Essence of Joyful Living
Meaning of the key statement
Unit 01 ‘If a person knows himself
Unit 02 to be this ONE
Unit 03 desiring what
Unit 04 and for whose benefit
Unit 05 will he struggle’
The perfect satisfaction that one can reach in this very life is described in this module.
The goal of all the human beings is to be happy all the time. Such Joyful Living is possible only when the following key statement is understood fully.
If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?
This module analyzes this key statement in detail, which will lead the reader to Joyful Living. It will also describe the perfect satisfaction of living joyfully.
The summary meaning of the statement is given below:
ONE is the only reality, which is nameless, formless and attributeless. The nature of ONE is Ever Witnessing Joy.
A person should realize that he is not the body/mind complex but in the essence, he is this ONE.
It is a very difficult process to gain this knowledge. One has to put in lots of efforts to learn this. Consequently, it is very rare that one realizes that he is this ONE.
Once this realization comes, there will be no object of desire in this world.
Since EGO is negated, there is no desirer of any object.
The realized person will not struggle to gain any object since he knows that he does not need anything to be happy and the objects in the world do not have the capability to give happiness.
As a result, he will never make his body/mind complex suffer for doing any action.
Since he knows that his body-mind complex is also part of the illusion, he is not affected by any sufferings caused by any disease or old age.
Thus, he will live joyfully for the rest of his life and get liberation from eternal cycle on death.
The detailed meaning of the statement is discussed in the following 50 lessons.
“If a person knows himself”
Number of Sessions: 6
(01 – 06)
Number of Lessons: 3
(01 – 03)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(m) Understand why reaching the Joyful Living destination is difficult.
(n) Distinguish between the apparent man and real man.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 7.001 and 7.018 of the original text)
The student has to be briefed about Original/Reflected Consciousness (OC/ RC). This is not detailed in this module. The objective of this unit is to make the students aware that there are three different meanings of the word I and help them to use it with appropriate meaning. “I go” refers to the combination of OC and RC. “I am ONE” refers to the OC. “I suffer” refers to the unreal RC. It should be ensured that the students realize that there is ONLY OC. The other two (RC and the combination of OC and RC) are illusions. As a result the whole exercise of seeking and gaining knowledge is also illusion. Like a dream tiger helps us to wake up, scriptures (which are part of the illusion) help us to get awakened.
The whole purpose of studying this text ‘Joyful Living’ is to remove the problems of the eternal cycle. The fact is the suffering is illusion. The knowledge that the suffering is an illusion is also an illusion. The water bottle next to our bed cannot remove the thirst in the dream. Similarly only an illusory knowledge alone can remove illusory suffering. The rope-snake cannot be removed in real sense…one cannot show the snake moving away from the rope. If one wrongly assumes that he has swallowed a poisonous pill, the doctor has to show a false pill (taken out of his pocket) to ‘prove’ that he has taken it out of the stomach and cured him.
Just like a traffic police man gets the power to stop vehicles only after wearing the uniform, ONE can claim ‘I am ONE’ only after putting on the illusory RC.
40. Discuss the meaning of the word ‘If’, in the key statement. (Lesson 01)
41. Explain why action cannot solve all the problems in life. (Lesson 02)
42. Describe the three meanings of the word ‘I’ (Lesson 03)
43. Who can say ‘I am ONE’? (Lesson 03)
Lesson 1: Meaning of the word ‘If’
The word ‘If’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ signifies the difficulty in the process. All of us are trained to question everything all the time before accepting them as truth. This very quality will prevent us from understanding this statement and be a barrier to Joyful Living.
The statement that ‘it is possible to live joyfully ONLY if this statement is understood’ will not be acceptable to many of us. Therefore, we may not attempt to understand the statement. We will assume that it is impossible that the key to Joyful Living can lie in understanding one single statement. Even if we are to believe this, it is quite disturbing to note that there is no other way.
We are all given an impression that the progress in the science and technology alone can bring about prosperity to the world resulting in joyful living for all. However, experience shows us that the human race is nowhere near creating a perfect world even after 2000 years of dependency on material prosperity. This fact alone should force us to look for the ONLY alternative path.
Example: Supposing we are trying to solve a 200-piece puzzle. After trying all possible combinations, we seem to be stuck after making considerable progress. At that time, someone suggests that we should start all over because some pieces are in the wrong place. How will we respond?
We may not be willing to do that since it will make all our past effort as waste. Moreover, how are we to trust that the suggestion given will lead to completion of the puzzle? Therefore, most often we do not yield to such suggestion.
Only when we realize, the impossibility of reaching the goal, following our current path, we will be willing to listen to the suggestion. This happens rarely, since we will be distracted by impermanent and partial success.
Suppose it is suggested that certain pieces are to be kept in certain places, if we ask for the proof we cannot progress. The only proof is to follow the suggestion given and see if the goal is reached.
Similarly, if one needs to life joyfully one needs to understand this key statement. Since all other attempts will fail, this is the only option. Material progress has never made anyone reach the goal of Joyful Living. On the other hand, we see visible proof in those who followed the spiritual path and succeeded. However, it is very rare to recognize the presence of such persons.
Statement 1: The word ‘If’ suggests the rarity and near impossibility of understanding the Key Statement.
Lesson 2: Meaning of the words ‘a person’
Session: G02 – 03
The meaning of the words ‘a person’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ can be understood in two different perspectives. In generic terms, it means the ‘Human Being’ and in specific terms it means, YOU the student.
The perceived self (EGO) is different from the real self.
The real self is the ONE, which is the only reality.
Both the perceived self (at the individual level) and God (gross total of all the perceived selves) are illusions created by the power of ONE. This illusion projects the only reality as multiple living beings.
Living Beings and God have created this universe jointly.
God created the universe according to the specification provided by the living beings.
Human beings have created the eternal cycle of life with pairs of opposites like prosperity and poverty, love and hate, fame etc based on the past actions. His role starts by giving name and attribute to the God’s created world and ends in creation of miseries in the world.
Example: God has created a woman
Human being has created mother, sister, wife etc.
Human being also created lovable / wicked woman.
(The detailed explanation on this can be found in Module D)
A person appears to be changing all the time, but in reality, he is changeless.
This changelessness is the result of being non-related. The true person is not related to anything in the universe. He neither depends on the world nor is he attached to anything. In fact the entire universe depends on him for existence.
The true person is the consciousness. However, it appears to be mixed up with the body/mind complex, which is of inert in nature. The mind of a person cannot comprehend nor can have any relationship with the consciousness. However, to most people the word ‘person’ means a mixture of this conscious principle and the body/mind complex.
Our body/ mind complex belongs to a lower order of reality, which is resting on our real nature. We are deluded to ignore the reality and assume that we are the body/mind complex.
Due to Delusion, we have assumed our true self is caught in the misery of the world oscillating between the pairs of opposites. However, in reality our true self is very free. Only our mind is swayed by the events/ persons/ objects of the universe. Without knowing this fact we assume that we are suffering.
Similarly, we assume that our body/mind complex is supporting the life. The truth is our consciousness is the basis on which the universe (including our body/mind complex) is sustained.
The mind can have no relationship with the consciousness. It just reflects the consciousness.
Example: If we look at our face in the mirror, we see the reflection. Although the mirror shows our face, it does not have any relationship with our face.
Similarly, mind appears to be sentient since it reflects consciousness. Nevertheless, it is an inert object just like a mirror.
The sufferings in the world belong to the mind and do not affect the consciousness in anyway. However, due to Delusion we think that we are the mind and try hard to remove the misery. The only solution is to understand that the mind cannot have any relationship with the consciousness since it is an inert object.
Example: If there is dirt on the face, which is revealed by a mirror, we need to take some physical action for removing the dirt. However, if dirt is on the mirror, which appears to be on our face, we do not have to do any action to remove the ‘dirt’ from our face. We just need to understand that there is no dirt on our face.
Similarly, the pairs of opposites of the world do not have any effect on our real self. They affect only our body/mind complex. It is not possible to make our body/mind complex immune from the environment. However, if we do not identify ourselves with the body/mind complex, we can lead a joyful living. When this happens, our mind also will learn not to get afflicted by the environment.
If we are to remove the affliction on the body/mind complex we need to engage in action. However, if we are to remove the imaginary affliction on our true self, no action is required. All we need to do is to understand that the word ‘person’ means ONE and not the body/mind complex.
Statement 2: Thus, ‘a person’ means the real self, which is the basis on which the our body/mind complex rests.
In other words, we should first remove the misconception that we are the body/mind complex. If we do so we will realize that, the observer of the body/mind complex is the real self.
If we assume that the body/mind complex is the true self, joyful living is impossible. This is so because the body will age and die for sure. On the other hand, if we go by the scriptures, we see that the body/mind complex is an illusion supported by the ONE, joyful living is possible.
