If the consciousness is only one, if it is universal, why is my experience limited to this mind and body? Why can't everything become an objective experience at once? Why the experience is necessarily limited, although the experiencer is not? Let's introspect and find out.
The essence of I cannot be seen as an object. This puts the mind in a difficult position, which can know only objects. We see limitations of the mind or intellect immediately. We take the next step, and see the experience and the experiencer as two sides of the same coin, inseparable and an appearance in that which is not-two.
Who am I or what is my essence is the most important question one can ask. This is the Self Enquiry. This talk is an introduction to the enquiry and is meant for beginners. We define the essence as that which remains unchanged, and progressively eliminate all that is non-essential, changing and unnecessary. In this way we arrive at the real I.
To be established as the Being-Knowledge-Bliss, the mind needs to be killed. The Master reveals that the mind is only an illusion, movements, thoughts. It is a concept that points to ceaseless activity. To kill the mind, one needs to completely forget it. This statement needs some careful interpretation.
The knowledge of the unity resides in the mind. But its tendencies are still operative, it still sees itself as separate from the whole. I, the ego, cannot be the oneness. The oneness is the dissolution of the ego. An awakened mind is no mind, or a pure mind, a completely still mind. The Master now imparts the teachings about liberation and how a liberated person is, how he acts, and what is his state of mind, or of no mind.
The Self is seen as the empty, conscious, blissful background of all experience. This is a solid realization. All that is being experienced seems less real now. Thus begins a new and transformed life, which is in light not in the darkness. Now the student is encouraged to cultivate the mind and erase the remaining latent tendencies in it. The fruit of which is the oneness, union or liberation while being in the world.
Renunciation is not about forcing yourself to get rid of everything you own, it is simply a realization that I never owned anything, there is nothing to own, there is no me to possess anything. And the Self is not concerned with owning or disowning, it is forever free, the owner and the owned are illusory ephemeral expressions of the Self.
Listening to the teachings provides the theoretical or conceptual knowledge, or the indirect knowledge. It forms a basis for reflection. We now start reflecting on the teachings about the Self. When all that is insentient, impermanent and illusory is seen as non-Self, the Self is seen as unchanging background of Consciousness. It appears as nothingness, a void, a space in which all experiences are taking place.
The hearing session continues, and the master explains the unchanging and universal nature of the Self. Its nature as Being-Knowledge-Bliss is established. It is shown to be non-dual, the only One that exists as a conscious all pervading and perfect ground of everything. It remains unaffected and untainted by the illusory changes happening in it. It is bliss itself.
Stilling of the mind can be achieved via the path of yoga or via enquiry, the later being a more direct approach. Enquiry involves listening or reading, reflecting and directly experiencing, that which is being pointed out by the text, or the guru. The master now starts imparting the theoretical knowledge to the disciple. This is the listening phase.
The master emphasizes that only the mentioned four qualities are needed to start on the path of self enquiry, and no amount of bookish or theoretical knowledge can help, to gain a direct experience of the truth. The truth is within, its not in the books. Nothing else prevents a student from qualifying, including the age, caste, color, race, gender or education etc.
The Self is the essence of that which I am. But is it really there?
The trick is to see without the filters of concepts and ideas. It is seen as just another concept, just another division, a creation of the mind. Let's explore and destroy the Self.
The Master gives four essential requirements for Self Enquiry to be effective. These are - discrimination, dispassion, cessation of worldly activities and an intense desire for liberation. He explains what happens when some of them or any of them are lacking. He concludes that no matter what you think you have, these four are absolutely necessary for any seeker.
Chapter three starts, which is about the means and ways to achieve liberation from the ignorance or Maya or the illusion, also known as the Samsara. The solution is stilling of mind. There is no other way. The master then goes into the details of how to do that and what kind of student is qualified to do that.
The Maya is seen as not really there when the awakening dawns. Its play is seen as meaningless or purposeless. Since it is not there, the meaning and purpose is also not there. The ignorance is eternal, it just is. When the oneness is realized, the ignorance is also seen as illusory. The knowledge is a product of Maya, and hence it is illusory also. All knowledge is just refined ignorance. The One is beyond knowledge, beyond mind. Even though the knowledge arises out of Maya, it is effective in burning down the veil of Maya. In the end both Maya and knowledge disappear.
In this part of the series, we read, about the collective illusion of the universal mind, the Ishvara. We learn that some teachings are sugar coated and diluted to suit the level of evolution of a student. The teachings of a creator and a creation are some among many such skillful means to purify a mind and bring it to nondual wisdom. Finally we see that there is only one ignorance of one Self, and liberation of one mind brings an end to all ignorance there is.
In this part of the series, we read about the mechanisms of Maya, the force, latent in the existence itself, which wakes up through minds and project an illusory experience. We also see how an illusion of ego arises, and how can one Self/existence appear as many egos. We explore the beginning and cause of the Maya.
In this part of the series, we read about the true nature of the existence, and how it is being veiled by the ignorance or Maya and instead an illusory existence is being projected. A false self is placed in this illusion which assumes a perishable form, is seen as the doer and enjoyer, and this ignorance becomes the cause of misery.