ASHTAVAKRA GITA PART 3
एको द्रष्टासि सर्वस्य मुक्तप्रायोऽसि सर्वदा ।
अयमेव हि ते बन्धो द्रष्टारं पश्यसीतरम् ॥१-७॥
You Alone Are, The Witness of Everything and Ever Free.
This alone is your bondage that you take the Seer to be the other (Seen).
This is precisely our problem. Vedanta says I am ever fulfilled and yet I sense some lacking-ness. Vedanta says I am Purna, Complete and yet, I suffer and without suffering I am definitely better! If my money is lost , I will become poor and will suffer. How can I say, I am complete with or without money ? What kind of a statement is it ?
and what does it mean to say money does not make me fulfilled? Bhaja Govindam says "Artham anartham bhavaya nityam" [Money is meaningless, please feel this always] and if even a little of my money is robbed I feel miserable. There seems to be a discordance somewhere. Either Bhaja Govindam is wrong in saying "Artham anartham" or I am not able to raise upto such a spiritual level. These seem to be the only possible unfortunate conclusions.
If I take Bhaja Govindam to be wrong, then I become an atheist.
If I think that I have not yet reached such spiritual levels, I condemn myself and thus suffer.
Both are sad outcomes. Atleast the atheist does not blame himself but he suffers because he misses the wonderful teaching by miles !
The theist, on the other hand, blames himself and consequently takes exactly a route opposite to that of teaching that you are ever Free!!
We see this very often in spiritual circles. The devotees always think they are impure, while the teaching is that you are Ever pure. Such a devotee goes to a guru and says "Sir, I am very impure and insignificant creature, please help me better myself" and the guru sanctions this notion so that he can stand above and feel superior.
Please see friends... the whole problem is in the misconception that I am "incomplete or impure" and I need to become "pure or complete". This is the most important thing to grasp. The scripture says "Mukta eva asi sarvada", you are ever free! It does not say "You can become free by doing this", its saying you are ever free. But then do we not need any practise ? What are all spiritual sadhanas for ? Do not the scriptures suggest "Sravana , Manana, Nidhidhyasanam" ? The second part of the verse explains this: "Your bondage is you take yourself to be the seen". The mind is the seen. As long as one takes oneself to be the "seen", thats ignorance in operation. And ignorance can only be removed through knowledge. One has to bring in knowledge to remove this "Thorn" called ignorance. Both knowledge and ignorance are at the same level : mind. Self is beyond both knowledge and ignorance. Knowledge only serves to remove the ignorance and resolves itself into the Self. Self need not be revealed by knowledge because Self is Self Effulgent Reality. Self Shines and in its presence everything else shines. taameva bhati anubhati sarvam. Everything else shines following Self. Knowledge and ignorance both shine because there is this unchanging background called Self. So knowledge is not to "Grasp" Self, but to undo the ignorance that I am the "Seen" -- "Drshya jagat".
In the mind I see sorrow and I say "I am sad". In the mind I see joy and I say "I am happy". In the mind I see some sensations and I say "Its painful". In the mind I see certain emotions and I say "I am emotional". To perpetuate this identification there are spiritual practices that say "Make the mind pure so that you will see peace there" and then you can say "I am peaceful". This is simply not going to work, because mind is a machine. Mind has been fed with various feelings, ideas, emotions since ages. Only now we are learning all this. So mind will respond in a certain way to a certain situation and that's natural. We cannot change the way mind responds to a certain situation, because its inbuilt into the subconscious mind. If I try to suppress it, I create further problems. So mind is like that. The problem is not that mind reacts in all these ways. The problem is in that I take myself to be the mental state! Thats ignorance in operation and ignorance can only be undone with knowledge and not with ignorance. Right when the mind is agitated and it says "I am agitated", one has to see oneself as the "Seer" which is untouched by the "agitation thats seen"! Right at that moment one has to see that there is really no "person" there who is agitated. There is agitation ... and Mute changeless Presence ! The agitation is a passing scene, a mithya appearance ... like a snake seen on a rope. Right when there is agitation one has to see this ! And there one does not make any attempt to control or stop the agitation or emotion. One allows it to pass, without getting involved ... without identifying with it. Allowing it to pass like a passing cloud.
No where should I make any attempt to label myself based upon those emotions of the mind. Mind is conditioned and its supposed to be conditioned. If mind is not conditioned, one cannot function in the world. The very recognition of faces is a conditioning. Mind is conditioned. Our objective is not to "become unconditioned", neither is our objective to make mind unconditioned. One simply has to know and see .. that one is the unconditioned background upon which all conditioning are taking place , as if.