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Vedanta is an impersonal method of self inquiry. The first stage is listening with an open mind, setting aside your personal views. Listening without judgement is difficult but not impossible. If you find yourself deciding whether or not you like what you hear, you are not listening. There is nothing to like or dislike, only something to know. If you listen without prejudice, the words will make complete sense, but if you are only looking for an explanation of reality that fits your views, Vedanta is not for you. If you surrender to this process, you will succeed.

LESSON 11 – The Vision of Non-Duality - Knowledge Yoga

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Relative Knowledge

Relative knowledge can be negated. For example, in terms of our physical world…the planet earth…the law of gravity is a constant. It applies everywhere. But it is not knowledge because there is no gravity in outer space. It is ‘negated’ when we include space. It is ‘relative’ to the context.

We call the structure of the apparent reality knowledge because it is almost as good as self knowledge. This knowledge is to Maya what gravity is to the earth. It consists of twenty four ‘tattvas,’ constant principles operating in the apparent reality: the five elements, the five physiological systems, the five senses plus the five organs of action, mind, intellect, ego and the Causal Body, sometimes called chitta. As long as Maya is manifest they are always present and can be counted as knowledge. When we speak of self knowledge we don’t just mean knowledge of the nature of consciousness we mean understanding these factors and how they relate to the self and to each other. When you understand how the apparently reality functions you are freed of it. This knowledge is tantamount to knowledge of pure consciousness because it negates the apparent reality. It doesn’t negate you obviously. It reveals you. Knowledge of cosmic principles is relative knowledge because it is only good as far as the creation goes. But it is almost as good as self knowledge because with reference to the life of a jiva it is eternal.

Finally, information is the lowest grade of relative knowledge. Information is extremely short-lived knowledge and of no use for inquirers. Yes, it is knowledge that it is four twenty in the afternoon but four twenty knowledge is not knowledge at four twenty one.

Absolute Knowledge

Self knowledge is ‘absolute’ knowledge. It cannot be negated. This means that there is no time or place when the self is not present or not eternal. Therefore you cannot negate self knowledge. Self knowledge is obviously not personal knowledge because the person comes and goes, is born and dies. What is self knowledge? It is knowledge of you. It is impossible to find time or place when/where you do not exist. You cannot negate you.

Vedanta…knowledge yoga…consists of both relative and absolute knowledge. It is both the knowledge you need to prepare yourself for enlightenment and the knowledge that sets you free. See how carefully the teaching has unfolded the preparatory knowledge: motivations, the nature of enlightenment, the need for a means of knowledge, the nature of the means and the qualifications required, the importance of a proven teaching and a proper teacher, the nature of the pure self and the nature of the self as Isvara, the Creator and the giver of the results of action, and finally karma/dharma yoga and the nature of the forces operating in the human psyche. We are not cheerleaders trying to get you all fired up, asking you to chant “I want enlightenment and I want it now! Rah, Rah, Rah! Gird your loins and stride onto the field of enlightenment and instantly slay your miserable ego!” We expect you to appreciate the value of knowledge and be inspired to pursue it no matter what.

There are two kinds of self knowledge: direct and indirect. Indirect knowledge is: ‘the self exists.’ This statement implies that it is not me. It means that the self is an object known to me. Most modern teachers…out of ignorance…tell us that they are experiencing the self, as if everyone else wasn’t…and that the experience is enlightenment. This means that their knowledge is indirect because it separates the experiencer from the experienced, which is pure duality. Indirect self knowledge is better than no knowledge but it does not resolve duality. Duality produces suffering because it causes desire and action and makes me result-oriented when I don’t need results to be happy. It causes seeking.

Direct knowledge…I am the self…solves the problem if it is properly assimilated because it destroys desire, frees me of the need to act and stops the seeking.

Seeking Stops when the Knowledge is Firm

The whole point of seeking is to stop seeking. It is easier said than done because seeking has its own beauty and romance. It becomes a vasana. But after a while it loses its cache and produces exhaustion. You want that needy voice that craves enlightenment to shut up. You just want to wake up, kiss your wife, have your cup of cup of coffee, stir the oatmeal, read the paper and be happy for no reason.

Seeking stops when the knowledge is firm. Inquirers don’t seek because we know we are awareness; all that is left is to actualize the knowledge. The more you seek the more confused you get and the less confident you become. If there is a problem it is only lack of confidence in the knowledge. The solution is to surrender to the knowledge and apply it until you are completely confident in it. All actions, including the application of knowledge, have results. The result of any worldly action is always limited but the result of the application of self knowledge is free of limitations. The result is simple: I know that I don’t need anything to be happy. I am OK, no matter what.

Self Inquiry

Vedanta is known as self inquiry. Inquiry means to investigate or to ask. The popular notion, made famous by the recent discovery of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi is to ask the question ‘who am I?’ Since Vedanta states clearly that you are awareness, inquiry is not intended to answer that question. What is the proper question? It is, “how does the identity I have right now jibe with my identity as awareness?” You can determine the nature of your present identity by asking yourself if you believe that the fears and desires motivating your actions are real. If you believe that getting what you want or avoiding what you don’t want will make you whole and complete, you have the wrong idea of who you are. If you know you have the wrong idea of yourself and you really want to be free of your fears and desires, self knowledge is for you. What is self inquiry, then? It is the consistent application of self knowledge to the Subtle Body brought about by discriminating the self from the objects appearing in it. Karma Yoga takes time but the application of self knowledge is the fast track; it kills ignorance-inspired vasanas on the spot.