We know that we exist. Moreover, it is claimed (by the scriptures) that our body/mind complex is an illusion. We cannot tell a lie, without a corresponding truth. If our body/mind complex is not the truth, then what is the truth?
Example: In order to see a snake by mistake there has to be a basis, a rope or crack on the earth or a shadow. It is not possible to see a non-existent snake without something that exists.
Similarly, if our body/mind complex is an illusion, there has to be a reality that supports this illusion.
Although the movie character talks, moves and behaves like a real person, we are aware of the difference. We are more real than a movie character since we have a consciousness. We are more real than the body/mind complex because we are the consciousness and we have a body/mind complex.
In order to understand the true nature of ‘a person’, we need to analyze the person as we perceive him together with the real person. One cannot exist without another.
Example: In order to analyze the snake, we cannot bring the snake alone to the lab. The rope will invariably accompany the snake!
Similarly, when we attempt to analyze the false the truth will accompany it.
Therefore, we start with our perceived notion of self as body/mind complex and see that they are ever changing. The one who could observe such changes has to be changeless. If the observer is also changing then it is not possible to observe that the body/mind complex is changing.
Since we know that the observer has not changed at all, while our body/mind complex is continuously undergoing change, we can conclude that the observer is the true self.
Observer (our real self) is the observed (our body/mind complex) since we have created this illusion from our inherent power called AEM (Refer Module A for more details)
Lesson 3: Meaning of the words ‘knows himself’
Session: G04 – 05
The meaning of the words ‘knows himself’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ can be understood from two different perspectives.
From the perspective of the ignorant person, he knows himself to be caught in the miseries of the world due to his perceived inadequacy.
From the perspective of an enlightened person, he knows himself to be very free since he is not affected by the conditions of the body/mind complex.
The body/mind complex is an inert object without life. Ignorant person assumes that somehow life has evolved into an inert object. However, the enlightened person knows that life is involved into inert object.
Question: How is it possible for the enlightened person to say ‘I am ONE’ since his body/mind complex has no relationship with ONE. In addition, there is no way ONE can say ‘I am ONE’ without using the body/mind. Therefore, the word I can mean neither the consciousness nor it can mean the body/mind complex. Thus, it is not possible for anyone to say ‘I am ONE’.
Answer: There are three meanings to the word ‘I’.
The popular meaning refers to the reflected consciousness bundled with the body/mind complex. This is the literal meaning of the word ‘I’, which is used by the ignorant people. In this context it is not possible to neither say ‘I am ONE’ nor people say that because they are ignorant about the existence of the original consciousness.
The other two meanings of the word ‘I’ are rare which is used by enlightened people.
In the context of worldly transactions like ‘I want to eat’ etc, the word ‘I’ refers only the reflected consciousness and the body/mind complex. Nevertheless, he says this with proper understanding that this meaning of ‘I’ is false and sustained by the original consciousness.
In the context of teaching self-knowledge to others OR for his own Inner Transformation, he says the word ‘I’ to refer the original consciousness.
Therefore, only in the context of teaching the enlightened can say ‘I am ONE’.
Question: It is not possible to say ‘I am ONE’. Since the ONE, the original consciousness is the only one without the second it cannot say ‘I am ONE’. In addition, the original consciousness does not have the support of body/mind complex to say ‘I am ONE’.
The reflected consciousness cannot say ‘I am ONE’ because it is only an illusion and not the reality. There are many body/mind complexes, which are reflecting the image of the only original consciousness. Therefore, how every reflection could say ‘I am ONE’?
Answer: Technically, it is correct that it is not possible to say ‘I am ONE’.
Example: A = B. It means A and B are different but their value is same. Since only the values are same, it is not possible to say ‘A’ and ‘B’ are the same. It is neither possible nor necessary to say A = A.
There is only one situation in which we could say that two objects are one and the same. Only when one of the objects is real and the other one is an illusion we can say that both are the same.
Example: In a room, one person is sitting by the side of a big mirror. Some passerby might mistake that there are two persons sitting next to each other. In this situation, it can be explained that both are the same.
In order to give such an explanation one person should be real and the other person should be false. Only in the mind of the passerby, there are two persons due to ignorance. To remove this ignorance the person in the room may say ‘I am one’.
Similarly, the reflected consciousnesses are many in number. However, when they say ‘I am ONE’ it should be assumed to refer the only original consciousness.
Example: To continue the previous example, what will be the reaction of the passerby, if he hears the reflection say ‘I am one’?
In the case of ONE, it has no necessity to say, “I am ONE”. Besides it cannot say, “I am ONE” since it is not associated with any body/mind complex. The reflected consciousness using the mind/body complex can say, “I am ONE” for explaining the truth.
Example: In the movie ‘Total Recall’, the character on the computer screen will say ‘I am you’ to the hero.
Since in reality there is only one, the reflection can declare, “I am ONE” because the reflections do not exist without the original.
Statement 3: Thus, ‘knows himself’ means to know his real self
“To be this ONE”
Number of Sessions: 26
(07 – 32)
Number of Lessons: 8
(04 – 11)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Define the stages involved in gaining Direct Knowledge
(b) Understand what is meant by ‘You Are That”
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 7.019 and 7.136 of the original text)
The word THIS is the important phrase and the student will move from indirect knowledge to direct knowledge if he understands this aspect.
1. What is the importance of the word ‘this’ in the key statement? (Lesson 4)
2. What are the seven stages in the journey to Joyful Living? (Lesson 5)
3. What is the difference between Direct and Indirect Knowledge (Lesson 7)
4. What is the role of student and teacher while progressing from Direct to Indirect Knowledge?
5. What are the three aspects involved in any communication (Lesson 8)
6. Explain the normal communication gap that occurs in understanding the statement ‘You Are That.
7. How the process of gaining knowledge differs, while understanding the meaning of the statement ‘You Are That’? (Lesson9)
8. What are the three obstacles in making the knowledge steady?(Lesson10)
9. What are the five steps in removing the deficiencies in the mind?
10. Explain PORT (Lesson11)
Lesson 4: Meaning of the words ‘to be this ONE’
The meaning of the words ‘to be this ONE’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ is discussed here.
ONE means the only reality, which is changeless. The entire universe is an illusion that is projected on the ONE.
The word ‘this’ is a pronoun normally refers to someone or something that is close by. When we refer to one of our hands, we say ‘this hand’. The word ‘this’ here signifies the doubtlessness, clarity, familiarity, confidence and the authority with which we talk about our hand. Supposing we are to talk about something that is far away, not fully known, we do not use the word ‘this’. We may use the word ‘that’ instead.
In the above statement the word ‘this’ is pronoun to the noun ‘ONE’. The primary reason for the usage of the word ‘this’ is to emphasize the need of knowing oneself to be this ONE. We need to know ONE as intimately and as closely as we know our hand. The direct, doubtless and strong knowledge that ‘I am this ONE’ will enable us to live joyfully.
We have knowledge of an object. The knowledge could be direct or indirect. Direct Knowledge refers to the knowledge gained through our sense organs directly. If we hear about the object and gain knowledge, it is Indirect Knowledge.
Statement 4: The term ‘this’ refers to Direct Knowledge. If we have indirect knowledge of an object we refer to it as ‘that’.
Similarly the term ‘this’ is associated with those objects that are directly available for perception. We use the word ‘that’ to refer those objects that are not within the reach of our sense perception.
Thus, both our knowledge and the object can determine the usage of the words ‘this’ and ‘that’.
In case of ONE, it is always self-evident. Therefore in general we should be referring to ONE as ‘this’ and never as ‘that’. However, in practice most people refer to ONE as ‘that’ because of ignorance. When a wise man says, “You are that ONE” if they trust him it becomes knowledge and if they do not, it remains just as a thought.
When it becomes knowledge, he assumes that ONE exists somewhere far away. This is indirect knowledge. From this stage he moves on to the direct knowledge of knowing that he is ONE. Then he realizes and says, “I am this ONE”. This can be explained by the story of the tenth man.
Lesson 5: The story of the tenth man – Part I
Session: G08 – G10
This incident happened long, long ago. Man has just evolved from the monkey! Obviously, men in those times were not very intelligent as we are now. Therefore, we can imagine the level of ignorance displayed here without raising our eyebrow!
There were ten men traveling from one village to another passing through a jungle on the way. The village chief had told them to be together all the time and ensure that everyone is safe. They had to cross a turbulent river on the way. After crossing the river with great difficulty, all the ten assembled on the other shore.
One of them remembered the instruction of the village chief, said ‘Let us check if all the ten of us have crossed the river safely’, and started the head count. He counted everyone (except himself) and came to the figure of nine! He then said “Oh my god! We have lost one person”.
