Lesson 10: Demystifying Illusion
When we see a movie, we do not see two things.
Screen: This is the base on which the movie is projected.
Light & Sound: Bright light is projected on the screen in varying color combinations and intensity. In addition, the sound system gives an impression to us that the movie characters are talking.
There is no movie! Nevertheless, we see only the movie.
When we experience life and we do not see two things.
ONE: This is the base on which life is experienced
Illusion: The entire universe is projected on ONE feeding continuous false information to all the five senses.
There is no universe! Nevertheless, we see only this universe.
There is one major difference between the movie example and life. In the movie example, screen is different from the projecting equipments. However, there is nothing but ONE and it appears as the universe by its own power. This is explained through another example.
Assume you are acting in a drama. The co-actor talks to you in derogatory words. Will you get angry? You are supposed to respond (act) according to the script and the reaction is purely on the surface level. You are not affected since you know everyone around you (including yourself) is acting.
Similarly, our whole life is a drama. Everyone around is acting. However, the problem is no one knows that it is a drama! Therefore, people feel everything around is real and get emotional.
As long as you do not know that the whole life is an illusion you will be swinging between the pairs of opposites like pain/pleasure, love/hate etc. The moment you know the truth you are free.
The truth sets you free.
An important advantage of the real life drama over stage drama is that there is no external director/ scriptwriter. We are on our own and can act in whatever way, we want.
Assume you are doing a mono act play. The person shouting at you is also yourself.
This is the reality.
ONE is the foundation on which the entire universe rests. (Just like the screen on which entire movie is projected)
ONE is being reflected on selected inert objects which are then called living beings.
Therefore, all the human beings are reflections of the same ONE. Just like in a mono act play, you are interacting with yourself (acting as different persons/ objects) in the real life drama too!
However, unfortunately it takes a while to see this truth.
Lesson 11: Two effects of Illusion
Statement 25: Illusion projects the universe and distorts (hides) the ONE.
The first element created by illusion is space. The space has borrowed its existence from ONE but illusion has made space to appear as more real than ONE. By adding, one attribute ‘sound’ the space is created from the attribute less ONE. So ideally, we should give more attention to ONE than to space. However, our focus is more on space than on ONE.
The illusion has the power to shift our focus from the real to the unreal.
Explanation on how our focus is being shifted:
Object: This is the focus of our attention. Normally the object takes the noun status in a sentence.
Qualities of the object: Qualities are attributes that qualify the object. Normally the attribute takes the status of ‘adjective’ in a sentence because it is less important than the noun and it qualifies the noun.
Let us look at the following paragraph:
"He was wondering whether to color the paper in red or blue. Finally, he colored it blue. He then took the blue paper and attempted to make a paper ship. It did not come out well. So he unfolded the blue paper and made a paper plane."
Identify the Noun/ Adjective in the both the pairs of words in bold.
In 'blue paper' we say 'blue' is an adjective that qualify the noun 'paper'
In 'paper plane' we say 'paper' is an adjective that qualifies the noun 'plane'.
The first one is correct. The paper could have been painted in red. Therefore, red or blue are adjectives that qualify the noun, paper. Applying the same logic, we should have said 'plane' is the adjective because the paper was in the form of a ship but now it is in the form of a plane. Nevertheless, we always make a mistake.
This is due to the power of illusion. The illusion makes us give more weight to the attribute ‘form’ than to other attributes like color, size etc.
For example, we say golden bangle, implying 'gold' as the adjective that qualifies the noun bangle. Nevertheless, in reality, bangle is the adjective and gold is the noun.
Let us see the correct way of identifying a noun and an adjective with an example: "Small Mango"
Rule 1: Adjective has no independent existence without the noun.
The word 'Small' has no independent existence without 'Mango'.
Rule 2: Noun need not have an adjective. (However, an adjective must always have a noun.)
The mango can become large. Then it can no longer be called 'small mango'. It will then be called 'Big Mango'. It can also be referred to as just ‘Mango’ without any adjective.
Rule 3: Adjective is temporary and Noun is permanent.
Mango is always a mango. However, the adjective 'small' will get changed to 'big' if a smaller mango is brought for comparison.
Applying the above rules to 'Gold Bangle’, we can see which word qualifies to be the noun.
Rule 1: Bangle has no independent existence with out gold. Moreover, gold can exist without Bangle.
Rule 2: Gold can remain as gold without becoming a bangle or ring or chain. However, Bangle always depends on gold (or some other noun)
Rule 3: Gold is permanent and Bangle is temporary.
So applying all these rules we should be calling the object as ‘bangle gold’ and not ‘gold bangle’ since 'bangle' is an adjective to the noun 'gold'. Nevertheless, we always make mistake and we are very sure that we are correct.
Why do we make such mistakes?
Lesson 12: Practical – Noun & Adjectives
Notes to the teacher:
Form groups among the students and let them find the answers to the question raised at the end of the previous lesson.
Conclude the session with the moral that is learnt from the Noun & Adjective example.
Because we give more importance to NAMES and FORMS that appeals to the eyes rather than to logic that appeals to the intelligence. If we pause to think, we can always identify the noun and adjective correctly. Nevertheless, we are mostly carried away by our sense organs and ignore the logic.
Sometimes it so happens that we do not even recognizes the existence of the noun and gives the status of the noun to the adjective. For example when we refer to 'sea' we never pause to think it is just an adjective to the noun 'water'. We think sea is the noun. It is NOT. Water is the noun because water can be a river, lake or sea.
Atleast in the case of the SEA, once it is pointed out, we accept that it is an adjective and water is the noun on which its existence depends. But in the case of the universe we continue to think that it is a noun and refuse to believe that it is just an adjective to the unseen / unknown noun, ONE.
This is the effect of illusion.
Lesson 13: The process of projection by the illusion
Statement 26: ONE exists as Knower, Existence and Happiness.
Prior to the creation of this universe, only ONE existed without any form.
Statement 27: ONE has the power of illusion, which is made up of Aura, Energy and Matter.
Statement 28: Illusion adds sound to the attributeless ONE and makes Space.
The Energy strand of illusion creates pressure waves. Pressure waves are called sound in scientific language. Thus, space is created.
Sound exists and is transmitted in an atmosphere because of what we call a pressure wave. That is, the molecules of air (or other composition) over which the vibrations carry, cause a train of compressions and refractions.
The molecules pull together at C for compressions, and spread apart at R, for refractions.
Initially when there were no molecules, the pressure wave creates the required molecules by converting energy into mass.
Thus, the first step is creation of space, which is nothing but Pure Existence + Sound.
Space is defined as that which gives place. Therefore, as the first element that is created from the pressure wave, it provides space for the rest of the universe.
Space has the following qualities:
Existence (borrowed from Pure Existence)
Sound (Pressure waves created by the Energy strand of illusion)
Statement 29: From space, air is created by adding touch sensation.
The second step, after the creation of space, is the creation of air, which is Pure Existence + Sound + Touch
Air has the following qualities:
Existence (of ONE inherited through Space)
Sound (from space)
Touch (Molecules created by the Matter strand of illusion)
Therefore, air can move slow, move fast and has the property to dry things.
Statement 30: From air, fire is created by adding form.
When the initial pressure waves continued at a high rate, the conversion of energy into mass was happening at a fast rate. This developed a lot of heat, which lead to Big Bang.
