to the essential.
Do we have it or
go for it ?
Last update : 6 / 2 / 2015
The intellect is the mirror on which one enjoys the show.
But on which side of the mirror are you?
11 / 18 / 2011
Body and mind
If I am not what I have, what's left of myself?
But what is the Self?
11 / 28 / 2011
Having and being : 2 very different principles.
The body and the mental faculties of the brain that I have are not what I am.
It's obvious, but how can I know it if I'm not this body, mind and brain?
Mirror of the soul
The intellect is the mirror of myself and the Self.
The mind is the reflection of consciousness on the intellect.
"I am" is true being in itself known by my mental faculties.
Withdrawn from what I have,
there is nothing left of myself.
And still I am.
So "I am" and myself are the expression of 2 different experiences.
Being in itself and myself are not the same.
Vichara, Self-inquiry, is nevertheless the mean to discover this being in itself by myself.
Because I am a conscious body and mind, consciousness can be known as it is.
Because I am personally a conscious being, I'm able to know, as a person, being and consciousness as they are.
The intellect, Buddhi, is the mirror which reflects simultaneously the immutable consciousness and the ever changing mind.
There is no other mystery.
11 / 30 / 2011
"Who am I ?", the only question truly metaphysical.
Any others are only philosophical gossip.
Relation between subject / object.
The actor and the performance.
Drama in 3 acts :
Thinker / thinking / thoughts.
Comedy in one act :
the process of identification.
"I", the thought and the faculty of thinking becomes one.
And the spectator watches without being invited.
The player plays with his toys.
He suffers from and only wishes to break them,
but doesn't know that he's inseparable from his toys.
It's nevertheless there, in the mind, that everything is played.
The thinker is lost in his thoughts or stops thinking
in order to watch thoughts which now are not anymore his own.
It's just a game,
a mind game,
most of the time,
the sad game of the ego
who thinks about himself
to make sure that he's real
because he's not.
Is there any thought which doesn't express egocentricity?
Yes, every egocentric thoughts you watch without identification,
without the echo "It's me who think that...".
If the "I" doesn't know his own egoism, greed and hypocrisy,
how could he criticizes the flaws of the others?
How could he progress on the path of knowledge?
How could he realize the truth?
Same same, but different.
If the "I" doesn't know his own egoism, greed and hypocrisy,
how could he criticize the flaws of the others?
Because he's so good, modest and sincere?
Good joke until he faces himself!
Everyone is the same,
led by the instinct of conservation.
Nothing evil in itself.
Only a bad ego-trip for oneself and the others.
12 / 8 / 2011
"Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree.
One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating."
_ Are you a conscious being or a psychological entity speaking with itself in its mind all day long?
_ I am of course a conscious being!
_ Why don't you realize this truth?
_ I've already realized it.
_ So why do you spend your time speaking in your mind instead of actualizing this truth in your life?
_ Just by being conscious!
_ What? I am conscious.
_ The faculty of being conscious doesn't think.
It can watch the activities of the mind, but itself cannot think.
It's not its function.
Or you are the thinker,
or you are the witness of the manifestation of the mind.
You cannot be both at the same time.
The ego treads the path of knowledge by becoming the witness of its own existence,
then by seeking the true nature of the witness he became
to finally realize that there is no path nor ego to tread it.
But if you think that the search was useless, you didn't understand that you are this unsatisfied ego who sometimes thinks that the search is useless.
12 / 29 / 2011
The organ is shaped by its function.
We can even say that the function creates the organ.
But consciousness is not an organ or a function.
As space, it hasn't any form.
12 / 30 / 2011
"Thinking is not your true nature." Ramana Maharshi
And not thinking is not your true nature either.
Thinking is a very convenient mental faculty when one needs it.
The true nature of a person is not what this person thinks.
It's not thinking, the thinking process, the content of the mind and the mind.
Consciousness is not the intellect which it makes conscious.
The Self is not the self-identity 'I' which expresses its own thoughts.
A person is a body and a brain with its mental faculties. This quite sophisticated organism expresses naturally its own existence in its thoughts or with other people by using the concept 'I' and 'me'. This 'I' is a personal identity which represents the person, its life, its past and all its experiences. All human beings determine their own existence in the world with no other but a personal identity. But this identity itself is not identical to the ego.
The ego is the personal identity plus the identification process which makes this ego believing that it is itself an psychological entity different from its body and its mental faculties. "I have a body, a mind, a past, emotions, perceptions, etc." shows that this egocentric entity is different from what it owns or in other words, "I cannot be what I have" because 'to have' is obviously different of 'to be'. The personal identity on the other hand doesn’t think to be independent of its body and mind. It represents them, and at the death of the person, its function will be completed.
For the ego, it’s quite different. Although its existence is an illusion, it will survive potentially after the death of its physical body to be reincarnated. But if the ego realizes the Self, which means that it succeeds to annihilate itself in its quest for the truth, it therefore won’t have to be reincarnated anymore. But how this illusory identity can have the impression to live in a world as illusory as its own thoughts? Self-realization answers to any question by revealing their futility and not by answering with other thoughts which has no meaning too. In other words, how the dreamer could answer to the questions of the person he is in his own dreams? And how the dreamed character could know that the dreamer exists somewhere in another world that his own ? Both of them haven't the least idea that the dream state determines their so-called existence. So there is no answer to this kind of question because these questions are quite simply absurd. The ego will never know the truth. The realization of the truth is the end of the ego, of an egocentric entity who thinks to be different of the body and mind.
The ego is made of thoughts, beliefs and identifications. If you don't believe it, stop thinking and see what's left of yourself, of your egocentricity, sufferings and desires, of everything which gives you an apparent reality. Without thoughts, you even cannot identify yourself with your body to prove that you really exist. In this no thought state of mind, the person that you think to be will carry on his life of course..., but without you.
The Mahavakyas, sacred Mantras such as "I am Brahman", "I am the Self", "I am being, consciousness and bliss", etc., are absolutely impersonal which means they don’t concern anybody in particular. Nobody can say "I am God", except for an initiation, for a joke or to look like a stupid ken-guru.
The Atman is not the Jivatman.
Mukti is not the Jivamukti.
Jnana is not Vidya.
"To know the Self is to be the Self".
So our true nature will not be our true nature
Thinking or not thinking is not the point of this search of the truth.
1 / 5 / 2012
You are a person, not the Self.
Understand that the Self doesn’t think to be anything.
The Self doesn’t think.
It’s the Self and consciousness which are watching your thoughts.
1 / 12 / 2012
Biology considers that we interact with reality through the nervous system.
According spirituality, consciousness interacts with reality through us.
Are we now so stupid?
A long time ago, in order to realize the Self and be free from illusory suffering, it was only necessary to listen to the truth and understand it, nothing more ! No Sadhana and no Yoga could help.
It’s very well explain in "Yoga Vashishta".
Since this time, it seems that the ego got harder and harder and harder.
A concept which helps to understand.
Spirituality and mythology often use the concept of "reflection", return of thoughts or images on a surface such as a mirror.
Advaita explains that the mind results from the reflection of consciousness on the intellect.
According to western psychology which find a lot of inspiration in Greek mythology, the psyche is the set of psychic phenomena considered to form the personal identity, the human faculty for thought, judgment and emotion, the mental life, including both conscious and unconscious processes, i.e. the ego and the mind as distinguished from the body. It is also the name for a large mirror suspended between two pillars joined by horizontal bars resting on two feet and of course used to look at ourself. It is surely not by chance that ancient people has chosen the same word to identify two things so different, the individual consciousness and a mirror.
The image of yourself that you see in a mirror is an illusion, it's obviously not you. But how the reflection of consciousness on the intellect can give rise to the mind and ego, that is to say what you think of yourself, everything you are personally ? Let’s suppose that the intellect is like a mirror equipped with all the psychic faculties that you use every day, the faculty to think, to reason, to remember, to imagine, to perceive, etc. And that consciousness is what enables the intellect to know, the light, so to speak, which enlightens all psychic phenomena produced by its faculties. The mind and ego, that is to say 'you', are then the coherent image of this set of phenomena on the mirror of the intellect, an illusory projection which makes the ego to believe that it is itself the totality of all these phenomena.
When it is said that the world is an illusion, it must be understood before anything else that it is so because you are yourself the illusion which perceives the world. It is difficult to admit that the "I, me, myself" and all the thoughts that determine the presence of this entity, its very existence, is an illusion, that you are an illusion. This is however what Advaita explains in many different ways and what reveals Self-realization and Sahaja Samadhi. If you practice meditation, it’s obvious that you will understand more easily what is meant by "reflection of consciousness on the intellect". And one hour of meditation should be more than enough to fully realize that your true power is to watch the thoughts that you are unable to control, but with which however you are used to identify with. So who are you when you are no longer those thoughts, when in fact you stop thinking to watch them better ? Except for the power to be conscious of these thoughts, I do not see what might remain of your presence in such an experience. Practice, watch carefully and you will understand without explanation. The truth is always much simpler than anything you can imagine.
