The Significance of Non-Attachment in the Spiritual Path – Infographics

The importance Of Non-Attachment In The Spiritual Path

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति य: |
लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा || 10||

– Bhagvad Gita 5:10

(brahmaṇyādhāya karmāṇi saṅgaṃ tyaktvā karoti ya: |
lipyate na sa pāpena padmapatramivāmbhasā || 10||)

Meaning:

The one who renounces the attachments by unburdening himself on the absolute or Brahman (by surrendering to the existence), is not smeared by sin just like how the water droplets on a lotus leaf don’t stick to it.

Commentary:

This verse has a deeper meaning. The verse uses the word ‘Papam’ which is translated as sin. A sin is a negative consequence of an action or intention. This actually means the suffering that one goes through because of attachments and  ‘Ahamkara’, the belief that you are the doer.

The verse also indicates a way of living; living life without attachments. This doesn’t mean that you should not possess things. But you make sure that you don’t cling to things which arise and pass away. So, the comparison used here is to convey that one should live with the objects, without letting those objects stick or attach to the Self.

Attachments arise due to the belief that something is ‘you’ or ‘yours. This and the belief that you are the door of the actions branch from the root ignorance that makes you believe that you are so and so which is separate from the Absolute.

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Who Am I? – Excerpts From Ramana Maharshi’s ‘Nan Yar?’ – Infographics

who-am-i

 

1. Who am I ?

The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functioning’s, I am not.

2. If I am none of these, then who am I?

After negating all of the above-mentioned as ‘not this’, ‘not this’, that Awareness which alone remains – that I am.

3. What is the nature of Awareness?

The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss.

  • From “Who Am I? (Nan Yar?) – The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi”

 

Gems Of Wisdom From Various Self-Realized Masters – Infrographics

Just a short info-graphic I made which includes the quotes of Lao Tzu, Buddha, Ashtavakra, Ramana Maharshi, Osho, and Meister Eckhart.. The quotes are direct pointers to the non-dual truth. For more quotes, visit this page: Inspiring Quotes of Lao Tzu, Buddha and Many Others.

spiritual quotes2

The Truth About Yantras, Chakras, Temples, Tantra and Agamas

A Yantra is nothing but a map for meditation. The map can be used externally to build temples and internally to practice Yoga. A Yantra represents something called a Mandala.

Here is a raw skeleton of a simple Mandala:

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If you want to construct a room only for meditation (certain Tantric meditations that I will discuss shortly), you can construct a beautiful room with this map. The circle at the center is a place for an idol or a statue. This statue itself should be designed in a way so that each aspect of the statue represents a deep meaning. This central idol is surrounded by three small idols around it. The idea behind such a place is to create an emotional association with meditation by decorating this room, playing melodious songs, by making it a practice to take bath before entering the room etc. When you meditate in this place every day, just looking at the map or mandala can trigger a meditative feeling in you or make you ready to meditate. It can capture your attention in a minute and change your thought flow to something that is advantageous to meditation. This works based on something called ‘classical conditioning’.

If you want another example for classical conditioning, then do this: think about the days when you fall in love for the first time, wear the same kind of perfume that you were wearing in those days and listen to the song that you heard often those days. It will remind you of those beautiful days. This can be used to your own advantage. This is the science behind Yantras and temples. It is based on psychology, not based on physics or chemistry.

There is also a kind of meditation that you would do with these yantras and the temples modeled using Yantras. Let me first give you a model of another simple Yantra here:

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It has four surrounding deities instead of 3. This was actually the very common form of design when people started to use these things in the very beginning. Because these four surrounding deities represent four directions. Almost all religious groups in ancient India including a lot of folk religious practices had deities for directions. These deities were simply absorbed into Tantric practices as devices. This also helped those religious practitioners to convert their superstitious religious sentiments to a psychological device.

Here is an example of Vajrapani mandala in Vajrayana Buddhism following the same model:

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First, I will explain how you meditate based on this Yantra. You have to visualize yourself as the central deity and visualize the four deities of four directions as the extensions of yourself. This is the basis of Vajrayana and Tantric meditations. With more practice, you can visualize the mandala quite accurately.

