Warning – Disclaimer: Anyone wanting ‘enlightenment’ should close this page on their electronic device immediately.
Everyone is enlightened already (being able to read this page you would have to be!) – we just don’t know it.
ATMA VIDYA आत्मा विद्या
Self-Knowledge is a teaching like no other. Revealing and revelling in the truth about man’s eternal destination and nature it has stood the test of time. Handed down orally – from ear to ear, generation to generation from teacher to teacher, Self-knowledge reveals how long before we as mankind can even look for the truth we already are the truth. The teacher and teaching of ATMA VIDYA आत्मा विद्या just confirms it by answering all of our questions.
While most religious and traditional teachings offer an absolute solution, an ultimate destination and goal that has yet to be reached. Saying that change, death and impermanence are the only constant in an ever fluctuating universe and that consciousness being radiant nothingness is empty and void, Vedanta/upanishads slams this idea and tears it apart.
Declaring that simply by being born human our eternal destination is already won and goal already ever accomplished. That there is no other destination but the truth. That no such thing as death exists. And that amongst all that appears constantly dying and impermanent something far greater exists that is forever permanent and changeless. That the apparent imperfection and impermanence is only an appearance happening in Its presence. That all that appears at first to be dying and incomplete, on closer examination, proves to be nothing but the fullness and completeness of all beauty and life Itself. That regardless of how conscious or unconscious we are, our eternal destination and outcome is already assured, should we believe it?
If something tells me that I am limited and dying. That change is the only constant in an ever fluctuating universe where there is no such thing as permanence. That death alone is permanent. Is it a teaching? Does it tell me anything that I don’t know already? Saying that everything busy being born is busy dying and change is the only constant, is not telling me anything. I know this all already by myself.
A teaching is something completely different. A teaching shows me something I did not know before. Revealing something that I am unable to see. Something that unless it is pointed out remains absolutely invisible.
So well hidden in fact, in spite of experiencing it 24 hours a day in every waking, sleeping, dreaming moment, no matter how hard I try, or what I do it still remains secret.
That this secret still remains universal and creations best kept secret does not mean it does not exist.
Showing me the meaning of all that is apparent. That presence that remains absolutely powerful and constant; permanent regardless of all that is changing. That unless someone points it out, remains absolutely unknown and invisible.
Pointing out the ever changeless undying principle that is always whole and complete. Not only this, showing me beyond all shadow of a doubt that this changeless, undying absolute is nothing other than myself without me having to do a thing – without me even lifting a finger.
This is what the teaching of Self-knowledge does. And why it is considered a teaching.
If Self-knowledge is able to show me this, shouldn’t I be a little interested and do whatever it takes to investigate further wanting to at least know a little more?
It is perhaps only because creation has not yet yielded a crisis big enough for us to want to find out its secret and question its true meaning, that it stays secret. But the changing Climate may change all that.
Challenging all our ideas, Self-knowledge solves man’s eternal mystery. Because it is never farther than ourselves, uncovering our timeless secret, leaves us in doubt. Using words based in the rationale of pure logic, ATMA VIDYA आत्मा विद्या uses our human experience to reveal the absolute truth shining as ourselves. Changing all our perceptions to include rather than exclude us, no longer feeling left out in the cold and inadequate, Self-knowledge proves that, even for nothingness to exist there has to be something else; something Absolute. That the Absolute has never been anything but ourselves means not even death can touch us. Changing our human perspective forever, advaita points out the truth which has never been truer nor closer than your Self.
Self, being self-evident and limitless is the freedom itself. Discovering the eternal essence of all sweetness, beauty, joy, fulfilment and pure accomplishment that we are all searching for is none other than ourselves, means – we don’t have to look no further. Freeing the forever free, having always been the very nature of pure enjoyment and accomplishment, all that we have been enjoying in and through every experience, is Self – we just don’t know it.
Wanting permanent freedom from unhappiness, until our nature as happiness is pointed out, true happiness can not be known.
That the Self remains unknown to us and yet nothing can be more permanent or present, more important or meaningful is the great irony solved by the upanishads.
Asking us to own up to our previously unknown hidden nature, the teachings of advaita vedanta present us with an ultimatum: either know yourself and your invisible nature, or continue to be miserable.
Making the invisible real and, revealing that Presence in which everything is visible, has always been the job of the teacher and teaching. Suddenly seeing the truth, the intangible and invisible becomes real and recognisable.
Being the only reality, the truth of who we are is not something void and intangible, but the very nature of tangibility Itself.
The Truth is where it has always been. It is the purpose and job of all scriptural teachings and job of the teacher to finally reveal this truth to us.
Of all our studies, whether it is the study of ourselves, study of the universe through physical science, astronomy or astrology or philosophy, one thing is all that is important. The one studying. Subtler than subtlest is the one the one listening the one studying. Without you, where all studies begin, what is being studied is meaningless. Starting with the Self, regardless of identity, once we get to the truth where all universal existence and experience is taking place, the search for meaning is over. Knowledge of Self has to take place first. We’ve no option. It is most important.
Being the very truth of everyone’s existence, because nothing stands apart and nothing stands in it’s way other than our ignorance, once known, everything else that needs to be known can be enjoyed for its own sake. No longer for the sake of meaning. Then the whole universe becomes the field of absolute wonder and enjoyment. Eternally enjoyable for its own sake.
Having the truth pointed out by the teacher (who had it pointed out to them by their teacher, who had it pointed out by their teacher!) because it is so simple, being closer than the closest, we wonder how we could ever have missed it having never seen it before.
Remaining absolutely invisible and silent, until Self is pointed out, it is the wonder of the universe and why Self remains creation’s best kept secret.
