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Sacchidananda's blog

By Sacchidananda, 11 months ago, In English

Back in 1886, it was on this day that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, revealed himself as a ‘Kalpataru’ and spiritually awakened a large number of his devotees in Kasipur, Kolkata. ‘Kalpataru’ refers to the ‘Kalpaka Vriksha’ in Hinduism, that is a divine wish-fulfilling tree that bestows what is wished upon by an individual who stands below it. Just like the Kalpaka Vriksha, Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa bestowed spiritual awakening upon all of the devotees who were present with him that day. A disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Ramachandra Dutta termed this day as ‘Kalpataru Day’, referring to the complete revelation of Sri Ramakrishna as a Kalpakavriksha.

On January 1st 1886 at Kasipur, where Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had been undergoing treatment for his throat cancer, he felt particularly better on that day and came down from his room for a stroll on the spacious lawns of the garden-house. There, he asked one of his devotee, Girish Ghosh, “What have you seen that makes you glorify me publicly before one and all?”. Girish Ghosh overcome with emotion bows down to him and responded in a chocking voice, "He whose glory Vyasa and Valmiki (composers of Mahabharata and Ramayana) could not describe, what can I say? (He means to say that his master Ramakrishna is an avatar of Lord Rama and Krishna)". Hearing this Ramakrishna replied, "What more shall I say? May you all be spiritually awakened!". About thirty devotees were present and were scattered here and there in the garden. No sooner had he said these few words than they all went into deep spiritual states and some even went into Samadhi. What followed is best described in the words of Swami Saradananda, who had seen the whole episode from a distance:

"When the devotees heard those words of blessings and protection from fear, they raised repeated cries of joy. exclaiming, 'Glory to Ramakrishna!'. Some of them saluted him, some showered flowers, some again came and touched his feet."

The Master touched the devotees in that state of Samadhi and blessed them all. The effect was instantaneous. Swami Saradananda's account continues:

"...there arose by that marvelous touch a wonderful mood in the mind of each. Some of them began to laugh, some to weep, some to meditate, and some again to call aloud all others in order that they might also be blessed by receiving the grace of the Master ... and be sharers in the bliss that was overflowing."

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By Sacchidananda, history, 12 months ago, In English

यथा घनोऽर्कप्रभवोऽर्कदर्शितो ह्यर्कांशभूतस्य च चक्षुषस्तम: । एवं त्वहं ब्रह्मगुणस्तदीक्षितो ब्रह्मांशकस्यात्मन आत्मबन्धन: ॥ ३२ ॥ — SB 12.4.32

yathā ghano ’rka-prabhavo ’rka-darśito hy arkāṁśa-bhūtasya ca cakṣuṣas tamaḥ evaṁ tv ahaṁ brahma-guṇas tad-īkṣito brahmāṁśakasyātmana ātma-bandhanaḥ

Translation: The light of the sun touches the water in the sea and lo! It takes form and incarnates as the cloud. The cloud born of the sun, illuminated by the sun, clouds the vision and hides the sun. So too, the ego born of the Self, enlivened by the Self, clouds the self and hides the infinite nature of the Self.

घनो यदार्कप्रभवो विदीर्यते चक्षु: स्वरूपं रविमीक्षते तदा । यदा ह्यहङ्कार उपाधिरात्मनो जिज्ञासया नश्यति तर्ह्यनुस्मरेत् ॥ ३३ ॥ — SB 12.4.33

ghano yadārka-prabhavo vidīryate cakṣuḥ svarūpaṁ ravim īkṣate tadā yadā hy ahaṅkāra upādhir ātmano jijñāsayā naśyati tarhy anusmaret

Translation: When the clouds move away, the eyes behold the sun. When the ego which confines and covers the Self subsides by the inquiry, the knowledge of the Self dawns in the horizon of the heart, like the splendorous sun.