Fire has the following qualities:
Existence (of ONE inherited through Space and Air)
Sound (of Space inherited through Air)
Touch (from Air)
Form and Shape (Matter created through compression of molecules)
Fire has the property of glow and heat.
Statement 31: From the fire, water was created by adding taste.
When the big bang happened, the highly compressed air (fire) started losing the pressure and started cooling down. Cooled down matter in liquid form (loosely connected matter) is the basis of water.
Water has the following qualities:
Existence (of ONE inherited through Space, Air and Fire)
Sound (of Space inherited through fire from Fire and Air)
Form and Shape (from fire)
Taste (from loosely connected Matter strand of illusion)
Water can take the shape of the container, can move slow, fast and erode things.
Statement 32: From water, earth was created by adding smell.
The loosely connected matter begins to solidify due to pressure and becomes earth.
Earth has the following qualities:
Existence (of ONE inherited through Space, Air, Fire and Water)
Sound (of Space inherited through fire from Water, Fire and Air)
Form and Shape (of fire inherited through the Water and Fire)
Taste (from water)
Smell (Solidified Matter strand of illusion)
Earth has the property to hold things.
Statement 33: The universe is created by the combination of these five elements.
The whole universe, including our gross and subtle bodies, is created out these five basic elements according to the action done by the living beings in the previous creation. The living beings are the reflections of ONE in the subtle bodies.
Statement 34: The cumulative result of the actions of all the living beings determines the nature of creation and the time for creation and destruction.
Every action of the living being has specific and fixed results. The combined effect of all of them determines the life of the universe. At the appropriate time, the universe will contract back to the singularity and await the next cycle of big bang and expansion.
Lesson 14: The process of distortion by the illusion
The cycle of creation and destruction happens continuously as per the steps discussed in the previous statement.
In addition to this, Illusion distorts the existence of ONE.
Although every element of the creation has borrowed existence from ONE, illusion forces us to focus on the inputs received from our five senses. As a result, we think that what we hear, touch, see, taste and smell truly exist and are not just the adjective to the Pure Existence.
We think ‘IS ness’ is a property of the element without realizing that it is the nature of ONE.
For example, we say ‘There is fire’ or ‘There is no water’ etc. We ignorantly give the status of ‘noun’ to fire and water and make the IS ness as an attribute that qualify the noun. The truth is ‘IS ness’ of the Pure Existence is the only thing that is existing and space, air, water etc are just forms. The true way of understanding the sentence “Water is here” is this: “Pure Existence is appearing in the form of water”
We clothe our body with a dress but do not give more importance to it than our body.
Universe is just like a dress covering ONE. Nevertheless, we are carried away by the dress and ignore the true substance.
Statement 35: Illusion distorts the truth (ONE) and makes it non-existent and shows the non-existing universe as reality.
Thus to sum up,
ONE is the only truth having timeless existence
Illusion projects the universe by
• Adding sound to ONE to create Space
• Adding touch to Space to create Air
• Adding Form to Air to create Fire
• Adding Taste to Fire to create Water
• Adding Smell to Water to create Earth
And it hides the presence of ONE
ONE alone exists. Universe is an illusion. This IS ness of all objects in the world is borrowed from ONE. We can see the ‘Hollow Man’ only if he is wearing dress. We can see ONE only by seeing the universe.
Benefit of understanding
Number of Sessions 3
(18 to 22)
Number of Lessons 2
(15 to 16)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(d) Understand the relationship between the knowledge and the benefits of the knowledge.
(e) Understand how this knowledge will make the life joyful.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 2.98 to 2.109 of the original text)
After gaining the knowledge, the world will be different in one of its four features.
Feature 1 – Experience – There will be no change in how we gain knowledge through our five senses. Our experience will be same. We will continue to get pain and pleasure, blame and fame, poverty and prosperity even after gaining the knowledge.
Feature 2 – Function – There will be no change how the objects in the world respond to us. Fire will continue to be hot even after gaining knowledge.
Feature 3 – Division – The world will continue to consist of different objects, class of objects with parts. We will see two human beings are different and they have hands and legs and are different from trees even after gaining the knowledge.
Feature 4 – Status – There WILL BE a difference with respect to the status of the world after gaining the knowledge. It will become a lower order of reality compared to our real status.
Just as the dream lion, cannot hurt our real body, the real lion cannot hurt our real self. This knowledge enables us to treat the life as a dream.
Since the knowledge from the Scriptures, enable us to shift our focus to a higher order of reality, life will become Joyful.
11. What are the two obstacles to get the benefits after gaining the knowledge? (Lesson 15)
12. What are the solutions to these two obstacles? (Lesson 15)
13. Knowledge is permanent – Discuss (Lesson 15)
14. What are the two benefits of gaining Knowledge? (Lesson 15)
15. Explain ‘Existence’ (Lesson 16)
16. What are the six features of Existence?
Lesson 15: Knowledge & Benefit
Session: B18 – B19
On gaining the knowledge that the universe is unreal, we should be living joyfully.
Example: If we know that we are dreaming, the dream tiger will no longer be scary.
Similarly, the problems in the real world cannot hurt us if we know the world is not real. We can live joyfully in all situations.
However, this does not happen due to two reasons.
One: We have not really understand and been convinced about the truth. In such cases, we need to continue to read, listen and reflect on the truth until we get conviction.
Statement 36: Conviction about the truth is important. Mere understanding will not lead to benefits.
Example: There are many theories about creation and evolution. These are called theories since they cannot be proved by experiment. If the description of Creation, Universe and Illusion as discussed in this module is treated as yet another theory, no benefits will flow. One has to see them as truth for getting the benefits.
Two: Even after getting convinced, we might forget it when we deal with our day-to-day work. This is quite natural since we are trained in the wrong knowledge for a long time; the new knowledge takes some time to change the force of habit. Mind will oscillate between the truth and false knowledge if we do not develop sufficient skill to concentrate. In such cases, the solution lies in meditation.
Statement 37: Meditation on the right knowledge is required to erase the impressions created by the wrong knowledge.
Meditation means doing any act (thinking, speaking, hearing, or writing) which will reinforce the right knowledge in our mind and erase the impressions created by the wrong knowledge.
Once we overcome these two problems, we will start getting the benefit of the knowledge.
Statement 38: Knowledge gained is permanent unless overwritten by a superior knowledge.
We gain knowledge by collecting information using our sense of perception and through inference. The knowledge so gained will never leave us UNLESS it is overwritten by another superior knowledge.
Example: Seeing a child along with a couple we presume that it is their child. This is the knowledge we gain. This will stay with us until on enquiry if we find out that it is not their child. This new knowledge will overwrite the previous version.
The knowledge we gain by studying the scriptures is the ultimate knowledge. There is no other superior knowledge that can overwrite this knowledge. Therefore, the knowledge gained here is permanent and not subject to change ever.
Statement 39: Knowledge from The scriptures can never be overwritten
Energy strand drives us to act externally in search of happiness but the right knowledge makes us realize our true nature, which is ‘Ever witnessing joy’ and the entire universe, including our mind/body (and the ultimate knowledge that we gain), is part of the illusion.
This ultimate knowledge brings us two benefits.
Statement 40: When the knowledge from the scripture, when becomes steady, it will enable us to live joyfully.
Once the knowledge become steady, although the world and the events will continue to be the same, our vision will be different.
