May 2009

That which feels ‘I AM this I’ is neither mind nor matter. It is the eternal Self. The external things exist because of the imagination of this ‘I’. – Chinmaya

‘I’ is neither mind nor matter:-

Both mind as well as matter is made up of five elements – space, air, fire, water and earth. The only difference is that the matter is made up of the gross elements while the mind, that of subtle. All five of them are inert by nature, i.e. they are insentient, which means they are not capable of knowing themselves or others. Hence any matter which is a combination of these five inert elements has to be inert. This is because inert things combining together can produce only another inert thing -just like darkness combining with darkness can result only in darkness and not light.

But the ‘I’ is clearly not an inert entity. No proof is required for this as this is our direct experience. Nobody at any point in time feels that “I am inert”! Our experience is “I am and I am aware of my existence.” Hence doubtlessly we can say that we are all sentient beings.

So then it becomes clear that the sentient ‘I’ is different from the inert mind and matter. But, is it not true that the mind appears very much sentient when it listens, thinks, questions, understands, plans, executes etc.? Yes, but this apparent sentiency seen in the mind is only a borrowed sentiency – borrowed from the sentient ‘I’- just like the rotation of a motionless fan borrowing the energy from the electricity.

Once during the British rule, a British officer approached Sri Udiya Baba, a great saint of North India, and requested politely, “Babaji, please show me a miracle!”. Babaji said laughing aloud, “This body made up of all inert matter is walking, talking, eating, laughing etc. Can’t you see any miracle in this? What greater miracle can I show you?”

‘I’ is the Eternal Self:-

The ‘I’ in each one of us was never born and will never die. Death is a movement from existence to non-existence. To experience death, one should experience existence before death and non-existence after death. Experience of existence before death (i.e. when alive) is common to all. But the second case, i.e. the experience of non-existence after death is known to none. The experience of non-existence is not possible because if the question is asked, “Who experienced non-existence?”, and if someone says ‘I’, then that will mean that ‘I’ still exists even after death! Therefore there is never a disappearance of ‘I’. Hence ‘I’ is eternal.

The external things exist because of the imagination of ‘I’:-

There cannot be a better example of this than our dream experience. The whole external world of things and beings including the dreamer is nothing but the imagination of the waker. Among all, the waker alone is real. Even while dreaming, the waker alone was present as the witness of the dream. That is why the waker is able to recollect the dream experiences.

In the same way, this pure ‘I’, the only Reality, is present in us even now as a witness of all happenings without and the imaginations within. This pure ‘I’ is different from the impure egoistic ‘I’ which is the only ‘I’ which we know in our present state of ignorance. Ramana Maharshi, when approached by spiritual seekers, used to advise them to go to the very source of this ‘I’ which is none other than pure ‘I’. Hold on to this pure ‘I’ to come out of all sufferings and limitations – is the ardent and sincere plea of all scriptures and masters at all times.

May we all walk this only path of Light. And thus merging ourselves in that pure Light may we become yet another guiding Light for the generations to come.

O   M         T   A   T         S   A   T

Posted in: Chintana

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