Lesson 17: Notes on God, Living beings and the Universe
Explanation on God/ Universe:
It is very important to understand the difference between the ONE and God.
ONE (nameless, formless and attributeless) is Ever Witnessing Joy.
God is the combination of Illusion and the Reflection of ONE referred by many names in many religions as Siva, Vishnu, Allah, father of Jesus Christ etc.
God created this universe for giving appropriate experiences (pleasure and pain) to living beings in line with their past actions. The causal and the subtle bodies of living beings cannot experience pleasure or pain. Therefore, the gross bodies are created. The universe consisting of sense objects is created to feed the sense organs functioning from the gross bodies with experience.
Explanation on Illusion:
What is real is not illusion. What is false is not illusion. What is false but appears to be real is illusion. It is the expression of the power of AEM in ONE.
For all real objects, there should be two causes. One is the ‘material cause’ (Material from which the object is made) and another is the ‘intelligent cause’ (the maker who makes the object). In case of bread, the baker is the intelligent cause and the dough is the material cause.
There is physical distance between the baker and the bread. There was a time when the bread was not baked and there will be a time when the bread no longer exists. The baker can observe this.
In the case of the universe, there is no distance between the maker and the universe. Maker is the universe. In addition there was no time prior to creation since time itself was part of creation.
If the material cause is different from the intelligent cause, the created object is as real as the creator. However, if both are same then it is an illusion.
Example: One side of a chart, a picture of a parrot is painted and on the other side an empty cage is painted. When the chart is rotated at a fast pace one sees a caged parrot. Caged Parrot is an illusion since it does not exist but appears to be real.
In the case of the universe, the material cause is ONE. The intelligent cause is also ONE. Therefore, it is an illusion.
Explanation on Living Beings:
All Living Beings have three bodies. The Causal Body (The seed form), the Subtle Body and the Gross Body. The Gross Body lasts for a lifetime. The Subtle Body moves from birth to birth until liberation. The Causal Body is eternal and it is not independent. If the fully formed iceberg is compared to a physical body, the chillness in the water is the causal body. The chillness from which the icebergs are formed is common to all the icebergs.
The Gross body includes everything that can be perceived including the brain. (Brain is different from mind). The Subtle body includes the five subtle sense organs, the five subtle organs of action, the five Life Forces and the Mind.
Mind is divided into four modes namely, Mind, Memory, Intelligence and, Ego
Mind is the doubting faculty and Intelligence is the deciding faculty
Doubting means oscillation between two alternatives without any logic. When there is a doubt one has to inquire. All thoughts pertaining to these two aspects constitute Mind.
Memory records all the thoughts pertaining to the mind. (Since it is part of the subtle body, it carries all the memories of all the previous births) That part of the memory, which is not within the reach of Ego, is called Sub-Conscious Mind. All our knowledge is possible because of this Memory.
Intelligence is the deciding faculty. It is the result of the enquiry. It knows how to use the Ego and Memory. It can direct the mind. Exercise of free will and will power are the functions of the Intelligence.
Ego is that part of the intelligence, which falsely assumes that it is the body and mind. In reality, the ego does not exist. It is just an “I” thought that is no different from other thoughts.
Notes on the five Life Forces (LF), which are part of our Subtle Body
LF1 LF2 LF3 LF4 LF5
Operates in the physical body from
Heart Throat Navel Anus All over the body
Heartbeat Holding the two bodies together Absorbing Pushing out Energy to function
Breathing Separating subtle body from gross body at the time of death Digesting Excretion Circulating the blood
Lesson 18: Summary on Creation
Statement 36: ONE has the power to manifest, which is called AEM
Statement 37: AEM is made up of Aura, Energy and Matter.
Statement 38: AEM is manifested as Illusion, Delusion and Inert Matter
Statement 39: The combination of Illusion and reflection of ONE is God
Statement 40: The combination of Delusion and reflections of ONE are Living Beings
Statement 41: The non-reflecting part of ONE is the inert matter of the Universe
Statement 42: God, Living Beings and the Universe are eternally present in the causal form as AEM, which is the inherent power of ONE.
Statement 43: From the causal form, the Living Beings and the Universe are manifested in the subtle form.
Statement 44: God creates the gross universe and the gross bodies for the living beings to have experiences, from the Inert Matter.
Statement 45: Only the subtle bodies have the capability to reflect the consciousness aspect of ONE and therefore, they appear as living beings.
According to the story of the creation narrated by our friend (Scriptures) it is clear that since the medium of reflection is of poor quality, we are under the control of Delusion. Once we understand the process of creation, we know that our true self is not the reflected image but the original ONE.
Nevertheless, the reflection that is caught (not really) in the medium (Delusion) is continuously engaged in action because it is made up of the Energy strand of AEM.
Since we are caught in the Eternal Cycle, we do not have time to think, reflect and understand our true nature.
When we identify ourselves with the total existence then we are God.
When we do not identify ourselves with anything around us then we are ONE.
When we identify ourselves with our limited body and mind we are EGO.
The choice is ours.
Introduction to Eternal Cycle
Number of Sessions 8
(25 to 32)
Number of Lessons 4
(19 to 22)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Define Eternal Cycle
(b) Understand why we are caught in a Eternal Cycle
(c) Identify the only means to getting liberation from Eternal Cycle
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.29 to 1.32 of the original text)
Start the discussion with a question “What is the cause of the sorrow/ sad moments in life?” Go systematically until the class reaches the right reason, ‘absence of self-knowledge’ (Delusion) is the root cause.
Prove that the ONLY cause for the sufferings of ALL the human beings is Delusion.
Also, prove that majority of the people think that the environment (eternal cycle) is the cause of our suffering.
Prove that the first effect of Delusion, namely projecting power is shifting our attention from the real cause from the apparent cause…death of a relative
Prove that every one looks externally all the time…looking at our own mind is also external…the only thing to be seen is to look inside at our real self ONE
1. How will enjoyment lead to action? (Lesson 19)
2. What is the starting point of desire? (Lesson 19)
3. What is wrong with the ‘Eternal Cycle’? (Lesson 20)
4. Are we free to do whatever we want? (Lesson 20)
5. List the pairs of opposites in life (Lesson 20)
6. What are the four constituent parts of a Human Being? (Lesson 20)
7. How are we different from God? (Lesson 20)
8. What are the effects of being caught in the ‘Eternal Cycle’? (Lesson 21)
9. Why is the ‘Eternal Cycle’ eternal? (Lesson 21)
10. What are the qualifications of a right teacher? (Lesson 21)
11. What should we do in order to receive the right teaching? (Lesson 22)
Lesson 19: Defining the Eternal Cycle
Session: A25 – A26
Statement 46: Action is eternal.
Action includes all our physical actions, talking and thinking. Except for the time spent in deep sleep, we are constantly performing some action or other.
Statement 47: All our actions have some motive/objective.
In addition to goal-oriented activities, we also get involved in actions that are done purely for the purpose of relaxation. Even daydreaming, which we indulge in occasionally, is a thinking activity either involved in planning the future or done just for passing time consciously or otherwise.
Statement 48: The ultimate motive of all our actions is enjoyment.
