Author Topic: Principal factor: Not appreciating intended meaning of tvam..Acharya Sadanandaji  (Read 1438 times)


  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
By Acharya Sadanandaji

Jnaana yoga and Self-Realization - VI (Part 1/2)

The self-knowledge alone removes the self-ignorance.  The self-ignorance is ignorance of myself. This is the first and fundamental problem and sometimes referred to as muula avidya, primordial ignorance, in order to distinguish the ignorance of say objective sciences, such as ignorance of chemistry, physics, etc. This fundamental ignorance causes secondary problems; and there lies the samasaara. The classical example is the ignorance of a rope lying in the alley.  However, that ignorance of an object result in mistaking the object as a snake due to similarities in the attributes gathered. This is a secondary effect of ignorance. This further cascades into other problems; fear, anxiety, insecurity, and increase in blood pressure, and action in terms of running away from the perceived snake to protect oneself, etc. Innocent rope has nothing to do with any of these. This error is called subjective projection (technically called praatibhaasika). Although the snake perception is subjective, the actions that result as a result of subjective notion are objectively experienced including running away from the scene. In contrast to this there are also objective errors or vyaavahaarika errors. Typical examples are mirage water or clear crystal appearing as red when placed on or near a red cloth, appearance of sunrise and sunset, etc. The appearance of mirage water where there is only dry sand arises due to objective factors which are nothing to do with the perceiver, the subject.  It arises due to the reflection of sunrays at a glancing angle.  The two errors can be stated as - I see it, therefore it is (as in the subjective error case) - It is, therefore I see it (as in the objective error case).  Both errors involve taking something other than what they are, atasmin tat budhiH, and they are called by Shankara as adhyaasaH. In the subjective errors, once I learned by subsequent operation that it is rope and not a snake, there will be no further perception of snake of that rope. Hence all the secondary reactions will also be removed, not necessarily immediately, but slowly. The rapid palpitations of the heart that occurred on the vision of snake may die down slowly after recognizing that it is not a snake but a rope. On the other hand, the objective errors will continue as appearances even after knowing the truth behind the appearances. We can differentiate the two errors - subjective error as jiiva sRiShTi or created by the human mind, and objective errors as Iswara sRiShTi or created by the global mind. Hence, the objective errors, which remain even after knowing the truth behind the appearances, will be admired as part of Iswara vibhuuti or glory of Iswara. Both subjective and objective errors play a role in the self-realization - one sublimated as result of knowledge, while the other admired as Iswara shRiShTi or liila.

Similarly, the ignorance of one's own self or self-ignorance can lead to secondary problems. Since I do not know myself (or know just enough about myself), I take myself what I am not as myself and then suffer the consequence of that mistaken identity. This is called misapprehension. Ignorance of myself is non-apprehension, and taking myself 'what I am not' as myself is misapprehension. These are normally referred to as aavaraNa and vikshepa; ignorance - as though - covering the knowledge of myself is aavaraNa and identifying with the plurality as 'I am this' is vikshepa.

How does this identification of myself, the subject, with what I see, the object, occur?  A simple example illustrates our normal experience. I was lying down on a lazy-boy chair in an air conditioned room after scrumptious meals, and for entertainment started watching a movie on TV. The movie became interesting as I watched. As in a typical Indian movie, after the hero and heroin performed all their duets and all that, they got separated by fate, and they were running in a hot sun, in a desert, without food or drink for days to save their lives from the gangsters surrounding them from all directions. I am puffing, panting and sweating, with tears running down my eyes, watching desperately whether the hero and heroin are going to make it or not. I forgot completely where I am and who I am, and forgot even that I am watching an Indian movie where hero and heroin have to live happily ever after, and I identify myself intensely with the two characters in the story, who are running in a desert in a hot sun. Their limitations have become my limitations. I forgot that it is just the shades of light and darkness dancing on the TV screen. I am comfortably sitting in a lazy-boy chair in an air conditioned room after full meals. Neither I am in the hot sun in desert without food and drinks, nor the actors who played as hero and heroin are really suffering in the hot sun without food and drinks. Yet, in those moments, my suffering is real and a box full of wet tissue paper in the waste basket is a direct proof.  Just by forgetting myself and identifying with the characters on the TV screen, I can undergo so much suffering, what to mention about the suffering one can go through by not knowing who I am, and taking myself to be this body, mind and intellect as myself.