यदैवमेतेन विवेकहेतिना मायामयाहङ्करणात्मबन्धनम् । छित्त्वाच्युतात्मानुभवोऽवतिष्ठते तमाहुरात्यन्तिकमङ्ग सम्प्लवम् ॥ ३४ ॥ — SB 12.4.34

yadaivam etena viveka-hetinā māyā-mayāhaṅkaraṇātma-bandhanam chittvācyutātmānubhavo ’vatiṣṭhate tam āhur ātyantikam aṅga samplavam

Translation: Oh dear child! When by the sword of enquiry the bondage of the ego created by illusion is cut off and one is firmly established in the eternal blemishless divine beingness, then that is said to be the ultimate dissolution — mahapralaya!

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By Sacchidananda, history, 13 months ago, In English

May this special occasion of Deepavali illuminate your lives with peace, joy and happiness.

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By Sacchidananda, history, 14 months ago, In English

The waking world is as real as the dream world


1 General objection: Waking world is real and the dream world is just a dream.

2 Dream objects are subjective, they are the creation of the sleeper’s/dreamer’s mind. Whereas the waking objects are real, they exist outside independent of the perceiver and are perceived by the means of sense organs.

3 Dream experiences are private. Its objects and actions are known to the dreamer and none else. The waking experiences are public. We all live in a shared world.

4 Waking percepts in contrast to dream percepts are said to endure for a long period of time.

5 Practicality: The money a dreamer possesses can not purchase his bread and butter when he feels hungry in the waking state.

6 Dream experiences are found to be fantastic, illogical, random, arbitrary. But the waking world seems to be very logical. Things work according to the laws of science, reason, etc.

7(strong) Dream experiences are refuted by waking. A person can judge the merit of his dream after waking. The reverse does not happen. In a dream, you do not say that the dream is real and the waking world was false. The waking world is more real than the dream.

8 We return to the same objects; children, relatives, friends, house, etc. all come back when you wake up. But a dream is different. Not only every night, every dream to dream it is different.

9(strong) If the objects of the waking state are exactly like the dream state, then our beloved friends, family and relatives would be no more than ideas like those of our dream world friends, family and relatives. Such an attitude is repugnant to our feelings.

10 In dreams the objects one takes to be real are mere ideas whereas in the waking state, the real appears real and the unreal unreal. Here we can distinguish between reality and unreality.


1 Dream objects are felt while the dream lasts, to be as real as those of the waking state. In dreams, as in the waking state, there exists a sense of distinction between real and unreal. In a dream, we do not think it is a dream. From the dream perspective, it is another waking state for you as a dreamer.

2 What makes this difference is said to be the instrumentality of sense organs which are active in the waking state and inactive during sleep. But a distinction made on such grounds is not plausible, the sense organs in the physical bodies of the dream world are as active as those of the waking world. In dreams too, one not only thinks, but also touches, sees, tastes, hears and smells objects(although they are creations only in the dream). There also exists external objects — those apart from the dreamer and inner feelings in the dream state as in the waking state.

3 The application of the idea of public or private to distinguish the objects of one state from those of another is not valid. Like the waking world, the dream world too has not only its own sun, moon and stars but other living beings as well, who share with the dreamer the public experience of the dream. Dream experience(from the dream perspective) has as much as a public character, as long as the dream lasts, as a waking experience.

4 Dream objects are also observed to endure for a long period of time, though the dream may not last for more than a few minutes as measured from the standard of time from the waking mind. When you go into a dream world, you do not feel like the world has just been created just minutes ago. You feel that the world has been there for millions/billions of years as well from the dream perspective.

5 The money possessed by a person does not serve a similar purpose in his dreams. His money cannot purchase the hungry dreamer’s bread and butter in the dream. If the test of reality is pragmatic, it can be said that the dream objects are means to dream ends just as much as waking objects are means to waking ends.

6 Such percepts/experiences in the dream, however absurd, appear perfectly normal to the dreamer. They don’t seem crazy in your dream. If something were wrong, you would realise that something was wrong, it is just a dream. The dreamer has his own notions of time, space, distance and form. The standards of the dreamer are unreal to the waking person. Similarly, the standards of the waking person do not apply to the dream. They have applications only in their own state.

