cidbimbasaksyatmadhiyam prasangata- stvekatra vasadanalaktalohavat anyonyamadhyasavasatprutiyate jadajadatvam ca cidatmacetasoh.
Consciousness of the Self and the inertness of the intellect, due to their mutual proximity, get mutually superimposed, just as iron pieces glow in the fire. The product is the intelligent ego, a product of illusion.
When the self-effulgent supreme Consciousness and the inert inner equipment, a product of subtle matter, remain very near to each other (prasangatah), they combine together (ekatravasat), and the result is the intelligent and consciousness ego. To bring it out clearly for Laksmana’s full understanding and appreciation. Rama uses the classical example of iron and fire:
Iron is cold to the touch and black in color; but when different pieces of iron, beaten out in different geometrical shapes, are put into fire, they become hot to the touch and golden in color. This becomes an example of the phenomenon of mutual superimposition. The heat and golden color of the fire are superimposed upon the black, cold iron, and the geometrical shapes of the iron pieces are loaned out the fire. Together, in their unholy wed-lock, the iron and fire present themselves to our perception as golden, fiery pieces of precise geometrical patterns.
In the same way, thoughts of the intellect shining in the light of Consciousness give us a vivid illusion of an intelligent sense of individuality. This impossible marriage between the Consciousness of the Self and the inert inner equipments gives rise to the feeling “I am my thoughts.”
guroh sakasadapi vedavakyatah sanjatavidyanubhavo niriksya tam svatmanamatmasthamupadhivarjitam tyajedasesam jadamatmagocaram
When, through the grace of the guru, and also by deep contemplation upon the suggested implications of the great Vedic statements, the direct experience of Brahman is gained, the individual comes to “see.” in his own heart, the pure Self, which is devoid of all conditionings. Thereafter, let him give up the entire inert world perceived through the sense organs.
Having heard the science of Reality from the teacher through the great statement tat tvam asi, the student does his own reflections and deep contemplations, and comes to directly perceive the experience of Reality. The verse indicates the standard classical sequence of spiritual learning: listening to the teacher, reflecting upon the significance of what has been heard, and practicing deep and continued contemplation upon the same subject. The final end result of all this is direct experience. The experience of what ?
That which words cannot express, but which is the very substratum of our personality is experienced by the seeker in his own heart. That pure Self is experienced as devoid of all entrapments such as the gross, the subtle, or the causal bodies.
When once this experience has descended upon the student of contemplation, let him thereafter totally stop entertaining the gross, inert world of objects, emotions, and thoughts.
prakasarupo ‘hamajo’hamadvayo - ‘sakrdvibhato ‘hamativa nirmalah visuddhavijnanaghano niramayah sampuna anandamayo ‘hamakriyah.
I am self-effulgent, I am unborn. I am the One without a second. I am the ever-resplendent light of Consciousness. I am extremely pure, the uncontaminated mass of pure Consciousness. I am holy, infinite, blissful, and actionless.
All the words used here by Sri Ramacandra are words borrowed from the Upanisads. Each one of them has very great significance. It is with these deep meanings for the terms employed that the teacher is able to communicate to the purified heart of the student the entire science of Reality (brahma-vidya).
When seekers successfully turn their entire attention in the direction indicated by these words and all their pregnant suggestions, they arrive at the gate of Truth and themselves “disappear into the vision” of the Supreme – just as a river, on arriving at the shore of the ocean, effortlessly disappears into the ocean to become one with it.
This verse and the following one give us a chart on how to perform nididhyasana, deep and continuous contemplation:
I am the source of all light, to know Me, no other light is necessary. I am self-effulgent. I am without birth, and therefore beginningless. I am One without a second; in Me there are no distinctions. (The Chandogya Upanisad) insists that the Self is one alone, with no otherness).
I am like the sun, ever resplendent with the light of Consciousness. Never does the light of Consciousness cease to be. Even when there are not objects for it to illumine, as in deep sleep or under chloroform, Consciousness illumines the very absence of everything !
I am never immaculate, with nothing to veil My intellect. Nothing can create agitations in the mind. Both these are products of Maya; therefore, I am beyond Maya.
I am unborn and continuous, the ever-present experience of bliss. I am without any activity, meaning that I am ever the same, with no modifications. There can never be any change in Me. Action can rise only as a result of nonapprehension, and it feeds and gets fed by our likes and dislikes.
