| The Self and the Senses
Those who would know the Self by Knowledge cease
to regard the senses as the measure of Reality
and of the Self. This non-sensory Knowledge reveals
the Self's freedom from the senses and sets one
free of the limitations of the senses. Those
who know that there is neither permanence of
the senses nor happiness via them, who do not
equate pleasure with happiness or pain with sorrow,
but recognize that happiness and sorrow are determined
by Knowledge of the Self and ignorance respectively,
and who desire to experience the spiritual Truth
beyond the senses, take recourse to the inquiry
to know the Self. By such inquiry, the Knowledge
that the Self is innately transcendent of the
senses and not bound by the senses in any manner
shines. The Knowledge of the Self is itself free
from the limitations of the senses, as is the
Self itself, and those who abide in this Knowledge
remain unmoved by whatever happens to the senses.
By the Knowledge of the Self, which is the Knowledge
of Reality, one brings about the destruction
of the foundations of the delusion of believing
in the existence of an external world.
yogi knows that the senses do not and cannot
provide happiness, that attachment to the senses
or their objects is bondage, that the senses
are neither bliss nor immortal, and that the
purpose of life is not fulfilled by any kind
of sensory experience. Such a one knows that
Liberation is not any kind of sensory experience
and that Realization is not a particular kind
of sensation, not an increase of sensation,
and not a decrease of sensation. One's freedom
from the senses must be firm and natural for
there to be Realization. This necessitates the
Knowledge of the Self's transcendence of the
The Self is Infinite Consciousness, unchanging
Being, perfectly full Bliss. Vast and space-like,
formless and unconditioned, it is. Of immense,
silent peace, ever-shining and motionless,
it is. Within it, without actually occurring,
there is imagined the realm of objective
experience, manifesting as the world perceived
by the five senses. There appear five kinds of
senses with their corresponding kinds of sense
objects. Within the realms of the senses, a great
variety of sensations and an apparently uncountable
number of sense objects arise. These are the
sense experiences of living beings, which are
differentiated from one another by means of misidentification
with the body. Like the surface ripples and
foam on the waves in the ocean of Consciousness,
like clouds in the sky of pure Being, are the
senses. The Self is Being-Consciousness. To confound
the Self with any or all of the senses, in
any way, is ignorance. Freedom from misidentification
with the senses is Knowledge. Since Knowledge
is Liberation, and since one seeks to know
Reality and not create it, for it always is,
therefore, one should discern clearly the Self,
its innate freedom from the senses, and its free-
dom from all the limitations of the senses.
Self is singular and indivisible Existence.
The senses are multiple and divided. The senses
themselves are objective, the known, just as
the sense objects are. The Self is nonobjective,
ever the knower, of the nature of Existence-Consciousness.
So, how can the senses be considered to be the
The Self is changeless, continuous, permanent
Existence. The senses are changeful, discontinuous,
and impermanent. The senses are lost, dulled,
or altered in death, old age, and illness.
The senses change during the lifetime, from
infancy until the end of the body. The senses
are changing all the time, transforming into
dull and acute states, subject as they are to
the three guna-s.the qualities of tamas (inertia),
rajas (agitation), sattva (tending toward the
light of Knowledge). Each sense takes a turn
being predominant and fades due to a change of
the sense organ, the mental attention, and similar
factors. The senses appear only in the waking
state. With each state of mind, they change.
Upon the death of the body, which is not the
Self, the senses are lost entirely. Rarely
are all the five senses active, or experienced,
simultaneously, but Existence is always wholly
present. The senses are just a momentary function.
The Self is steady, self-existent Reality, permanent,
and not a function of some other thing. It is
Being and not a doing or activity. The Self is
not determined by any conditions and is itself
without any conditions whatsoever. The senses,
though, are determined by conditions such as
the condition of the sense organ, the environment,
the experience of which is the result of the
interaction of what appears to have become split
in Consciousness---that is, the object and the
instrument used to know it---and the mental attention
given to or removed from the senses. From a higher
view, in the one mind, all three mutable factors
appear, determining the five sense experiences.
Partless Existence, which is the Self, is beyond
the changeful appearances in the mind. So, how
can the senses be considered to be the Self?
The senses are part of the body. The body is
perceived only by the senses and has no reality
apart from them. Each illusion depends on
the other. Such illusion is like the painting
of a wall that is painted on the wall depicted
when the wall itself has not yet been built.