All our activities have only one ultimate goal: Enjoyment.
Example: We cook food in order to eat it. We earn money in order to spend it.
Statement 49: Enjoyment leads to Action.
This is very difficult to understand.
Example: We are eating food in order to cook. We spend money in order to earn.
One cannot understand or accept the fact that all our actions are caused by enjoyment, unless one learns the process as detailed below.
Statement 50: Enjoyment makes Imprints in the mind.
We always experience the results of all our actions. We like the positive results and dislike the negative results. Some results do not affect us either way and we are indifferent towards them.
Positive results (pleasure, happiness, joy, peacefulness etc) and the negative results (pain, irritation, anger etc) make Imprints in our mind.
Example: When we enjoy eating out in a restaurant the memories of the same are imprinted in our mind. Suppose we hate the time spent there, even that is imprinted in our mind. (However, if we are indifferent then there are no strong imprints created in our mind.)
Imprints are stored in our memory as thoughts.
Statement 51: Imprints generate preferences
Our likes and dislikes are determined by the Imprints.
Statement 52: Imprints also generate reminders (thoughts)
The imprints in our mind generate reminders.
We ‘feel’ like going out to a restaurant because of the thoughts that pop up in our mind. The frequency of the reminders increases when the imprints are stronger.
We try to avoid the restaurant that we did not like.
Statement 53: Sense organs generate thoughts when they encounter sense objects.
Such thoughts are filtered by our preferences (likes and dislikes) and the memories of past events are recalled.
Statement 54: Ego converts such thoughts/ reminders as desires
When we enjoy the result of some actions, we would like to have more of the same. This is desire.
Desire includes desire to avoid unpleasant situations.
Statement 55: Desires lead to Action.
Therefore, our intense thoughts (desires) make us get involved in more action in order to fulfill our desire. (We do those actions, which will bring positive results/ avoid negative results.)
Thus, the cycle is complete. The cycle of Action for the sake of Enjoyment and Enjoyment resulting in Action
From birth to death the cycle of Action-Enjoyment-Action continues. This is the Eternal Cycle.
All human beings are caught in this Eternal Cycle. The term ‘caught’ is used because it is NOT POSSIBLE for any human being to come out of this Eternal Cycle without external help.
Lesson 20: We are caught in Eternal Cycle
Session: A27 – A28
We are not aware that we cannot remain without doing action.
Statement 56: Actions are compulsive in nature.
It is foolish to think that we have a choice to act or not to act. We are all prisoners of our own thoughts, which are the results of our own actions.
This three-step process corresponds to our three constituent components namely, Aura, Energy and Matter.
Firstly using our power of Aura-Matter (Intelligence), we know what is happening around in our environment.
Secondly using our power of Aura/ Energy - Matter (Mind), we desire to acquire the things we like and avoid what we do not like.
Thirdly using our power of Energy-Matter (Life Force), we act to acquire the things we like and avoid what we do not like.
We see an advertisement of an object. [Using sense organs and Intelligence]
We desire the object. [Using sense organs and Mind]
We act to acquire the object [Using organs of actions and Life Force]
This is a compulsive cycle because out of our three powers the strongest is the desire since we are powered by Energy part of AEM unlike god who is powered by Aura part of AEM.
Therefore, our desire makes us to act compulsorily and it is not possible escape from this compulsion unless we gain knowledge about self.
Statement 57: Living in the Eternal Cycle is not joyful
There is nothing wrong in being caught in this Eternal Cycle as long as it brings only pleasure and avoids pain all the time. That does not happen.
Our actions do not yield expected results.
We are not able to fulfill all our desires at any point in our life. In other words, no one has reached a stage where one can say, “I have no more desires in life”. Our repeated action makes our ‘likes’ stronger and drives us into more action.
On the other hand, we are not able to totally avoid negative results (desire invariably brings us anxiety, worry, insecurity, anger, frustration, jealousy, greed etc). As a result, there is fear of getting into unavoidable situations. This fear drives us into more action seeking higher security.
Thus we are caught in the Eternal Cycle of Action –> Enjoyment (of pleasure AND pain) – > Action.
When the going is good, we do not want to break the Eternal Cycle. When we suffer, we feel that cannot break the cycle. The truth is pain and pleasures are two ends of the same seat belt with which we are stuck to the Eternal Cycle.
Example: When we enjoy a meal in a restaurant, we plant the seed for suffering. Either we wait for another occasion to visit the restaurant or our expectation of happiness is not met, during the next visit. Thus we suffer.
We need to realize that both the ends of the oscillation of the Eternal Cycle bind us and seek external help in order to come out of it.
Eternal Cycle refers to the oscillation between
Gain and loss
Pleasure and pain
Prosperity and poverty
Fame and blame
Good and bad
Love and hate
Victory and defeat
Both sides of this oscillation bind us to the Eternal Cycle.
Statement 58: Reason for being caught in the Eternal Cycle
The main reason for human beings to be caught in the Eternal Cycle is their constitution. As explained under the section on Creation, human beings are made out of Energy dominant mix of AEM and not Aura dominant mix. This means the ‘Aura’ strand is much less compared to the ‘energy’ strand. This ‘energy’ strand initiates all human beings into the Eternal Cycle and keeps them there.
Example: One sees the reflection of his face in the mirror. The three components involved in this example represent God and Human Being as described in the table below.
Original Face Ever Witnessing Joy Ever Witnessing Joy
(Made out of Aura
strand of AEM) Delusion
(Made out of Energy
strand of AEM)
Reflected Face God Human Being
In case of God, since the reflecting medium is made up of Aura part of AEM (Illusion), God knows it is only a reflection and the original source is ONE only.
However, in the case of human being since the Reflecting Medium is made up of Energy part of AEM (Delusion), he thinks that he is the reflected face combined with the medium and remains ignorant of the original face.
Human being is the combination of,
1. The physical body represented by the frame of the mirror.
2. The subtle body represented by the reflecting surface of the mirror.
3. The causal body represented by the mercury behind the mirror.
4. Reflection of ONE (which is independent of these three bodies)
These four put together constitute the apparent man. Since there are problems with the frame of the mirror (body) and the reflecting surface (mind) the reflection is not as clear as the original Ever Witnessing Joy.
On the other hand, God is the combination of,
1. The physical universe (represented by the frame of the mirror)
2. The subtle body of ALL living beings (reflecting surface)
3. The causal body of ALL living beings (mercury behind the mirror)
4. Reflection of ONE (which is independent of these three)
Since God is the reflection from a superior quality mirror (Made out of Aura strand of AEM), the reflection and the original face are identical.
Example: If the mirror is perfect one can keep the mirror in any position and it will show a perfect reflection. But, if the mirror is tarnished or cracked a person may have to shift/bend to try and see where he can get a reasonably good reflection. In other words, our position is dictated by the bad mirror.
Thus, God has perfect control over Illusion since it is made up of superior quality material and Human Beings are under the influence of Delusion, which is an inferior quality material.
Delusion (constituted by the Energy strand of AEM) drives the human beings into Action and makes them search for completeness in the external world.