Example: Assume you are hosting a party in your house. Many of your friends have come to your house for the first time. There is a power failure resulting in total darkness for an extended period.
No one (including you) can see anything in your hall. Nevertheless, you can move around the house with comfortable ease compared to any of your friends because you know and have a clear idea of the layout and interiors of your house. One of your friends wants to go to the kitchen. She cannot go by herself because she has no idea where your kitchen is. You cannot help her immediately because you have no idea where your friend is currently standing (because it is fully dark). Therefore, the first step is to locate your friend and then lead her to the kitchen with relative ease.
After getting the true knowledge about the universe, it will be very interesting to observe every one around. All of them are misled by the environment and clash with each other or getting affected by the events. They may not know that they can take guidance from you and you will not laugh at their ignorance. You will be glad to help them as much as possible as and when you get an opportunity.
You will know how to lead a joyful life due to your knowledge. In spite of being in the same boat (of seeing the world/ events exactly in the same manner) like your friends, you will have a joyful life unlike them. The people and events around can never affect you and you will know how to deal with them.
It is not required that anyone around you should acknowledge your vision since you are getting the benefit of your vision in dealing effectively (without getting affected) with the people and events in the world.
Acknowledging the world around but not giving undue importance to it (since our real nature is Ever Witnessing Joy and not the body/mind complex) will lead us to joyful living.
Statement 41: True knowledge will liberate us from the eternal cycle.
Once we gain the true knowledge, the life will be transformed. In addition, the knowledge will liberate us from the eternal cycle.
We shall no longer be tied to the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the world. We will continue to live as long as our physical body lasts. This duration will depend on our past deeds. According to our past deeds, our body/mind complex will encounter the regular events of life with its cycle of pleasure and pain, fame and blame, prosperity and poverty, etc just as it does for everyone else. Nevertheless, we will not be affected by such swings and we will remain joyful eternally.
Lesson 16: Summary of the Universe and Illusion
Session: B20 – B21
Notes to the teacher:
The student should clearly understand the meaning of the word ‘existence’. Is it a noun, adjective or verb?
Example: Any verb should describe an action of the noun.
‘He walks’ – Means he is doing an action of walking.
However, we are using the word ‘exists’ without understanding the meaning.
‘He exists’ – Does it mean he is doing an action of existing?
‘Pot is destroyed’. In this sentence the word destroyed refers to the pot and not to the word IS.
Six features of Existence
1. Existence is not a part, product, property of objects.
2. Existence supports all the objects in the universe by lending existence.
3. Existence is an invisible, intangible and independent positive entity like space which is invisible and intangible still a positive entity according to science.
4. Existence is not an entity in the conventional sense. It is one without a second.
5. Existence is not limited to the boundaries of the universe.
6. Existence continues to exist, even when all the objects in the world are destroyed.
Existence is one of the three natures of ONE. (The other two natures are consciousness and joy)
Summary of this module:
1. Prior to the creation, only pure existence existed without any form.
2. The universe, which includes our body/mind complex, is just a form that is superimposed on the pure existence due to the power of illusion.
3. By wrongly giving more importance to the form (one of the attribute), our focus is shifted from the noun to the adjective.
4. By understanding this power of illusion we can realize the truth and see the ONE as the IS ness in everything around us. (We will see nothing but ONE around us)
5. Once we have this vision of ONE, we will live joyfully.
Understanding FIVE Sheaths
Unit 01 Introduction
Unit 02 Analysis of the FIVE Sheaths
Unit 03 Role of the FIVE Sheaths in evolution
Unit 04 Functions of the FIVE Sheaths
Unit 05 Beyond the Five Sheaths
Unit 06 Our real nature
Number of Sessions: 2
(01 – 02)
Number of Lessons: 1
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(e) Understand the true meaning of the word ‘I’
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.1 of the original text)
This module is taken only after completion of Module A. The students are expected to have clarity on the basic concepts. Therefore, initiate discussion among the students to strengthen the views.
Examples to be quoted
Presence of a photograph conclusively proves the existence of the camera although it is not possible to capture the image of the camera in the photo.
In every visual perception the object changes BUT the sunlight through which I perceive remains available all the time whether I am paying attention to it or not.
12. Why should we enquire about the FIVE Sheaths?
Lesson 1: Introducing ‘I’
We need to start our analysis with what we think is the meaning for the word ‘I’.
This is explained with a simile.
While hosting a visitor from Alaska, you are explaining your culture/ food habits. When you mentioned ‘coconut’, he wants to know what it is. Then you show him a coconut on a tree. The visitor from Alaska goes back with the memory of the coconut on the tree. The coconut, which is used in cooking, is one small part of the coconut that grows on the tree. If someone gives him a piece of coconut to eat, he will ask, “Is this coconut? The coconut I saw in India was very big and unbreakable!”
Does he know the meaning of the word ‘coconut’? Yes and No. He thinks that the whole fruit is coconut (which is also correct) not realizing that the essence is much smaller and edible. Although he has eaten the coconut many times, he does not realize its true identity.
Similarly, we think this body/mind complex is ‘I’ (which is also correct) not realizing that the essence is much different and eternal. Although we are with that essence all the time, we do not know our true identity.
To understand the true meaning of “I”, we have to uncover five sheaths.
In the coconut, one needs to remove various covers (sheaths) like the husk, shell etc to reach the center core. Similarly, ‘I’ is ‘located’ at the center with five distinct sheaths covering it.
In case of coconut, one need not necessarily study/ understand the sheaths to get to the nut in the center. One can just remove all the sheaths and then find the core. In case of human being, the only way to remove the five sheaths is to understand them.
This is like throwing out an unrelated and unwanted guest in a wedding hall. Anyone who wants a good meal can sneak into a marriage hall and pretend to be related to one of the two parties of the marriage. The only effort required (to throw him out) is to enquire who that person is. The moment he sees that there is an enquiry on his status, he will escape from the hall.
Similarly if we make enquires on the each of the five sheaths, they will disappear and then the true meaning of the word ‘I’ will be revealed.
Statement 1: I am different from my five sheaths
Analysis of the Five Sheaths
Number of Sessions 7
(03 to 9)
Number of Lessons 6
(02 to 07)
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(f) Describe the relationship with FIVE Sheaths and THREE bodies
(g) Describe each sheath in detail.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.2 to 3.10 of the original text)
Present the following in detail.
(a) Outside to inside (Physical to Happiness sheath)
(b) Gross to subtle (Physical to Happiness sheath)
(c) Controllability (The inner sheath controls the outside sheath)
(d) Reality (The inner sheath is more real then the outer)
(e) Durability (The inner sheath lasts longer than the outer)
(f) Pervasiveness (The inner sheath is more pervasive than the outer)
20. Write a short essay describing the relationship between the five sheaths.
21. List the four types of thoughts
Lesson 2: Three bodies and five sheaths
In medical science, we analyze the physical body in varied ways like Blood Circulatory system, Digestive system etc. Similarly, in our analysis we divide the body into five sheaths.
The five sheaths are:
(a) Physical Sheath
(b) Physiological Sheath
(c) Psychological Sheath
(d) Intelligence Sheath
(e) Happiness Sheath
These five sheaths can also be classified as our three bodies as listed below
(a) Physical Body (Physical Sheath)
(b) Subtle Body (Physiological, Psychological and Intelligence Sheaths)
(c) Causal Body (Happiness Sheath)
Physical Body does not need any explanation.
