Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Self Revealed, Part 1

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The following extract constitutes Part 1 of a chapter from the above book.

The one Self alone exists eternally. It is ever existent and never nonexistent. It neither begins nor ends, neither expands nor reduces, has no phase or condition, and ever is just as it is. It alone is present always. This is the significance of the Silence of the Maharshi. This is the Silence of Absolute Reality.

The Knowledge of the Self is based upon the seeker of Self-Realization having a firm conviction in the identity, or non- duality, of That and Thou, as expressed in the wisdom of the Upanishads and the teachings of Adi Sankara in such phrases as, “Thou art That,” which reveals the identity of the Self and the Absolute. Therefore, it is imperative for the seeker of the Realization of the Absolute, Brahman, to realize the Self as it truly is. The Realization of the Self is Sahaja, "the natural, effortless, innate," state. This is our only true state. Any other state is an illusion and the product of delusion. The ultimate nature of illusion is nonexistence.

There is a teaching, which when received, meditated upon, and experienced, results in the destruction of all delusion and all illusion and in the Realization of the Self. It is what unfailingly puts to an end all of the imagined bondage. It is intended for those who know the value of detachment and the importance of Self-Realization and who are endowed with an inward- turned mind. It is the quintessence of Advaita Vedanta. It is the Maharshi's teaching. This teaching is reiterated here. To receive this teaching and to come to know it is the highest blessing. It is the dawn of Knowledge. To meditate on this teaching, applying one's own effort to awaken from the illusion of duality and thus gain clarity in Knowledge, is to be in a sublime state of grace. To merge with its meaning is samadhi, which is the direct experience of absorption in Knowledge. To be so absorbed in it that it is one's very identity and all possibility of duality is effaced, the state in which Knowledge and Being are one and the same, is Self-Realization.

In Truth, Reality is comprehended by Reality itself. This is Self-Knowledge. In the Agama texts, this is referred to as all- comprehensive Knowledge. It is so, not because it is an examination of the endless details of illusory, objective things or of the wide variety of practices and states of mind, but because of its fixed gaze upon the Infinite, which is pure Consciousness and Being, and which is the sole-existent Reality. It is Knowledge of the Absolute Self, which is Reality, one without a second, and apart from which there is nothing else.

In nonduality, meditation may be regarded as by the Self, for there is no other knower, and upon the Self, as there is no object of the meditation. In meditation upon Self-Knowledge, one cannot stand apart from the Self to contemplate it. Oneness, identity with Being, is the essence of the meditation. This is timeless Knowledge that is thought-transcendent. Thoughts are not real, and they cannot reveal what is real. Not retaining any idea or concept, by inquiring into oneself, there is entrance into Self-Knowledge. Therefore, the yogi intent upon the Supreme State, meditates with a singular, undistracted focus on Truth, abandons meandering delusions for the sake of what is sacred, for the sake of Self-Realization, and is absorbed in That which is blissful, unforgettable, illimitable, indivisible, and beyond the body, mind, and ego. That is formless Being.

Knowledge and Discrimination

The state of Self-Realization consists of Knowledge. Reality always is and, by its own nature, is the perfect fullness always. The Self is ever present, for nonexistence of oneself is not known by anyone ever. The Reality of the Self is unalterable at any time, for what changes is not real but an illusion or mis- perception of what is real, and what truly exists is immutable, there being nothing else to alter it. If it is not completely experienced all the time, such is not due to a change or any modification in the real Absolute Self. It is not due to any external factors, for such would be only an effect of a precedent, delusive cause. It is due only to ignorance, which actually has no existence of its own and which does not actually belong to the immutable, ever-luminous Self. Nor can it belong to another, for the conception of another is a product of ignorance, the notion of an "I" being the very epitome of ignorance. Though unreal, it seems to veil the Truth, this unreal cause yielding an unreal effect of bondage. Therefore, it is imperative that ignorance be destroyed so that no obscuration of the Self is experienced. Ignorance can be destroyed by Knowledge alone and not by any other means.

Ignorance is the lack of discernment regarding what is real and not, what is the Self and not. Discernment in Knowledge, or discrimination, is the perception of what is real and actually the Self. Discrimination is essential for the destruction of ignorance and the inner revelation of Knowledge. The Knowledge, itself, is transcendent of concepts and thoughts. Discrimination means using Knowledge to realize Knowledge. The essence of the means is the end itself. The end itself appears as the means. By clear discernment, one knows oneself truly. Thus, one knows the Reality as it is. Discerning Knowledge shows the direct, clear path. It shows what Realization is. It is what composes the path. In its true nature, the Knowledge is directly experienced without any intermediary. That is the Knowledge of Consciousness, by Consciousness, itself. Any spiritual advance, in essence, is always one of Knowledge. Knowledge is the essential spiritual experience.

Knowledge is not physical or mental in character. It is not a sensation, word, or idea. Its basis is Existence itself. Its attain- ment endures, as Existence endures, for it is not dependent upon anything of a transitory character. This is the formless path to the Formless.

Happiness and Immortality

Knowledge reveals the real abiding place of happiness. Those who have cognized the presence of suffering in life and are desirous of removing it permanently search for an answer in Knowledge and do not expect happiness to be found in any worldly manner, such as in sensory things or in the moods and emotions of a wavering mind. Aspirants who desire to be free of desire, who are not content with mere accidental respites from the suffering caused by ignorance, who are in search of spiritual bliss and peace, who are desirous of understanding how it is that happiness shines forth at times and yearn to have it abide knowingly and permanently, and who understand that the way to accomplish this permanent abidance in happiness is by Knowledge and not by any other means should determine with certainty the source of happiness.