You can make it more effective by constructing a temple using this mandala. When you fill the temple with unique sense perceptions like lamps, smell of camphor and flowers, chants etc and keep the place free from other distractions, then doing tantric meditations in such a place will gradually associate all these sense perceptions with meditation itself. So, an exposure to even one of this sense perception will be helpful to a great extent by changing the course of your thought stream and making it inclined towards meditation.

The energy you feel when you enter such a place comes from your own body and not from the mandala. Because a rush of emotions certainly affects your body as much it affects your mind. (When a teacher enters a noisy classroom on the day when you forgot to do your homework, does the energy of sudden fear you feel come from the teacher or happen in your own body?).

During the Vedic period, there were no temples or idols. Temples emerged as the result of people who started practicing these meditations in the late 1st millennium BC, probably a couple of centuries after the period of Buddha. Almost all Shiva temples are built with Shaiva Agamas and all Vishnu temples are built with Pancharatra or Vaikhanasa agamas, which are Tantric agamas that deal with these things in detail. (Sri Ramanuja played a major role in promoting Pancharatra. He replaced Vaikhanasa with Pancharatra in Sri Rangam temple and most of the other temples too. Tirupati temple is an example of the temple which follows Vaikhanasa agamas).

The beauty of such mandalas is that, the people who created it made sure that each aspect of it has a deep spiritual meaning. So, this accomplishes another purpose as well, by acting as mnemonic devices. When you understand how it works, you can take advantage of all the benefits it offers.

For example, Pancharatra has a concept of Viyuha in which there are four deities: Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Here, Vasudeva represents the Purusha or Shiva or the absolute; Sankarshana represents Prakriti or Shakthi; Pradyumna represents the mind (your likes and dislikes) and Aniruddha represents ahamkara (ego). In some tantric texts, nine deities are used instead of four: (1) Vāsudeva, (2) Saṅkarṣaṇa, (3) Pradyumna, (4) Aniruddha, (5) Nārāyaṇa, (6) Nṛsiṁha, (7) Hayagrīva, (8) Mahāvarāha, and (9) Brahmā.

But just buying a Yantra and keeping it in the home will do nothing. You need to understand what each aspect of Yantra represents and use it for meditation after completely understanding the design, the purpose and the pointers that the Yantra represents. Because all these are psychological.

But there is another purpose for Yantras which is the most important one. After some point, you should start seeing your own body and mind representing a Yantra. You understand yourself as a living temple and locate each deity at a particular place in your body.

shatkona

Let us take the above image as an example. This is a Shatkona, my favorite one. The symbol has two triangles.

  1. The regular triangle represents the absolute and each side of it represents Sat, Chit, and Ananda which means truth, consciousness, and bliss.
  2. The inverted triangle represents Prakriti and her three states or qualities: Sattva (balance), Rajas (activity), Tamas (inertia or lethargy).

The union of these two triangles represents the union of Purusha and Prakriti, which is actually the essence of non-duality. So, this star is a perfect symbol of spiritual enlightenment itself.

If I have to use this mandala for a temple, then I would need 7 deities, one for the central deity and 6 for the surrounding ones. If I were to internalize these 7 deities then I would need 7 locations in the body. When you are in a cross-legged sitting position, how would you divide your whole body starting from your butt to your head into 7?

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This is how you can do it. There is no other way! This is the truth about chakras.

Do you know that initially there were only 4 Chakras and not 7? I will tell you why.

Before the common era and during the late first millennium BC, there was no concept of chakras. But people did have a concept about Nadis. They thought that there is a Sushumna Nadi in the center. People believed that when a person dies, his spirit exits through one of the nine holes of the body. They also believed that if the spirit goes upwards through Shushumna Nadi and exits the body by breaking the top of the head, he will go to heaven. That sounded reasonable to them because if the heaven is somewhere above, then spirit should move upwards. Many texts talk about voluntarily moving the soul or spirit through Shushumna Nadi at the time of the death to make sure that the person reaches the heaven. They called this practice Utkranti. Utkranti was also used to mean traveling from one body to another. It is this Utkranti which is called as Mahasamadhi in modern days.

