Is Creation Real?

There are two kinds of things present in the universe i) sentient ii) insentient. A piece of rock being insentient, does not know that it exists. It does not know about the creation. So, for insentient things, there is no creation.

When you look at a flower, the light from the flower reaches your eyes where it is converted to electric signal. This electric signal is read by the brain. Finally, it is the mind that perceives the flower. It appears that the flower is in front of you, but actually flower is inside your mind when you are looking at it. So, perception takes place in mind only. Your world exists because of your perception. In deep sleep, there is no perception and there is no world. The similar mechanism of perception applies for any other sentient being. So, if the creation is in mind, we cannot conclude that it is independent of consciousness. Had everything been unconscious in this universe, there would have been nobody to even ask about the existence of anything. Nobody would have known about the creation then and the word creation would have lost its meaning.

16 Enlightenment Myths

Enlightenment is the non identification with body-mind that comes with the knowledge that you are pure awareness. This awareness is non-dual, non-doer, non-judgemental, infinite, permanent, detached and is the cause of existence and everything. It has the built in power of projection. It can be summed up as Sat-Chit-Anant/Anand-Maya. Since, enlightenment is about the understanding that comes with the knowledge, enlightenment is for the mind. The points below are addressed in this context.

Myth 1: Enlightenment is about experiencing something new.

The real You is always there or the real You is already enlightened so to say. It is the false you (false identification) that has to be recognised so that the real You can be known. Enlightenment is about recognising the real You.

Myth 2: There are 4 paths to get enlightened: Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, Bhaktiyoga & Rajayoga.

There are two types of people, people that have worldly obligations and those that are renunciates. There are 2 paths only – Karmayoga & Jnanayoga – to cater to these two types of people [Bhagavad Gita 3.3]. Bhaktiyoga & Rajayoga are for purification of mind. Once the mind is pure, it is ready to see the truth.

Myth 3: Enlightenment is some sort of out of the world experience.

Enlightenment is the removal of ignorance. After the experience of Samadhi or any other out of the world experience (epiphany), mind comes back to the default mode. One can get enlightened without such experience and enlightenment has nothing to do with such experience except for the fact that it is easy to recognise the truth when the mind is quite and the inquiry is made. In fact often one gets immersed in the bliss associated with such experiences and stops inquiring, making such experiences useless as far as realising Self is concerned.

Myth 4: Enlightenment can be transmitted from guru to the disciple.

Guru can help in the removal of ignorance but cannot transmit enlightenment. If enlightenment could be transmitted from one person to the other, everybody would have got enlightened.

Myth 5: Physical presence of guru is required to get enlightened.

Teaching of any form as long as it removes ignorance can enlighten somebody. Physical presence is not necessary. However, it does make a difference when you see an enlightened being walk and talk in front of you. However, this is possible via video also in this digital era.

Myth 6: Soul is within the body.

If soul is defined as the real You, i.e. consciousness then it is not within the body, but the body is inside it.

Myth 7: Only poor people talk about enlightenment/moksha.

Enlightenment introduces you to yourself. The material status has nothing to do with it. A rich man after getting enlightened will not be that much stressed due to the typical stresses that money brings in.

Myth 8: After enlightenment one always smiles.

The latent tendencies do not change immediately after enlightenment. So, the facial expression and other day to day acts should not change much. But, gradual change should take place as unconscious mind gradually changes.

Myth 9: After enlightenment all my wishes will be fulfilled.

Enlightenment is the removal of ignorance. After enlightenment your mind’s expectations will decrease. But, enlightenment is not something magical that will fulfil wishes.

Myth 10: Enlightenment means death of ego/mind.

After enlightenment one watches mind in a detached manner better. One of the traits of the mind is ego. So, one can watch ego but that does not mean that ego will go away. Same applies to other traits of the mind. Mind also does not die literally otherwise no enlightened person can speak or do any intellectual work.

Myth 11: Realising Self is a very long process.

Self inquiry is the quick way and Vedanta is very useful in that. If you are qualified for Vedanta, study of Vedanta under a qualified teacher can enlighten you in a short span of time. If you are not qualified for Vedanta, it may take longer time to purify the mind to make it suitable for self inquiry.

Myth 12: Enlightened people never get angry and do not have other negative traits.

Behavioural patterns take time to go as they come from unconscious mind. Hence, it is very much possible that an enlightened being would get angry at times. Some deeply embedded vasanas also can remain unless there is a conscious effort to remove them. Some enlightened beings may not care to remove vasanas so much realising very well that vasanas are originating from causal body and they are not the causal body.

Myth 13: Enlightened people have higher vibrations and have extraordinary powers.

Science is capable of doing so much that it would look like magic but that does not mean that a scientist is enlightened. Any capability associated with material world is not what enlightenment is about. Enlightenment is about going beyond the physical world. It is the understanding that you are immortal and are beyond physical world. Some people may arguably have some siddhi but that is related to the material world, not beyond and hence has nothing to do with enlightenment. Also, sometimes what is thought of as a result of extraordinary power is actually a result of faith.

