Inner Transformation (3rd step to knowledge)
Number of Sessions 7
(47 to 53)
Number of Lessons 6
(35 to 40)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Identify the role of two types of meditation
(b) Understand the process of Managing the Thoughts
(c) Understand the process of Managing the mind
(d) Learn the right method to do meditation
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.54 to 1.62 of the original text)
It is expected that each student will be having different types of issues to overcome. The teacher has to deal with them independently and appropriate solution should be suggested.
1. What is the need to do the final step, Inner Transformation (Lesson 35)
2. Why should the mind be trained?
3. Discuss the difference between Generic Meditation and Specific Meditation.
4. Explain the difference between the three types of thoughts
5. Describe Aha experience
Lesson 35: Introduction to Inner Transformation
Once the first and second steps (Inquiry and Introspection) are completed properly, one will get a clear and doubtless knowledge of ONE. At this stage, many will get the benefit of the knowledge, namely liberation from the Eternal Cycle. However, for some it does not happen. They seem to continue to get affected by the world in spite of the knowledge that the whole universe is the illusion.
If the real nature of God, Self and the universe is not understood one has to go back to Step 1 (unit 7) and do the Inquiry until the understanding happens.
If the real nature of God, Self and the universe is not known as truth one has to go back to Step 2 (Unit 8) and do Introspection until knowledge of the truth is doubtlessly known.
If Joyful Living does not commence even after successfully completing the first two steps, one has to enter the third step, Inner Transformation.
Statement 87: Enlightenment does not involve any mystical experience
Every one of us is capable of getting the enlightenment. Enlightenment is nothing but the firm and steady knowledge that we are ONE and not the body/mind complex.
There is a misconception, which says that one has to get a mystical experience of being one with the God! This is wrong.
One is experiencing ONE all the time and lacks the knowledge that it is the SELF/ ONE that powers this phenomenal existence. Therefore, once the knowledge is gained through the first two steps (Inquiry and Introspection) one should normally get the benefit of liberation. However, it may not happen for all of us.
Example: In a house, which is not inhabited for a long time, even after filling the overhead tank with water, it may not flow in the taps. Water will not come from the tap not because there is no water in the tank but because there are blocks in the pipe. One needs to remove the blocks to get the water flow from the tap.
Normally this ultimate knowledge is gained only after adequate preparation of the mind. Nevertheless, there are exceptions. Knowledge is gained without the intelligence having complete control over mind. In such cases, the benefit of the knowledge will not be available until the mind is prepared well. It is like filling the overhead tank with water without ensuring that the outlet pipes are not blocked.
Statement 88: When the Mind is not fully trained, Inner Transformation is required to realize the benefit of enlightenment.
The mind is trained over many centuries (in various past births) to think that the world is real and that the ONE is an unrelated entity, which may or may not exist. However, the newly acquired knowledge says just the opposite that ONE is the only real entity and the rest is an illusion.
It will take a while for this knowledge to sink in the mind. This final step, Inner Transformation, is to help the seeker to overcome this problem.
In order to get the benefit of the knowledge one has to remove one final obstruction, namely, ‘untrained mind’. It is generally not possible to gain the knowledge without training the mind in the first place. Nevertheless, some people may gain the knowledge without a fully trained mind. Such people will have to follow this prescribed practice (Inner Transformation) in order to prepare the mind and make use of the knowledge.
Example: Assume that after years of keeping a dictionary in the bookshelf, we changed its location to a new place that is just above the reading desk. Now our mind has the new knowledge that the dictionary is not in the old place. Yet, we tend to keep going to the same old place before we realize that it is not there.
This is so because the mind is trained to look for the dictionary in that specific place and it was habituated to go to the old place. It will take a while to get the benefit of the knowledge and get it directly from the new place. While one can access the dictionary without going anywhere, due to the past habit one will get up from the seat go to the book-shelf, search for it and then realize that it is right on the reading desk.
Similarly, our mind is trained to look for happiness, peace and security in the external world. Now the new knowledge shows that one need not run around the world seeking material gains in order to fulfill these needs. It will take a while for the mind to get used to the new knowledge and stop chasing the mirage.
However, it will not automatically happen. One needs to train the mind and imbibe the new knowledge. This is done through Meditation.
Statement 89: Meditation is the tool to train the mind.
Lesson 36: Role of Meditation in Inner Transformation
Inner Transformation is done to overcome two types of problems. One is a generic problem (removing the imprint of the old knowledge) and another is a specific problem (removing the specific wrong imprint gained by a specific individual through repeated action)
Attitude has its roots in the basic concepts/truths one is holding. Once these basic concepts and truths are changed, attitude will also change. Moreover, the change in attitude will lead to changes in behavior. Behavior is also influenced by the repeated habits. Therefore, one has to change behavior consciously. It is done through Generic and Specific Meditation.
Statement 90: Living in Meditation
Even after knowing that we are not the body/mind complex, we might get upset or angry, if some one makes a critical comment on our looks or on our intelligence. These sorts of issues are solved through Generic Meditation.
One can do this anytime of the day and in any environment. There is no prescribed place, posture, position and time for this meditation. Generic Meditation is done by recalling and entertaining the true meaning of the word ‘I’. One can meditate upon the illusion of the universe OR the Ever Witnessing Joy nature of the SELF/ ONE.
There should be a deliberate attempt to get this knowledge into the mind. One should get absorbed in these thoughts, dwell upon them and consciously entertain the idea of unity of SELF and ONE as frequently as possible.
Reading the Scriptures, discussing the same with friends, writing about it, teaching others are some of the ways to get the mind soaked in this idea so that it is aware of the reality all the time.
It is like watching the same movie many times. First time, we watch it casually or out of curiosity. Then we watch it again to enjoy the songs, comedy, dialogues and such components that make up the movie. Similarly, when we learn the Scriptures repeatedly we can enjoy the whole creation as a well-made movie.
Example: While listening to English News in the Radio a father and a young son, both hear the same words. The father gains knowledge. Son does not. The news was the same. However, the son was not fit to receive the knowledge. The father owing to his absorbing capacity gets the knowledge.
