Question 236-7: Duality and Brahman

Non duality and ignoranceThe young Rama asks about Atma being non-dual. If this is the case, then how can ignorance arise in Brahman that is quiescent? The background noise of the Big Bang is actually the Sabda Brahman, the Pranava, OM. If OM is the source of pure consciousness, how is it we fall into duality and illusion?


Brahm-satta the potency of Brahman

avidya San. f. ignorance, especially in a spiritual sense arising from the illusion of maya, the veil of separateness. The darkness of ignorance veils our perception, so that we see a snake in a rope and are deluded by our senses into believing the world is real; we are unaware of the true Reality that underlies and sustains it.

ajnana: ignorant

Veda-vani scriptural information that cannot be denied;

atmaswaroop: cf. atmaswarupa; Consciousness, the Self, original nature, our true essential nature. (embodiment, form of the Atma)


Question 236: Sir, if Atma is only one (non-dual) and is pure in form, how does ignorance (avidya) arise in the quiescent Brahman?

Answer: Ramji, all that you are perceiving is Brahman. It was only one Brahman before, and will remain as one Brahman hereafter. Ignorance is a non-entity in the Infinite Brahman. It has been proved conclusively. The word Brahman is merely an utterance and is used just for explanation; in reality, He is beyond utterance, and there is no ignorance in it. The entire illusion of the universe — including you and me and all elements such as fire, air, etc with names and attributes — is only Brahm-satta; there is no ignorance therein.

Ramji, what is termed as ignorance (avidya), is to be considered just an illusion. Brahm-satta is pure, faultless and free from ignorance in the beginning, middle and end.

Question 237: Sir, in your earlier explanations you had mentioned that there is ignorance (avidya) and now you say that there is no ignorance. Kindly explain to me.

Answer: Ramji, when I had mentioned about ignorance earlier, you were ignorant (ajnana) then. To awaken you, I had used that method and mentioned about ignorance. Now that you are a wise one, I say that there is no ignorance. Words like universe, jiva, ignorance, etc have been used in scriptures (Veda vani) to awaken the ignorant. You now adopt the attitude that Brahman is everything in the three planes, including you and me. The idea of duality independent of Brahman is nothing. In this manner, you remain in equilibrium, free from the ideation of the universe, and then you will not be involved in any attachment. In all states of action—eating, drinking, moving, sitting, etc—you should always be established in Atma-swaroop and then your ego feelings will vanish and you will always cognise Atma.


Of course, the mind is inert, or jada. Just as when water, inert matter, begins to shine when it is placed in the Sun, the inert mind borrows effulgence from the Atma and appears as if it has chaithanya, or consciousness. In the mind, Buddhi gets reflected and so it looks as if the mind too is intelligent, that is all. Its real nature is ignorance or ajnana. The mind is not self-effulgent, like the Atma. The mind’s splendour is as the luminousness of insects in the rainy season. The Atma, however, is the Sun of Suns; it is the Effulgence of Effulgences; it is the Supreme Light, the Paramjyothi. It is Swayam-Jyothi, the Self-effulgent.

While doing meditation, the mind should not be permitted to wander away from the target. Whenever it flies off at a tangent, it must be led back to the Form meditated upon. Finally, if you so desire, all things can be subsumed in that Form itself. Nevertheless, only one Form has to be meditated upon in the beginning. You should not daily change from one to another. Again, during the time of meditation, you should not indulge in thoughts about things you do not like, or things that cause pains, or things that shake your faith. If any such peep in, learn gradually to welcome them as beneficial, and seek to grasp the good in them, instead of the bad.

The senses can do nothing by themselves. They are not independent. If the mind is brought under control the senses too can be controlled. Some people undergo mere asceticism of the senses, in order to control the mind! They are ignorant of the real discipline necessary. The real discipline is the destruction of desire. However vigilant the warders may be, a clever thief can still steal in a hundred amazing ways. So too, however skillfully you may try to control the senses, the mind will drag them to its side and execute its desires through them. Note how the sage Viswamithra, in spite of his austerities, fell before the wiles of the Apsaras sent up by Indra to tempt him. If the outer door alone is closed and inner door is left unbolted, calamity is certain. But if both the exterior and the interior doors are safely bolted, you can sleep peacefully; for no thief, however clever, will find it easy to enter and do harm. The Sadhaka should, therefore, establish mastery over the external senses, then the mind immersed in the continuous succession of Vishaya, or Subject-object relationship, has to be controlled by means of Santhi and Vairagya, Equanimity and Renunciation. When that is done, one can experience real Ananda and also visualise the Atma, in its real Swarupa. That is why Krishna once told Arjuna, “Those who aspire to have mastery over the senses must have full faith in Me“. The senses are always extrovert in nature; they are greedy for external contacts. Therefore, they drag the Ignorant perpetually towards external objects. So the Sadhaka, endowed with discrimination and renunciation, must place obstacles in their outward path and suppress their outbursts just as the charioteer, wielding the whip and the reins, does to the racing steeds. Uncontrolled senses cause great harm. Persons in their grip cannot engage themselves in meditation, even for a single second
Dhyana Vahini, pp39-40


the Milky Way

You now adopt the attitude that Brahman is everything in the three planes, including you and me. The idea of duality independent of Brahman is nothing. In this manner, you remain in equilibrium, free from the ideation of the universe, and then you will not be involved in any attachment.


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.”



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