Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 28

Kim svaroopam ithi Atma darshane
Avaya abhava aapurna chit sukham

Word meaning
Kim Svaroopam – What is the nature
Atma darshane ithi – of the Self (thus enquiring, one finds that the Self is)
Avyayaa, abhava – Indestructible, unborn
Aapoorna chit sukham – Perfect and Full Consciousness and Bliss.

Sloka meaning
What is the nature of the Self (thus enquiring), one realizes the Self as Indestructible, unborn, perfect and of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Maharshi is here giving the clear lakshana or nature of the Self or Consciousness which is the absolute reality of the relative illusory & hence unreal world.

In the previous verse Maharshi proclaimed that the Self is beyond both knowledge and ignorance & there requires no external knowledge medium to know the Self which is the Seer that is always established and pulsates as “I-exist, I-exist”.

This is not a direct explanation of the Self or description of the Self. The Upanishads proclaim that everything in this world becomes an object and objects can be defined or described. But the Subject which itself is the definer of the definitions of the objects, the describer of the descriptions can never be defined or described. A person cannot see his eye with his eye. Only thing is he can see the eye with the help of a mirror which gives only a mirror-image and not a real image (this mirror image also is faulty as everyone knows about it).

Therefore Upanishads again and again proclaim that there is only one thing in the world which hasn’t yet been described perfectly – that is the Self or Brahman or Ishwara or God of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. This is mainly because it is beyond words and thoughts which are the basic medium of explanations. The words and thoughts arise from the Self and hence cannot define its own source from which they derive the illumination and existence.

But the Self cannot be the voidness of Buddhists – as it is explained as Neti Neti in the scriptures & negation of everything leads to the Self & as the Self is beyond both knowledge and ignorance. Hence to clear this doubt of the seeker as to whether the Self is really existent or just another kind of illusion which is of the nature of voidness, the Upanishads gives the inherent nature of the Self.

That nature of the Self is being explained here by Maharshi. Let us try to analyze each and every word that Maharshi uses here to explain the Self (which is one’s own real nature).

Avyaya or Indestructible and Abhava or Unborn
That which is subject to birth is subject to changes as well as death. Such a changing object cannot be the Self because the Self is always constant – changeless and that from which the world gets its existence. Hence the Self is without any birth and death. Since the Self is without birth and death, it is without any change also (that which is born is subject to change also).

Only such a changeless being can give eternal happiness. Any changing object cannot give eternal bliss as changing object will itself cease to exist after some time. Hence, the Self which is changeless is the ultimate reality beyond time and space.

It is also pretty evident that such a changeless and birthless Self is my very nature. The “I” that we call is without any change – it remains the same as it was 10 years ago and 100 years ago. Even before birth of the body, the “I” was there and even after death of the body “I” remains. Thus one’s own very nature is without birth, change and death.

Perfect or Full – Aapoorna
The Self is perfect or full. That which is full alone can confer satisfaction or contentment. One’s own very nature is fullness or perfect being. This is very well known during the state of deep sleep where nothing is craved for and nothing is cried for. Only that completeness or fullness can confer eternal bliss which is being enjoyed or rejoiced in the state of deep sleep. This shows that one’s own very nature is fullness only. If one’s own nature were not fullness, then no one would want to go to sleep – whereas everybody wants to go to sleep irrespective of any limitations.

It is a very well known fact that when a person is his natural state – there will be no disturbance, no tensions, no movement, no sorrow. This is known by the very fact of a person’s state of mind when he has gone to a place different from his house – his natural instinct is to return to his house. Until he returns to his house, he doesn’t have any rest. This is because only in the natural state, there is perfectness and completeness. In all other states, one strives for things – one has desires, tensions, complications, sorrows and sufferings.

The sorrow that we have is not the inherent nature of the Self or “I”. Because if sorrow was the natural state, no one would want to attain happiness. But we see that people are all striving for eternal bliss. The sorrow thus is not the real and natural state of the Self.

The inherent and natural state of the Self is Consciousness and Bliss as Maharshi says in the last few words. Consciousness is one’s own real nature because it is from “I” or Me that all objects gain existence. “I” alone is capable of having the independent experience that “I-exist, I-exist”. This is the nature only of the Self – not of any other object. As Maharshi himself proclaimed earlier that Consciousness alone is capable of illumining existence, therefore my real nature is Consciousness alone. Not just Consciousness, but Bliss also as we have seen above.


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