7(powerful but subtle) To the dreamer, the dream is a waking state. In that waking state(of the dreamer), you may have other dreams from which you(the dreamer) have woken up. There is no longer a reference to “this”(the original) waking state anymore.

8 As has already been mentioned above, the dream is a waking state to the dreamer. One knows a state to be a waking state only if there is a feeling that the objects seen are real and remain as such in all waking states. In the dream state, all the objects in the dream feel to be absolutely real — they do not feel like they are about to disappear at the end of the dream.

9(powerful but subtle) The objects that appear to a person are as real as the person itself. As real as the waker considers himself to be so real does the waker’s world seem to be. As real as the dreamer considers himself to be so real does the dreamer’s world seem to be. Your friends, family and relatives are all as real as you think yourself to be, either in the dream state or the waking state.

10 In the dream also we have a distinction between real and unreal. One can see an illusion in a dream as well(Example: a mirage).

In that case is anything real? Is nothing true? What is it that is common in both these states? What you can confirm or deny as being real or unreal are all objects of experience. What you can not deny is the experience itself. For example, say that you are looking at a tiger. Are you dreaming or are you actually looking at a tiger? The answer is open ended. You can argue in either way. But the fact that you actually saw something, whether or not you are real or unreal, whether or not the tiger is real or unreal, you cannot deny. Experience(or the lack thereof) itself is the very essence of life. This pure experience/awareness/consciousness is THE reality(it is not a state). Everything else is just an object appearing to this reality. That Thou Art-Tat Tvam Asi (तत् त्वम् असि). __

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By Sacchidananda, history, 14 months ago, In English
  • Prakarana Grantha(teaching manual/introductory treatise):

    • Vivekachudamani (Highly recommended), Swami Chinmayananda, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust
    • Aparokshanubhuti (Highly recommended), Swami Vimuktananda, Advaita Ashrama
    • Drig Drisya Viveka (Recommended), Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math
    • Atma Bodha, Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math
    • Vedantasara, Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math
  • Prasthanatrayi(three main scriptures):

    • Bhagavad Gita: With the Commentary of Shankaracharya (Highly Recommended), Swami Gambhirananda, Advaita Ashrama
    • Upanishads, In particular the Mukya(Main/Principal) Upanishads:
      1. The Mandukyopanishad: With the Commentary of Gaudapada's Karika And Shankaracharya's Commentary (Very Highly Recommended), Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama
      2. Eight Upanishads: With the Commentary of Shankaracharya (Highly Recommended) (Vol I&II), Swami Gambhirananda, Advaita Ashrama AND/OR The Upanishads (Recommended) (Vol I,II,III&IV), Swami Nikhilananda, Harper & Brothers Publishers New York
    • Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya (Recommended) , Swami Gambhirananda, Advaita Ashrama
  • Auxiliary Texts:

    • Ashtavakra Samhita (Very Highly Recommended), Swami Nityaswarupananda, Advaita Ashrama
    • Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya (Highly Recommended), Swami Chetanananda, Advaita Ashrama AND/OR Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya (Highly Recommended), Swami Ashokananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math

This is by no means all there is to read, however these are some of the texts which are most popular/well regarded. If you are interested, you can find more valuable resources(including youtube links for lectures given by many wonderful teachers) in this website

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By Sacchidananda, history, 14 months ago, In English

Vedanta is a philosophy handed down by the Vedas, the oldest Holy Scriptures in India. It teaches that our real nature is divine. God is our innermost Being, an underlying reality in everything that exists. Truth is universal and religion is the search for Being, the search for God within us. Vedanta does not ask us to abandon religion. On the contrary, it encourages a scientific and rational approach to religion. It accepts all world religions as true and worships the great prophets, teachers and divine incarnations. It emphasizes self-effort, faith in oneself and faith in the oneness of God. It places the realization of God and the manifestation of our divinity in everyday life as the true goal of human existence. We can achieve it through methods called Yoga (union with God), that channel the energies and tendencies that we all already possess. Religious methods are a matter of experience. We each have our own problems and our own path of development. But the goal, that is, to realize the divinity within, is one for all. The ideal is to practice a harmonious balance of the four main yogas:

Bhakti Yoga is for people of a predominantly emotional nature. It teaches to develop a relationship of devotion to God, since He is love itself.

