'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We are now studying Aatmabodha. As always, with each week, you are encouraged to review the previous teachings and spend some time in contemplation of the meanings as the affect your life. Please do consider purchasing the text. Remember, also, to recite the mangala charana before each study and review the lessons before each new one.
Last week we explored the nature of illumination, whereby the inert objects from which light may shine do not, of themselves, possess the ability to glow. The analogy is now taken again but from a different angle.
Svbaexe naNybaedeCDa baexrUptyaTmn>,
Na dIpSyaNydIpeCDa ywa SvaTmàkazne.29.
Svabodhe naanyabodechccha bodharuupatayaatmanaH,
Na diipasyanyadiipechccha yathaa svaatmaprkaashane ||29||
A lighted lamp does not need another lamp to illumine its light. So too, Aatman, which is Knowledge itself, needs no other knowledge to now Itself.
Light is necessary to see the furniture in a dark room. However, to see the light which is shining upon the furniture, there is no need of a further lamp. When the sun lights up the sky, do we require another form of light to see it? No. The sun is the source of its own light and requires no other. It is the epitome of illumination.
Likewise, to Realise the Self, that illumination of all that we perceive - the light in all our experiences and in all living things - we do not need any further 'light'.
If we understand that the sun, to our limited world, is the source of all light and life as a result of its presence, how much more must we understand when we see by the light of Consciousness, which illumines the entire universe?!
When we remove the lamp from the room with the furniture, does the light cease to exist? When the earth rolls round and we are into the night, does the sun cease to shine? Of course not. The lamp, though, can be extinguished very shortly. The sun, ultimately, will also be extinquished. Aatman, however, will continue to shine, for it is the very source of all illumination of every kind. It is eternal and effulgent. To come to know this light of lights does not require any other light to be applied.
The world of objects is 'bright' to us for as long as we look externally. The moment we turn introvert, attention inwards, we start to see the light which has been hidden, that Light alone which illumines the entire world of beings and experience. This introversion can be as mantra, japa, meditation; whichever technique we adopt, with dedication and application it will bring us ever closer to true luminescence, that state of Realisation which has been learned by many a saint and sage before us.
The intellect struggles to comprehend the One, as we saw in yesterday's post on Narada Bhakti Sutra. This is because there is a lack of an object of cognition. The intellect itself becomes an obstacle to Realisation. If we use a telescope, we can see everything but ourselves. The intellect is a tool as useful as the telescope for seeing and comprehending the world, but is, ultimately, useless for comprehending the Transcendent. The Aatman is the very Self attempting to see Itself. The intellect is, in fact, an object which the Self can see, just as we can see the telescope. Getting far enough away from our physical matrix in order to accept this, however, is the challenge of meditation and introspection. This is the work of the saadhaka. Working down through all our gross and subtle layers in the physical world until we, finally, touch the numinous Other, the True Self. At that point, there is light without lamp; in that light nothing is illumined other than consciousness and bliss.
To remain in this awareness, this aananda, is the goal of all serious saadhakas; to remain in Self Luminescence is to be jiivanmukta, a realised Master in this life itself.