28.2.2: ALL ABOUT OURSELVES – FROM THE UPANISHADS (CONTD)
(U = Upanishad(s))
There are always three urges in Man: To live, to know and to enjoy. These three arise from the three facets of Divinity inherent in Man They are sat – Existence; chit – Consciousness and Ananda – Bliss All these are with each human being already. We wrongly think we are limited; We keep wanting to live, to know and to enjoy; we want this, we want that The moment we want something, our unhappiness begins The unhappiness is not in the absence of things, but in our wanting them Happiness is already with us; Unhappiness arises from our searching for it outside. The moment you say ‘I want to be happy’ you have invited unhappiness No one can be completely happy without knowing that He is himself Happiness. Happiness, Pleasure, Bliss, are all with us , in us. Look for the Ultimates rather than looking for them in their material sense Looking for pleasure in the material sense as an end-in-itself leads to unhappiness. Our initial state is happiness. Whenever we want something unhappiness starts. When our want is fulfilled we go back to our initial state, happiness. So happiness is not what was given to us by the thing we thought we obtained It is our real state. This is the quintessence of message in all the U.
So U. says that our Self, the Atman is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. It is sat-chid-Ananda; Existence and Bliss are facets of the Atman; this is not so difficult to understand; But how is it Consciousness? Let us analyse this a little. The only way by which we seem to understand anything is by our mind. What hears sound is the ear. What tastes an edible is the tongue. What sees an object is the eye. All these sensations are received by the brain and registered by the mind. But the awareness of all these sensations is due to the life-force, the Atman-principle within, without which we could not have been conscious of anything When we switch on a light in a dark room, we see many objects. The same light lights them all. But when the room is empty of objects, the emptiness itself is indicated by the same light. In the same way when the room is dark, the darkness is registered in our awareness by the light within us. That light is what goes by the name of consciousness, the same consciousness that showed the light when the room was lighted. It was not the eyes that showed the light; they only received the sensation which they passed on to the brain and through the brain, the mind. Light is that in the presence of which things are known and in the absence of which things are not known. Light is the illuminator of any object. Each external light like Sun or Moon or any other material light is only a relative or empirical light. Even sense organs, Mind are lights. But none of these is the Ultimate light. Because all these lights do the function of being a light only when Consciousness is there. Each Light itself is an object for Consciousness. Light itself is known only by the Ultimate Light of Consciousness
Beauty of the U.is that instead of starting with the Absolute Reality that is Brahman, they start from what is experienced at the human level The innermost recesses of the human mind are first explored This investigation leads first to the physical body, made up & nurtured by food; so it is called the anna-sheath or annamaya kosha Five such sheaths are described each forming as it were the sheath or husk of the true self which is the kernel They are the Prana sheath (prANamaya kosha),Then the manomaya kosha (sheath of mind or instinctive and perceptual consciousness) Then the vijnAnamaya kosha or the sheath of intelligence And lastly the Anandamaya kosha the sheath of bliss The second, third and fourth constitute the subtle body or sukshma sharira. And the last is the causal body, namely the kArana sharira
The Atman or Self is none of these. It is the innermost essence of Man. When this is associated with the inner organ, namely Mind, it is the knower U. declares that the Atman is so deepseated within us that it has a sense of undeniable reality that goes with it, in the sense that one does not look for a proof of its existence. This is Consciousness, Existence and Bliss.
Now comes the distinctive Upanishadic declarations which is what gives Hindu philosophy its distinctive character. One: There are not several Atmans. The Consciousness within one animate & the Consciousness within anybody else is the same!; Consciousness has no boundary of space or Time Two: Brahman, the transcendental Reality from which everything has emanated and this Atman are one and the same! The mundane world that is a manifestation of Brahman is only relatively real As far as absolute truth is concerned only non-duality is true, namely Truth is only one. One may call it God,, but it is not the God of common understanding with superlative qualities It is Brahman, the unqualified Brahman, same as Atman, to whom there can be no attributes Three There is only one Self but several jIvas Pure Consciousness (Atman, Brahman) does not undergo any change of form or character. It is the JIva that undergoes changes JIva is only Brahman in an empirical dress of BMI in which the sprouting of the thought of distinctness from Brahman has occurred. This thought of individuality is the Ego, the starting point of the JIva. JIva is therefore Consciousness conditioned by Ignorance in the form of an ego of individuality. The Self can have no direct knowledge of the world except through the apparatus of the BMI. This apparatus as well as the small world which becomes the object of its knowledge is spoken of as the adjunct (upAdhi) of Consciousness. All this adjunct is matter. Consciousness (‘Chaitanyam’) which has this limited portion of matter for its adjunct is the JIva. Each JIva has its own knowing apparatus and moves in a small world of its own, with its own joys and sorrows and thus has its own individual existence. Though the Self is one, the JIvas are many.
Brahman is the source of everything in the sense that all the movie pictures you see on the screen owe their existence to the screen The screen can be there without the pictures Consciousness exists without there being any other object to be conscious of Just as Light can be there without any object that is lighted . Without the clay there is no clay-pot The clay can be there without the clay-pot .Thus Brahman is the first cause and is itself uncaused and there is no other object, no other brahman, no parts of brahman Here the philosophies of Ramanuja and Madhva do not agree
All that we call wealth is anitya; nothing that belongs to anitya will ever lead to the nitya-vastu, that is the Atman. In the Chandogya story, Virochana the King of Asuras , as well as Indra the King of the Gods, both of them pursue the question : “What is the Atman?”. The asuras conclude that the body is the Atman. It is ‘Asura-Vedanta’! On the other hand, Indra does an analysis of experiences in the waking state, dream state and the sleeping state, discards them one by one as unreal and finally comes to the Reality that is the Atman. This kind of discarding is the the discrimination between anitya and nitya.
In the T.U. Brighu Maharishi begins from the anna-maya kosha, and goes through all the koshas, first thinking that it is Brahman and then after enquiry discarding it and finally comes to the right conclusion that Brahman is what remains as the substratum of even the Ananda-maya-kosha. Another way of looking at it is to say that by proper discrimination he discarded the five koshas as impermanent and finally got to know that the Atman is the only Permanent entity.
Vedanta of U. reduces everything to five fundamentals‘sat’ – Existence – revealed by the fact that it exists ‘chit’ – Consciousness – revealed by the fact of ‘knowing’ ‘Ananda’ – Bliss – revealed by the fact of ‘happiness’.‘nAma’ – Name – everything has a name ; and ‘rUpaM’ – Form – every visible thing has a form The first three are permanent, eternal Each one of them constitutes what we call the Real Self. The last two are ephemeral, transient BMI belongs to these two ; Anything in our experience also belongs to these two
When somebody pinches me I feel the pain It is really the BMI that senses the pain and reacts to it. But the BMI would not have done it if ‘I’ were not there (e.g., a dead body) That is, if the sentience borrowed from the Self within, were not there.
It is the association of the real I with the BMI that makes me, the false self, feel and react.The superimposition of BMI and its experiences on the real I is the problem When the false I, the empirical self, the JIva, refuses to associate the real I with the BMI and remains what it should be there should be no feeling of pain and no provocation for a reaction or action. This is what Vedanta requires of us All actions happen only when the permanent facet of man is associated with the nama-rUpa facet of man; The namarupa facet and its goings-on are superimposed
on the satchidananda facet It is this superimposition that is the actor, the reactor, the feeler, the thinker. Who makes this association or superimposition?. It is the JIva, the empirical self Vedanta says:Get over this mixing up of the satchidananda with the namarupa.