Example: If there is dirt on the mirror, the reflected face appears to have ugly marks on the face. If one is intelligent like God, then there is nothing to be done to remove the ugly marks (that are not) on the face. However, if one is ignorant, one will be caught into the Eternal Cycle of action, attempting to clean the face to make it beautiful!
Thus due to Delusion, human beings associate themselves with the body/mind complex. The physical body and mind are limited, mortal and prone to suffering. Nevertheless, the original entity, which is the real self, is immortal, eternal, ever witnessing joy.
Human beings due to the poor quality of the medium, wrongly assume that the only way to Joyful Living is to correct the world (including finding a way to increase the life span of the physical body and retain its youthfulness in old age) through action. The truth is Self-Knowledge alone will liberate them from the Eternal Cycle and lead them to Joyful Living.
Energy strand, which is the dominant constituent of all the human beings, cause them to be in action. This is the main reason why all the human beings are caught in the Eternal Cycle.
Lesson 21: Liberation from the Eternal Cycle
Session: A29 – A30
We are caught in the Eternal Cycle. Our efforts to gain liberation from it are similar to chasing a mirage,
We seek ever-lasting security in relationship/ possessions.
We seek non-diminishing happiness from the objects of the world.
We seek undisturbed peace from our environment.
We are nowhere near the destination and the target is ever elusive.
Statement 59: Effect of being caught in the Eternal Cycle
Since most human beings are chasing a mirage, it is not apparent that they are caught in the Eternal Cycle. There always seems to be something hovering in the horizon promising complete fulfillment. Therefore, human beings keep running faster and faster to reach the ever-elusive target of perfection.
All our actions are oriented towards filling up the apparent incompleteness in ourselves. Therefore, we are bound to get disappointed. The horizon is never reached.
Since we are searching for fulfillment in the wrong direction, we face problems, undergo pains and suffer miseries in life.
Practical: Take an example of a problem or crisis faced by you in the past. If YOU were not associated with that problem, then it is not a problem to you. Since you do not know your real identity, you were under the assumption that you had a problem or crisis and acted in the external world to solve it. However, the real problem is absence of Self-Knowledge.
Example: Assume you underwent a medical check up and the report says that you have cancer and that you are going to die in a few months time. You will be thinking it is a serious problem to you and your family until some one points you out the mistake of identity. The report belongs to another patient by the same name and is not yours and then you do not have any problem.
However, when a person is really in such a situation, it is not possible for him to understand that the root cause of the misery is his ignorance of his real identity.
It is not possible to inquire into truth when some one is caught in a major problem. Unfortunately, when the problem is not very serious, attempts are made to solve them partially at the surface level without any concern to find the real cause of the problem. This is the reason for all human beings to continue to be caught in the Eternal Cycle.
Statement 60: The Eternal Cycle does not end on death.
There is no natural ending for the Eternal Cycle. We need to end it through conscious attempt. If we do not end it in this lifetime, it will continue.
The Eternal Cycle extends beyond one lifetime. The actions – enjoyment cycle keep continuing even after death. On death of the physical body, the subtle body with all the Imprints in the mind takes another physical body and continues the journey. In the next life, it will continue to enjoy the reminders of the results of the actions done in the previous births. In addition, the Imprints gained in the previous births will influence one to get involved in more action in the next birth.
The object of desire keeps changing but the desire will be a constant factor throughout life. Due to Delusion, we think that the next unfulfilled desire will bring us fulfillment. Thus, we get involved in action to fulfill our desires. At the time of death, there will be many unfulfilled desires. They form the seed for action in the next birth.
Thus, one is caught in the Eternal Cycle, birth after birth for eternity. One cannot come out of the Eternal Cycle automatically or due to self-effort alone.
Statement 61: We need external help to escape from the eternal cycle
It is not possible for anyone to escape from the eternal cycle without external help. It is not even possible to seek external help, because we may not know who can help us.
Example: A worm falls into a river and struggles to breathe. It is not possible for the worm to reach the safety of the shore through its effort alone. Only when a compassionate passerby takes pity and offers a helping hand, the worm can reach the shadow of a tree. Once this is done, the worm will have a Joyful Living!
Similarly, human beings are struggling in the swirls of the Eternal Cycle. It is not possible for a human being to come out of the cycle through self-effort alone. Only when a compassionate/competent teacher who is out of the Eternal Cycle offers help, he can attain Joyful Living.
If the worm while struggling in the water gets on to a floating leaf, it no longer struggles although it is still not out of the swirling current of the river. When it is on the leaf, it may even refuse the helping hand offered by a compassionate passerby. Similarly, we may refuse the helping hand offered by our compassionate teacher, while we enjoy the positive swing of the Eternal Cycle.
Thus, we remain in the Eternal Cycle birth after birth without any hope for liberation.
Statement 62: External help will come through good actions.
It is already shown that we may not know how to identify a true teacher and therefore, we will not be able to get one.
Caught in the Eternal Cycle, all human beings are performing actions. Using our will power and intelligence we should consciously reduce the number of bad actions and increase the number of good actions.
The effect of these good actions will ensure that we meet the right teacher.
Statement 63: External help can be given only by a competent and compassionate teacher.
Competency means the ability to understand the status of the seeker and offer the help accordingly. It is like helping a child to climb the stair case one-step at a time. Depending on where the child is standing, one should be able to climb down to the level of the child and then handhold the child step-by-step.
It is said ‘Compassionate teacher’ because the teacher is acting without any ulterior motive or for personal gain. The teacher need not do anything because he has attained all that needs to be attained. He has no expectation from the world. The only motive of the right teacher is to help others out of compassion.
This concept of compassion is very different from that of the normal good-hearted persons. Normally noble persons serve the poor people without expecting any material gains in return. However, they gain happiness by serving others. They also accumulate good results arising out of their kind act, which will bring them a good teacher in the near future. A compassionate teacher does not need any such benefits.
The right teacher who is already living joyfully need not gain any happiness by helping others. He is out of the Eternal Cycle and therefore his actions are not prompted by any desires. Therefore, when such a teacher offers to help the seekers the only reason is that he is compassionate.
Statement 64: External help is in the form of teaching
In the case of the worm in the whirlpool of water, the help is physical in nature. In case of the human beings who are caught in the Eternal Cycle, the help required is at the intellectual level.
Since we are under the impression that we are incomplete, we seek fulfillment from the external world. No external help in the form of physical activity can help us in our search.
The only requirement is to understand that our true nature is Ever Witnessing Joy. Therefore, the external help has to be in the form of teaching.
The teaching can be done in many methods. One of the methods is to analyze the five sheaths and to show our real nature.
A qualified teacher, who is well versed in the Scriptures, can guide the people whose good deeds are fructifying, to discriminate between the five sheaths and the real self.
Statement 65: Knowledge of the Five Sheaths will liberate us from the Eternal Cycle.
To gain knowledge about the Five Sheaths, we need to understand the difference between our real self and the five sheaths covering the self. Since there is a confusion existing in our mind about the meaning of the word ‘I’, we need to understand this process of differentiation.
Example: When iron ore is excavated from the ground, we need to remove the impurities for obtaining the useful metal.
Similarly, we need to separate our true nature from the false notion, so that we gain the correct knowledge, which will lead us to Joyful Living.