Thus, when someone calls us ‘stupid’, we should have the capability to recall our real identity, prior to responding to that person. To help us gain this capability we need Generic Meditation, which involves living the life with the new knowledge. This should be done until one is aware of the reality without any conscious effort. A man does not have to remind himself that he is a body/mind complex living in a real world. Similarly, we should be conscious of the unreality of the universe all the time without any prompting from our intelligence.
Statement 91: Specific Meditation for removal of accumulated preferences
This is similar to the conventional meditation. One should sit in a comfortable posture for a specific length of time at a fixed place and time everyday and do the meditation.
The objective of any conventional meditation is to improve the ability of the mind to concentrate and focus for gaining the knowledge. Specific Meditation on the other hand deals with the problems that are specific to the individual who has already gained the knowledge.
Example: Although one is now aware that financial security will not give peace of mind, he will continue to get affected by the stock markets swings due to sheer habit. Such a person has to do meditation specifically on the unreality of the world and the insignificant role of wealth to bring peace and happiness.
The need for Specific Meditation comes due to the repeated actions of the individual done in the past with a wrong knowledge. One has to consciously meditate on the impact of the new knowledge on these actions and perform them according to the correct knowledge. (One can continue to trade in stocks after gaining the knowledge but he should do it with total awareness of its role)
Example: The Board of a corporate body might take a decision to implement a certain plan. How well it is implemented depends on the executing authority and operating personnel. In the case of our Body/Mind complex, Intelligence is the Managing Director, Mind is the executing Manager and our Five Senses are operating personnel. By sheer force of habit, the senses will continue to run after sense pleasures without being controlled by the mind. The mind itself may not function with full involvement in carrying out the instructions of the intelligence. In a commercial environment, the Managing Director might issue an instruction, which may not be followed with the same sprit at the lower levels.
Specific Meditation is done with a view to make the entire chain of command function efficiently so that the intent of the top is carried out efficiently and effectively at all levels.
Example: It will be difficult for anyone who is used to driving a car on one side of the road to start driving on the other side. Similarly, one who drives a manual car will take time to adapt to an automatic car. One has to consciously give instructions to follow the different procedure in order to function in the new environment.
Once the sense organs and the mind get accustomed to drive in the new environment one can stop concentrating on the driving and it will be a pleasure to drive. (It will be a tension until the art of driving is mastered!)
Thus, the Specific Meditation is done until our intellectual knowledge that the world is unreal peculates down to the Mind. When this happens, the world will lose its power to affect us, because we are aware of its unreality without any reminder.
Lesson 37: Practical – Managing Thoughts
Although it appears that thousands of thoughts coexist in our mind, the fact is at any one point we have only one thought. However, due to the enormous processing speed of the mind, it appears to deal with thousands of thoughts at the same time.
Open your eyes. A rose is shown to you.
A thought about the flower is created in your mind.
Think about the flower.
There are two entities.
One is the flower outside and
Another is the thought inside.
You are also aware that you are thinking about the flower.
Close your eyes. You know that
1. The rose is outside
2. The rose thought is inside
3. You are aware of both.
Is it ever possible to continue maintaining the same status (of having just these three entities)? It appears that it is not possible. A thought of your friend enters your mind. Now the status is as follows.
1. The rose is outside (This may not be true. Since your eyes are closed the flower could have been destroyed completely and you are not aware of it)
2. The rose thought inside is now replaced by the thought of your friend.
3. Are you aware that your thought about your friend is just a thought and not real?
Before you pay any attention to this question, more thoughts are rushing into your mind. You are recalling an incident that involved your friend and the rose OR the thoughts regarding the future (that you should take this flower to your friend) enter your mind. You get carried away by the train of such thoughts.
You will thus start living in a world of thoughts (sometimes referred to as day dreaming or worrying) that is not real.
The problem is not that we are thinking about the past or future. The problem is that we are not aware that we are thinking. These are mere thoughts and do not represent the reality outside.
So all our problems in life owe their origin to this fact that we do not live in the present. It is fine as long as we are aware that we are only thinking, when we think of the past or future. We are not our mind, so it is possible to have many thoughts in our mind and still not be affected by it.
The imprints of likes and dislikes in our mind determine the flow of thoughts in the mind. We can manage them as long as we are aware that they are thoughts and not real. We cannot manage them if we start giving reality to the thoughts, which is the case in most human beings.
Lesson 38: Three kinds of Thoughts
Statement 92: Thoughts originate through the five senses
The source of all thoughts is our five senses. The external world enters our mind through our sense organs and is converted as thoughts. Such thoughts are called Objective Thoughts.
Example: I see a flower. (Objective Thought)
These Objective Thoughts are validated by the sixth sense and put together as a map showing the external world. This process is done under the supervision of the Ego.
Statement 93: Ego contaminates the thoughts and turns them as desires
Ego is a set of thoughts that arise with the words ‘I’ and ‘mine’. These thoughts are called Sponsoring Thoughts.
Example: This flower is mine or I want this flower (Sponsoring Thought)
These Sponsoring Thoughts govern all our action and response to the external world. The map of external world – composed of objective thoughts - is continuously modified by the Sponsoring Thoughts depending on the experience it gains.
As a result, the Objective Thoughts are branded by Sponsoring Thoughts as good, bad, desirable, undesirable etc. Such modified thoughts are called Subjective Thoughts.
Example: This flower is beautiful (Subjective Thought)
The Subjective Thoughts are stored in the memory for the later use. Ego increasingly starts depending on the Subjective Thoughts and make the body run after (desirable objects) or run away from (undesirable) objects of the external world.
Since normally the ego is ignorant of its own identity, its judgment is wrong and the Subjective Thoughts do not represent the real world. This causes suffering.
Statement 94: Understanding three types of thoughts will lead to managing thoughts.
This represents thoughts that correspond to our Imprints about the objects and events around us. Although these thoughts are grouped under the banner ‘Objective Thought, they are not really objective. They are colored heavily by our subjective thoughts.
The object outside (a cow for example) creates a thought of food in one person’s mind and creates a thought of god in another’s mind. But both will call that object by the same name.
