[Advaita-l] How to know myself?

Swami Sarvabhutananda swami.sarvabhutananda at gmail.com
Sat Aug 10 22:51:20 CDT 2013

This is sampradAyA!
wishes and love.
Swami Sarvabhutananda

On Sun, Aug 11, 2013 at 2:06 AM, kuntimaddi sadananda <
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com> wrote:

> How to know myself?
> Any knowledge involves subject, the knower (pramaata) and the object to be
> known (prameyam) and that which connects the two is the means of knowledge
> (pramaaNa).  In this knowledge myself, I am the knower who wants to know,
> and the object to be known is again myself only. What kind of pramaaNa I
> need, for me to know myself.
> I went into the pitch dark room and someone from outside asked me. Sir,
> can you tell me if there is pot there in that room? I can only say – I do
> not know if pot is there or not – it is pitch dark here. I cannot see
> anything. Pot may be there may not be there. In essence, what I am saying
> is, unless I see or thus know the existence of the pot there, I cannot
> establish its existence. Existence of the pot is established by the
> knowledge its existence. Otherwise its existence is indeterminate. This is
> true for the all the objects or the world of objects in the space that I am
> in. True for the whole universe, since it is just assemblage of all inert
> entities at least from my point.
> For me to establish the existence of the pot or even any other person in
> that room it is obvious that I should be there or existent and I should be
> a conscious entity and conscious of not only myself but also the
> surroundings. Thus existent-conscious entity that I am only can establish
> the existence of all inert objects in the world by having the knowledge of
> their existence via a means of knowledge.  In the above example, I need my
> eyes fully operating without any defects, the mind behind the eyes with
> non-defective faculty of seeing, and enough light to see for the perception
> as  a means of knowledge to operate. All these factors are implied when I
> say – yes there is a pot in the room or there is a world of objects that I
> see.
> Interestingly, there are two things that I see (know) that exist even in
> the pitch dark room. Can you guess? One is the darkness itself. I said it
> is too dark here that I cannot see anything. If someone asks how do you
> know that it is too dark? I have to say – I can see. What? I can see
> darkness because of which I cannot see anything else. What light do I need
> to see that darkness? Should I turn on the light switch on for me to see
> the darkness? External darkness is that because of which I cannot see
> things in the room.  Similarly ignorance is that because of which I do not
> have the knowledge of the existence of what I am looking for. If I have a
> torch light I can shed light on the objects, one at a time, for me to know
> its existence. Suppose I see a pot there but it is upside down as though
> covering something. To see that pot, I had to use the torch light. I go
> there out of curiosity to see what is hidden inside the pot. When I remove
> the pot, I find
>  that there is candle light burning there. Now do I need to use the torch
> light to see the candle light that is burning? It is self-luminous and in
> its light now I can see others things too. In essence I do not need another
> light to see a light. Yet to recognize the existence of self-luminous
> candle which is coved by the pot, I still have to use the torch light first
> to see the pot and then I have to a process to lift that pot to uncover the
> burning candle. Till then appropriate effort is required from my part once
> uncovered, the burning candle reveals itself. (For those who want to know,
> this example is from Naishkarmya Siddhi of Sureswaracharya, direct disciple
> of Shankara).
> Continuing with our example, in the pitch dark room, someone outside asked
> – Are you there? Should I say, I do not see anything here – it is too dark
> – I do not know if I am there or not? Am I like any object whose existence
> cannot be independently established without some pramaaNa operating.  I do
> not need to see myself to know that I exist. I do not need to establish
> that I am a luminous (or conscious) entity. Like the relative example of
> candle light above, I am self luminous and I do not need any other means of
> knowledge, pramaaNa to establish that I exist and I am conscious entity.
> Actually even to establish that burning candle light is there, I have to be
> there first and I have to keep my eyes open, with the mind behind to
> recognize the existence of the candle and its light. If I am (or some
> conscious entity) is not there to establish its existence, its existence
> remains as indeterminate, like any other inert object ( may be there or may
> not
>  be there). In essence, I do not need any means of knowledge or pramaaNa
> to know that I exist and I am conscious. In fact I have to be there to
> validate any pramaNa for it to operate to have the knowledge of existence
> of all other inert objects (including the burning candle or bright
> sunlight). Yet I need a pramaana (eyes to see and the mind to cognize) for
> me to establish the existence of both candle as well as its light.
> Then what I am looking in this life, since I am not looking for my
> existence or my consciousness. Nobody is looking for existence or
> consciousness. Because they exist and they are conscious entities they are
> looking something else. Everyone is only looking for happiness, and not for
> existence nor for consciousness. Interestingly, everyone is looking for
> happiness outside, sometimes even after knowing it is not there outside and
> it is not there in any object also. There is actually another great wonder
> of all wonders. YudhishTara in Mahabhaarat answered to the question of what
> is the greatest wonder in life- he said – everyone sees beings are
> continuously born and also see those who are born die; yet everyone behaves
> as though they are going to live here forever, struggling hard to gain
> things that they cannot even enjoy while living. The whole life they
> struggle hard to enjoy life in future and ultimately die without living.
>  We are all working hard
>  to gain happiness in future without realizing that future never comes and
> die without gaining what we want.
> Then how to gain absolute happiness that everyone is longing for? For that
> knowledge only Vedanta acts like a pramaana to reveal that what I am
> looking for I am already that- tat tvam asi – you are that what you are
> looking for.  Essentially it acts like a mirror to see myself in all my
> full glory. If I want to see my face, I need a mirror. When I see my face I
> see my reflection only. The reflection depends on the reflecting medium or
> condition of the mirror. For the mirror, depending on how strongly the dust
> is adhering to the mirror I have to use the appropriate cleansing process
> such as soap etc and in the end get rid of the dust and the soap too,
> leaving the mirror to its maximum reflecting capacity. When I see my
> reflection as the image in the mirror, I should also know that is the
> reflection of my own self. If I am a dog standing in front of a mirror
> looking at that image I may start barking thinking that it is another dog
> that is trying to
>  occupy my place. Vedanta acts like a pramaana to make me realize that
> what I am looking in the pure reflecting mirror is my own self. It helps us
> to recognize that the mind and the world that is seen through the mind are
> all my own reflection – since both the subject, knower and the object known
> are known via the mind only. How to see myself in the mind and also in the
> world which is seen only via the mind using Vedanta as pramaana we will
> discuss next.
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