16. Consciousness, Control of Mind and Sleep
Story of King of Videh Continues
Dattaatreya Jee said - "O Raam, Listen to it. When all sages had left, Ashtaavakra asked Janak the meaning of what that female ascetic said to him. What Janak Jee told him in reply of that, listen to it. Ashtaavakra asked - "O Videh, I have not understood the teaching of the ascetic clearly, please tell me how can I know the unknowable?" Janak Jee replied - "O Son of Sage, It is neither unknowable nor unknown at any moment of time. Because no master can guide his disciple to something which is unknown. Ved only point at it indirectly saying as "net, Neti" (not this, not this). Whatever you see becomes by the very abstract intelligence.
Think that whatever is not
self luminous, can only fall within the orbit of intelligence, but is not
Intelligence itself. Intelligence is that by which objects are known; it
cannot be what it is if it becomes the object of knowledge. What is
intelligible must always be different from intelligence itself, or else
it could not be made known by it. Intelligence in the abstract cannot
admit of parts, which is the characteristic of objects. Therefore objects
take on shapes. Carefully watch absolute Intelligence after eliminating
all else from it. Just as a mirror takes on the hues of the images, so
also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects by
virtue of its holding them within itself. Abstract Intelligence can thus
be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot
be known as such and such,
You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient (temporary). The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body? Moreover everyone feels 'I see the objects'. If it were not for the eternal being of 'I', there would always arise the doubt 'if I am' or 'if I am not' - which is absurd. There is the continuity of 'I' even in deep slumber and in Samadhi, otherwise after sleep a man would get up as somebody else gets up. The concentration is possible in deep sleep and Samadhi, at that time the Self remains unqualified and therefore is not identical with the limited consciousness of the ego, 'I' in the wakeful state. 'I', is of two kinds - qualified and unqualified. Qualification implies limitations whereas its absence implies its unlimited nature - unqualified. 'I' is associated with limitations in dream and wakeful states, and it is free from them in deep slumber and Samadhi states. 'I' in Samadhi or sleep is associated with tri-fold division of subject, object and their relation. No! Being pure and single, it is unblemished and persists as 'I-I', and nothing else. The same is Perfection.
How to Concentrate and How to Know the Self
The reason is that external perceptions of the mind are dependent on two conditions. The first is elimination of other perceptions and the second is fixation on the particular item of perception. If the mind is simply turned away from other perceptions (and not fixed on any other thing), the mind is in an indifferent state, where there is absence of any kind of perception. Therefore concentration on a particular item is necessary for the perception of external things. But since consciousness is the Self and not apart from the mind, concentration on it is not necessary for its realization. It is enough that other perceptions (namely, thoughts) should be eliminated from the mind and then the Self will be realized.
If a man wants to concentrate on one image from among the several reflected in a mirror, he must remove his attention from all other images and concentrate on that one image which he wants to concentrate on. That is why just to concentrate on Self one has to divert his attention from all other objects only. In fact there is no moment and no spot when the Consciousness is absent. That is why Consciousness of Self is manifested only by diversion of attention from things or thoughts. Realization of Self needs only purity and no concentration of mind, and because of this reason, the Self is said to be unknowable. The only impurity of mind is thought, and when there is no thought in the mind, it is called pure. You might have understood by now that why purity of mind is necessary to realize the Self. Our all scriptures direct us towards this end alone, for example, the purpose of guiding towards unselfish actions, devotion, dispassion etc is because of this only. Because the transcendent Consciousness appears only in clear (unstained, or without any thought) mind only."
Then Why Not in Sleep?
When one sleeps, his mind indeed becomes abstracted, but then light is screened by darkness, so how can it manifest its true nature. When a mirror is covered with tar, how it can reflect the true image in it, and not only image, it cannot reflect even the space around? In the same manner mind is covered by darkness in sleep and is thus unfit for illumining thoughts. Such mind cannot reflect The Self. Nothing is reflected even if all other things are eliminated except, because reflection depends on the reflecting surface and not all surfaces. Realization of Self can only be with an alert mind and not with a stupefied one. And that is why a newborn baby cannot realize Self because his mind is not alert.
