The world comes at birth. Are we having sankalpa (ideations) at birth? The young Rama asks about sankalpa and how these can arise and vanish. The sage gives illumination, and among that illumination, tells that “The mind creates a vast panorama in an instant, and at times it becomes too subtle to be grasped.”
Brahm-tattva the principle of Brahman, Pure Consciousness
brahman, brahma San. N. the impersonal Absolute – a supreme, unmeasurable and transcendent essence that exists simultaneously with all of creation; the ultimate Reality, the Source, Consciousness not aware of itself, all-pervasive and self-existent. (V. 663) Brahman envelopes and permeates everything: ‘Brahman is all there is’ (sarvam brahman-mayam). Creation is but a reflection in brahman.
sankalpa: ideation; modification of chitta or consciousness; idea, resolve, volition (will);
vasana: tendencies or desires
vikalpa mental agitations; errors; illusions;
vichara: self-inquiry; contemplation, thought
Atma-satta The potency of Atma (the Soul).
Question 174: Sir, what is a sankalpa (ideation) ? How does it arise, expand and vanish ?
Answer: Ramji, when a modification arises in the quiescent Atma, sentient and insentient objects with names and forms are experienced. This modification is called sankalpa (ideation). The ideation starts only when Atma or the True Self is forgotten, and then the extensive web-like world arises. Thus whatever is experienced is of the nature of ideation (sankalpa) and is a creation of ideation (sankalpa). As is the sankalpa in the illusory mind, so is the experiential world. Even the birth and the death of an individual (jiva) are unreal. When a jiva has this firm faith, then the play of the universe which is cognised due to ignorance, also vanishes. When the idea of the World vanishes from the mind, the ideational form of the world also vanishes. One has to do some effort to pluck a leaf from a tree, but even this much effort is not needed to give up ideation (sankalpa), because sankalpa is a non-entity. He who cognises the world as nothing, and himself also as nothing, is free from the idea of the world. When a person is absorbed in Atma, or when he abandons his ego and experiences the existence of Atma only, he becomes free from sankalpa and attains peace.
Ramji, it is not difficult to attain Atma by destroying the ideation of the mind with the mind itself. All sufferings of the world end with the quiescence of sankalpa. Mind, intelligence, ego, ideation (sankalpa) and jiva are different names of one and the same thing. The differences among them are verbal only, and all these words connote one and the same entity. When ideation vanishes, what remains thereafter is Atma. Both, the world and the ideation, are unreal. Therefore, you should strive for quiescence of the unreal sankalpa so that your spirit of the world, which is unreal, may disappear. Thereafter all vasanas (desires) also disappear and the goal is attained. If this World were real, it would not disappear on enquiry and contemplation. But it has been seen that the world vanishes on enquiry and contemplation, hence it is unreal and is experienced only due to the firmness of sankalpa. The sankalpa is a creation of the mind which, too, is unreal. The mind creates a vast panorama in an instant, and at times it becomes too subtle to be grasped. The expanse of the universe is experienced due to the tendencies in the mind (vasana) and when the vasana is destroyed, the universe too becomes non-existent. Ramji, abandon the vasana of the universe as soon as it arises, and have the firm faith that the world is an illusion with no potency at all. The idea of the world vanishes easily with such faith.
Ramji, in case you find it difficult, then give up the idea of the being or non-being of the world and be stabilised in Atma without any ideation. Pay no attention to the being or non-being of the world. This way you will attain detachment. Abandon in your mind the idea of the World which is a non-entity and is just a sankalpa in the consciousness of Brahma, and appears as mind. Have the faith that the world is nothing because it has not been created by anyone. Attachment to what is non-existent is foolishness. If there had been even a slight truth in the being of the world it would not disappear at all. Since it is always in a state of flux and things are created, changed and destroyed all the time, it shows that the world is asat (unreal) and its illusion arises due to ideations and errors (sankalpa-vikalpa) which vanish with a little effort of enquiry and contemplation (vichara). This ephemeral universe does not belong to you, nor do you belong to the universe. Therefore, abandon this delusion (of the world), and strive to attain to the supreme state. On deep thinking, O Ramji, the world appears as a dream. All objects of a dream are unreal. Why then strive for them? Atma is real and the world is unreal. Both are opposite and cannot coexist. Therefore, abandon dependence on the unreal world, and be established in the real Atma that you are yourself. Atma, that is a non-doer (akarta) and immutable is your nature and you should be established in it. Carry on all mundane functions, but don’t be attached to them. Within yourself, have no desire for objects, but act overtly for the sake of acting only.
O Ramji, I have explained many ways of stabilising in Atma. Choose any one to your liking and be engaged in it. There is yet another way where you have to assume, ‘I am everything, I am non-doer (akarta) and non-indulgent (abhokta)’. When you act with this altitude in the world, you will not be bound by anything, even when you are carrying on all the functions in the world. Or, you may also think that ‘I, that is Atma, am free from all actions and gratifications.’ Your desire for gratification will vanish with this faith also. When one has a firm faith that one has never done anything and that one is always a non-doer, all his desires for gratification vanish. The idea of give-and-take is erased in his mind and he always considers himself as a non-doer. Or, you may believe firmly that ‘I am the agent or doer for everything, and being present in every mind I do everything.’ Of the two faiths explained by me, you may accept either according to your choice and try to be established in it, so that you may get liberation from the joys and sorrows of the world. There is also a third way, following which also you can attain the supreme happiness. Abandoning both the faiths, be without ideation and without mind. What exists thereafter is your true state and that is Atma~satta. Select any of these three faiths and be firmly established in it, and thus you will be free from all sufferings and will attain quiescence.
Samadhi is of two types, Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa. In Savikalpa, the Thriputi, or the Threefold nature of Knower, Knowing and Knowee will still persist. When it is realised that the Knower is Brahmam, Knowing too is Brahmam and the thing to be known is also Brahmam, then there is no more Vikalpa or Agitation or Activity; that is the Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Samadhi is as the ocean to which all Sadhana flows. The seven streams of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana and Dhyana all find their consummation in it. Every trace of Name and Form disappear in that Ocean. He who serves and He who receives the service, he who meditates and He who is meditated upon, all such duality is dispelled and destroyed. One will not experience even the experience, that is to say, one will not be aware that he is experiencing! Oneself alone, nought else – that will be the Samadhi. If there is aught else, it cannot be Samadhi. It is something like a dream, a fantasy, a passing vision at best. Samadhi can admit of nothing other than Brahmam. (Prashanti Vahini)
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat
“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”