The vastness of self

That consciousness is avyayam or something that can never get expended.

Published: 19th May 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2019 04:46 PM   |  A+A-

The Bhagavad Gita in its essence concludes with saying, “Always keep Me (Bhagavan) in mind”. There
is nothing more to our sadhana and practice. The devotee says Bhagavan and the Vedantin calls it the self. What is the way to remind ourself about ourself? Meditation, says Shri Adi Sankaracharya in the Atma Bodha.

He gives a pen picture of the indescribable truth, just so we can retain the thought in mind through constant contemplation. That self is an-anu, not small like an atom. It is also asthulam, not very gross and big. It is that substance which is present even in the tiniest atom as life and as sheer existence in the biggest of matter like a mountain or planet.

Reiteration is the practice in all texts of spiritual study. The Atma Bodha gives more ways by which we can know what the Self is not. It is not short in length. It is not also something that is long. These negative affirmations are given so that we do not look at the tiniest of tiny objects and conclude that Brahman is that small particle or look at massively long things and think again that this is it.

How does the Acharya describe the truth which none has seen and none can see? That is the yardstick of understanding called Shabda Pramana or measurement by words of an apta or one who has realised. The Master describes it as formless. It also does not have any qualities and neither does it have any colours to say that it is like this or that. The energy centres in the human subtle system may be described with colours of the VIBGYOR but the life in those centres has no colour whatsoever.

What is the greatest thing in this world? The Master glorifies the self by calling it ajam. Ja means birth, someone or thing that has been born or created. That is why the mother is called janani in Sanskrit, the one who gives birth.  

That consciousness is avyayam or something that can never get expended. Letters are called aksharam because they can never be destroyed. There is no limitation to them. There is no restriction on the number of times an ‘o’ or an ‘a’ can be used. It is not that we have to stand in a queue to get all the letter I or T as it will be over after sometime! If we have `1 crore and spend a lakh, there will only be `99 lakh left with us. The `1 lakh has been expended.

This abundant awareness knows no wastage. It never gets all used up, leaving people gasping for more. It is always there like the ocean which never changes in size with so many rivers constantly falling into it and so much water constantly evaporating from its surface area.As a result of contemplating thus upon the Brahman or the biggest thing ever, the mind also expands to that vastness of the Self.

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