Part XXIII - Self-Realization
We can now appreciate what is meant by self-realization
involving the mind. Self or sAkshI does not need self-realization
since it is the ever shining, all pervading, pure consciousness.
And the mind, being inert, cannot have self-realization,
yet without mind there cannot be any self-realization.
As VP says, the mind itself can constitute a vRRitti.
All vRRitti-s are illumined by sAkshI and the reflected
light of illumination is the knowledge that includes
self-knowledge. Hence, self-knowledge is due to reflection
of the pure consciousness by the mind. The general reflection
of the light of consciousness in the mind is the knowledge
of 'I am'. When the mind is ignorant, it identifies
the 'I am' vRRitti, which is more permanent, with other
vRRitti-s which are variables, whose contents keep changing
with the BMI – body, mind or intellect. Hence,
a combined (united reflected consciousness of subject
and object) mental state 'I am this', which is needed
for all transactions, forms the current understanding
of ‘I am’, since I am ignorant of my true
nature. Vedanta teaches that you are not 'this' (neti,
neti - not this, not this), guiding us to drop the identification
of 'I am' with 'this'. What is involved here is not
dropping 'this' by going into a 'this-less’ state
such as nirvikalpa samAdhi or deep-sleep, but dropping
the identification with 'this'. When the identification
is dropped, what is left is pure reflecting consciousness
or knowledge of ‘I am’. This 'I am' is pure
reflected light of consciousness without any identifications;
i.e. the reflection of sAkshI, the all pervading consciousness.
Hence self knowledge is the knowledge (in the mind)
that the reflected light is nothing but pure light alone.
This is similar to knowing that the sunlight reflected
from all corners of the room is nothing but sunlight
only. That reflected light of consciousness includes
not only the general reflections all around in the mind
but even the localized reflections by vRRitti-s that
keep forming due to perception of the world of objects.
That is the unity in the consciousness of the subject
with the object, which is a criterion for perceptuality.
Realization, therefore, is an understanding that I am
not only sAkshI but sAkshyam too; i.e. I am not only
the witnessing consciousness but the witnessed, reflected
consciousness also. I am beyond both sAkshI and sAkshyam
in that ever present pure consciousness that I am. This
knowledge takes place in the mind only as reflected
consciousness. The interesting aspect is that we need
a reflected consciousness in order to recognize that
I am not the reflected consciousness but the pure consciousness
that is getting reflected because of the presence of
upAdhi-s. I.e. we need a mind in order to be able to
say that I am not the mind. We need a body in order
to be able to say that I am not the body. We need speech
in order to say I am not the speaker. Thus, we need
upAdhi-s to say I am not the upAdhi-s. Without the upAdhi-s
there is no realization since, without upAdhi-s, who
is there to realize what? Hence, VP's declarative statement
in the beginning to the effect that all perceptual knowledge
is nothing but pure consciousness alone.
As long as the mind is there, the reflection will be
there. The j~nAnI, who has understood that I am that
light of consciousness beyond any reflections, can still
enjoy all the reflections and uses his upAdhi-s without
identifying with them for the purpose of transactions.
This understanding gained by the reflected consciousness
is like the reflected room light realizing that, even
while reflection is occurring, it is actually the original
light without which no reflection is possible. Hence,
the j~nAnI, even while making use of his upAdhi-s, does
not take himself to be the upAdhi-s; i.e. though using
the intellect, he knows that he is not the intellect;
though using the mind and its emotions, he knows that
he is not the mind and the emotions; though using the
body, he knows that he is not the body with its problems.
He is considered to be a jIvanmukta, liberated while
residing in the limited upAdhi-s. The upAdhi-s drop
out due to exhaustion of the prArabdha karma, when there
is no compelling reason to maintain them. Since that
includes the subtle body, which is mind with all its
components, all transactions cease including jIva-hood.
There is no more cause for transmigration or rebirth.
He is now pure consciousness itself even without any
reflections - that is called videha mukti. We will address
this issue again when we discuss the jIva and jIva sAkshI.
Coming back to the mind, VP states here that the mind
and its attributes (including the ego) can be considered
as mental states, which are illumined, and the reflected
limiting consciousness forms the knowledge of these
states. The perceptuality criteria can be applied by
considering the mind and its attributes also as vRRitti-s.
Just because we are considering the mind and its attributes
also to be vRRitti-s, with associated attributive objects
for the purpose of direct and immediate perception,
we are not contradicting our assumption that they are
directly illuminated by sAkshI chaitanya. To be cognized
as a result of direct illumination by sAkshI chaitanya
does not mean that witnessed objects cannot be vRRitti-s
or mental states. It only means that, for their cognition,
we do not need help from any sense organs. In addition,
it also means that the other means of knowledge such
as inference are not needed, since cognition of the
mind and its attributes is direct and immediate. Hence,
VP says that the advaitic masters have admitted ego
or chidAbhAsa as a mental state which can be cognized
directly and immediately, since the criteria for perceptuality
Proceed to the next