Subtle Body consists of 19 components that are not perceivable to our sense organs. We know the existence of the Subtle Body through inference. (More details on inference can be found in the Module B)
Causal Body represents the seed form, which supports the existence of both the Physical Body and Subtle Body. Its presence is known through our sleeping state where we are not aware of both our physical body and subtle body. It is made up of Matter dominant illusion.
While the sheaths cannot exist by themselves, the bodies can. The physical body lasts for one lifetime, the subtle body lasts until the judgment day and the causal body is beginning less and end less.
The order in which the five sheaths are enumerated signifies the following:
Statement 2: The outer sheath covers all the remaining inner sheaths
Statement 3: The outer sheath is grosser than the inner sheath
Statement 4: The inner sheath controls the outer sheath
Statement 5: The inner sheath is more real than the outer sheath
Statement 6: The inner sheath lasts longer than the outer sheath
Statement 7: The inner sheath is more pervasive than the outer sheath
Lesson 3: Physical Sheath
This consists of the entire body parts. In other words, whatever one finds in a dead body constitutes the Physical Sheath.
The physical sheath is discarded at the time of death.
Statement 8: Physical sheath alone is discarded at the time of death
In the micro level, if we analyze the constitution of the physical sheath, we will find out that it is just a modification of food. The origin of the body is sperm and ovum drawn from the bodies of the parents, which are also modification of food. Therefore, the physical sheath is originated from food, grown and sustained by food. Moreover, after death it will become food for other living beings.
Thus, physical sheath is food.
Statement 9: Physical sheath is made up of food.
In the macro level, if we analyze the food chain on the earth we will see that the entire living beings are just modification of food. One form of living being depends on another form of living being for food.
Thus, the physical sheath of all the living beings is nothing but food. It cannot be the meaning of the word I. I have a physical sheath and I am not the physical sheath. It is just like the dress I am wearing on my body. Although it comes with me wherever I go, it is not me.
Statement 10: I am not the Physical Sheath, I have a Physical Sheath
Lesson 4: Physiological sheath
This sheath is not visible to the eye because it is made up of subtle matter. It can only be inferred based on the functions of this sheath. It is made up of five distinct Life Forces.
Statement 11: Physiological sheath is made up of five life forces.
It includes all the vital activities in cells, tissues, and organs—of processes such as contractility of muscle tissue, coordination through the nervous system, feeding, digestion, excretion, respiration, circulation, reproduction, and secretion.
This sheath is responsible for giving the semblance of life to inert physical sheath. It converts the external food into energy and sustains the physical body. All the sheaths depend on this sheath for survival.
Statement 12: Physiological sheath sustains all other sheaths.
Physiological sheath links the Physical Sheath with the Psychological sheath. Thus if we control the way we breathe it affects both our physical body and the mind, This sheath is responsible for separating the subtle body from the physical body at the time of death.
It cannot be the meaning of the word I because it lacks the consciousness. I have a physiological sheath and I am not the physiological sheath.
Statement 13: I am not the Physiological Sheath, I have a Physiological Sheath
Lesson 5: Psychological Sheath
Statement 14: Psychological Sheath consists of four types of thoughts
This consists of all types of thoughts that are generated by our mind. There are four types of thoughts, namely,
(a) Debating Thoughts (Thoughts that oscillate between ‘this’ and ‘that’)
(b) Deciding Thoughts (Thoughts that make a decision/ Knowledge)
(c) Ego Thoughts (I and Mine related thoughts)
(d) Memory Thoughts (Thoughts that are recorded in the past)
Thoughts are energy forms generated by the Intelligence Sheath and they drive all our actions with the external world.
Statement 15: Psychological Sheath is responsible for interacting with the external world.
It uses five sense organs (Ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose) and collect data from the external world. These inputs are converted as thoughts and the dynamic picture of the world is stored in our mind.
Statement 16: Psychological Sheath is also responsible for executing all actions in the world.
It uses the five organs of actions (subtle legs, hands and tongue) to do all actions.
Statement 17: Ego thoughts are used to perceive the Intelligence Sheath.
This is explained with the following example:
Hand held Torch Light is normally used for seeing the external objects in dark. Nevertheless, occasionally we use the torch to illuminate our own face. Similarly, most of our thoughts deal with the external world. There are some thoughts, which are about our body/intelligence. These are called Ego Thoughts.
Statement 18: Psychological sheath controls the Physical Sheath according to the instructions received from Intelligence sheath.
Psychological sheath is responsible for controlling the physical sheath directly. It takes order from Intelligence Sheath and directs the Physical Sheath accordingly. Nevertheless, there are times the thoughts drive the body to act against the orders of the intelligence. This happens when the will power of the Intelligence sheath is less powerful than the power of sense organs.
Statement 19: If will power is low, Psychological Sheath will disobey Intelligence Sheath.
It cannot be the meaning of the word I because I am aware of the changes in my thoughts. If I am not different from my psychological sheath, I cannot observe the changes in it. Therefore, I have a psychological sheath and I am not the psychological sheath.
Statement 20: I am not the Psychological Sheath, I have a Psychological Sheath
Lesson 6: Intelligence sheath
Statement 21: Psychological Sheath is an extension of Intelligence Sheath
If the Psychological Sheath is compared to the waves then the Intelligence Sheath is comparable to the ocean, which generates and sustains the waves.
Waves arise where the ocean meets the ground. Similarly, thoughts arise in the mind when there is an interaction with the external world. Quality and quantity of waves depend on the depth of the ocean. Similarly, the more matured and knowledgeable mind will have less wavering thoughts.
Statement 22: Intelligence Sheath cognizes the information from the external world through Psychological Sheath.
This sheath is the storehouse for all thoughts and converts the information into knowledge.
Statement 23: Knowledge determines the power and focus of the Intelligence Sheath
The power of intelligence depends on the quantity and quality of information collected and its ability to convert the same in to knowledge. Most of the work is done by trial and error to start with. Nevertheless, the knowledge once gained never gets lost. The only way to erase knowledge is to super scribe it with new knowledge.
The will power is part of the Intelligence Sheath and it is used for controlling the Psychological Sheath.
It cannot be the meaning of the word I. There was a time (my childhood) that I did not have intelligence and now I have intelligence. Therefore, I am not the intelligence sheath.
Statement 24: I am not the Intelligence Sheath, I have an Intelligence Sheath
Lesson 7: Happiness sheath
Statement 25: Happiness Sheath is experienced in deep sleep.
This is the final sheath to be uncovered before reaching the core. We experience this sheath while in deep sleep. In deep sleep, we are totally unaware of our physical sheath, psychological sheath and the intelligence sheath. (Physiological sheath is functioning in the deep sleep but we are never conscious of its functioning. Even while we are awake, we do not do anything to digest the food or extract energy from it. It functions totally independent and hence ignored)
We know on waking up that we had a very good peaceful sleep. That was our Happiness Sheath.
Statement 26: Happiness Sheath is experienced when we are happy.
When we are really happy the status is similar to deep sleep. Just as we can never make the statement “I am sleeping now”, we can never make the statement “I am happy now”.
We can only recall that we were very happy after the event.
