The Atma Bodha and all texts about the self go on saying the same thing, yet each has a refreshing perspective just as the facets of the diamond gleam the same way but each has rays of different colours that shine beautifully and never tire the eye. Sri Adi Sankaracharya says that, I, the self or Atma, always exists.
Even when you were born, the life in you functioning as consciousness existed. It exists even now. Through each and every day of your life, every hour, second, minute and nano second, there was never a moment when life in you was not. This life is eternal.
In this life, there is nothing else other than life. It is not like, there is some blob of sorrow, some patches of joy, a little bit of adventure, some bit of craziness, desire, anger, hatred, jealousy, confusion or arrogance. There is just life that the breath touches with each inhalation and leaves behind with each exhalation. It is not contaminated with any other thing. It is just itself. That is why it is called ‘shuddha’ or pure.
To constantly be in touch with this knowledge, we must understand that just as when someone calls you by your name—for instance Jalaja which means lotus, born of water—you do not immediately think that they are referring to a lotus flower. You know that they are calling you only. In the same way, the contemplation of the nature of truth should be so deep that when someone says: ‘truth’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘endless supreme divine’, we should not be contemplating those qualities, but respond with the knowledge that they are referring to you—the self.
The Upanishads point out that the Brahman or supreme reality is equal to who you are. Whatever that is, is the big entity called Brahman. And what is that Brahman? It is you. Whatever action we do, whatever words we speak, whatever thoughts we think, whatever desires that dwell within us, whatever qualities we may possess, everything is only a manifestation in that self which is you, me and it.
There is life in the plant, the animal, man, fish, insects, birds, reptiles. There is life outside of these beings too. When you stand before a mirror, you can see only the physical body. You cannot see your breath, thoughts and feelings. The Upanishads are like a mirror that reflects this life which is the core part of any being, without which the being has no existence.
When this knowledge is known and realised, the result is fearlessness as there is nothing to limit our self anymore. This self has no broken parts to it. It is the source of joy and there is no duality here.