Lesson 3: ONE and the Universe
Bliss is the illusory material cause of the universe. Bliss is different from the universe and it does not undergo any change when the universe is manifested, sustained or resolved.
Consciousness is the illusory intelligent cause of the universe. Consciousness is not a part or product or property of the universe. The living beings in the universe are inert objects. Since they reflect the consciousness, they appear to be alive.
Pure existence is the substratum on which the universe is projected as an illusion. Universe is just a name and form that appear to be real since it has borrowed the existence from ONE.
Thus, existence, consciousness and bliss are the powers of ONE which is non-dual, ever perfect and unchanging. The universe is ever changing, never perfect and exists only for appearance.
During deep sleep there are no dreams. All dream objects are available in potent form within our mind which is not functioning during the stage of deep sleep. Similarly, prior to manifestation of the Universe, it was in latent form within ONE.
The power to manifest a dream-world is inherent in the dreamer. Similarly, the power to manifest this world is inherent in ONE.
The power to dream is different from the dream. Similarly, bliss is different from the universe.
When this power of dreaming is exercised from deep sleep stage we move on to dream stage. Many dream objects appear and a dream world is projected in our mind. This dream world is the product produced by the power to dream. Similarly, the universe is the product produced by bliss.
Dream world is not real. The real world consisting of the person sleeping on the bed remains outside the reach of the dream objects. The dream events cannot affect the substratum, the person sleeping on the bed. Similarly, the world and the events happening in them cannot affect the substratum, SELF/ONE.
Thus, universe is not real although it appears to be real with many objects of varying forms and names. Such names and forms are available only in the minds of people. A tree is a tree even before it was named as a tree. So it can be said that when man began to evolve a language, giving labels as names to the objects, the ‘real’ world is created. The whole creation will continue to exist as an illusion even if there are no living beings to name them. However, the illusory world becomes a real world only when people started naming the objects in it. Such labeling is essential for the development of science and technology leading to comforts in life. However, this practice of labeling is the cause of our bondage.
When children play make-believe game, they make imaginary coffee by imitating the hand movements of the mother. A child offers this imaginary coffee in a non-existing cup, the guest is supposed to say that it is too hot to drink or the sugar is less. If the guest says, ‘where is the coffee, I do not see it’, he will be dismissed as an unsupportive person and the children will disregard him. On receiving proper response, the child may add more imaginary sugar and serve the coffee again. After drinking the coffee, the guest is supposed to return the non-existent cup and comment that the coffee was good or horrible. A child playing this game well is supposed to enjoy the game irrespective of the comments, whether positive or negative. As long as the make-believe game goes on well, the child should be happy. It should not matter to the child whether the guest enjoyed the coffee or not. However, if the child starts crying because the guest did not like the coffee then the suffering caused is not because of the comments of the guest but because of the fact that the child gave more reality to the make-believe game than it really warrants.
Similarly, wise people live in this world without dismissing it and at the same time knowing it to be an illusion. Ignorant people give the status of reality to the make-believe world and suffer until they learn the truth. Most people are not matured enough to learn the truth and therefore they should continue to play (live) by involving in many actions. For example, if the guest is unhappy with the coffee, the child may decide to cook a very good meal so that the guest can be made happy. Wise people have no such desires. They are aware that the world does not exist, the objects in the world are not real and the objects/ events of this world cannot affect them. They will live joyfully.
Thus, people who gain the knowledge are liberated. They do not deny the appearance of the world. They are aware it is an illusion of name and form. They are also aware of the existence of the reality, ONE which is the substratum. Therefore, there is no more suffering to them. Events in the illusory world do not affect them and they do not have any desire for any objects in the world.
However, they continue to be involved in action and live life like anyone else because they are aware that they are the ONE and their body/mind complex is part of the illusory world. Their body/mind complex will continue to be imperfect and be involved in action all the time. However, they are aware that in essence they are the ever witnessing joy, which is the only reality. They also know that the changes in the body/mind complex have no impact on their real SELF. Just as the guest is aware that drinking poison in the make-believe game will not kill him, as a good player he may drink the poison and act as if he is dead or refuse to drink it saying that he does not want to die. Similarly, wise people respond to the events in the world appropriately without any fear, worry or feeling of insecurity. They are always aware that they are complete, perfect, eternal and joyful all the time.
Lesson 4: Knowledge of ONE and the Universe
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.
Joy of Knowledge
Knowledge and Joy
Number of Sessions: 2
(N01 – N02)
Number of Lessons: 1
On completion of this unit, the student-teacher will be able to
(bb) Understand how knowledge of ONE leads to Joyful Living
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 14.01 and 14.65 of the original text)
39. What are the three levels in which we experience happiness? List them with example.
40. Which happiness is long lasting among these three?
41. What are the five features of the happiness that is derived by knowing ONE?
Lesson 1: Nature of the knowledge
We experience happiness at three different levels:
1. Physical Level: When sense organs are exposed to favorable sense objects we are happy. For example when we listen to our favorite song we are happy.
2. Psychological Level: When we experience positive emotions in our mind we are happy. For example, the song we listened would have reminded us some enjoyable events in our life and we will be happy while thinking about those events.
