22. What an Experience!
The universe is not our problem.
Our problem is more immediate - the birth of an experience, and the birth of an experience is attended by the same circumstances that attend the birth of the universe.
Wherever a being is born, whether unmoving or moving, know thou, O best of the Bharata, that it is from the union between the feld and its knower. (13:26)
When the subject becomes aware and experiences the object, (or apparently, not really, comes into contact with the object), it is then that the experience is born.
It is a birth of a phenomenon that is going to rule you - your mind, your heart, your whole life.
Whether an experience is one of pleasure or pain, it is an experience, and the birth of an experience being repeated, forms a habit, which you are trapped in for the rest of your life.
The moment there is a subject there is an object, because the subject is subject only in relation to the object, and the object is object only in relation to the subject.
Neither of them is independently true.
Truth is between the two.
When you say: 'I am aware of your presence', the subject and the object arise at the same time.
So, in the handkerchief analogy, you cannot have a handkerchief with only one end.
It must have two ends.
If you are talking of ends, it has two ends, if you are talking of the handkerchief, it is one.
If I ask you: "Do you think I am", your answer is: "Yes, you are."
So 'I am' is equal to 'you are', because we are still referring to the same thing.
This itself is called 'I am' and also 'You are'.
The two are exactly the same.
It is awareness which makes this possible, and that awareness is like the whole handkerchief in which there is neither 'east' nor 'west'.
To the awareness we are merely two poles, two ends, indivisibly one forever.
It is not possible to understand it, because the understander creates a thing called an 'object of understanding'.
Thus, being always a totality, experience cannot be divided.
There is something very interesting here.
Suppose you shake someone's hand in great friendship.
In you there arises an experience of joy, but at the very same time there is an experience in the other person.
The object of your experience has its own experience, it is the subject of that experience.
To that you are an object.
Suddenly you realise: 'There is an experience. One side of it is me, and one side of it is you'.
That is called 'witness-consciousness'.
Witness-consciousness is not merely repeating "I am not the body. I am the witness of this body" - you say that, because you are so inextricably tied to 'I am the body' idea, that it is not possible to get rid of it so easily.
When does 'a' desk become 'my' desk?
When does 'a' cap become 'my' cap?
If this understanding can really arise in you, then the problem of 'mineness' has been solved.
Then it is possible to cultivate the habit of seeing the world as it is, without relating it to oneself.
This is part of the witness-consciousness process.
There is still this fundamental problem of 'I am the body'.
It is difficult because the intelligence with which you enquire into the nature of this relationship called 'I and mine' itself arose out of this habit pattern, it is a product of the illusion that 'I am this body'.
If you can get rid of the idea 'This is mine this shawl is mine, this seat is mine I, you are a Jivanmukta.
If you can get rid of the idea 'I am this body' you are a videhamukta.
That is a situation that the human mind cannot understand at present, because the mind began to function only after the habit pattern was formed.
What is called witness-consciousness can be developed only to the extent of dealing with 'mineness' - not with the 'I am the body' idea.
'I am not the body' is merely a sentence with no meaning whatsoever.
It is the suspicion that you are the body that makes you say that you are not the body!
A first step to witness-consciousness is to become immediately, intensely aware that you are you, I am I, and that 'you are my friend' is nonsense.
Once you are able to get to that point, suddenly you realise that the knower (subject) becomes aware of the field (object), which includes pleasure, pain and so on.
All these are the object of the subject.
You are the experiencer, the purusa, and you are looking at something else which is an experience, an object.
Self is the subject, and you are constantly seeking for the non-self.
Self is ananda, happiness, and you are seeking ... what? - must be unhappiness!
If the subject is happiness, why is it looking for something else?
And, if the subject is unhappiness, whatever it does, it will still be unhappy.
This is another puzzle.
I am not giving an answer, merely posing a question.
Whatever you are, you are the subject.
Whatever you are, the object must have a different characteristic in relation to you.
For instance, if you are hungry, you need food, because there is an empty space in your stomach which needs to be filled.
A full stomach does not need more food.
So, when there is a state of fullness, there is no movement at all.
Then you become yogarudha.
Once you have reached the fullness, you are quiet, silent, maybe inactive also.
It is only by understanding this process of apparent contact between subject and object, and therefore the dynamics of experience, that one can free oneself from contact with objects, from the conception of objects, and thereby eventually arrive at the non-conception of an object - which instantly dissolves the subject as subject!
In that awareness there is no subject-object relationship.
The subject and object both cease to be, together - but it is not a state of unawareness, because awareness being awareness cannot be unaware.
Do thou also know me as the knower of the field in all fields, O Arjuna; knowledge of both the field and the knower of the field is considered by me to be the knowledge. (13:2)
Intellectually understanding this truth is fragmentary understanding which is not understanding.
What is understanding?
Krsna gives a long list of characteristics of a jnani (one who knows).
Gurudev Swami Sivananda was very fond of these few verses.
Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control,
Indifference to the objects of the senses and also absence of egoism, perception of (or reflection on) the evil in birth, death, old age, sickness and pain,
Non-attachment, non-identification of the self with son, wife, home and the rest, and constant even-mindedness on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable,
Unswerving devotion unto me by the yoga of nonseparation, resort to solitary places, distaste for the society of people,
Constancy in knowledge of the self, perception of the end of true knowledge - this is declared to be knowledge, and what is opposed to it is ignorance. (13:7-11)
When all these qualities are present in you, then it is possible to say that you have jnana (knowledge).
These qualities cannot be cultivated.
When you study this list, you will realise that cultivating one quality has to be at the expense of another quality.
If you are dispassionate and you do not want to get involved with anybody, how are you going to practise this thing called cosmic love?
And if you are practising cosmic love and serving everybody, someone says: "You have lost your vairagya (dispassion)."
All these problems arise because we are still intellectualising, conceptualising these qualities which are the characteristics of the enlightened person.
To the enlightened person himself these problems do not arise.
I will declare that which has to be known, knowing which one attains to immortality, the beginningless supreme Brahman, called neither being nor non-being.
With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, he exists in the worlds enveloping all.
Shining by the functions of all the senses, yet without the senses; unattached, yet supporting all; devoid of qualities, yet their experiencer,
Without and within all beings, the unmoving and also the moving; because of its subtlety, unknowable; and near and far-away is that.
And, undivided, yet he exists as if divided in beings; he is to be known as the supporter of beings; he dissolves and generates all these.
That, the light of all lights, is said to be beyond darkness; knowledge, the knowable and the goal of knowledge, seated in the hearts of all.(13:12-17)
The supreme beauty of this is that nothing is denied.
You realise that the entire universe is the object of this cosmic knower, which is called God.
He alone exists and this alone is his prakrti an object in your own consciousness.
You touch the core of that consciousness, and suddenly you realise 'Even that is not mine.'

The Bhagavad Gita - Introduction | EN

Swami Venkatesananda

The Song of God - Introduction - Swami Venkatesananda - enlarged 4th edition – 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
1998 - 2017

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