The Self is bodiless and is not a part of the
body or associated with a location in relation
to a body, unlike the senses. So, how can the
senses be considered to be the Self?
depend on the Self. The Self exists as it is,
innately nondependent on the senses. This is
the highest state of detachment. As pure Being,
one is always detached from the senses and,
thus, to the whole world.
The Self is not the
senses and is not experienced by the senses.
The senses are capable of perceiving sense
objects only, and the Self is not a material
object. The sensory experience is only that of
sensation, and not of a separate sense and object.
The Self is not a sensation or a product of sensations.
So, how can the senses be considered to be
The Self is the eye of the eye, unseen
by the eye. This Self, which is formless
Being-Consciousness, cannot be sensed and does
not have senses. It is not a sensing entity,
conceived as a nexus of all the sensations, but
ever unalloyed Consciousness. The Self is all-seeing
but eyeless. In truth, the senses do not exist.
They are only a figment of the mind, which is
in the infinite Consciousness. Upon the substrate
of the Self, which is Being- Consciousness, the
senses, which are but the thought of them, appear.
The sense objects do not separately exist, but
appear only to and in the senses. The senses
vanish, leaving the substrate un- affected and
all alone. The substrate is Reality, which is
immutable. There is no actual creation of the
senses in that Consciousness. By this Knowledge,
one remains identified as the Self and not misidentified
with the senses, which are unreal. Let there
be this steady Knowledge. May the unsensed Knowledge
of the Self, free of all the limitations of the
Those who yearn to go beyond the
illusory boundary of life and death, who desire
to be beyond the limitations of life, and who
do not wish to suffer death clearly discriminate
between Existence, or Consciousness, and
prana, or life energy. "Prana" signifies the
life-energy, that which seems to animate the
body and the senses, without which they are inert.
Prana in various combinations with the body,
senses, and the mind is that which is responsible
for the experiences called "physical" and
such animating energy, there is no bodily or
sensory experience, for a corpse has no experience
and its sense organs, though intact, are not
animated and do not produce any experience.
The result of inquiry to know the Self is abidance
as pure Being-Consciousness, which transcends
the animate and the inanimate, and which never
dies, and this is abidance in the invariable
state of the Self.
As long as one is identified
with the prana, there will be the differentiation
of living and dead, and the one Being which
ever is will appear veiled. When this misidentification
is destroyed through Knowledge, this duality
vanishes. Prana undergoes fluctuations from
birth to death, in health and sickness, and
varies according to lifestyle and activities.
Being does not fluctuate. So, how could prana
be equated with the Self?
The animating prana
is objective. It is something experienced
and not the Consciousness that knows it. It is
not being alive that enables one to be conscious,
but Consciousness that knows the state of being
alive. So, how could prana be equated with
The life-energy seems to locate itself
throughout the body. The Self is not located
in a body or spatially in any manner. So,
how could prana be equated with the Self?
prana functions, animating the body and the
senses in various ways. The Self, which is Consciousness,
remains as its witness. The Self is the
immovable Reality of Existence and not a function.
So, how could prana be equated with the Self?
The prana does not remain eternally as it manifests,
but, at some time, it is absorbed. It may
be said to be absorbed into the great, universal
prana, which in turn is absorbed in the
Absolute. It may be said to be absorbed in the
mind, which in turn is absorbed in the Absolute.
The Self is itself the Absolute and is never
absorbed into anything. That which actually
exists always is. That which can be absorbed,
or which has a beginning and an end, is an
unreal appearance, and ultimately does not exist.
The Self exists, and there is nothing else into
which it can be absorbed. So, how could prana
be equated with the Self?
The prana depends upon the Self. The Self does
not depend upon the prana. There are ways, such
as those known by some yogis, to alter the prana
or its functions. The Self is unalterable Being
and immutable. One cannot modify Being, and one
cannot stand apart from Being to attempt to modify
it. So, how could prana be equated with the Self?
The life energy is ultimately transient, whether
viewed as one's individual bodily life-energy
or as all the manifest life energy. The Self
is that which is eternal. There is no time
when one begins or ceases to exist. This Self,
which is Absolute Being, ever is as it is. So,
how could prana be equated with the Self?
the Self is not to be identified with the
prana, the life-energy, and does not bear the
prana as an attribute. The Self is free of prana
and all that manifests due to prana. May there
be this unwavering Knowledge. May there be
this immortal Knowledge of the timeless Self
and Liberation from the illusions of life and
death. May this eternal Realization be.
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