Myth 14: Enlightened people never suffer physically/mentally.

There are many examples from the past years where enlightened people have appeared to suffer a lot. Enlightenment is about the removal of ignorance. It does not make one a superhuman. The body-mind continue to live in the world and face the consequences of living there. It is just that the way of looking at the suffering associated with the body-mind changes.

Myth 15: To attain enlightenment, one has to go to Himalaya and meditate sitting in Padmasana controlling breath.

Enlightenment is about the removal of ignorance and that can be done right where you are. Breath meditation helps to quieten the mind and only when the mind is quite, it can do Self inquiry effectively. But, if your mind is ready for Self inquiry, no form of kriya/asana is required though it can still help. If your mind is not ready for Self inquiry, Rajayoga/Bhaktiyoga will help. Karmayoga can also be practiced side by side. Also, meditation does not necessarily mean doing something physically, it happens when mind quietens.

Myth 16: Enlightenment is a state of superconsciousness.

In ordinary language, the word consciousness is used in individual sense. But, in Vedanta consciousness is not an individual thing. The individual sense of consciousness is called reflected consciousness in Vedanta. After enlightenment, one starts looking at things from a different point of reference. This relaxes the person and his/her attention is less diverted. From outside world it appears as if the person is living in present and can be called superconscious from outside. But, the truth is that the point of reference alone has changed, absolute consciousness never becomes more or less, it always remains constant and indifferent. Also, this appearance from outside may not be same for all enlightened beings as some may not feel that relaxed due to the vasanas/samskaras of the unconscious mind.

Maya

imageIn dream just one human mind creates many objects/personalities, or one appears as many. Maya is that power residing in consciousness by which one appears as many. In other words, Maya is the power that creates the dream of consciousness in which consciousness projects the dream appearing as many within the dream though it is actually just one. This dream of consciousness is the real world for the characters in the dream. When a character in the dream realises that it is not just a character but is the consciousness itself, Self Realisation takes place for that character. This character continues to be present in the dream, so the dream world is not over for the character. The world of maya goes on before/after enlightenment. It is just that now this character knows that while it appears to be present in this dream world, it is not really within it, but is actually projecting it. Removal of maya does not mean that the dream world collapses. It just means that now it is known that what was earlier considered to be real actually is apparent.

The image shows consciousness surrounded by (under the influence of) maya not knowing its true nature. Similar symbolic visualisations can be made using hand mudra or via coiled snake/kundalini etc.

Allah Ke Bande

The punch line in the lyrics of the song, “Allah ke bande” written by Vishal Dadlani according to me is, “Khoke apne par hi to usne tha udna seekha”. The meaning of this line is related to, “A blessing in disguise” idiom and spirituality.

Context: The lyrics mention about a bird falling from the sky to the ground losing its wings making it incapable of flying again. But the bird is not feeling low at all. On the contrary, it is quite optimistic.

Meaning: Khoke apne par hi to usne tha udna seekha means after losing the wings the bird learnt to fly. Nobody wants problems. But, sometimes problems are good as they make us look at the things from a completely different perspective and new solutions emerge. The spiritual meaning of the line is that you find the real You when you lose the false you (doer). Kabir says, “Jab mein tha tab Hari nahin, jab Hari hai mein nahin” which means when I (doer) was there God was not, when God is there I (doer) am not. Hari is pure consciousness and not someone sitting above the sky.

Why does not awareness know itself during deep sleep?

Q: While waking I know myself as awareness. But, if I am awareness which is permanent (Sat), why don’t I know myself during deep sleep?

A: It is your intellect that knows that you are not just body-mind but are awareness. It is your intellect that has got enlightened. You are pure awareness who is just powering the act of knowing by the intellect just like electricity powers a gadget. Since intellect is not operational during deep sleep, the sense of knowing is not there.

During the waking state, there is apparent subject and object split. So, it appears that your intellect (subject) is perceiving something (object). During deep sleep there is effectively no subject/object split and hence there is no perception*. This subject/object split during waking state is due to the apparent world. There is no world in deep sleep state and hence there is no subject/object split.

Awareness is silent witness. Whether something is known by the intellect or not awareness is witnessing that. In waking/dreaming, awareness is witness to the perception and in the deep sleep, awareness is a witness to the lack of perception.

*Strictly speaking, even during deep sleep there is residual/dormant subject/object split. A familiar experience of this can be of disturbance in sleep due to loud noise/mosquito bite.

False I

Q (Mohan): If I am consciousness then why don’t I behave as one?A: Please see the answers below in two situations:
a) Before Enlightenment your mind does not know that you are consciousness and hence your mind keeps on identifying with false Is. This happens because of ignorance – thanks to maya.
b) After enlightenment, while your mind does know that you are consciousness your body still has to live in this world and hence mind has to behave accordingly. So, your mind acts as Mohan and not as consciousness while dealing with people like an actor acting in a movie. It is also possible that the false Is take over sometimes as the understanding that you are consciousness may not yet be sufficiently deep rooted in the mind.
PS: Enlightenment is for the mind. The real you is always consciousness whether the mind knows that or not.

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