But what will be the purpose of this revelation on yourself ? The real secret that the Jnanis, the people of knowledge, explain since very ancient time is extremely simple. The faculty to be conscious during a meditation or in the daily life is much more than a mental faculty of the intellect. This faculty is identical to consciousness itself, being and bliss, "Sat-Chit-Ananda". The Divine is Sat-Chit-Ananda, your true nature too. In other words, if you are the Divine contemplating what manifests the mirror of the intellect which you consider yours, this mirror will send you back soon or late a very sacred image of your true nature that you will never forget. Now it's up to you to see if the ultimate challenge that offers you the life is worth to be understood.
Why is it the ultimate challenge of the ego? To realize that the true nature of being is absolutely divine, this ego will have to be annihilated in its own search for the truth. And this is certainly not what it wishes! It's alright to look for the true nature of the being it thinks to be because this quest will enhance its self-importance, especially if it understood that this true nature is absolutely divine, but it will never do it to destroy its own existence even if it understood that everything it really incarnates is an illusion.
Good luck in your spiritual quest, the grace of God goes with you. How could it be otherwise if you understood that this grace is your true nature that the ego will always meet in all its thoughts which reflect on the intellect and that you are only able to know when you are conscious ..., conscious of what they really express, the ineffable presence of consciousness itself. To realize the Self, the presence of pure consciousness, is to discover what you already knew but never watch as it truly is.
2 / 23 / 2012
The truth is only about reality as it is, not as it should be nor as it could be.
If the truth is the aim of your spiritual quest, enjoy reality as it is and don't try to change it.
How to explain better what means the word 'consciousness'?
"That which knows is never the object of its own knowledge."
The Self and the "now" are one.
Is it obvious?
If yes, you stand nowhere.
Reality is an illusion because we don’t know its true nature,
and we don't know it because we don't know our true nature.
Tat Vam Asi : "you are that".
You already are what you are looking for to be.
Realize it and don't try to become it.
So every spiritual researches are useless.
Of course, but can you realize the truth before to look for it?
2 / 27 / 2012
In Yoga and Advaita Vedanta, only the experience is truly interesting. The truths and informations we can extract from it are much less. That's why concepts like God, reincarnation, Karma, Samskara, liberation, etc. are not so important. They only concern an entity which is not what we are.
3 / 10 / 2012
Very simple and quite unpleasant.
You already have what you are looking for to have.
You already are what you are looking for to be.
So you can only realize it.
But what is it ?
Consciousness is what you have.
A conscious being is what you are.
But the conscious being and the thinking being are not one and the same.
The conscious being is consciousness itself.
It's impersonal, universal, "one without a second", our true nature, the Self, God, the Divine...
Everybody incarnates this conscious and unique being.
The thinking being on the other hand is you, the ego, a personal identity, a psychological entity, the identification with body and mind. If you deny it, what you are looking for to have and to be becomes impossible. In order to realize the Self, first you have to recognize that you didn't realize it yet. Before to realize the Self, realize that you are not the Self. And if you are not the Self, you are the ego who is looking for Self-realization. That's an embarrassing truth which doesn't allow you to lie about yourself if you understand what it means. As far as truth is concerned, it's better to understand than to carry on with your illusions.
3 / 12 / 2012
Why so many esoteric truths in spirituality when the supreme truth has been explained so clearly in few words in the "Mahavakyas", the sacred sayings of the Vedas?
"The Divine is being, consciousness and bliss."
"The Divine is the witness."
"You are that."
4 / 14 / 2012
Tricky points concerning non-duality.
The term Advaita, non-duality, means "not two", no subject no object that is to say no self-consciousness related to something else. So how the experience of non-duality can be considered as an experience if it’s without object and without self-consciousness or "I" to experience this absence of object? It cannot be an experience but a realization, i.e. a fact which is a reality and not a concept, an idea or a philosophical thought. Non-duality determines the natural state of a person living in the reality, "Sahaja Samadhi", which means in fact the natural state of his or her perceptions because it’s impossible to speak of a person obviously living in space and time without any reference to the body and mind.
An experience is only possible when there is a phenomenon or object in relation with the subject who is supposed to live this experience. The object goes with the subject and vice versa. But in the experience of non-duality, because the subject which is "I", me, myself or self-consciousness disappears, there is no object either. So what’s left? There is only reality as it is. In other words, emptiness, enlightenment or any kind of mystical experiences have nothing to do with the experience of non-duality because it’s not the object of the experience which is important, but the absence of the relation between the subject and the object of the experience. This absence of relation makes that every experience becomes absolutely divine. So there is no need to seek anything extraordinary in order to realize the Self. The quest for the truth and Self-realization goes far beyond mysticism.
Non-duality reveals what has no beginning and no end. But the experience of what has no beginning and no end cannot be an experience because whatever the experience is, it usually starts and ends in time and space. So what kind of experience is it? It’s a simple fact too obvious to be considered as a new experience. We are conscious being, but can we experience the fact of being conscious or in other words the true nature of being in itself and of consciousness itself?
Let’s say that you experience the true nature of the being that you are which is without beginning and end, and of course very different of your body and mind. How could you consider that this experience starts at one moment and ends at another? If you suddenly realize that your own existence, the very being that you are, is without beginning and without end, this realization is forever, but the experience itself may change because it is lived by a body and a mind which are not going to last forever.
Absolute : as such in itself, considered in itself and not in relation with something else.
The knowledge of something implies the knowledge of its opposite or of what it is not, hence the relative knowledge of this thing. What’s about the absolute knowledge of something and the knowledge of the absolute itself? Possible or not?
The knowledge of what makes knowledge possible is not a concept. It’s the absolute, the non-duality, the Self, consciousness, etc.
Consciousness itself is identical to the faculty of knowing. The experience of consciousness or non-duality or the absolute is the fact of knowing the faculty of knowing the faculty of knowing the faculty of knowing... And if something appears in between, this thing will obviously be known too. Did you get it?
You cannot be what you know, but only the being who has the faculty of knowing, which means that everything you know about yourself is not what you are. The being, the faculty of knowing and consciousness itself are one and the same.
What are you? You are pure being and pure consciousness. You are that : Tat Vam Asi.
Who are you? You are a person, a body and mind, a personal identity, an psychological entity, an ego.
5 / 10 / 2012
Intelligent wisdom, if it exists, expresses itself by a special state of consciousness and not a mental structure or intellectual life more complex than usual. Intelligence as generally understood is too associated to memory and a certain way of thinking to be considered as a faculty of consciousness. The Hindus explain however that consciousness is pure intelligence.
What is a mental structure and a state of consciousness? A mental structure could be roughly compared to a certain way of thinking conditioned by cultural or other factors and the most obvious state of consciousness that we know is of course to be conscious, that is to say to be awake, the waking state being the state which makes possible to know what we call reality. Now let us tackle the problem which truly concerns the practice of spirituality. If we want to experience what is this most obvious state of consciousness, to be fully awake, do we have to stop thinking? Thinking is the center point of the practice of spirituality and in particular the practice of meditation. But do we have to stop thinking in order to realize the Self and understand at last that our true nature is identical to what consciousness is?
Some people say yes, others say no. For those who believe that thinking or the absence of thought cannot modify in any way the fact of being fully awake and conscious of whatever appears or disappears in the mind, the Sutra of Hui Neng is waiting for them. This small book is about the life and teaching of an illiterate woodcutter who understood that there is no difference between non-duality, Buddha’s nature and the Tao, that’s why he finally thought that to be Zen and to be it suddenly without any other practice than understanding is even better. For the others who think that they have to stop thinking to realize that they are basically conscious beings before to become thinking beings, an army of spiritual teachers wait for them arms wide open to teach them more techniques that they will ever be able to practice… and sometimes, it’s not very expensive!
What to do when there is nothing left to do?
To be saved from oneself.
Just by being the Self.
Just by watching.
A beautiful image of non-duality.
"The wild geese fly across the long sky above.
Their image is reflected upon the chilly water below.
The geese do not mean to cast their image on the water.
Nor does the water mean to hold the image of the geese."
(Chinese verse from the eighth century)
"Our minds are simply God’s mirror, reflecting the "here-now" of creation. Such, according to the Taoist, is the process of creation. But this creative reflection can only be understood through private intuition."
"Our private intuition is our own. Enlightenment doesn’t come from without. It comes only from within."
("Creativity and Taoism" Chang Chung-yuan)
The watcher has always been free from what he’s watching.
Understand that and the mind game is over.
Everything is over.
Everything starts and ends in the present.
Consciousness and knowledge are the present.
Everything else is an illusion.