Jnana Yoga approaches spiritual enlightenment through discernment and reason, making use of the powers of the mind. It is the path of the philosopher who wants to go beyond the visible universe.

Karma Yoga advises us to know the secret of selfless action and teaches us to work towards peace of mind, using our natural desire to be productive.

Raja Yoga, the path of meditation, is the soul of all yogas. The emphasis here is on controlling the mind through concentration and meditation. Raja Yoga is also called "the psychological path of union with God".

Those who believe that these non-essentials are indispensable to attaining the ultimate goal of religion have not yet understood the basic principles of all religions; they do not know how to distinguish between what is essential and what is not; they lack the understanding that spiritual enlightenment gives. Those who understand the essentials of religion and put them into practice in daily life do not worry about the non-essentials. It is only these simple and sincere souls who reach the goal of religion by the shortest of paths. Those who understand the essentials of religion and put them into practice in daily life do not worry about the non-essentials. It is only these simple and sincere souls who reach the goal of religion by the shortest of paths. Those who understand the essentials of religion and put them into practice in daily life do not worry about the non-essentials. It is only these simple and sincere souls who reach the goal of religion by the shortest of paths.

The essential elements of religion are mainly two: self-knowledge and self-control. Self-knowledge means knowledge of the higher Self, knowledge of man's divine nature; and self-control consists in curbing the lower self, that is, our selfish nature. True knowledge comes when the lower self is mastered.

The non-essential elements of religion are like a heap of husks under which the pulp of essential truth is hidden. Where the unessentials prevail too much, there is religious corruption, superstition, and false theology, the chief object of which is to convince the ignorant masses that dogmas, doctrines, ceremonies, and rituals must be observed by all people who aspire to be. religious. On the other hand, the science of yoga, being free from dogma and ritual, is not exposed to corruption and superstition, nor does it need any theology. It's pure and simple. It welcomes all earnest and earnest souls seeking the highest truth and spiritual life; it seeks to spiritualize them, offering them the essentials of religion as their highest ideal, and teaches them how to acquire self-control and knowledge of the Supreme Being.

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By Sacchidananda, history, 15 months ago, In English
Ashtavakra-Samhita Chapter 7 verses 7.1-7.3

7.1: मय्यनन्तमहाम्भोधौ विश्वपोत इतस्ततः । भ्रमति स्वान्तवातेन न ममास्त्यसहिष्णुता ॥ १ ॥

mayyanantamahāmbhodhau viśvapota itastataḥ | bhramati svāntavātena na mamāstyasahiṣṇutā || 1 ||

Meaning: In me the infinite ocean of consciousness, this universe is like a boat which is moving here and there on its own. This universe includes everything we observe, including our body. We think that we are a tiny part of the whole universe because we locate ourselves in this body. But if you locate yourself in consciousness, you are aware of everything. The whole universe is like a little boat which moves here and there in you the limitless consciousness. Birth, death, sorrow, joy, gain, loss, honour, dishonour, health, sickness everything keep coming and going — this is the boat moving up and down. What is the attitude of the ocean to the boat? na mamāstyasahiṣṇutā. I am not impatient with the boat. Let the boat of your life just play about — I am always at peace.