3. Intellectual Level: When we gain knowledge, we are happy. For example, if we solve a math problem or write a software code for a complex problem we are happy.
Only source of all happiness is SELF. There is no happiness in the external world. However, we seem to gain happiness only on the above such occasions. This is so because during these occasions our mind becomes serene and the Ego dissolves temporarily and as a result our natural happiness is reflected in our mind without any obstacle. Therefore, we experience happiness.
Thus, serene mind and absence of Ego is essential for experiencing our natural happiness. To see our face we need a mirror. If the mirror is covered with a thick coating of dust, we cannot see our face. Similarly, Ego and various thoughts in the form of desires and worries are covering our mind most of the time preventing us from experiencing our original happiness. The external world in the form of sense objects, internal emotions and the knowledge helps us to clear the mind so that we could experience happiness for few moments.
Happiness gained at intellectual level is long lasting compared to the other two and happiness gained at the psychological level is better than happiness gained at the physical level. Happiness at the physical level lasts only as long as we are in contact with the sense objects.
Mind spread across the physical body and enjoy happiness at the physical level. This it is surface level happiness. When mind is involved directly, it derives higher level of happiness. Gaining knowledge provides highest level of happiness since intelligence is the highest level of mind.
There are gradations on the type of knowledge. Higher level of knowledge provides higher happiness. Highest possible knowledge is knowledge about ONE. Once we become steady in this knowledge our Ego is permanently dissolved and our mind is always clear. Therefore, our life will become joyful.
Such a happiness derived from gaining knowledge of ONE can be described as follows:
1. Absence of sorrow: Since knowledge of ONE also gives us the knowledge of illusory nature of the universe, there is no cause for sorrow. One understands that all events and objects in the world are not real and therefore they do not have power to affect our real self. Thus, there is no guilt about the past or worry about the future in the mind of wise person.
2. Absence of desires: Since objects and events in the world do not have any power to give happiness, a wise person has no desire. There is nothing to be gained, nothing more to learn and nowhere to go looking for happiness.
3. Joy of gaining everything: While everyone is involved in some action so as to become happy, all actions of the wise person arise out of his happiness. He always dwells in his natural happiness since he has gained the knowledge about the reality of his nature and the falseness of the world.
4. Freedom forever: Actions of the ignorant bind them. Actions of the wise person do not bind him because such actions are done without any desires and the doer, Ego is completely absent. Just as water droplets do not make lotus leaf wet, events of the world do not affect the wise person who may be constantly interacting with the world. A wise person is free to do any action and all his actions are considered as actions of God.
5. Joyful Living: It is specifically stated in the Scriptures that the knower of the truth may be seen laughing, playing, rejoicing with women, riding vehicles and enjoying other worldly objects but he does not identify himself with his three bodies. He always abides in ONE. The physiological sheath, impelled by his fructifying past actions keeps his physical body alive so that his body/mind complex can experience the fruits of his past actions by coming into contact with objects of the external world. He is aware that his mind is part of the illusory power of ONE and as such allows it to function in line with the accumulated preferences. He is not affected by the changes in his mind.
Thus, a wise person established in the truth does not have any sorrow nor he has any unfulfilled desires. He is completely satisfied and remains ever fulfilled. He may continue to deal with the external world in line with his accumulated preferences. Just as a beautiful princess enjoys her beauty by looking her reflection in the mirror, he sees his natural happiness in the objects of the world. It does not matter which objects are made available to him. He can see ONE in everything because his knowledge of ONE and the Universe is complete.
This is the joy of the ultimate knowledge.
Joy of Objects
Objects of the world
Number of Sessions: 4
(O01 – O04)
Number of Lessons: 3
On completion of this unit, the student-teacher will be able to
(cc) Understand the role of objects in leading us to Joyful Living
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 15.01 and 15.35 of the original text)
42. What is the relationship between knowledge and desire?
43. What are the two roles played by the objects of the world with reference to happiness?
44. What is the role of Aura, Energy and Matter with respect to our ability to reflect ONE?
45. How can a person move from enjoying the bliss of the objects to enjoying eternal bliss?
Lesson 1: Objects and Happiness
It is not possible for anyone to desire an unknown object. Desire presupposes knowledge. Intensity of the desire depends on depth of the knowledge.
Example: Prior to introduction of mobile phone services in the country, there was no one who had the desire to buy a mobile phone. When it is introduced, those who had the knowledge of its existence, desired to buy it. Only when more people gained knowledge the desire became widespread. Desire for buying a mobile will become intense when someone known to us buys one.
All human beings want to be happy. This desire for happiness is not possible if people do not know what happiness means. Everyone has experienced complete happiness sometime or other. Most people recall that their childhood days were full of happiness. Since they have complete knowledge of happiness, everyone desires to be happy all the time and no one wants to be unhappy at anytime.
This experience of happiness is possible through objects of the world. As child, they were happy with toys, balloon and chocolates. As they grew their source of happiness shifted to more complicated objects and which were not as easy to obtain as before. Therefore, money became an important instrument to gain happiness.
Thus, objects of the world serve two opposite functions.
