

A person enquiring into the nature of Ishwara will understand that Ishwara is also an illusion in Brahman alone. The jeeva is attached to a single body whereas Ishwara is attached to the total bodies. Jeeva is endowed with limited knowledge whereas Ishwara is endowed with complete knowledge (here knowledge only means external knowledge about the world). Thus, both these are illusions in the reality of Consciousness alone.

Consciousness cannot have any limitations because it is pure and one without a second. Hence even if there is all-knowing quality – one should realize that this in itself is an illusion alone in Consciousness.

A seeker reaches a stage where he finds himself as the ruler of the world, he finds himself in one with Ishwara or God. This is the reason why the great Trailinga Swami was offered some land in which he could be the ruler by a king, but the saint replied telling that “all this world is mine only, then why will I require a small land which I already have as the whole”.

An individual can realize the Self through knowing that everything is Mine only and that I am that from which all this world comes, all this world stays and all this world merges into. Thus, the individual jeeva or Ego finds itself as the total Ego or Ishwara and then realizes that there is nothing here but Consciousness alone. The process of how to merge into the Self is by enquiry which has been explained by Maharshi in the previous slokas.

The experience of dream explains the theory that creation is from my mind alone. Dream world is created by the dreamer alone and the dream world objects are nothing but the dreamer alone. The dream world in itself is an illusion seen in the dreamer alone. Similarly this waking world is the creation of the waker alone (when the waker identifies himself with Ishwara). When the waker determines to see the world, the world exists. Without the waker, the world doesn’t exist. But even when the waking world is not there, the waker exists in the state of deep sleep. Thus, it is not tough to apprehend the truth that the world is not created by an external God but by the mind alone and this is realized when the individual ego becomes the total Ego.

Even though these different terms of Ishwara and Jeeva are put forth – one should not concentrate much on these words because these are only illusions seen in Consciousness or the Self or pure “I”. This is what Maharshi says at the end of the sloka that when the individual and total Egos vanish, pure Consciousness alone remains – in its nature state of bliss eternal.

Illusions are in fact reality alone perceived wrongly. The snake when perceived in the rope is rope alone but perceived wrongly. Therefore all illusions are the reality alone. Hence, Ishwara and Jeeva are Consciousness alone seemingly appearing to be limited by different adjunctions. For a person who is endowed with discrimination, there cannot be any adjunctions in pure Consciousness, one without a second. When this reality is known, all illusions vanish. There can never be perceived snake in the rope but still it is perceived – this perception is thus indescribable because in reality there never is any snake present in the rope. Similarly there is no creation at all, there is no Ishwara and Jeeva but only pure Consciousness which is the essential nature of each person. This ultimate reality is what is to be known – knowing which everything becomes known, knowing which a person becomes content, peaceful and blissful. Thus, the ultimate reality is Consciousness or Self alone which is of the nature of SAT (Existence), CHIT (Consciousness) and Ananda (Bliss) Kevala (Absolute). Each and every one is this reality alone – this knowledge that I am THAT has been forgotten. The sruthi and various works of Mahatmas are all meant to make a person realize his own real nature of this Consciousness.

Since, a beginner can not understand or apprehend the ultimate reality that there has been no creation but only Consciousness seeming to exist with a name and form, therefore creation and creator have been put forth by the Upanishads. The creator or Ishwara vanishes when duality vanishes. Ishwara vanishes the moment his creation vanishes, the moment the triads of knower, knowledge and object of knowledge vanishes. After that, there remains only pure Consciousness alone. Similarly Jeeva exists only when the body and the mind are present or thought to be present. The moment a person realizes that I am not the body, I am Consciousness, he realizes the ultimate reality of Consciousness (one without a second) and that there never was any body or mind at all.