Another from the group volunteered to recheck and he arrived at the same figure of nine. Then the gravity of the misfortune stuck all of them and they started searching for the missing person. Couple of them even jumped into the river to look for the missing person. When all their attempts failed to locate the tenth person, they started crying at their misfortune.
A wise man was passing-by and asked one of them the reason for their sadness.
The first man explained him the situation. The wise man (who is more evolved than the rest) could see their problem and said, “I can help you.” However, the first man responded “No thanks sir. You will not be able to help since we know that we lost the tenth man. Life is like that. It is a mixture of pleasure and pain. We should learn to accept the pain if it is so destined”
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The second man got very angry and responded. “We do not want your help. How can you help us? We all tried our level best to locate the tenth person. Are we fools? How can you solve our problem when all our efforts have failed? So please go away”
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The third man was more hopeful. He asked the wise man “Can you really help us?” The wise man replied, “Yes….I can”. “Then please jump into the river and get him. We are sure we lost him there!” The wise man said that there is no need for him to get into the river and he can solve the problem without getting wet! The third man replied, “That is not possible. You cannot help us without getting into the water” and ignored the wise man.
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The fourth man was very desperate and he somehow wanted to solve the problem. Therefore, he asked the wise man to locate the tenth man in whatever way he thinks fit. The wise man said, “I have already located and I can see all the ten of you here. No one is missing anymore”. Hearing this, the fourth man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The fifth man overhearing this conversation was not satisfied with the answer of the wise man. He asked him ‘How do you say that there are ten of us. Prove it to me’. The wise man then counted each one of them by pointing fingers at each one and proved that there were ten. Hearing this, the fifth man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The sixth man was not happy with the solution. He told the wise man ‘You are cheating us. How come you are counting ten, when we count we get only nine?” The wise man then adapted a new method. He said that he will beat each one of them with a stick and when beaten they should shout once. He asked everyone to count the sound. All of them counted ten. Having done this, the sixth man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The seventh man however wanted more explanation and said, “Ok you have proved that there are ten of us here. Please explain to me who was the missing tenth man” The wise man explained, “You did not count yourself”. The seventh man said “Oh! Now I understand! I am the tenth man!” The wise man replied, “I am not sure whether you have understood!” Nevertheless, the seventh man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The Eighth man wanted to verify the whole thing again and when he was counting, he counted 7 pointing the seventh man. Immediately the seventh man protested. “I am the tenth man! Why are you counting me as 7?” The wise man had to interrupt and for resolving the debate.
Seeing this commotion, the Second man got up and said, “I told this (wise) man not to waste our time. What has happened has happened. No one can do anything about this. He did some miracle and made us believe that the tenth man is found. We have in fact lost the tenth man. Let us not waste any more time on this.” The First man agreed and said “Life is like that. Let us get on with our journey.”
The Ninth men who earlier thought he understood after hearing this conversation said, “So the tenth man was never missing. You did not find him for us. Even if we were to get on with our journey all of us, whether nine or ten, would have reached the village safely. I agree with the First and Second men. You did not help us at all.” Do not waste our time anymore.
So all of them (some of them half-heartedly) requested the wise man to leave them alone so that they can continue their journey. Therefore, the wise man bid them farewell.
The Tenth man before walking with his friends went close to the wise man on the pretext of bidding farewell and said, “Thanks teacher. I understand you. You have taught me the truth. I am the tenth man and I did not know this. But for your guidance I would have never learned this. Let us continue our journey. When the misfortune (!) strikes us again I will try and teach our friends what you were trying to teach them”
The wise man walked away without being sad (that he could not teach 9 of them) or happy (that at least one learned the truth) about his performance; for he knows one day or other all the remaining nine will learn the truth. He is also aware that the tenth man alone was matured enough to learn the truth and he would have learnt it anyway from some other wise man if he had not met him.
Analysis of the story:
After crossing the river suddenly, a misfortune struck the travelers. Let us analyze the cause of the misfortune, how it is resolved into perfect satisfaction/ happiness in the mind of the Tenth man.
There are seven stages in the process. It is very rare that a person progress through all the seven stages and reach the ultimate salvation within one lifetime. More often than not there will be a slip and people will continue to be miserable. One who is persistent and consistent with a matured mind alone can cross all the stages to reach the final stage.
Ignorance: Although each one of them is the TENTH MAN, they counted only nine of them. Each one is ignorant since they do not know that they should count themselves. They are wise enough to count correctly although they miss out the self. If they do not even have this wisdom, they will be blissfully ignorant even if they had really lost a person while crossing the river. They are wise enough to comprehend that they are supposed to count ten and one is missing. Hence, this half-baked wisdom is the root cause of the suffering. (Total ignorance is bliss.)
Statement 5: Partial knowledge and partial ignorance is the problem
Specifying the ignorance: The tenth man (each one of them) saying ‘I could count only nine. Therefore, the tenth man is missing. Since I cannot see him, he is not here.’ This is the second stage after ignorance. Animals also may find one missing but they may not express the situation like this. Therefore, with respect to animals this half-baked wisdom will not mature into prolonged suffering. The ability to specify the ignorance results in suffering.
Statement 6: Specifying the ignorance is the next stage.
Suffering: Since the tenth person is missing, each one assumes that he is drowned in the river. Therefore, they are crying at their misfortune. The result of their ignorance has caused them this misfortune.
Statement 7: Suffering results from ignorance
This is the most difficult stage among all the seven stage because people are under the assumption that they are suffering because the tenth man is missing and not because that they are ignorant. Only when they realize that the ignorance is the cause of their suffering they will cross this stage.
Indirect Knowledge: The wise passerby says ‘The tenth man is alive and is here’. The moment the tenth man hears this he realizes that the tenth man exists (somewhere!). This is the indirect knowledge. Indirect knowledge is gained when one gets to know the truth from a wise person. It is essential that the teacher should be wise and the student should have strong desire to learn and absolute trust in the teacher. If any one of these three factors is absent then it is not possible to gain the indirect knowledge.
Statement 8: The first step towards the absolute knowledge is Indirect Knowledge.
Direct Knowledge: When the wise man clarifies “you are the tenth man” and after deep enquiry if one finds out that he is the tenth man, he gains the direct knowledge. Direct knowledge is gained when one enquires and reflects on the indirect knowledge. Gaining indirect knowledge is comparatively easy. One has to work extensively to gain the direct knowledge. Indirect knowledge can be overthrown by another indirect knowledge. However, once the Direct Knowledge is gained it will not leave us.
Statement 9: Conversion of information to knowledge is Direct Knowledge
Removal of suffering: Because of the direct knowledge, he stops suffering. It takes a while for him to remain in this stage without any suffering before he moves on to the next stage of perfect satisfaction. Both the physical and mental sufferings do not cease on the instant of gaining the direct knowledge.
Statement 10: The effect of Direct Knowledge is removal of suffering
Perfect satisfaction: Soon after removal of the suffering, he starts rejoicing. He enjoys the mere presence of himself since he is the ‘missing’ tenth man. Whatever is the situation or the environment he rejoices his own presence.
Example: A father after a long struggle arranges the marriage of his daughter. There is a perfect satisfaction in his mind about his achievement. While conducting the wedding he may come across many situations, some of them pleasant and some of them not so pleasant. Nevertheless, in and through every experience he has perfect satisfaction that he has successfully completed his own long pending duty.
Similarly, the tenth man will remain in perfect satisfaction that he has found the tenth man. He will enjoy his meal more. Supposing as he walks a thorn pokes the leg he will stop and remove it from the foot. Although it is painful, this experience is ignored since he is immersed in the thought that he has found the tenth man.
Thus, the ‘enlightened’ tenth man will live joyfully.
Statement 11: The final stage is perfect satisfaction (Joyful Living)
Lesson 6: The story of the tenth man – Part II
Session: G11 – G13
This is happening here and now in the midst of our modern society. Man is under the impression he is fully evolved and his intelligence is par excellence. Nevertheless, every one of us is behaving like one of the ignorant persons in the group of ten. So the very same story of ten people is now retold and the student can figure out which one of the ten ignorant persons he represents.
All of us are progressing in the journey of life. Our common destination is to reach a stage where one can remain in non-diminishing happiness, undisturbed security and everlasting peace all the time. Unless someone teaches us the correct path to this destination, we will continue to remain ignorant. According to our level of intelligence, we choose our own path (name, fame, wealth, money, power, position, status) and progress towards the destination.
While traveling through our chosen path we come across many positive and negative experiences. We assume that all of them are part of the journey and continue to progress towards our destination.
We do get many opportunities to think and reflect whether the chosen path is the correct one or not. However, we ignore them in our hurry to progress. Nevertheless, when a greater tragedy strikes, we may become more receptive to one such opportunity in which we seriously contemplate on our chosen path and the ultimate destination.