7.2 मय्यनन्तमहाम्भोधौ जगद्वीचिः स्वभावतः । उदेतु वास्तमायातु न मे वृद्धिर्न च क्षतिः ॥ २ ॥

mayyanantamahāmbhodhau jagadvīciḥ svabhāvataḥ | udetu vāstamāyātu na me vṛddhirna ca kṣatiḥ || 2 ||

Meaning: In me the infinite ocean of consciousness, the universe arises like a wave(notice that in the first verse the boat is an entity which is different from the ocean. But here, the wave is not something different from the ocean, it is a part of it). This universe is not something which is separate from you, the limitless consciousness. Let the wave rise, let the wave subside(birth, death, sorrow, joy, gain, loss, honour, dishonour, health, sickness coming and going). What is the attitude of the ocean to the wave? na me vṛddhirna ca kṣatiḥ. I neither gain nor lose anything from it(ocean level does not get affected by a small wave).

7.3 मय्यनन्तमहाम्भोधौ विश्वं नाम विकल्पना । अतिशान्तो निराकार एतदेवाहमास्थितः ॥ ३ ॥

mayyanantamahāmbhodhau viśvaṃ nāma vikalpanā | atiśānto nirākāra etadevāhamāsthitaḥ || 3 ||

Meaning: In me the infinite ocean of consciousness, the universe is just an imagination/appearance(here the universe is not even a part of the ocean). In this mad universe of all action and activity, the ocean is absolutely calm and still. What is the attitude of the ocean? atiśānto nirākāra. Beyond the possibility of any change at all — formless. This is how I exist from eternity to eternity(etadevāhamāsthitaḥ).

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By Sacchidananda, history, 15 months ago, In English

What we experience in our entire life is in reality Brahman and this is precisely your true self. Inquiry of your true self(Atma Vichara) = Inquiry of Brahman(Brahma Vichara)= Inquiry of everything in the universe(Sarva Vichara). Inquiry leads to knowledge. So knowledge of your true self = knowledge of Brahman = knowledge of the reality of everything in the universe. Everything in the universe, everything within time and everything which transcends time is indeed Brahman.

This very self is Brahman and this self has 4 aspects. The 4 aspects of the self is explained stepwise as follows:

Step 1: The existence of anything depends on its knowability. Unless a thing is knowable(at some time: past, present or future) in some way(see,hear,touch,smell or think/read/infer(books,thoughts,science,hypotheses,instruments,etc) about it — it must reveal itself to our senses in some way) by somebody somewhere, or atleast has a possibility to be known, it is meaningless/purposeless to talk about the existence of such a thing. Existence and knowability go together all the time. It may not happen that a thing exists but can never be known. Counter Argument: The Sun has intrinsic existence, irrespective of whether it is knowable or not. Ans: How do you know/claim that? The only reason we are able to speak about the Sun(it can be replaced by anything “X”) is because it is “principle knowable/knowable in principle”. Suppose ”X” cannot be defined, nobody can defined it, it cannot be investigated and known, yet it still has intrinsic existence. Then it does to make sense to even talk about “X”(it can just be anything). To speak of the existence of anything meaningfully, it must be in some sense available for experience of something. pramatta=knower, prameyam(or prameyattvam)=object of knowledge(knowable), pramana=source/instruments of knowledge, prama=the knowledge itself. For a thing to exist, in any meaningful sense, it must be a prameyam.

Step 2: Knowability of anything depends on the knower. There can be no knowledge/knowability without a knower. Prameyam depends on pramatta. There is no question of knowing otherwise. Example: A dream depends entirely on the dreamer. It has no intrinsic existence apart from the dreamer. Combining step 1 and step 2, existence of anything depends on the knower. Counter Argument: Gravity existed long before any living thing existed — that could feel the effect of gravity. Ans: It needn’t be knowable by anybody/anything at that point of time. It should only be “principle knowable/knowable in principle”. If there was a knower at that point, it would have been known. So gravity exists and is knowable.

Step 3: The knower depends on consciousness. Any kind of knowledge depends on awareness/consciousness. Unless you have awareness, you don’t know anything. Pramatta depends on chit(consciousness — you the Atman). Consciousness when deployed some instrument of knowledge becomes the knower(consciousness by itself is not the knower). Consciousness(Atman) in conjunction with the mind and sense organs becomes a knower(pramatta).