Since I am a pure mass of objectless Awareness, the all-pervading substratum for all names and forms, there can never be any action.
This verse is specially meant for contemplation. It provides ten arrow marks indicating the direction in which the student of contemplation should hold his entire attention. All the ten terms employed here indicate, from different angles of understanding, the one essential spring of all life, the Self.
The following verse enumerates additional exercises in contemplation.
sadaiva mukto ‘hamacintyasaktima - matindriyajnanamavikriyatmakah anantaparo ‘hamaharnisam budhair - vibhsvito ‘ham hrdi vedavsdibhih.
I am ever liberated. I am the power behind the universe which no intellect can comprehend. I am that pure Knowledge which is beyond all sense organs. I am immutable, endless, and shoreless. The erudite scholars of the scriptures meditate upon Me, day and night, in their hearts.
This verse supplies six additional arrow marks that indicate the direction in which a student in his seat of contemplation must hold his mind’s entire attention. In short, this verse constitutes another set of exercises in contemplation:
I am ever liberated – in the past, present, and future; in the waking, dream, and deep-sleep states; in all places, at all times, and under all conditions. Never have I been bound, nor can I ever be in bondage in the future.
My power is immeasurable: in fact, I am the source of the omnipotent Lord; being the creator, sustainer, and destroyer are all minor expressions of my total power.
I can never be the object of the sense organs, nor of the inner equipments. In short, I do not belong to the category of objects, emotions, or thoughts. (I am so described in the Taittiriya Upanisad.)
I am without any change: none of the six modifications ever touch Me. Birth, existence, growth, decay, disease, and death are the six modifications through which all forms must necessarily pass, but none of them can ever bring about any change in Me.
I am infinite : neither time, place, nor objects can ever condition Me. I pervade them all. Since I am infinite, no-thing can limit Me. I go beyond all limitations, and thus I am shoreless.
It is this infinite nature of Mine that is continuously contemplated upon by great saints and sages in their quiet, alert, and vigilant hearts, suffused with a sattvic mood.
Both this and the previous verse are aimed at students of contemplation for their daily practice of lifting their attention toward the state of pure Consciousness.
evam sadatmanamakhanditatmana vicaramanasya visuddhabhavana hanyadavidyamacirena karakai rasayanam yadvadupasitam rujah.
If we continuously expose the mind to the thought “I am Brahman.” the special knowledge that arises removes, in a sudden flash, all spiritual ignorance and its consequences, that is, the perception of plurality – just as medicine taken regularly removes the disease and itself gets eliminated, all by itself.
The benefit of practicing what has been advised in the previous verse is spelled out here. By holding the mind exposed to this infinite Self, the nonapprehension of the Self (avidya) and the consequent misapprehensions (ajnana) are both blasted out, and the pure Self reveals itself.
But we may ask: are we not again creating a “thought” during our contemplation ? Instead of thinking thoughts about the world of objects, are we not merely substituting them with thoughts of the Self? If thoughts are still with us, will not the mind continue to survive, and entangle us within its meshes? Will not golden chains bind us as efficiently as iron shackles?
These are valid doubts of an intelligent armchair-Vedantin who lacks the heroism to slip his seat of contemplation. However, Vedanta is a subjective science, and any amount of mere study and argumentation will not bring a clear understanding.
When a mind gets fully engaged in the practice indicated in the previous verses, the quiet mind, uncluttered with thoughts of the world of objects, expands to embrance the concept of the infinite Self, the sole substratum of the entire perceived world of experiences. In this thoughts of the infinite Self, thought is no more a thought: the thought-wave becomes a wave with no amplitude, and therefore becomes a no-thought wave. Thus, when one arrives at the Self, thoughts cease to be thoughts. The individuality merges into the vision of the Reality.
The very “thought” of “The Self am I” (aham brahasmi iti vrtti) is a “no-ware” (no vrtti); it merges to disappear in the direct experience divine. This idea that the thought will merge and disappear by itself is not easy for the intellectual student to grasp, and hence Sri Rama offers one of the classical examples often used in Vedanta :
The medicine (rasayanam) taken by the sick corrects the disturbance in the physical system (rujah) and then itself gets eliminated from the system, all by itself; so too the brahmakara-vrtti (the thought “Brahma am I”) ends all by itself when the seeker arrives at the realizion of the Self.