Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reflection of the Self

“The self, the knower, the lord of all, the real being, is the cause of all the vision that is in the universe, but it is impossible for him to see himself or know himself, excepting through reflection. You cannot see your own face except in a mirror, and so the self cannot see its own nature until it is reflected, and this whole universe therefore is the self trying to realize itself.”            ………………....Swami Vivekananda

What a great and profound truth? There are a number of fine elements in this saying  of Swamiji.
First we have the knower and a correct definition of the knower is needed to do any further reflection on this subject of knowing and the known.

Knowing and known are intimately entwined. A knower can be defined as the aggregate of all that he knows.

Knowing is an intellectual perception born out of a acquisition of mental maps and their attached concepts. When I make a statement “I see a white rose”, there are two distinct concepts that come together in my perception of what I see. The first concept is that of a colour; namely white and the second is the concept of a specific ‘name and form’ to which my mental map has assigned the name ‘rose’. Hence a ‘knower’ is an aggregator of acquired mental concepts, right from the time of an awareness of self consciousness and the phase of subject-object duality consciousness sets in within the individual. All our acquired concepts and their resulting mental maps, with assigned names and forms, make up our intellectual content.

There is also another type of knowing which is intuitive and can not be attributed to direct perception of the stored repository of mental maps. This intuitive knowing emanates from the subconscious and the universal unconsciousness of which Carl Jung researched and wrote much. The knowledge resident in the subconscious is the result of the integral sum of all knowledge in the domain of human species from its planetary evolution. The knowledge in the ambit of universal unconsciousness evolves from a multidimensional cosmic field or what some mystics call ‘Akashic records’ of all the intelligence of the cosmos.

Beyond all this is the pure consciousness of the Divine. This is called by different names and in Vedanta it was known as Turiya.

Turiya is not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable and indescribable. The essence of the Consciousness manifesting as the self in the three states, It is the cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss and non—dual. This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman and this has to be realized”…………… Verse VII of the Mandukya Upanishad

The Self (Atman) is beyond the resultant of the aggregate of all these three consciousnesses, namely; the waking mental perceptions, the sub consciousness  and the universal unconsciousness.

To realize the Self we need a reflecting medium which can reflect, without any attenuation, the entire picture available in all three domains of consciousness which are but reflection of the pure state of consciousness. But this is a very difficult task as most of our perceptions are rooted in the mental and non-intuitive domain. Here also we have gradations of attenuation. An individual who is rooted in purely worldly pursuits, sees the reflection of the self only in the distorted materialistic realm but one who fathoms the depth of the cosmos sees a better reflection of the Self in the grandeur of the cosmic dimension. Even at this scale we are limited as this is not devoid of distortion.  This is why Swami Vivekananda says: “……….this whole universe therefore is the self trying to realize itself.”. It is still only an attempt in the right direction.
The transfiguration of Christ wherein the Cosmic consciousness of Christ was revealed on Mount Tabor or the Universal vision granted to Arjuna by Lord Krishna are both pure reflection of the true and absolute Self.

Love to you all.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent Sir. Your explanation of knowing and the levels of knowing are apt. I was wondering " what could have happened if we had a mirror or camera that could show each one's mind?" and more I thought of it .. It not only appeared funny but had dangers as well opportunity. Reflections are needed and come to think of it a bit more.. Wonder Is reproduction an urge to see self?