Until we get knocked off our perch. Getting the knock of our lives, ending up shaken and in crisis, if we get hit hard enough, hit so hard we start questioning the truth, all we want is answers.
Once we get the wake up call, by awakening to ourselves in Self-knowledge, we can never fall asleep to ourselves again.
No longer taking our existence for granted, in crisis we discover it is the very nature of existence to force us to seek answers and to question. Wanting to know the truth where do we go?
Until a crisis stops us dead in our tracks, our ignorance is complete.Ignorance being our bliss and innocence still a virtue, like a child playing in the universe, neither do we know that we don’t know – nor do we want to know. Wanting to keep on our journey, playing and enjoying the never ending cosmic spectacle of creation, thinking there is some destination, all we want is to do is keep on enjoying and god help anything that gets in the way.
However there comes a time when ignorance no longer blissful becomes a huge burden and, innocence no longer a virtue becomes a massive liability. Human ignorance being the size of the universe means, only when our existence is threatened, amd nam gets conflicted, forced to seek answers do our defences drop. As the sense of darkness and foreboding the size of the universe takes over and fills our lives, with something the size of the universe pressing down on us, wanting our conflict and crisis to end, all we want to hear is the truth.
Man’s existence in the universe is real. It’s no use saying it is not real. But more subtle and real than the gross physical experience is the meaning of existence and what is existing; who is experiencing and what is being experienced?
Without you in it, the physical universe existing or not does not matter. While everything else is still real for us and more important, our existence is all that matters. And Self is still unreal and unknown. Held hostage and a prisoner of our own ignorance, the universe can hold us to ransom. And does! Until the universal truth of who we are is known. Until then, ignorant of the meaning of our existence, seeing bliss as a destination, our ignorance is our only liability.
Once you know yourself, the bliss never stops. There being nothing more real or important than yourself in this universe – nothing the universe can do or throw at you can mess with you.
As the perennial presence in whom all is present and all existence is taking place – as large and as real as the creation is and our existence in it, no matter how small or simple we may feel, that big is the universal truth of mankind.
There is nothing else like a human being. The truth, being one and same for all of us, other than the truth of mankind, no other truth exists.
‘One without a second’, whenever mankind has wanted to know about itself and nature of reality, man has only had to look at himself.
Until recently locked in an exclusive bubble where only the few who understood and could read sanskrit could benefit. Self-knowledge and it’s methodology has now been translated into English, so everyone, even children in primary school can benefit.
Clearly humanity is in a crisis. Even the mosquitoes are laughing at us.
Having arrived at a crossroad, we have reached a tipping point. It’s like the universe has pulled the brake on humanity putting all our lives on hold. Putting us all on notice, creation has taken the wind out our sails and given us this time of Covid to pull together and get our act together as human beings. Or face the consequence of our own extinction.
The time bomb is ticking. This is our wake up call! Challenging our ideas, creation is challenging us to wake up to ourselves as human beings and the reality of our existence. or face the consequences. We either face up to the challenge and change our human behaviour, or it pulls the plug.
It’s our choice.
The scary thing is, other than the human being nothing is in crisis.
Looking at the creation you would never say there is a crisis. Creation is not in crisis. Climate is not in crisis.
Nor is covid.
Only humanity is in a crisis.
Not only is humanity in crisis, being the cause and only thing in crisis, we are the crisis itself.
So we must be the only solution.
Crisis: A time of rebirth and renewal.
In India the crisis of the human being has always been seen as holy. To honour this most sacred time in every person’s life when life throws you a curved ball, India’s oldest and holiest cities are built. Located where the massive river Ganges, after plummeting headlong down through endless valleys and crevices high in Himalayas, cascading through waterfalls finally reaches the flat plains of India below and takes a huge u-turn: As though the river itself has reached a crossroad, a turning point and is desperate to get back to its source high in the Himalayas, signifying a time in everyone’s existence, where life reaches a crossroad and it appears as though our very life is at stake. Being threatened, when our life gets thrown in a balance and we fall out of balance, crisis is the only time when our mind is open and we are ready to ask questions and risk everything and anything for answers. Wanting answers life’s deepest questions, to honour the time of crisis in man, India’s holiest city, Varanasi, the oldest city in the world, known as ‘The city of light’ is built where the huge river Ganges turns back on itself. Originally called ‘Kasi’, meaning ‘giving up that which you love the most’, the city Varanasi honors the crisis and plight of humanity. When we are at our weakest and our most vulnerable. Being the most sacred point in each human life, a point in our journey is reached, when forced to face our darkest fears, even our fear of death, we are ready to give up everything and anything, including ourselves as individuals, just to hear the truth.
Forced to backup an take a U-turn and turn within, traditionally it is the time when a person seeking answers seeks out a teacher and teaching.
Immersing themselves in the quest for knowledge; wanting to hear the knowledge of truth and the truth about knowledge, if the person is lucky, the crisis points them in the right direction and leads to the teacher of Atma Vidya or Atma Gnanam, (knowledge of Self). Who reveals that self being nothing but the truth and all that was getting conflicted and ever in a crisis, having always been the truth and man’s eternal destination, resolves all our fears and difficulties once and for all.
By drawing all our life’s questions to their rightful conclusion, the teacher and teaching pointing out the truth, draws the crisis to a close.
Like the river Ganges already being the water itself, has no farther to turn and look for its source than itself, so too, in searching for the truth of being human, we only have to look as far as ourselves.
Thirsty for knowledge, desperate for our life crisis to be over, looking for an oasis, hoping for a little water to quench our thirst, in Self-knowledge, having reached the perpetual oasis of the teacher and teaching, we discover that we are the water itself.