Lesson 22: Summary on the Eternal Cycle
Notes to the Teacher:
Describe the steps involved in getting out of the Eternal Cycle.
Doing good actions
These good actions will provide right company/ right books/ right teachers
Mind will be more mature to receive the knowledge.
Mature mind will understand the teachings of the right teacher and the ignorance of the Five Sheaths will be removed.
Liberation from Eternal Cycle will be achieved.
Introduction to Five Sheaths
Number of Sessions 4
(33 to 36)
Number of Lessons 3
(23 to 25)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Identify the five sheaths
(b) Understand the relationship between role of each sheath
(c) Differentiate our real self from the five sheaths
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.33 to 1.36 of the original text)
Relate Cloud shielding the Sun with five sheaths shielding the Consciousness.
It is important to relate the scientific support to the existence of five sheaths.
1. List the Five Sheaths. Why are they referred to as sheaths? (Lesson 23)
2. Relate Consciousness with the sheaths (Lesson 23)
3. Relate the three bodies with the five sheaths (Lesson 23)
4. What are the contents of Causal body/ Happiness sheath? (Lesson 23)
5. Why should the real and unreal not be separated? (Lesson 24)
6. Why can the real and unreal not be separated? (Lesson 24)
7. Why is it that the real and unreal need not be separated? (Lesson 24)
8. What are the three types of happiness? (Lesson 24)
9. Why we are not enlightened even after understanding the difference between our unreal body-mind notion and the real self?
10. What are the three steps, which will convert the information into Knowledge? (Lesson 25)
Lesson 23: Understanding Five Sheaths
Our three bodies can be reclassified as five sheaths (five layers of our personality) as follows,
Gross body is the Physical Sheath.
This layer consists of all the internal and external parts of our physical body, which is created using the Matter strand of the Inert Matter.
On death, we discard this layer and on birth, we take a new physical layer just like changing a car when it becomes old.
The gross body is created from the amalgamation of five gross elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth).
Subtle Body is reclassified as the next three layers.
Physiological Sheath includes the Life Forces and the five subtle organs of actions, which are created using the Energy strand of the Inert Matter. This sheath gives us the power to act.
Psychological Sheath includes the five subtle sense organs, Mind and the Memory, which are created using a mixture of the Energy strand and the Aura strand of Inert Matter. It gives us the power to desire.
Intelligence Sheath includes Intelligence and Ego, which are created using the Aura strand of the Inert Matter. It gives us the power to know.
Causal Body is the Happiness Sheath.
Happiness sheath is the innermost layer. It is made up of the Delusion medium. It is eternally present and therefore, not created in time. It contains the impressions (good or bad results) of all our past actions.
We experience the causal body, when we are happy. There are three gradations in happiness.
Happiness when we come to know about an object of desire
Happiness when we own / possess the object of desire
Happiness when we enjoy / experience the object of desire
Whenever we are experiencing these three types of happiness, it can be said that we have identified ourselves with the causal body. The other time when we are with the causal body is while we are in deep sleep.
All these five layers shield the true nature of self. Therefore, they are referred as sheaths. We think we are the part, product or property of these five layers forgetting that we are the immortal, invisible, inner essence, which enlivens these five sheaths and survives the death of the physical body.
The five sheaths do not cover the self by hiding it away from our sight. We do continue to perceive the self but the five sheaths draw our attention away from it.
Example: Just as the characters in the movie shield the movie screen, these five layers of our personality are shielding the true self. Self is the ONLY reality just like the screen.
All the five layers are not real but appear to be real just like the characters in the movie. We are so involved with the ‘real’ life of the movie characters we forget our real life. Similarly, we are so concerned with and carried away by our life that we assume it is real and do not see our real self, the Ever Witnessing Joy. Due to this Delusion, we are caught in the Eternal Cycle.
The movie screen supports the movie characters but never draws our attention to it. Similarly, SELF supports the five layers but does not attract our attention to it.
Example: We cry along with a character when the character suffers in the story. Similarly, we cry when any of our five layers of personality suffer!
The movie screen is not contaminated or polluted by the actions (a blood shed in the movie will not leave a stain on the screen) of the characters. Similarly, the Self in all of us is not affected by the inadequacies of the body/mind complex.
The screen does not differentiate between the hero and the villain. Similarly, the self remains the same Ever Witnessing Joy for both a good (innocent, wise, strong, humble, honest etc) person and a bad (wicked, stupid, weak, arrogant, dishonest etc) person.
When the movie is over the screen continues to exist and it is not any different. Similarly, on death, the physical body is discarded but the Self continue to be eternally present without any changes.
In the example, both the screen and the images are inert objects. Screen is relatively more real than the images. In contrast, the five layers of our personality are inert and unreal in nature but the self that supports them, is conscious and real.
It is easier to see the Physical Sheath as inert. The mind appears to be alive. Nevertheless, it is also inert. It just reflects the sentiency that is borrowed from self.
Example: A mirror is not a source of light, even though it reflects sunlight.
Lesson 24: Analysis of Five Sheaths
Purpose of discussing the five sheaths is to understand the following statements
Statement 66: Human being is a combination of real (self) and unreal (body/mind)
Real is the Ever Knowing Joy which is invisible, immortal, inner self.
Unreal is the mortal body/mind complex consisting of five sheaths
Statement 67: Real (self) is covered by the unreal (body/mind complex)
Our attention is focused on the unreal and we are in total ignorance of the real. We are Deluded to think that the unreal (five sheaths) alone is the reality.
Example: A cloud covers the sun.
The existence and expression of cloud is possible only through the presence of sun. However, the ignorant people may think that the cloud is the source of bright light and they may not be aware of the existence of the powerful sun.
Similarly, people who are Deluded, will think that life is supported by the body/mind complex and ignore the presence of the all-pervasive Consciousness.
Statement 68: Real and Unreal need not / cannot / should not be separated
Real and Unreal need not be separated because there is no problem arising from their togetherness.
Example: Two children are fighting with each other. Since fighting is harmful, we need to separate them and stop the fight.
However, in our case of Real and Unreal, there is no such problem. Real can never be affected because it is attribute less, name less and form less. Unreal is inert matter and therefore it cannot be affected. (If we hit a stone with a hammer neither sees it as a problem.)
Real and Unreal cannot be separated because Real is ONE. ONE is infinite. That means nothing can exist outside ONE. There cannot be any time and space between Real and Unreal. Therefore, they cannot be separated.
Example: The plains of solidified lava give the appearance of a human-like face on the moon. This face cannot be separated from the moon.
Real and unreal should not be separated because we cannot exist otherwise. Real by itself is incapable of any action since it does not have any means. Unreal by itself is incapable of any action since it is inert and has no power to act.
Example: Electricity and an electrical gadget. Electricity cannot be useful unless it is combined with a gadget. Gadget without the electricity is also useless.
Statement 69: Discriminating the Real from the Unreal is an intellectual exercise that removes our ignorance.
We do not recognize the existence of the real self and we associate ourselves with the unreal, body/mind complex. This is the cause of being caught in the Eternal Cycle. Therefore, the solution to the problem is to understand the role of the Five Sheaths and associating ourselves with the ONE, which is our Real Self.
