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Shiman: Dear Sundariji, namaste!
Today for the first time “aham bramhasmi” came from within. This happened after another “aha” moment. There was bliss for around an hour or so. While it feels like the code is cracked, there is no permanence of bliss. In fact while I type there is no bliss experienced by me even though my mind is quiet (i.e. sattvic) at the moment. To fix this aspect, I will continue to make my mind abide on self. Besides this, if you can suggest something, please do let me know, if possible.
~ Kind regards, Shiman
Sundari: Hello, Shiman. Aham brahmasmi simply means that you know you are limitless awareness. It does not “come” from anywhere, because there is nowhere that awareness is not. There is no “inside” or “outside,” because it is all you, awareness. By saying “for the first time it came from within” I take to mean it did not come from the ego. There was just the realisation that this is your true nature; awareness shines in the mind and the akandakara vritti appears; this is self-knowledge. The knowledge removes the ignorance of your true nature and then both knowledge and ignorance are gone, leaving only the self. The self does not feel like anything because it is not an object of experience. It is subtler than the experiencer.
This is what Paramarthananda says about the two kinds of bliss, anantum and ananda:
“The Taittiriya Upanishad takes up this question of anantum versus ananda, the two kinds of bliss. In the scriptures both ananda and anantam are used to describe the indescribable brahman. Sathyam jnanam anantam Brahma is one of these definitions, sat chit ananda, referring to atma, another one.”
Paramarthananda now gives the following explanation:
“Sathyam means time-wise limitlessness, anantam means space-wise limitlessness, so he translates ‘sathyam jnanam anantam brahman’ into ‘brahman is the eternal all-pervading consciousness.’ Anantam as a term to describe limitlessness is not sufficient as it does not include time.
“Ananda in ‘sat chit ananda’ again means limitlessness. There are two kinds of ananda: bimbaananda and pratibimbaananda. Bimbaananda is the original ananda, also called atmaananda. It is my nature, always present but not experienceable. It cannot be gained; it is to be claimed and owned.
“Pratibimbaananda is reflected ananda; it can be experienced in a sattvic mind. Translating ananda into ‘bliss’ is reducing ananda to pratibimbaananda, experiential bliss. In the spiritual world you find this mistranslation and misunderstanding all over, especially in yoga.”
Keep your mind focused on the self and you will not go wrong. Keep in mind that self-realisation is the easy part, and it is an experience. Like all experiences, it ends. The effects of ignorance, however, take however long they take to be removed by self-knowledge, so continue your sadhana. Taking the knowledge from the experience and understanding what it means to be awareness in the apparent reality, which is where the jiva lives, is the hard part and is called self-actualisation.
As you experienced, the self does not feel like anything, because it is simply your nature as awareness. It is unmistakeable as supreme confidence, knowing that everything is good, perfect the way it is and nothing that Isvara sends your way could affect you. This can be “lost” if the knowledge is not yet firm.
I am happy for you, Shiman, keep up the dedication to self-inquiry and you will not fail.
~ Om and prem, Sundari