Vedanta is knowledge yoga. It is a strange yoga as yogas go. One of our sages humorously and provocatively called it ‘the yoga of no-contact,’ an oxymoron if ever there was one, because yoga means contact. The yoga of knowledge is unique among the yogas because it does not speak to the part of you that thinks it is out of contact. It speaks to you as the object of yoga, awareness. In other words, no contact is necessary because you are not apart from yourself.

The Real and the Apparently Real

There is a beautiful and extremely important statement…the essence of Vedanta, in fact…attributed to Shankaracharya, one of the great luminaries of the Vedanta tradition. “Brahma satyam, jagan mithya. Jivo brahmaiva naparah.” It is the essence of self knowledge. I do not mean to trouble you with Sanskrit but please remember Vedanta is an ancient science and Sanskrit is a language that evolved out of the spiritual, not the material, needs of humans.

The first word brahma or brahman is perhaps the most well known Vedantic term. It is similar to the word God and has been used for so long in so many different contexts by people who do not know what it actually means that it has become virtually unusable. It has several meanings, most of which suggest bigness and expansiveness. Over the years a language of nearly pornographic hyperbole has evolved out of the fantasies of experience-oriented mystics around such words, obscuring their simple meaning. Brahman does not refer to a vast, mind-blowing, amazing state of consciousness or a place to which you go ‘never to return.’ There is nothing mystical, unknowable, or complicated about it. It is just you, simple ordinary awareness. You can’t describe it because you can’t describe you. You can say all sorts of words about what happens or has happened to your body and mind because words do reasonably well where objects are concerned. But there is no word to describe you because you are not an object. This does not mean that you are not knowable.

Limitless Does Not Mean Big

There are many words that mean awareness or consciousness, chit and chaitanya, for instance. As it is used in Vedic literature the word brahman generally implies bigness and greatness. But actually it means limitless which also tends to imply vastness and bigness.

One word for the self will not do because there is no way to evaluate what it means. You need many words until there is clarity. If you say ‘you are consciousness’ to the self when it thinks it is an individual, it takes the statement to mean that consciousness is limited…because that is its experience. So it needs to know that it is limitless.

It is Ordinary Awareness

Awareness under the spell of ignorance also needs another word or it will continue to suffer. The other word it needs to hear… and hear well…is ordinary. This fact about you is difficult to assimilate because the ego wants to think it is special. Awareness cannot be extraordinary because there is only one awareness. This is the meaning of non-duality. It seems as if there are many awarenesses when it is viewed through the body because there are many bodies, but there is only one. Electricity manifests as sound in a radio, heat in a heater and light in a bulb, but all are just one electricity flowing through different instruments.

When the self contemplates on its limitlessness and it ordinaryness…there are many more words to be unfolded as we go…it is freed of its sense of limitation and uniqueness. In a way you can say that the self is unique because there is only awareness. But this does not really make it unique because something that is not the self is required to make the self unique and there is only consciousness.

What does limitless mean? Does it mean that when you know who you are you will be able to leap tall skyscrapers with a single bound like superman, bi-locate and heal cancer with a wave of your divine hand? Limitless does not mean big or powerful; it means that awareness is not not limited…by the experiences that present themselves to it. It simply means that experience does not stick to you.

Of course this fact is difficult to accept if you think you are the Subtle Body because experience produces vasanas. As they build up, ‘you’ grow rich in experiences and somehow believe that they all add up to ‘you.’ I have had many varied and interesting experiences but I cannot find one experience that is here now. I am exactly the same awareness today that I was the day I was (apparently) born. Where are all those experienced people, places and events? Where are the millions of feelings and thoughts that I have experienced? I cannot find them. They exist as words in ‘my’ autobiography, a life that I did not create, a life cooked up by Isvara that I watched unfold. What happened is not here. But I am. I am like the sky through which clouds pass. I am not contaminated by what happens to me. I am pure, an ordinary experienceless experiencer.

The statement so far reads, ordinary awareness is limitless. But we need another word to make the self clear. The next word, satyam, means truth. Truth is what always works. Normally we think of the truth as a statement that corresponds to a particular object appearing in awareness. But since objects change this kind of truth is not good in every time and place. Once when I was unfolding this teaching someone told me that ‘THE truth’ was OK but ‘My truth’ was better. There is a truth to the way a limited individual sees reality in terms of negotiating his or her way through the world but it is not good for everyone at all places and times. There are innumerable experiences in life that are not resolved based on the knowledge you have gathered through your own experiences. There are as many ‘my truths’ as there are individuals and when life puts you in a situation with someone else’s truth, particularly someone who you need for some reason, and his or her truth contradicts your truth, your respective truths are often a problem. Or, when you come up against the truth of Isvara, the Creator, your ‘truth’ is often completely unworkable.