As the immortal will never become mortal, we will never fully rationalize the irrational. The truths stated in Vedanta come from experiences and not from sensible thinking. The Advaita uses logic and common sense to explain these truths, but the seeker cannot really understand them without his intuition. The intellect has this remarkable ability of always being able to refute with logical and convincing arguments all claims. This being so, the Advaita proposes to the seeker of truth to question his own existence by asking to himself "Who am I?" and by practicing the Yoga of knowledge. The Advaita explains that we are God, but this truth being a priori absurd, the Yoga of knowledge invites us to seek what we are because our own existence, the existence of the "I" that we never question, is much less obvious that we believe when we try to discover what it really is.
5 / 18 / 2012
First thing first : the power of words.
"I", "me" and "myself" are nothing more than words and concepts.
If you think to be something else, you understood nothing about Advaita Vedanta. You are the concept and the idea you have about yourself, the entity resulting from a process of identification, the illusion who is looking for the truth, the ego that you try to annihilate.
During your quest for the truth, you will never be anything more than the thought which makes you thinking that you are not a thought, the personal identity thinking not to be an identity, the ego thinking to be different from the ego.
7 / 11 / 2012
To be doesn’t mean to become
As you are, you are absolutely perfect.
But do you know what are you ?
And I'm not speaking about who you are.
You are obviously a person like everybody.
What you are on the other hand is pure and perfect consciousness.
9 / 27 / 2012
Subject / object relationship
You cannot perceive and know yourself by any means because you will always be "the one" who perceives and never what he perceives. Self-realization is obviously another kind of knowledge. To be more precise, your true nature is what perceives and not what has been perceived. But the concept "the one" is still giving a wrong idea because there is no difference and separation between the perceiver, perceiving and the perceived.
Sometimes, to be is not to be
It’s totally wrong to believe that if the immanent presence of consciousness could exist without being known, it would mean that consciousness as such doesn’t exist. The presence of consciousness can be ignored, but without being conscious, you cannot know anything, so consciousness cannot be ignored except when you don't care about its presence, that is to say all the time. In other words, you realize the Self or not, it's exactly the same for what you are, pure consciousness. Liberated or not liberated is not the point of your spiritual quest. So what is it?
10 / 8 / 2012
Jivatman and Jivamukti
The human being and the so-called liberated soul.
To realize the Self doesn’t make you becoming the Self.
The human being stays human (very fortunately).
And the Self is and always will be the Self.
To realize the Self is quite simply to realize the truth of what you are, the Self, and who you are, a person.
To be true, nothing changes,
but the understanding of it is very different.
11 / 2 / 2012
Yin Yang and non-duality
As soon as we grant a quality to the manifestation of an interior or external phenomenon, that determines the existence of its opposite quality. No quality can be absolute; they are all relative. Happiness doesn’t exist without suffering. Peace precedes or succeeds agitation. One discovers the truth only by becoming aware of the lie sometimes also called illusion or ignorance.
When it is said that God is being, consciousness and bliss, "One without a second", the Divine is obviously not a manifestation. Being, consciousness and bliss are not qualities either. Consequently, the Divine is "not this, not that", Neti Neti. It’s by denying what God is not that we are sure not to be mistaken.
Is it possible to really know the Divine? By realizing what our true nature is, we can only know the Divine. By discovering the being and consciousness that we embody, we are this "One without a second". But how to really be sure of it? The knowledge of our true nature is identical to the experience of non-duality which of course is the ultimate knowledge. The perfect absence of self-consciousness, of the subject in the relation between subject and object, determine the experience of non-duality, of this "One without a second", and there is obviously nothing beyond. How could it be otherwise? If this "One without a second" is absolutely unique as the expression states very clearly, there is nothing beyond and nothing which could transcends it too. God is this totality and oneness which pervade all the creation without being touched by it just as space and consciousness do.
Consciousness is much more than another dimension
To really know the passage of time, we have to be located outside of the temporal dimension.
To really know the presence of space, we have to be outside of the spatial dimension.
It’s the most obvious method and we know it very well.
Whatever time and space are, we are absolutely conscious of their dimension.
Whatever the creation is, we cannot deny our perceptions.
To be conscious of, it’s to be here and somewhere else at the same time.
It's to be the Self and pure consciousness.
There is a state which is not conditioned by space and time, not a state in which we can find ourself, but the state of being in itself, the Self that we truly are.
To be here and somewhere else at the same time, it’s to be nowhere and not to ask for more because it's pure bliss.
In order to know the Self, you just have to be the Self.
To know what consciousness is, you just have to be conscious.
There is absolutely no difference between the Self and consciousness.
But this is not the experience of non-duality.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi is not Sahaja Samadhi.
Nothing doesn't mean everything.
Everything means nothing plus everything in it.
Who can understand that by what everything is understood?
No one and everybody too.
Did you understand?
1 / 29 / 2013
What’s the origin of a dream?
What’s the origin of the universe, of life, of humankind, of the matter, of the atom, of the DNA…?
What is consciousness?
You should know, aren’t you conscious?
The Advaita claims that the true nature of everyone and universal consciousness, the individual soul and God, are one and the same.
You are not God.
Your true nature is divine.
Realize it, then you will be and not be God.
And before anything else, you will be in bliss.
Direct contact with the truth is knowledge, experience, realization…
The true cause of misery and suffering is ignorance.
Its remedy is obviously knowledge, knowledge of the truth also called Self-realization.
But to know what?
To know the most obvious.
What is the most obvious about yourself?
What is closer to you than your own eyes?
As the moon has the same reflection in many puddle, every so-called individual consciousness are identical to the universal consciousness. By consciousness, we mean the faculty to be conscious, i.e. to know spontaneously and without the least effort. You are naturally conscious of your waking and dreaming states which determine the manifestation of realities inside and outside yourself. But the question that raises the Advaita is to know if you have the faculty to be conscious of yourself or if it’s consciousness itself which has the faculty to know you personally. It seems logical and obvious , although inadmissible, that the faculty to know is the ultimate power of consciousness and that the entity « I am conscious of myself » is an illusion. How come ? If the faculty to be conscious and to know has truly a meaning, nobody can have this faculty without being itself the faculty to know the one who believes to have it. In other words, nobody has the faculty to know one’s self. This faculty is self-sufficient and obviously identical for everybody. This universal faculty to be conscious is called Chit, pure consciousness. It’s inseparable of Sat and Ananda, being and bliss.
A concept which helps to seek the truth
Something in perpetual transformation cannot be true because it’s always changing of form, state or substance. At a certain moment, this thing is what it is and at another, it’s something else. In other words, never being what it is, how could it be true ? So by definition, what is immutable must be true.
In the universe, everything is always changing. So nothing could be considered to be true. And yet we perceive the reality we live in. Being untrue but nevertheless perceived, reality is an illusion. With the body and the manifestations of the mind, it’s the same. Everything is always changing except one thing which is so obvious for us that we forget its presence : our faculty to be conscious and to know spontaneously, consciousness itself.
Worry or wonder
Not only you will never be able to free yourself from your mind, but before anything else, understand that you have absolutely no need to do so. You are the personal identity that allows the mind to express itself. And you would like to free yourself from it? Better to say that the mind wants to be liberated from the mind. This makes no sense.
"This is my body, my thoughts, my actions, my decisions, my will, my pleasures and pains, my feelings and emotions, my imagination, my power, my intelligence, my house, my car, my job, etc.." "This is mine. It is I who ..." "I and I and I and I and I... " And this is not a love song!
Who is this entity that claims to own so much? Isn't it you? Isn't it the mind which expresses itself personally by using the words "Me and I"?
You don’t have mental faculties : it’s the mind which expresses itself through its own faculties. The personal identity 'I' that is to say the ego is not even a ghost in the machine, it is only a concept, an idea, a word, a linguistic sign. It has no power, not even of thinking. And yet you are able to think all day long. So aren’t you the mind which uses the concept 'I' to express itself?
If we are the mind which expresses itself through one's personal identity or this personal identity which does it with its own mind, what does it change ? Nothing ! On the path of knowledge, we can however understand that the quest for a personal liberation is useless, and that is not nothing. It is instead a considerable time savings that we can now use for a genuine spiritual quest, a genuine search for the truth. Therefore what is this truth? It is so simple and obvious that as a matter of fact we can only ignore it. What is our main quality and also the one of our mind ? We are conscious during the waking state and also when we dream. We can naturally be conscious of a multitude of perceptions and mental events, real or totally illusory, but the fact of being conscious itself never changes. So what is our true nature and also of the mind, a true nature which is necessarily constant and immutable ? The fact of being conscious, ie consciousness itself is our true nature. It is also the truth and the knowledge that you are looking for. So instead of living permanently with your body, your thoughts, your worries and suffering, do it with consciousness and see for yourself what this will provoke soon or late. There is no difference between Self-realization and the truth. You are consciousness and the Self: realize this fact and the mind will become a source of wonder.
2 / 11 / 2013
When I hear questions like "Does consciousness is evolving ?", it’s very clear that we have to define what consciousness means. From the standpoint of Advaita Vedanta, consciousness, Chit in Sanskrit, cannot evolve because it’s immutable. Sat-Chit-Ananda, being-consciousness-bliss, cannot change because it’s identical to Brahman, God, and God cannot become in any circumstances something else than God. So God never changes nor evolves. Gaudapada put it in a beautiful way to explain what really seems incomprehensible. He says : "The immortal cannot become mortal, nor can the mortal become immortal."