It is important to redefine our judgment on these thoughts based on our new knowledge. If we do that, we can manage the external world exceedingly well. We can function more efficiently and gain material welfare, comfort and progress in life as long as we keep Objective Thoughts as Objective Thoughts without coloring them with our subjectivity.
These are conditioned thoughts that represent our likes and dislikes. These are imprinted in our memory because of our experience in the world in this birth and all our previous births.
Judgment about the future is also made through subjective thoughts. Worry, anxiety and such emotions are the result of these set of thoughts.
Subjective Thoughts are the roots of all our emotions. One should be in full control of the process of accumulation of the Subjective Thoughts as emotion. If they are accumulated in an organized way without our scrutiny, they will lead to undesirable emotions like anger, jealousy, worry, anxiety and such.
As a corollary, we can consciously build the Subjective Thoughts so that we will have positive emotions like love, kindness, compassion, pleasantness and such.
This represents all thoughts that arise with the words “I” and “mine” which stem from the ignorant ego. Prior to knowledge the ego assumes the role of limited self and strives to progress in the external world chasing everlasting happiness.
Sponsoring thoughts are responsible for converting Objective Thoughts into Subjective Thoughts. With the elimination of ego through the understanding of ONE, the process of this conversion stops.
Objective Thoughts remain as Objective Thoughts and one is very efficient in dealing with the Objective Thoughts and deal with the external world.
The accumulated Subjective Thoughts may have some influence on the mind but the knowledge that one is not connected to the mind will ensure one is not unduly affected.
On gaining the knowledge, the objective thoughts will become truly objective thoughts. Many objective thoughts are required to gain economic progress in the external world leading to comforts and selective subjective thoughts, which will ensure pleasure, and fun in life.
Example: Suppose you are a cricket or tennis fan watching a final match of a big event, you are totally involved and absorbed in the match.
You are aware that you are watching. (Sponsoring thoughts are present)
You are aware of what you are watching (Objective thoughts are present)
You are aware ONLY of your desirable thoughts (Selective Subjective Thoughts) to the complete exclusion of all other thoughts. You are engrossed in the match and quite unaware of anything that is happening around you. You do not even feel your hunger/ thirstiness because you are fully absorbed in the match.
While watching the game, it is the only reality to you. The rest of the external world does not exist for you. You are not aware of your worries and problems in life. Only when the game gets over, you come back to the real world.
Similarly, it is possible for us to live the entire life by getting involved each and every activity in life. The truth is just as the game is an entertainment; the whole life is an entertainment once we gain the knowledge. The whole universe is a magic show that is being staged for our entertainment. There may be times when our wallet or diamond ring disappears. There are times when an enemy turns into a friend. We need to just enjoy the show. There is no point in crying (no harm if it is a momentary reaction) when we lose our diamond ring nor we should go overboard if it reappears in our bank locker.
A steady mind makes it possible to enjoy the present. It functions more efficiently and effectively because it is alert all the time.
Statement 95: Concentration is possible when thoughts are managed.
Lesson 39: Mind Management
Actions are performed as dictated by the imprints in the mind.
Results come in the form of gain/loss, pleasure/pain, love/hate etc as dictated by the accumulated good/ bad actions of the past.
Such results affect the mind either positively or negatively and the mind starts swaying.
Example: Imagine an oil lamp, which is covered by a glass protecting it from the wind. The fire is smooth and undisturbed. In the absence of the glass protection, even a slight wind will make it sway and a stronger wind will blow out the fire.
The protective glass – Our knowledge that the world is an illusion
The wind – Objects and Events in life
The fire – Mind
It is not possible to gain the knowledge when the swaying of the mind is beyond a limit. Therefore, in order to get the knowledge the mind has to be made quiet. This is achieved by conventional meditation or yoga practices.
Then the mind will become eligible to receive the knowledge. Once the knowledge is gained, the mind will progressively become still.
Statement 96: Immature Mind to Mature Mind through FIR
This is the first stage.
By knowing the unreality of the world, the mind will be less disturbed. Frequency, Intensity and Recovery (FIR) aspects of the problem will come down.
(a) Frequency at which the mind gets affected will come down.
The world will continue to be the same. However, the mind will be affected less frequently than before. Even what were major issues will become minor issues.
In short, the crisis and problem of pre-knowledge days will become just situations now.
(b) Intensity in which the mind gets affected will come down
Any event that is affecting the mind will be manifested at three different levels, namely, Mind level, Verbal level and Physical level.
As the knowledge sinks in due to the Inner Transformation process, the intensity in which the mind is affected will come down. At lower intensity, the physical reactions will go away, verbal reactions will be reduced. Others will not be able to sense the presence of negative thoughts in the mind.
(c) Recovery period will be shorter.
Normally it will take a while to get over the negative emotions and gain our normal state of mind. The time take to recover will become progressively less. Since the intensity with which we are affected is becoming less, the recovery period will also reduce. At the final stage, there will be no time gap. The negative emotions will die down even before they manifest.
Statement 97: Mature Mind to Knowledgeable Mind through Inner Transformation
This is the second stage.
Although through consistent practice of Inner Transformation, the disturbance in the mind might come down in all the above three respects, it will not become nil. It is essential to read the Scriptures again with a less disturbed mind. The mature mind with least disturbance will gain the true knowledge that the mind is independent of the self.
One will no longer be bothered about the status of the mind. How frequently or how intensively the mind is being affected does not really matter.
Statement 98: Knowledgeable mind will become eternally peaceful
This is the third and final stage.
After gaining the real knowledge that the status of the mind does not matter, the mind will become much more peaceful.
Note: There is yet another method to attain peaceful mind. It is discussed here for academic interest, since there is no practical benefit for this method.
If one practice meditation and remove all thoughts from the mind, it is possible to make the mind peaceful. This ofcourse requires strenuous practice and it is not guaranteed that all who attempt it will achieve it. Even after achieving a peaceful mind through removal of thoughts, this state can be continued only for a few hours in a day. Again, during this state one cannot interact with the world but sit in isolation. Therefore, there is no practical benefit.
Lesson 40: Summary of Inner Transformation
Generic Meditation and Specific Meditation will enable the seeker to enjoy the fruits of the knowledge. How long these are to be followed will vary person-to-person depending on the mental maturity and the intensity of the practice.