The objects in this world are sometimes good and sometimes not, but Truth is always good. You can count on it because it is you. You…the real you…is always loved by you. We know that you are the ultimate good because everything you do, think and feel is for your own sake. Some say they don’t love themselves or that they love others more but it is only true because it pleases them think in this manner. Such statements would only be impressive if ‘others’ actually existed apart from the belief in others. You are the truth. You are all there is. You can only count on yourself.

Satyam also means real or reality. We need to tell you this to negate experience. Anything that changes is not real. This is a challenging statement because it means that all the experiences that I value and pursue amount to nothing more than dream experiences.

You don’t necessarily need all these words unless you need all these words. To practice knowledge yoga is to contemplate continually and deeply on the teachings, discriminating the real from the apparent on a moment to moment basis. Grasping the meaning of one word is as good as grasping the meaning all. We provide many and unfold the meaning of each because ignorance takes many forms and is very clever. I call it the ‘Yeah…but’ monster. It is a cat with nine lives. It does not want to die. You need to be well armed to win the battle. Another important indicator is the word purna. Purna means full, complete. It means that you are full. Why do we use this word? Because this is not how we feel. We feel incomplete because we are ignorant of the truth.

The spiritual world is particularly obsessed with the idea of emptiness, legitimized and popularized by centuries of Buddhist thought. It is based on a particular type of spiritual experience that reveals the insubstantiality of objects. Realizing the emptiness of objects can send the poor ego into a funk of cosmic proportions. If you feel disillusioned and disappointed because life has failed to live up to your expectations, Vedanta reveals the fact that the one who sees emptiness is actually fullness itself. The sense of incompleteness and emptiness…which is just a feeling and not the truth…drives our karma. If I can see that I am not empty and that the objects actually reflect the fullness of my true nature, I can curtail my mad pursuit of objects, slow down and enjoy myself. This fact obviously inspired the famous Biblical statement, “My cup runneth over.”

Purna also means a partless whole. You are a fullness that is not made up of parts. Most of us think that we are an assemblage of parts: body, mind, senses, subconscious mind, self, etc. And, coupled with our knowledge of the impermanence of the world of objects, we are prone to imagine that we are always falling apart. “I have to get myself together,” we think. You do not have to get anything ‘together’ except your thinking. You need only look and see that you are already a partless whole.

Another word for you is kaivalya. It means perfect. Because the world of objects is never seen to be perfectly in line with what we want, we are always trying to perfect it. Because we feel flawed and sinful we are ever trying to perfect ourselves. It is a vain endeavour because realty is perfect in every way. Even what seems to be imperfect…the ever changing world…is actually perfect not only because it is the self but because it leads us to the discovery of our innate perfection.

The obvious objection to the idea that the world is perfect is the presence of evil. But evil does not belong to the creation. The creation is perfect in every way. Ignorance of the perfection of the self and the perfection of the creation produces evil. The obvious objection to the idea that I am perfect is due to the very same ignorance.

Another important word is unconcerned, viragya. It is important to let us know that worry is no longer an option when our knowledge of who we are is hard and fast. The samsaric life is nothing but an endless procession of petty worries; self knowledge puts an end to it.

Although there are many others, these words are enough to take care of brahma satyam for now. Brahma satyam covers the subject, the first half of our experience. It refers to the self. I am real. I am whole and complete non-dual actionless ordinary unconcerned awareness. I witness the experiencer and its experiences.

The second part of the statement, jagan mithya, covers the other half of our experience, the objects appearing in me, the objects that present themselves to me…what I see, know, experience. Jagan means ‘what changes.’ I like to think that it is the root of our word ‘juggler,’ objects in continual motion. Perhaps it is; many Indo-European words have Sanskritic roots. If anyone doubts that experience changes, they are…how can I say this sensitively…intellectually challenged.

The second word, however, is a bit more difficult. Mithya means ‘apparent.’ The objects that present themselves to me are apparently real. Remember, our definition of objects is: anything other than the subject, awareness. It means that the objects seem to be real. This word separates the men from the boys spiritually. Modern teachings finds find themselves firmly in the camp of the boys because they tend to dismiss the world entirely while, oddly enough, addressing non-existent ‘people’ who are in a non-existent ‘world.’ But the objects appearing in you do exist.

They Exist but They are Not Real

The impermanence of objects is only a problem if you believe that you need an object for happiness and you expect the happiness to last. Why? Because the sad fact…or perhaps it is not so sad if the absence of something you abhor makes you happy…is that no experience of an object lasts. The beautiful creation lasts a long time…so you could say it is relatively real with reference to the lifespan of individual jivas, but it is not absolutely real because it comes to an end one fine day. In any case the creation is not a problem. The objects created by ignorance are a problem. These objects are your vasanas. It is easy to understand that they are not real because they change from moment to moment. Objects, subtle and gross have no intrinsic value. Value is added by your vasanas, your likes and dislikes, which you picked up randomly from the world.

Those who claim that the world doesn’t exist make mockery of the very idea of enlightenment and leave us nothing to work with; such ‘teachings’ only arrest the mind for a moment and create a longing to experience something that is apparently unexperienced. They have no meaning because you cannot experience something that does not exist. On the other hand Vedanta’s definition of existence gives us something to work with. Consciousness is existence. It takes the experiencer and what he or she experiences seriously. It is a bit tricky because it says that the experiencer is actually a ‘non-experiencing’ experiencer or better yet, a non-experiencing witness and that experienced objects, including the experiencing witness, reflected awareness, are ‘apparently’ real. This is very subtle and useful knowledge that usually takes time to assimilate.