The concept of chakras actually emerged much later. Chakras are just an attempt to internalize the locations and deities of a mandala or a yantra. It developed just a 1000 or 1200 years before, between 8th century AD to 10th century AD.

  1. Hevajra Tantra, one of the Buddhist tantric texts during the period of 8th century AD talks about just 4 chakras. The reason they chose four is quite obvious. It is because most of the early Tantric mandalas were based on four directions and assigning 4 deities to each direction. In Buddhist tantras, the following four deities called ‘four heavenly kings’ were used in meditations. The concept is same as the four forms used in Pancharatra. So, during 8th century AD, they internalized these four deities as four chakras in the body.

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2. Kaulajnananirnaya which contains the core teachings of Matsyendranath describes a system of 11 chakras. This text is also from the same time period. Please note that Matsyendranath is one of the yogis who is quoted by Sadhguru often. But Sadhguru himself doesn’t know that Matsyendranath talked about 11 chakras and not 7.

3. Abhinavagupta, a great mystic of Kashmir Shaivism had adopted a five chakra model.

4. Sat Chakra Nirupana, another Tantric text talks about a six chakra model.

This is how slowly the system evolved into the current system of seven chakras. They are conceptual and were only meant for visualizations. But it is this concept of Chakras which has become a huge business in the world today.

Here is a picture of Kali Yantra:

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First of all, What do these 36 corners represent?

During 8th – 6th century BC, people were interested in going inward to find a way out of suffering. When they explored and enumerated the contents of the consciousness, each sect or group of monks came with different numbers as indivisible entities of one’s conscious field… Buddha came with five and called it five aggregates. Vedanta also came up with five and called it five koshas. Samkhya came with 24 units or tattvas by including sense perceptions, sense organs, organs of actions (hands, legs, speech, excretion, reproduction) and five elements. This way of enumerating the contents of consciousness and coming up with these basic units continued for about 1500 years. Kashmir Shaivism, which is the youngest of all ( which has influenced Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev a lot ) came with 36 basic units. They are called as 36 tattvas. The 36 corners of this yantra represent 36 tattvas.

Each unit was like an atom of the internal world. Vaisheshika, a school of thought in India is called as atomism because it enumerated the contents of consciousness this way and divided them to inseparable things called ‘anu’. But this has been greatly misunderstood by people. There are people who think that these anus/atoms are the actual atoms that we study in Physics.. No, not at all!

Let me explain how this enumeration works. Let us say you look at a tree. You can explore the tree and enumerate its units by dividing the tree into its parts, narrowing down to its molecules, atoms, electrons and quantum particles.

But this is not what we do in spiritual practice. In spiritual path, this is how people see it:

1)When you look at a tree, there is a perception of a form. But where does this perception happen? It happens within the field of consciousness. So, a visual sense perception is actually one of the 36 units.

2)This visual perception is accomplished through eyes, hence eye as a sense organ is also one of the 36 units.

3)Is what is perceived a solid, liquid, gas, the heat which reacts with these three or the empty space in which it occurs? It is a perception of a solid structure. And this solid nature is made as one of the 36 units too, making it as one of the Panchabhutas.

4)Now, what kind of feeling does this perception create in the consciousness? It may create like, dislike or a neutral feeling. This is called manas and it is also one of the 36 units.

5)Does this perception trigger a memory? Oh yes… So memory or Chitta is also one of the 36.

6) What did I use to discriminate all these things? I used my intellect. So intellect or Buddhi is also one of the units.

7) Who is doing all this? It is just happening but it gives you an illusion that ‘you’ as a personal entity separate from the existence is doing it. This is ego or Ahankara is also one of the 36.

This way, people enumerated the contents of consciousness which was helpful for them to discriminate between the awareness and the contents of awareness.

So, this enumeration has got nothing to do with physics or chemistry as many people tend to believe. It is a process of deep investigation of the contents of the field of your conscious subjective experience itself.