Once we gain this knowledge, we will have Joyful Living.
Lesson 25: Converting Information into Knowledge
Information is different from knowledge.
“You are Ever Witnessing Joy and not the body/mind complex” is a piece of information and not the knowledge. In order to convert this information into knowledge one has to go through a three-step process.
Statement 70: Inquiry is the first step towards knowledge
Inquiry will involve consistent and systematic study of the Scriptures under the guidance of a competent teacher for a considerable length of time.
Inquiry is the process of developing a sense of discrimination. Discriminating the real from the unreal is the foundation for gaining the ultimate knowledge.
One should inquire deeply about the body/mind complex and Ever Witnessing Joy in order to develop the sense of discrimination
Example: In order to segregate the real pearls from the unreal, one should have complete knowledge on both and skills to discriminate between the real and unreal.
Statement 71: Introspection is the second step towards knowledge
Assimilation of the reading gained in Step 1, through logical questioning and practical testing. This step is crossed when the knowledge becomes one’s own knowledge, which does not need the support of the Scriptures or/ and the teacher.
Statement 72: Inner Transformation is the third step towards knowledge
Living by the newly acquired knowledge until one is as sure of the Real identity as one is sure of the Unreal identity before gaining the knowledge.
These three steps are elaborated in the next three units.
Inquiry (1st step to knowledge)
Number of Sessions 5
(37 to 41)
Number of Lessons 4
(26 to 30)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Define Inquiry
(b) Identify the tools required to do the Inquiry
(c) Understand the meaning of the term You Are That
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.37 to 1.48 of the original text)
It is important to encourage the students to ask the right question. Mere delivery of the lesson content is not enough. Students must be made comfortable with the contents.
Introduction to three states, waking, dreaming and deep sleep, may be necessary and it is not covered in the lessons.
Discuss how You Are That can be considered as the central message of all the religions. This is not covered in the lesson.
1. Explain the two opposite components that are bundled together and referred by the word “I”. (Lesson 26)
2. Explain P/A Test (Lesson 27)
3. How the P/A Test is applied in the context of “I” (Lesson 27)
4. Explain the Two Steps in gaining any knowledge (Lesson 28)
5. Explain the Four Types of Meaning (Lesson 28)
6. How are the two steps used in gaining the knowledge of “I” (Lesson 29)
7. What Types of Meaning are used to derive You Are That? (Lesson 29)
8. What is an Aha experience? (Lesson 30)
Lesson 26: Introduction to Inquiry
Statement 73: Inquiry means understanding the meaning of “You Are That”
Inquiry refers to the process of gaining thorough understanding through reading and listening to the central theme of the Scriptures.
The central theme of the Scriptures is You Are That.
Beginning of Inquiry:
The usage of the word ‘I’ is very ambiguous because we are not clear about its true meaning.
Example: ‘I am hurt and my body is aching’. This statement shows that we are not clear whether we are the body or we have a body.
We normally use the word ‘I’ to refer two different aspects. One is the body/mind complex and something else that enlivens this body/mind complex. We call it by different names like Soul, Life force or just ‘life’. The proper name for this is Consciousness or Awareness.
We are sure that our Body/Mind Complex and Consciousness are bundled together. Since it appears that death alone can separate them, we tend to think that they depend on each other.
We refer to this bundle by the word ‘I’. This is ignorance caused by Delusion.
Ignorance is a problem relating to our intellect wrongly perceiving the meaning of the word ‘I’. It is a case of mistaken identity.
Our intellect is wrongly assuming that we are this inseparable combination. In order to remove this ignorance, one has to inquire into the true meaning of the word “I”. The process of inquiry will help us to discriminate the truth from the unreal.
We shall first separate the Body/Mind complex from Consciousness by using appropriate tools and then understand our true nature.
The Scriptures say that what we call as ‘consciousness’ is really a reflection of the original (and only) consciousness and therefore, depending on the context the word consciousness should mean either the Original Consciousness or the Reflected Consciousness.
Lesson 27: Separation of Body/mind using P/A Test
We need a tool to separate any two materials that are mixed up together.
Example: We use a machine to separate rice from the husk
Similarly, we use a tool called Presence/Absence Logic (P/A for short) Test to separate Consciousness from the body/mind complex.
We never include our dress in the meaning of the word “I” because our dress is an incidental addition and not an integral part of “I”. Similarly, there are many incidental additions (like spectacles, artificial dentures and wig) that we have with us for most of the time. But we know that they are not included in the meaning of the word “I”
To conclusively identify whether a particular object, say spectacles, is an incidental addition or an integral part of an old man, we use P/A Test.
P/A Test for Spectacles:
In the daytime, the old man is present and the spectacles are present – True
During night, the old man is present but the spectacles are NOT present – True
If both the above statements are TRUE, then the object (spectacles) fails the P/A Test and we conclude that it is just an incidental addition and not an integral part of the old man.
ONLY if the answer is TRUE for the first statement and FALSE for the second, the object will pass the P/A Test. Else it will fail.
We will now use this P/A Test to test whether the five sheaths are intrinsic parts or incidental additions of the old man by testing the Physical Body, Subtle Body and Causal Body.
Statement 74: Physical Body is an incidental addition and not an integral part.
In the daytime, the old man walks, talks, perform various actions and perceives various sense objects with the use of his physical body – True
In the dream, the old man walks, talks, performs various actions and perceives various sense objects WITHOUT the use of his physical body – True
Therefore, the Physical Body fails the P/A Test.
Statement 75: Subtle Body is an incidental addition and not an integral part.
In the daytime, the old man is thinking and uses his sense organs. – True
In the deep sleep, the old man has no thoughts nor the organs function – True
Therefore, the Subtle Body fails the P/A Test.
Statement 76: Causal Body is an incidental addition and not an integral part.
Normally we do not think that we have a causal body, therefore it is really not required that we need to apply the P/A Test to find out whether it is an incidental addition. Anyway, this can also be proved by using P/A Test.
When the old man is present, his Causal Body is present. – True
(If anyone thinks that the answer is False then it is already fails the P/A test)
In deep meditation, old man is present but his Causal Body (Delusion) is not present. – True
(When the old man is in deep meditation, there are no thoughts. He experiences the oneness with the ONE. In that experience, he does not have any Delusion, which means the causal body is not present.)
Therefore, the Causal Body fails the P/A test and it is an incidental addition and not an integral part of the old man.
Statement 77: Consciousness is the integral part and not an incidental addition
The old man is present and the Consciousness is present. – True
At ANY point of time or place,
The old man is present and his consciousness is NOT present – False
Therefore, the Consciousness (alone) passes the P/A Test and it alone is the integral part of the old man. In fact, since nothing other than consciousness passes the P/A Test, we cannot say it is a ‘part’. The old man is consciousness.
Note: On death, the old man’s physical body alone is discarded. His subtle body, causal body and the Consciousness continue to survive. On the dissolution of the whole universe, the subtle body is also resolved and the causal body alone remains in the unmanifest state as a part of AEM. Consciousness is eternally present without any change. However, these details are not relevant for the topic under discussion. Our focus here is to arrive at the correct meaning the word “I” while the old man is alive, which is consciousness as concluded above.