Step 4: That which depends on something else has a dependent existence(mithyanam(falsity)) Example: A wooden table is considered false as it has a dependent existence on wood. Without wood, a wooden table cannot exist. With reference to this example(only), table=mithya(false) and wood=satyam(real) This means, pramatta and prameyam have no independent existence(from above steps), they are both mithya. Consciousness is only satyam. The big claim is that consciousness appears as the knower(in the form of mind and other instruments of knowledge) and the knowable(in the form of ‘all of this’ — the entire universe). Pramatta and prameyam are together referred to as Nama(name), Rupa(form) and Vyavahara(use). Another name for Nama,Rupa and Vyavahara is Maya.

Step 5: Pramatta and Prameyam come in pairs in the following three different types:

(i) The waker and the Jagrat=waking world.

(ii) The dreamer and the Swapna=dream world.

(iii) The deep sleeper and the Sushupti=blankness in deep sleep(deep sleep world).

The 4 aspects of the self will be described now.

(1)Sthula atma(Gross/physical) aspect of the self: Right now, you are the knower and all what you are experiencing now is Jagrat.

(2)Sukshma atma(subtle) aspect of the self: The dreamer, it is you but in a subtle aspect.

(3)Karana atma(causal) aspect of the self: The knower and the knowable are all resolved into one mass of blankness which we call deep sleep. Why is it called the causal aspect of the self? Because from that mass of blankness, dreams and waking state come out.

And now most importantly the fourth aspect:

(4)Turiya(literally means fourth, but it refers to consciousness) aspect of the self: The knower is consciousness and the knowable is consciousness in consciousness itself. The first three aspects are all false(both the knowers and knowables in these aspects). The fourth aspect alone is real. All of it is one unchangeable consciousness which you are — which projects itself in a waker and waking world; dreamer and dream world, and retreats into itself as a blankness of deep sleep; all throughout, one unchangeable consciousness that is called Turiya. Turiya is the reality about yourself(Atma)=reality about Brahman=reality about ‘all this’ — everything. Here everything is all the three types of Pramatta and Prameyam described above.

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By Sacchidananda, history, 17 months ago, In English

This is a follow up to my previous blogs Purpose of Life and The Atman. I have mentioned the words Brahman and Atman(which is our real self) ubiquitously but I haven't yet taken about its "nature" in detail. In Advaita Vedanta, we follow a process of 'self-enquiry' — we enquire into the true nature of our self. The method taken up is: "Whatever I(the mind) am aware of — I(the real self) am not". Whatever I(the mind) is aware of is an object not awareness itself. That which we are aware of is an object of awareness, not awareness itself. By this process we eliminate from the false notion of our self all objects. We have identified our real self with objects, things which are not our real self such as our body (all sorts of comforts, beautiful appearance, etc) and our mind (thoughts, emotions, desires, etc). Advaita vedanta tells us that we are not these, we are pure eternal consciousness Brahman.

How do we truly appreciate our true self? By the following way: The real nature of our self is pure eternal awareness and anything which our mind is aware of is NOT the real self — it is merely an object to the real self.

Now one interesting question which you might wonder is: Well after enlightenment, I come to "know" the real nature of the self, so the self becomes an object and hence a paradox? The answer to this is simple yet very important. The answer is that: The self can never be known as an object to our mind. The criteria that the whatever you know as an object is not the self remains true. It cannot be known in the usual sense of worldly knowledge — as an object deployed through our five senses(namely smell, sight, touch, sound and taste) , our mind(thoughts, ideas, emotions, love, anger, fear, memories, desires etc. This also includes subtle things like breath, intelligence , subconscious processes, etc) and beyond all this there is this blankness — the blankness we experience in deep sleep or deep meditation, but this is also an object(you can read more about this here). Our tendency is to objectify our real self, well because that's what we have been doing all along. But the self is not an object of awareness, it is awareness itself.