Is it ever possible that a man can remain in non-diminishing happiness, undisturbed security and everlasting peace? In other words, can one ever live joyfully forever?
Normally this question does not make sense and we remain blissfully ignorant. As a result, we become happy when our path is pleasant and nice. However, when it becomes harsh we suffer.
When this question makes sense, after a particularly bad experience, we reflect on it for some time and conclude “A joyful man who is changeless all the time? No. I do not perceive such a man and he does not exists”
Such reflection reminds us the fact about our destination. When we look back at our youth, we realize that happiness was with us when we were young. Somewhere along the journey, we seem to have lost this everlasting happiness.
Therefore, we are sad that the happiness is missing. We struggle to locate the everlasting happiness in all locations, in relationships, in friendships, in the family, in the profession and in the society.
It appears that all our journey is wasted since experience shows us that our path (Name, fame, money, wealth, power, position and status) do not bring us the ever-lasting happiness. We do not find any security in the relationships or in family. So we feel miserable.
A wise man is passing-by and asks one of us the reason for the sadness.
The first man explains him the situation. The wise man (who is more evolved than the rest) could see their problem and said, “I can help you.” However, the first man responds “No thanks sir. You will not be able to help since we have now learnt that the happiness belongs to our yesteryears and since we are now old, we have lost it. Life is like that. It is a mixture of pleasure and pain. We should learn to accept the pain if it is so destined”
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The second man got very angry and responded. “We do not want your help. How can you help us? We all tried our level best in all possible paths to find everlasting happiness. Are we fools? How can you solve our problem when all our efforts have failed? So please go away.”
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The third man was more hopeful. He asked the wise man “Can you really help us?” The wise man replied, “Yes….I can”. “Then please get me more money. Then I will get back the happiness. We are sure we lost the happiness since we do not have enough money!” The wise man replied that he cannot give him any money but he can help him find happiness without bringing in money! The third man replied, “That is not possible. You cannot help us without getting us money” and ignored the wise man.
The wise man then moved on to the next person and offered to help.
The fourth man was very desperate and he somehow wanted to solve the problem. Therefore, he asked the wise man to find the everlasting happiness in whatever way he thinks fit. The wise man replied, “I do see happiness here. Happiness is not missing anymore.” Hearing this, the fourth man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The fifth man overhearing this conversation was not satisfied with the answer of the wise man. He asked him ‘How do you say that there is happiness here. Prove it to me’. The wise man then asked him to stay quiet for some time and look within. Thinking happiness is within us, the fifth man became very happy. He fell on the feet of the wise man and thanked him for his help.
The sixth man was not happy with the solution. He told the wise man ‘You are cheating us. I do agree we can find happiness within ourselves for a brief period. But then it is not everlasting.” The wise man replied that it is not necessary that one should sit quietly in order to enjoy the everlasting happiness. One can be happy even in action. Hearing this, the sixth man got somewhat convinced.
The seventh man said, “How can we be happy in action? In all our actions, we have choices. We are not sure whether we are choosing the right choice. Many times, it appears that the choice that we made does not seem to be the right one. Even when we do the right actions, we are not sure if we have done it perfectly. Perfection seems to elude us. Therefore we feel guilty and not happy”.
The eighth man added, “The action always brings us results. The results do not seem to meet our expectations. Even if it meets our expectation, we are hurt when we see that others have better results than we do. Moreover, the results are not long lasting. We are forced to act continuously in order to improve the results. Therefore we are hurt by the results and do not get everlasting happiness”.
The wise man replied to the seventh and eight men:
It is true that the action will always leave a feeling of guilt. It is never fulfilling. And it is also true that the results will always leave a feeling of hurt. It is ever inadequate.
The reason for this feeling of this guilt and hurt do not lie in the actions or results. It is due to ignorance of the existence of ONE.
We need to understand and appreciate the existence of changeless, ever witnessing joy so that the action could be done without guilt and the results could be enjoyed without the feeling of inadequacy. That change less ever witnessing joy is called ONE.
To this, the ninth man replied, “if you are saying such ONE exists, where is it?” If this question is asked without trusting the wise man, further explanation will not help. If he trusts the wise man, the explanation will lead to direct knowledge.
The wise man says ‘You are that ONE’ and explains the seven stages to reach the perfect satisfaction. (As listed below in the ‘Analysis of the story’)
The tenth man reflected on the teachings of the wise man, replied ‘I am everlasting happiness’, and thanked the wise man for his invaluable teaching.
The wise man walked away without being sad (that he could not teach 9 of them) or happy (that atleast one learned the truth) about his performance; for he knows one day or other all the remaining nine will learn the truth.
Analysis of the story:
Life is a journey. During the initial part, we were quite happy. As a newborn baby, we were happy all the time. As we grow, somewhere down the line, without our knowledge, we seem to have lost our happiness. From being happy all the time, we were happy most of the time. Then happiness has become an occasional experience. By the time, we reach our middle age happiness has become a rarity.
After crossing the halfway through our journey, we realize that life is full of problems and challenges. When we meet the challenges or solve the problems, happiness visits us very briefly. Apart from this flirting experience of happiness, we are immersed in anxiety, worry, hope, frustration and host of such negative emotions.
Example: Being chased by a hungry lion, a man fell in to a dry well. He caught hold of the roots of a tree that is protruding out of the wall of the well and escaped falling on the sharp rocks deep below. The lion was still waiting at the mouth of the well. A rat started to eat the roots from which he is hanging down. When he fell down he had disturbed a beehive and the bees started stinging him. As he turned his face away from the bees, he saw a snake approaching, may be to catch the rat. At that point of time, a drop of honey from the hive fell on his tongue.
The happiness in our life corresponds to the sweetness ‘enjoyed’ by the man who is being stung by the bees, hung by the roots that are being cut by a rat and oscillating between the hungry lion and sharp rocks down below, avoiding the snake that is approaching from the side.
Let us analyze the cause of this misfortune, how it is resolved into perfect satisfaction/ happiness in the mind of the tenth man.
There are seven stages in the process. It is very rare that a person progress through all the seven stages and reach the ultimate salvation in one lifetime. More often than not, there will be a slip and people will continue to oscillate between pleasure and pain like the man hanging inside the well. One who is persistent and consistent with a matured mind alone can cross all the stages to reach the final stage of Joyful Living.
The first three stages are grouped under the heading ‘suffering’ and the later four stages are grouped under the heading ‘liberation from suffering’.
Group A: Suffering
(1) Ignorance, (2) Specifying the Ignorance and (3) Knowing the cause of the suffering are the first three stages in the process of moving from suffering to Joyful Living.
Most people in the world are in the process of making their mind matured enough to commence the journey towards the destination of Joyful Living. When they do commence, they will progress through these stages.
Stage 1: Ignorance refers to the understanding that they want eternal happiness. It is titled ‘ignorance’ because when they commence the journey people do not yet clearly know that they want eternal happiness.
Stage 2: Specifying Ignorance is the next stage wherein people are able to specify that they want eternal happiness.
Stage 3: Knowing the cause of the suffering is the final stage in this group named ‘suffering’. People realize that their ignorance is the cause of suffering and start seeking knowledge, which will give them liberation.
Group B: Liberation from suffering
(4) Indirect Knowledge, (5) Direct Knowledge, (6) Removal of suffering and (7) Joyful Living are the next four stages in the process of moving from suffering to Joyful Living.
Only those people who understand that the only cause for suffering is ignorance and the only solution to the problem is to gain knowledge move on to the fourth stage.
Stage 4: Gaining indirect knowledge removes the ignorance with respect to existence of everlasting happiness.
Stage 5: Gaining Direct Knowledge removes the ignorance on the experience of everlasting happiness.
Stage 6: Removal of the ignorance will lead to removal of suffering.
Stage 7: Attainment of Joyful Living is the final stage of the journey.
After reaching this stage people live happily ever after.
All the seven stages are now explained in detail in continuation of our story of the tenth man.
Ignorance: Each one of them is ignorant since none of them knows that they are happiness themselves. They are wise enough to know correctly that they want to be happy all the time. If they do not even have this wisdom, they will be blissfully ignorant even if they had really lost the ever-lasting happiness while crossing the journey of life. They are wise enough to comprehend that they are supposed to be happy all the time. Hence, this half-baked wisdom is the root cause of the suffering.
Total ignorance is bliss. That is the reason animals do not have stress or tension. If they get food, they are happy. If they do not get food, they may die. They do not worry what will happen if they are not able to hunt their food on the next day.
Partial knowledge and partial ignorance is the first stage
Example: Two people do not know Mandarin language. One of them does not even know that there is a language called Mandarin exists.
While both of them do not know Mandarin Language, one is ignorant of his ignorance and the other is aware of his ignorance.
