Wednesday, 19 December 2012

“I”, Real and imposter

Kenopanishad opens with a question by an unnamed sishya who wants to know what is the divine power that makes the eyes see, ears hear, tongue speak, prana function and mind coordinate the sense functions.  To this the Guru, who is also not named replies that it is the divine Power that can be termed as the Mind of the mind, Eye of the eye, Ear of the ear, Tongue of the tongue and Prana of prana (capital letters are used to distinguish the Power from the other). He later goes on to add that whether it is the tongue, ears, eyes, prana or mind they all owe their function to the Grace of this Power, but this Power is beyond their orbit of perception. This Power we can also define as the “I” of the I, the ego, in the sense that it is the Power’s grace that lets the ego exist, boasting about its possessions, profession, position etc. Maybe the Guru, would have added this also had the sishya asked “What is the divine Power that makes the I feel it is same even when the body, mind and intellect changes from childhood to old age through youth and middle age and does not go to sleep even when the body, mind and intellect goes to sleep in sushupthi, deep sleep state, every day.


In fact this ego makes its appearance only a little later after birth.  I remember my grandson telling in his childhood days “ vadigi kavala” in telugu, meaning “he wants”, whenever he wants something.  Years ago there was a little boy near my brother’s apartment, who used to say “ Sethumadhavan wants” whenever he wants something, Sethumadhavan being his name.  Once this ego appears it takes over and thereafter I, I, I and my, my, my dominates one’s life story. And this I with the added name to distinguish it from other I’s becomes our identity badge, giving us individuality, our c.v. personality.  Thereafter the ego masquerades as the self, donning the mantle of I, displacing the Power, referred to also as Brahman, Being, God and so on, which only is one’s real Self.  And this ego is the imposter I.  


"Ego is an acronym for Edge God Out", Burt Harding says, for with ego displacing the Real I, God is sought only for getting something for this pseudo I or for consolidating something that is its my.  Ego is only a facet of the mind when it identifies itself with doership and enjoyership, and one cannot find true peace and real happiness so long as one stays in the mistaken belief that ego is one’s real Self.  That is why Sri Ramana Maharishi used to ask any person who goes to him with the story that he is troubled or distressed, to enquire who is it that says I am troubled or distressed.  For in these statements “I am distressed”. “I am troubled” the I that is employed is only the pseudo I, the ego and not the real I, our true Self that is beyond sorrow and happiness, knowledge and ignorance, being itself Sat Chit Ananda


Our real Self is the Consciousness, which is the same in every person, while the egos are many as the minds are many. Erwin Schrodinger , the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, echoes this idea when he says in his book “What is Life” that Consciousness is singular of which the plural is unknown and that there is only one thing.  Consciousness is only one and it manifests as many in the minds as It makes them sentient as one electricity manifests as many glowing filaments in different lights.  The one who realizes his Real self realizes this Oneness.  Of this person who has realized the Oneness, Isavasya upanishad says in mantra 6 that there is no delusion or sorrow for him. This realized person, who sees Oneness in all, sees as a corollary himself in others and others in himself. And so this person, as the same upanishad says in Mantra 5, has no hatred for others. So this discovery of “who am I” will not only help to rid one of delusions, depressions and personal unhappiness, but collectively can bring in universal peace in a strife-torn and hate-filled world.  So the right message for all-round peace and happiness in the world at any time, be it Christmas, New Year or any other occasion will be “Discover your Real Self, the Oneness in yourself and the same Oneness in your neighbors as well and don’t be misled by the imposter into building walls of separation and hatred between yourself and your neighbors” 


Monday, 3 December 2012

I am, therefore I think.

First I wish to clarify one or two points arising out of the earlier blog “I am Brahman”. When I equate “I am” with Brahman, what I am equating is the amness of “I am”, that stands for pure Existence, which is eternal, not limited by time or space. This is similar to equating “I” with Brahman, where I that is equated is not I with the upadhi of body-mind-complex but a upadhi-free I. Pure Existence is Sat, and Sat is only Chit and as the One only without a second, is infinite and having no second it is total fulfilment itself, for what can It need when there is nothing else?  So one can refer to Brahman by any one of these epithets, pure Existence, pure Consciousness or by any other epithet that stands for this, and not necessarily by all the three Sat, Chit, Aanand as in Taittriya Upanishad.  After all Brahman itself is not a name but only a pointer to understand the part-less, indescribable Infinite, the one absolute Truth without the second. It is the only thing that is no-thing as well.  In Chandogya Upanishad it is referred to as Bhuma as well.  Eckhart Stolle, a contemporary spiritual teacher, and Burt Harding, a hypno-therapist turned spiritual teacher and a fan of Ramana Maharishi refer to It as “Now”, Now as a container and not as the ordinarily encapsulated one in time frame, and also as Being, emphasising It is the Only Absolute Reality, without compromising It being “You” only.

Now let us consider the famous statement made by Rene Descartes, the French philosopher “I think, therefore I am. This reads as though our existence needs proof to ourselves and this proof is supplied to us through the fact we are thinking. The proof must be to ourselves only for we alone know our mind (or we assume we know our mind). Does our existence really need proof to ourselves? Do we doubt our existence any time, even if it is challenged by others? Certainly not. Even in a dark room where we need a light to know whether anything is there, we readily respond “yes, I am”, if anybody asks “Are you there”.  Even in deep sleep where all our senses along with the mind are dysfunctional are we not aware of our existence, that enables us to make the statement “’ I slept soundly; I did not know anything”?  “I am” is a statement of our existence, which is self-evident, while “I think” is a statement of the functionality of the mind, which is dependent on “I am” our Consciousness.  Mind by itself is insentient being the product of the total satvic content of the pancha bhuthas, the five primordial elements of space, air, fire, water and earth, which are by themselves inert.  “I am” as such represents Consciousness that is my real Self that lends sentiency to the mind by its very presence. So in this famous statement Descartes has put the cart before the horse, basing Consciousness on thinking.

Any cosmetic change in this statement replacing ‘think’ by ‘feel’ or ‘perceive’ will not improve matters.  For ‘feel’ and ‘perceive’ are also functions of the mind where sense-organs of perception are also involved. While mind is the product of total satvic content of the pancha buthas, the sense-organs of perception are formed of the satvic content of the individual bhuthas.  Individual bhuthas being inert, the sense-organs of perception are also insentient by themselves and they also derive their sentiency through mind made sentient through the presence of Consciousness. So the amendments will suffer from the same error of predicating the existence of the support on the supported.  So only if the statement is amended as “I am, therefore I think”, it will reflect the correct position, I think.