Now if we speak about individual consciousness, it’s of course evolving. It can psychologically progress and regress too. But from the standpoint of Advaita Vedanta, individual consciousness is nothing more than the mind thinking : "I’m conscious of myself."
Understand very well in your practice of self-inquiry or introspection that consciousness and your personal faculty to be conscious cannot change. What you are conscious of is always changing, but the very fact to be conscious is immutable. And this is this fact you are trying to fully realize, the fact that you are a conscious being, being and consciousness, Sat and Chit, and not a body and mind.
Consciousness is obviously always conscious
If consciousness could forget itself just for a split second, why to call it consciousness and not the mind ? Only the mind can dive deep in the deep sleep state, i.e. the unconscious. On the other hand, consciousness is immutable and perpetually aware, even when there is nothing to contemplate because it can always be at least aware of itself, a presence of pure and perfect bliss.
3 / 4 / 2013
The concept of relation in non-duality philosophy
In the world we live in, everything is in relation with something else, and the initial relation that nobody can deny is obviously the relation of 'I' with something belonging to the internal or external world. Everything we know determines in fact a perception which reveals the relation between an object of perception and the subject, i.e. the subject 'I and me' who is supposed to perceive something different of himself or herself. So what is the true nature of this perception which establishes the apparent existence of a subject in relation with an object?
For a better understanding of what non-duality is, let us compare a perception to a schoolchild’s graduated ruler with four faces. The two sections which determine the beginning and the end of the ruler symbolize each one the subject and the object of the perception. The ruler itself would represent the perception happening in time and space. The four faces of the ruler would be the four primordial elements: earth, water, fire and air, and the volume of the ruler would the fifth element: ether. In this representation of a perception, the question raises by non-duality philosophy is quite simple: "Can we separate one section from the ruler itself and from the other section at the opposite side?" This a priori doesn’t make sense. A ruler can only be what it is because it has two sections which give it a dimension, a length. So the true question more sensible we should ask is: "Can we separate an object from the subject of a perception, and the subject 'I' from his or her own perceptions at the very moment something manifests in consciousness?"
The point of these weird thoughts is that nobody can deny the manifestation of his or her own perceptions, and the fact that he or she is conscious of them. But is there any I-subject separated of his or her perception and consequently separated from the object of perception? Of course not! And can we separate consciousness itself from the perception? Neither, it’s impossible. So because there is an undeniable relation of a subject with an object, but both of them are inseparable, and because consciousness (the fact of being conscious) is obviously inseparable of every perception too, we can state that there is no duality or in other words, the duality we are used to perceive, the separation between the 'I-subject' and the world of perceptions, is an illusion. That’s the most basic understanding of the concept of non-duality in Advaita Vedanta philosophy which infers from it that the ego, the 'I' as an entity separated from his or her perceptions, is an illusion.
4 / 7 / 2013
Only when the knower and the known merge in pure consciousness, the experience of non-duality is a fact. But let’s be clear on this point; neither one nor the other disappears. The ever changing reality cannot be separated from consciousness, but they are not the same because reality is transient and consciousness is immutable. And what’s about the knower? Nothing change too. He or she didn’t exist before the experience ; he or she doesn’t exist after either.
One without the other
The concept "I am the witness" is correct, but it doesn’t determine any realization. It’s nothing more than an idea and a mental impression, a state of mind resulting from the practice of meditation and Self-inquiry or insight. The experience of "I am the witness" of something which is obviously different of what I am is called duality and not non-duality.
Non-duality means that there is no difference and no separation. It's the experience of oneness, "One without a second": Ekam Evam Advitiyam.
The reflection in the mirror
"I know that I am" means "consciousness is the witness of the manifestations of the mind which uses the concept 'I' to express personally itself".
4 / 15 / 2013
Consciousness is everywhere and nowhere
When people speak about the presence of consciousness, the true witness or what they call the background, they theoretically consider this power of watching to be somehow "behind" and sometimes they show with their hand a location behind their head. They don’t understand that this background is everywhere, in front of them, behind, inside and outside. It’s like space itself. How could we differentiate the space inside the body and the one outside while we are moving? Space is everywhere. There is only one space and one consciousness too. And because it’s permanently everywhere and precisely nowhere, we don’t realize its presence.
4 / 29 / 2013
What you really need to know about life
The bad news is that we’re in a free fall forever.
The good news is there is no ground to crush on.
Having understood that, we may wish to stop falling down and down and down.
Here comes the planet "Advaita" on which we can nevertheless smoothly land on.
It’s not the paradise, but it helps.
Two very different description of what reality is:
- the conventional description
- the experiential description
The conventional description is very simple and everybody knows it. For instance, I see the world through my eyes because I have a body and a brain gifted with mental faculties which make this kind of perception possible. In other words, I live in my head and use my body to do things.
The experiential description that everybody lives at any times during the waking state is quite different and so strange that it’s almost impossible to believe that we truly are living in such reality.
Let’s start with some questions in order to try understanding how the experiential description looks like. Can we differentiate the object of a perception from the perception itself? It’s of course impossible. We can differentiate for instance an object we see from the eyes which are seeing it, but not from the faculty of seeing it. And it also works with the faculty of being conscious of it which means with consciousness itself. Nobody can separate the object of a perception as seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting from the faculty of perceiving it, of being conscious of it and finally from consciousness itself.
We certainly can understand this fact on a conceptual level, but do you realize what it really means? I remind you that we are speaking about an experiential description, about how we experience reality moment after moment during our waking state. If we cannot differentiate the object of a perception from consciousness itself, it means that we cannot separate them. So when we see a tree for instance, whatever the distance which separates us from it, the tree and the consciousness of it are one because there is no way to differentiate one from the other. When we are looking at a beautiful landscape with mountains, rivers, valleys, the sky, the sun, etc., consciousness is everywhere. We are looking at the landscape and consciousness itself. All the space is filled with consciousness as far as we can look at, listen to, smell, touch and taste.
That’s a quite different description of the reality that we are used to think of. And your first objection is going to be that consciousness, our faculty to be conscious, is in our mind, in our brain and in our head, not outside filling space everywhere. Yes, but that’s again a conventional description of reality and not our experience of it because we only know that we have a mind, a brain and a head when we are conscious of them which means again that we cannot differentiate and separate them from consciousness itself. Whatever we know and perceive inside and outside ourselves, it’s only possible because we are conscious, because consciousness is precisely where the object of knowledge and experience is, and finally because consciousness is everywhere.
The experience of having a body and a head is only possible in consciousness and not the other way around. And we are obviously conscious of having and not being a body and a head. So we are this consciousness without knowing it. Advaita Vedanta is about this truth and how to realize it in order that it becomes a fact and not anymore a philosophical concept. If the Gurus and Rishis of ancient times explain and repeat tirelessly that we aren’t the body and the mind, it’s only because consciousness is our true nature. Somehow this universal consciousness that nobody can locate anywhere is obviously much closer to our individual consciousness of being a person than our body and mind. The knowledge of having a body and a mind is only possible when we are conscious of them. So are we a person or what makes possible the knowledge that we have a body and a mind?
5 / 4 / 2013
Excerpts, free rendering and personal commentaries of "Laghu Vakya Vritti" of Shankaracharya
"The reflection of pure consciousness on the intellect becomes this well-known impression of being with its sense of individuality."
The intellect works like a mirror, a very special mirror endowed with mental faculties such as thinking, perceiving, reasoning, remembering, calculating and so on, and this intellect which reflects like a mirror every phenomenon manifested by its mental faculties can only work when it’s enlightened by the light of consciousness. In the deep sleep state where there is no light of consciousness, nothing appears. This light of pure and universal consciousness which illumines everything coming from the mental faculties, once reflected on the intellect, produces an individual consciousness, the ego and the sense of being separated from what is perceived, or in other words, the duality between the subject and the object of perception.
Let’s say for instance that we can see hundreds moons in hundreds puddles, but all of them are the reflection of only one and the same moon, and it’s the light of this real moon which illumines what’s inside the puddles. The reflected moon (the individual consciousness) in the puddle (in the intellect) is an illusion, and of course, everything perceived by an illusion becomes an illusion too (Maya). Just ask to yourself "What Am I?" while facing a mirror and you will understand very quickly the most sublime truth which has always been right in front of you and even closer to you that your own eyes.
"The Jiva is reincarnated because of its good and bad actions. Therefore the supreme purpose of life is to discover our true nature by discriminating pure consciousness from its reflection on the intellect which gives rise to the Jiva, the ego or individual consciousness."
- Good and bad actions are not illusory; they have consequences.
- Reincarnation is the only concept which gives a meaning to life.
