12th September, 1947
A devotee who came here some time back and had been listening to the various discussions in Bhagavan’s presence, approached Bhagavan this afternoon and respectfully asked, “Swami, it is said that Ishwara who is the reflection of the soul and appears as the thinking mind, has become jiva, the personal soul, which is the reflection of the thinking faculty. What is the meaning of this?”
“The reflected consciousness of the Self (Atman) is called Ishwara, and Ishwara reflected through the thinking faculty is called the jiva. That is all.”
The devotee: “That is all right, Swami, but what then is chidabhasa?”
Bhagavan: “Chidabhasa is the feeling of the Self which appears as the shining of the mind. The one becomes three, the three becomes five and the five becomes many; that is, the pure Self (satva), which appears to be one, becomes through contact, three (satva, rajas and tamas) and with those three, the five elements come into existence, and with those five, the whole Universe.
It is this which creates the illusion that the body is the Self. In terms of the sky (akasa), it is explained as being divided into three categories, as reflected in the soul: the boundless world of pure consciousness, the boundless world of mental consciousness and the boundless world of matter (chidakasa, chittakasa and bhutakasa). When Mind (chitta), is divided into its three aspects, namely mind, intuition and ‘Maker of the I’ (manas, buddhi and ahankara), it is called the inner instrument, or ‘antahkarana’.
Karanam means upakaranam. Legs, hands and other organs of the body are called ‘bahyakarana’, or outer instruments, while the senses (indriyas) which work inside the body are antahkaranas or inner instruments. That feeling of the Self, or shining mind, which works with these inner instruments, is said to be the personal soul, or jiva. When the mental consciousness, which is a reflection of the tangible aspect of pure consciousness, sees the world of matter, it is called mental world (mano akasa), but when it sees the tangible aspect of pure consciousness, it is called total consciousness (chinmaya). That is why it is said, ‘The mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation for man (mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoh)’. That mind creates many illusions.”
The questioner: “How will that illusion disappear?”
Bhagavan: “If the secret truth mentioned above is ascertained by Self-enquiry, the multiplicity resolves itself into five, the five into three, and the three into one. Suppose you have a headache and you get rid of it by taking some medicine. You then remain what you were originally. The headache is like the illusion that the body is the Self; it disappears when the medicine called Self-enquiry is administered.”
The questioner: “Is it possible for all people to hold on to that path of Self-enquiry?”
Bhagavan: “It is true that it is only possible for mature minds, not for immature ones. For the latter, repetition of a prayer or holy name under one’s breath (japa), worship of images, breath-control (pranayama), visualising a pillar of light (Jyotishtoma) and similar yogic and spiritual and religious practices have been prescribed. By those practices, people become mature and will then realize the Self through the path of Self-enquiry. To remove the illusion of immature minds in regard to this world, they have to be told that they are different from the body. It is enough if you say, you are everything, all-pervading. The Ancients say that those with immature minds should be told that they must know the transcendent Seer through enquiry into the five elements and reject them by the process of repeating, ‘Not this, not this (Neti, neti)’. After saying this, they point out that just as gold ornaments are not different from gold, so the elements are your own Self. Hence it must be said that this world is real.
“People note the differences between the various types of ornaments, but does the goldsmith recognise the difference? He only looks into the fineness of the gold. In the same way, for the Realized Soul, the Jnani, everything appears to be his own Self. Sankara’s method was also the same. Without understanding this, some people call him a nihilist (mithyavadi), that is, one who argues that the world is unreal. It is all meaningless talk. Just as when you see a stone carved into the form of a dog and you realise that it is only a stone, there is no dog for you; so also, if you see it only as a dog without realizing that it is a stone, there is no stone for you. If you are existent, everything is existent; if you are non-existent, there is nothing existent in this world. If it is said that there is no dog, but there is a stone, it does not mean that the dog ran away on your seeing the stone.
There is a story about this. A man wanted to see the King’s palace, and so started out. Now, there were two dogs carved out of stone, one on either side of the palace gateway. The man standing at a distance took them for real dogs and was afraid of going near them. A saint passing along that way noticed this and took the man along with him, saying, ‘Sir, there is no need to be afraid.’ When the man got near enough to see clearly, he saw that there were no dogs, and what he had thought to be dogs, were just stone carvings.
“In the same way, if you see the world, the Self will not be visible; if you see the Self, the world will not be visible. A good Teacher (Guru) is like that saint. A Realized Soul who knows the truth is aware of the fact that he is not the body.
But there is one thing more. Unless one looks upon death as a thing that is very near and might happen at any moment, one will not be aware of the Self. This means that the ego must die, must vanish, along with the inherent vasanas. If the ego vanishes thus, the Self will shine as the luminous Self. Such people will be on a high spiritual plane, free from births and deaths.” With that Bhagavan stopped his discourse.