You should follow the analogy of the tarred mirror. Although a tarred mirror cannot reflect the images still the quality of the mirror is not affected, because the outer coating of the tar must be reflected in the mirror. In the same way, even if the mind is diverted from sleep or wakefulness, is still in the grip of dark sleep. One knows about the the dark ignorance only when he wakes up. I will now tell you about the difference between Sleep and Samaadhi. Listen to it.
There are two states of
mind - illumination and consideration. The first of them is association
of the mind with external objects and the second is deliberation on the
object seen. Illumination is unqualified by the limitations of objects;
while deliberation is qualified by the limitations pertaining to the
objects seen, and it is the forerunner of their clear definition.
There is no distinction noted in the preliminary stage of simple illumination. The thing itself is not yet defined, so illumination is said to be unqualified. "The thing becomes defined later on and is said to be such and such, and so and so. That is the perception of the thing after deliberation. Deliberation is again of two kinds: the one is the actual experience and is said to be fresh, whereas the other is cogitation over the former and is called memory. The mind always functions in these two ways. When somebody sleeps his mind is characterized by illumination of sleep alone and experience continues unbroken for a time; but when he wakes up the mind is characterized by deliberation repeatedly broken up by thoughts, and that is why it is not ignorant.
Shankaraachaarya says in his "Saundarya Laharee" - "Shiv owes his prowess to Shakti. He cannot even stir in her absence. Shiv is yoked by you, O Shakti. Only a few blessed ones worship you. Thus the relationship between Shiv and Shakti is clear." Their true significance lies in the fact that the universe exists, but not separately from the primal Reality - God. Wisdom lies in realizing everything as Shiv and not in treating it as void.
The state prevailing in sleep is the feeling of being emptiness. This state also prevails in wakefulness, although things are visible. But this ignorance is shattered by the repeated up-springing of thoughts. The wise say that the mind is submerged in sleep because it is illumining the un-manifest condition. The submersion of mind is not, however, peculiar to sleep for it happens also at the instant of cognition of things. Now I tell you from my own experience although this perplexes even many accomplished people --
All the three states of mind - Samaadhi, sleep and instant cognition of objects are characterized by when it is not perturbed. One understands their difference when one reviews all the states which illumine different perceptions - Absolute Reality is manifest in Samaadhi state of mind; a void or emptiness state is manifest in sleep; and diversity is the sign of wakefulness. Samadhi and sleep are obvious because their experience remains unbroken for some appreciable period and can be recapitulated after waking up. That of cognition remains unrecognized because of its fleeting nature. But Samaadhi and sleep cannot be recognized when they are only fleeting. The wakeful state is iridescent with fleeting Samadhi and sleep. When the men are awake, they can detect fleeting sleep because they are already conversant with its nature. But fleeting Samadhi goes undetected because people are not so conversant with it. O Braahman, fleeting Samadhi is indeed being experienced by all, even in their busy moments; but it passes unnoticed by them, because they are not conversant with it. Every instant free from thoughts and musings in the wakeful state is the condition of Samadhi. Thus Samadhi is simply the absence of thoughts. Such a state prevails in sleep and at odd moments of wakefulness too. Yet, it is not called Samadhi proper, because all the proclivities of the mind are still there latent, ready to manifest the next instant.
The un-manifest state, the first-born of abstract Intelligence revealing 'There is not anything' - is the state of abstraction full of light; it is, however, called sleep because it is the insentient phase of consciousness. Nothing is revealed because there is nothing to be revealed. Sleep is therefore the manifestation of the insentient state. But in Samadhi, O Braahman, the Supreme Consciousness, is continuously glowing. She is the engulfs the time and space, destroys of void, and is pure being - (Jehovah - I AM). How can She be the ignorance of sleep? Therefore sleep is not the end - all and the be - all." Thus did Janak teach Ashtaavakra. This conversation continues on Next Page also.
End of the Chapter 16
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/03
Updated on 03/31/13