For example, if I want a relationship I should know that it is not real. Knowing life is not real makes it very interesting. It lets me enjoy it without expecting it to fulfill me. If you go to a movie and identify with the hero who gets the girl and makes a million, you are quite happy…in the theater. But when the show is over you do not expect be rich in love and money when you get home. If I want an object I can pursue it happily…or not pursue it at all. I only pursue objects because I think they are real. Knowing the meaning of ‘apparent’ clarifies my relationship to objects. It is also very useful knowledge because if you know that the person you think you are is not a ‘real’ person, you can stop taking yourself so seriously.

Non-Duality Does Not Mean Sameness

Vedanta offers many illustrations of the relationship of the self and objects, a clay pot for example. The clay and the pot have a peculiar relationship. Even though they are both clay, they are not the same. Non-duality does not mean sameness: equality between you, awareness, and the objects that appear in you, the world of experience.

There is more to non-duality than meets the eye. If it is all one and you are ignorant, then I am also ignorant. But this is not how it is. So we need to understand the word apparent. If you look at reality from the perspective of the pot, you are one with the clay, no doubt. But if you switch perspectives and look at reality from the point of view of the clay, you are not one with the pot. There is more to you than there is to the pot. The pot depends on you, the clay, but you do not depend on the pot. You are pot free. Maya can produce a plate or a cup out of you, a production that does not involve any gain or loss as far as you are concerned. Your nature never changes whereas the nature of the object that depends on you is subject to change. The apparent person that you take to be a real person depends on you, awareness, but you do not depend on that person. When you are illumining deep sleep, that person is nowhere to be found. See the freedom that this understanding implies!

Once the nature of the objects is known, it is very important to know that nothing can be done about the relationship between the subject and the objects appearing in it. It is the unalterable logic of existence. This is why enlightenment is knowledge alone. The freedom lies in the knowledge, not a particular experience because it frees you of dependence on experience for your happiness. Most believe that moksa is freedom for the apparent individual but it is freedom from the apparent individual. The apparent individual is never free. It is part and parcel of Isvara’s matrix of life.

If you look at reality from the individual’s perspective, you will find yourself in a world of constant flux. You will constantly change. You will find it necessary to ‘reinvent yourself’ over and over again. But you can never become free. You will always be dependent on awareness for your existence and on objects for your happiness. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with it, particularly if you understand and accept Isvara, because even though you still take yourself to be a person you will remain more or less stress free. If you take yourself to be an individual and you don’t understand and accept Isvara as your boss, you will believe that you need Isvara’s impermanent objects to complete yourself and consequently you will suffer. You will suffer because in the absence of the knowledge of Isvara, the doer remains in charge. Being a doer is the problem. Although the desire to be free is necessary to jump-start your inquiry, to not acknowledge and take a stand in your true nature is the greatest suffering.

There is one more sentence after brahma satyam jagan mithya. It is: jivo brahmaiva naparah. It means “the Jiva and Brahman are non-different.” Put simply it means that the consciousness that I am is not different from the consciousness in everything...or the consciousness that is everything. I can know that I am consciousness and that the world is not real but what about my relationship to other consciousnesses? There are no other consciousnesses. The consciousness appearing as a plant, animal, microbe or any other human being is exactly the same consciousness that I am. Appreciation of this fact basically removes all conflict because it allows me to identify with all life. It is the basis of compassion. If I can identify with you I will not have problems with you. I will treat you as I treat myself…with love. People are fond of criticising Vedanta as a loveless philosophy but Vedanta is the essence of love. It reveals the fact that love…which is the nature of the self and manifests as identification with objects…is the only valid response to any object, animate or inanimate.

The Key to Liberation: Understanding Awareness, Jiva and Isvara

Discriminating you, awareness, from Jiva and Isvara is the essence of Vedanta. Understanding the discrimination is moksha. In our literature the words jiva, Isvara and self (atma, brahman, paramatma) are used in several often confusing ways so we need to unfold these words a little more carefully.

Here is the key to understanding how you as awareness relate to jiva and Isvara.

Reality, though one, is comprised of three fundamental factors: (1) an apparent person or jiva, the ‘small self’, awareness plus the Subtle Body. It is an experiencing entity; (2) a Causal Body produced by Maya, macrocosmic Ignorance, also known as Isvara. The dharma field is brought into being by Isvara, pure awareness associated with Maya. Isvara is the creator of the experiencing entities and what they experience. Vedanta refers to Isvara as “The Unmanifest” because it cannot be experienced. It is known by inference. (3) the knower of both: pure awareness, the self.

Both the jiva and Isvara enjoy the same identity as awareness. Neither can create because creation is a conscious process and a conscious process obviously requires consciousness. On inquiry both dissolve into awareness because they are impermanent although, as we have said, Isvara is relatively permanent with reference to the lifespan of an individual jiva. Awareness cannot be dismissed because it is ‘permanent.’ Permanent and Impermanent are not actually good words because they imply duality and seemingly set the experiencing jivas apart from the objects of experience. But we need these words and others like them to set up the discrimination that brings about moksa, freedom. Awareness is always prior to and free of the jiva and Isvara, the Subtle and the Causal Bodies. Therefore, there is really only one self or awareness, free of all objects, from which everything arises and into which everything dissolves.

