Saturday 13 January 2007

The cognition of duality

With reference to my article 'The Nature of Our Mind', which appeared in the latest issue of The Mountain Path and which is an extract from the third chapter of my book, Happiness and the Art of Being, a friend wrote expressing his difficulty in understanding how 'seeing' actually takes place in our mind, since 'seeing' depends upon our eyes, which are a part of our body, which is itself a part of the world that we see. In my reply I wrote as follows:

The simple truth is that everything other than our own real self, our non-dual consciousness of our own being, 'I am', is merely a product of our own imagination. Other than our real self, nothing truly exists. However, by our power of maya or self-delusion we imagine that we do not know our non-dual reality, and as a result of this seeming self-forgetfulness or self-ignorance we imagine this entire world of duality, multiplicity and relativity.

Our body, our eyes, the world that we see through our eyes, our act of seeing, and everything else — all these are imagined by us. That is, they are images or thoughts that we form in our mind by our power of imagination. When our mind subsides in sleep, they cease to appear, because they exist and are known only in our own mind. There is truly nothing outside our mind. Everything that we know, or ever can know, is a thought or mental image that we have formed in our own mind.

Everything that we know is a transitory appearance, except for the one enduring and unchanging reality, which is our non-dual consciousness of our own essential being, 'I am'. Among all the things that we know, this fundamental consciousness alone is the absolute reality. Everything else is a product of our imagination, and is therefore only relatively real.

That which is relatively real is truly not real at all, because though it may seem to be real at one time, it ceases to appear real at other times. All things that are relatively real appear to be real only when they are known by our mind, so their seeming reality is dependent upon our mind. When our mind subsides, as in sleep, all that is relatively real disappears, and therefore in that state it ceases to appear real.

That which remains when all appearances disappear alone is real — truly and absolutely real. That absolute reality is only our non-dual consciousness of our own being, which we experience as 'I am' both when other things appear to be, as in waking and dream, and when all other things disappear, as it sleep. Because this non-dual self-consciousness is known by us even in the absence of our mind and all other forms of knowledge, it is not dependent upon any other thing. Therefore it alone is the absolute reality, and the only true form of knowledge.

The world is not created by our real consciousness, which is our absolutely non-dual self-consciousness, but only by our mind, which is a spurious object-knowing form of consciousness. If we concentrate our entire attention upon our real self, our essential non-dual consciousness of our own being, 'I am', we cannot know any other thing. The illusory knowledge of otherness or duality arises only when we ignore our true non-dual consciousness and imagine the appearance of thoughts and objects, all of which seem to be other than ourself, even though they are in fact merely mental images that we form within ourself.

In other words, the cognition of duality is caused not by our real self-consciousness, which is always perfectly non-dual, but only by our seeming self-ignorance, which is an imagination — the primal form of imagination or maya, and the root-cause of all other forms of imagination.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,


Sankarraman said...

This utterly nondualistic idea, that the entire creation as well as instruments for seeing the created objects, is by virtue of the projection of I thought, seems to be very much emphasized only in Bhaghavan's teachings. On the other hand, the various theories of perception, espoused by the traditional advaita schools, directly or indirectly, seem to emphasize the reality of the objective world in some way or other. For example, in the demarcation of the functions among the four categories of the non-self, that is the mind, intellect, egoity, and memory, there is the idea that at the level of the mind there is indetermination of the nature of the object, intellect being able to determine the nature of the object, the ego being the arrogating power of the mind, with memory storing up all these in the unconscious in the form of vasans. There is the clear idea in the traditional vedanta that the ajnana about the object is removed by virtue of the light of the self, in the form of the intellect, lighting up the object, falling on the object etc, etc. These ideas seem to strengthen the notion that the world exists outside in its own right, is being perceived by the mind and intellect, and disappears at the time of deep sleep, being in a potential state for manifesting itself again. There are very complicated theories of perception, various books being written carrying the caption, "The methods of knowledge according to vedanta." These ideas seem to be incompatible with the pristinely pure teachings of Bhaghavan, affirming only the one reality of the self. There is also a higher importance being given to the waking state over the dream state. This also seems to be a metaphysical flaw. Would you please clarify all this from the background of the guidance you have got from sadu om? I have met sadu om and discussed all this. But it was long back. I remember sadu om not having subscribed to all these things. Only the teachings of Yogavasishta seem to be close to that of Bhaghavan.

Sankarraman said...

The Brahmasutras say that those who have not had the non-dualistic realization go to the world of Hiranyagharbha, and get liberated at the end of the world cycle, instead of returning to the world, like the bound souls. Hiranyagharbha, still being a product of time and space, and not the a priori Self, how can we take this as final? Bhaghavan does not seem to have subscribed to all these ideas. Since the Self is not a place or an experience, to be dwelt in or experienced by an individual, how can we accept this? I think Sankara has posited this only as a tentative reality. Please clarify this vis-a-vis the teachings of Bhaghavan.

Anonymous said...

Cognition of duality is through
reflected consciousness(Abhasa)
which is a reflection of Pure consciousness on the mind.This
reflected consciousness is the seer
in the phenomenal reality.The reflected consciousness is the light with the aid of which we cognise things in the dark state of