Happiness Sheath is also experienced frequently when we experience happiness due to seeing/ obtaining/ enjoying an object of liking. During these moments, there are no other thoughts in our mind and we experience a sort of fulfillment/ satisfaction/ happiness. We are totally engrossed on the object. This means we are one with the Happiness Sheath. However, such moments do not last for long.
Happiness Sheath is not me because it lacks consciousness.
Statement 27: I am not the Happiness Sheath, I have a Happiness Sheath
Role of Five Sheaths in evolution
Number of Sessions 3
(10 to 12)
Number of Lessons 1
On completion of this Unit, the student will be able to
(f) Describe the process of evolution
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.22 to 3.25 of the original text)
Compare the evolution as given in the lesson with Darwin’s theory. Explain the only difference lies in the concept of Involution, which precedes evolution.
14. Explain the role of sheaths in evolution.
Lesson 8: The process of evolution
Session: C10 – C11
The five sheaths in the human being could be easily comprehended by seeing their role in the evolution.
Statement 28: Physical Sheath is degradable and present in all objects in the universe.
Stage 1: Inert Object (Example: Stone, sand, water etc)
Physical Sheath is a degradable inert object. It is just a combination of five elements (Space, air, water, fire and earth). It does not have any semblance of life.
Statement 28: Physiological Sheath gives life to inert objects.
Stage 2: Life forms (Example: Vegetation, plants, trees etc)
Physiological Sheath is independent but cannot be perceived without the Physical Sheath. When it coexists with the Physical Sheath, the inert object (the physical Sheath) gets life. Therefore, the combination of the Physical and Physiological Sheath is like a plant or tree.
This combination is better and more evolved than an inert object. It is alive.
When the Physiological Sheath leaves the Physical Sheath, the later becomes an inert matter called dead body.
Statement 29: Psychological Sheath reflects the consciousness in the living beings
Stage 3: Living beings (Examples: Animals, birds etc)
Psychological Sheath adds another dimension to the combination of Physiological Sheath and Physical Sheath. It makes the living body reflect the consciousness making it more evolved than plants and trees.
Thus, when these three sheaths are together life is more evolved
Statement 30: Fully developed Intelligence Sheath lends Self-Consciousness to living beings
Stage 4: Human Being
Intelligence Sheath makes the living beings to control their destiny. The will power, ego, self-awareness and the ability to put the knowledge into use resulting in wisdom are the hallmark of this sheath. This sheath differentiates a Human Being from other forms of life. This sheath is in a dormant stage in the other living beings.
Statement 31: Happiness Sheath when fully developed removes Ego in the human beings
Stage 5: Divine Being
The final sheath namely the Happiness Sheath enables the living being to raise upto the highest level. At this level, all the superiority/ inferiority complexes, which are the symptoms of the Intelligence Sheath, will vanish. This is in a dormant stage in the human being.
Statement 32: I am different from the five sheaths
Function of Five Sheaths
Number of Sessions: 3
(13 – 15)
Number of Lessons: 1
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the functions of the Five Sheaths
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.26 and 3.27 of the original text)
Discuss the Happiness Sheath in detail because this might be the grey area from the perspective of the student who may not have exposure to corporate structure and functions
If appropriate, inform all the shareholders in all the companies in the world are benami of ONE.
1. What are the functions of the Five Sheaths? Explain them by giving your own examples.
Lesson 9: Practical – Functions of the Sheaths
Session: C13 – C14
In order to explain the functions of my five sheaths, they are compared to a corporate environment:
Physical Sheath – The Corporate Entity
Physiological Sheath – The Infrastructure (Office building, communication instruments etc) that facilitate the functioning of the organization.
Psychological Sheath – The entire work force of the organization
Intelligence Sheath – The Managing Director (MD) of the corporate entity.
Happiness Sheath – The owner (shareholder) of the corporate entity
The role and functions of the five sheaths are very similar to the above simile.
Physical Sheath: The entire interaction in the external world is done from this sheath. The world see only the corporate entity – not the infrastructure/ workers/ MD / Owner – for all practical purposes although in truth the entity is just an artificial personality that exists only in the eyes of law.
Similarly, although our physical sheath appears to be real, it is not. It is just an instrument to do the transaction.
Physiological Sheath: Without the infrastructure, it is impossible for the corporate entity to function. Similarly, this sheath is vital for the functioning of our entire body. Infact the body is declared dead only when it becomes cold and not when the pulse stops!
Psychological Sheath: Just like the work force in a corporate entity, which executes all the functions in the organization, this sheath is responsible for carrying out all the actions of the body. Only the workforce interacts with the external world.
Intelligence Sheath: Like the MD of the corporate entity, the intelligence sheath holds the position of doer in us. All actions of the corporate entity originate from the MD. Suppose the company is involved in an illegal activity, the police will arrest the MD. Similarly, for all our actions (and non-actions) the Intelligence Sheath is responsible. Like MD, Intelligence Sheath deals with the next level internally while Psychological Sheath alone deals with the external world.
Happiness Sheath: The owner of the corporate entity is not involved in the working. Nevertheless, the operating results of the organization (profit or loss) belong to the owner. Similarly, the Happiness Sheath is the enjoyer of all the fruits of the action. In order to keep the owners happy, the MD gets involved in action. However, since the intelligence does not have the correct picture of the environment mostly it drives the entity in the wrong direction in search of happiness.
Beyond the Five Sheaths
Number of Sessions: 3
(16 – 18)
Number of Lessons: 1
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Prove that I am not the Five Sheaths
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.10 and 3.21 of the original text)
This Unit is the most difficult in the sense the self-realization should happen to the student when logically one moves beyond the five sheaths.
The teacher should assist this process.
1. Write your perceptions on what remains after removing all the five sheaths.
Lesson 10: Practical – After Uncovering
Session: C16 – C17
It is expected that we will find the meaning of the word I, after removing the five sheaths. It is also said that the mere process of enquiry will remove the five sheaths. We have enquired thoroughly the nature and functions of all the five sheaths. Moreover, we have found out that the five sheaths are covering us just like the dress cover our body.
However, after uncovering all sheaths we do not find anything?
Yes, we are on the right path in our understanding of the meaning of the word I. The one who removes all the five sheaths and find nothing inside is the meaning of the word I.
All the five sheaths are objects perceived by the subject I.
The relationship of ‘I’ with the FIVE SHEATHS is explained with an example:
Michael Jackson’s personal secretary (who is an authorized signatory of the bank account) visits the bank in chauffer driven limousine everyday.
One day when the car enters the bank premises, the manager says “There! He has come”. Some one who is new in the bank asks ‘who’ and gets an answer ‘Michael Jackson’. Therefore, he eagerly looks out and sees the car.
Michael Jackson is not the car. (The car represents our physical body.)
He is not the automotive power that drives the car. (Physiological sheath)
Michael Jackson is not the skills of the driver (Psychological Sheath)
Michael Jackson is not the driver (Intelligence Sheath)
The onlooker knows all these things but he is hoping that the person who gets down from the limousine is Michael Jackson. However, unfortunately only the Personal Secretary (Happiness Sheath) is getting down.
As far as the bank is concerned Michael Jackson has visited the bank.
Similarly, we have five sheaths, which interact with the external world. I am represented by
Happiness Sheath as The enjoyer
Intelligence Sheath as The doer
Psychological Sheath as The executor
Physiological Sheath as The motive power
Physical Sheath as The instrument
Question: Still I do not experience myself as I experience my five sheaths?