If you have problem with the word impermanent, you can think in terms of another duality: variable and invariable. Both Isvara and jiva are variable factors and awareness is an invariable factor. Isvara only exists with reference to the creation and the creation appears and disappears. Jiva only exists on the microcosmic level and is subject to transformation in so far as it plays the roles of waker, dreamer and deep sleeper.

Here are four verses that establish these three factors:

Chapter 15, verse 16-19 Bhagavad Gita:

Two ‘selves’, one perishable and the other imperishable, exist in the world. The conscious beings and matter are perishable, the Unmanifest is imperishable. But other than these is the Self beyond the ‘selves,’ the limitless, changeless awareness that has entered the three worlds and sustains them. Therefore I (awareness) am renowned as the supreme being. If you know me in this way you become a knower of everything, the self of all.

It means: The apparent self or jiva is not real because it is not always present (think deep sleep) and is always changing. Although it appears to be conscious, it is not actually conscious; it is modified by Maya/ignorance and is perishable because its lifespan in the apparent reality is very brief. Moksa is freedom from the notion of doership and ownership, notions that are the essence of jivas that are identified with the Subtle Body. Identified jivas are also known as human beings or people. Once ignorance of its true nature is removed, the apparent person continues to exist in the apparent reality, although as the self no longer under the spell of ignorance, it is forever free of the notion that it is limited, inadequate and incomplete. It knows it is nameless, formless unconditioned awareness.

Isvara associated with Maya is conscious…although it is not a jiva as the words ‘the supreme being’ in the verse seem to imply…and is not modified by ignorance/Maya. But it too is dependent on awareness. Isvara is conscious because with the appearance of Maya, there is something for awareness to be to be conscious of. Isvara is always present in awareness but it is either manifest or unmanifest with reference to awareness.

Therefore Isvara associated with Maya is not real either. Isvara associated with Maya is eternal or permanent with reference to the jiva and the objects it experiences, but impermanent with reference to awareness. To say that Isvara associated with Maya is eternal with reference to the jiva does not mean that it is limitless because ignorance or Maya only applies to a ‘tiny fraction’ of awareness and because it is resolved back into awareness at the end of the creation cycle. Isvara is just awareness’ power to create. This relationship between Isvara free of Maya and Isvara associated with Maya is similar to an individual in the sense that an individual and its powers are not the same. Isvara is the one that wields the powers. An artist, for example, is more than his or her artistic vasanas and the actions they manifest.

Maya is eternal because it is a power that exists in awareness and awareness is eternal; this is why Maya is said to be beginningless (anadi). Personal ignorance (avidya) ends when the self is realised, ending its cycle of incarnation and suffering but Maya or cosmic ignorance continues unchanged, although it is not always manifest. When ignorance or Maya does manifest, Isvara in its capacity as a creator appears, followed by the apparent creation, the world of sentient beings and insentient elements.

Isvara as Pure Awareness free of its association with Maya is called Paramatman. If you are student of Vedanta or familiar with Vedic literature you will perhaps know that the word Isvara often refers to Paramatma, uncreated non-dual awareness. I have used the word Paramatma to avoid this confusion.

Although Paramatma is called eternal and imperishable, it is neither. Eternal and imperishable infer non-eternal and perishable and since Paramatman is non-dual, it is neither. It is isness, being. It is self knowing and, when objects are present, knows objects. It is prior to and the knower of both the jiva and Isvara. It has no qualities.

As stated, as long as the apparent entity, the jiva, is still embodied in the apparent reality, enlightened or not, it is conditioned by Isvara, the Creator. The liberated person (jivanmukta), who lives in the world of duality, is not affected by it because he or she knows that it is a superimposition and that Isvara, the gunas, is the doer. In so far as this understanding is moksa, the karma yoga sadhana that leads to this understanding no longer obtains, although the karma yoga attitude remains.

Freedom From or Freedom For Jiva?

We said that moksa is freedom from the jiva and freedom for the jiva. The distinction between these three existential factors creates an understanding in the jiva that separates it from its subjectivity and gives it the objective view of Isvara and itself. It makes it clear that the authorship and ownership of everything belongs to Isvara. At the same time it makes it clear that it is not under the control of Isvara because Isvara in its role as creator is not real. How can something that is not real actually create or control anything?

Furthermore, as mentioned, this understanding separates awareness from both Isvara and jiva, the creator and the created. In so doing it makes it clear that its ordinary awareness, which is the essence of its identity, is limitless. The discovery that the self is limitless awareness is moksa, freedom for the jiva. In what way does this understanding come about? Jiva understands that it does not exist unless it is known to exist and the knowledge of its existence is only possible because it is aware. This leads to the conclusion that it is awareness. Try as you might you cannot find two awarenesses.

A jiva that knows that it is limitless awareness is called a jivanmukta, liberated while alive. In reality a jivanmukta is just pure awareness stripped its identification with Isvara and Jiva. Awareness is neither living (jivan) nor is it free (mukta) since both imply duality.