- The practice of spiritual discipline as Self-inquiry (meditation and the discrimination between the obvious fact of being conscious and what is called states of consciousness or states of mind) is a requirement to attain the supreme purpose of life which is Self-realization or liberation.
"The intellect illumined by pure consciousness acquires its own brightness and thereby illumines the perceptions of the external world."
Without the light of the pure and universal consciousness, the intellect would perceive, know and understand nothing.
"Pure consciousness shines forth by itself in the interval of two modifications of the intellect."
When the mind stops, what’s left is pure consciousness.
"People aspiring to the experience of pure consciousness and liberation should practice the restraint of modification of the intellect."
People who want to be free from the mind should practice concentration and meditation.
"The reflected consciousness, although involved in the modification of the intellect, cannot be separated from Brahman."
There is no difference between the immutable faculty of being conscious that we all have and know very well and the pure and universal consciousness, that is to say God.
"Having fully understood the meaning of the Mantra 'I am Brahman' ('I am God'), the seeker of truth should meditate unremittingly upon his or her identity with Brahman by any means."
It means that nobody realizes the Self by simply drinking tea and eating cake during a Satsang.
"Meditating upon 'That', talking about 'That', enlightening mutually on 'That' and somehow getting oneself absorbed in 'That' have always been known and taught by the sages as the path of Self-realization."
5 / 12 / 2013
Who knows you are a person?
The Self is the ultimate witness and knower because there is obviously no other witness to know the one who is supposed to know the one and so on ad infinitum. If you understood during meditation that you are not the one who knows the Self, but you are the Self which knows everything you think to be, you are without any doubt on the path of knowledge and very close to its goal. The Self will always be the ultimate and impersonal witness of everything. But how could you be a person and impersonal at the same time? As a matter of fact, there is absolutely no paradox because your true nature is to know that you are a person. But now you have to realize what your true nature is!
The key to every paradox in Advaita Vedanta
Buddhi, the intellect, is like a mirror which reflects consciousness and all your perceptions on yourself.
To understand better what it really means, are you the image you see in the mirror or the one who is looking at it?
5 / 31 / 2013
It is said that the Vedas, books of knowledge and truth, are eternal. They existed before humanity and the creation.
The Mahavakya, great sayings, such as "I am Brahman (God)", "I am Sat Chit Ananda (Being Consciousness Bliss)", "I am Atman (the Self)", etc. don’t determine the presence of a divine and personal identity that could express itself in time and space. The Self as God or the universal consciousness are purely impersonal and timeless, and it is in this sense that these great sayings existed before the creation and will continue to exist after its destruction.
The Mahavakya express the unspeakable truth which must still be passed on as concepts to the intelligence of each individual who obviously has a personal identity. In other words, the truth is directed only to his or her conceptual intelligence because the personal identity itself is nothing more than a concept which indicates the presence and existence of a person endowed with a brain. Therefore the individual can realize the Self and discover the immanent presence of God. It is not God who suddenly discovers that He or She is God. It is not consciousness that realizes what the true nature of being conscious is. The Self which has never ceased to be the Self doesn’t unveil all of a sudden during a spiritual awakening its own presence to itself.
To take the classic example of the dream and the dreamer peculiar to Advaita Vedanta, the dreamer must remain what it is for the simple reason that if he wakes up, the dream and the dream character that it embodies in his own dream would disappear instantly which means in other words that the creation would be dissolved at the very moment of self-realization. This is fortunately not the case otherwise God would have to start a new creation whenever someone realizes the Self.
6 / 4 / 2013
I’m the mirror on which reality is reflected,
a magical mirror gifted with many mental faculties
and essentially able to know what it reflects.
So its true nature is to be conscious.
But is this mirror able to realize what makes it conscious?
If a guru explains it clearly, why its intelligence wouldn’t understand it?
Be sure of that
Before anything else, a liberated person is liberated of being or not being liberated.
The idea of being liberated is simply laughable.
How a person could become something else of what he or she is?
Would someone have to become a monster to look liberated?
It would be pretty weird for a person who is supposed to have realized what his or her true nature is.
6 / 16 / 2013
"You have control over action alone, never over its fruits."
6 / 23 / 2013
Advaita, non-duality, means "not two" or in other terms, there is not "one" plus "one" equal two. If you cannot put in relation "one" with something else, how there could be anything beyond non-duality. In order to go beyond, you have to be the "one" who goes beyond something else than the "one" you represent. Self-realization which determines the experience and knowledge of non-duality is absolutely supreme because there cannot be anything beyond it. This "nothing beyond" of course can be called the Divine, Brahman, or pure consciousness because the power to know that this consciousness represents as a mental faculty is absolutely essential. If universal consciousness, the Self, non-duality, the Divine, Self-realization, liberation, Sahaja Samadhi, etc. didn’t determine a lived experience, a state of being and a knowledge obviously known by someone very much human as all the Gurus are, nobody since beginning of time would have ever been able to think and speak about.
"The map is not the territory" Alfred Korzybski
Do you understand that Advaita Vedanta is not the truth or a philosophy, but as Hindus say, a "philosophical system" created by man to explain the sacred truth? It’s a "system" made of concepts.
Do you understand that the mind is a "system" made of mental structures, a "system" working on itself until a new structure open the all "system"? It’s also a "system" made of concepts.
Advaita Vedanta is not a "system" like a virus created to destroy the mind, but to open it up to pure consciousness.
Excerpts, free rendering and personal commentaries of "Drig Drishya Viveka" of Shri Shankaracharya
"Consciousness never wakes up nor fades away. It never increases nor decreases? Being pure light, it enlightens everything with its own and supreme nature."
Consciousness is immutable. So when one speaks about the evolution of consciousness, it’s probably about civilization, culture, mentality, personality, mind, collective unconscious, etc. but not about consciousness itself, otherwise it would mean that God is able to develop and even improve because consciousness and the Divine are "One without a second".
It’s so obvious that consciousness enlightens every interior and exterior manifestation with its own light that it’s difficult to speak more about if not by asking the question: "Could you be aware of any phenomenon if you were not conscious of it?" As a matter of fact, the question doesn’t have any meaning because you can only be aware of something if you are conscious of it. So there is no difference between a phenomenon and the consciousness of it. No difference, but you can nevertheless distinguish the manifestation of a phenomenon from consciousness itself by its transitory nature whereas consciousness will always be immutable forever. The very fact to perceive, discover, contemplate, know and be the witness of what comes to our knowledge during the waking state cannot evolve or change. By definition, the Divine and consciousness are changeless and without any shape.
But what could we do with such knowledge of an apparently universal consciousness and unattainable God when we perfectly know that we only are small human creatures? Admittedly we just are humans, but as everybody knows, we are conscious being too. Would it mean that our true nature is divine although we are nothing more than simple and small human beings in the real world we live in?
"The intellect (Buddhi) only seems luminous when it reflects the presence of consciousness which itself is pure light. This reflection of consciousness on the intellect gives birth to the mind and ego."
The intellect only seems a conscious faculty because it works like a mirror. The reflection of the universal consciousness on the intellect makes it conscious. No mental faculty as perception, memory, imagination, sensibility or reason could occur if consciousness was not present to enlighten and reveal their manifestations. The intellect itself is merely an abstraction which reflects what its mental faculties manifest and of course the unchanging presence of consciousness itself. The intellect takes reality and somehow becomes a separate entity when it gives birth to the mind and the identity also called ego in order to express itself personally and in a consistent way.
The intellect is at the service of the individual to enable him to survive intelligently with all its abilities, to survive mentally as an individual different and separated from the others on every level, and to survive egoistically in order to pursue his own personal development which inevitably involves desires, satisfactions and the pursuit of pleasure.
The problem for this individual starts when his personal development becomes an obsession and a mental suffering which very quickly disrupt the faculties of the intellect, then the nervous system, the energy body, and finally the physical body. This person now has only to turn back with the help of spiritual practices to find again a good health, i.e. a physical, energetic, nervous and mental balance which will enable him to understand that his true personal development can truly and only take place in becoming impersonal, that is to say absolutely selfless and not anymore egoistical.
"It’s by the identification with the reflection of consciousness on the intellect and with the body that the ego apparently becomes a conscious entity."
"I and me", the personal identity, result from a simple identification process. Let’s remember that this identity or ego has been developed by the mind and the intellect out of necessity in order to express himself or herself personally as an intelligent individual obviously different and separated from the others. This conscious entity is not the incarnation of evil or the devil as some very enlightened gurus claim nor the cause of all our problems. If we really want to find out what is responsible of them, it would be much easier by contemplating the consequences of selfishness, greed and hypocrisy instead of exploring the mind in order to find out how ugly looks like the ego which obviously doesn’t have any face, being only a concept.
"The process of identification with the reflection of pure consciousness, with the body and with the so-called "witness" give rise to the ego."
The identification with the reflection of pure consciousness produces the personal impression "I'm a conscious being".
The identification with the body produces the personal impression "I’m a human being, a man or a woman".