The central Bindhu in the Kali Yantra or the central Linga in the Linga Bhairavi yantra represents the Atman, witness or your true nature. The 5 inverted triangle around the Bindu represents the Vedantic way of enumeration which is 5 koshas. They represent your body, breath, your mind, intellect and experience/bliss.

The eight lotuses represent Prakriti or nature and symbolize another way of enumeration. The eight things are solid, liquid, gas, heat, space, activity, inertia and balance. This is a bit outward focused and was probably added to symbolize the nature as we observe it through our five senses. A meditation using this Yantra will require a very complicated visualization.

I can go on and on and explain why Yantras have played a very important role in the spiritual history and how useful it is in meditation. Because using a Yantra has multiple purposes:

1)Taking advantage of classical conditioning and easily get into a meditative state.

2) Mnemonics to remember certain core pointers.

3) A map to construct temples.

4) Helps in the ‘doing’ oriented meditation like Shamatha, Ashtanga yoga etc because of the requirement of complex visualizations.

5)Prepares the ground for ‘non-doing’ oriented meditation: self-inquiry/mindfulness. This is the most important part. Everything that is done in a spiritual path is done to prepare oneself to the direct approach towards spiritual liberation.

When a seeker asked Ramana Maharshi about Shri Yantra, he replied very beautifully with no mumbo jumbo or nonsense:

Talk 405.
19th April 1937

A respectable and orthodox gentleman asked about Sri Chakra.

Ramana Maharishi: It has a deep significance. There are 43 corners with sacred
syllables in them. Its worship is a method for concentration of
mind. The mind is wont to move externally. It must be checked
and turned within. Its habit is to dwell on names and forms,
for all external objects possess names and forms. Such names
and forms are made symbolic mental conceptions in order to
divert the mind from external objects and make it dwell within
itself. The idols, mantras, yantras, are all meant to give food to
the mind in its introvert state, so that It may later become capable
of being concentrated, after which the superb state is reached
automatically.

I recently wrote a detailed post on my blog by making use of all the concepts used in Tantric meditations. You can read it here: A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning

It is about a 3-level meditation that also includes a Yantra, but a visually appealing one:

yan-full-high

 

The Spirituality of Ancient Greeks: Xenophanes, Parmenides, Prodicus, Gorgias and Socrates

Here is a beautiful analogy on the spiritual path, self-realization, and liberation:

“Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison, for they know no better life. The prisoners manage to break their bonds one day and discover that their reality was not what they thought it was. They discovered the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the fire that man cannot see behind. Like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses. Even if these interpretations (or, in Kantian terminology, intuitions) are an absurd misrepresentation of reality, we cannot somehow break free from the bonds of our human condition – we cannot free ourselves from the phenomenal state just as the prisoners could not free themselves from their chains. If, however, we were to miraculously escape our bondage, we would find a world that we could not understand – the sun is incomprehensible for someone who has never seen it. In other words, we would encounter another “realm,” a place incomprehensible because, theoretically, it is the source of a higher reality than the one we have always known; it is the realm of pure Form, pure fact.”

Source: Ferguson, A. S. “Plato’s Simile of Light. Part II. The Allegory of the Cave (Continued).” The Classical Quarterly 16, no. 1 (1922): 15-28. http://www.jstor.org/stable/636164.

Immediate source: Wikipedia

This Allegory of a cave is narrated in his book ‘Republic’,  in which Plato is sharing what Socrates, his teacher taught him. We know about the teachings of Socrates only through Plato. He was the one who put them in writings. So, if one needs to understand Socrates, he has to read Plato.

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Plato’s Allegory of the Cave by Jan Saenredam, according to Cornelis van Haarlem, 1604, Albertina, Vienna. Image source: Wikipedia

This analogy is indeed a wonderful one. The prisoners who take the shadows to be more real than the fire which causes the shadow to appear. The same way, we take the changing appearances on the screen of the conscious subjective experience as more real than the constant screen of pure conscious subjective experience itself which is the knower of the appearances.