Limitless Bliss

Because there are two apparently different principles in reality…the self and the objects…it is possible to confuse the self with the objects. Samsaric life is nothing but confusing the real and the apparent. We have a technical term for it: ‘mutual superimposition.’

The practice of knowledge is discrimination. Discrimination negates superimposition. Because the self is not known, the gross, subtle and causal bodies are assumed to be real. Taking them to be the self produces suffering because they are only apparently real. You, awareness, are always present and never change. The three bodies change. They are ‘not self.’ They are to be negated until identification with them and attachment to them is dissolved. Negation means that they are understood to be unreal. Knowing they are unreal destroys your identification with them. If you identify with the bodies you will not identify with the self.

When you no longer identify with them, pure non-attachment arises. Non-attachment is not merely the intellectual conviction that the states, bodies, and objects are unreal; it is a sense of limitlessness. You may intellectually appreciate this teaching but until that part of you that does not appreciate it is negated, you need to discriminate until limitlessness…which is always present…is experienced. Moksa means that you know you are free and you experience yourself to be free. It is quite possible to know you are free and still feel limited. The experience of freedom comes gradually as binding vasanas exhaust.

When we say ‘a sense of limitlessness’ and ‘until limitlessness is experienced’ it seems as if we are contradicting the statement that the self cannot be experienced. It cannot be experienced as an object but it is always experienced as myself. Self actualization is rather like ‘conscious sleep’ in that the jiva experiences bliss continually. It is not the bliss that is opposed to suffering. It is the bliss that observes suffering and enjoying. It is just a sense of satisfaction that arises from the knowledge that while suffering and enjoying seem to touch me, they do not actually touch me. If I could not actualize myself and experience my limitlessness as bliss I would not be limitless.

The Five Sheaths

The three bodies are often referred to as sheaths, in the sense that they hide or cover the self. In fact, the self is self-evident and cannot be covered by anything, but attachment to thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations keeps attention on them and not on the self. Although I cannot actually read the words on this page without experiencing the page, my focus on the words keeps me from appreciating the presence of the page. To know the background of my experience, my perceptions, sensations, thoughts and feelings, need to be separated from it. Discrimination is not an experiential separation of the subject from the objects. The self cannot be taken out of the bodies because it was never in them in the first place, although often when the self is realized, it may feel like you are out of your body because we are so deeply accustomed to take the physical body as our point of reference. The discriminative shift is purely in terms of understanding and produces a positive result every time the not-self is dismissed. In fact, the bodies are ‘in’ the self, in the sense that they are within the scope of awareness, not outside it, even though they appear as objects.

Discrimination is not ‘merely intellectual’ as some claim; it impacts on jiva’s experience of life. But ironically, it only works if object experience is negated. To negate experience, you have to have experienced enough of life from the samsaric state of mind to have become disillusioned with the pursuit of experience. Negated experience is not non-existent experience. It is knowing that experience is not real unless it is looked up as the self. If you still entertain doubts about the futility of the pursuit of fulfillment in samsara, discrimination doesn’t work. But if you are doubt-free on this issue, discrimination works.

The negation implied by discrimination is not intellectual either. To simply assert that an object is not real is only a preliminary step. You have to actually refuse to indulge the vasanas pushing or pulling you into experiences until they are rendered non-binding. You may very well know who you are and who you are not, but your binding vasanas do not. And even if they did, they will not go away on their own. You have to destroy them with inquiry if you want the apparent individual that appears in you to be happy. You can be enlightened and have an unhappy jiva, but what is the point? There is nothing intellectual about it. Discrimination has quantifiable experiential results. There is a certain amount of pain because you are resisting desire but every time you negate the not-self, peace and happiness ensue.

To practice discrimination, you dispassionately observe the incessant stream of thinking (and the emotions it produces) that continually emerges from the Causal Body and determine the impact that identification with it has on your life. As inquiry continues, ignorance cannot support itself, unhealthy patterns of living fall away and the mind becomes increasingly quiet. Consistent observation of the content of the Subtle Body will eventually expose the true observer, awareness. In reality, observation is not an action. It is what one is. However, the jiva needs to mimic the self and discriminate at all times until its attachment with the ‘not-self’ is broken. Remember, the jiva is the self plus the Subtle Body so when the Subtle Body is negated the ever-free nature of the self is revealed.

We defined objects earlier as anything other than the subject, awareness. The Five Sheaths teaching (pancha kosa prakriya) enumerates the objects in a logical way. It says that within the physical sheath is the vital sheath; within the vital sheath is the mental sheath; within the mental sheath is the intellect sheath (or the agent sheath) and within it is the bliss or the enjoyer sheath. This succession of one within another apparently covers the self like the layers of an onion conceal the onion’s core.

1. The physical sheath (anamayakosa), is produced from the seed and blood of the parents, is made out of food and grows by food alone. It is not the self, for it does not exist either before birth or after death. Since the body did not exist in the previous birth it could not have produced this birth for that would be an effect without a cause. It is impossible to have an effect without a cause. Unless it exists in a future birth it cannot enjoy the results of action accumulated in this birth, which means that one person could suffer and enjoy the karma of someone else, which is not possible. It is in a state of flux and is a known object.