Every living being wants to be happy all the time. However, many do not think that it is ever possible to live happily all the time. Such people have not yet commenced their journey towards Perfect Satisfaction.
Only those who are aware of the absence of everlasting happiness declare ‘I want eternal happiness’ enter the first of the seven stages in their journey towards Perfect Satisfaction
Specifying the ignorance/ inability: The tenth man (each one of them) saying ‘I could see changing, limited and mortal being (in us). There is no changeless, infinite, immortal being. Everlasting happiness (tenth man) is missing. Since I cannot see such a person, he is not here.’ This is the second stage. Animals also may find one missing but they may not express the situation like this. Therefore, with respect to animals this half-baked wisdom will not mature into prolonged suffering. The ability to specify the ignorance results in suffering.
In the first stage, people want to be happy all the time and they are aware that they do not have eternal happiness. Those who put in efforts to reach eternal happiness enter the second stage.
Example: Two people do not know Mandarin Language. One of them does not know anything but the other has started to learn the language.
While both of them may not be able to converse in Mandarin, one who has learnt the language partially will be able to specify his ignorance. He may say, I know how to speak in broken language. I do not know how to speak fluently without grammatical mistakes.
Similarly, those who have progressed in life by putting efforts on earning money, wealth, name, fame, power, position and people, have learnt the basics of being happy all the time. However, in this second stage they are able to specify their ignorance more clearly.
Most people are hopeful of finding everlasting happiness through hard work. They assume by correcting the external environment it is possible to attain Joyful Living.
Example: People go abroad to earn more money with a hope that they will come back and settle down to live happily ever after. This target date is never reached. They keep chasing the horizon hoping that one day they will reach it.
Only when they realize that it is not possible for them to reach Joyful Living, they declare their inability and express their ignorance.
Specifying the ignorance of the everlasting happiness and the inability to find the same is the next stage.
People stay in this stage for a long time (atleast until they are around 35 – 40 years) since they are under the assumption that since they have commenced their journey towards Joyful Living only now, in due course of time they will reach it.
Example: A person who has spent around six months studying Mandarin Language will not give up his effort thinking that he has not yet mastered the language. He knows that he has to spend more time and effort he will master the language.
Similarly, people will continue to be in this second stage, working harder towards finding the everlasting happiness. However, unlike learning a language, everlasting happiness cannot be found through hard work in the external world. Only when they realize that they will not able find everlasting happiness, they will accept their inability. So long, they do not specify their ignorance and accept their inability, they will not progress to the next stage.
Suffering: Since the ever-lasting happiness (tenth person) is missing, each one assumes that it is lost during the journey of life. Therefore, they are crying at their misfortune. The result of their ignorance has caused them this misfortune. Suffering actually starts in the very first stage of partial ignorance. While the search is on suffering continues. Finally, when they realize the futility of their search and conclude that it is not possible to find everlasting happiness, the suffering reaches the peak. Atleast during the first two stages they were hopeful of finding everlasting happiness but in this stage, they have lost their hopes too.
People cross this third stage only when they realize that the suffering is the result of ignorance.
This is the most difficult stage among all the seven stages because people are under the assumption that they are suffering because the ever-lasting happiness (tenth man) is missing and not because that they are ignorant. Only when they realize that the ignorance is the cause of their suffering they will cross this stage.
Normally people are happy when they gain name, fame, money, wealth, property and prosperity. Therefore, they wrongly assume that the source of happiness is external. The truth is just the opposite. There is no happiness in the external objects, events and persons. Nothing in the world can ever give any happiness and surely, they cannot give everlasting happiness.
Without knowing this truth, everyone assumes that more name, fame, money, wealth, property, prosperity and people will bring eternal happiness. People keep working in the external world trying to gain more of all these so that eternal happiness could be found. In spite of our best efforts, eternal happiness could not be found. As a result, suffering continues. People assume that they suffer because the fruits of their work is insufficient and not because of the ignorance of the source of happiness.
Thus, most of them do not know that all the sufferings are the result of the ignorance. It is generally thought that the suffering is due to poor environment. People assume that they are inadequate and keep searching for fulfillment.
As a result, all of them continue to work harder towards finding everlasting happiness without knowing that all they have to do is to remove their ignorance by gaining knowledge.
Only when a big tragedy strikes, people realize their helplessness in finding everlasting happiness. Normally people assume that the result of any action corresponds to the effort spent in the action. This is not true.
People are under the wrong assumption that the cause and effort have linear relationship. They will always work harder and better so that the result of their action brings them everlasting happiness. This never happens.
When people cross the first three stages (which are grouped under the head ‘suffering’) they enter a new group (of four more stages) called ‘liberation from suffering’. Although people continue to suffer during the next two stages, they are progressing towards removal of suffering (the sixth stage).
They can cross the third stage only with external help. It is not possible to enter the fourth stage with one’s own effort.
Indirect Knowledge: The wise passerby says ‘The ever-lasting happiness is available here’. This statement gives the knowledge that the ever-lasting happiness is not lost and it exists (somewhere!). This is the indirect knowledge.
Indirect knowledge is gained when one gets to know the truth from a wise person. It is essential that the teacher should be wise and the student should have strong desire to learn and absolute trust in the teacher. If any one of these three factors is absent then it is not possible to gain the indirect knowledge.
The first step towards the Joyful Living is to gain Indirect Knowledge that the everlasting happiness exists.
This is the first sign of hope. In the third stage, people were suffering without seeing any possibility of Joyful Living. Then due to the past good deeds, they get an opportunity to meet a wise man who is willing to teach them the truth. And now, it appears that it is possible to gain the knowledge that will remove the ignorance resulting in removal of suffering. In fact this indirect knowledge removes part of the ignorance. From the stage of saying ‘it is impossible to live happily all the time’, people are now convinced that it is certainly possible in the near future.
Once the light at the end of the tunnel is seen, the progress will be faster. People will start working seriously and absorb the indirect knowledge. They will be eager to progress and gain the ever-lasting happiness. This eagerness will take them forward.
This stage is distinguished from the previous group of three stages from the point of view of suffering. For the first time the suffering starts reducing and happiness start increasing. There is consolation that the everlasting happiness is not lost forever! This ray of hope, start growing into happiness and as he passes through the remaining three stages, it will culminate in to everlasting happiness.
Like the previous stage, even this stage might take a long time to cross for most people although unlike the previous stage the progress does not depend on the availability of external help. One has to spend time and effort to do deep enquiry and reflect on the knowledge obtained from the wise man.
Direct Knowledge: When the wise man clarifies “you are happiness”, the tenth man has to conduct a deep enquiry on these words and reflect on the meaning. When he understands the meaning, it becomes direct knowledge.
Direct knowledge is gained when one enquires and reflects on the indirect knowledge.
Gaining indirect knowledge is comparatively easy. One has to work extensively to gain the direct knowledge. Indirect knowledge can be overthrown by another indirect knowledge. However, once the Direct Knowledge is gained it will not leave us.
Both indirect knowledge and the direct knowledge have to come from the teaching of the wise man. It is impossible to gain this knowledge through one’s own effort without the guidance of the wise man.
After gaining the indirect knowledge, people will assume that they have to work harder, search and locate for experiencing the ever-lasting happiness. This misconception is removed through deep enquiry into the teachings of the wise man. That is the only way to gain the direct knowledge that I am happiness.
Thus, direct knowledge removes the final covering of the ignorance, namely the absence of experience. While existence is cleared by the indirect knowledge, the quest for experience is cleared by direct knowledge.
Removal of suffering: Because of the direct knowledge, he stops suffering. It takes a while for him to remain in this stage without any suffering before he could move on to the next stage of perfect satisfaction. Both the physical and mental sufferings do not cease on the instant of gaining the direct knowledge.
The first effect of Direct Knowledge is removal of suffering.
Perfect satisfaction: Soon after removal of the suffering, he starts rejoicing. He enjoys the mere presence of himself since the very thought that he is the happiness which he was searching so long. Whatever is the situation or the environment he rejoices his own presence.
Example: A father after a long struggle arranges the marriage of his daughter. There is a perfect satisfaction in his mind about his achievement. While conducting the wedding he may come across many situations, some of them pleasant and some of them not so pleasant. Nevertheless, in and through every experience he has perfect satisfaction that he has successfully completed his long pending duty.
Similarly, the tenth man will remain in perfect satisfaction that he has found the everlasting happiness. He will enjoy his meal more. Supposing as he walks a thorn pokes the leg he will stop and remove it from the foot. Although it is painful, this experience is ignored since he is immersed in the thought that he has found the everlasting happiness.
Thus, the ‘enlightened’ tenth man will live joyfully.