The thoughts on non-duality from Greek philosophers appear in the Greek literature as early as the Buddha’s time in India. So, the time around 600-400 BC seems to be a very important time when the world saw wise sophists in Greece, the scientists of the inner world like Buddha in India, and Lao Tzu in China. If North East India was the spiritual cradle of the East, then we can say that ancient Greek settlements were the spiritual cradles of the West.

Xenophanes (570 BC – 475 BC)

Xenophanes (570 BC – 475 BC) who was born in Colophon, a city of Greek settlements in Ionia (an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna.) was probably the earliest known sophist who touched on certain important things. Xenophanes was a great poet. His poems were written in Ancient Greek poetic meters and were elegiac and iambic poetry.

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A fictionalized portrait of Xenophanes from a 17th-century engraving. Image source: Wikipedia

Xenophanes was probably one of the earliest known skeptics in the human history similar to Buddha. He questioned traditional beliefs and encouraged critical thinking. Here is one of his wonderful poems of skeptic nature:

But if cattle and horses and lions had hands
or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do,
horses like horses and cattle like cattle
also would depict the gods’ shapes and make their bodies
of such a sort as the form they themselves have.

Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed [σιμούς] and black
Thracians that they are pale and red-haired

  • Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Xenophanes frr. 15-16

Xenophanes was not an atheist though. He believed in a God who is beyond human morality, does not resemble the human form, cannot die or be born (God is divine thus eternal), no divine hierarchy exists, and who does not intervene in human affairs.

We at current times may not be able to agree with many of Xenophanes’s views. But he was one of the earliest philosophers who talked about something that I insist often in my blog posts. He made a clear distinction between what is belief and what is true knowledge. If you read a theological concept in a book and think that it has given some knowledge to you, according to Xenophane it is not a true knowledge but just a belief.

Parmenides of Elea (515 BC)

Parmenides of Elea (515 BC) seems to be the most important person in the Greek spiritual history… He is said to be the founder of metaphysics and ontology. I think he is probably one of the most underrated persons in the world.  He is said to be a pupil of Xenophanes. Here is an excerpt from http://www.parmenides-of-elea.net/. This is the same as Advaita Vedanta:

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Bust of Parmenides discovered at Velia, thought to have been partially modeled on a Metrodorus bust. Image source: Wikipedia

“According to Parmenides, existing cosmic space is not unlimited but is an enormous sphere. It is entirely filled by “Being”. “Being” is the only and homogeneous substance that, permeating all things (including human beings and the air) that our senses perceive in the cosmos, constitutes the cosmos itself. In fact, in the “vision” of the eleatic philosopher the cosmos is not composed of numerous entities – planets, stars, people, animals, trees, flowers, houses, mountains, clouds, etc., of different appearance and color, capable of transformation, movement, birth and death – that appear daily before our eyes, but consists of Being, which is an eternal, not generated, one, huge, limited, spherical, motionless substance, not becoming but always equal to itself, homogeneous, of the same density everywhere, not divided into multiple “things” but continuous. 
So: only Being exists. This Being, which is one, is perceived by humans as “broken” in many things, all the things that our deceptive sight daily sees:

To this One so many names will be assigned
as many are the things that mortals proposed, believing that they were true,
that they were born and perish, that they exist and do not exist,
that they changed the place and their bright color” (8,38-41)

Literal translation:
“It will have for name all things,
how many the mortals proposed, believing that they were true,
that they were born and perish, that they exist and do not [exist],
that they changed the place and their bright color” (8,38-41)”

It is really amazing to learn that all these concepts of non-duality existed among ancient Greeks at the same time when it was growing in India. 

Prodicus of Ceos (465 BC – c. 395 BC)

Prodicus of Ceos (465 BC – c. 395 BC) is said to be the teacher of Socrates in at least one lecture, as mentioned by some sources. He has done some good work on ethics and linguistics. He was pretty strict about the word usage.

We don’t have any information regarding his ontological views on reality. But he was certainly a skeptic:

“Prodicus, like some of his fellow Sophists, interpreted religion through the framework of naturalism. The gods he regarded as personifications of the sun, moon, rivers, fountains, and whatever else contributes to the comfort of our life, and he was sometimes charged with atheism. “His theory was that primitive man was so impressed with the gifts nature provided him for the furtherance of his life that he believed them to be the discovery of gods or themselves to embody the Godhead. This theory was not only remarkable for its rationalism but for its discernment of a close connection between religion and agriculture.” 

