"Self-realization is meant to ensure fulfilment for one’s own self. It is not reaching somewhere or getting at something external, like going to the peak of a mountain. The attainment is in dissolving the mind and intelligence, and getting into the very core of oneself. In other words, it is like multiplying everything with zero."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

We are discussing Ashtavakra Samhita in Trichur, altogether 8 days; four days are over. I started reading our philosophy written in English language. The philosophical reading was always a kind of an exposure and a discussion presented in a very theoretical manner. Those days, I remember some Das Gupta or somebody, 2 authors had authored the six systems of Indian philosophy. They belong to the Calcutta University. I read that book very well. Perhaps for the first time, I had an entry and also an insight into what exactly is philosophy and when do you call our religion philosophy and how many systems of philosophy are there in India because from my own growth in a traditional family, I knew that it was all religion and religious practice.

Philosophy is an entirely different subject. There, we don’t have religion. We only have presentation which is to be understood, reflected upon and whatever is discussed should be properly known. It is a knowledge-oriented process whereas religion is a practice-oriented process.

You go to the temple, fold your hands, stand in front of the deity, then you chant some mantra if you like, utter some prayers, go around the temple, do pradakshina, increase the number of times, then if there are some festivals, be present there. So they are all practice-oriented. We only practice where there is an application of our body, some of the bodily organs and the like.  These practices are mostly oral and sensory. If we chant, it becomes oral, otherwise it becomes sensory. You use your limbs, your hands, legs, go around, bend, prostrate, all this.

But when it comes to a question of philosophy, you open the book and you only read. What you read, you are supposed to reflect upon and understand. Actually, what do you do with this understanding? You read and you understand. Now, what is the item to be practiced there?

I know what is Indian philosophy. So I found that most of the philosophical presentations were only theoretical. When does the theory transform itself into practice and what exactly is the practice? Because we have altogether only one personality. In that personality, our body is an external counterpart, it is gross, physical. And I would like to repeatedly say, it is an aggregate of matter and energy, matter and energy. Matter-energy aggregate; nothing else is there. In fact, the whole creation is matter-energy aggregate. Earth is matter, water is matter, air is matter, fire is energy, space is neither or both. None of them has anything like the power or potential to know, to think, to decide etc. But the world is product of design. The world is designed. So that designing part does not belong to matter and energy. These are all my present explanations. However, I did understand there was something like philosophy and philosophy is a subject and the like.

Then from philosophy I transited into our scriptural presentations. When I mean scriptural presentations, it is all in Sanskrit. In the scriptural presentations, so far as we are concerned, the Upanishads are the spine, that is the backbone. From the Upanishads, everything have come. The Upanishads themselves are the crowning glory of the Vedic life. Vedic life started with prayers and hymns, all utterances. Then they supplemented or complemented them with performance in the form of rituals, offering materials into the fire. So, from hymns and prayers to rituals. Now both of them completed their performance. They could not do anything more. But our thinkers outlived both. They could not find an answer to whatever they wanted. So, they left both the utterances and also the rituals. After leaving both, what will they do? They only had their mind and intelligence to deal with. All the ceremonials they left. What will they do? They will contemplate upon, they will think about, reflect upon.

So, the inner faculties were harnessed and they started thinking and reflecting. Then they began to know. They began the flowery praises, the more flowery offers into the fire, found them to be useless and unproductive so far as they were concerned. So, with the same tenacity they left it. They could only use their mind and intelligence to contemplate upon. In that process, they found that the intelligence became active.

And what will the intelligence do? The intelligence will first of all set questions before it and the intelligence pursues the questions. I would like to call it a holy knowledge pilgrimage. Formulate questions, whatever you want to know. If you want to question the religion, okay – ‘Is there a God, who can He be, where is He, How is He like, what does He do for me, what shall I do for Him?’, all these are questions.

Philosophically you raise the question - is there any Reality because the entire world is found to be changing? So, whatever changes can never answer us. We want something changeless. So the world is not true. It is not the truth because it is changeful. How can the changeful alone remain? After all, it is existing. So, the existence part of it suggests something is present. So what is that Real?