The identification with the so-called "witness" produces the personal impression "I’m an intelligent being who knows".
And without this personal identity "I", being remains conscious and intelligent, but not anymore human. Being is the Divine; this is "Sat Chit Ananda".
"The identification with the reflection of consciousness on the intellect which is natural is not destroyed as long as it’s necessary. The 2 others identifications with the body and the so-called "witness" disappear with Self-realization."
As long as the person is alive, he or she has to be conscious of himself or herself as an independent and separated being in order to survive. His or her intellect has to work naturally and consciously otherwise this person would die very quickly. The 2 other modes of identification with the body and the so-called "witness", or spectator of an amazing show made of an infinite amount of perceptions, are not important, but just illusory, because in any cases, the main function of the intellect with all its mental faculties is to take care of the body, i.e. the person and his or her life. And as far as the so-called "witness" is concerned, it truly is and has always been consciousness itself. So Self-realization doesn’t in fact change anything, and yet, it changes everything because the ego and the knowledge it has of its own existence as an individual separated of its environment are now only functional and nothing more. In other words, the ego doesn’t have any other function, as all the mental faculties of the intellect, than to contribute to the survival of the body called at present a liberated person, a Jivanmukti, because Self-realization doesn’t make this psychophysical organism becoming less human. It would be pretty much the opposite.
"The subtle body which is not conscious is the cause of the appearance of the mind and the ego. It is born and it will die."
There is no difference between the subtle body, the mind and the ego. They determine what is called the Jiva, the individual soul or self-consciousness as a separated being, and Ahamkara, the personal identity born out of ignorance of its true nature, consciousness itself. This subtle body is born and will die, and it will tirelessly reincarnate until Self-realization. The Self-realization or spiritual liberation is not only the end of the cycle of reincarnation; it’s also the end of suffering and ignorance of our true nature that we usually believe to be the body.
If we identify with the body, our dimension compared to the universe is tiny and such limited existence will inevitably cause sufferings. On the other hand, if we realize that the true nature of our existence is the Self and the universal consciousness, we are infinitely more spacious than the entire universe and then we can really have the impression to incarnate an ocean of bliss or bliss itself, Ananda.
"Maya, the cosmic illusion or universe in which we live, has the power to project and hide behind a veil. Maya projects everything we perceived inside and outside ourselves."
Brahman, the Divine, is absolute. He has no relationship with anything; that’s what the term "absolute" means in opposition to the term "relative". So Brahman cannot be the cause of the creation of the universe nor being subject to a relation of cause and effect. It is therefore Maya, this magical power and forever incomprehensible, which is responsible for the manifestation of the creation.
On the other hand, Brahman is true and by definition, the supreme truth is immutable. It is impossible to conceive a truth which would true now and false at another time and again true later on. But everything which determines the creation is in perpetual transformation except one element, space, which apparently never changes. But being inseparable from "time" dimension, we cannot consider space as an immutable element, let alone the fact that the universe with its spatial and temporal dimension is subject to constant dissolution and new creation. We conclude that "Brahman is true" and "Maya is an illusion" neither true nor false, but what could be described as real because it projects the reality in which we live. That reality is an illusion does not make sense unless we explain the difference between the immutability of consciousness and the transitory nature of all manifestation.
And eventually Shri Shankaracharya would end his explanation by saying that ultimately "Brahman is the universe" which can be taken as a contradiction, a paradox or simply an obvious fact because if the Divine, that is to say the universal consciousness, is really the absolute, it necessarily is the substance behind the veil of Maya and as sometimes it is said the background or screen on which the creation is projected as a movie, and the conscious principle, the so-called "witness" who contemplates the creation.
"The creation is nothing more than the manifestation of names and forms in consciousness, which is nothing else than Brahman, just like waves are movements on the ocean."
Trying to find out if a wave in relation with the ocean is true or untrue, real or illusory, doesn’t really make sense. It’s quite clear that a wave is not the ocean nor it’s separated from it. It goes the same for the dreamer and the dream which is nothing more than a projection of the mind, but not the mind itself. Whatever the creation is, we cannot deny the experience we have of it and this experience obviously occurs in the presence of consciousness. So the true question can only be about the nature of this consciousness itself and not about the creation we perceive as "witness" of an incredible spectacle.
We will never know what the creation is before to realize what the true nature of our own existence is. That’s precisely the point of the practice of Self-inquiry, Vichara, which is with Vairagya, renouncement, the means to realize the Self.
And this beautiful aphorism of Shri Shankaracharya raises the funny question: "Does a wave can be liberated from the ocean?" And the answer is "Yes, of course", if the wave realizes that it is not separated from the ocean and never will be and it realize that it is nothing more than water as the all ocean is made of. Let's not forget that before to realize it, this wave believed that its self-consciousness was separated and different from the ocean of universal consciousness and bliss.
8 / 8 / 2013
If the Divine is omnipresent, infinite and eternal,
there is no place and no time where the Divine is not.
So where is it now?
I’m only a wave, so what?
I love to be a wave on the top of the ocean.
It gives me the opportunity to contemplate the sky.
What’s the problem not to be the ocean but only a wave?
Anyhow it’s not because I’ve a form that I’m separated from the ocean.
It’s quite the opposite. Without form, I would have never known it.
8 / 22 / 2013
"No knowledge, as vast as it is, makes it possible to attain the plenitude of wisdom without the knowledge of oneself."
Saint Bernard de Clairvaux
The source of all knowledge
"Know That By Which All Else Is Known." Mundaka Upanishad
It’s utterly useless to intellectualize ad infinitum and complicate the knowledge called Advaita Vedanta because it’s crystal clear. Although this philosophy relies on logic and sacred truth which cannot be questioned, this philosophical system of reflection is based before anything else on an experiential and not conceptual knowledge.
10 / 3 / 2013
The supreme truth is not a thought.
So if you look for it, you will have to search somewhere else,
that is to say in the silence of the mind.
Is it logical?
Probably! But how to really understand that this truth is not a thought?
The only way up to now than humans have found is to realize the Self, what our true nature is.
Such realization is far beyond an understanding relying on thoughts.
Intellectual understanding is very different of experiential realization.
Self-realization is beyond proof, logic, concept and faith.
It's nothing more than a fact, the simple fact that consciousness is supreme and beyond duality.
It cannot be less than pure bliss, the foundation of intelligence.
Who doesn't experience an unspeakable joy in the pure understanding of a simple fact?
Just look around and enjoy!
Is consciousness communicating with consciousness?
The movie is not the screen.
It’s true that the projection of the movie is only possible because of the presence of the screen. But the screen is not the movie nor is the movie identical to the screen.
Consciousness doesn’t think nor speak.
Conciousness watches its Maya, Lila, dance, manifestations, illusory appearance...
Being "one without a second", the perfect expression of non-duality (not two), it cannot communicate with someone "else" (a second).
Non-duality and oneness
Non-duality doesn’t mean oneness, unity, sameness, identical, indistinguishable, similar, analogous and uniform, without any difference or identity. It means that the relation between object and subject is an illusion. But it’s quite obvious that awareness itself is distinct from anything we perceive. Oneness is a very ambiguous term which doesn’t express what non-duality is and even much less what reality is.
Non-duality means: "Yes of course, there is duality in everything, everywhere and at any time in a context where everything is obviously in relation with something else. It’s a fact, but it’s not ‘that’. It’s not what we are looking for. It’s not the truth, the Self and liberation."
Non-duality determine spiritual liberation, the presence of the Self and universal consciousness, the cognitive embodiment of pure being. But if someone was truly experiencing oneness, he or she wouldn’t be able to survive a very long time. Just imagine what would happen if you couldn’t differentiate anymore yourself from the chair on which you are sitting right now or your feet from the floor? Just like a personal identity is necessary in order to communicate intelligently, the individual consciousness as a person different from the surrounding world is essential to live normally.
10 / 24 / 2013
Beyond the big dream
"All fear is born of duality" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.42)
And of course, anxiety and desire too.
Who can say that he or she is without any desire, anxiety and fear?
Who can really pretend to be liberated?
Who lives with "So be it!"in his or her mind?
1 / 9 / 2014
The sacred, echo of reality
"I am Brahman" is a sacred Mantra, words that I cannot express personally, but which echo my true nature. It’s quite obvious that "I am Brahman" doesn’t have any relation with my body and my mind.
20 / 4 / 2014
Yes, but no
We could say that ice is made of water. But we don’t say that water is made of ice.
Brahman is Maya, but Maya is not Brahman because the manifestation of an illusion cannot be Brahman.
So how could Brahman be Maya, that is to say an illusion?
Brahman is Maya as much as a dream is a projection of the dreamer, but not the dreamer as such.
6 / 23 / 2014
Changes can only be perceived against a changeless background and if the perceiver doesn’t change too.
So are they different or one and the same?
This subject concerns truly non-duality
and especially not the oneness of everything
which is a complete absurdity.
