Question 234 – 5: What is the nature, the basis of everything?

Stone buddhaThe young Rama asks “What bondage and liberation?” The Sage replies that just as an image carved from stone remains stone, so the Universe is atma-roop, the form of Atma. The duality or diversity of names and forms perceived in Atma is because of ignorance. Faults and failings arise because of the potency of Atma, and Atma remains unaffected by faults and failings.

atma bodh: knowledge of the Atma; cognition of the Self.

prana the breath of life, life-breath, the vital force which keeps the body alive, the sustaining life-energy

vasana: tendencies or desires

purushartha: the repository of spiritual knowledge acquired by endeavour in pursuance of the precepts obtained from sages and scriptures

jagat bhava: the conviction of the existence of the Universe

prana-yama (praanaayaama). Breath control.

chitta: chitta San. noun. the mind (the seat of understanding and awareness, of intellect and will); memory, thought, reflection; the soul, heart.

akritrim natural; man-made; built (as a house)

atmaroop: the form of Atma; that which is seen is only the glamour of Atma; it is atma in and of itself.


Question 234: Question 234: Sir, When does the mind become insipid and what is non-identification of the chitta?

Answer: Ramji, when a jiva cognises all objects as unreal and considers them to be poisonous, the mind becomes insipid. The attitude of acceptance or rejection vanishes when the mind becomes insipid. This is said to be non-identification of the chitta.

Question 235: Sir, what are bondage and liberation?

Answer: Ramji, ignorance of Atma is bondage and knowledge of Atma is liberation. When chitta is fixed in Atma-bodh (cognition of Atma), prana stops. Vasana disappears when prana stops. The arousal of vasana means creation of a universe, and it is the cause of bondage. Therefore you should be engaged in purushartha and practise control of prana so that your vasana becomes extinct and jagat-bhava (conviction of the universe) is destroyed.

Ramji, there are two ways for rendering the chitta extinct : (i) non-arousal of desires and (ii) discipline of prana control. Choose whichever better suits your temperament and when you have practised it, you will automatically achieve both. With the quiescence of vasana, prana is automatically controlled; likewise, with the practice of pranayama, vasana becomes still, or the chitta becomes unmodified (achitta), and that is the supreme state.

Absence of ideation in the chitta is the natural or genuine (akritrim) state of enjoyment. This enjoyment cannot be achieved even on attaining the heaven. The pleasure arising at the conjunction stage between seeing and the object of seeing is the Atmic pleasure. But the chitta associated with the objects of desires is without bliss. You should, therefore, undertake purushartha for the quiescence of chitta and attain the supreme bliss. Chitta arises because of ignorance and it becomes quiescent with the knowledge of Atma. Therefore, you should always practise for the realisation of Atma (Atma-bodh) so that your chitta becomes still and you attain the supreme bliss.

Ramji, just as an image carved on stone is after all a stone, and it is not independent of the stone, so is the universe Atmaroop (form of the Atma) and it is not independent of Atma. Just as an artist imagines innumerable images in wood or stone, which are nothing but wood or stone, so is the universe just an ideation in Atma; nothing else has been created and everything is Atma. The artist-like mind, which itself is an aspect of Atma (Atmaroop), has created the cosmos which is just an ideation. In reality, nothing but Atma exists. Atma that is infinite and indivisible, manifests itself as a universe of names and forms. The duality or diversity of names and forms perceived in Atma is because of ignorance only, and when wisdom is attained, the entire universe merges in Atma. Faults like duality are experienced with the potencies of Atma. They arise from Atma and remain established in it, yet Atma is free from all these faults. In reality, there are no faults at all.

Ramji, there is no distinction between the universe and Atma. It is only Atma established in itself. Just as bubbles in water are an aspect or form of water, and gold ornaments are aspects of gold, so is the universe in Atma an aspect of Atma. It establishes the fact that only Brahman is the universe, and the universe is Brahman. With this attitude, you should interact in the universe.


“Dhananjaya! Only he is entitled to be called a Pundit, who has seen clearly the distinction between Karma and A-karma. If he has only stuffed in his head the matter contained in books, he is not a Pundit. The Pundit must have an intellect which grants the vision of the Truth, Samyag-darsana. When that vision is gained, all Karma becomes ineffective and harmless. The fire of Jnana has the power to consume and burn Karma.”

“Some people say that a Jnani must perforce suffer the consequences of Prarabdha karma; he cannot escape from it. This is a conclusion that other persons draw; not the experience of the Jnani himself. To those who watch him, he might appear to be reaping the fruit of past Karma, but he is absolutely unaffected. Whoever is dependent on objects for happiness, or pursues sensory pleasures; whoever is motivated by impulses and desires, is bound by Karma. But those free from these cannot be affected by the temptations of sound, touch, form, taste, smell and other attractions of the senses. Such is the true Sanyasin. He is unmoved. The Jnani is supremely happy by himself, without the need to be dependent on other things. He finds Karma in A-Karma and A-Karma in Karma. He may be engaged in Karma but he is not affected in the least. He has no eye on the fruit of actions.”

“You may ask how he is able to do that. Listen: He is ever content. The contented man is free, he does not depend upon others; he is unaffected by the feeling of agency. He is content with whatever happens to him, well or ill, for he is convinced that the Lord’s will must prevail. His mind is unshaken and steady; he is ever jubilant. Want of contentment is a sign of the Ajnani. Those who give up the Purusharthas and walk the path of sloth, how can they be said to be happy, whatever happens? Contentment is the treasure that is won by the Jnani; it cannot be won by the A-jnani who piles one wish on another, and builds one plan after another, who pines perpetually, worries himself and sets his heart ablaze with greed.”

“The Jnani is not mastered by the dualities of joy and grief, victory and defeat, gain and loss. He is Dwandvaatheetha. He scorns hatred and never allows it to affect him. Both the Swarupa and the Swabhava of the Atma guarantee that It is unaffected. It is A-sanga. It is un-influenced by any thing that is not Atma. It has neither birth nor death, hunger nor thirst, grief, delusion. Hunger and thirst are qualities of the Prana; birth and death are characteristics of the body; grief and delusion are afflictions of the mind. So, Arjuna, do not assign any status for these; know yourself as the Atma; give up all delusion and become unattached. Be like the lotus leaf in the marshy lake of Samsara; do not get smeared with the mud around you. That is the sign of A-sanga: In it but yet outside it. Be like the lotus leaf, not like the porous ‘blotting paper’ that gets tainted with whatever it comes in contact with.”

“Do Abhisheka to the Atma-linga, with the pure waters of your own pure Chitta-vritthi, mental impulse. When the chitta moves in one direction and the indriyas move towards another, the person is doubly confused. So, keep attachment afar. When that is done, whatever you do becomes a sacrifice, a Yajna. Whatever you speak becomes a holy mantra; wherever you plant your foot, the place is rendered holy.” Gita Vahini, Ch X


Roman temple
Just as an artist imagines innumerable images in wood or stone, which are nothing but wood or stone, so is the universe just an ideation in Atma; nothing else has been created and everything is Atma.


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
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.”



Image Credit: Silentpilot (愚木混株) / Pixabay, djedj / Pixabay