Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Self Revealed, Part 5

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The following extract constitutes Part 5 of a chapter from the above book.

Reality and the World

In as much as the view of the world is a mirror image of the view of oneself, as the identity of oneself determines the definition of the world, as the seer himself appears as the seen, the 'I' as 'this,' for the purpose of knowing Reality without veils, one should inquire to know oneself, giving up the objective out- look as well as the ego to whom it belongs. Those who are detached from the world and the senses, who are not identified with the body, who perceive the transient nature of all in the world, and who yearn for the direct experience of the Knowledge of Reality as it is should so inquire. A wise yogi views the world as transitory, as inert, and as a passing dream. Such a one never expects the world to provide him with what is his: happiness, identity, and reality. To transcend it is to remain blissful, at peace always, and free in the Knowledge of the unreality of the world and the Self''s freedom from that illusion. This is the perception of Reality free of the forms of illusion. Abidance in worldless Being, true perception, transcendence of the world, limitless freedom unaffected by anything of the world, direct experience of indivisible Existence, and true experience beyond debate or doubt are for those who inquire to know the Self, which is the sole-existent Reality.

By the term 'world' is meant all that is perceived, all objects, all activities, all events, the forms of living beings, anything in space and time, and anything seen, heard, touched, or sensed in any manner. Transcendence of the world is Liberation from bondage and suffering in relation to all of this. Abandonment of the objective outlook constituting the world yields the perception of Reality as it is. Such cannot be by anything of the world, but only by Knowledge of the Self, the Reality that is. Where could one go in the world that one would be beyond the world? Yet one's real Being is ever beyond the world, and Knowledge reveals its nature.

The Self is changeless and permanent. The world is changeful and impermanent. Each object has a creation, a changeful duration, and a destruction. This is true for all objects and for the world as a whole, without exception. The Self is permanent with no creation or destruction. The perception of the world depends on the changeful senses. A change in the senses brings a change in the object, the world, perceived. The Self does not change as the senses do, for it is immutable Being and the unchanging Witness of all the changing senses. A change of mode, or state of mind yields a corresponding change in the senses and the perceived world. The Self is not changed, being immutable Existence and Consciousness, and the witness of the mind as well as the senses.

The Self is one, partless, and indivisible. The world is composed of innumerable parts and divisions. The Self has no form, and is purely formless Being. The world is composed of forms, without which there is no world. There is no formless world. The Existence of the Self is not sensorially perceived, but is known more interiorly. The world is perceived only through the senses. The Self is ever the subject, the knower. The world is only the object, the known. Therefore, the Self has no connection with the world, as the Self shares none of its characteristics or qualities. It is not defined by the world or worldly things. It is not bound by the world or anything of the world. It does not depend on the world in any way in order to be. That which is true of the Being and Consciousness of the Self is also true of the Bliss of the Self, these three not being actually three, but one and the same thing. This discernment yields freedom from the illusory bondage when the world is apparently perceived as well as when it is not so. By such Knowledge, one realizes that the Self is not of the world and is not in the world. The Self is not produced by anything of the world, shares none of its limited qualities, and is not an object within it, for the Self is neither a body nor located in a body.

Entertaining and debating various concepts or opinions regarding the world can be only so long as there is no clear discernment of the one who perceives the world. Once there is deeper Knowledge regarding the Self, the questions about the world's nature no longer arise. The Realization of the Unborn is the Realization of no-creation. In the absence of this Knowledge, there may arise confusion such as, 'If it is unreal, why does it appear; if it is unreal, why does it not disappear?' The confusion is rooted in the delusive supposition that the mere senses are the determination of reality, and the knower is conceived as a sensory being engaged in an experience that is of the same nature as himself. A deep inquiry into the nature of the knower, himself, will result in an absence of a defined, separate experiencer and thus of the world, the supposedly experienced. This yields the revelation of the one infinite Existence of the Self. The meaning of 'All is the Self,' or 'All is Brahman' is comprehended in this nondual Knowledge without a trace of anything other.

