“Prakritim purusham chaiva viddhyaanaadee ubhaavapi” (Gita 13 | 19)
It says “Nature and Supreme Consciousness both have no-beginning”. Though both are common in no-beginning aspect but have different characteristics; Nature is ever-changing and Consciousness remains unchanged always. Nature is ever dynamic but Consciousness is totally having no activity – nothing ever happens in it. It is prudent to grasp this difference between the two, which serves as the base for Self-realization and identifying deeper life issues.
Nature activities don’t halt even for a moment. For example, in our body, if we observe, changes are continuously happening during wakeful state, dreams, and even during deep sleep. Even sleep has cycles of beginning, replenishment of chemicals in body and brain and we feel fresh as the sleep-process matures to completion. Furthermore, with each breath, cells are constantly dying and new ones are taking birth to die soon. This cycle of constant birth and death, in many ways, is ever occurring in Nature from microcosm to macrocosm. It is ever dynamic in all different consciousness states; wakeful, dreams, deep sleep, coma, deep meditation, or even during universal dissolution.
At the outset, it may appear as if nothing is changing but actually nothing is ever constant. So whatever appears constant-like is actually ever-dynamic, and to be exact – only constant change and flow is Nature’s intrinsic nature and same behavior is inherited in every Nature created entity – be it action, state, situation, thing or any life form. Just as the flow of a river, we can see water flowing in the same place but fresh water particles have flown in and taken the shape of a stream, filling the space momentarily to be replaced by next chunk of water particles constantly. Similarly, our bodies and this world in front of us are virtually perceived through senses as “same” but is constantly under change at incomprehensible speed. But the consciousness within, the dweller, do not change at all. There is no activity in our core essence, and so it remains same, feels same – we all have a subtle feeling about the self that we have not changed since childhood. For example, when we meet old friends after 15-20 years it feels – the same person is meeting the same person on the other side, although bodies have been almost fully replaced multiple times since the last meeting.
Fundamental to grasp here is that nature is constantly changing and is ever dynamic and we, the consciousness, ever remains same and activity-less. We all recall our childhood that I used to do so and so things and now I am grown up and now activities and interests have changed. But I am the same as I was before during my childhood. The feeling of a sense of self remains the same. The transformation from a child into a grown up and then into old age – all this is Nature’s activity & the sameness feeling tone of self – “ I am the same” – this comes from activity-less core consciousness, ever present in us and our real identity. Nobody does any explicit work for aging and turning into old age but all this continues in the background naturally and permanently. But by mistake we have assumed a connection with body and mind ( part and parcel of Nature) to be “me” and “mine” then all the activities, aging, and state changes started appearing as if those all things are happening in my core self. And we started believing “I am a child”, “I am grown up”, “I am old”, “I am not well”, “I will die someday” etc. All this leads to simple and profound conclusion that to identify with body-mind is our core error and to dis-identify totally from it and experiencing self as separate from mind-body is true wisdom, the essence of Gyan-yoga.
“Kshetrakshetrajnayor jnaanam yattat jnaanam matam mama” || (Gita 13 | 2)
Lord Krishna confides to Arjuna “The clarity of division between the field (where all activities happening) and the ever-present knowing-ness (the dweller in the field – consciousness) that knows all changes, is the element of wisdom in my view”. Without this knowledge, one’s vision is blurred and keeps him driving under the influence of desires and fears, all his life.
The seeker should particularly attend to this truth that whatever action happens that occurs in body and world. Age is an attribute of body and not of the Self. Time and death also happen to the body only and never to our Self. All actions pertaining to coarse body, subtle body (contemplation, reflection, and thinking) or seed body (deep sleep, trance) are subjected to change, annihilation and a sure end. But time has no effect on our Self; we observe change, all actions, and dwell in the timeless zone. This observing presence is our essential identity and recognizing it so with full conviction is real freedom. Remaining identified with body-mind is bondage and a life of endless suffering and confusion – because the core identity error operates from a deeper level in every action, thought and belief.