Ascertaining the unitary motivation in life, one becomes free of the idea of multiple motives taking one in multiple directions. Accomplishing this, one concentrates the searching of one's mind in the direction that is truly within. This prompts a yearning for Self-Knowledge and provides the motivation for the inquiry into the Self. The determination about happiness is an inquiry into bliss that leads one into an inquiry into Being- Consciousness, because Being-Consciousness-Bliss is the nature of the one Reality, the one Self. The results of meditation upon, and absorption of, the discerning knowledge regarding the nature of happiness are the steadfast motivation to inquire so as to realize the Self, perception of the one motivation behind all kinds of searching through all kinds of experience, detachment from worldly things and cessation of worldly desire, and steady access to the inner source of happiness.

The Self is, in truth, perfectly full of Bliss. The imperturbable peace, the ineffable and complete happiness, quite beyond any sensation or mode of mind, pervaded by a silent Knowledge of eternal, uncreated Perfection is known as "Bliss," Ananda. To realize this Bliss as it is, one should comprehend the nature of happiness, examining it in three ways: desire, experience, and the source. By knowledge of desire one attains recognition of the basic current underlying all desires, all hopes, and all seeking in all kinds of experience, be such physical, subtle, or mental. With this recognition, one uses that powerful current, in an undiffused manner, to abide as the Self. This recognition causes one to become one-pointed in the quest of the Self. By knowledge of experience, one attains liberation of the experience of happiness from the delusion of limitation of it by form and the ability to experience Bliss directly without delay. One must merge with That which is Bliss itself, free of duality, for, if the experience of happiness is to be full, it must endure, and, if it is to endure, one must become One with it. By knowledge of the source of happiness, one becomes, and remains, completely detached. Detachment is, itself, freedom and blissful. By such knowledge, one is liberated from the external, the inconsequential, and the unreal, and one comprehends the reason to inquire to know the Self.

The desire for happiness comes from deep within. It is an intuition that Bliss is one's natural state. This Bliss includes peace with no disturbance, freedom with no bondage, and perfection with nothing incomplete. The source of the desire is not from external phenomena of any kind. It is not from objects, circumstances, other beings, and such. There is, therefore, nothing alluring. The desire, itself, is not a bodily sensation. It is not particular thoughts, though particular thoughts constituting images in the mind may appear by which the desire manifests. The desire itself is simply the urge from within to be in the natural state of limitless Bliss. The intensity of the desire is continually surging forth. It cannot be subdued, and the attempt to do so would merely be an unsuccessful one to fulfill it. It can be fulfilled by Self-Realization, which is abidance as Bliss itself. Bliss is of the very nature of the Self, and the Self is truly without any desire. When the Self is not known and, by delusion, the first suffering becomes possible, and when, with the appearance of an "I," the natural state seems lost, that very Bliss of the Self manifests as the intuition of one's natural, true state, and this appears as the desire for happiness.

The experience of happiness should be comprehended in wisdom so that one does not superimpose what is not actually the experience of happiness upon it. The joy felt anywhere, ever, is the shining of the Self. Yet, in ignorance, such is accompanied by superimposition of inert, unreal forms upon the experience. When the experience is accompanied by the delusion of super- imposition of forms, it appears as if momentary, limited, and dependent. When the experience is without such delusion, the Self, itself, shines as vast, unlimited Bliss, which is self-existent.

Happiness is always a subjective experience, in which the ego diminishes along with its attendant notions. Thus, because it destroys the ego and those notions by the revelation of their unreality, leaving the ultimate subject unconcealed, inquiry to know the Self yields the most profound happiness. To set the experience of happiness free of limitation, the experiencer must be free of limitation, that is, free of misidentification with form. Then, one abides in infinite, unending, intense Bliss, which is so intense that even the memory of suffering and sorrow is erased. All the superimposed forms are of a sensory or mental character. The experience of happiness is not a sensation, such as see- ing, hearing, etc. It is not a thought or a collection of thoughts. It is of a formless nature, shining at the same depth from which the desire springs, at the very source of happiness itself.

The source of the desire and the source of the experience of happiness are one and the same. That source is within. Unrealized, the source manifests as the desire. Realized, it shines as Bliss itself. Realization means Knowledge. Knowledge is direct experience of the Self. Such is abidance at, and as, the very source of happiness. The Self is the source of happiness. Nothing else is the source.

The Self is Bliss. The experience of it is determined by Knowledge. No other factors are involved. Seeing this is the dawn of Knowledge. To conceive otherwise is delusion. Objects, circumstances and events, sensations, and time are not factors determining the desire, the source, and the experience of happiness. The Self, which is alone the source, is always present. Self-Knowledge is the sole factor determining bliss.

Therefore, the search for happiness is actually a search for the Self. The Self is the source of happiness, the "place" in which happiness occurs, and the nature of the experience of happiness. The Self is always present. Self-Knowledge is its revelation and not its creation. The Knowledge of the Self is the blissful Knowledge of Reality. Bliss is Being, which is ever-existent, as Existence itself can never cease to exist. Bliss is, therefore, always present, and all that is required is to know its existence within oneself. All that is required for permanent, profound happiness is to know the nature of Being.

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