To experience a world is to conceive it. The world is not actually a perception, but a conception. To conceive, or experience, a world, one must first consider oneself as some kind of body or as in the body, the body as existent, and the body as being somewhere. It is not the truth, for such is only imagined in the mind. For this illusion of the world, one must also regard the sensations not as sensations or modes of mind, but as endowed with the duality of inner and outer, with the apparent object portion of the sensation considered as separate from the knowing aspect. Since the body is not oneself, and the Self is not in a body, the world is not around oneself. 'Around' is imagined within the mind and is not all around.

The world is constituted solely of sense perceptions, usually from a supposed bodily location. There is no world apart from these. So, the world is not external. The external is merely a conceptual interpretation of the sensations. The senses are known only by and in Consciousness. So, what is thought of as external is entirely in Consciousness, which is free from the senses. The 'external world' is a mere notion in Consciousness. Within the notion appears the whole external world. It is one notion fragmented into the imagining of endless objects that are assumed to exist. The one notion depends on the false 'I am the body' belief. The world is a mere notion, an illusory appearance in one's own mind. Therefore, it is called maya, illusion. Illusion is that which is not.

Since the world is unreal, it can offer no bondage. Being unreal, it does not actually come to be. It is for this reason that maya is said to be beginningless. The Reality does not bring forth the unreal. Being nondual, the Reality does not bring forth anything real. Ever-existent Being, itself unborn, creates not at all. The unreal is also not born, for it does not exist. Being unreal, it does not disappear, anymore than the dream world disappears for the dream character when one awakens from both.

The world appears in Consciousness alone. It is known by the knower. It is known in the knower. It has no existence apart from the knower, which is pure Consciousness. The world appears in Consciousness, by the power of Consciousness, is composed of Consciousness, and is known or experienced by Consciousness. All of it is just Consciousness. It has not the least degree of any other existence.

One Being-Consciousness exists everywhere always. The one Self experiences itself everywhere always. It, itself, is just thought of as a 'world,' though there is really no such differentiated thing. Consciousness is the world, space, time, matter, motion and events, the moments and the eons, things and people, the animate and the inanimate, the moving and the still, the large and the small, the living and the dead, the far and the near, the atoms and the galaxies, the root and the flower, the cause and the effect, and all else. The one Self is all. The one Self appears as all this universe. The universe appears in the Self. The Self, being formless and infinite, does not appear in it. The Self appears as the universe, but really undergoes no modifications. It always abides as the perfectly full Void of Being. If the world appears, it and its knower are only the Self. If there is no appearance, there is only the Self. In the Knowledge of the unalterable, ever-same Reality, the Self alone is. Thus, in Reality, there is no question of a world ever being created or ever appearing. For whom would it appear, as there is no second self but only the One Self ever?

The Self is the seer of the world. The world does not see the Self. Existence is Consciousness, and the Self is That. There is no existence apart from Consciousness, the Self. Realizing the Truth of the Self, one sees that there is no world. It is not that the seer of Truth does not see the world, as if this Knowledge were a sensory state, but rather the seer of Truth sees that there is no world. The seer of Truth is the Self, and the Self is indivisible, nonobjective, without exterior, undifferentiated, and One without a second. Consciousness, infinite and undivided, sees none but itself. That which is not Consciousness does not see at all. Lacking being, it also lacks knowing. As the Self, one does not see the world, and the world does not see oneself.

In nonduality, Being alone is real. The world has never come to be, so it is said to be completely unreal. The world never was, is not, and never will be. The uncreated, unmodified, worldless Absolute alone is. That alone is, and That you are. The Real ever is, and the unreal has never come to be. The conclusion about this is known by the knowers of Truth. May this indestructible Knowledge abide always. May this nonobjective, formless Knowledge be. May that Knowledge, in which Reality comprehends itself, be.

Go to Part 1 of this chapter. Go to Part 6.

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