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Atma Bodh – Part III

Identifying with the Self

Mar. 12 – Mar. 16, 2012

(Discourses conducted by Swami Sarveshananda at Chinmaya Chitrakoot, CM D/FW) mp3

After explaining how to disidentify with our false convictions, Swami Sarveshananda reminded us that while pain may be inevitable in some life experiences, misery is optional. Avoid the unnecessary comparisons and contrasts, or creating unreal hopes around us and disappointments when they aren’t achieved; stop the self-inflicting pain  caused by our likes and dislikes and attachments. Reflecting on various attributes of the Self through contemplative meditative shlokas tunes the mind. Our mind functions only in the realm of the known, so one has to transcend the mind and intellect to experience the Self. All sadhanaas (spiritual practices) should be focused to tuning to understanding Brahman, constantly re-emphasizing our divinity. Many of us would like to know which saadhana (spritual practice) will allow us to experience peace and happiness? Through constant contemplation, churn the thoughts continually to understand the inner depth of each word and remove even the slightest doubt of the Self v/s non-Self. Such an incessant churn of thoughts results in the purest uncontaminated quality of mind. This practice is referred to as Niddhidhyasan wherein we look at our own experiences through various angles. The fire of knowledge burns down all ignorance and the crux essentially boils down to three factors: (1) Paramatma is reality; (2) Brahman Satyam Jagat Mithya (anything other than Brahman is delusion); and (3) Jiva Bramha Eva na Param (You are nothing but Brahman). Darkness of the ego is dispelled through this constant contemplation on the Self. We get strength from the true knowledge that I am. Even momentary forgetfulness of this fact leads us towards the path of misery where we revel in our weakness and destruction, nurturing the ego.

What is the ego? Due to close proximity, confusion and ignorance, the Absolute reality appears as individualistic Jiva, the identifying factor also known as the ego. The Ego = Past experiences (Dead moments) + Projections of Future (Unborn moments). Thus Ego is an invalid pseudo entity that identifies with the BMI creating a false value system creating misery for us. To get out of any miserable situation, consciously observe and analyze the root cause of misery. Then one can transcend the hollowness of our ego and realize our true nature, the core of our inner being. It is difficult to fathom the experience of Self in these intense meditative moments. We have to rely on the experience of Self-realization from the Realized Masters who see the entire universe as nothing but an expansion of their own being. The Jivan Muktas (Realized Masters) experience the Self expressing as multitude we see in the external world. The Self is the only unifying factor that permeates through all the objects and beings thereby divinizing it. But our limited mindset fails to see the unity in the diversity because we don’t focus on the substratum.  Our agitations are caused by the internal rakshasas (devils) of moha (delusions), raga (attachments) and dvesha (dislikes). We can meditate only when we have reached the stable platform of quietude and peace within. Without this foundation, we can’t aim for the higher state of true happiness. Peace should be acquired. The Realized Masters then establish themselves truly identifying with their own true nature.

This experience of the Self is further elaborated in the next few shlokas that we will see in the concluding series next month.