Statement 78: There is no space between my consciousness and me
I do not have to travel anywhere to reach my consciousness.
Statement 79: There is no time gap between my consciousness and me
I do not know when I started to exist and this means I am present all the time and I will always be present.
This means my consciousness is not an incidental addition like my body/mind complex.
Thus, we have found out our true identity. We are not our dress, contact lens, physical body, mind or wrist watch. We are the Consciousness.
Statement 80: The word “I” refers to Consciousness
We are under the spell of ignorance caused by Delusion that we are the body/mind complex for a long time. Therefore, it will take a while to understand the implication of this.
Example: According to a recent discovery, Pluto is no longer eligible for a planetary status. When some one asks about the number of planets in the Solar System, we might say nine by force of habit. However, we must realize it is a mistake and slowly train ourselves to the new truth. If we continue to include Pluto as a planet then we will be forced to include many more objects as planets and cannot progress in our knowledge on planetary astronomy!
Similarly, we should get clarity on our real nature.
Lesson 28: Practical – Gaining Knowledge
How do we gain any specific knowledge?
Collection of information
Select the appropriate sense organs
Use the sense organs efficiently
Collect all the relevant information
Convert the information into knowledge
Process the information by comparing with the previous knowledge (stored in the memory)
Apply all the relevant information with respect to related details like the time, space and the context in which the information is collected
Use logic and discriminatory sense to convert the filtered information in to knowledge.
Let us apply the above stated steps to see how we identify a person from an old group photo.
Collection of information
Select the appropriate sense organs: Use the Eyes.
Use the sense organs efficiently: Since the photo is taken a long time ago, see properly, may be with a magnifying lens if required.
Collect all the relevant information: Read when, where and on what occasion the photograph was taken.
Convert the information into knowledge
Process the information by comparing with previous knowledge (stored in the memory): Do you recall any familiar face?
Apply all the relevant information with respect to related details like the time, space and the context in which the information is collected: Recall the names of all the persons whom you know, who will fit with the data collected with respect to age, venue, occasion etc.
Use logic and discriminatory sense to convert the filtered information into knowledge: It is not possible to name a person who has not born when the photograph was taken. Use such logic.
As result of following the above steps we can correctly identify the person OR make a mistake depending on how well we do these steps. Both Collection of Information AND Conversion into knowledge are equally important but Conversion into knowledge MUST be based on the information received from the primary sense organ, namely eyes in the above example.
Four Types of Meaning
A word can have any one or more meanings depending on the context.
Type 1: Direct Meaning (Mango is the name of a fruit)
This is the most often used meaning of the word ‘Mango’.
Type 2: Figurative meaning
In a computer game of collecting mangoes this word may refer to the score
Type 3: Situational meaning
It may mean a ripe fruit if one wants to eat it or it may mean the unripe mango if one wants it for cooking.
Type 4: Appropriate meaning
“Can you eat a full mango?” Here it means the edible parts of the mango and not the skin and seed parts of the mango.
“Buy me a full mango”. Here it means the entire mango and not just the edible part
Type 4 has following three sub types, which are explained with the example:
“It is time for my medicine”
Subtype 1: Total Negation
Depending on the situation, one should negate the entire direct meaning of a word and take a totally different but related word to be the meaning.
It might be possible that it means liquor and not medicine.
Sub Type 2: Imputed Meaning
Depending on the situation, one should include an additional meaning along with what is conveyed
May be the person is indicating that he wants to take the medicine AND go to sleep, which may also mean, “Leave me alone. I want to sleep”.
Sub Type 3: Part Negation and Part Acceptance
Depending on the situation, one should include only certain parts of the meaning of the word and exclude certain other parts.
May be we are supposed to bring the regular medicines excluding the sleeping pill since the patient is already feeling sleepy.
It requires a high degree of intelligence to figure out what exactly is the meaning of the sentence. Normally one should take the literal meaning of a sentence (Type 1). If we find any contradiction in the meaning then we should explore the other types and figure out which type of meaning should be taken.
The level of intelligence of a person determines his understanding level. Suppose you tell your guest ‘eat the full mango’ and if he attempts to eat the skin and seed, it shows his level of intelligence.
Unless a person is highly intelligent it is not possible to understand, the correct meaning at all times.
Example: You can educate your not-so-intelligent guest on what you mean by ‘full mango’ and may be next time he will eat only the edible portion. However, it is not possible for you to guide him at all times.
Imagine you are visiting his house and he gives you mango juice. After drinking it you ask him, ‘Can you give me one more glass’ and he gives you an empty glass, what will be your reactions?
The bottom line is such persons cannot get the right knowledge in most situations.
Although intelligent, many of us are conditioned to see the wrong picture of ourselves. Therefore, it is increasingly difficult to see the right picture.
Lesson 29: Gaining Knowledge on YOU
Right knowledge Vs Wrong knowledge
The process of getting the knowledge remains same as discussed earlier. Whether it is right or wrong depends on how efficiently we complete each of the above steps. If there is any mistake in any of these steps, we will get wrong knowledge.
Example: When we want to identify a person in a group photo taken twenty years ago, the probability of getting wrong knowledge is high. Sometimes we will not be able to get the knowledge at all. We then have to believe what has been told to us by others.
Nevertheless, the process of gaining the knowledge remains same whether we get to right knowledge (correctly identifying a person in the photo) or wrong knowledge.
Similarly, for identifying our real nature, we need to do two things.
Statement 81: Scriptures are the only source to know God.
Collect the information using the appropriate source: Scriptures.
It is not possible to get this information from anywhere else. Since reading and understanding the Scriptures is a difficult, if not impossible process, one must get the help of a teacher and listen to the teaching intently in order to understand the meaning of the words.
Statement 82: We need to apply scientific/ logical enquiry to understand the content of the Scriptures.
Then we need to use our discriminatory sense and covert this information into knowledge.
Discriminatory sense should not be allowed to work independent of the Scriptures. If it does, it will come to the wrong conclusion.
Any information that is communicated using words can be understood correctly only if we are clear about the four different types of meaning to a single word as detailed under the heading Four Types of Meaning.
Let us now attempt to understand the right meaning of the central message of the Scriptures: “You Are That”
This is the central theme of the all the religions in the world.
The word, ‘THAT’ in the sentence refers to God. The Direct Meaning of the sentence means, “You are God”.
We can see a contradiction here. One may wonder, “How can I be God? God is all-powerful and I am powerless. God is omnipresent and I am limited to this place and time. How can I be equated to God?”
Therefore, we should ignore the direct meaning of the sentence and use the Subtype 3 (Part Negation and Part Acceptance) of Type 4 (Appropriate Meaning) to find out the true meaning of the sentence.
Statement 83: YOU means reflected Consciousness
Meaning of the word YOU includes the following as seen earlier.
Normal additions to your physical body like dress, shoes, jewels etc
One should include only the relevant parts and ignore the irrelevant parts, depending on the context.
All the following statements are true but they all refer to different parts of ‘I’.
