Shining World

Self-Realization is Where the Work Begins

Hey Sundari. I was reading a book called ‘No Mind I Am The Self’ and in it the lady who is a supposed Sage talks about a tamasic thought free state and it has thrown me into doubt about whether my thought free state is really abiding as the Self or is tamasic.

Sundari: We need a mind to function in the apparent transactional reality. Freedom, which means freedom from the small egoic identity, does not mean destroying the mind or a ‘thought free state’. Many spiritual interpretations (especially Buddhist) claim that “no-mind” is the key to “nirvana”. But who is it that knows the no-mind, no-thought, or nirvana?  Nirvana is a state of mind, and all states of mind are known to you, the Self. If you know something, it can’t be you can it? The knower and the known share the same identity as Awareness but they do not exist in the same order of reality because the knower (the Self) is the subject and the known (the person) is the object. The mind is an object known to you, Awareness. One cannot get rid of the mind, and even if one could, there is no need because the mind is not the problem. Nor is it necessary or possible to stop thinking.

Identification with the contents of the mind (thoughts and feelings) is the problem. The mind is a product of the vasanas.  The vasanas are tendencies produced by the three gunas, rajas, tamas and sattva.All three gunas generate very predictable thoughts and feelings, also called your conditioning. Unless the conditioning or ‘programs’ that run the mind are understood in light of Self-knowledge (the Vedanta scripture or Self-knowledge) the vasanas are still binding and the egoic doer is still alive and well.  While you may know you are the Self, what does it help if you are not free of the doer? The doer is the main problem. Karma yoga is what is needed.

Karma yoga is an attitude one takes towards actions and their results.  It isresponding appropriately to what life asks of you on a moment to moment basis; consecrating every thought, word and deed before you think, speak or act to Isvara, the Field of Existence, in an attitude of humility and gratitude.  Which is to say to yourSelf, whether or not you see that both the person and the Field of Existence share a common identity as Awareness, the Self.

Daniel: To be clear I have realized the Self and seen clearly that I transcend body, sense, and mind. Sometimes I see this clearly and at other times it’s not so clear but my understanding is unshaken. I also at times do have a dull mind feeling and laziness in my body. My question is this, is there such a thing as a tamasic thought free state and can you abide as the Self yet occasionally be tamasic. Also I would like your advice on what is the best way to overcome tamas.

Sundari: I think you may well have realized the Self, but you are not done yet. From what I have read in your emails, there is still confusion between satya, the Self, that which is unchanging and always present, and mithya, that which is not always present and always changing – i.e., the jiva or person. I don’t think you have followed the Vedanta methodology and there are gaps in your understanding. This is no reason to doubt yourself, please note. Most inquirers who are Self-realized but not yet Self-actualized have to reach this conclusion to make progress. 

All the three gunas are objects known to you, the Self.  As the Self you do not condition to any of them. You observe the tamas appearing in the mind as you do sattva and rajas, and it makes no difference to you as the Self. The gunas are in perpetual motion, never the same from one moment to the next, like everything else in mithya. You, the Self, are the only constant.

But if tamas has the power to cloud the mind, then there is still ignorance present, obscuring the full appreciation of your free and unlimited nature. The solution is to commit to the Vedanta methodology and accept being properly taught. Without faith in the teachings, and acknowledgement that there is something you do not know the knowing of which will make all the difference, the ego is most likely involved. You think you know best, and will not surrender to the teachings or the teacher. It is your choice, I am not saying you are wrong or not the Self. That is not up for debate. But it is knowing fully what that means that makes the difference. It is a matter of what is really most important to you.

It sounds like you are doing your best. But though we need to take a stand as the Self, taking a stand in Awareness as Awareness sometimes turns out to be more than a little tricky because it is so subtle. The split mind watching itself has a slippery tendency to claim to be Awareness. But, is it ‘unfiltered’ Awareness or is it a delusion? How to know, and how to deal with that? Taking a stand is done with the mind and can lead to a kind of self-hypnosis that makes the Jiva think it is the Self without the full understanding of what it means to be the Self. Of course, based on logic alone, (is there an essential difference between one ray of the sun and the sun itself?) the jiva can claim its identity as the Self—but only when its knowledge of satya and mithya is firm. 

The practice “I am Awareness” does not give you the experience of Awareness or make you Awareness because you already are Awareness. It negates the idea “I am the jiva.” When the Jiva identity is negated the inquirer should be mindful of the Awareness that remains because negating the jiva only produces a void. Nature abhors a vacuum. Many inquirers get stuck here and depression can set it if they cannot take the next step, which is understanding that the emptiness of the void is an object known by the fullness of the Self, the ever-present witness. Or, at that time, many inquirers ‘start’ to experience as Awareness and make a big fuss about it even though you have only ever been experiencing as Awareness all along!

So, the discrimination between Jiva’s experience of Awareness and the Self’s experience of Awareness is essential. The Self’s experience of itself is qualitatively different from the jiva’s experience of the Self as an object or as objects. As I said to you before, it is one thing to say “I am the Self as the Self and another to say it as the jiva. This realization may well be a painful moment for inquirers who are very convinced that they are enlightened without knowing that they are only enlightened as a jiva, or as an ego, not as the Self.

David: I read one of your posts on Shiningworld were you said that tamas is an object of the Self and I now see that clearly. Just needed the right pointer.. Also I ordered Mr Swartz’s book on the gunas. That should answer my related questions, so don’t feel the need to respond to my query about the gunas.

Sundari: That’s good. The gunas are what make up and condition everything in the field of existence. Without the understanding of the gunas you are missing the central and most important part of the teachings, which I mentioned above.  You are free to claim you know you are the Self, and there is no contesting this because that is the truth. But you will not be able to fully discriminate between or understand the identity between the person or jiva, and Isvara, the creative principle. 

I know how insistent you are that you know who you are, and that is great, good for you. But Self-realization is where the ‘work’ of self-inquiry begins, not ends. You are still seeking for answers all over the place, when you have found the holy grail. Vedanta is the valid and independent means of knowledge for the Self. It is not contaminated by anyone’s experience, opinions or theories. It is time tested and it works to remove all ignorance of your true nature from the mind. And that ignorance is very subtle and tenacious.

Vedanta means the knowledge that ends the quest for knowledge. It is not our teaching. If you are qualified for self-inquiry, you have faith in and humbly follow the methodology of Vedanta with total dedication, and you are properly taught by a qualified Vedanta teacher, the teachings work to produce that most elusive and precious of things, freedom from all limitation and suffering, moksa.

Hari Om


Your Shopping cart