True, in order to accept something as existing we need to experience it:
We should be able to perceive it directly (By touching, seeing etc)
• I see a cat. So I know it exists
If the above is not possible, we should be able to do it on some future date or on fulfilling some conditions.
• I do not see China Wall but I have seen a photo of it AND I can see it if I visit China. Therefore, it exists.
• I do not see the groundnut inside the shell but I can see it if I open the shell. Therefore, it exists.
We should know some one who has directly experiences it.
• I know moon exists as a solid globe like earth because some one has directly experienced it.
We should be able to infer it based on what we know/ observe
• I know Black Hole exists because I can infer it based on the scientific data provided.
Any object in the universe, which does not fulfill any one of the above conditions, can be stated to be non-existent.
Rule: An object, which cannot be experienced, does not exist.
For example if someone says there is cat here on the table but you cannot experience it, then the statement is a lie. Therefore, it is not possible to say an object exists but cannot be experienced. If something is not experienced / cannot be experienced then it does not exist.
There is only one exception to this rule: The subject
Example: We cannot see our own eye. (What we see in the mirror is the reflection of our eye). However, since we see we know that we have eyes although we do not perceive them directly.
Similarly, the knower who is the subject, which experiences all the objects, cannot experience itself. If the status of the subject is changed as an object, then there will be a question mark on who is the subject of that object.
All objects in creation can be experienced. Whatever that cannot be experienced can be dismissed as non-existent except the subject who is experiencing all the objects.
Because I am the subject who is experiencing the entire creation, I cannot be experienced by definition. There is no one else other than me to experience me!
Example: In order to see any object, we need light. However, in order to see the source of light we do not need any other light. Similarly, our consciousness is the light, which enables us to know everything. Moreover, we cannot use any tool to know this consciousness. There is no need to know the consciousness since it is self-revealing.
A candle light does not need a sun light to reveal itself since it is self-revealing.
All the objects in the world are known only through me. Since nothing else other than me exists it is not possible to know myself. If there is some other knower to know me then the question comes who will know that knower! It will be like a blind person searching for a black cat in a dark room that is not there. One will never find it. Thus, the knower cannot be known.
Therefore, we cannot experience ourselves, not because we do not exist but because we are the subject.
Example: Suppose you ask someone to check if there is anyone inside a big house, that person enters the house and checks all the rooms and reports from his mobile phone “There is no one inside this house”. This information is technically not correct. HE IS INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Similarly, the knower is the one who identifies all the five sheaths and cannot find anyone else except self. Self exists, but cannot be counted as an object.
Example: The source of sweetness in coffee is from Sugar. Coffee is bitter by nature. It borrows the sweetness from sugar. However, where does the sugar get the sweetness? It does not get it from anywhere nor can any other object lend sweetness to it. It is naturally available with it.
Nevertheless, supposing one wants to know the origin of sweetness in sugar, his search will be endless. Sugar’s inherent nature is sweetness and it does not need to borrow sweetness from else where as the other objects do. Moreover, no other article is capable of giving sweetness to sugar.
Similarly, it is my nature to know everything. In addition, I (knower) cannot be known.
Thus the meaning of the word I is SELF (or ONE) which is not knowable as an object because I am the subject.
Whatever I know is not SELF.
Whatever I do not know is not SELF.
Whatever I will ever know is not SELF.
Whatever is ever knowable by anyone is not SELF.
SELF exists as something else other than objects that are known /unknown.
Then who is SELF?
Whoever is asking this question is the SELF
Question: I still do not understand. What exactly should I do to know SELF?
Answer: It is like shouting, “I do not have a tongue. What should I do to get one?”
We can only pity with such person and hope he matures to become more intelligent and then start this enquiry. His mind is not sufficiently prepared to receive this knowledge.
Our Real Nature
Number of Sessions: 5
(19 – 23)
Number of Lessons 4
(11 – 14)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Prove that our real nature is Immortal, Infinite and Happiness
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 3.28 and 3.43 of the original text)
The learning must center around the student’s ability to logically derive that we are Immortal, Infinite and Happiness.
How anantham becomes Aanandam should be explained clearly.
1. Prove that I am Immortal
2. Prove that I am Infinity
3. Prove that I am Happiness
Lesson 11: Immortality
If we identify ourselves with the physical sheath we are mortals and finite. However, the moment we know the truth that, we are not the sheaths but the subject, which experiences everything, and then we know we are immortal and infinite.
Example: As long as our friend from Alaska thinks about the coconut on the tree, it is big and unbreakable for him. However, the moment he thinks about the inner core it is tender and edible.
I am not a human being seeking spiritual experience but I am a spiritual being temporarily having human experience. As a spiritual being, I am immortal and infinite and my human experience is mortal and limited.
Statement 33: I am Immortal
If we look around, every thing we see is mortal, including the universe. It is scientifically proved that all these are changing all the time and slowly moving towards their death. It is logical that whatever begins in time has to end in time. There cannot be just a birth date without a death date. Everything is mortal.
There is only one exception: Myself.
If I start questioning my self, when I started to exist, the answer will be ‘I do not know’. It means that I exist all the time.
Example: On landing in America, Columbus asks one of the native “When did you come here?” He answers, “I do not know” because he is always there.
Similarly, since I cannot recall when I started existing, I should be existing all the time. That means I am immortal.
Immortal means is to be present in all three tenses, present, past and future.
It also means to remain changeless. Anything that changes is bound to get extinct in time.
I was young and now I am old (refers to the physical sheath)
I was sick and now I am healthy (refers to the physiological sheath)
I was angry and now I am calm (refers to the psychological sheath)
I was stupid and now I am intelligent (refers to the intelligence sheath)
I was suffering and now I am happy (refers to the happiness sheath)
In all these statements, we see the sheaths are undergoing changes. The ‘I’, which is changeless, is the one who could observe the changes. If I was also changing then there is no way the changes of the sheaths could be observed.
Finally, in order to observe the mortality of something, there should be something else, which lives longer.
For example if a pot is made out of clay, some one has observed its birth. If it is broken and destroyed, some one who is aware of its existence acknowledges its destruction.
However, in case of the SELF there is nothing other than SELF it has to be immortal.
That which is negated by some one is false and mortal. Ultimately, the one who negates everything else cannot be negated. Since we have negated everything in the universe, we are immortal.
Example: I am looking at everyone through my spectacles. However, I cannot look at my eyes using my spectacles. Similarly, I am the one who observes everything in the universe, including my body, mind and intelligence. However, I cannot look at myself. I am the subject who is present all the time.
Thus, I am immortal.
Lesson 12: Infinity
Statement 34: I am Infinite
Infinite is a boundless entity, which is not limited by time, space and object. There can be only one infinite. If there is more than one infinite, then one limits the other and therefore both are not infinite.
I am infinite because I am not limited by time (I am immortal)
I am infinite because I do not belong to a place. If my body is here, it cannot be elsewhere. Nevertheless, I am present at all the places at all the time. (I am all pervasive)
I am not my body so I am not limited by an object.
Example: If I am a human being then I cannot be a bird. If I identify myself as a living being then I am not an inert object. Nevertheless, the truth is I am the consciousness, which is the content of everything in the creation. Therefore, there is nothing in the world, which is not me.
If we focus our attention on the form, we will see the chain, ring and necklace as different entities but if we focus on the substance, then all of them is one substance, gold.
Thus if we focus ourselves with the substratum of the entire universe, then we are limitless, infinite.
The moment I realize that I am immortal and infinite, I know I am perfect as I am and I do not need to do anything to get fulfillment. If there are any problems with my body/mind, those problems will not affect me. I am not dependent on the universe for my existence. I provide existence to the universe. The universe is just a name and form with certain functions; I am the nameless, formless and attribute less entity. This fulfillment and contentment is my original nature.
Question: How can I have two contradicting natures being immortal/infinite and being a mortal limited by time, space and human body?
This is possible because these opposing attributes do not belong to the same order of reality.
Example: Two 5 year olds fight for a balloon. The fight is real. However, suppose one of them is 50 year old and the other is 5 year old, the situation is different. When both of them are fighting for the same balloon, for the 5 year old it is absolute reality and if he does not gain the balloon from the 50-year-old, life will end. However, for the 50 year old it is a relative reality. Of course he fights for the balloon. Nevertheless, gaining the balloon or losing it does not make any difference to him.
Similarly, from the standpoint of body/mind complex we observe that we are mortal and limited. Nevertheless, truly we are immortal and infinite.
The problems of the world belong to a lower order of reality, which can coexist with our real status. It is like being drowned in the swimming pool in a dream. Nothing happens to the person sleeping in the bed whether the dreamer is drowned or saved. Similarly, nothing happens to us whether we succeed or fail.
Situations in the life on earth as a human being are given a higher status of reality due to our ignorance. It is as if the 50-year-old man really gets affected if he loses the balloon to the 5 year old! It is quite possible for him to get hurt, not because he lost the balloon but because he has given undue reality to it.
Example: A grand father is upset and complains that he is ill-treated by his 5 year old grandson! It happens. However, the reason for the suffering is not the 5 year old but the ignorance of the grand father who gives undue reality to the actions of his grandson.
The objects, persons and events in the life on the earth do not pose themselves to be real. They are part of the illusion and never claim to be the absolute reality. Due to our ignorance we think they are for real and get caught in the misery (or otherwise) of life.
The moment we understand that, we are different from the five sheaths then we are liberated.
Lesson 13: Limitless
The mere fact that we are infinite makes us limitless. There is nothing in the universe other than me. This means there is nothing to gain.
Statement 35: I am happiness.
If I know, my real nature is immortal and infinite then my life on earth will get transformed. I will live the life joyfully since I will not be giving reality to the illusion of objects, persons and events that happen around me. In fact mere living is entertainment since I know that all the objects and persons around me are also rooted on the same reality. It is like acting in a drama in which none of the other actors knows that they are acting. Although I will also be acting my role that will suit the given situation, I can enjoy the performance of others since they are under the assumption that the drama is real life.
The events and results of the transactions in the drama will not affect my mental balance. I will not have any cause to feel anger, irritation and frustration in life.
Those who are ignorant that they are acting will be following the scripts (codes of conduct imposed by society, government and the environment) either willingly or unwillingly. However, I do my part willingly all the time.
Question: How can my nature keep changing?
(Since we are functioning in the world using the five sheaths how can we function with the sense of immortality. If someone is shooting at me should I not duct?)
This is easy to solve since we are already doing this in our day-to-day life.
Example: A rich student acts in a drama as a miserable beggar. Ofcourse he is in sorrow and in a pitiable condition so long the drama is on. It is not that he ‘becomes’ rich after the drama gets over. Even while drama is going on, he knows that he is rich. Nevertheless, he has to beg for alms and not claim he has lots of money. There is no contradiction. The misery of the beggar does not affect the true status of richness in anyway.
Similarly, when I am dealing with the world I am a fellow human being who is mortal and limited. Nevertheless, in reality I am immortal and infinite just like everyone/ everything else. While playing the role of the human being as father, employee or whatever I will do the role appropriately but I will be conscious of my real status as an immortal being. If someone is shooting at me I will not claim I am immortal and stand straight in front of the bullet.
Lesson 14: Summary of FIVE Sheaths
Normally we are living with the wrong understanding of the meaning of the word ‘I’. In order to gain the correct meaning one has to enquire the five sheaths and remove each one of them saying that it is not me.
Physical sheath is not me because it keeps changing and I am aware of the change.
Physiological sheath is not me because it functions without my knowledge and I am aware of its function.
Psychological sheath is not me because the thoughts keep changing all the time and I am aware of all the thought modifications
Intelligence sheath is not me because it keeps growing and I am aware of its change.
Happiness sheath is not me because it lacks consciousness.
I am immortal and infinite entity who is temporarily occupying the five sheaths functioning in this world.
As and when I understand this true nature of myself, I am free from the miseries of the world.
All the experiences in the world are a combination of two factors. One is the observing subject and another is the object that undergoes the experience. If I am aware that the observing subject is I, I am liberated and live a joyful life. Instead, if I identify myself only with the object that undergoes the experience then life will be oscillating between pleasure and pain.
Example: When we see any object, we really see two things, the object and the light. Generally, we are ignorant of the existence of light, even though we perceive it all the time. (If we do not perceive it, we cannot see the object in the first place)
Similarly, I am the subject that perceives all the objects but I get lost in what is observed. Understanding this truth will enable me to live joyfully.
Understanding TWO Creations
Unit 01 Introduction to TWO creations
Unit 02 Problems with the second creation
Unit 03 Solutions to the problems
Unit 04 Benefits of understanding TWO creations
Introduction to the TWO Creations
Number of Sessions: 18
(01 to 18)
Number of Lessons: 11
(01 to 11)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(f) Identify the process of two creations
(g) Understand the innocence of the God’s Creation
Notes to the teacher:
This Module is to support a process of scientific and logical self-enquiry by the student. Each student should be encouraged to do the enquiry in line with the given text independently.
The teacher should identify the students who are not yet mature to take up this module. This can be ascertained by giving an assignment to the students followed by a test.
Assignment: Write your comments on Rene Descartes ‘I think, therefore I am’.
Test: If a student is of the opinion, that the knowledge ‘I exist’ is conditional, then he is not yet ready to understand this Module. Some might say, “I exist because I think” or some other condition. This is wrong. If one does not know ‘I exist’ or needs the support of theories/ explanations or needs to use any of the five senses to prove ‘I exist’, then special attention should be given prior to proceeding with this module.
13. How do we conclude ‘I exist’? (Lesson 1)
14. How do we know that we have five sense organs? (Lesson 1)
15. Since we perceive the world, it exists. True or False? Discuss
16. Why do we need the Scriptures and guidance from a teacher?
17. What is my role in creation (Lesson 4)
18. What are the four types of living beings? (Lesson 5)
19. What is our mistaken notion on ownership? (Lesson 6)
20. What is the process of creating our thought world? (Lesson 7)
21. Who is responsible for the world around me? (Lesson 8)
22. Why the world around us is like what it is? Discuss
Lesson 1: Things known
To live joyfully, we need complete understanding of the world in which we live. We should find out the origin of this creation and its role in our life. We are not interested in anyone of the many possible theories on creation proposed by our scientists. We need to know the absolute facts, which will not keep changing over time. Therefore, we begin our investigation with what is known.
Statement 1: I exist and I know I exist
Any exploration into unknown territories has to start from a known territory.
