|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - M
Unit - M01
Lesson M0104: Knowledge of ONE and the Universe
By Raja Subramaniyan
Once the knowledge of ONE is gained, knowledge of the universe becomes useless.
Example: A thief breaking into a goldsmith's workplace in the night finds various ornaments, some fully complete, some simple and some exquisite. He is aware of the value of the gold which is the substratum of all the articles. He does not need to know anything else. All other knowledge about the names and forms of the various jewels make no difference to him because whatever be the form and shape he need to melt them all together. Besides he will not pick only the big items and ignore the small items. Every piece of gold is equally important to him.
Similarly, for a wise person who has knowledge of the ONE which is the substratum of everything in the universe, knowledge of the universe is of no use. He does not differentiate one person from the other since the substratum is same. Therefore, he treats everyone equally important. He does not need anything from the name and form therefore his mind does not waver if he looks at a beautiful object or famous person.
Thus, by the knowledge of the real substance, ONE, liberation is achieved. The unreal phenomena, the world become useless. Therefore, the knowledge of the world becomes unnecessary.
The thief at the gold smith shop will not admire an exquisite ear ring and wonder how the goldsmith could carry out such an intricate work. However, a lady customer will be carried away by the name and form of the jewel. Even if the price quoted by the gold smith far exceeds the price of the gold, she might buy the jewel because the unreal name and form has more value than the substratum, in her eyes.
Similarly, the people who are ignorant about the underlying substratum, ONE, will be carried away by the name and forms of the universe and start involving in action leading to suffering.
Thus the nature of ONE is consciousness, eternal and joy. The nature of the universe is mere name and form. Prior to creation, universe was in potent form and after dissolution it goes back to the potent form within ONE. Therefore, during the present it cannot be said that it exists for real. It is only available for perception and it never has the status of reality.
In order to qualify for the attribute, one should be present at all the time. There should never been a time when it was not present and there should never be a time when it will become absent. Only then something can qualify for the status 'reality', else it is an illusion.
This unreality of the world and real nature of ONE is directly experienced by human beings. Mind is active most of the time and it is continuously affected by the changes in the environment. Pleasure and pain are experienced alternatively depending on favorable and unfavorable environment.
However, occasionally when mind is silent and Ego is absent, we forget the whole world. We dwell in our natural bliss. No one suffers during this gap between pleasure and pain.
Whenever, we face the question, 'how are you?' from a stranger, the first answer is 'fine' because the current thought flow is stopped by the question and the new thought flow is yet to begin. During this gap all of us enjoy our natural happiness.
This experience conclusively proves that our real nature is happiness and the pleasure and pain are part of the illusion. Natural bliss of the self is uniform and steady. However, mind due to its fickle nature moves from pleasure to pain in few moments.
Once we learn this knowledge from the Scriptures and validate it through our personal experience, we gain the direct experience of ONE. After that slowly we start disregarding the illusory world of names and forms. In such way the apparent duality is disregarded and one start having the clearer vision of the non-dual ONE. When one is established in such direct knowledge, he becomes liberated even while living. After this stage, the fate of his body/mind complex does not matter to him since he is aware they are part of the illusion.
Such a person deals with the world with the awareness that he is dealing with ONE. To him everyone is ONE and every object is ONE. All the knowledge, desires and actions are the expression of the power of ONE. There is nothing but ONE and therefore life is joyful without any trace of dualities like favorable or unfavorable events.
While dreaming we do not question any events in the dream. Suddenly the car in which we are traveling may become a cycle and we accept it without questioning, 'how can this be?' Similarly, a wise person accepts the power of ONE in sustaining the world through constant changes without questioning the changes. He understands that the only way to perceive ONE is through the universe. We cannot see our face directly and the only way we can see our face is to look at its reflection. Similarly, we cannot perceive ONE and the only way we can experience ONE is through the world. By looking at the reflection of the face we do not think that is the original face. Similarly, looking at the changing world the wise person sees the unchanging ONE.
For such a wise person life is joyful since he participates in the ever changing movement of the world without any hesitation, expectation or attachment, just as a huge stone supports and facilitates the flow of the river without being affected.