Every action of nature has two components to it, birth and death, beginning and end, formation and dissolution. And as soon as anything is born, the process of death starts at that very moment. Anything that begins is surely going to end; anything that takes form is surely going to dissolve. The process of dissolution is constant and gets triggered by the birth of a thing, situation, process or any life form. We try to possess things, strive for better situations and relations but in reality, all these are constantly going away from us. Their separation process kicks off as soon as anything gets available to us. For example take our bodies, we are not sure how long we will live (let’s say X years), but if we crossed 45 year mark then normally we say that I have lived 45 years but in reality 45 years are gone leaving only (X – 45) years to be lived, which are also passing away every moment. So our bodies, actually speaking, are constantly dying, from the very moment it came into Existence. Same is the case of situations of being rich, known, and healthy or high positions in society. In essence, everything is passing by. We have to learn to emotionally detach from everything transitory and have to stop seeking momentary satisfaction in ever-passing situations, relations, actions or credit-labels.
Remaining established in the conviction of true Self is referred as Ever-Present Oneness with Ultimate. All spiritual means and wisdom are meant for the attainment of this Ever-Present Oneness or Yoga. Lord Krishna has defined Yoga in 2 ways in Gita
“Samtwam yoga uchyate” (Gita 2 | 48)
Meaning – “Remaining undisturbed or cool in between odd or even situations is Yoga”.
“Tam vidyaad duhkhasamyogaviyogam yogasamjnitam” (Gita 6 | 23)
Meaning – “dis-identifying from this miserable, ever-changing body and world as “me” or “mine” is called Yoga.”
Small clarification – Yoga-asana should not be considered as Yoga, which is set of selective exercises for better body-mind balance. Yoga is oneness with Ultimate Existence. If we remain in equanimity then we gain non-identification with the body-mind-world OR if we dis-identify consciously from the body-mind-world then also we gain equanimity. In either approach, we attain to Yoga as a result. Same is described in scriptures as an end of suffering and attainment of ultimate bliss.
What is the key blocker to this realization of truth? We love to possess more and more things, power, positions, and relations and we draw subtle joy in doing also. Both these aspects develop more and more attachment. Gita says –
“Yadaa hi nendriyaartheshu na karmaswanushajjate |
Sarvasankalpasannyaasee yogaaroodhas tadochyate ||” (Gita 6 |4)
It means “When a person doesn’t get attached to neither the pleasures of senses nor the activities, at that time that person, who has given up on all pleasure-seeking-thoughts, is called to be well-established in Yoga.”
This attachment to actions, possessions for pleasures and security is the main blocker in attaining to Yoga. By attaching to actions we wrongly assume our-self to be a doer and claim credit and fruits of actions, and thereafter we become enjoyer. This doer-ship and enjoyer-ship solidify the false ego identity. If we don’t get attracted to things in outside world, nor addictively attach to actions then we would automatically land into Self-realization.
Of the two attachment categories, attachment to pleasures is more primary than attachment to actions. First, we desire something then only engage in actions, thereafter become a doer and indulging. The whole chain begins from the tendency to enjoy more, and such tendencies are rooted in ignorance. If we free up our useless desires then attachment to actions will automatically be in check, and will eventually fade away.
Next bigger question is, we are day and night surrounded by pleasure-seeking-tendencies and how do we really give up on these? How do we change the direction of attractions? There are three well established and recommended paths for rising above life-corroding tendencies.
- Karm-Yoga: Path of action – we engage in actions with worthy intentions and welfare of others. Whether it is actions, thoughts or meditations everything should be done with an intention to benefit others, be it family or society at large. We should never ever get involved in harming anybody consciously. Only interests of others should be the underlying drivers behind all our moves. This weakens our attachment to things, and momentum of doing is spent away in doing work for others, which doesn’t get in check if we do it for me and mine circle only. Working selflessly for creating a positive difference in others’ lives, and not expecting anything in return is the essence of Karm-Yoga.
- Gyan–Yoga: Path of wisdom or prudence – All actions are happening in either Nature or its creations (mind, body etc.) but my essence is separate from Nature and no change happens in me. This discrimination, if valued, delinks us from body-mind and weakens the attachment to derive pleasures from temporary and fictitious things. This approach is based on inquiry and using discerning power and so-called Gyan-Yoga.
- Bhakti–Yoga: Path of Devotion – If people develop the devotional attitude and do anything whatsoever with the deep intention to make their Lord happy, then also it weakens their attachment strings. They undergo a paradigm shift, which transforms pleasure-seeking tendencies to Yoga, personal connections to melt into one true connection with HIM, and little “me” into unconditional love for God and all inmates.
So either perform actions for the world’s welfare, or know that all actions happening in Nature and not in my Self, or do it for Lord’s sake but in any case don’t attach self to actions which keep away from doer-ship and indulgence taking roots in being. Consequently, one loses interests in selfish doing and possessiveness and eventually attains to Yoga.
Generally, we keep hankering for money, rich experiences, elongate happy times in relations but all such so-called happy moments come and pass away so fast that at times before we notice those are already gone. Those are so fleeting and worse thing is they leave scars on our psyche and those deposited scars for the long condition our minds and affects our perceptions. Long term impressions give undesirable bent and keep us in waiting and wanting mode all our life. We are not sure whether we will get what we desire or not but it is dead sure that we have to separate from whatever we have right now. It shows separateness from all worldly things is the ultimate long-term reality we have to live with, whether we accept it or not. That is why wise people have called these fleeting experiences as the source of miseries. Lord Krishna in Gita (8 | 15) have referred this world as a house of sufferings (“dukhalayam”). The reason is whether it is a thing or relation, sooner or later it is going to get separated. Even when we are in this body, we daily suspend all connections before going to sleep, and then only we can sleep well and get up fresh. Disconnecting with all – relation, thing, or action is good for us in the long run and is the only reality. So if we give up on this wrong notion of finding pleasure in outside world then we have achieved a great understanding.
“Ye hi samsparshajaa bhogaa duhkhayonaya eva te |
Aadyantavantah kaunteya na teshu ramate budhah ||” (Gita 5 | 22)
Meaning – “Sense pleasures have beginning and end, and are causes of sufferings if we get attached. Wise ones do not dwell or get attached to it”.
Realize deeply that everything is passing by and we exist independently and separately of changing reality. That creates disinterest in fleeting pleasures, which shifts our attention to the ever-present oneness aspect. Yoga is actually ever available to us but only obscured by useless desires and compulsiveness. Our connectedness with ultimate survives all changes and remains as it is forever, so it is called Ever Present Oneness – as we are inseparable from it.
The substance which is already separate from us and continuously drifting off every moment, if we stop believing in it as true and permanent, and turn away from seeking pleasures in the world then also we attain Yoga. Moreover, if we attach and identify; these desires of body-mind or ego bring only momentary satisfaction and endless suffering. It is like having a drink of which the surface layer appears nectar-like, while underneath all is poison.
OR, the second approach is – if we accept deeply the core essence of the Self as unchangeable – the ever-present is-ness, then also we attain to Yoga. Any of these two will lead to the same outcome.
It is really a fascinating thing to know that we have to only accept the truth of being separate from all changes, which tallies with our core experience of remaining unchanged always – so it is effortless and nothing is required except acceptance of Truth. On the other hand, we have to detach from what is changing, and continuously passing away every moment. In other words, we have to be one with Ultimate from whom we can never ever separate, and we have to detach from world-body-mind which is already separate. We just need to realize how critical it is to accept the ever-detachment to transitory world and ever-connectedness to Ultimate Existence. Nothing else is needed to fix identity crisis – no practice, no hard-work or any upskilling but just the acceptance of truth.
Note: This is the 3rd post in my translation of Sahaj Sadhna book by Swami Ramsukhdas Ji (1904 – 2005), chapter name – NityaYog tatha uska anubhav. Six more to come, please feel free to drop any questions on my email – firstname.lastname@example.org