Lesson 7: Source of gaining indirect/ direct knowledge
The knowledge “I am this ONE” can come from the scriptures alone. There is no other source. It is not possible for anyone to read the scriptures and gain this knowledge directly without the help and guidance of a qualified and competent teacher.
In order to gain this knowledge one should be sufficiently intelligent and have a matured mind. Following the instructions in the scriptures is a sure way to prepare the mind for receiving the ultimate knowledge. However, it is quite possible that one can attain the mental maturity without actually reading/ understanding the scriptures. The normal life consisting of work and prayer will automatically make the mind matured.
As the result of the past good actions, one will get a compassionate teacher at the appropriate time and can learn “I am this ONE”
The knowledge that the tenth man exists is indirect knowledge. When this knowledge becomes ‘I am the tenth man’, it is direct knowledge.
Similarly, the knowledge ONE exists is indirect knowledge. This knowledge should become “I am this ONE” and then it is direct knowledge.
The only way to progress from indirect knowledge to direct knowledge is to enquire on the teaching of the scriptures.
To gain indirect knowledge one has to listen to the essence of the scriptures from a competent teacher. At this stage, his role is to trust the teacher entirely and listen/ learn.
To convert this indirect knowledge to direct knowledge he has to enquire on the teaching. At this stage, his role is to participate actively in the learning and not mere listening. He should validate the teachings with logic and his personal experience so that he gets convinced about the validity of the teachings.
While gaining indirect knowledge one is still dependent on the teacher completely and while converting it as direct knowledge the responsibility is divided equally between the student and the teacher. During the first stage of learning the scriptures, he must trust the teacher 100%. During the second stage of enquiring, he should depend on the teacher only for 50%. He must depend on his own reasoning and logic for the remaining 50%.
Statement 12: The only source of gaining the direct knowledge of self is the scriptures.
Lesson 8: The method of enquiry
Session: G15 – G17
In any communication, there are three aspects: sound, thought and the content. In a communication between the speaker and the listener, if all these three are identical then the communication is successful. Else, there will be a communication gap.
Example: The speaker says ‘Ram’. The sound originated from him should reach the listener in the same way. Suppose there is a distortion due to external disturbance, then the listener may hear the word ‘Sam’. To avoid communication gap it should be ensured that the sound should reach the listener without distortion.
Secondly, the word ‘Ram’ has content. It refers to a person. The speaker has a picture of that person in his mind and wants to communicate the same. The second requirement is the listener should also understand the content (thought about the same person) as per the intention of the speaker.
Thus if the sound, thought and content are same with respect to both the speaker and the listener we establish a successful communication.
However when the speaker is thinking of Ram as the hero of the Ramayana and the listener is thinking of Ram as the neighbor, then there is a communication gap due to variation in content.
Even if listener gets the correct meaning of Ram, he may not have as much regard for Ramayana as the speaker. This is a case of communication gap due to variation in thought.
Similarly, the scripture declares “YOU ARE THAT (ONE)”. The sound reaches the listener without any distortion.
Nevertheless, both the words YOU and THAT create thoughts that are different from the intended content. As a result, the listener gains indirect knowledge thinking that ONE is somewhere far away. In order to gain the direct knowledge it is necessary to analyze the process of communication.
For the word YOU, the listener replaces the word ‘I’ appropriately. However, there is a difference in the content between what is meant by the scripture and what is understood by the listener.
The listener knows that ‘I’ definitely means a live entity and not an inert object. However due to the strong wrong knowledge, the listener understands the content of the word ‘I’ as inclusive of certain inert objects like his body or mind, in addition to the conscious principle.
Sometime he assumes it to include his physical body but mostly he assumes it as his mind. Both are wrong. Both his mind and body are inert objects and they should not be mixed up with the conscious principle.
Example: We say to the doctor “I was walking for the past 15 minutes”. In this statement the literal meaning of the word, “I” includes the physical body along with the conscious principle. However, the meaning is changed in the next sentence. “My whole body aches now”. We do not say, “I am aching” because we are aware that the word “I” does not include our body.
We also know that the word “I” does not include our mind. Hence, we talk about ‘My mind…”. We have a mind and body and we are not the mind and the body.
Even though we are aware that the word “I” does not include our body/ mind complex we often include them when we convert the sound into thoughts.
Thus in the sentence “You are that”, normally we take the wrong literal meaning of the word “YOU” and create a thought about our body/mind complex.
This is the communication gap with respect to the word “YOU”
Similarly, there is a communication gap with respect to the word “THAT” too. The scripture refers to ONE as “THAT”. Nevertheless, we understand it to be God. In addition, we think God is someone who is sitting far above in the heaven and controlling us. Nevertheless, all along we all know that the God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. How could a God, who is omnipresent, be far away from us?
There is a communication gap with respect to the word “THAT”
As a result, when we listen to the sentence “You are that” we compare our insignificant body/mind complex with the all-powerful god who is sitting in the heaven and say ‘How can this statement be true?’
In order to understand the true meaning of the sentence it is essential that one should first get the correct literal meaning of the words “YOU” and “THAT”.
Example: We look at the old photograph ourselves and claim “I AM THIS”. How can a lean young figure could be the fat old me? However, we do understand this statement by disregarding the features of the body.
Similarly, we need to disregard the features of the body/mind and understand the statement ‘YOU ARE THAT’ to mean ‘I AM THIS ONE’
Thus when both the words ‘YOU’ and ‘THAT’ create identical content in the minds of the listener then the communication will be successful.
The word “I” should refer to the changeless ever-existing joyful conscious principle, which is not a part, product and property of our body/mind complex.
The word “That” should also refer to the changeless ever-existing joyful conscious principle of which God is just a reflection.
ONE is the only reality.
ONE reflects on the individual mind creating a micro reflection, which borrows the sentiency of the ONE and illumines the inert body/mind complex. This is referred as YOU the individual.
The macro reflection of ONE seen on all the minds taken together constitutes God.
The YOU in the statement YOU ARE THAT refers to the original ONE disregarding the micro reflection and the body/mind complex.
The THAT in the statement YOU ARE THAT refers to the same original ONE disregarding the macro reflection and the universe.
Thus, the statement YOU ARE THAT should be understood, as “I am this ONE”.
Statement 13: ‘I am this ONE’ means the saying from scripture ‘You Are That’
It is essential that one has trust in the scripture and the statements revealed in them cannot be meaningless or false. Only then we will disregard the primary meaning (that I am God) as meaningless statement and look for secondary meaning (that both God and I are reflections of the changeless ONE).
Lesson 9: Process of gaining the knowledge
Session: G18 – G21
Our sense organs are our primary source of knowledge. Data from the external world is collected and fed into the mind at the request of the mind. This data is then converted as knowledge by the mind as described below:
The mind travels through our sense organs to the external world and brings back the information. Then it is converted as knowledge.
Example: When someone says, “Look at this”, we send our thoughts through our eyes. The thoughts then pervade the object and take the form of the object. Now there are two objects. One is the physical object that lies in the external world. The second is the thought object in our mind.
The mind is also an inert object just like the external object except for one difference. It appears live because it has the capacity to reflect ONE. This reflection called EGO illumines the thought object. Because of this, we become aware of the object or in other words, we gain the knowledge of the object.
Thus, the process of gaining knowledge consists of two steps. The mind forms the thought (of an object) and then the EGO illumines the thought.
However, with respect to the knowledge of ‘I am this ONE’, it is a single step process. The first step alone is enough to gain this knowledge. When we enquire on the meaning of the sentence “YOU ARE THAT” we ultimately understand that our true self is changeless ever-witnessing joy. The object of this knowledge is the self. Unlike as in the case of the external object, self does not require further illumination to be converted as knowledge.
Example: In a dark room, we use torch light. All the objects in the room could be seen only when they are illumined by the light coming from the torch. However if we are to see the torch light in a mirror, we recognize it instantly. The reflection of the light does not require any further illumination. It is self-revealing.
Similarly, the knowledge about the self is self-revealing and it does not require the EGO to reveal it. Not only it is not required, but also it is not possible for the EGO to reveal the self. EGO is the reflection of self. Therefore, it cannot reveal self.
Example: To continue the same example the light coming out of torch light cannot illumine the light in the reflection. Not that there is no reflection but the reflected light is not required to be illumined by the torch light
ONE is reflected in the mind. The reflection is called EGO. The EGO is required to gain the objective knowledge. Whatever knowledge we gain is with the help of this EGO. We receive inputs through our sense organs and corresponding thoughts are formed in the mind. Such thoughts are to be illumined by the EGO (reflected consciousness) in order to convert them as knowledge. Therefore, the EGO is an essential component in gaining the objective knowledge.