Only a few will not need to perform this step. However, for most others, this step will be necessary and might take a very long time.
However, one will be able to monitor the effect of this effort easily and soon progress to reap the benefit of the knowledge.
Even if one is able to read the Scriptures directly, it should not be attempted without the guidance of a teacher. It is essential that the knowledge from the Scriptures should be obtained ONLY from a teacher through the step of Inquiry as described in Unit 7.
Benefits of gaining the knowledge
Number of Sessions 4
(54 to 57)
Number of Lessons 3
(41 to 43)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the benefits of the knowledge
(b) Perceive the concept on how an enlightened person can remain happy when there is war/ hunger and other social evils are still present in the world.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 1.63 to 1.65 of the original text)
The students should be assessed based on their level of comprehension of the truth. Individual attention should be given and one answer may not satisfy all the students, since they may be at different levels of understanding.
Appropriate guidance should be given depending on the current level of the student.
1. When will one (who is practicing Inner Transformation) gain the benefit of the knowledge? (Lesson 41)
2. Why is an enlightened person free from likes and dislikes?
3. What is the difference between dream and life for an enlightened person?
4. What is the motivation for action for an enlightened person?
5. How can one enjoy life without desires?
Lesson 41: Benefits of gaining knowledge
After understanding ONE through Inquiry and Introspection, one will automatically get in to the final phase of ‘Inner Transformation’ and simultaneously enjoy the benefit of the knowledge. The benefit will correspond to the maturity of the mind (Inner Transformation).
Example: If one is very hungry, a full meal will solve the problem. However, it is not that only after finishing the entire meal the hunger will go. As soon as one starts eating, the hunger will start subsiding.
Similarly, the problems of the world will start dissolving as soon as the process of Inner Transformation begins.
Statement 99: Benefits will start accruing on gaining knowledge.
The immediate benefit of eating is removal of hunger. However, the main benefit is to provide energy to the body. Similarly, the immediate benefit of knowledge is joyful living as long as one lives after obtaining the knowledge. The main benefit will be to wipe out all the accumulated results of the past actions leading to freedom from the Eternal Cycle. The knowledge frees one from the bondage by the body/mind complex.
Statement 100: One will not be influenced by likes and dislikes.
A mind is said to be immature when it sways under the influence of likes and dislikes. Our likes and dislikes are imprinted in our mind due to actions done in the past. These likes and dislikes determine our current action. If one is fully under their influence, the mind will not allow the intelligence to grasp the truth and gain the knowledge that the world is an illusion.
Through preparation of the mind the influence of likes/ dislikes are reduced which will enable it to pursue Inquiry into Scriptures and Introspection on the essence of the Scriptures.
When the mind becomes mature, knowledge is gained.
Even after getting the knowledge, the mind may not be fully free from the influence of likes/ dislikes, which are accumulated over many previous births. However, the action resulting out of the likes/dislikes are monitored by the intelligence, which now knows that our real nature is Ever Witnessing Joy and there is nothing to be gained from the external world. Therefore, the actions of the enlightened person are purely for the sake of serving others out of compassion and not for fulfilling any selfish desires.
Statement 101: One does not require anything from the world for living happily.
Statement 102: Events in the world no longer affect the one with the self-knowledge.
The residue of likes/ dislikes in the mind will no longer bother the enlightened person, since he knows that there is no real connection between himself and his mind. Electricity is not affected by a defect in the electrical gadget.
Statement 103: Negative emotions will not affect the mind.
The mind at this stage will be largely free of anger, jealousy, fear and all such negative emotions. In any case, an enlightened person is free from the mind.
Statement 104: Life will be a dream
All the external objects and events are first perceived by our sense organs. They simply report them without any suggestion as to the reality or falseness of the object/ event. This objective information is processed in the mind and converted as thoughts. Our response to the thoughts is determined by our judgment of our situation, which depends on our mental maturity.
Example: The organization decides that your services are no longer required. It is a crisis if your mind is immature. It is a problem if your mind is mature. It is just a situation if you know that the world is an illusion. You need to respond to the situation appropriately but you do not feel upset because you know that the event is part of the illusion.
It is like being aware of the dream while dreaming. The dream tiger can no longer scare us. We shall continue to run away from the tiger in the dream but we know it can do no harm to our body, which is sleeping in our bedroom.
Thus if we are aware of the illusion, it can never affect us and we can choose to enjoy the illusion as long as we live.
Lesson 42: Liberation from the Eternal Cycle
Statement 105: Self-knowledge will liberate us from the Eternal Cycle.
Inner Transformation will enable Joyful Living.
All our actions stem from our accumulated preferences. In the past, the results of actions set our preferences, which gave rise to desires, leading us to get involved in further action. Now the chain is broken. There are no more desires. Therefore, our actions do not bind us any more.
We will continue to function in this world but our actions will not have any selfish motives/ objectives. All our actions are part of the illusion. There is nothing we desire from this illusion. While a normal person performs action for happiness, an enlightened person performs action out of happiness.
The ego assuming the role of body/mind complex gets involved in action and earns results. This ego is an imaginary concept sustained by Delusion. The ego accumulates the results of all our actions and these results fructify at the appropriate time, in this life or the next.
Statement 106: Ego is eliminated.
On gaining the knowledge the ego is destroyed. We now know that ONE is the only reality that exists and the term ‘I’ no longer refers to the ego but to ONE. Therefore, all the accumulated action-results are destroyed along with the ego. It means one is released from the cycle of births and deaths.
Statement 107: All actions will be desire less
Normally action leads to desires and invokes further action. All the accumulated action-results need to fructify as experience in one birth or another. However, as one exhausts one set of experiences another set of actions are added to the stock. Therefore, this action-result-action is said to be infinite and beginning less. The infinite number of these action-results will get destroyed instantly on gaining the knowledge.
The root cause is for this cycle is Delusion. Since this is removed through knowledge, one is permanently relived from this cycle and one is liberated fully.
Lesson 43: Conclusion
While the world will continue to be the same, such Inner Transformation will result in a new perception.
Example: Although we know Boeing 747 is very big, it will continue to appear very small when we see it flying in the sky.