Truth and illusion
Consciousness doesn’t arise as the manifestation of the universe
and don’t loses itself
in order to find again its authentic nature
when it realizes what it truly is.
Brahman and Maya are quite different.
The first is real and true.
The second stays an illusion.
To free what?
As you know and experience permanently, consciousness doesn’t cling to any perception, thought, emotion, feeling and state of mind. The faculty to be conscious or perfectly aware is attached to nothing.
So can we say that consciousness is free and has always been free?
7 / 13 / 2014
Not very difficult to understand
If you realize that every perception appears in the field of consciousness, as much as the ones of the external world than the ones of your body and interior life, how are you going to determine the duality between the subject that you personally are and the object of your perceptions? Understand, then have the experience of it.
7 / 17 / 2014
Self-realization of Shri Sankaracharya
Excerpts from the translation and commentaries of Swami Vimuktananda (with some remarks of Mel Patrick) published by "Advaita Ashrama" that I thank a lot for their remarkable works and dedication to their mission. This very small classical text of 78 pages deserves to be read entirely and meditated upon in order to stop believing that Self-realization could occur by chance and in doing nothing (or just going to Satsang as some Neo Advaita gurus advocate).
2. Herein is expounded (the means of attaining to) Aparokshanubhuti (Self-realization) for the acquisition of final liberation. Only the pure in heart should constantly and with all effort meditate upon the truth herein taught.
11. Knowledge is not brought about by any other means than Vichara, just as an object is nowhere perceived (seen) without the help of light.
Commentary: It is ignorance or Avidya which has withheld the light of Knowledge from us. To get at Knowledge, therefore, we have to remove this Avidya… It is only when we make an inquiry into the real nature of this Avidya that it gradually withdraws and at last vanishes; then alone Knowledge shines.
Mel Patrick: The practice of Vichara, Self-inquiry, starts by watching the ignorance, i.e. the mind, in order to find out its nature, then and only after knowledge is revealed. The ego is totally out of context in this search.
22. The luminosity of Atman consists in the manifestation of all objects. Its luminosity is not like that of fire or any such thing, for (in spite of the presence of such lights) darkness prevails at night (at some place or other).
Commentary: The light of Atman is unlike any other light. Ordinary lights are opposed to darkness and are limited in their capacity to illumine things. It is a common experience that where there is darkness there is no light; and darkness always prevails at some place or other, thus limiting the power of illumination of such lights. Even the light of the sun is unable to dispel darkness at some places. But the light of Atman is ever present at all places. It illumines everything and is opposed to nothing, not even to darkness; for it is in and through the light of Atman, which is present in everybody as consciousness, that one comprehends darkness as well as light and all other things.
29. O you ignorant one! Why do you assert the blissful, ever-existent Atman, which resides in your own body and is (evidently) different from it, which is known as Purusha and is established (by the Sruti as identical with Brahman), to be absolutely non-existent?
Commentary: … To remove this doubt, it is here said that Atman is a fact of everybody’s experience and as such, its existence cannot be challenged, therefore there is no reason to call it Sunya or absolute non-existence.
Mel Patrick: Atman is consciousness, the faculty to be conscious and so to know a fact. Everybody is conscious. So it’s quite obvious that our true nature is this impersonal consciousness.
30. O you ignorant one! Try to know, with the help of Sruti and reasoning, your own Self, Purusha, which is different from the body, (not a void but) the very form of existence, and very difficult for persons like you to realize.
32. "I" (ego) is well established as the subject of perception whereas the body is the object. This is learnt from the fact that when we speak of the body we say "This is mine". So how can this body be Purusha?
Mel Patrick: This is about those who identify their own existence as conscious being with their own body.
33. It is a fact of direct experience that "I" (Atman) is without any change, whereas the body is always undergoing changes.
Mel Patrick: This "I" or supreme "I" is obviously not the same (the ego) as it is spoken of in the former verse 32. It is the Atman also called sometimes "I" or consciousness, witness, Self, Atman, Brahman, God... The perceptions of the body or anything else always change. But the faculty to knows them, consciousness itself, never changes. Consciousness or Atman is absolutely immutable as the Sruti explain it many times. So the purpose of this Yoga of knowledge is to find out what, inside of you, never changes. It’s inside you and your faculty to be conscious and so to know yourself with your body, thoughts, emotions, problems, etc. that this self-inquiry is practiced.
As a matter of fact this knowledge is so simple and clear that it’s difficult to believe what it reveals. Our true nature is pure consciousness, the one we never pay attention to.
40. The immutable Atman, the substratum of the ego, is thus different from these two bodies, and is Purusha, the Ishwara (the Lord of all), the Self of all. It is ever present in every form and yet transcends them all.
Mel Patrick: Two bodies, the gross and subtle bodies made of matter and pure energy talked about in former verses but absent in this short presentation of Aparakshanubhuti.
Commentary: … the body has no existence independent of the Atman just as waves do not exist independently of water. In fact, the Atman alone exists, and it is through ignorance that one sees it as appearing in the forms of the body and the like.
45. There exists no other material cause of this phenomenal universe except Brahman. Hence this whole universe is but Brahman and nothing else.
Commentary: … because the effect is never different from the cause, a pot is never different from the earth of which it is made. The names and forms that differentiate the effect from the cause are but conventional and are found non-existent when their nature is enquired into.
Mel Patrick: You need to know the definition of the word "conventional" in order to understand what Swamiji explains in this commentary.
48. Moreover the Sruti has condemned (the belief in variety) in the words, "The person who, ‘being deceived by Maya,’ sees variety in this (Brahman), goes from death to death".
Commentary: … is born and dies again and again. The reference is such Sruti texts as: "He who sees variety in this (Brahman) passes from death to death." (Brih. Up.) In other words, unless a person realizes the non-dual Atman which is evidently without birth and death, there is no escape for him from the cycle of re-births.
55. The Sruti in the form of the Brihadaranyaka has declared that this Atman, which is the Self of all, is verily Brahman.
Mel Patrick: The true nature of our existence as a conscious being is nothing else than God.
59. Just as (after the illusion has gone) one is no more deluded to see a jar in earth or silver in nacre, so does one no more see Jiva in Brahman when the latter is realized (as one’s own Self).
Commentary: So long as a person is in ignorance, he thinks himself as a Jiva which has an individuality of its own apart from Brahman. But when with the dawn of real knowledge he realizes himself as one with Brahman, this Jivahood appears to him as nothing but an illusion like the illusion of silver in the pearl.
Mel Patrick: It doesn’t mean that he cannot perceive it anymore, but he knows its true nature as he knows the true nature of his own existence as conscious being.
90. The theory one hears of from the scripture, that Prarabdha doesn’t lose it hold upon one even after the origination of the knowledge of Atman, is now refuted.
Commentary: The Sruti in many places has declared that even a Jnani is not free from the operation of Prarabdha. Sankara has dealt with this point at length in his commentaries on Chandogya Up. and Gita. In all those places, he has supported the popular view that Prarabdha is binding even the Jnani. But here as well as in his Vivekachudamani, he has boldly asserted the true Vedantic view without any compromise. He has clearly shown that to a Jnani there is no such thing as the body, and it is meaningless to say that he is any longer under the influence of Prarabdha, which has no hold upon the bodiless Atman.
Mel Patrick: Prarabdha is the remaining Karma after Self-realization. This commentary simply means that when a person realizes that his or her true nature is pure consciousness (the absolute witness) and not the person itself with a body and mind (the object of consciousness), how could he or she have any Karma? Pure consciousness or God cannot be bound to a Karma which is nothing more than a potential of ignorance, illusion, suffering and reincarnation.
97. The body also being within the phenomenal world (and therefore unreal), how could Prarabdha exist? It is therefore for the understanding of the ignorant alone that the Sruti speaks of Prarabdha.
Commentary: Those who do not know the highest truth argue that if ignorance with all its effects is destroyed by Knowledge, how does the body of a Jnani live, and how is it possible for him to behave like an ordinary mortal? They, however, fail to see that it is they who, being still in ignorance, see the body of a Jnani and speak of him as behaving this way or that, whereas the Jnani himself never sees the body at all, as he is ever established in Atman. To convince such persons the Sruti brings Prarabdha as a tentative of explanation for the so-called behaviour of a Jnani.
Mel Patrick: "Unreal, illusory, non-existing, Maya and so on" means untrue. In Vedanta, something ever changing cannot be considered to be true or real or truly existing. Something absolutely true never changes. When scientists state that matter is made of atoms, it’s true (at their level of understanding) because it was true years ago and still will be true in the future. But they fail to realize that something ever moving and changing as the atom cannot truly exist too. We cannot considered that an absolute truth could be true now, then changes and will be untrue latter on. So because everything is ever changing in the universe, the creation including any Karma is considered as Maya, an illusion which never truly existed. Only Brahman as pure consciousness can truly exist and never change. As Gaudapada explains so beautifully "The immortal cannot become mortal nor can the mortal become immortal". Understand this principle and you will get all the sacred Knowledge on a silver plate.