 –   From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prodicus)

Gorgias  (485 – c. 380 BC)

Gorgias  (485 – c. 380 BC)  is another important person in the Greek spiritual history.  He was also a sophist who was born before Socrates but after Parmenides of Elea. He used to collect huge fees for teaching, a practice which was criticized by Socrates who was probably born a couple of decades later than him.

His famous work  was ‘On Nature or the Non-Existent’ in which he has argued the following:

Nothing exists;

2) Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and

3) Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.

4) Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.

This sounds like a nihilist view. But I can see that he is clearly talking about the same concept which is called as ‘Maya’ in Indian Tradition. The external world and all the sense perceptions we use to know the world are only appearances on the screen of conscious subjective experience. Nothing can be seen outside of it. So, he attests that the existence of these fleeting experiences can be doubted but you can never doubt the existence of self-evident conscious subjective experience which remains constant. So, what we call as objective in this sense is really an appearance on the screen of the subject. Read this for more details: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/ramana-maharshi-and-the-cinema-screen-analogy/

Even though Socrates became very famous among all the Greek philosophers, all these people seemed to have played a great role in Greek spirituality. I will probably be doing further research on this too.  It will require a complete post to talk about Socrates. So I will reserve the topic of his teachings for a future blog post.

Why Is Spiritual Enlightenment Indescribable?

The answer is actually pretty simpler than what most people think.

First of all, any kind of experience or any way of experiencing life cannot be really described.

How will you describe stomach pain? Go ahead and try it… You may say ‘it is very painful; my stomach is really aching as if something is biting it, crushing it or pinching it’.. But this doesn’t really describe the stomach pain. These words do not translate the experience of stomach pain.

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But still, the person who hears the word ‘stomach pain’ recognizes what it is. How? Because the person who hears it has already experienced pain before. The word ‘stomach pain’ has been associated with an experience that you are pretty familiar with and there is consensus on it among everyone because almost everyone has experienced stomach pain.

When you look at a tree, what is actually happening is an experience of a certain pattern of sense perception. This experience of perceiving a tree is completely private to your inner world. But as soon as you utter the word ‘tree’, the other person understands what it is. Why? Because the word ‘tree’ is associated with certain kind of visual perception which everyone is familiar with. And there is consensus on it among everyone because almost everyone has seen a tree and used the word ‘tree’ to name it.

tree

All perceptions that happen through our five senses are nothing but experiences. But you can communicate what you are experiencing simply because another person has also experienced these perceptions and we have associated a word for each individual pattern of sense perceptions.

When I say ‘I looked at a beautiful flower on a cold winter morning during sunrise while hearing the sounds of birds’ you get the picture right? But a person who is blind and deaf from birth will not get the complete picture. He only understands how a ‘cold winter’ feels like because that is the only thing he has experienced among a myriad of sense perceptions which are actually conveyed in that sentence.

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In fact, your entire life happens only on the basis of conscious subjective experience. You understand that there is an external world only by inference. And only because of certain consensus that exists about this ‘external world’, we are able to deal with practical things in life. That is why we call the external world as ‘maya’ because it is actually an appearance that appears in the conscious subjective experience. This is self-evident. You just need to shift the focus to see it.

A small kid less than one-year-old thinks that an object doesn’t exist as soon as it disappears from its view. Only later, it starts inferring using the intellect that an object continues to exist even after it is hidden from the view. This is called object permeance and is one of the concepts in psychology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ob… .

The same way, a child later develops ‘theory of mind‘ with which it knows that others also have a mind. Please note that all this have been accomplished only by the inference of the intellect (Buddhi) alone! It is this inferential knowledge, which has become reified or solidified in our mind as time passed by. The nature of Buddhi is to categorize things, and one of the earliest categorizations that it did was the division between ‘me’ and the ‘world’. The reification of this categorization is what ego or ‘ahamkara’ is…. A spiritual practice is nothing but retracing our steps and going back to the source.