Although the world around us appears to be real, we will know it is an illusion.
Complete Inner Transformation means one is enlightened and liberated from the Eternal Cycle.
For such a person life is a picnic and the whole world will become a theme park.
How will the world see an enlightened person?
He is the living proof validating the truth that is revealed in the Scriptures. People around him will feel his kind-heartedness, compassion and sweetness of the mind. He will never get angry with anyone and will accept whatever happens at the micro level and the macro level.
They will see him as a kindhearted person since he sees ONE in everybody/ everything.
Example: Ripened fruit will be sweeter and more attractive. It is easily detachable from the tree. (It does not want anything more from the tree)
Similarly, a person who is progressing in Inner Transformation will become a more loving and compassionate person and will remain detached from the society, as he does not require anything from the world.
However, while the world sees an enlightened person with a pleasant mind, from the point of view of the enlightened person, he is not connected with the mind. He is the connectionless Consciousness, which supports the entire creation.
Statement 108: Once we know the meaning of “You Are That”, we will live joyfully.
Understanding FIVE Elements
Unit 01 Understanding the Creation
Unit 02 Understanding the Universe
Unit 03 Understanding the Illusion
Unit 04 Benefits of understanding
Understanding the Creation
Number of Sessions: 4
(01 to 04)
Number of Lessons: 3
(01 to 03)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(c) Understand the role of Pure Existence in creation
(d) Understand the unique nature of Pure Existence
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 2.1 and 2.46 of the original text)
This module will be better appreciated by the students if they have background in Ontology and Epistemology. It is advisable to give an assignment to write atleast two pages on these topics prior to starting the course.
The three orders of reality should be introduced and explained.
1. Subjective Reality (Dream) Object is relatively unstable
2. Objective Reality (World) Object is relatively stable
3. Absolute Reality (ONE) All objects are unreal
5. Describe Pure Existence. (Lesson 1)
6. Explain how the First Law of Thermodynamics supports the process of creation.
7. What is wrong with the statement ‘Nothing existed, prior to creation?
8. Is it proper to say ‘Existence existed, prior to creation’?
9. Explain the 7 differences that do not pertain to Pure Existence (Lesson 2)
10. The objects we see around us are made up of real substance - Discuss
11. Compare and contrast Pure Existence and the Universe (Lesson 3)
Lesson 1: What is creation?
Statement 1: Prior to the creation of this universe, only pure existence existed.
“What was there prior to creation?” is one question, which has kept haunting humanity from time immemorial. The answer to this question is ‘pure existence’. (One of the three perceptions of ONE is ‘pure existence’).
Pure existence can be described as follows:
It has no form/ name and does not do any action
It exists forever in a peaceful/restful state.
It cannot be perceived by mind
It is beyond all sort of duality like light and darkness
It lends existence to everything. The IS ness of the entire universe belongs to it.
This module highlights the Existence perception of ONE and the terms ‘pure existence’ and ‘ONE’ are used interchangeably.
Statement 2: Creation means giving name and form.
It is not possible to create anything new in this universe. All that can be done is to change the form and give a name.
Chair is created and it exists now.
Before the creation of the chair wood existed
After creation of the chair, wood does not exist. Chair exists.
Chair is a different form of wood. In order to identify it to be different from wood, we have given the name ‘Chair’ based on its form.
Thus, creation means only changing the form of something and calling it by a new name. It is impossible to create anything new as stated by the law of conservation of matter and energy.
The total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less. – First law of thermodynamics.
Therefore, prior to creation, the universe existed as pure existence.
Statement 3: It is illogical to say, “Nothing existed” prior to creation.
Firstly, it violates the fundamental law of conservation of matter and energy.
Secondly, it is not logical as shown below.
Water is hot. Here hotness is related to the status of water.
(Water can be hot or cold)
Fire is hot. Here hotness is the nature of fire. (Fire can only be hot)
In the phrase “Wood existed”, the existence is related to the status of wood. Existence is not the nature of wood. (It can exist or not exist)
In the phrase “Pure existence existed”, the existence is the nature of pure existence (It can only exist)
In the phrase “Nothing existed”, the existence can neither be related to nothing nor can it be its nature, just as darkness can neither be related to light nor it can be its nature. Therefore, it is illogical.
Non-existence is the opposite of existence; it cannot be the nature of existence. Therefore, it is illogical and self-contradicting to state, “Nothing existed”
Statement 4: It is not proper to say “Pure existence existed” or “prior to creation” but we cannot help.
Since we are attempting to describe pure existence, which is beyond words, the language will fail. It is not right to say ‘existence existed’ since it appears to be two different things. Nevertheless, we need to understand the meaning of the sentence and ignore the error as unavoidable.
Explanation: If a sentence is not meaningful then one should check the construction of the sentence to find the correct meaning. When the meaning is understood, the purpose of the sentence is served and it is not worthwhile to debate on the construction of the sentence.
Since the concept of time is part of the creation, it is meaningless to talk about ‘prior to creation’ but in order to communicate one is forced to use such meaningless / self-contradicting phrases.
Lesson 2: Nature of pure existence
Statement 5: Pure existence (ONE) is part less, class less and non-dual.
ONE is not an object in the conventional sense. Therefore, it is not possible to give an example to explain it. Instead, we can understand it by knowing the differences. Every object known (except space) will have seven differences as explained below but pure existence has none. This can be understood by analyzing the differences between the following two statements.
There is only one tree in my house
There is only one ONE.
Difference 1: In the first statement, there is a qualification to the tree ‘in my house’. The tree is limited by space. The tree is in my house and it cannot be elsewhere. ONE can have no such qualifications. It is present at all places.
Difference 2: The tree is limited by time. The tree exists now. There was a time when it did not exist and there will be a time when it will not exist. However, ONE is present at all times.
Difference 3: Tree keeps changing. ONE does not change at all. (Nothing in the universe ever remains unchanging).
Difference 4: Tree has many parts whereas ONE has none. Any object in the creation is made up of many components / parts / ingredients. If we start removing them one by one, the object shall no longer exist. The tree has branches, leaves, flowers, fruits etc. ONE is just one. It does not have any parts or components. Nor does it have any ingredients.
