28.2.1 ALL ABOUT OURSELVES - FROM THE UPANISHADS
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SANATANA DHARMA - 36 ANCIENT SCRIPTURES 4 OF 7 - Upanishads 2 of 5)
When a living being dies it is only the body and external physical manifestations that die. The soul (JIva) does not die. It travels from one body to another new body. But all the while, the mind, which subtly clings on to the soul, travels along with it. The mind, however, does not remember what it did in the previous body. The mind and soul, together individualized in this fashion, go on from body to body again and again. This is the unique principle of transmigration. The mind, which is irrevocably ‘attached’ to the soul actually carries with it the weight of all the experiences of each life. This weight is not the memory - memory is in the physical brain – but it is a heavy luggage of impressions (pure and impure) which it has collected in each of its sojourns in a body. The mind is like the wind which carries the smell of a rose garden through which it has blown, even long after it has left the garden. Like the wind which has passed through a filthy and stinking place, the mind carries the stink (good or bad) that it has collected in its previous births and lives into its succeeding births.Thus are born the tendencies and in-born nature of people. These tendencies, are nothing but the aggregate of imprints left in the subconscious mind of all the actions, thoughts and expressions constituting all the previous lives. They color the nature and state of mind of the present life. They are the vAsanAs.
Mind serves as the material that carries these vAsanAs or tendencies during its passage along with the soul.In fact in Upanishad metaphysics Mind is not recognised as a separate existing entity on its own. It is only a flow of thoughts on the subtle bed of vAsanAs. It is only a bundle of desires If there were no thoughts or desires there would be no mind These vAsanAs have been inherited from an eternal past Even in pralaya time when everything in the universe merged into the creator, the VAsanAs existed in a latent form attached to individual souls. It is these that blossom in the next day of Brahma the creator.
The JIva’s journey has been through an eternal past The JIva is the subject of all experience; however Our JIva is not the real I The real I does not do any action, has no thoughts, feelings or emotions He is unaffected, unperturbed, uncontaminated, unsullied by any of the happenings to the body, mind and intellect in which the JIva resides The Real I is the non-participating witness to everything that is happening to the JIva, like a street light that just witnesses everything that happens under the light Jiva, resident in the body, is actually a spark of the Absolute Consciousness and µ it is sentient But Jiva wrongly identifies itself with the BMI in which it is residing Thus Jiva creates for itself a false ‘I” This it has been doing with every BMI in which it happened to reside . That is the colossal Ignorance which follows the Jiva from time immemorial.
When you say ‘somebody pinched me’, it is actually the false I that is talking. The ‘me’ does not refer to the real ‘I’ It is the body that has been pinched, but the Jiva has identified with the body So it says that it has been pinched. Nobody can pinch the real ‘I’ All Vedanta teaching is for the false ‘I’ to get out of its Ignorance. The doer of actions is the false ‘I’; the thinker of thoughts is the false ‘I’ The experiencer of consequences is the false ‘I’, Incidentally the false ‘I’ is also called the false self or the empirical self.
Foremost thing that the U. teaches the false ‘I’ about life is: All material happiness is transient, meaning Worldly happiness is not the ultimate in happiness. As we alternate between pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, Joy and sorrow, we are only passing from one experience to another, None of which is everlasting : Stand back and observe ourselves and the world . What really is pleasure?. It is only An intermediate experience between two moments of pain and vice versa. Two extreme physical experiences are birth and death; first one leaves no memory; The second one leaves no experiencer to recall it. In between we undergo an infinite variety of experiences None of these experiences is permanent .
The U. say that Real Permanent Bliss comes from within one’s Self. Such a bliss which comes from the awareness of one’s Self is eternal and universal, say the U. What is this Self? First realise that oneself is different from one’s Self. Who is to realise? This false self has to realise that it is not the Real Self. The Self in us is different from our body, mind and intellect. We say my body, my mind, my intellect. Here the ‘my’ refers to something which is not the BMI That something is the Self in us; It is called the Atman in us.The Self cannot be established by reasoning or inference It cannot be experienced by intuition; mind and intellect can be so experienced The Self is not the body or the ego. Nor is it a series of mental states. It is consciousness itself, for if it were not so there must be something relating the self to consciousness and that something would need two more relations, one to link it with the Self and the other to link it with Consciousness.
The most important property of the Self is that IT IS DIRECTLY REVEALED. Truth of the Self is beyond the Mind; The mind is perishable and the Self is not. In seeking to know the Self, the perishable mind merges in the imperishable and effaces itself; So once the Self is ‘known’, there is no more mind – only the Self.
Whether it is childhood or adulthood we refer to ourselves as the same ‘I’. This ‘I’ never changes; It is nothing that is included in all that we call ‘mine’. Write out all that goes under the list of what we might want to call ‘mine’. This must include not only one’s physical possessions but also one’s own body and its limbs, mind, mental opinions, anything which can go under ‘my …’ Throw out all of them and then what remains is “I”. This I is the Self of the U. ;
BMI are not permanent; What has a beginning must end. To be born means moving gradually or otherwise to death. Dharma, artha, and kama all operate within this cycle of birth and death. Only thing that transcends this cycle is moksha. What is moksha? – It means release from the cycle of birth and death. Moksha is the Realisation that I am the Self.