Commentary: The realization of the non-dual Atman alone constitutes the real knowledge, and the Sruti are the only means to such knowledge. But all of them do not bring about this knowledge. So those Sruti alone which teach the non-dual Atman and thus directly lead us to the final realization, are to be accepted as the real, and all others that support duality are to be treated as secondary.
101. The Atman that is absolute existence and knowledge cannot be realized without constant practice. So one seeking after knowledge should long meditate upon Brahman for the attainment of the desired goal.
Commentary: The realization of Brahman doesn’t come in a day; it requires years of strenuous effort. One should not, therefore, gives up one’s practice even if one meets with failure in the initial stages, but should continue it with renewed vigour.
Mel Patrick: Clear enough. No spiritual practice, no cause, no effect and no liberation (called very modestly today in Neo Advaita "spiritual awakening", in order to differentiate it, for purely commercial reasons, from the liberation, "Moksha", although there is no difference between both since, in spirituality, the term "awakened", Buddha, also means liberated).
107. The wise should always be one with that silence wherefrom words together with the mind turn without reaching it, but which is attainable by the Yogins.
Commentary: That silence here denotes Atman which is ever quiescent. It is attainable by the Yogins because it is their very Self.
Mel Patrick: This describes in fact a very high level of the practice of Self-inquiry, Vichara, also called mindfulness.
108-109. Who can describe That (i.e. Brahman) whence words turn away? (So silence is inevitable while describing Brahman.) Or if the phenomenal world where to be described, even that is beyond words. This, to give an alternate definition, may also be termed silence known among the sages as congenital. The observance of silence by restraining speech, on the other hand, is ordained by the teachers of Brahman for the ignorant.
Commentary: Even this world, when one attempts to describe this phenomenal universe, is found to be inexpressible, since it cannot be called either Sat(existent) or Asat (non-existent). If it were Sat it would not disappear in deep sleep, and if Asat, it would not at all appear now. Therefore the world is also Anirvechaniya (inexpressible).
Mel Patrick: "congenital", a very interesting term. We come from silence, are born in silence, living in silence, dying in silence, going back in silence, but we are not very often aware of it although it only determines the presence of Brahman, pure consciousness.
111. The non-dual (Brahman) that is bliss indivisible is denoted by the word "time", since it brings into existence, in the twinkling of an eye, all beings from Brahma downwards.
Commentary: The whole creation is nothing but a resolve in the mind of God. When He has a desire for Creation the universe is produced in no time.
Mel Patrick: "Brahma" is the creator. "Brahman" is the substratum of the creation which unlike the creation itself is indivisible and so non-dual.
116. Converting the ordinary vision into one of knowledge, one should view the world as Brahman Itself.
124. The complete forgetfulness of all thought by first making it changeless and then identifying it with Brahman is called Samadhi known also as knowledge.
125. The aspirant should carefully practise this (meditation) that reveals his natural bliss until, being under his full control, it arises spontaneously, in an instant when called into action.
126. Then he, the best among Yogins having attained to perfection, becomes free from all practices. The real nature of such a man never becomes an object of the mind or speech.
Mel Patrick: We never stop any practice before to reach the final goal, liberation or Self-realization, which are totally different of a simple and momentary spiritual experience, a glimpse on the truth also called today a spiritual awakening.
127-128. While practising Samadhi there appear unavoidably many obstacles, such as lack of inquiry, idleness, desire for sense-pleasure, sleep, dullness, distraction, tasting of joy, and the sense of blankness. Ones desiring the knowledge of Brahman, should slowly get rid of such innumerable obstacles.
Commentary: After some progress is made in the path of spirituality there arises in the mind of the aspirant a kind of pleasurable feeling as a result of concentration. This, however, greatly hinders his spiritual progress, as it robs him of all enthusiasm for further practice.
129. While thinking of an object the mind verily identifies itself with that, and while thinking of a void it really becomes blank, whereas by the thought of Brahman it attains to perfection. So one should constantly think of (Brahman to attain) perfection.
Commentary: Whatever one thinks one becomes. So one desiring to attain to perfection should leave aside all thought of duality and fix one’s mind upon the non-dual Brahman which alone is perfect.
Mel Patrick: This is the mind which identifies with its own thoughts. In this verse, it’s clearly explained without any doubt that the ego has never been the problem in a spiritual quest as Neo Advaita teaches nowadays.
130. Those who give up this supremely purifying thought of Brahman, live in vain and are on the same level with beasts.
Commentary: Man has the unique opportunity of realizing Brahman and thus becoming free from the bondage of ignorance. But if he does not avail himself of this opportunity, he can hardly be called a man, as there remains nothing to distinguish him from the lower animals.
131. Blessed indeed are those virtuous persons who at first have this consciousness of Brahman and then develop it more and more. They are respected everywhere.
Commentary: After long practice, the aspirant at first realizes, while in Samadhi, the presence of Brahman which pervades the inner and the outer world. But this is not all. He should then hold on this Brahmic consciousness until he feels his identity with Brahman at every moment and thus becomes completely free from the bonds of all duality and ignorance. This is the consummation of spiritual practice.
132. Only those in whom this consciousness (of Brahman) being ever present grows into maturity, attain to the state of ever-existent Brahman, and not others who merely deal with words.
133. Also those persons who are only clever in discussing about Brahman but have no realization, and are very much attached to worldly pleasures, are born and die again and again in consequence of their ignorance.
Mel Patrick: No room to any kind of "Crazy Wisdom". It is clearly stated without the slightest doubt that people who still play with "Money, Power, Drogues, Sex and Rock & Roll" are absolutely not liberated of anything, especially not of their ignorance, and as such they don’t deserve to be called gurus, spiritual guides, etc. because they are not better than their disciples and students. They only can speak. So what? Everybody does!
134. The aspirant after Brahman should not remain a single moment without the thought of Brahman, just like Brahma, Sanaka, Suka and others.
Commentary: To be ever immersed in the Brahmic consciousness and thus identify oneself with It is the final aim of Raja Yoga. With this verse ends the exposition of Raja Yoga in the light of Vedanta.
139. One should verily see the cause in the effect, and then dismiss the effect altogether. What then remains, the sage himself becomes.
Commentary: When both causes and effects have thus disappeared one may naturally conclude that only Sunya, a void, is left behind. But it is not so. For the absolute negation is an impossibility. One may negate everything but cannot negate one’s own Self. So whence causality has been negated, what is beyond all negation is the very Self of the inquirer, which is the ultimate reality.
141. The wise should always think with great care of the invisible, the visible and everything else, as his own Self which is consciousness itself.
Mel Patrick: We cannot separate any perception from the faculty of being conscious of it, but only distinguish it from because perceptions without exception are always changing since consciousness is immutable.
142. Having reduced the visible to the invisible, the wise should think of the universe as one with Brahman. Thus alone will he abide in eternal felicity with the mind full of consciousness and bliss.
Commentary: A person may at first take some external thing as an object of his meditation, but he should afterwards think of it as existing only in the form of the mind, and latter the mind also should be reduced to Brahman which is pure consciousness. Then alone one is said to have reached the highest goal.
143. This has been described Raja Yoga consisting of these steps (mentioned above). With this is to be combined Hatha Yoga for (the benefit of all) those whose worldly desires are partially attenuated.
Commentary: This Raja Yoga, which is purely psychological in its character, is extremely difficult to be practised by those who have not yet overcome the physical disabilities and banished the carnal appetites from the mind and thus made it pure. To them, therefore, Hatha Yoga, or the Yoga that teaches physical control together with a little concentration, is at first very helpful. For, they may thereby get control over their external and internal nature and thus may in course of time become fit for the practice of this Raja Yoga.
144. For those whose mind is completely purified this (Raja Yoga) alone is productive of perfection. Purity of the mind, again, is speedily accessible to those who are devoted to the teacher and the Deity.
9 / 6 / 2014
"Not two" also means "nothing else"
Is there anything beyond consciousness and the power of knowing ?
Is there anything beyond the Self and Brahman ?
Is there anything beyond non-duality ?
"Without a second", it’s impossible to conceive.
Advaita can only be absolute knowledge.
3 / 12 / 2014
A good commentary of the 12 chapters of the Gita by Sat Shree :
6 / 2 / 2015
Let us imagine a fish that would like to discover what really water is and in which it is living.
It could compare this element with the sand, rocks, plants, metals and other garbage it could meet in its life, and even with the element fire it could discover in a submarine volcano. But it’s for sure by getting out of water that it could have the best knowledge of it, because in water, the element earth, vegetable matter, metal and fire will always be associated with the true nature of the one it is searching for. In other words, it should leave the element in which it is living to truly know it.
But is it the same with the Self, consciousness and non-duality if non-duality means "not two" ? And moreover, could we compare this non-duality to the "fifth element" or anything else if the concept itself doesn’t allow any possible comparison ?
Modified contents copyright 2011/2015. All rights reserved.