2. The physiological systems, the vital airs sheath (pranamayakosa), pervade the body and give power and motion to the perceptive and active senses. It is not the self because it is not conscious and is in a constant state of flux and is a known object.

3. The emotional sheath (manomayakosa) causes the ideas of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ with regard to the body, dwelling and offspring. It is not the self because it has desires, is moved by pleasure and pain, is subject to delusion, is fickle and is a known object. This sheath is turned outward. It illumines the physical world through the senses. It collects sense data and presents it to the intellect. It doubts and produces emotions.

4. The intellect (vignanamayakosa) is the reflection of pure awareness and pervades the whole body up to the tips of the fingers and toes in the waking state but disappears in deep sleep, is known as the intellect sheath. It is aware of itself, the ‘subjective’ world. It thinks, remembers, believes, imagines, makes determinations and gives orders. It is also not the self because it is known object and it changes.

Sheaths 3 and 4 are known as the Subtle Body or the Antakarana, the ‘inner instrument.’ It is the instrument of action and enjoyment. As such it is called the doer (karta) and the enjoyer (bhokta).

5. The bliss sheath (anandamayakosa). When the Subtle Body gets what it wants, it turns inward, catches the reflection of the bliss of awareness and merges into ‘conscious sleep.’ This is known as the sheath of bliss. This sheath cannot be the self because it is temporal and a known object. The bliss that reflects in the bliss sheath is eternal, immutable awareness.

These five sheaths account for all jiva’s experiences. Each is identified by certain signature thoughts. For example, there is not one person in existence who has not thought or said, “I walked to the X.” Why is this an expression of self ignorance? Because the ‘I,’ awareness…the self…has no feet and it is everywhere so it cannot go anywhere. What would be the correct sentence? “I observed the body walking.” If you say, “I am hungry and thirsty, you have confused the ‘I’ with the vital air sheath. It is responsible for hunger and thirst. If you say “I am happy or sad” you have owned sensations that do not belong to the self and you are identified with the emotional sheath. The self is free of emotions. If you say, “I think” or “I choose” you are identified with the intellect sheath. The self is thought free. Finally, if you say, “I feel good” you are identified with the bliss sheath.

In each of these examples the “I”, awareness, has confused itself with a particular layer of experience. When you catch yourself identifying with a particular experience…a thought, feeling or action…you should think, “This is not me. It is an object known to me. It is not real because it changes. I am the knower of this object/experience.” In this way, you separate the “I” from the object appearing in it at any moment. Then you turn your attention to awareness.

Epiphanies are experiences that usually separate the “I” from the objects and result in a sense of freedom. But, because the experience is in the realm of time, the separation is short-lived. When the experience ends, the “I” is reconnected to an object and suffering resumes. It is clear that suffering returns because the desire to repeat the experience arises immediately. In fact ignorance often appears during the course of the epiphany in the form of a wish to enjoy the experience permanently. Epiphanies do not permanently destroy self ignorance and identification with objects; they only give temporary relief. Only the persistent application of self knowledge to ignorance as it manifests in the Subtle Body will eradicate ignorance. It is erroneously believed that enlightenment is some sort of timeless experience but desirable spiritual experiences are simply experiences of the bliss sheath which is in time.

The Three States

One of our most sophisticated discriminations involves an analysis of the three states of consciousness and their experiencing entities. The first entity is the waking state ego, the primary identity of everyone. When I say ‘me’ in conversation, I am referring to the waking state entity. The belief that I am a waking state entity comes with the conviction that physical, emotional, and intellectual objects are real.

The Waker

The waking state entity (viswa) is consciousness turned outward, shining through the senses, mind and intellect, illumining their respective objects. The waking state entity is a consumer of experience. Vedanta calls it ‘the one with thirteen mouths.’ The thirteen mouths refer to the ten senses, the mind, the intellect and the ego. These instruments aggressively eat experience. The physical body consumes matter, the five elements in various combinations. The mind devours emotions; the intellect nibbles ideas; and the ego gobbles any experience it believes will make it feel whole, adequate, and happy.

The Dreamer

The dreamer’s consciousness is turned inward, awareness illumining a world similar in some respects to the waking state world and radically different in others. In the dream state, awareness illumines the vasanas playing out as images on the screen of awareness. In the waking state, the vasanas express as the waking state entity’s thoughts and feelings. The waking world is not distorted like the dream world, because the senses structure it. Like the waking state entity, the dreamer believes his or her world is real. The dreamer is equipped with the same instruments for experience as the waking state entity: dream senses to consume dream objects, a dream mind to emote and feel, a dream intellect to think dream thoughts and a dream ego to go about the business of experiencing the dream life. In Sanskrit the dreamer is called taijasa, the ‘shining one,’ to indicate that it is actually awareness. Dreams appear in light, even though the waking senses are inactive, because awareness shines through the dreamer, just as it shines through the waking state entity.

The Sleeper

Sleep is defined as the state, saturated with happiness, where the self does not desire external objects, does not illumine internal objects and is self ignorant. The sleeper is called prajna or undifferentiated consciousness. In the other states, consciousness flows outward and inward but in sleep it is formless. The sleeper ego is extremely subtle, its presence indicated by the fact that we experience limitlessness and bliss. In the waking and dream states, bliss is sporadic because it is broken by many divisions of thought and feeling, but in sleep it is continuous. We know of the sleeper’s experience, because it reports a good sleep after transforming into a waking state entity. Were the waking state entity actually a different ego from the sleeper or the dreamer, it would not recall the experience of sleep or dream. In reality all three are just consciousness.