When we are talking about enlightenment, we are not talking about a distinct experience but a way of experiencing reality.

How can I explain how it feels like to not to have a sense of separate self to a person who is not experiencing the reality that way?

How can I explain how it feels like to be out of psychological time, to a person who is still trapped in psychological time?

How can I explain how it feels like to live with an unaltered state of consciousness to a person whose consciousness is altered by duality?

I can only give some clues. It feels more authentic than the regular way of experiencing reality; it feels as if a huge load has been lifted off of your shoulders; it feels as if you are weightless; it feels pure, innocent, conflict-less and it really is indescribable simply because most of the people are not experiencing life this way.

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But even if you understand all this, it would be only an intellectual understanding. It is self-realization which gives you a direct perception of the truth. Only then you really see it, just like how a person who was blind from birth suddenly sees the world one day after his eyesight has been cured. Whatever he has heard by verbal testimony is now confirmed by his direct experience.

Read the following posts for more about enlightenment and spiritual path:

Spiritual Enlightenment Comics: You Are The Truth

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

Is Spiritual Enlightenment Known or Experienced?

God: Who/What is God?

The Meaning of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss – Satchitananda

Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy

What is Ego in the Context of Non-Duality?

For Seekers of Liberation

An Invitation To A Spiritual Journey Towards Self-Realization! – Sanskrit Poem

A recent Sanskrit poem that I wrote, in free verse:

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जीवायाः गुरुत्वम् यस्मिन् अस्ति ।

यस्य आचरणं गुरुकार्यमस्ति ।

यस्य मार्गदर्शनं अन्तः स्थितेन हृदयरश्मिना सद्गुरुणा भविष्यति ।

येन मार्गेन गमनं रज्ज्वां चलनं इव सावधानेन

विवेकदृष्ट्या वैराग्यभावनया  शमादिषट्कसम्पदः प्रभावेण

मुमुक्षुत्वस्य शक्त्या करणीयं अस्ति ।

यस्मै मार्गाय सत्यस्य संश्रवणं दैनन्दिन अभियोगः गभीरा साक्षिभावना

नेति नेति मनसः कषायाणां उपरि आगमनं एतस्य सर्वस्य आवश्यकता वर्तते ।

येन मार्गेन यात्रा अस्मान् मोक्षं प्रापयते ।

तस्मिन् मार्गे वयम् सर्वम् गच्छाम ॥


Transliteration (IAST):

jīvāyāḥ gurutvam yasmin asti ।
yasya ācaraṇaṃ gurukāryamasti ।
yasya mārgadarśanaṃ antaḥ sthitena hṛdayaraśminā sadguruṇā bhaviṣyati ।
yena mārgena gamanaṃ rajjvāṃ calanaṃ iva sāvadhānena
vivekadṛṣṭyā vairāgyabhāvanayā śamādiṣaṭkasampadaḥ prabhāveṇa
mumukṣutvasya śaktyā karaṇīyaṃ asti ।
yasmai mārgāya satyasya saṃśravaṇaṃ dainandina abhiyogaḥ gabhīrā sākṣibhāvanā
neti neti manasaḥ kaṣāyāṇāṃ upari āgamanaṃ etasya sarvasya āvaśyakatā vartate ।
yena mārgena yātrā asmān mokṣaṃ prāpayate ।
tasmin mārge vayam sarvam gacchāma ॥


Meaning:

Let us all walk in the path

In which  lies the significance of life,

Walking in which  is very important,

For which, the guidance is offered by the light which resides in the heart, the satguru (true guru),

Walking in which  is similar to walking on a rope,  has to be done carefully, with the discrimination between what is real and what is unreal, with an attitude of non-attachment, with the impact of the six virtues and with the power of the desire for liberation,

For which  there is a necessity of listening to the truth, everyday practice, a deep witnessing attitude (choiceless awareness),  rising above the kashayas (everything that one is attached to and can be witnessed in the stream of consciousness) by realizing ‘not this, not this’ (neti neti method),

That which takes us to liberation!