The 'I' is pure existence-consciousness and is limitless: satyam-j~nAnam-anantam
– that is the brahman that I am. That is one without a
second, not even with mAyA, and it is called turIya in the mANDUkya
upaniShad. It is also sometimes called the ‘original consciousness’ (OC).This
‘I’, when associated with total, cosmic
BMI (body-mind-intellect), is called Ishvara and is the locus
for mAyA, the power of projection. The total projected universe
is Ishvara’s sRRiShTi (‘creation’). This projection
is called vyavahAra. The rope that I see in the rope-snake example
is not my creation; it is Ishvara’s. It is the snake alone
that is ‘my’ creation (erroneous superimposition).
In the 13 th chapter of the Gita, Krishna says that prakRRiti
(mAyA) does all of the actions, including creation, of course
under Ishvara's direction. I am gatiH, bhartA, prabhuH – I
am the goal, the supporter and creator, says Krishna, identifying
himself with Ishvara. All this is vyAvahArika. At Ishvara’s
level, he is sarvaj~na – all knowing; there is no ignorance
at this level. In order to be able to create, he has to have
knowledge of the whole creation.
‘I’, identified with the local BMI (microcosmic level)
is called the jIva, and has its own projecting power of ‘little
mAyA Shakti’ that manifests in the projection of the dream
state as well as the projection of the jIva's own saMsAra. This
is prAtibhAsika. Ignorance is at this level; at the individual
jIva level. The jIva has to deal with his projection as well
as Ishvara's projection - prAtibhAsika as well as vyAvahArika.
Any knowledge has to take place at the jIva’s level, since
this is the level where the ignorance is. Knowledge involves
unveiling of ignorance. Any knowledge takes place when the light
of consciousness gets reflected by the vRRitti or thought - detailed
analysis of this topic is presented in the ‘Knowledge’ series
of essays. Pure consciousness (OC) is 'as though' reflected by
the Intellect; this is ‘knowledge of’ or ‘consciousness
of’ the vRRitti, which is nothing but the image of the
object seen. This is how I become conscious of the object and
thus the world. Without the mind and intellect the world is not
perceived, as is the case in the deep sleep state.
Reflected consciousness (RC) is nothing but OC reflected in the
medium of the BMI. Without the reflecting medium, I am as ‘I
am’ – pure OC, pAramArthika. Here there is no ‘knowledge
of’; no self-realization. Brahman does not need any self-realization – He
is pure consciousness. This is the meaning of j~nAna svarUpa.
These words attempt to describe it, but really no words can describe
it. Any description of Brahman is in vyavahAra only.
‘Ego’ is the jIva notion, where ‘I am this’ is
the notional understanding. When the OC gets reflected in the
BMI, I take the reflected image as ‘I am this’. I
am actually OC that is ‘as though’ reflecting in
the pool of BMI. The reflected light is my light only, just as
the sun light is reflected in the objects that we see. Ego involves
a misunderstanding, in which I take myself not to be RC but the
reflecting medium (BMI) which I am conscious of due to RC.
I.e. I take myself to be the object itself, rather than the light
that is reflected by the object. There is nothing wrong with
the object (BMI) itself; the error is in taking myself to be
what I am not, taking the objects that reflect OC as myself.
Thus, the jIva is the one who identifies himself with the objects
of refection (upAdhi-s), instead of with the light that is reflecting
the upAdhi-s. Note that, without the upAdhi-s, no light can get
reflected and I am then the pure OC – one without a second.
The jIvanmukta is one who, though he still has upAdhi-s (‘jIvan’),
has now realized (‘self-realized’) that he is the
RC and not the medium (BMI) that is reflecting. RC is not different
from OC, since it is the light of OC alone that is coming back
as the reflection – just like the sunlight that we see.
When we recognize that the sun is shining, we do so by seeing
the reflected light from the sun. In the same way, a j~nAnI is
one who has shifted his attention from 'aham idam - I am this'
to the Consciousness that is being reflected as ‘I am’.
I am not ‘this’; I am the pure consciousness that
is being reflecting by all ‘this’. When 'this' is
no more,i.e. when the BMI drops (death of the BMI), then the
jIvanmukta ‘as though’ merges with pure OC, since
there is then no RC because there is no BMI to reflect.
When I realize that ‘I am RC’, it is the same as
recognizing that ‘I am that I am’, just as the pot
space might realize that ‘I am the total space without
any division in space’. This understanding is clear for
a j~nAnI. Simply enjoying the ‘play’ is called Atma
krIDa or lIlA and, in deep meditation where there is total identification
with RC/OC, it is called Atma rati - reveling in myself.
Once this knowledge is gained, the jIva’s misconceived
notions fall away. These were products of his ignorance. His
saMsAra ends, just as the snake disappears with the knowledge
of rope, since the snake was an individual projection.
The jIvanmukta still sees Ishvara’s sRRiShTi, including
the BMI that he was using before. Hence, consciousness is still
reflected by the BMI but he now knows that he is really RC and
the BMI can be seen as simply another object. Once the ‘snake’ is
known to be a rope, the snake disappears. But the rope is still
seen, since this is Ishvara’s sRRiShTi, whereas the snake
was jIva’s sRRiShTi.
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