Difference 5: This tree is different from other trees. ONE has no such others. Any object in creation belongs to a class (Like Human beings, Animals, Rocks etc) and the individual member is different from the rest of the members in the same class. For example, this tree belongs to a class called ‘mango trees’ and it is different from other mango trees. ONE has no such class.
Difference 6: Mango Tree is different from Apple tree. ONE has no such competing class. Although both Mango Tree and Apple Tree can be called as trees, they belong to different class. ONE has no such differences.
Difference 7: Tree is different from non-tree like animal. ONE has no such non-one. Any object in the creation is one among many other objects. There are animals, insects that are different from trees. ONE has nothing else to cause such differences.
Lesson 3: Creation is a magic show
Statement 6: Universe is just a form and not a real substance.
Contrary to the popular belief, what we see around us in the universe are just forms (for which we have given different names) and not real substance. We have only five sources of knowledge (Ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose) and each of them can perceive only one specific aspect (Sound, touch, form, taste and smell) of an object and none of them can comprehend the existence of any object. They simply report the perception and our mind assumes that it is seeing a real world. In reality the universe does not exist. This fact has been confirmed by scientific investigation (Uncertainty principle.)
The entire universe appears to exist in a specific form (which keeps changing) and it is an illusion. Among the various changing forms, there is only one unchanging truth, which is ‘pure existence’ (ONE).
Pot is and clay is not.
Pot is different from clay with respect to the form.
There is no difference in the ‘existence’ of either clay or pot.
Existence is not a part, product, or property of clay or pot.
The IS ness (existence) of clay and pot is an independent entity called pure existence (ONE) which was existing prior to the creation without any form or name.
Statement 7: Pure existence is not a form that we call ONE.
If everything in the creation is just a name and form, why should we not assume ONE is also a name and form?
It is impossible to say a lie without a truth. In order to have an illusion there has to be a truth as its basis. The ultimate foundation for all illusion is ONE.
Example: I see smoke. Therefore, I infer fire even if I do not see it.
To infer fire, there need to be basis, smoke. It is not possible to infer something without a basis. We see the universe and infer ONE.
Suppose we negate everything and see nothing as the substratum, then the seer of nothing is the basis (You Are That).
Illusion is something, which appears to be real. It means it has a borrowed existence just like the snake borrowing existence from rope. If it is not rope, it has to be something else. There needs to be an ultimate lender of existence, which is called ONE whose original nature is pure existence.
Understanding the Universe
Number of Sessions 5
(05 to 10)
Number of Lessons 4
(04 to 08)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(d) Describe the composition of the Universe
(e) Differentiate living beings from inert objects
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 2.47 to 2.59 of the original text)
Discuss the source of the knowledge. How we acquire knowledge.
The reason for decimal system for human beings is 10 fingers and binary system for computers is 1 and 0. Similarly, we see the world as it is because of the limitation of our sense organs.
11. Prior to creation, this universe existed. True or False? Explain (Lesson 4)
12. Explain the difference between perceived universe and inferred universe.
13. List the five basic elements and write the corresponding qualities of each element. (Lesson 5)
14. Explain the difference between living objects and the inert matter.
15. List the 19 components that make up the Subtle Body.
16. Discuss your understanding of the Subtle Body. (Lesson 6)
17. Explain the example of blue sky and its relation to creation (Lesson 7)
18. Explain the snake-rope example in relation to creation (Lesson 7)
19. Explain the significance of the word THIS, in the context of THIS universe.
Lesson 4: This Universe
Statement 8: Prior to the creation, THIS UNIVERSE existed without form
This is the final answer to the question on the origin of the universe. Whatever we see is just a form for which we have given a name. Prior to the creation of any object, it was in a different form. If we keep working back, we will come to a singularity from which Big Bang started. This singularity is pure existence.
The phrase “THIS UNIVERSE” needs further explanation.
Whatever can be objectified either through perception or through inference is included in this phrase. This is detailed in the following sections.
Statement 9: The universe consists of everything known through perception and inference.
The known universe is classified as follows:
Whatever is known through our five sense organs falls within this classification.
Example: Galaxies, Stars, Planets, Living beings, Inert objects etc
Whatever is known through scientific experiments will fall within this classification. We can infer those things, which cannot be directly perceived through the effect caused by them.
Example: Black Holes
Statement 10: What is not known is not part of ‘our’ Universe.
By observing what is known, we can infer what lies beyond the reach of our five sense organs. The size and content of the Universe depends on our intelligence and our desire to know.
Suppose we do not have the capability to understand the inference of the scientists then our universe is limited to what we observe.
“It is observed that Sun and Moon are revolving around earth”
Our knowledge on the universe will not grow beyond this, if we choose to ignore scientific inferences. We need to expand ‘our’ universe by understanding not only what is observed but also by inferring the unknown from the known.
Lesson 5: Composition of this Universe
Statement 11: The known universe is made up of five basic elements.
The known universe is comprised of what we hear, what we touch, what we see, what we taste and what we smell. We have only five sense organs through which we gain knowledge. Therefore, the phrase ‘what we know’ depends on these five sense organs
The five elements are:
Earth : This is the grossest form because it has all the five qualities.
Smell, Taste, Form, Touch and Sound
Water : This is subtler than the solid since it has only four qualities.
Taste, Form, Touch and Sound
Fire : This is subtler than the Water since it has only three qualities.
Form, Touch and Sound
Air : This is subtler than the Fire since it has only two qualities.
Touch and Sound
Space: This is subtler than the Air since it has only one quality.
(Anything that is subtler than the space cannot be perceived by our five senses and therefore we cannot know them through direct perception.)
These five elements in various combinations constitute the entire universe.
Statement 12: The universe consists of inert matter and living organisms.
The five elements are the basic building blocks of both inert matter and living organisms. However, there seems to be a difference between inert matter and living organisms.
Is there anything more than the five elements that go into making of living organisms? The answer to the question is Yes and No. We need to probe deeply to find the correct answer.
Unless this aspect is understood, we cannot claim to have understood the universe. Human beings are under the wrong impression that in order to understand more about the Universe, one needs to spend lots of time, effort and money in exploring the space. We are still trying to search for intelligent beings outside earth, calculate the expansion rate of the universe, deduce the number of galaxies in the universe etc. All these are done in the name of understanding the universe.