When you set the question ‘what is the real?’ and you start pursuing it just like Newton raised a question, “Why are the apples falling? Why should they fall? They are remaining in different positions, in different branches. And all of them fall parallelly, parallelly, perpendicularly. Why should they fall? They can flee, go in an angle, but they don’t. Why?” So, this ‘why’ occupied him for one year or so before he found an answer.

So, the only way to activate the intelligence is to set questions before it and the intelligence will have to dedicatedly pursue the questions until it finds an answer. First it is a question. When pursued, it becomes an answer. When you learn driving, you take hold of the steering, place your feet on the accelerator etc. and you start driving. When you have learned driving, then also you do the same thing. Initially, it is a practice. Later on, it becomes a learning. So, first it is a question before the intelligence, when pursued dedicatedly it becomes an answer. Now this is what our Vedic life was. It began with praises, it developed into rituals, then it grew into recession or withdrawal and finally climaxed with discovery and realization.

Now I came to know all these things! It is not just theory merely for reading but something more than theory. The theory will become meaningful only when it will lead to practice. What is that practice for, all these were beautifully presented there.

So, I started reading the Upanishads, I read the Bhagavad Gita, then so many Prakarana Granthas. All of them I found, ‘Is this our land’? Were our people so much given to knowledge?’ They have transformed everything into a knowledge orientation. We have the science of health called Ayurveda just like the other Vedas. We have Natana śāstra, Nritya śāstra, Gāna śāstra. We have Sāmudrika Lakshanas, studying the bodily, physionomical features and arriving at conclusions about what your mind is like, how you will behave, what is your character and the like. When any subject is taken up rationally, discussed, then it becomes philosophy. So you can make a philosophy of everything, philosophy of eating, walking, speaking, philosophy of agriculture, everything you can make a philosophy into.

Now, I am discussing Ashtavakra Samhita where it is a knowledge presented in a pinnacle form. Somehow unknowingly, I also started thinking in my own manner and I wrote the first book “Brahma Vidya Abhyasa”, Reality and the method to trace it.  I think I wrote it when I was very young. “Mā, can you say when I wrote Brahma Vidya Abhyasa?” 1968, I wrote; now more than 40 years. The first book I wrote. Even now people who read the book say, “Swamiji, after reading your Brahma Vidya Abhyasa, we don’t find anything else to be read.” But I did it as a play! As a simple play!

I did not write the book in full. I started writing and used to give it to the press and the press started composing it. Then they will ask for matter again. Then I will write. That kind of a person I am, even now. After writing, I have not read the book at all. I may write another book but I don’t generally like to read it. But people say that it is a very good book. There, it is a theory first and practice next. Whatever is presented in the theory, how to realize it in practice is the presentation.

Now, with all this introduction I wanted to tell you one important point. This is my finding, my analysis. The whole creation consists of matter and energy but matter and energy by themselves will not explain the life element in creation. I am using a word ‘element’; it is not a chemistry element. Neither matter nor energy is sentient, intelligent. It does not have the capacity to know, to understand, to think, but living beings think and re-think the best and most. Now, how do you explain that aspect of creation? And the whole creation is a design. There is a plan. There is a process.

So, matter and energy could not have by themselves formed into themselves. So, there is a third factor. This third factor is what we call consciousness or sentience. What is the definition of consciousness? Here are two doctors. They will have their own explanation but I am not a doctor. We define consciousness as what – consciousness is ‘That’, no definition. But we can define its role and purpose. Consciousness is that presence, that prevalence or that expression which makes one conscious of other factors as well as oneself.

Consciousness is that which makes you conscious of other things as well as yourself. How do you say ‘I am’? Everybody says ‘I am’, ‘I am’; no doubt. Very clearly people say ‘I am’. ‘I am here’. The ‘I’ and ‘Am’ cannot come from the body. In fact, when it does not come, we become dead. Life is necessary to say ‘I Am’. So life is a resultant of ‘I Am’. You have no doubt to say ‘I Am’. How can you say ‘Am’ without knowing that ‘I’ is there? So the presence of the ‘I’ is expressed as ‘I Am’. ‘I Am’ means I know myself. No. As ‘I am’ I say ‘I have a body’ and ‘I see the world’.