I am gorgeous (Refers to my physical body including all the add-ons)
I am fat (Refers ONLY to my physical body excluding my dress)
I am hungry (Refers ONLY to my LF3 in my Subtle Body)
I am angry (Refers ONLY to my mind sheath in my Subtle Body)
I am intelligent (Refers ONLY to my intelligence sheath in my Subtle Body)
I am drowsy (Refers to my Subtle Body and Causal Body)
I am immortal (Refers ONLY to my consciousness)
I am here – (Refers to EVERYTHING that is listed above)
I am there with you – (Means my mind is with you while physical body is here)
I am everywhere – (Refers ONLY to my consciousness)
The meaning of the word in its primary sense (that includes any or all the parts) is limited by space and time.
Therefore, we should take ONLY Reflected Consciousness and exclude all other add-ons. Then we should apply Type 3 – Situational meaning, and take the Original Consciousness as the meaning of the word YOU and not the reflection.
Still the Consciousness does not seem to be God.
Statement 84: THAT means reflected Consciousness
We need to infer the meaning of the expression God, applying the same logic.
The word ‘God’ normally includes
All inanimate things
All gross bodies in the universe
All subtle bodies in the universe
All causal bodies in the universe
(In short the entire creation)
We exclude everything else other than ‘Reflected Consciousness’ and we take it to refer to the Original Consciousness. Then we can see the meaning of the sentence YOU ARE THAT as follows
You are Consciousness
God is Consciousness
Statement 85: Therefore, it is proved that you are God.
God is the reflection of ONE seen through the medium of Illusion.
You are also the reflection of ONE seen through the medium of Delusion.
Since both are reflections of the same original, both are same.
Example: A Concave Mirror and a Convex Mirror are kept on two sides of an object; the object will appear to be very big in one mirror and very small in another mirror. When we say the Small Object is same as the Big Object, we do not mean the reflection. We negate the reflection, we negate the mirrors and we mean only the object, which is independent of the mirrors.
There is no connection between the object and the mirrors
Similarly, Consciousness has no connection with either the God or with human beings.
Although the movie screen supports all the characters in the movie, it is not contaminated or polluted by their presence nor is it destroyed by their absence. When the movie is over the screen continues to exist. One need not stop the movie to see this truth.
Similarly, the Consciousness is not affected in anyway by the presence of a body, nor is it destroyed on death of a body. This can be understood easily if we see the connectionless-ness between our body and the Consciousness. This is an intellectual process and gives an ‘Aha’ experience on realization of the truth.
Lesson 30: Summary “You Are That”
If we read some medical literature on how we digest food and extract energy from it, we may find it complicated, yet in actuality we digest food without any conscious effort.
Similarly, reading the tools for discarding irrelevant parts and using the relevant part alone for understanding the statement “You are that” may sound difficult. Nevertheless, we are accustomed to doing this as shown in the following example.
Example: On the 25th anniversary of your graduation, you attend a function where you meet many persons. You see an old, fat, bald, well-dressed but gloomy person sitting just opposite to you. One of your friends comes and introduces him to you as your close friend in college whom you had met 25 years back. Immediately you get a picture of a young, thin, shabbily dressed jovial person with lots of hair in your mind. All the attributes of both the person are different. But you discount all of them; you realize the person whom you see in front of you is the same person whom you knew well 25 years ago and have an ‘Aha’ experience.
Similarly, you are conditioned by wrong information about yourself and the Scriptures tell you who you really are. There are many differences between the two of you (There is really no two persons!). However, when you discount all the apparent differences (incidental additions) and see the identity (the intrinsic part); you will have an ‘Aha’ experience. This is called liberation or enlightenment.
Just as a movie, the body has an entertainment value.
Consciousness without a body cannot have entertainment. Therefore, after realization one can start enjoying the presence of the body, as long as it is available. The meaning of the word liberation or enlightenment is to know the correct meaning of the word ‘I’. The whole life will be a play after that.
Mortality belongs to the body. You are immortal.
Limitation belongs to the mind. You are infinite.
YOU ARE THAT.
Statement 86: ‘Aha’ experience is enlightenment.
Introspection (2nd step to knowledge)
Number of Sessions 5
(42 to 46)
Number of Lessons 4
(31 to 34)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Own up the knowledge so far gained
(b) Ascertain what needs to be done as a next step towards joyful living
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.49 to 1.53 of the original text)
The entire unit is to be delivered as practical. There shall be group discussion and the teacher should guide the discussions so that learning happens automatically.
More notes are given under each lesson.
1. Explain how the Universe does not exist.
2. Explain how ONE alone exists
3. How can we conclude that science cannot find the truth?
4. How can we know the central message of all the religion?
5. Why there is so much confusion with regard to religion in the world?
Lesson 31: Practical on Introspection
Notes to the teacher:
Introspection is the process of internalizing the knowledge gained through Inquiry.
Example: “He eats 10 loaves of bread for breakfast.” The first step is to understand the meaning of the sentence (for example, the size of a loaf etc), which comes through Inquiry. After Inquiry, one may understand the sentence but may not believe it is possible for anyone to eat this much. If that person eats 10 loaves of bread to prove the point, then it can be believed to be true and the introspection will end.
Similarly, the students have to get convinced that the central message, ‘You Are That’, is true. The teacher must initiate a discussion to facilitate this goal.
During the process of Inquiry, the responsibility of transferring the knowledge lies with the teacher. In the process of Introspection, the responsibility lies with the student to absorb the knowledge. The teacher’s role is to facilitate the discussion.
A set of model questions and answers are given below:
Question: Is it ever possible to live joyfully all the time?
Answer: Yes. The only way is, to understand the central theme of the Scriptures.
Question: What is the central theme?
Answer: You have to Inquire and find that it is “You are that”.
Question: OK. I have now inquired and understood it. Nevertheless, I still have problems in life and I do not see the possibility of living joyfully?
Answer: In order to get the benefit of this knowledge there are two more steps. The next step is Introspection, which will make your knowledge stronger.
Lesson 32: Practical – Role of Science and Religion
There are two streams of knowledge in the world. One is ‘science’; the other is ‘religion’. Science has made significant progress and transformed the cave man of Stone Age into a modern man with incomparable status as regards to wealth, health, physical security and comfort. However, science has failed to make any significant progress in making life joyful. It is not possible to solve all our problems through mere economic development.
One has to understand this limitation of science in bringing everlasting peace, non-diminishing happiness and undisturbed security and turn towards Religion.
Scriptures are the only source of pointing the way to heaven in this world.
Question: There are many religions in the world. In each religion, there are many sub sects. Beliefs and faiths seem to vary widely, even within the same religion. Then how is it ever going to be possible to gain any knowledge from this ocean of information.
Answer: Our intelligence is the only key. If we follow the life style prescribed by our religion (it could be any religion) we will come to a stage wherein we will be ready to inquire the central theme of the Scriptures of all the religion in the world.
The inquiry if done properly will lead us to the knowledge “You are that”
Doubt: There are many messages given in various Scriptures, which appeal to me. How am I to know that “You are that” is THE central theme of all the religions?
Answer: Having understood the meaning of the central theme “You are that” one has to cross the next two steps, namely ‘Introspection’ and ‘Inner Transformation’ Joyful living will be possible on completion of these two steps. That is the proof that ‘You are that’ is the central theme. The proof of the pudding lies in the eating
Example: After crossing 80% of the distance towards a place suddenly if you get a doubt whether you are on the right path, the prudent thing to do is to cross the remaining 20% and then see whether it is the right path.
