'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.
Having indicated the rise of the seeker into the state of nirvikalpa samaadhi, the text now proceeds to give further definition to the state itself.
}at&}an}ey_aed> pre naTmin iv*te,
icdanNdEkêpTvaÎIPyte Svymev ih.41.
jnaatR-jnaana-jneyabhedaH pare naatmani vidyate,
Chidaananda-eka-rupatvad-diipyate svayameva hi ||41||
There are no distinctions such as 'knower', 'knowledge' and 'object of knowledge' in the Supreme Self. Since It is of the nature of homogeneous Consciousness and Bliss, the Self shines by Itself.
The intellect is capable of perceiving only objects other than itself and so all our knowledge is constituted of things other than ourselves. An intelligent life in this world, in terms of our experiencing, is possible only by a contact of the experiencer with the objects to be experienced.
To rephrase and emphasise the important triumvirate; we ourselves are the subject in any given scenario and all things external to us can be referred to as the object. The relationship the subject has with object is determined as an 'experience'. It can only be so when the subject is recognised as being the experiencer of the object, which in its turn gets experienced and the connecting factor is the experiencing. This is a basic tenet of philosophy and must be thoroughly understood. Something can only be called an experience where there is a subject and an object to set up a relationship called 'experience'.
Equally, these things can only occur where potential for knowledge exists. Also the ability to perceive. This sets up further 'threesomes' (triputi). There must be a see-r, something to be see-n and the connection between these two, the see-ing. Seeing and experiencing can only have effect where there is a place to lodge them, thus there must be a know-er (jnaatya), something to be know-n (jneyaH) and thus the seeing and experiencing become know-ledge (jnaana). In the individual, that knowledge-byte is referred to as 'vRtti' - a thought. There can be a tendency to think that as the seeker enters samaadhi, the vRtti becomes Brahman; but it is more that vRtti has removed the curtain of ignorance and revealed Brahman, which already was there and stands separate from thought.
This is the message of shloka 41. Self is that very Knowledge beyond which no more knowing is required. What is more, when established in Self, it becomes clear that the subject, object and interaction between these two is no longer valid. Self is the very source of All Knowledge and does not require knowing. It is not an object and is not, in fact, the subject. It is the cause and home of both these things.
It is in the transcendence of the physical equipments of BMI, and the world of objects, that the Wholeness, the Unity, the Homogeneity of Everything is 'Realised'. We no longer require any of the usual parameters to sit in Knowledge.
There is a famous shloka in the Vivekachoodamani of Shankara, #59, which tells the seeker that, prior to Realisation, all the study of scriptures and manuals cannot of themselves provide the thing sought; but that equally, once Realisation arrives, the scriptures are but tools and add nothing to the experience. Until such time as we can rise to that exalted state, we do require experience, thought, scripture and all such tools, just as a climber requires ropes and spikes to climb the mountain. When the climber attains the summit, all the ropes and spikes are forgotten as he soaks in the glory of being on top. The jnaani, on Realisation no longer understands "Aham Brahmaasmi" as a vRtti, a thought to be known, bit simply sits within the understanding and soaks up the glory of Enlightenment, dissolves into it. Becomes It.