With respect to the knowledge of the subject (self-knowledge), gaining knowledge is a single step process. We use the scripture in place of the sense organs to get data about our real self (ONE). Once we understand the meaning of the sentence, “I am this ONE” corresponding thought about the subject is formed in our mind. However, such thoughts need not be illumined by the EGO since the subject is our real self, and the EGO is a mere reflection.
Example: Moon reflects the light from the sun. We need the moonlight to see the world in the night. Nevertheless, to see the sun in the morning we do not need the moon. The moon may be still there in the morning sky. It may even continue to reflect the light from the sun. However, such reflected light is of no consequence for perceiving the sun.
Similarly, ONE is the original source. The knowledge “I am this ONE’ is gained through enquiry and corresponding thoughts are formed in the mind. The EGO need not and cannot illumine such thoughts to convert them as knowledge.
However, during the night the reflected light is essential. Similarly, while we are ignorant we need the EGO to perceive the world. Even after gaining the wisdom in order to perceive the illusory world we need the EGO, which is a part of the illusion.
Example: To play a game of monopoly or trade, one requires artificial money. A rich man still needs the fake money to be in the game.
Similarly, the world is an illusion. Our body/ mind complex is also part of the illusion. We need this illusory body/mind complex to transact in this illusory world. However, we need to be aware of the reality all the time. In reality, we know that the very same ONE, which is me, pervades into everything in the universe.
Once this knowledge is gained, it is permanent. Nevertheless, it may not be steady at all times. In order to be of use any knowledge it should be steady.
Example: Suppose the rich man playing the game of monopoly forgets that he is rich, he will feel miserable if he does not have enough fake money.
Such is the case with the knowledge “I am this ONE”, if it is not steady. We may not remember this in our day-to-day life, which will result in continued suffering as if we do not have the knowledge. Those without this knowledge are ignorant thinking “I am this body/mind complex” and are caught in the miseries of life. Nevertheless, those who gained the true knowledge may also suffer until the true knowledge becomes steady.
Lesson 10: Obstacles to Steady Knowledge
Session: G22 – G25
After gaining the knowledge, we should make it steady. The knowledge that “I am this ONE” does not become steady due to three different obstacles or hurdles in the path. They are:
Confusion in the Instrument of knowledge (Scripture)
Believability of the Object of knowledge (ONE / SELF)
Deficiencies in our mind
It is quite common that the seekers of joyful living do not reach their goal soon after gaining the true knowledge. These three obstacles are to be overcome before one could reach the goal. Each of them along with the solutions is detailed below.
Statement 14: The first obstacle is confusion on the central message of the scriptures.
Obstacle 1: Confusion in the Instrument of knowledge:
The only source, which can tell us about God and ONE, are the scriptures. Since there are multi various religions, each having its own version of the scriptures, even after gaining the ultimate knowledge one tends to get confused.
There are various religions advocating seemingly different messages. The reason for such diversity is the diversity among the followers. Each one of us is at different intelligence level comprehending the meaning of the statement, “YOU ARE THAT” according to the limitations of our intelligence.
The only solution to come out of this confusion is to relearn until one is sure of the central message of all the religions. If one arrives at a different message nothing else could be done except to relearn the scriptures until one understands “I AM THIS ONE”.
Since it is not possible for everyone to decode the original teachings of the various religions, it is necessary to depend on a teacher. One should choose a teacher according to the tradition in which one is brought up and to whom one is naturally inclined. Having chosen the teacher one should go through the learning sincerely.
In this stage, the capabilities of the teacher should not be questioned. One should depend on the teacher 100% and hope to reach the goal of Joyful Living.
Supposing there is a limitation on the part of the teacher, it will become obvious in the next stage. In the next stage, the student is supposed to inquire and validate the teaching. At this stage, the responsibility is 50% each. During inquiry, the student may find out that the teacher has taught him to the maximum level of his capability and move on to a higher teacher.
If one has to choose the highest teacher, one should check if the ultimate teaching is “YOU ARE THAT”.
This is the ultimate teaching because logically it can be shown any other teaching is inferior to this.
Our goal is to reach a stage wherein there is perfect satisfaction resulting out of non-diminishing happiness, everlasting peace and undisturbed security. Such a joyful living is possible ONLY when there is only ONE and that ONE is I. Else I cannot be secured.
Nevertheless, the teacher who is teaching, “YOU ARE THAT” may not be appealing or effective. This only means that we are not yet ready for this knowledge. One should stick to the chosen teacher (who may be teaching a lower version of truth) until one gain enough wisdom to move on to the next teacher.
Finally, one can reach the ultimate teacher who can teach, “YOU ARE THAT”
Thus, the first obstacle is the non-availability of the single source from where we can get the knowledge from the scriptures and the solution is to keep learning until this obstacle is removed.
Statement 15: The second obstacle is the doubt on the practicability of the knowledge gained.
Obstacle 2: Believability of the object of knowledge:
Once it is understood that “I am this ONE” is the central message of all the scriptures, the next stage is to realize the impact of this truth. It is difficult to grasp this ultimate knowledge since it is contradictory to our experience.
We need to believe that we are the real source on which the entire universe rests AND that the universe, which is perceived by our senses, so clearly, does not exist!
It is not easy to believe these two factors.
The first obstacle is not getting the right message and the second one is having received the right message, inability to believe in it.
Example: “He eats 30 loafs of bread in 15 minutes”. When one hears this, the first obstacle is to wonder whether the message is correct. Then one will wonder about the possibility of such a feat. It sounds impossible. The only way to believe the statement is to see him eating!
In the case of the knowledge “I AM THIS ONE”, since it is against our normal belief, we need to reflect on it until one is sure of the meaning. Logic should be applied to show it is quite possible that this message could be true.
One should collect all relevant data about the universe and conduct a cause and effect analysis. The logical conclusion of this will convince our intelligence that it is quite possible for us to be the ONE. Reflecting on the central message until it is no longer unbelievable is the solution for the second obstacle.
Statement 16: There are two deficiencies in our mind, which pose the third and final obstacle.
Obstacle 3: Deficiencies in our mind
There are two major deficiencies.
Deficiency 1: From the time one is born one is under the impression that he is the body/mind complex. When the true knowledge from the scripture is gained, he realizes that he is ONE and not the body/mind complex. This new knowledge is just the opposite of the conventional knowledge. Therefore, the mind is not steady on the new knowledge.
Statement 17: The deep Imprints formed in the countless previous births prevent the mind from being steady on the new knowledge.
Deficiency 2: All the sense organs continuously report the presence of the world around. All along, the mind was thinking that the world exists for real. Only after gaining the true knowledge, it has realized that the world is an illusion. Even after this realization, the mind is overwhelmed by the inputs received by the sense organs and habituated to believe them. Therefore, the mind does not get steady on the new knowledge soon.
Statement 18: The sense organs keep reporting the existence of the universe and the mind cannot be steady on the new knowledge.
This deficiency is due to the fact the information reported by the sense organs (on the reality of the world) appears to be much stronger than the knowledge gained from the scriptures that the world is unreal.
Thus, these two deficiencies have made the mind strong in the wrong knowledge. It will be difficult for one to move away from this steady wrong knowledge and be firm on the true right knowledge. Even if we gain the true knowledge after learning the scriptures thoroughly and reflecting on the truth in it, we slip from this knowledge.
Example: A person known to us from the time we are born changes his name officially and he wants to be known by the new name by everyone. In spite of being told many times about the change, it takes lots of time and effort NOT to use the old name.
We do know the new name but still due to the years of practice, we refer that person by the old name.
Similarly, we are aware that we should move away from the notion I am the body/ mind and start saying that I have a body/ mind. Nevertheless, we are not steady on this new knowledge. Very often and at a very fast pace the notion that I am the body returns.
Similarly, when we deal with the people/ object/ situations in the life we give the undeserved reality to them. Although we know for sure that the world is an illusion, we continue to get affected by the object/ events/ people of the world. For brief period, we think the world is real but it happens very frequently and the brief period is long enough to make us suffer.
These two deficiencies are to be removed in order to resolve this obstacle. Only after overcoming these two deficiencies, we can hope to reach our destination of Joyful Living.
Lesson 11: Resolving the deficiencies of the mind
Session: G26 – G31
Steps to resolve these two deficiencies in the mind
There are four steps to be completed before the mind is relived of these deficiencies. These steps are to be performed in the order given. This effort is called ‘Inner Transformation’.
Inner Transformation means internalizing the knowledge (“I am this ONE”) gained through learning and enquiry.
Step 1: World is false.
The second deficiency namely thinking that the world is real is more dangerous than the first one. Therefore, one should check whether the statement that the world is an illusion is fully understood or not. One should not say, “Yes I know the world is an illusion but I need to buy a new car in order to be happy”. It should be understood that there is no happiness in the objects/ persons/ events of the world.
This is difficult to understand due to the following fact.