Question: Ok. I am ready to cross the remaining 20% distances in the path to Joyful Living. Tell me what to do.
Answer: Having gained the knowledge you should start questioning your own understanding. It is essential that you test the strength of your newly acquired knowledge. It should not be just another knowledge, which co-exists with contradicting knowledge.
Example: A judge must listen to the arguments from both the sides and come to one conclusion/ conviction. He cannot decide that both the arguments are logical and conclude, “Both are correct from their respective point of view”. The judge must decide one way or another.
Similarly, it is essential to understand that the ONLY truth is “You are that” and it is not yet another version of the truth. In order to reach this stage we should gain clarity on the meaning and purpose of all the teachings of all the religions. We should be free of any doubts in this respect.
Lesson 33: Practical – Universe does not exist!
Doubt: What is this ONE?
Answer: It cannot be explained by words because it is nameless, formless, attribute less, infinite, immortal, eternal, inseparable whole. …
Doubt: Then how do you know it exists?
Answer: It is explained in the Scriptures through indirect statements. (It cannot be explained by direct statements)
Doubt: Indirect Statements means ONE has some attributes. If it does not have any attributes how can any indirect statement show it? (Indirect sentence means “Depending on the situation one should negate the entire direct meaning of a word and take a totally different but related word to be the meaning”)
Doubt: If ONE has attributes then it is yet another object in creation and cannot be eternal. If it has no attributes then it cannot be explained by Scriptures. Therefore, it does not exist.
Answer 1: How do we prove anything exists? In order to say something exists, (Test 1) there should be a basis on which its presence is perceived and (Test 2) we should be able to define it.
We cannot prove anything else (other than ONE) exists!!
Proof that nothing can be proved to exist:
We feel the universe exists because we perceive it. However, we cannot define it as explained below. (So it fails the test of existence)
Take any specific object and try to define it. You will have to explain it by saying about its attributes (name, form, big, small, soft, hard, tall, short, red, blue etc) or composition (components or parts of it) or action (what it does) or relationship (with something else) or accept that it cannot be explained!
It is not possible to define anything that we perceive because they do not exist for real. If we attempt to explain them, we will be caught in one of the five problems as listed below.
Explanations are given to negate the existence of any object by showing that it is not possible to explain the object using its attributes. Same arguments will hold good for using composition, action or relationship to explain the object.
Think of any object and answer the following questions.
Five Problems while explaining anything
1. Self Contradiction (’I am dumb’)
The object has an attribute called X.
Does this attribute depend on the object that you are trying to describe?
Yes. (If you say no, it will be self-contradicting)
2. Self Dependence (‘I stand on my shoulder’)
Then tell me about that object which has X attribute.
It has Y attribute. (If you say X attribute, it will be Self Dependence)
3. Mutual Dependence (“I stand on your shoulder and you are on mine”)
Then tell me about that object which has Y attribute.
It has Z attribute. (If you say X attribute, it will be Mutual Dependence)
4. Cyclical Dependence (I stand on you, you stand on him and he stands on me)
Then tell me about that object which has Z attribute.
It has A attribute. (If you say X attribute, it will be Cyclical Dependence)
5. Recursive (never ending…)
Then tell me about that object which has A attribute.
It has B attribute. (There is no end. You will never be able to explain this object to me)
Therefore, it is proved that NOTHING exists!
Lesson 34: Practical – ONE alone exists.
Doubt: But I perceive the universe and how can you say it does not exist, just because I am not able to explain it?
Answer: What is perceived but cannot be explained is called Illusion and not real. What is real should be perceived and it should be possible to explain it as well.
Doubt: Then how can ONE pass the test of existence?
Answer: It passes in the very first step. We can explain ONE by saying, ‘ONE is the substratum on which the universe rests’. Is ONE related to the Universe? NO. For all the objects in the universe, if the answer is NO in the first step, it is self-contradiction. For ONE it is not because it belongs to the higher order of reality.
Example: Can you be hungry and feel full at the same time. Yes, in the dream you may feel the hunger while in reality you are full.
Can water and dryness coexist? Yes, in a mirage.
Thus, the self-contradiction is applicable only if both belong to same order of reality.
Doubt: If ONE does not have, any attribute how can it be explained in the Scriptures?
Answer: ONE is explained by indirect statements since it is attribute less. In order to describe it through indirect statements, it has to have a relationship. It has a relationship with the universe, which is not absolute relationship, but a relationship that is imposed on it. ONE is the substratum upon which the entire universe is perceived. This superimposition is the relationship.
It is just as a snake is seen on the rope in the twilight. If the rope is not there, one cannot see the snake. Nevertheless, the rope does not have any relationship with the snake. We superimpose the form of snake on the rope due to our lack of knowledge. If we critically examine the snake, snake will vanish and only the rope, which is the connectionless substratum of the snake, will remain.
Similarly, we see the universe and do not perceive it to be ONE. If the ONE were not there, we would not have seen the universe. Nevertheless, the ONE does not have any relationship with universe. We superimpose the universe on the ONE due to our lack of knowledge. If we critically examine the universe (as we tried to explain an object but being caught in the 5 issues and accept our inability to explain), the universe will vanish and only the ONE which is the connectionless substratum of the universe will remain.
Doubt: If we call universe an illusion then we should call ONE an imagination because, it can be explained but cannot be perceived. ONE also fails the test of existence.
Answer: ONE can be perceived as well.
We have five sense organs. Assume that none of them are available to you. Then you cannot perceive the existence of the universe. Nevertheless, you can perceive the presence of your self. That is ONE. Moreover, the Scriptures declare that YOU ARE THAT ONE.
So ONE can be perceived and explained. Therefore, it is the only reality.
Just like in the dream world is a lower order of reality, the waking world is also a lower order of reality comparatively. When we wake up, we realize that the dream world is an illusion entirely created by our mind.
We assume that our five senses report the existence of the world around us and therefore the world exists as a fact. This is a wrong assumption. Our sense organs report only what is perceived and do not comment on whether it is a fact or not.
Example: If we see an object, the eyes report the color and shape of the object. Eyes do not say that the object exists as a reality. (In a magic show, we do not believe the eyes, since we are aware that we are seeing a show. Unfortunately, we are not aware that life itself is a magic show. This is so because of our Delusion)
Due to our ignorance, we assume that the object exists. Scientifically it is proved that the object is nothing but a dance of atoms, which is actually pure energy. Our current inquiry about the Scriptures is guiding us to see the truth as truth, that nothing (except ONE, since one is aware) in the universe exists.
When we are awakened to the knowledge given by Scriptures, we realize that the so-called real world is also an illusion created by our Delusion in the mind!
When this Delusion is wiped out, we complete this second step to knowledge, namely, Introspection.
Until we get the right knowledge, we should continue our Inquiry.
In addition, until we clear all our doubts, we should continue our Introspection.
Once we have doubtless right knowledge we should proceed to the final step in gaining knowledge, namely, Inner Transformation.