There is nothing wrong in such efforts. However, we need to spend similar effort in understanding the difference between the inert mater and living beings.
Statement 13: Life is not a PART or PROPERTY of inert matter.
Let us call the difference between the inert matter and the living being as LIFE.
Life is not a part of a living being. We do not assemble different parts of inert matter and finally add ‘LIFE’ part to make it a living being.
Life is not a property of a living being. We do not classify a set of inert matter as living beings just because they move and behave like a living being. We are aware that life is much more than that.
Statement 14: Life is not a PRODUCT of inert matter.
This is the most popular mistaken notion that is prevalent among human beings. We seem to believe that ‘some how’ life evolved out of the chemical reactions between inert matter.
The universe will continue to be a mystery to those who would like to believe that life is a product of inert matter and the sun is revolving around the earth.
We need to analyze living beings critically to find out what makes them different from the inert matter. We need to infer the unknown from what is known. Just as we are discovering black holes in the space, we need to plug the major holes in our understanding of the universe by analyzing living beings.
This is done in the following statements.
Statement 15: Living beings are also made up of five elements.
This is easy to understand. If we dissect any living being, we will end up understanding that they are made up of the very same five elements only. But in the process of dissection we would have killed the living being.
In order to know more, we need to take a living being that should not get killed in the process of investigation: Ourselves!
We need to infer what cannot be perceived by observing the EFFECT and infer the CAUSE. Therefore, first, we need to list out what we can do, that cannot be done by a dead body.
By observing these aspects we can infer the existence of a Subtle Body which is also made up from the five elements BUT not directly perceivable to our five senses (Just like a black hole) since they are made up of subtle elements (subtler than the gross space).
Lesson 6: Subtle Body makes living beings superior
Statement 16: Based on the 19 actions performed by a gross body, we deduce the existence of a subtle body.
We can observe and list out the following 19 actions, which we do but a dead body cannot do. From this we can infer that, we must be having specific instruments (not perceivable to five senses) to carry out these actions.
Feel the touch
Eat food and excrete the wastes
Heart beats and the lungs inhale/exhale
Absorb energy from food
Push out the wastes from the body
Provide energy to the whole body
Doubt and think
Decide and know
Feel I and mine
Therefore I should be having an invisible instrument called
Organs of reproduction
Organs of digestion and excretion
Functioning from the physical location
All over the body
Organs of reproduction
Organs of digestion and excretion
All over the body
Energy strand of
Space/ Air/ Fire
These 19 invisible instruments together are given a name ‘Subtle body’, which is available in the human beings. Other living beings have subtle body with lesser number of instruments. Inert matter does not have any subtle body.
Now that we have found a major missing link in our understanding of the universe, it will be fruitful to know more about the invisible subtle body.
Understanding the Subtle Body
1. Our five Sense Organs (Ear, skin, eye, tasting tongue and nose) perceive the external world and report.
2. Each sense organ can perceive only one quality of the external world.
3. Our five Action Organs (Hands, legs, digestive organs, reproductive organs and talking tongue) are used to transact with the external world.
4. The mind is the leader of all these ten organs.
5. The mind cannot get any knowledge from the external world without using the five sense organs.
6. The mind cannot do any transaction with the external world without using the five action organs.
7. The mind needs to support the functioning of each organ and an organ cannot overrule the decision of the mind unless one has epilepsy kind of psychological problems.
8. At a given time, any one organ alone can work because mind is only one and the organs cannot function without the support of the mind. However the processing speed of mind is very huge and it can do multi-tasking.
9. The mind makes interpretations and judgments on the facts reported by the sense organs.
10. Sense organs cannot perceive any object in the world. Each organ is capable of perceiving just one of the five qualities of the external object and they do not have the capability of putting the information together and coming to any conclusion. For example, eyes can just report the form of the object seen and it cannot identify the object. Mind is doing this job of identification. [Sense organs have not shown us that the world is real and not an illusion. It is our mind’s (wrong) conclusion!]
11. The mind has four modes of operation namely Intelligence, Ego, Mind and Memory. Intelligence should control the mind. Ego is the one, which claims ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Eyes see but ego claims ‘I see’ or ‘my eyes see’!
12. The mind is also made up of (subtle) matter. This can be proved by
a. Abstaining from food will deteriorate the functioning of mind
b. Type of food determines the type of mind.
c. Chemical drugs can change the moods of the mind
13. Life Force is also matter, which can be proved by abstaining from water.
14. Life Force is not under the control of mind. It is an independent entity.
15. The whole subtle body is made out of inert matter but has the power to reflect ONE. It is like a solar powered battery that gives the life power to inert matter and makes it a living being.
Thus, the only difference between a living organism and an inert matter is the existence of subtle body. Objects that do not have subtle bodies are termed as inert matter. Subtle body is composed of subtle inert matter and it can reflect the power of ONE. (This reflection is not a property, part or product of the Subtle Body and therefore cannot be included in the phrase THIS UNIVERSE.)
Lesson 7: Pure existence and the Universe
Statement 17: The universe is an illusion of name and form
Prior to creation only pure existence (without this name and form of universe) existed. Creation means creation of forms. Nevertheless, the creation is not ‘out of’ pure existence. It is superimposed on it. It is not an independent real entity. It (Universe) is an illusion seen on the substratum (Pure existence).
The formless pure existence does not start appearing with form (which we call universe).
The wood is made into a form of chair.
After the creation, wood disappears and chair appears.
This is NOT the relationship between pure existence and the Universe.
Pure existence continues to be pure existence. Nevertheless, the universe (which is just a form) appears at the time of creation due to illusion.
Example: It is like the white screen in the movie theater. It always remains white. At the commencement of the movie, it appears to change due to the projection of the movie, which is an illusion of the reality.
Universe for its existence depends on ONE. However, it is not separate from ONE.
All forms and names have borrowed their existence from ONE just as the sea has borrowed blue color from the sky. Nevertheless, the sky itself is colorless! Similarly, the appearance of the universe is seen on the foundation of ONE but ONE has no connection with the universe. Just like the sky has no connection with the sea.