So, something makes me conscious of myself as I am and the other things, the world. This is what is called consciousness. You have no description of the presence. It is not matter. It is not energy. It is not external. We have only senses to perceive matter and exterior presences. Now this is inside the body. So the senses cannot perceive and it has no comparison. Sensory objects can be compared and contrasted but so far as the inner presence is concerned, it cannot be compared and contrasted with anything else. So, Consciousness is that which makes one conscious of other things as well as oneself.  This is the only third item in creation.

This consciousness can be felt only in a human body and that too, in oneself. If this can be known in another body, our doctors would have seen it and felt it long back. But they cannot say anything about it. They only deal with the body animated and activated by consciousness. They understand the physical, organic processes, sequences etc. They know what is the brain, what does the brain do. When an ant bites the toe, signal goes to the brain. Then we come back with a response. All these they will explain where the body element is involved. But they will not be able to understand or explain the non-bodily presence called consciousness because it is neither matter nor energy. Therefore, it transcends this sphere of sensation, perceptibility.

This consciousness can only be known in one’s own living body plus this is the only presence in the body. Not only that, this is the only presence everywhere. As it is all-pervading in the body, it is equally all-pervading wherever existence, appearance or presences are there.  If you are able to know this consciousness, you will be able to know because you say ‘I Am’. It is only understanding the ‘I Am’ in a better and more satisfactory manner where you will have no doubt. You only now say ‘I am’ but you must be able to say “This is the ‘I’, I refer to as ‘I am’”.

Everybody says ‘I am’, ‘I am’ but nobody knows what this ‘I’ is. They know everything else because of this ‘I’, because of the merit of the ‘I’ but poor fellows they don’t know what this ‘I’ itself is. I can count money but I cannot make money. The cashier is counting a lot of money. Poor fellow, not a single rupee belongs to him. That is what we are doing. We are counting the number of articles which ‘I’ makes you conscious of but we don’t know what this ‘I’ is.

You know, I can speak very laughingly, smilingly and making fun but there was a time when I could not sleep! I was not happy to eat. I used to feel “One more day is gone and I have not realized the Truth”. So, I used to feel so disgusted. My head used to be very hot. Now it is very cool. Have you got any message from what I said?  This is what we are discussing in Trichur, only that one element.

People say ‘I have lost’. What can you lose? Where did you have anything to lose? In the ‘I’ area, where is the second product which you have owned? You have a child. Where is the child? He remains separate from you. Where is your dress? It remains separate on the body. Where is your house? So, everything that you have does not enter into the ‘I’ area to remain its but still you say ‘I have it’. The worst of foolishness that we can think of!

The ‘I’ possesses nothing. Nothing can penetrate within the body to become a product of the ‘I’. So, we have nothing but still we say we have lost. You say, “Swamiji, my attachment...” What attachment - I cannot understand. Can your ‘I’ get attached to anything? Is the air attached to anything? What about the water? Then how can this ‘I’ be attached? This ‘I’ is much much much more subtle than air and water and such a fine product. How do you say it is attached to? Still people say ‘I am attached. It is my attachment’. Have you seen it? Where is your attachment - please show me? It must be like a black spot somewhere, is it not? People don’t think! The ‘I’ is never attached to anything.

When somebody dies, people go on crying. ‘Okay I will also cry along with them’. By all this crying, the gone man, will he ever come back? Then why are we crying? We have to accept the fact of death. That acceptance we refuse to make. See, something has gone and something has come. What will you do? It has come, so you accept it. Something has gone, you accept that also and live freely. The dearest man will die and the people start crying and weeping, leaving the dead body and they want somebody else to come and attend to the body. If somebody is dear to you, should you not look after whatever is necessary for the body, make it comfortable and arrange for everything? We are unable to do that. Still we say we love the person who has died. What is that love - I am not able to understand. You don’t agree with me.

I think like this - If I love somebody, I must be able to do everything necessary to the body even after it has died. You can cry after some time. When it is packed off, you cry. Somebody else should come and do the formalities for the dead body. So, where is our love and fondness for him? Is what I say correct or is it a mad story?

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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