Fact: ONE cannot experience the world. ONE is totally connectionless.
In order to experience, the world one needs body/ mind complex. The happiness, which we seem to get from the name/ fame/ money/ wealth/ power/ position/ status/ relationships/ friendships etc are reflected happiness. The original happiness is the nature of ONE. The sadness or miseries of the world do not belong to the world. When one undergoes a sorrowful event, the mind is clouded with worries/ anxieties/ fear and such negative thoughts that it does not reflect the natural happiness of the ONE.
Thus, it should be clearly understood that the world is not the source of happiness or sorrow. It is not enough just to keep claiming that the world is an illusion.
Step 2: Reduction of PORT
Once the above step is completed, one should reduce PORT, which is an acronym for the following four:
Obligations and duties
It is not that one should renounce everything that one possess and become a forest dweller. Too much of PORT will force one to give reality to the world. If one spends all his time on doing business or working in an office it is impossible to retain the knowledge that the world is an illusion.
Therefore, one should reduce the PORT to the extent that one can handle without compromising on the practice of Inner Transformation. It is advisable to retain only as much as required to meet the food/ clothing/ shelter requirements of the family and nothing more.
In addition to reduction of PORT, one should also reduce the interest in worldly affairs. One should stop reading the newspaper and stop watching the television. Names, places and date keep changing in any news item but the news content never changes. It is the same news keep repeating repeatedly. The ill effect of following the news is it gives reality to the world around.
During the period of Inner Transformation, it is essential that one should contemplate on the fact that the world is an illusion. If there is a break during this contemplation, one should return to the practice as soon as possible. If the break is too long, it may not be possible to continue. One may have to start all over. For this reason, PORT and news input should be minimized.
Reduction of PORT is applicable only during the stage of Inner Transformation. Once the knowledge becomes steady, there is no restriction at all. One can possess the whole world and can retain the knowledge that the world is an illusion.
Example: King Janaka is an enlightened one. He was a successful ruler with perfect awareness that the world is an illusion. Once when Mithila, his capital was on fire he remained perfectly cool and calm while giving instructions to his subordinates. After the event when someone asked him how come he is not affected by the event, he replied “Either the whole world belongs to me (Mithila is one small part) OR nothing belongs to me.”
Thus once the knowledge becomes steady life will be joyful. No event/ person/ object in the world will have any effect on our life. In addition, reading the news and even creating news could be done without any attachment.
Step 3: Meditation
It is necessary that one should do meditation for making the mind steady. This can be attempted only after completing Steps 1 and 2.
The nature of mind is to oscillate. It is necessary to train the mind in one pointed concentration in order to overcome both these deficiencies. If the mind is steady and peaceful without being pulled by the worldly objects/ events/ persons then it will have the capacity to stay in the true knowledge. Such a mind could be easily controlled by the intelligence. The moment the intelligence gains the true knowledge the mind will get steady on it.
Since most of us do not have such a trained mind, it is necessary for us to practice meditation for making it peaceful and steady. One can follow whatever meditation technique one is comfortable. There are no specific set of rules for the purpose of inner transformation. Any meditation will do. However, it is preferable that it is done under an expert guidance.
One such technique is mentioned below:
Vipasana Meditation: One can do this meditation any time / anywhere in any posture. One should observe the breathing in and breathing out. The goal is to stay in the present. Normally people think about either the past or future. They never stay in the present. Vipasana meditation trains one to be in the present. If the mind starts thinking about the past or future one should just label it as thoughts and come back to observing the breath.
Thus, any meditation, which disregards the apparent reality of the world and turns our attention inward, is good enough.
Normally our mind tends to think about the past or future. Both are irrelevant. Since the world itself is an ever-changing illusory phenomenon, there is no point in keeping track of the past or future. However, our mind tends to give reality to them and in addition; it adds its own frills/ imaginations.
If the mind is trained to be still on a particular thought, then it will gain the capability of retaining the knowledge that the world is illusion even while doing the day-to-day transactions.
Example: When a new student starts singing, it is very difficult to keep track of the sruti. However, with practice an expert singer can always keep track of the sruti irrespective of the complicated song that he is singing. As and when he lose track of it, he leans back to the sruti box and picks it up.
Similarly, when the mind is not trained we lose track of the fact that the world is an illusion. However, after sufficient training even while dealing with the worldly affairs one can remember that the world is not real. In case we are about to lose we can lean back to the scripture and become steady on our knowledge.
Step 4: Living in meditation.
This is the final step in the Inner Transformation stage.
Once the knowledge “I am this ONE” is gained one might find it difficult to do conventional meditation. One should concentrate on the fact “I am this ONE” or “World is an illusion” during the day-to-day living. One is encouraged to talk, hear, read and write on this new knowledge. It is fine to give reality to the world to the extent it helps us to progress in the Inner Transformation.
Example: If the son looks at the father as a friend, it is fine. However, if he sees him as an enemy then it is wrong.
Similarly, if one thinks that his body/mind complex is helping him to find the ultimate knowledge it is fine. However, if he thinks he is the body/mind complex then it is wrong.
This final step is a very interesting process since the mere practice towards perfection is enjoyable.
Example: Eating the food will resolve the problem of hunger. Moreover, the process of eating is enjoyable.
Similarly, our goal is to become steady on our knowledge that the world is an illusion. This final step is to keep reminding the mind everything that goes around is part of that illusion. Suppose someone insults us, we need to remind ourselves that this is an illusion. The person who is insulting us is also the very same ONE. It is a mono act play in which I am insulting myself.
Such recollection will relive us from the current problem and in addition helps us to progress towards our goal.
While the conventional meditation could be compared to doing exercises in a gym, the final step of living in meditation could be compared to playing an outdoor game. Both have the desired effect of keeping us fit. However, playing a game is more fun than doing a work out. Similarly, while living in meditation we need to deal with each thought and keep telling ourselves “I am the only reality and all the rest is illusion”. Whenever we miss reminding us this, we are caught in the world. More successful we are more soon we will become steady in the knowledge.
It is quite all right to forget the truth (that the world is an illusion) but one must never think that the world is real. Similarly, it is fine to forget that “I am this ONE” but one should never think that one is a body/mind complex.
Completion of all the four steps:
Once all the above four steps are completed, which might take sufficiently long time depending on the seriousness with which one practices, the knowledge gained will become steady.
After this stage, life will go on as before. Nevertheless, those who got the steady knowledge will not get affected by the events/ persons/ objects of the world. Their life will be joyful all the time. However, the ignorant people will continue to be swayed by the pairs of the opposites.
The very same event might bring misery to the ignorant and joy to the wise.
Example: It rains heavily. The ignorant will complain that he is not able to carry out his daily routine. The wise will be happy saying that he got a break from the daily routine.
It does not rain at all. The ignorant will complain that there will be shortage of drinking water. The wise will be happy saying that the roads are not flooded.
It should be noted that the wise person says something for the sake of saying. For him happiness comes naturally and he can find reasons for his happiness very easily and effortlessly.
For the wise, the whole life is a drama so he enjoys whatever happens. However, for the ignorant even the drama is real and makes him suffer.
Example: When a child is enjoying himself in a playground even if he falls down and hurts himself it does not pain. Nevertheless, if the same child gets a minor corporal punishment he suffers a lot.
Similarly, in the game of life, the wise see problems and sufferings as setbacks in the game and do not give them any reality. However, the ignorant person does not know the reality and therefore he suffers.
Thus we have seen the meaning of the first part of the key statement “If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?” which talked about the required practice for joyful living.
Once the practice is completed, the seeker of the Joyful Living would have gained the true knowledge that he is ONE, which supports the illusory world (that includes his body/mind complex). The second part of the statement describes the benefit of this understanding.
Number of Sessions: 21
(33 – 53)
Number of Lessons: 17
(12 – 28)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the nature of objects
(b) See the varied types of desires
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 7.137 and 7.193 of the original text)
Even those students who do not understand the illusory nature of the universe can be logically shown the deficiencies of the objects
1. Define Objects. (Lesson 13)
2. How do we classify the objects into three types? (Lesson 13)
3. What are the five deficiencies of the object? (Lesson 14)
4. Define Desire (Lesson 15)
5. What is the origin of desire? (Lesson 15)
6. What causes desire? (Lesson 15)
7. What is the effect of desire? (Lesson 16)
8. Discuss the three types of Uncontrollable desires.
9. Distinguish between binding and non-binding desires. (Lesson 22)
10. What is the impact of knowledge on the object? (Lesson 23)
11. What is the impact of knowledge on the desire? (Lesson 23)
12. Desire is the result of not knowing two aspects of the object (Lesson 23)
13. How wise and ignorant deal with desire? (Lesson 24)
14. How the wise people remain unaffected by desire? (Lesson 25)