Much is made of knowing this world, and wending a path through the knots that lead to home and hearth, happiness and peace. Without awareness of the Divine Atma within, the journey through this illusion called human life is fruitless. The mind is the master instead of being the servant.
Atma: the Self, the soul, the life principle, the divine core of personality, man’s individual indwelling reality (jivatma), the wave in the ocean of the universal Self (paramatma or brahman), the inner controller which rules and regulates the senses, the mind and the intellect, and animates the body by means of prana: ‘I am the life-force in every heart’, ‘in the body but not of it’. ‘The atma is the unseen basis, the substance of all the objective world, the reality behind the appearance, universal and immanent in every being.
param – Hin. adj. parama– San. prefix (superlative of para) supreme, best, perfect, most glorious, in the highest degree, most excellent, ultimate, transcendental, mightiest, most remote, further than.
paramātman (parama+ātman) San. M. the supreme Self, the Absolute, the indwelling witness and guide of each individual and conditioned soul. The reflection of paramātman is jīvātman. Experiencing happiness and sorrow is the lot of the jīvātman, while the parabrahman remains untouched as the witness. (V. 11)
jiva: individual soul embodied as a person. Soul with a body.
samsār Hin. samsāra San. m. ‘that which flows and changes’ – the round of existence, the passage of the soul in the cycle of life, death and rebirth; life in the world, caught in illusion. Samsāra is the ephemeral world, impermanent and unreal, which enthralls the senses and gives rise to desire. ‘To free oneself from the ‘wheel of samsāra’, awareness of the unborn undying Self which is one’s own reality is the only method available to man.’ The paradox: ‘It is out of ignorance that man is caught in the cycle of birth and death. Birth and death are caused by the will of God.’ (Pronounced sansāra); manifest universe;
chidakasha The causal aspect of the universe. The akash or space of Chit; the Absolute Consciousness, the all pervading Spirit;
shūnya Hin., San. adj. void, empty m. nothingness, emptiness, non-existence; solitude.
Question 76: Sir, how to get relief from the state of manifestation or the delusion of the universe that is so firmly established in the mind?
Answer: Ramji, the consciousness associated with the universe of names and forms is of the nature of ideation. It is this ideation that has assumed various names and forms. He who rightly understands this ideational or illusory aspect, is liberated; he who knows Atma, is free from all sufferings and illusions and is liberated.
The fascination that the temporary has over the mind is called Maya or Delusion. For example, under the delusion that white or greying hair is something to be ashamed of and postponed, men and women dye their hair, though for all other purposes, white is considered more desirable than black! The mind is never still fixed on any one ideal. It is ever wavering, flitting from one object to another, hopping from one satisfaction to another. To allow oneself to be led by the mind and bypass the intelligence is the folly called Maya. The world is a labyrinth in which man has become entangled, he must find a way out. The mind, however, is no guide, for it is an aimless wanderer. (6-10-67)
Question 77: Sir, what is the form of Paramatma, the Supreme Self, knowing which one attains liberation?
Answer: Ramji, the cognition or the cognitive power underlying the jivas’ tendencies of instant transition from one place to another in the twinkling of an eye is the state of Paramatma -— the Supreme Self. The state called ‘just cognition’, that is obtained after the total negation of the universe (sansara) is the state of Paramatma — the Supreme Self. The chidakash where the trio of seer-seeing-sight is non-existent is the state of Paramatma, which though not a void (shunya), exists like a void; it is a state of non-duality established in itself. lt is not gross, but appears as gross. It is self-effulgent, illumines everything and is all-pervasive.
Awareness of his identify, of his being Atma, is the sign of wisdom, the lighting of the Lamp which scatters darkness. That Atma is the embodiment of Bliss, of Peace, of Love. Without knowing that all these exist in oneself, man seeks them from outside himself and exhausts himself in that disappointing pursuit. Birds that fly far from the masts of a ship have to return to those very masts, for they have no other place to fold their tired wings and stay. Devoid of this wisdom, all efforts to seek spiritual bliss and peace are futile. You may have rice, dal, salt, vegetables and tamarind, but without a fire to cook them soft and palatable, they are as good as non-existent. So too, rosary beads, rituals, meditation, offerings to the gods, pilgrimage… all these are neffective if the knowledge of one’s basic reality and identity is not there to warm up the process. The Atma is the source and spring of all joy and peace; this has to be cognised and dwelt upon. Without this cognition, human life is an opportunity that is lost. One has to come into this wilderness again and again in order to learn the way out. The quantities of food consumed, the hours of sleep spent in bed, the riches earned and enjoyed add up to a colossal waste if the main purpose of life is neglected. (Bombay, 16-3-1966)
Question 78: Sir, if Paramatma is everything, why is He not visible? How is the delusion of the universe, that is so firmly established, lifted?
Answer: Ramji, the universe that you experience is the result of an illusion; in reality nothing exists except Atma. The idea of the universe disappears with the removal of this illusion and all that remains thereafter is Atma. This illusion is lifted with long and continuous practice.
As a result of recent movements in world-thought man’s heart is being hardened by hate and greed, not softened by love and sympathy. Intelligence (the ‘Dhee’ which the Gayatri prayer attempts to urge into enlightened activity) blinds man from recognising in the beauty of nature, in the sublimity of space, time and causation, the might and Majesty of God. It is perverted so much that questions like, “Where is God to be found?” “Why does He not reveal Himself to me now?” arise in the mind. You can find God if only you look into yourself and understand yourself. He can be realised only after a long process of cleansing and at the end of a systematic disciplined preparation. Without learning the alphabet, how can any one dare condemn a classic? The culture embedded in the ancient texts promoted the composure and mental poise that is needed to delve into the depths of one’s being. It is concerned with making every one aware of the Atma, the basic Truth, the only entity of which everything else is a by-product. (Madras: 23-4-67)
From the Unreal, lead us to the real;
from darkness lead us to light
from death, lead us to immortality,
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti