Compilation of insights for progress and contemplation

Knowing and Being (and Obstacles)

Knowing the ultimate truth even as a glimpse of reality, and can lead to a breakthrough enlightenment and understanding of freedom.
Enlightenment has been achieved by two paths it is said,  a) by "knowing" the truth which leads to a paradigm shift.  or b) by intensive sadhana, bhakti, dedication, discipline, ethics that purifies the mind into samadhi state. To sustain this enlightened state however, both aspects are necessary. Nididhyasan is  both remembering the knowing the truth about the reality and practicing pure living.
There are 3 components to enlightenment  a) Understanding Tattvamasi, b) Vasana kshaya - overcoming habitual tendencies in the body and mind  c) Mano nashaha - quieting the mind, samadhi.  Achieving this together can lead to  Jivan mukti - freedom and happiness in this life itself while living (as opposed to after death).  This is the goal of advaita Vedanta.Not having all 3, means one can slip back into old habits of getting caught up in cycles of sukha/dukha.  That is a big challenge (fine print).
Niddhyasana practice is required, to remain in this state, even after Knowing the truth.  The practice needs to be protected.  {e.g. after an organ transplant, it is still required to keep disciplined lifestyle to allow the organ to be accepted by the Body/mind)

3 different techniques are prescribed for people of different persuasions a) Become a sannyasi/ monk and renounce the world's distractions. Pratipaksha bhavana. Convert any negative thoughts into opposite complementary thoughts. e.g. Hate into compassion.  Requires discipline and courage.  b) Ishvara Sharanagati, surrender all emotions and blames to the higher power Ishwara.  c) perform tantric practices (positive or negative tendencies ) direct towards your goal. Could be dangerous as leading to Asura state, powerful demonic powers.

Ashokananda gives practical tips. To achieve ultimate Samadhi/ quiet mind/ dhyana, it is necessary to be able to focus (dharana) mental state, for which it is necessary to have withdrawal of senses (pratyahara) which in turn requires the body to cooperate (Asana).  For the body to be healthy, pranayama practice is important to control the prana (life force). For ethics to dominate, yogic yama and niyamas have to be mastered.
This shows how all the yogic disciplines are needed, alongside Knowing the truth to achieve and sustain Jivan Mukti.

Lonelines- Isolation-Aloneness

Loneliness -  People in general are AFRAID to be with themselves and if left alone, within 1 minute, they start to look for "distractions" Physical (TV, Book, exercise, play etc) as well as mental (worry about past/future, or daydreaming.
Isolation - Some people become introverted, and cut themselves off society physically and socially.. and worry and daydream in solation. Some do it as tapas (e.g. sannyasi, monks)
Aloneness - Is the ability to just BE. comfortable with oneself in peace and tranquility. Courage/dhirah is required intially to stay in this state of aloneness, later it becomes most comfertable "home' where one want to Be naturally.  This is the silence from within that persists in all circumstances of society or lack thereof. Alonenes in the silence of body and mind, leads to realization of Atma.   The awareness/knowingness that does not attempt to "know" anything. Silence with complete fulfillment.

Difference between Awareness and Conciousness?

Awareness (chit or atma chaitanyam) is the original "light of knowingness", {e.g. sunlight}, as understood in Sat-Chit-Ananda Atma..   No beginning or ending. Self illuminating.  Uncaused, Unsupported.

Consciousness comes into being when it is "reflected by an upadhi, a body-mind complex (Chidabhasa). Because of the 3 states of the mind throughout  the day/night, there are 3 levels of Consciousness (waking, dreaming, and deep sleep). {Sunlight reflected by the atmosphere takes on different levels of brightness at various times of the day, daylight, twilight, nightlight }.  "Objects" are those that obstructs/reflects the light (daylight or consciousness), i.e. objection.

Consciousness "illuminates" the world of multiplicity of reflecting objects that are Names/form. {daylight gets reflected on objects of the world to become visible to our eyes }

Consciousness is sometimes referred to as the "contents of consciousness"..i.e. the Names/forms and even thoughts that get reflected. Hence consciousness is in the world of duality.

Waking Conciousness etc is "caused,. supported", by upadhi. {daylight with its variations is caused by atmospheric conditions.}, hence it is time,space and substance dependent (kala, desha, vastu)
Atma chaitanya, chit, pure awareness is unsupported, un caused.

Reflected Consciousness based on the state of mind, Satva, Rajas, and Tamas.  Mind becomes conscious - Consciousness (manifests with contact with the mind).

Consciousness is knowledges of all N/F, i.e. content of consciousness, it is state of duality/multiplicity.Awareness is absolute.
Consciousness is relative to its objects.  Conscious of "something". Awareness is total/ calm/ silent.
Consciousness is full of variety of "experiences", changing. Experience of taste/smell etc is content of Consciousness. "I am conscious of thing x', which implies "I am experiencing thing x". Every experience (happy/unhappy) has Consciousness in its background. The common element behind all Consciousness is Atma chaitanya.I "experience" the movie (we dont say I am conscious of the movie). the matrix-fabric of all experiences is Atma-chaitanya. sukha/dukha.
If you identify with experience, then you are "experiencer", or samsari. sukhi/dukkhi......./sukhi/dukkhi..... Identification leads to experience / samsari. If you do not identify with experience (special technique), then there is freedom. Identify with the Sakshi/ observer. You are Ishwara. Tattvamasi.Do not identify with being "old", then there is freedom. yes. the body is getting slower, more painful, less capable. Just observe that you are "atma", ever fresh, un affected.

When you dismiss the experiences (of all 5 sensations plus sukha/dukha), what remains is "sesha", atma. This is how atma is realized (prati-bodha vidhitam matam). The matrix/ substratum / reality of every cognition is atma / brahman.In silence (avoiding sensations), you are conscious of your inner being (antar mukha).. You have crossed the threshold of conciousness and entered into beingness.

Conclusions.  Atma can never be an object of consciousness.  e.g. Pair of tongs cannot ever catch the hand that is operating the tong.  Atma cannot be grasped or known.  You can only BE the atma, Brahman.

5 reasons why Advanced practices are necessary.

1) Protecting this highest knowledge ( sravan and gyan raksha) of what we already have, how to make practical, and the spiritual practices necessary.
2) To be able to retain control of bod/mind so that it acts according to my knowledge (manam) not by previous habits (vasana)
3) No confusion henceforth, spiritual practices necessary (nididhyasana)
4) leads to removal of dukkha, dukha nivriti
5) and bring forth pure bliss, ananda prapti
View these talks on Enlightenment:

Enlightenment indications

1) In the level of Atma,  Onness, (Paramarthika sat, Ekatvam), I am one reality appearing as many
2) at the level of mind, Evenness (Samatvam) to ups and downs
3) at the level of transactions, detachment  (in vyavahara, Asangatvam)
4) all is powered by control of body/mind senses, (indriya nigraha)
Difference between Enlightened person and scholar, when asked a question,  the  scholar will answer a question based on "accumulated knowledge" from books and analysis by mind.  An enlightened Jnani will look at the reality as it is clearly and answer from that perspective. This power is that of reality and speaks to reality within us also, Avisamwada, which leads to dukha nivritti and  sukha prapti.

Jiva as Brahman

Even though this Jiva, in reality, is of the very nature of Brahman, he identifies himself as the physical body, etc 1) Made of 5 subtle elements 2) that are "external" to the self (i.e. other than self, as anatma), and 3)" limited" mind, all of which are engrossed by the limited physical body (by confounding gross ignorance).
This confounding ignorant incapable mindset ("Asakt chit") takes the anatamas as oneself and considers oneself not different from the body. It is easier to think that you as Jiva are different from Brahman than to know that one is unlimited and only assumes to be apparently limited as illusory Jiva, ( unlike the 10thman comes to know the truth immediately when he is told that he is the 10th man (because all individuals are in the same order of reality).Jiva is in the realm of apparent transient reality, whereas Brahman is eternal reality, that has to be understood.
Thus, due to deep rooted ignorance, Brahman becomes something that is not gained/known, even though one is already Brahman.  The anatma body/mind (upadhi) will continue to have their habitual interactions with the world.

How should Nididhyasanam (contemplation) be practiced? 

Swami Paramarthananda: The biggest obstacle to ‘aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahman) knowledge is the basic ignorance of the Jiva (individual soul) identifying himself with his body/mind. Even after understanding what the Srutis (Scriptures) teach, the orientation that he is the body/mind still remains. Just because he has a body/mind because of his past karmas (action), his real identity of being Atma (Self) never changes. It is his ignorance that he takes himself to be a karta (doer) and bhokta (experiencer).

This kartritva bhoktritva buddhi (doer enjoyer identification) has to be given up. This thought of association with the body/mind is very deep and is a vasana (impression) carried on from birth to birth. This wrong identification needs to be given up. The fact that the seeker of the vedantic knowledge is himself Atma (Self) has to displace this wrong identification.

Nididhyasanam (contemplation) which is a Vedantic meditation helps to uproot this wrong idea from the mind of the seeker. It is not a means for getting knowledge. It only helps to remove the viparita-bhavana (wrong identification) entrenched in the mind. The knowledge has to come only from the study of scriptures and undergoing sravanam (study) etc.

The seeker should understand that if he were to be the body/mind, he can never be purna (whole) since body/mind is anatma (non-Self) and is full of deficiencies. He should meditate on the fact that he is not the body/mind, but the witness consciousness within him. That is his real svarupa (nature). This meditation is not an upasana or prayer which can lead to moksha (freedom). It is only a step, a veryimportant step for removal of the dehatma-buddhi (body identification) from the mind of the seeker. When he looks at his body/mind and experiences it, he should focus his attention only on the pratyagatma (inner Self), the Sakshi chaitanyam (witness consciousness) behind his actions.

Mandukya Upanishad advises the seeker to understand the mithyatvam (apparent reality) of the three shariras (bodies), the three states of existence and claim his turiya (real) status. He should understand that both the vyashti (individual) and samashti-sharira-trayam (total),which is Ishvara (the Lord) with his Maya (creative power) and Prakriti (available for creation) are within ‘Him’ and He himself is in the form of Virat (creation), Hiranyagarbha (total subtle body) and Antaryami (Indweller). Mere negation of the world or the body/mind is not enough.

He should say that He alone is there in all of them. He should say: Let them all of them be where they are, I always remain unaffected by them and I alone exist knowing fully well that all these are nothing but mithya (apparent existence). He remains unaffected just like a screen remains unaffected by a fire projected on the screen.

Acharyas advise all the seekers to practice this meditation every morning as soon as they wake up, when their mind is fresh. This will make the nididhyasanam (contemplation) more effective.  Select from the tabs below for more details

Process of understanding the ultimate reality

Ekatvam/ Oneness, is explored, by different methods.
The mahavakyas Sat Chit Ananda Atma, Satyam Jnanam Anatam Brahma and Brahma satyam Jagat Mithya are inter-related expressions of reality.
1) understanding the Awareness / Conciousness/Chit principle. This is explored by analysing the 3 states of a being: Awake, Dream and Deep sleep (ref: panchadasi chp 1, V3-V7, and in Mandukya Upanishad) In waking state, the experience of "objects" comes through senses, mind and the Awareness principle. In a dream state, experiences are the mind's projections and Awareness, whereas in Deep sleep , there is still the experience of "absence of objects" (because senses and mind are asleep), so only awareness is present (without any thoughts).
Awareness/ Conciousness/chit//turiya is the same in all states. it does not rise or set, neither is it created nor destroyed hence it is independent of Space-Time.
We are not our body/mind, nor are we experiential thoughts in the mind. There are many body/minds, but only one Conciousness/chit/Awareness.

2) Understanding Consciousness/chit/Awareness/Brahman as the innermost to the sheaths of ignorance/ Koshas (ref: Panchadasi chp 3 and Taittiriya Upanishad). What is Brahman? Sat-Chit-Anantam Brahman has to be realized in the sacred cave of the heart as "I am Brahman". The ultimate gain? It attains fulfillment of all desires (desires are relegated in importance) which leads to complete lasting peace and overcome suffering.
How to discern sheaths of ignorance? Need to understand the very subtle, so have to start from the gross universe that everyone knows, then move to the subtler (e.g. searching for the faint star by pointing between branches of nearby tree as reference).
a) Physical body is not "I", (i)) the indweller "Self" is inner to the body, (ii) I experience the body, so not me (Drk Drshya Viveka), (iii) Self is sentient / C, body is not. I can see my hand, but hand cannot see me. (iv) location of self in always within body i.e. "embodied self", where body is outside. (v) body is seen as parts, but "I" is only one being across S-T.
b) Prana, life force is inner to the body. (i) it can be observed to be changing, breaths, hunger etc (ii) I is seer to the changes in the prana (iii) I is sentient and prana is insentient-jada
c) Manas-Mind is a collection of thoughts. (i) I observe the changes in the mind's thoughts, emotions etc (ii) I am aware/ seer of the mind's content of thoughts (iii) I am sentient and brain is not
d) Vijnana-Intellect (i) I see the changes in the capacity for intellect over the years and when getting old (ii) I experience/see the sharp and dull intelect (iii) I am sentient/aware of Artificial Intelligence, AI is just a collection of data and rules based reasoning
e) Inner to the body, life force, mind, intellect is "blankness" as in deep sleep and sense of peace/ananda. (i) this comes and goes, (ii) it too is object of "I"

So where is Brahman/atma? As in tenth man story, turn the attention to oneself rather than searching for anything outside (you can never find it outside. e.g. Eyes cannot see themselves) However I know that I exist, all the time, so I am not a "nothing", nor a "thing", instead I am a "no thing".

Need to shift reference of I am having mystic experience of feeling oneness (with ocean, forest ), to I am Awareness/Conciousness/chit using the body/mind to experience objects of the universe. Do not seek "new" experiences, You already are! It is a New Knowledge! Way of the mystics is Ok (temporarily) but Way of the Knowledge sets you free permanently!!

3) Exploring Existence (Issness) as the fundamental reality in "all there is". (Ref Gita bhasya chp 2.16, and Panchadasi chp 2)
There are two types of experiences a) experience of "changing" Names and Forms, (birth/sustains/death). These rely on Space and Time as axes b) experience of unchanging "awareness/chit" principle. This "existence/issness" is more fundamental to S-T. Even universe is changing, so is "saguna ishvara", Brahman (nirguana Ishvara remains). To "experience"something like N&F , and changes are necessary (they have to be manifested as matter/energy etc). However, we are always aware of existence (Satyam). It is free from time (now and then), or space (here and there).

How to see the screen of the movie?. Turn off the projector light, similarly in Yoga, turn off all thoughts (as in Samadhi of Yoga). However this is temporary glimpse of oneness reality. Better method is knowledge. Once the screen is understood, then despite changes to the characters and actions in the movie, the screen is always understood to be present. By knowing reality as existence, changes are understood to be mithya that can be enjoyed as such. Brahman satyam, Jagat mithya.

3 kinds of differences: (i) different classes of species (vijatiya bheda), (ii) difference within the same class (sajatiya bheda) and differences within the object, e.g tree has multiple parts.
Names and Forms are different and changing, but screen is one and it is untouched (asanga). Similarly, brahman existence is untouched by changes going on in the universe of bodies, minds, objects.

We can find Awareness/Conciousness (Chit) in one-self. Existence/issness (Satyam) everywhere. With this understanding comes unending fullness (Anantam). One needs to "rest/abide" in this understanding. If not resting, then struggling to be a doer/enjoyer in a limited B/M, then fullness is lost (e.g. getting caught up in the actions of the movie). Wave relaxes totally when it realizes it is water, no fear of rise and fall, or size or states (water, vapor or foam).
Relaxation leads to Infinite peace (anantam). i.e Sat chit anantam Atma or Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman. That is the realization of oneness/ekatvam Brahman/Atman.

Witness/Sakshi Centric Senior Student

Unlike a "Junior Student" (who may have been studying Vedanta for many years,  the "Senior Student" understands the true meaning of Vedanta Mahavakyas.

  • is witness (sakshi) centric [as opposed to ahankara centric]
  • so able to keep a distance with the ups/downs of the Body Mind Sense complex
  • thereby has controlled/decreased FIR (Frequency, Intensity, Recovery time) from any temporary "reactions" to worldly transactions.
  • is able to "enjoy" the movement of thoughts in the mind, and issues with the body
  • is able to remain largely at peace as a witness.
Indivisible, Whole - Akhandaakaara-vritti

The Mahaavaakya gives rise to Self-knowledge by making the mind take the form of Brahman. The question arises-- since Brahman has no form, what is meant by saying that the mind takes the form of Brahman (akhaNDaakaaravritti).
An example. A pot made of clay is full of the all-pervading space as soon as it is made. Filling it afterwards with water, rice or any other substance is due to human effort. Though the water, etc, in the pot can be removed, the space inside can never be removed. It continues to be there even if the mouth of the pot is hermetically sealed. In the same manner, the mind, in the act of being born, comes into existence full of the consciousness of the self. It takes on, after its birth, due to the influence of virtue and vice, the form of pots, cloths, color, taste, pleasure, pain, and other transformations, just like melted copper, cast into moulds. Of these, the transformations such as color, taste and the like, which are not-self, can be removed from the mind, but the form of the self, which does not depend on any external cause, cannot be removed at all. Thus, when all other ideas are removed from the mind, the self is realized without any impediment. It has been said-“One should cause the mind which, by its very nature, is ever prone to assume either of the two forms of the Self and the not-Self, to throw into the background the perception of the not-Self, by taking on the form of the Self alone”. And also—“The mind takes on the form of pleasure, pain and the like, because of the influence of virtue and vice, whereas the form of the mind, in its native aspect, is not conditioned by any extraneous cause. To the mind devoid of all transformations is revealed the supreme Bliss”. Thus, when the mind is emptied of all other thoughts Self-knowledge arises.

Where the limited meets the infinite. 

It is important to appreciate how the limited body/mind beings are interconnected with the Infinite.
We are all interconnected via the fundamental elements of Air, Water, Fire/heat, earth/matter, and Space, and Conciousness.
Through Breathing: With every inhalation and exhalation of breath of AIR, we participate in a connection with countless species in the world who do the same breathing. We exchange air between each other.. There is no such thing as "my air".
Through water: Water is 50%-60% of a human being. Water is evaporating to keep us cool, is in blood and other circulatory systems, and constantly being recycled. Dehydration can kill species. Water is a fundamental medium in the world that is undergoing constant cycles of change. there is no such thing as "my water."
Similarly heat exchanges between beings (internal heat generation) and environment. Fire and heat are needed for digestion too. We cannot survive in extremes of temperatures.
Our bodies are made of the same matter, atoms, molecules etc that are also common in the environment we live in.
Space is vital for our functioning.. Cavities in nasal passages and lungs allow air to exchange. Cavities in the heart allow pumping of the blood, voice generation in the larynx box, and hearing in cavities of the ear.

Additionally, we are interconnected with the infinite through light of Awareness principle. e.g. The sunlight is reflected in many oceans, rivers or even droplets of water, yet the single sun is different from the material water which is experienced in many forms. Similarly, the light of awareness of Atma is reflected in many minds/bodies to the extent their minds can reflect. There is only one Atma/awareness/ chit/ Conciousness, reflected in many mind/body complexes. One needs to abide in this understanding to be free of limitedness, and insecurity. Abide in the one-ness and be free.

Conversation between Atma and the Mind

No actual conversation (samvada) can occur between Atma and the Mind, however, looking from the Atma's point of view at the mind.

(upadeshasahasri, Sw TV, Ch19, V6-7)

Any movement of the mind ( in thoughts) is movement away from its swarupa atma. Thoughts of limitedness (of body/mind adhyasa) leads to insecurity and delusion. Atma is free from such delusions (moha). Free from bondages (locked up in the thinking), Avikriya, free from modifications (vikara, impacted as pairs of opposite/labels in events/situations of the environment, ). Discover avikriya swarupa atma.
Mind is influenced by Rajo, Tamo and Satva gunas. When the mind of a deeply worldly person is agitated by the worldly action, it is overtaken by Rajo guna. At this time it is difficult to step back and be watchful (witness). Detaching from getting caught up in worldliness (vairagya towards sensory objects) allows the possibility of witnessing, which in turn slows the movement of thoughts. Then satva guna can help positive conducive thinking on stepping back from the movement of the mind, remaining with one single thought. The witness thought arises when other thoughts arise. The Witness is still a duality of observer-observed and is still a divisive thought. This is however benign compared to thoughts created by experiences of objects, and then deliberate divisiveness of dividing human beings into caste/creed/race/religion etc. Learning the art of contentment, the mind looses hostility and gains harmony (not being unhappy in particular, frustrations, or having specific hostility or enemy)
Ask always, am I locked up in my mind?. Raising this question, allows calming of the mind, and regain harmony and freedom from bondage. Your swarupa is free. Know yourself as Simple (no adhyasa, nor roles that I play, no baggage) and Single (love entire humanity, but alone - not lonely). Picture on screen is complex but the light is single and simple. World appears complex, but atma is simple and single. That is freedom from bondage. Atma is never bound. Mind is the one that gets bound and gets liberated.

I am eternal (nitya) . It has a self evident touch of reality that I was (past) and I will be (future) do not have. This can be seen for oneself.  This reality in the present moment is "I".  because I am eternal (time and space independent) therefore I am immutable (avikriya).  Also because of immutable, I am eternal.
One needs courage and wisdom to make this real for oneself.

Practically,  one is looking at a "thing", can it be looked at without time (without past and memory).  If I see the tree outside my house  .. is already old ..(memory is time). therefore life is dull because of routine/ repetition.  Rituals involve "hope" (and astrology) which is time based for the future.  Need to look without time. Most are caught with the net of time!  Need to step out of web of time. One needs to be pliable to appreciate this truth (not rigid).Dont sacrifice the present to unknown future. then you declare I am timeless (nityaha)..e.g I am not born, I dont have birthdays,  no need to prolong life by prayers,  no organized religiions for me (frozen ideas), tradition-less.  Therefore I am alert to any traps of time. I try to live out of the web of time lifestyle. dismantle time dependent life style.
next part, drop time, when you encounter time in all experiences e.g. when meeting a person ( putting past aside, therefore new person). Look at tree without past and a  N/F.   Not subject and object.   Just lookin, not only tree space, but aware of vast space, including the tree like space. There is only experience of looking, a freshness, a newness  seeing/hearing/smelling etc without past memory in time. Be always alert and aware. then declare I am timeless, therefore I am immutable (avikriya).

Suffering is based on past memory and future worry including death. Any modification or even thinking is only in time  You are not the doing (in timebound), only being (independent of time and space).  Botheration in the mind to agitation or boredom is just time dependent, so only function of the mind, not of the being.  Body Mind are processes in time.This paradigm shift is required. this understanding makes one free at once.  Otherwise, any connection with time-bound processes that gets modified, it will bind you.. Dont make this mistake.    This understanding of atma applies to Brahman also, no modification nor time bound  (always present, timeless, changeless).

You can call Atma as the Mind with upadhi (then Atma is referred to as upper mind, sakshi).  Or,You can call the Mind as Atma when it has got rid of its movement in ST.  The gap is very little.  Game is between the Faulty mind,Vasana, and Sakshi that can correct the movement and habitual vasana justified.  Watching the movement, will weaken it and dissolve it.  Why it happens is a question, but destiny is given a false justification/condemnation.
Atma is always shining. Aham advayaha  (advaita), one without the second.  All movement of the mind in ST (experiences) are on the screen of atma (like the movie screen), does not add to Atma, only Atma remains. Movements are mithya (asat). What is recollected of the movements in ST, add up to nothing.

Aham Brahmasmi. All originates from me and resolves in me.

Vedanta Teaches: Praptasya Prapti, Nivritasya Nivritti

Praptsya Prapti, I attain that which is already attained.

What kind of goal is Vedanta solving?. They say there is no goal to be achieved/ reached etc. (no degrees, no travel, family, heavens). Why? I don’t need to become ultimate C, because I am already that, the Sat, Chit, ananda, the Consciousness.

Why do I need to attain which is always attained? because I don't know it and that makes all the difference.

Nivritasya Nivritti. Vedanta also removes what was never there.

Due to errors in assumptions, leads me to samsara which leads to life’s roller coaster rides. The sorrow the problems, the burdens which we are trying to solve life after life.  When this enlightenment dawns we realize that was not a problem to be removed. it was never there.  It is roles/costume that we happen to  take upon ourselves.  These have to be shed with proper knowledge.

Jnanis know this truth and live in peace and wonder of what is, and what appears as changing phenomenon.

Strategies to describe the indescribable Brahman

Brahman cannot be described directly through language of words because it:  

  1. has no attributes (guna) that can distinguish it from another characteristic, e.g. yellow, sweet
  2. has no action (kriya), so cannot say what it does or not do, e.g. cook, seer
  3. has no substance (dravya),e.g. it does not have any mass/weight or size
  4. has no relationship (sambantha), there is no other to relate to, e.g. father, king etc
  5. cannot be known by some etymological convention ( ) e.g. name given to a specific recognizable object, agreeable to all, like “Bill”, pointing to a specific man.

Vedanta uses other strategies to describe Brahman thru indirect words  (since words and thoughts cannot directly describe/understand it).  (See also documents on Discover page for various methods used in Vedanta)

  1. Neti Neti, Not This Not This.
    • Using Drg Drsya Viveka, what I see is not me. What is experienced is just an object in Name and Form. I am the subject/witness I thought/ and ultimate sakshi- pure C/awareness
    • Pancha Kosha Viveka. Peel back the layers of coverings/koshas in body/mind to go beyond the subtlest like ananda kosha of all experiences, to discover joy of fullness.
    • Avastha traya – I am not the waker, dreamer, sleeper. I am the fourth that is witness/awareness to all these states. I am not the mass of memory of the mind and thoughts, but the awareness of the movement of momentary thoughts. The C/awareness principle.
    • Brahman is not any existent “object/ or concept” describable by words. It is also not non-existent phenomenon (e.g.rabbit’s horn). Vedanta and Buddha’s teachings is that I am  awareness, C. Realized in silence only. Otherwise words objectify it with a description (Reification).  I am the awakened one, walking the middle path, in silent and direct awareness,  without objectifying anything as a N&F.
  2. Using the language of paradoxes, to go beyond the normal understanding of the words to discover the implied meanings. The key to hidden meaning is unfolded by Upanishads via a guru.
  3. Using metaphors and ways in which the stories are told
    • discovering the 10th man
    • prince of kashi
  4. Using examples in every day to imply deeper meaning
    • Gold as essence of ornaments
  5. Saguna/nirguna
    • Ishwara is described as Eternal (includes element of time span), All pervasive (includes concept of space), Everything (includes concept of things). However, Brahman is beyond S, T and things. Jivas (limited sentient beings) are Kshara, Ishwara is Akshara (saguna all pervasive etc cosmic sentient being, associated with Maya), and conceived as God by religions. Brahman is described as Purushottma, the absolute, nirgunam.
    • Deva Devam. Devatas as essence behind senses, further H (Ishwara)  behind/essence of devatas and further, Nirguna Brahman essence of Saguna Ishwara
Why is there Maya? Invalid question!

Why Maya?.  Why Maya the  manifestation of world, in immortal, nirguna Brahman?.

  • Is it Brahman-NO,
  • is it apart from Brahman-NO (dependent on Br, without Brahman, Maya cannot exist).

Question itself is wrong!  Maya itself is S, T causation.   Asking for cause is wrong question for causation itself (which is the dimensions of S, T, causation).

Similarly, Before big bang??  is not valid, because time is associated/starts with big bang itself.

As Ajnanis, there is this question, but no satisfactory answer possible

For Jnanis, there is no such question of Why..  It is just a WONDER and they enjoy it.

BE in Awareness, samanya jnanam, drop vishesa jnanam

Vishesha jnanam is knowledge of specifics (objects,concepts etc) as mental thoughts (mana vritti). Samanya jnanam is understanding of underlying awareness consciousness (swarupa atma) that makes all mental thoughts possible.
Even a glimpse of this general awareness, existence principle is considered awakening (enlightenment) and has the ability to transform one’s understanding of the relationship to the world. With that basis of samanya jnanam (of pure awareness), it is easier to see the projection of the apparent worldly phenomenon that can create binding interactions.

Niddidhyasanam with this knowledge, helps dissolve the habitual vasana (tendencies) of body and mind, which leads to moksha freedom.

In this journey of discovery of “who am I”, the subtle thought “aham brahmasmi” also needs to be dropped to abide in the pure awareness, and that is “enlightenment”.

Jnani’s who have realized, may continue to “enjoy the mental experience” of atma ananda in deep nirvalpaka samadhi and thereby diminish any discomforts of Prarabda on body/mind.

Yogic, Vedantic, and Enlightened Meditations

Yogic Meditation:

3 important steps to keep mind steady.  Mind gets easily distracted by bodily movements, and irregular breaths or distracted by what one sees (major component of experience). Therefore for successful yogic mediation it is important to do the following. Goal is Chitta Nivritti Virodha (elimination of thoughts in the mind. (which by can be temporary though)

  1. Sthira, sukha asana: Physical body in steady, relaxed posture
  2. Prana: long, slow, steady breaths. (rapid breaths acts like bellows to stoke the mental agitation fires – rajas)
  3. Steady gaze: with eyes partially open, staring at tip of nose (or an image) to control mind, and eliminate thoughts (for as long as possible)

Vedantic meditation, (verse 119 of aparoksha anubhuti, Adi shankakara)

  1. Knowing (seeing directly) Brahma vidya  (Sravanam + Mananam), quietens the mind in itself!.  With that  fullness, and ultimate joy, all desires are satisfied
  2. Sadhana Chatusthaya Sampadtti. To gain sufficient mind control, steadiness, forebearance and equanimity for deeper study.
  3. Niddhidyasanam is for vasana Kshaya. Contemplating on aspects of knowledge to  reduce habitual tendencies that bind us to body/mind and world.  This can take a long time, as hidden vasanas will keep surfacing over time.
    1. Pranayama – alternate nostril breathing, to relax the body and steady the mind enough for knowledge clarity  (no need to stare at the tip of the nose for long time)
      1. breathe out –seeing the falsity of the world and let it go,
      2. breathe in – Brahma jnani, I am Brahman,
      3. hold – abiding in knowledge

Jnani's meditation (after enlightenment of Brahma vidya)

With Brahma vidya clarified, the shift in niddhidyasanam meditation is to remain in the knowledge, and as a hobby, see the play of the jagat and thoughts in the mind.  Relaxed withdrawal of the mind.

  1. Niddhidyasanam to keep claiming Aham Brahma asmi, Brahma satyam, jagat mithya.
    1. Keep refining the knowledge, so as not to get trapped by mithya jagat by grasping at any object/concept.
    2. Observe (as witness)  the play of the mind (thoughts) caused by Prarabda and play of the 3 gunas throughout the day, as a hobby for fun.
    3. Mindfulness throughout the states of waking, dream and sleep.
    4. Chanting  Om; See mithya Jagat AUM in all 3 states (waking, dream and sleep), and let go to remain in silence as turiyam,C, Self .

Aparokshanubhuti – 15 Nididhyasana approaches to Brahman – Swami Sarvapriyanands

Video talks on these contemplation
Notes on the 15 practices

Swami Sarvapriyananda Talk: Non-Dual Awakening and Nididhyasanam

Very insightful talk that addresses in practical terms very important realization of “timeless, being, without modifications, I shine always”. Swami TV, part of Upadeshasahari talks (see page for the full playlist).

Saptabhumika Gurupurnima Talk 2020-Swami P
- 7 steps of spiritual progress to Jivan mukta and beyond.
- Optional path for Jnani to be in quiet meditation, nirvikalpa samadhi if he does not want to participate in Loka sangraha.
Jivan Mukti Gurupurnima Talk 2019-Swami P
- A realized Jnani can do Nidhidyasana (Vedantic meditation) to enjoy atma ananda experientially and thus make any discomforts of prarabda become insignificant.
Viveka C Ni verses for a Senior Student - Swami P
- insightful  set of Nidhidyasana verses, masterfully expounded

See this link for Swami TV Meditations from Retreat 2021

See this link for Swami TV Meditations from Retreat 2020

See this link for Swami Dayanandaji's Meditations

See this link for Swamini Svatmavidyananda’s Meditations

See this link for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Meditations

Various Shanti Mantras and chants of AVC Vedic chanting


Pratah Smarana stotram

Meditation Talks, Meditations and Stotrams

Vedantic Meditations
Stotrams lyrics, meanings
Ashtavakra Samhita Talks
Talks on Enlightenment
Talks on “Self”

Mandukya Verse 7