So is enlightenment impossible? Will we never be able to "know" our real self? The answer is an emphatic NO. It is more than "known". In every act of knowledge it is known. Every experience, every action is illumined by the self. As an analogy: When you look at a book, you only see the book and not the light coming out of the book and entering our eyes. When you hear a song you do not perceive the sound waves entering our ear. But one key point which is not captured in these analogies is that Awareness is present in every object, but not as an object. It is present as an illuminer of that object. (of course the light and sound waves are themselves objects) Brahman(Atman/real self/awareness/consciousness/whatever you want to call it) is self-revealed in every object, but we fail to recognise that. What happens in enlightenment is that your realise this illuminuous nature of consciousness. You must realise that this is completely different to anything in this world. It can not be "created" by anything. A bunch of objects (body, mind, brain, cells, neurons or whatever) can never become the subject, the experiencer of all objects — the real self. Once you realise this, in every action whatever it maybe, the self is revealed. Rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick you are that ONE eternal everlasting consciousness.

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By Sacchidananda, history, 17 months ago, In English

This is a follow up to my previous blog The Atman. This question might arise once you have read and tried to understand the blog: If my real nature is that of Brahman(or Atman), what is the purpose of my physical life? Why should I go through the struggles of life, follow a sincere disciplined spiritual life leading to gradual spiritual awakening only to realise that I am Brahman which I already was?

The answer is that this question itself is wrong (please read till the end, you will realise the meaning of it only then). Now this may not sound like a satisfactory answer at first. The answer you all might be expecting is some sort of logical explanation. But what really is an explanation? An explanation is providing some sort of cause to an effect. We see an effect, we want to hear some sort of cause for it. Let's take an example. The grass is wet. Now what type of answer would satisfy me? Something like it rained or the sprinkler was at work or the gardener watered it etc. This satisfies is. We were looking for a cause and we got it.

So why can't we ask for a cause of this whole cycle of life? Such an answer won't work here. Why? The answer given by a particular spiritual path called 'Advaita Vedanta' is the entire cycle of life appears because of Maya (illusion). One way of interpreting Maya is 'space, time and causation.' It's like for having a concert you require a stage. The universe here is the concert and space, time and causation (which are provided by Maya) the stage. When you have causation as part of this stage, you can't ask for a "cause" for it. Asking for a cause for causation is meaningless, just like asking what is outside space or what is before time are meaningless. When you use the phrase 'before time' you are already assuming time — how time works. Only within time does it make sense to use before and after(past, present and future). Likewise only when you have accepted the concept of space does the terms inside or outside make sense inside of it. Outside something is already associated with space. Similarly without causality, asking for a cause is meaningless. Only within Maya can you ask for a cause. You cannot ask about the cause of Maya itself. This is the logical answer. Now the answer as per Advaita Vedanta.

There is no answer to this question until one is enlightened. In fact, after enlightenment this question itself ceases. It is done and dusted. This question was never a problem and will never be. The concept of Maya was never a thing. The world from the viewpoint of Advaita Vedanta never was. It is just an appearance in Brahman. There is no reasonable logical answer for a dream within the dream. Only once you get outside the dream do you realise that Oh, it was just a dream. It was all false. Similarly, only once you get enlightened do you realise that Oh, this universe was all false. The dream is an illusion created by your mind in your mind. This universe is an illusion created by Brahman in Brahman.

Now let me conclude that there is indeed a path in our life for becoming enlightened (you may call this the "purpose of life" if you wish). Accept that Advaira Vedanta is telling that 'I am Brahman'. If you answer "I don't know" or "I don't believe you", this is Maya. So, how do we overcome Maya and become Brahman? Don't try to establish Maya. Try to go beyond Maya — break free the bondage by associating our self with body and mind. Realise that "YOU ARE BRAHMAN". COMPLETELY disocciate yourself from body and mind and realise your true self and you are enlightened.

