I write this as i begin to understand philosophy myself and not as a realized person. This hopefully should help my journey to acquire the knowledge of the self. By now I have heard some lectures, contemplated some of the points that I have heard, tried to visualize some of the ideas and theories of our great gurus and articulate within myself. I do have lot of contradictions in my understanding and unexplained questions, which I believe will all unfold during my journey.

My objective in documenting my understanding is two fold:

  1. To take stock of my level of limited understanding.
  2. Share with those seekers who are at a similar stage of journey so that it can provide them a kick start.

As mentioned by our great gurus, the truth is only one and there cannot be different versions of the truth. They are only different ways of explaining the same truth. It gives better understanding every time it is given a new look, which is what our gurus have tried to bring out in their Prakaranas. Even though this wouldn’t qualify as a prakarana, which is a narrative provide by a realized guru, this would classify as a compilation of extracts from various prakaranas.

The only risk the reader takes is to get the same wrong understandings where I have gone wrong. To mitigate this risk, I would request the reader to touch base with the original knowledge on your understandings if this envisages interest in you.

All that is contained, have been picked from various discourses of Swami Haridoss Giri, Swami Paramathmananda, Kanchi Maha Periyaval, Swami Chinmayanda, Nochur Venkatraman and others. I prostrate these gurus and seek their blessing for me to proceed with this attempt.

Dyanam – Gyana Jothi

உள்ளிருக்கும் ஒரு ஞான ஜோதி (ஞானானந்த ஜோதி)
அகமெனும் என்னால் வெளிப்படும்
நானாகி நான் காணும் உலகாகி
உலகில் பல வடிவாகி என் கருத்துவாகி
மாறும் உன்னை என்னுள் காண மறந்து
உடலே நான் உள்ளமே நான் அறிவே நான் என சினைத்து
உணர்வான உன்னை உணர மறந்தேன்

கருணையால் தினம் தினம் ஆழ் தூக்கத்தில்
சத்தியத்தின் அமைதி என்னுள் காட்டிய பூத்தும்
என் உணர்வில் ஊரும் ஆத்மானந்தம் என்பதை
உணராத போது அறிவினால் அறிவியல் இன்பம் தேடி
அலையும் என்னை உள்முக படுத்தி உனதுரு காட்டி
சத்தியமான ஞான ஜோதி என்னுள் உடன் ஏற்றி
பணியும் கிரிதாசன் அருள்புரி ஞான குருநாதா

ராதே கிருஷ்ணா

The composition was inspired by the discourse of shri Nochur on Dakshinamurty Stotram by Adi Shankara. It starts with Dharpana Drishya Nagari meaning City reflected by mirror. The world we experience is infact a reflection of ourselves. The fact that we don’t realise that gives us pain. There is an interesting anecdote on this. A dog gets into a glass room and sees its reflection all around. Not realising that it is its own reflection, keeps barking at the mirror image. Its is scared to see some dogs barking at it the same time. Keeps barking at the images till someone chases it out. The person who came to chase the dog out, looks his reflection all around and feels happy. This is the state of a realised person. He is always aware that the world he sees is his own reflection and hence not real. He keeps his focus on the self and remains happy. Those who have lost the focus on the self are like the dog scared of its own reflection.

Shri Ramana Maharishi’s example is that of a projector. The consciousness is always glowing like the light in the projector. It’s the Ahamkara like the film that creates the images. The picture we see is infact a distortion of the pure light. If the film is removed, we see the pure and constant light without any changes. So is this world of changes created by distorted view of the self by Ahamkara.

Adi Shankara himself has given a similar example in one of his earlier works. Its infact an experiment as below:

  • Light a lamp and place it at the centre of the room.
  • Cover it with a pot with five holes. Light emanates through these holes.
  • Place five objects against the light. He has specified the objects as well to represent each of the senses like Veena for Sound, Precious stone for Sight, similar objects for taste, Smell and Feel.

Now he questions how these objects are seen. Even though the objects are different, usage are different etc., they are all seen because of the one light which is placed inside the Pot. The entire manifestation is due to the reflection of the one single light. So is this universe and our senses. All are the reflection of the same self.

While we feel that we are in this deep ignorance, we are infact not. We are aware that we are the ever existing consciousness. This is seen in many of our behaviour and experiences. Some of them are:

  • We get up from deep sleep state and say we had a good sleep even though our body, mind and intellect were not working.
  • We see our childhood picture and say that we were that child even though the form has totally changed.
  • We believe that we are going to exist forever even when we see others perish.

However we wrongly identify this awareness to the physical body and get into worldly pleasures and actions for securing the body. Science can only help achieving the worldly objective providing temporary joy (sometimes leading to sorrows) but not the self realisation leading to constant bliss.

Let’s try to introduce ourselves to the Vedanta by a series of articles starting with the fundamentals of our religion.