1. They serve as a means of happiness. Without objects of the world, so many people would not have been exposed to the experience of happiness. Objects, by providing the experience of happiness, have provided a goal for all human beings, which is to work for happiness.
2. They have misguided people into wrong path. While helping the people to set the right goal of seeking the happiness, they have given the wrong idea that the original source of happiness is in the objects. Therefore, people are involved in material pursuit with a hope that soon they will have enough money to make their life joyful.
Since it serves as the initial gateway to happiness to most of the people, it is important to understand the objects of the world.
Objects of the world comprises of everything that we perceive. They include all inert objects, living beings, events in life and intangible objects like power, position, property etc. They promise happiness to people. This happiness is enjoyed by people at three levels. At the physical level, the objects of the world give happiness to a person by coming into contact with the sense organs. By developing positive emotions on certain objects, people enjoy happiness at the mental level. Finally by gaining knowledge on the objects, people enjoy happiness at the intellectual level.
Lesson 2: ONE and the objects
ONE is the only reality and the entire universe is illusion superimposed on it. ONE has three natures namely existence, consciousness and bliss. However, only human beings are capable of reflecting all these three aspects.
Example: The nature of fire is three-fold. 1. It self-luminous. 2. It gives out heat and 3. It illumines other objects. When the fire is applied to water, the water does not reflect all the three nature of fire. Only the heat is accepted and reflected by the water. An iron ball has the capacity to receive both the heat and self-illumining capability from fire. A wood on the other hand receives all the three aspects from fire and it becomes part of the fire.
Similarly, although all the objects in the world are illumined by ONE, the inert objects reflect only one aspect of ONE, namely existence. The living beings are capable of reflecting the consciousness in addition to existence. Only the human beings have the capability to reflect all the three aspects of ONE.
All the objects in the creation including our body/mind complex are made up of three elements namely Aura, Energy and Matter. The composition in which our mind is made up determines whether all the three aspects (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss) are reflected in it or only two aspects (Existence and Consciousness) are reflected. The bliss aspect of ONE is not reflected in all the human beings at all times.
Mostly during the early morning time soon after waking up the mind will be dominated by Aura for a while. During this period the bliss aspect of ONE will be reflected in the mind.
Example: The sun is reflected in the water. If the water is clear, the reflection will also be clear and the reflected light will be as bright as the original sun. However, in a gutter, where lots of dirty materials float on the water, the reflection of the sun will not be bright.
Similarly, only when a mind is dominated by Aura, it has the clarity and purity to reflect the bliss aspect of ONE. At other times, when Energy takes over, the mind is polluted with action and the clarity to reflect the natural bliss is lost. Similarly, when one fells lazy, an indication of Matter element taking over the control, it is not possible to feel the natural happiness of ONE.
A wise person, who has completely understood the nature of ONE and stands steady in the knowledge, has the capability to reflect the bliss aspect of ONE at all times. Although his mind may also oscillate between the domination of the three elements, it would have acquired adequate level of Aura domination to reflect ONE at all times. Therefore, a wise person lives life joyfully without the anxiety of the events of the world reflecting the natural happiness all the time.
Lesson 3: Happiness in the objects
The happiness that we seem to get from the objects of the world is in reality our own natural happiness.
Example: A lion looking into the well sees its own reflection and assumes that it is another lion.
Similarly, we see our own natural happiness in the objects of the world and assume that it is different. The happiness that we seem to get from the objects of the world is divided and never complete. Our natural happiness is holistic and complete. In addition, it is homogeneous and indivisible.
Example: The sunlight is only one and it is homogeneous and indivisible.
However, there are many small reflections of sunlight depending on the medium in which it is reflected. Such reflections vary from one another with respect to luminosity and intensity. However, the source for all the reflections is only one. Similarly, the happiness that is enjoyed by all the beings belong to ONE and it is one homogenous and indivisible mass.
An Aura dominant mind is detached from the objects of the world and therefore it reflects the bliss of ONE efficiently.
An Energy dominant mind is attached to objects and harbinger of jealousy, greed and such negative emotions. Such a mind is clouded and dirty and therefore it does not reflect the bliss of ONE all the time.
A Matter dominant mind is full of confusion and lethargy and there will be no trace of bliss. In addition, even the consciousness aspect of ONE will be obscured in such a mind. At times we wonder whether a person is alive.
The mind of everyone invariably keeps changing because the dominance of Aura, Energy and Matter keep changing. Through appropriate food, meditation and practice of virtues, it is possible to increase the Aura dominance to a level where one can gain the complete knowledge of ONE. Once the knowledge of ONE is gained, then through practice of being steady in the knowledge, one can become a wise person.
A wise person goes beyond the influence of the mind. He is the true reflection of ONE reflecting existence, consciousness and bliss at all times. His own mind will be recognized as a part of the ever changing illusion. The movement of mind between the dominance of Aura, Energy and Matter element will be understood as the power of ONE in sustaining the illusory universe. Differences between knower, known and knowing will merge and there will be nothing but ONE.
Thus a person can move from enjoying the bliss of objects of the world, can move on to recognize that he is beyond mind and thereby become eternal bliss.
OM TAT SAT