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By Sacchidananda, history, 18 months ago, In English

The Atman is our real self. The Atman is beyond death. By realizing this one transcends death. There is no other way to transcend death. You realize that immortal reality is my reality, then you transcend death. There was never a time when you were not there and there will never be a time when you will not exist ~ Krishna. The Atman is eternal. The Atman is devoid of absence before the birth and devoid of absence after death. There is the gross body, sthoola sharire, the subtle body, sookshma sharire and the causal body, Karana sharire, the Atman is beyond all 3. At death, the gross body dies but the subtle body continues. There is a dogma in science that the mind and consciousness are produced by the body and brain and that after death the person is also dead. This is called materialist reduction-ism and there is no proof for that. The gross body and subtle body are connected, but what happens after that is unknown to science. The sookshma and Karana sharire transmigrate(go from one body to another). This is bad news as then we are stuck in the cycle of rebirth, the limited existence continuously subject to suffering.

An intrinsic property is something that belongs to that entity and intrinsic property last as long as the entity exists. The fire has the power of burning. Milk is white. An accidental property is something that is gained and lost, borrowed. If a property is gained or lost, we know that it is accidental. If a property is not lost, then we know it's permanent or intrinsic. If you treat existence as a property (philosophically, existence is not a property), if there is an entity which has existence as an accidental property, then it will be born and destroyed. If an entity has existence as an intrinsic property then it always is, it is eternal. Since Atman is eternal, existence is an intrinsic property of Atman and this is called Sat (Pure Being). Therefore, you, the Atman, never stop existing and that which is not you never comes into existence. Atma Satyam Jagat Mithya. But how can we experience something which does not exist, it actually borrows existence from you. It appears to have an existence, this is an illusion. What is real is I am awareness, I am pure being and the whatever I experience in awareness, whatever I see to be an object of awareness is nothing really apart from me the pure being, it appears in me as if I experience it as it's another but its nothing other than me. Those who realize this have realized the truth.

So Atman is eternal and the only thing that exists, rest everything is non-existing borrowing existence from you. So either you are all of it or none of it, both lead to realization. Bondage is when you think I am only this (body) and everything else is separate from me.

This indestructible absolute eternal reality is all-pervasive. When your dreaming, all the people the very time and space were pervaded by me the dreamer. The same is true for consciousness and it's objects. Awareness does not change, all changes are noted in awareness. Now, this indestructible awareness is Atam which has existence as an intrinsic property. Then everything apart from you borrows existence from you just like everything in your dream borrows existence from you. You are Sat-Chit, pure awareness pervading everything that you experience. A question can come up, I am here and not there then how can I be all-pervading. The answer to that isn't here and there also in your awareness. If a person in your dream came up to you and said you are everything here, you wouldn't agree. But after getting up you would realize they were right. Atman is all-pervading. Then one might ask, where is it, where is your precious Atman. The answer to this question, Krishna says it's not an object to the instruments of knowledge. We deploy instruments of knowledge(senses) to know the world. But the Atman is not an object to these instruments, the senses cannot objectify Atman. The mind is used to conceptualising but the Atman is not an object of the mind too. Beyond mind beyond senses. But then to say something exist it must become an object of knowledge otherwise you can imagine anything(like happy potter exists). Atman is not the object of the senses or the mind rather it is the subject, it lights ups all the instruments to enable the use of them. If there was the photo taken, then there must be a photographer and though you can't see him/her, you know of their existence. Similarly, to use the 5 senses, to use the mind, even to doubt there is consciousness, you have to be conscious. Who is the one doubting, what is the one doubting? If you say everything is a dream, then there must be one thing that is not a dream, that is the dreamer. To experience these there must be an experiencer.

Atman is Akarta Abhogta. Without the body and mind, consciousness is neither a doer nor an experiencer. But with body and mind, you cannot but act. Do what is to be done. Then you're free of the bondage of karma. Atman is eternal, I am the reality of this universe everything apart from me is an appearance, this Atman pervades the entire world of appearance, it is not an object of the knowledge, you are neither the doer nor the experiencer, you, the Atman, are free of karma, you have to recognize that.

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