The way to realizing this ultimate reality is enquiring into one’s own real nature of Self – the Ego or I when deprived of its likes and dislikes, its various qualities of desire, anger, attachment etc. becomes the Self or Consciousness alone. This is another path which can be followed by a person not capable of enquiring into his own real nature. When likes and dislikes are removed – the person sees oneness everywhere – there remains nothing to get attached to or averted or. Due to removal of likes and dislikes – the Ego perishes because Ego lives only on duality which lives on likes and dislikes. When the Ego perishes, the source or substratum of the illusion of Ego alone persists – which is Consciousness or Self alone.

Ultimately, whatever path a person follows – he reaches the final state where he realizes his own eternal reality of oneness with non-dual Consciousness which is variously named as Atman, Brahman, Paramatma, God etc. All these are nothing but Consciousness alone. Whatever is present, whatever was present and whatever will be present are all Brahman or Consciousness alone. And that Consciousness everyone already is. This knowledge alone removes all sorrows and sufferings which are illusions created out of ignorance of one’s own nature.

As Maharshi says the Self is indestructible Existence. Sankaracharya defines Real as that which doesn’t change. The only thing that doesn’t change is Consciousness or Self alone. Therefore, the only real thing which exists is the Self or Consciousness alone. If there is only Consciousness, then what sorrow, what delusion which are all born out of duality.

When a person realizes this ultimate reality that “I am THAT”, all the illusions of world, jeeva, Ishwara, sorrow, suffering, happiness, quest for knowledge, power, money, women etc. vanish and only pure Consciousness shines. This is the natural state of “I” – the “I” which without any break pulsates in each person as “I-exist, I-exist”. This natural state along with ignorance is what is experienced in deep sleep. If a person realizes that eternal bliss is rejoiced in deep sleep when there was ignorance also, he realizes that what would be the eternal bliss rejoiced when ignorance is not present – when this ultimate reality of oneness with Consciousness is realized.

Maharshi is thus in each and every person in this Jnaana Yoga asserts that YOU ARE CONSCIOUSNESS, ONE WITHOUT A SECOND – YOU ARE THAT. In the next sloka, Maharshi asserts this ultimate reality through negation of the body, mind etc – the process of Neti Neti (Not this, Not this) mentioned in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Only this ultimate reality that I am Consciousness, I am Brahman, I am the non-dual Self can get one rid of sorrow and suffering which are born out of ignorance. It is a big miss if we don’t attain this knowledge here in this world and now itself. Each moment we don’t make an attempt to realize this reality becomes a big miss because all those moments we are living like MAD PEOPLE not knowing our own very nature of Consciousness and considering ourselves as the body or the mind!!!! Such people are termed by Upanishads as Moodaah or IDIOTS.

As Sankara mentions in Bhaja Govindam
Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam
Govindam Bhaja Moodamathe
Sampraapthe sannihithe kaale
Nahi nahi rakshathi dukrinkarane

O FOOL!!! Seek the Self. Death or your time in this human birth is nearing and no logic, dialetics or grammar will help you at that time. Hence don’t waste time and seek the Self now itself.

Kena Upanishad says
Iha ched vedit atha satyam asthi
Ched ihaavedin mahathee vinasthih

If the Self is known here, then it is Truth and valuable – if not known here, it will be a big loss.

Hence, let us devote at least some time daily to recollect this ultimate reality that “I am Consciousness, one without a second and distinct from the body and mind. Whatever is present is Consciousness alone. The world and its objects are illusions seen in Consciousness alone. And hence I will get happy or sad over various objects and people in this illusory world”. If we can’t even spend at least 5 minutes daily for this, this reality will not be realized and the person will be running hitherto and thitherto going to Mahatmas or temples for removal of sorrow and sufferings (without knowing that these are for the body and mind and not for the Self. And hence they are illusions alone). And such a person cannot be helped even by the illusory Brahma or Vishnu or Siva or by any great Avataar even if it is Adi Sankaracharya or Ramanujacharya or Madhvacharya.

Hence, let us try to realize this ultimate reality as early as possible and rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Self.


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