'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.6th
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.
The text continues to look at the process of meditating and what pitfalls may be awaiting the unsuspecting. We saw that there is a risk of sleep, or excessive restlessness through inner distraction, or even becoming enamoured of the process and it's little 'side roads' that we lose the key purpose. How to avoid these?
AaTmNyevaiol< d&Zy< àivlaPy ixya suxI>,
Aatmanyeva-akhilam dRshyam pravilaapya dhiyaa sudhiiH,
Bhaavayedekam-aatmaanam nirmala-aakasha-vatsadaa ||39||
The wise one should intelligently merge the entire world of objects in the Aatman alone and constantly think of the Self as being ever-uncontaminated like space.
Viveka - intelligent discrimination between the Real and unreal - is what is called for here. Drawing ever closer to union with the Self, the jnaani must now resist all pulls of the external and seek to empty out and merge, just as space can not of itself contain anything, yet exists everywhere.
The human being is a critter of intellect. Despite being of animal matter and instinct, there is another factor which this 'animal' possesses that no other does; the ability to make abstract connections, to think beyond survival and to question existence. It has resulted in a type of existence upon this planet that no other creature has managed. The use of this phenomenal advantage leaves us open to its abuse, harbouring it for purely selfish and destructive activity. However, if we are wise, we can use the intellect for only that which raises us and, possibly, the people and society with which we are connected. Even further, we can use this tool to find the answers to the abstracts, the point of survival and the purpose of existence.
In doing this, we begin to associate the very fabric of the universe as a whole with our minute individual being-ness and start to grasp that the physical matter means nothing - spirit alone is the supreme state and this has no substance, just as we imagine space does not. (In terms of physics, of course we know that even space contains material, but let us take the licence which philosophy affords us!)
Reaching this understanding is quite mind-blowing of itself. Moving beyond the mind and making it our experience is quite another level of existence altogether. When one crosses into the dream world, we know no separation of ourselves from that dream existence until such time as we are once again fully awake. Now think - even this which you currently think of as 'waking state' is, in terms of Vedantic philosophy, still nothing more than a 'dream'. It is the illusion created by the Maya component of Brahman. The aim of the jnaani is to sit in meditation until that True Awakening can be experienced. From there it is possible to look upon all the material world with true focus and emphasis and having thus merged with the Aatman, the Universal Soul, would any of us fall back into believing the dream over the waking?
Contemplate on the differences between dream and waking. Sometimes we have difficulty waking properly and are caught somewhere in between - have you ever experienced this? There are those who say they do not dream. This is an error of understanding, for science has proven that every person dreams, but that it is not necessary to remember them. If you are one who does not, ponder the shift from being asleep to being awake; the knowing of nothing and then the knowing of something. If you can, begin to imagine the possibility of Waking Up from the waking state!