Snake is seen on the rope. Universe is seen on the ONE
Snake is not part of the rope Universe is not part of the ONE
Without the rope there is no snake Without ONE there is no Universe.
When snake is not seen rope exists ONE exists before creation
Rope has no connection with the snake ONE has no connection with Universe.
We have experience of Universe. Therefore, Universe cannot be false. However, when we probe deep (both scientifically and logically) it disappears. Therefore, Universe cannot be truth. What is not real but appears to be real is called an illusion.
Statement 18: Pure existence is not available for transaction.
As pure gold cannot be used as ornament unless copper is added, names and forms are to be superimposed on pure existence in order to make it available for transaction. However, names and forms are not real. They are just an illusion.
The ONE and Universe can co-exist just as hunger can co-exist with food in a dream.
Example: After remaining hungry for a long time, if you eat fully and then go to sleep, you might get a dream in which you are very hungry. Suppose you wake up at that moment you might say ‘I am hungry’ although you are full.
A particular spot cannot have water and still be dry. However, in a mirage, water and dryness can co-exist since both belong to different orders of reality.
Similarly, the name and form, which are a lower order of reality (illusion), can coexist with pure existence, which is part less, classless and non dual.
Pure existence is the awareness with which we observe the whole illusion (universe). The only issue is we are not aware that we are pure existence. It is not that we cannot experience pure existence. We are pure existence all the time but we do not know that truth.
Our physical body and the subtle body (which reflects the pure existence) are part of the illusion (the universe).
Lesson 8: Summary of THIS Universe and ONE
Whatever we can objectify as THIS forms the entire universe. The universe consists of gross bodies (inert matter) and subtle bodies, which have the ability to reflect the pure existence. The entire phenomenon is an illusion.
Illusion is neither pure non-existence nor pure existence. It is not real but appears to be real.
The essence of this lesson is to show that we are the pure existence and our body/mind complex belongs to the observed universe. Universe is the illusion to which we lend the status of existence.
Number of Sessions 7
(11 to 17)
Number of Lessons 6
(09 to 14)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(c) Identify the role of illusion in creation
(d) Explain illusion
(e) List the two effects of Illusion
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 2.60 to 2.97 of the original text)
The concept of Illusion as a status should be explained convincingly.
1. Status One : Truth
2. Status Two : False Example Horse’s horn
3. Status Three : Illusion
World is experienced by our five senses and therefore cannot be classified as false.
World is not the truth according to the scriptures.
Since a non-truth is experienced, it (the world) has to be an illusion.
Truth cannot become false or vice versa. Similarly, an illusion cannot become true or false. However, the conditions may change.
Example: Water may exist as steam or an ice cube.
Similarly, the universe, which is an illusion does not become truth or false. Prior to creation, it remained in an unmanifest state.
8. What is the relationship between the Illusion and One (Lesson 9)
9. What is the function of Illusion
10. Is it possible to explain Illusion? Yes and No. Explain
11. What are the two effects of Illusion? (Lesson 11)
12. Explain the process of projection by Illusion (Lesson 13)
13. Explain the process of distortion by Illusion (Lesson 14)
Lesson 9: Introduction to Illusion
The universe is not made up of any real substance. It is an illusion. This illusion is the power of ONE. Just as the snake has borrowed its existence from the rope, the universe has borrowed its existence from ONE.
Understanding illusion is the key to solve the mysteries of the universe.
Statement 19: Illusion is the power of ONE.
In a magic show, we see the power of the magician to do magic. If the magician does not show any magic, we will not know that he has the power to perform magic.
When we see a rose (that comes from nowhere!), we know that the magician has the power to do magic.
Similarly, the power of ONE to create the illusion (universe) can be understood only by seeing the universe. (Illusion)
The proof that ONE has the power to create an illusion is the visible universe.
Statement 20: Illusion has no separate existence without ONE.
There can be no magic show without a magician. For the illusion to happen there needs to be a basis. An illusion does not have independent existence.
There is no illusion (universe) without ONE.
A magician can continue to exist without ever showing magic. Similarly, ONE can continue to exist without ever manifesting a universe.
Statement 21: Illusion causes non-existent objects to appear as real.
In a magic show, the magician does not have the power to bring about new objects out of nothing. (If he has such powers, he will not be performing magic show and collecting money!) So if an object appears from his hat, it is an illusion that we see and not real.
Similarly, although we see and experience the universe, if we probe deeply it vanishes. Therefore, universe is not real but appears to be real due to the effect of illusion.
Statement 22: The process of illusion cannot be explained fully.
In a magic show if we know exactly what the magician does and how he creates an illusion then it is a no longer an illusion to us.
Therefore, by definition, illusion means something that cannot be understood. The only way to understand an Illusion is to understand that it cannot be understood.
Statement 23: Illusion is beyond description.
In a magic show, we see a closed box with empty space and suddenly an article appears inside the box. When asked to explain, the magician tells us that actually we are looking at the article but assume that there was nothing. We cannot ask any further questions like ‘why were we seeing wrongly’.
All our five senses have their own limitations. Illusion is something, which takes advantage of such limitations. For example, the movie that we see on the screen is made up of still pictures. When still pictures are projected at a particular speed, we see moving figures.
We cannot ask the question “Why do we see false movement?” while actually looking at still pictures. That is an inherent limitation of our sense organ.
Similarly, we cannot ask the question “Why do we see the universe as real?”, while in reality it is an illusion. That is an inherent limitation of our sense organs.
Statement 24: Illusion is different from the truth.
To create a true object there is systematic procedure, which can be described by the manufacturing process of converting the raw material into the finished object. It is amenable to science and technology. An illusion is not within the scope of an exact science.
For example if we ask a question and get an answer ‘I do not know’ or ‘I forgot’ there is no point in asking further questions like ‘How come you do not know?” or ‘How can you forget?’. No answer can be given to such questions.
‘How did you know?’ or ‘How did you remember?’ can draw specific answers but the opposite is not true.
Similarly, it is possible to explain only a truth. Illusion is the opposite of truth and it cannot be explained. (If it can be explained then it is a truth!)