Example: You are driving and want to reach a specific destination using a road map. If you are not able to locate your current position in the map, the map is useless.
Similarly, if we want to understand the creation in which we live, we should start our search from known facts.
I exist. This is the starting point. We do not need any science, logic, philosophy or religion to give us this knowledge.
I do not even need the help of my five sense organs to know that I exist.
Therefore, the sure starting point, about which no clarification/ teaching/ guidance is required is the knowledge ‘I exist’
Statement 2: I have five sense organs
I know I have five sense organs.
Proof: I receive five different inputs from the world around me.
(Not everyone may have this. Helen Keller was blind and deaf. She perceived the world only through her touch, taste and smell senses.)
We do not yet know that there is a world which exists!
We have just two facts. One, I exist and the second I receive five different inputs. The fact that we receive five different inputs proves that we have five sense organs but does not prove that there is a world outside. It is quite possible that we are connected to a machine from birth and all the inputs are given to us artificially or we may be dreaming. Whatever we have seen and heard could be just a five dimensional movie that is fed into our five senses. Alternatively, maybe there is a world that exists outside me and it is giving me the fivefold sense experience. I do not know as yet which one of these two possibilities is true nor do I have any clue of any other possibilities.
Statement 3: I perceive a world around me.
There is a world around me because I perceive one. This is a hypothesis.
I do not yet know whether the world that I perceive is real or a movie. The fact is I perceive a world. There are people, living beings and objects around me functioning in an orderly manner unlike what happens in my dream.
It is quite possible that the world around me is created by a few computer programmers who are making my mind believe that I see a world, by connecting a few wires to my brain.
Therefore, I am not sure whether the world really exists or not. The existence of the world is just a hypothesis, which I am testing. However, in order to proceed with the investigation I will have to assume that there is a real world around me and I am willing to explore the other possibilities (of computer program etc) only if this hypothesis is proved wrong.
Therefore, now we have two facts and one hypothesis to proceed with our investigation.
Fact 1: I exist.
Fact 2: I have five senses.
Hypothesis: There is a world around me.
Lesson 2: Moving from known to unknown
Statement 4: The world around me is created by God.
If there is a world around me, it could have been created by God or it just happened to exist without a creator. It is impossible to prove scientifically or logically the existence of God. It is equally impossible to prove the non-existence of God.
I need to understand the world fully, when the world was created, who created the order in it etc so that I can validate my hypothesis. I cannot and should not make any more assumptions to gain this additional knowledge.
It is becoming impossible to investigate anything further without help. I am not able to depend on science for getting more facts, because it can only give theories on creation. Nor I can derive the answer logically since pure logic is capable of proving anything. What I need is an absolute and authoritative truth that will not change over time. If I get hold of that then I can validate it through science and logic and gain the true knowledge.
Example: Imagine that you are visiting a foreign country for the first time and you are finding it impossible to explore the city without assistance. (One blind man cannot lead another. If he does, the chance of falling down is doubled!) You need an authentic map and competent guide to make your visit joyful.
Similarly, in order to understand the world around you, you need an authentic map (the Scriptures) and a competent guide (A teacher who has understood the world thoroughly). It is perfectly all right if there are different maps showing different paths to our destination.
Depending on how intelligent we are, soon we can figure out whether the map is a correct one or not and whether the guide is showing us the wrong path by comparing the map with our current location/ path.
Similarly, we can definitely use our intelligence to ensure that we are not cheated by the (unauthorized versions of) the Scriptures or by the (false) guide. The guide must however follow a map and cannot come up with his own map because he could not have found out the origin of the universe all by himself.
Therefore, we need to find a guide and understand the essence of the Scriptures, which should clarify all our questions. This shall be the starting point. Science and logic are not abandoned. They will be used to validate the information given in the Scriptures.
The Scriptures declare that the world we perceive is not real but an illusion. This means that our hypothesis that there is a world around me is correct. However, we need to understand its real nature. We need to collect more facts.
Lesson 3: Facts from the Scriptures – I
Session: D03 – D04
Statement 5: Creation is a continuous activity
Whenever we talk about creation, we assume that it is an historical event, which happened in a distant past. This is not true. The Scriptures declare that it is an ongoing continuous process of evolution and dissolution, which is happening here and now. This declaration is confirmed by science as well. Expansion of the universe from Big Bang and contraction back into singularity is one of the many conclusions arrived at by the scientists.
This cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution is happening continuously.
The correct word for creation therefore is manifestation.
Example: Flag hoisting does not create the flag. The flag is already there and when it is unfurled, we see a shape/ color and name it as ‘Indian flag’. After the event, the flag is folded back and tied to the pole. Then people do not see any flag flying but it does not mean it is not there.
Similarly, the universe is the manifested state of ONE, which is always there. Unlike the flag which was created in time, ONE is eternal and has never been created. Therefore, there is no ‘first creation of universe”. It is manifested and resolved in an endless cycle in line with the actions of the human beings as explained in subsequent lessons.
Statement 6: Creation is an illusion
There is nothing but ONE, which is beyond the concepts of time, space and causation. ONE has a power called Illusion using which it manifests the universe that appears to be real.
To create this universe, there is no need of any action (by ONE) since creation belongs to a lower order of reality.
Example: In order to create a dream world in our sleep, we do not do any action. A mere wish (although unintentional) brings up the dream world.
Similarly, ONE creates this universe through mere wish/desire.
Note: This desire of ONE is of different nature compared to the desires of ignorant human beings. Human beings desire to perform action to achieve fulfillment. Their desire is born out of a sense of incompleteness.
The desire of ONE is an expression of its nature. (Similarly, the desires of the human beings who have gained the ultimate knowledge is an expression of their nature)
Prior to the creation, the universe was part of ONE. After the creation, it appears to be different than ONE.
Example: A cup of milk is made into curd. Prior to the creation of curd, it was potent in the milk. After creation of curd, the milk is not lost. It now appears in the form of curd.
In this example, the milk undergoes a change to become curd. However, in case of ONE, it does not undergo any change to create a universe out of it.
Thus, the nameless, changeless, attribute less, eternal, infinite ONE appears to be the universe after creation.
Universe is not a real substance but it is just a name and form superimposed on ONE.
Example: A snake is seen on a rope lying in darkness. In reality the snake does not exist but it appears to be real due to the semi darkness.
Similarly, in reality the universe does not exist but it appears to be real due to the Delusion of the human beings.
Statement 7: I exist eternally and I am immortal.
God and Living beings are reflections of ONE and therefore they are eternal. In other words, the fact is I exist all the time (I am beyond time) and the questions on creation of the universe and my birth into the world are born out of Delusion.
Therefore, when we talk about creation we refer to the universe consisting of inert objects. No living beings are created in time. They exist eternally. When the universe is in the manifested stage, the living beings have a physical body to live in the universe. When the universe is dissolved, the living beings continue to exist in potent/ seed form. They will be in hibernation until the universe is manifested again.
Example: The Ground Squirrel is known to hibernate for over 200 days, meaning it will show no sign of life during this period and then come back to ‘life’ when the environment is warm enough for them.
Similarly, all the living beings go through some sort of hibernation when the universe is dissolved into singularity and wait to spring back into life when the universe is manifested at an appropriate time.
Just as we sleep in the night and get up in the morning to continue our life, the universe gets resolved and manifested repeatedly and the living beings live eternally until liberation.