The identification starts taking this physical body as I am, and subsequently the mind and the intellect as I am. The attributes of body, mind and intellect, BMI, became my attributes and their limitations as my limitations. At body level I take myself to be mortal, at mind level I take myself to be unhappy and at the intellect level I take myself to be ignorant of the rest of the world. I tried to solve these three fundamental limitations by pravRitti and nivRitti, acquiring things that are conducive for their happiness and getting rid of things that cause their discomforts. Thus attachments and aversions, raaga and dhveShas, start accumulating with resulting vaasanaas or tendencies accumulating life after life - all in the desperate attempt in making myself "immortal, knowledgeable and limitless" - satyam, Jnaanam and anantam. Hence Vedanta comes to my rescue declaring I am trying to solve a problem where there is no problem- as we discussed earlier.

We are all familiar with the above scenario of how I got into this state that I am trying to get out. Most important to bear in mind is there are two aspects that are involved, and this should be clear. 1. The fundamental is the ignorance of myself, which is beginning-less like any other ignorance.  2. The next is the ignorance born vaasanaas that I have been accumulating life after life. Total account is sanchita, and the ones that I brought to exhaust in this life is praarabda and the new ones that I accumulate while living here is aagaami. Thus we have ignorance and the ignorance caused vaasanaas.

The nature of ignorance is, it is anaadi or beginning less, but with the knowledge, it gets eliminated. Knowledge and ignorance are like light and darkness. They are diagonally opposite to each other. Just as the moment a light is turned on, the darkness in the room is eliminated.  It is direct and immediate. Similarly via inquiry along the lines specified by Vedanta, the ignorance of myself goes away with the knowledge. It is also direct and immediate. Once the ignorance gone, IT CANNOT COMEBACK AGAIN - yat gatvaa na nivartante taddhama paramam mama. If it comes back, then it will have now aadi or beginning for ignorance again, which is not possible. Now let us carefully apply the discussion we had in the previous posts.  Once I understand that I am pure light of consciousness that is all pervading and that these BMI are just upaadhis (like pot walls for pot), by analyzing and inquiring into the essence of mahaavaakya - tat tvam asi, I now know, who I am.  I have UNDERSTOOD that I am not this body, not this mind and not this intellect but I am pure witnessing consciousness which is the same in all pervading consciousness, since scriptures says you are the THAT. As JK puts it - It is an understanding as an understanding as a fact not just as understanding as understanding as a thought. This understanding as soon as it rises, like darkness removed by a light instantaneously, it removes ignorance immediately and directly.

The mahaavaakya, tat tvam asi, understanding involves two aspects. 1. It is an understanding that I am is full and complete, satchidaananda, without any limitations; that is the full implication of the 'tat tvam asi' statement.  2. The second aspect of this understanding is to understand that nothing else is required for me to understand. I am the light of consciousness reflecting even the thought of 'I understood tat tvam asi'. This is beautifully expressed in Kena, when the student first screams out "I UNDERSTOOD", then he hesitates that the teacher may misinterpret his statement that he understood as conceptualized thought "NO, I UNDERSTAND IT NOT" then again he hesitates that the statement does not represent the truth "NOT THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT" naaham manye, suvedeti, no na vedeti, veda ca| The problem is inherent with nature of this subjective knowledge of the subject itself - yato vaacho nivartante apraapya manasaa saha, says Vedanta, the words and mind cannot reach there - words and mind operate predominately in the objective world and cannot describe the subject which cannot be objectified nor that understanding of oneself by oneself using  - "aatmanaa atmaanam aatmaiva pasyati", oneself only sees oneself by oneself.

Now what happens after this understanding?  No, there won't be any flash lights flashing all over my face or there will be some hallo rising behind the head as you see in pictures. Only difference is, now I am all happy all by myself, since that is my nature. I will not be putting a face (in India it is called caster-oil face) as though I am carrying the whole world on my shoulders. Expression of inner joy becomes natural since it cannot contain itself. Other than that, I will be compassionate, where compassion is required; and I will be angry where anger is required; and ready to shed tears where they are required and sympathetic where sympathy is required. I may still get a pat here and kick there; some praising me and some criticizing me. That is all part of the drama of life.  For others, I look just as before; perhaps they notice that I am less agitated or less worried or less angry, since they cannot differentiate real from acting real. No, I am not going to do any tom tom that I am a jnaani, since they do not believe it anyway, since, as I said, they do not see any hallow after becoming a jnaani. Besides, why should I go and declare to anybody that I was stupid before by taking the inert body as I am (ignoring the fact that everybody is in the same boat).

Hari Om!

« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 09:04:44 AM by Dr. Sadananda »