Meditations on Reality

By Atma-tattva dasa

One day my mind started speaking to me about the nature of the soul: sat, cit and ananda. He told me, “no pramana (evidence) is necessary for me to know that I exist, i.e that I am sat, and I am consciousness.

Hearing my mind speak, I began to converse with him gently, “But you do need a pramana to know if your existence is eternal. We see practically from our pratyaksha (direct perception) that people are constantly dying. Therefore there MUST be some pramana to indicate that we are indeed eternal – sat.”

Then my mind replied, “I am chit.”

Seeing he disregarded my previous observation I spoke again to him, “But what are you conscious of? Are you conscious of the body or conscious of the soul. Therefore pramana is again required if you want to establish what is the true cit.”

Then the mind blurted out to me. “Neither Sruti nor smriti is needed for me to know that I am sat and chit.

I responded, “Yes they are needed, because sat means eternal and cit means conscious, not temporarily conscious of the material body, but eternally conscious of our spirit soul (atma).”

My mind threw a verse at me to cut me off, “prajnanam brahma – behind the creation, He is nondual chit.”

I raised a doubt to my mind, “Why then is there a creation if He is completely nondual?”

My mind ignored me and continued on his rampage, “Then, what is the scripture as pramana for, if I already know that I am sat and cit?”

Seeing my confusion, my mind restated his question, “What is the scripture as pramana for, if I already know that I am sat and cit – that is the question that I posed.”

I replied to my mind thus, “You are in illusion as to the nature of your sat and cit, therefore they are both useless informations. You need sastra from the begining to properly assertain what is your real nature of sat and cit.”

My mind ignored me again and went on, “I only need sastra to point out to me that I am ananda.”

Being slightly confused I mistook his words, thinking he had said “Only to point out that advaita is andha.”

He then asked me, “Why do I need to know that?”

And I answered, “Because otherwise you may think that advaita is ‘so scientific’.”

My mind went on, “Nobody is searching for sat and cit.”

My doubt surfaced, “Do you know what everyone is searching for? “Nobody is searching” means you are not searching, not that everyone is not searching. The Buddhists are searching to become nothing (sunya), so how can you make such a statment “nobody is searching”. Is this the scientific analysis of advaita or is it a subjective analysis?

He then replied, “In fact, everybody is searching for happiness.”

I again confronted him with my doubt, “No, some are searching for an end to suffering, which is not dirrectly happiness.”

He then stated, “All pursuits in life from birth to death have been classified under two categories – pravritti and nivritti – trying to acquire things I like and getting rid of things I dislike.”

Again a doubt arose, “What about one who is free from all material desires?”

He then challenged me, “Why we are doing that for? – So that I can be happy. The bottom line in all our pursuits is the pursuit for happiness. Whether one is a believer or non-believer, Krishna devotee or Shiva devotee, yogi or bhogi, everyone is longing for happiness and searching for it. Why do I want even moksha for?”

I then confronted my mind, “The devotees of Krishna do not care about happiness. They simply want to serve Krishna, but I won’t expect you to understand it, my dear mind, because you consider service to Krishna to be a transitional stage.”

My mind then began speaking on liberation, “I want Moksha because I want to be free from all my inadequacies so that I am absolutely happy with no more wishing and wanting mind. So everybody is looking for ananda.”

I again challenged my mind, “The devotees of Krishna don’t even care about moksha, as I said above, they simply want to serve the Lord.

The mind continued his chatter, “Vedanta says that everybody is looking for ananda in the wrong place.”

I began to think to myself, “Like, perhaps within advaita?”

He continued, “ananda is not an object to acquire and ananda is not in any object that is acquired.”

I happily agreed with my mind. “Ananda is inherent within the living entity, just as sat and cit are inherent qualities of the jiiva. That is the constitutional nature of Brahman, sat-cit-ananda.”

My mind then spoke, “In the tat tvam asi declaration, Vedanta declares that what we are searching for – that (tat) – that ananda is tvam asi – you are.”

I thought to myself, “Oh brother, what a completely cruel deformation of the Upanishads. I should report this inhumane treatment to the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

He then jumped to his conclusion, “By implication, I am infiniteness too. Since the Lord is infiniteness, I am infiniteness.”

I mildly joked with my mind, “Where is this logic comming from? Oh, this must be more of your scientific advaita. Just state what you want and say it must be like that, neither sruti nor nyaya to support it.”

As usual, he ignored my comments, “Now how can we prove that I am ananda and infiniteness alone is ananda and…”

I blurted out, “You said you cannot understand such things by intelligence, it is only in experience. Why do you shift views when ever it is convenient.”

He tried to explain his advaita by answering with an example, “Sitting comfortably in a lazyboy’s chair in an air-conditioned room, after a delicious dinner, I started watching a very tragic movie. Suddenly I started to cry unable to withstand the suffering of the hero and heroin.”

I replied by saying, “This example only reaffirms the reality of the world. The individual in the example is real, the chair is real, the room is real, the television is real, the ions shooting onto the television screen are real, the actors making the film that is being shown on television are real, and none of them are the same, they are all different. The only illusion is the person identifying with the real television movie. This analogy seems to support spiritual variegatedness within Brahman.

He tried to give another example, “Suppose a bangle feels I am a limited bangle and that I am searching for that Lord because of which I am what I am, and without which I do not exist – that upadana karana – that gold (Au), – and the very search of the gold by a bangle implies the dwaita – and when it realizes its true nature – it realizes the gold (Au) in me is the same Au that pervades all the gold ornaments independent of names and forms. I am the same gold in the nugget, in the gold bar, in the coin, in the ring etc.”

Seeing his speech becoming quite incoherent, I stopped him and replied, “A gold ring is the same in quality to the supply of Gold (the gold mine) but the gold ring never becomes the gold mine, even after realizing it is gold. And if a gold ring realizes it is gold, and if a gold bracelt realizes it is gold, the two never become one. The ring remains as a gold ring and the bracelet remains as a gold bracelet, one in quality but different in quantity.”

But he challenged me, “When the bangle realizes that I am that Brahman, gold, does that mean the ring has realized too?”

I again replied, “When they both realize, then are they both the same? Only in quality. Sankara’s own analogy fully shows how the jiivas are eternally individual living entities.”

With that my mind silenced, being pierced by the arrow of jnana.