The deep sleep state is free of both the waking and dream egos and their respective objects, because the vasanas projecting them have become dormant. Hence, it is referred to as the seed state. When the seeds sprout, the sleeper, who is actually the self, seemingly becomes a waking state entity or a dreamer and experiences the appropriate world. Because the gross waking ego is transformed into a very subtle sleep ego when we sleep, we do not think that we are conscious in deep sleep. The subtlety of consciousness in deep sleep (prajna) has erroneously lead metaphysicians to conclude that deep sleep is a void. But it is actually the womb of creation because the waking state entity, the dreamer and their respective worlds emerge, from it. When you wake up in the morning, your whole life is neatly laid out consistent with the day before, which indicates that the experiencer and its karma had simply entered a dormant state. The macrocosmic sleep state is called the Causal Body and contains the vasanas of every living being.

Because of its association with one of the three states of consciousness, non-dual awareness appears to be three distinct entities. Associated with the waking state, it ‘becomes’ a waking state personality, suffering and enjoying the limitations of its world. The dreamer suffers the limitations of the dream world. And the sleeper suffers self-ignorance and limitless bliss. These three states and egos are known to everyone and constitute the totality of experience.

Once these facts have been established, the inquiry begins. If I am the waking ego, which I am convinced I am, what happens to me when I become a sleeper? I willingly surrender everything essential to my idea of myself (my body, mind, intellect, and all my physical possessions) and turn into a mass of limitless awareness. Yet in spite of the pleasure of sleep, I am not content, because I sacrifice my sleep identity to suffer and enjoy the worlds created by my vasanas in waking and dream states. My identity as a dreamer is obviously unsatisfactory, because I consistently leave it to become a sleeper or a waker. So my status as any ego or ego aspect is limited, and my true identity is open to question. Furthermore, if I identify with experiential happiness, I have a problem, because the happiness experienced in sleep disappears in the waking state. Dream happiness dissolves on waking, and waking happiness does not transfer to the sleep or dream states.

The answer to “Who am I” is: I am not any of these experiencing entities. If I am real I have to exist all the time. I cannot suddenly be one thing one minute and something else the next. I experience life as a simple conscious being. In fact, the three ego entities are non-dual awareness, identified with the particular state they are experiencing. Awareness is the witness of the three states.

It is easiest to understand awareness by considering the dream state, because the physical senses are inactive. The dream is playing on the screen of awareness like a movie. Even though physical light is absent and the eyes are closed, the dream ego and the events in which it is participating are clearly illumined. The dream light is awareness functioning as the dreamer, ‘the shining one’. However, ignorance operates in the dream as it does in the waking state. It causes the self to identify with the dream ego and its doings, preventing the realization of the dream light as me, the self.

The self is unknown in the waking state for the same reason. Preoccupied with the happenings in our worlds and minds, we are completely unaware that both the sense objects and our thoughts and feelings are bathed in the light of awareness.

In deep sleep the ego/intellect is dissolved into its source, the dormant seeds of its past actions. It is not aware of the self or anything external. Yet awareness is there, making the experience of bliss possible. And when we wake up we know that we slept, even though we were not there as the waking state entity, because awareness was there.

The three egos are called limiting adjuncts (upadhis). A limiting adjunct apparently conceals the nature of something else. If I put clear water in a colored glass, the water, seen through the glass, appears colored. Similarly when I look at myself through my waking, dream and sleep personalities, I seem to be three distinct entities. However, when I remove the adjunct I can see what I really am. The removal or negation of the three experiencing entities is accomplished by simply knowing they are unreal. In the wake of this understanding, I am free to assume my true identity as awareness, because it is the only other option. Awareness cannot be denied or negated.

Over time, the waking state entity becomes fractured into many sub-identities, adjuncts within an adjunct, so that it is possible to be confronted with a confusing array of selves, none of which are real. Remember, real means enduring, unchanging and unlimited. Because something is experienced does not make it real, the blueness of the sky or a mirage on a desert, for example. With reference to my son, I am a father. With reference to my father, a son. With reference to my wife, I am a husband. To my boss I am an employee. I am devotee with reference to God and a taxpayer with reference to the government. With reference to myself I am a success, failure, victim, victimizer, sports fan, audiophile or any of the thousands of ready-made identities available today. The many often conflicting roles we play as waking egos are limited by each other, other selves playing similar or different roles, and our ideas about the meaning of these selves. Caught in this thicket of identities, is it any wonder I suffer? In the end, spiritual life, no matter what the path, should always boil down to finding out who I am minus all my roles and experiences.

The Opposite Thought

A binding vasana is one that resists the truth. So we need to turn the truth into a binding vasana. When I hear that I am awareness my whole thought system does not agree. It is a little like being two people. One person says, “I am limited, inadequate and incomplete” and the other says “I am limitless awareness. I am capable of dealing with anything life has to offer. Far from being incomplete, I am fullness itself.”

If I know that I am awareness and my mind continues to spout ignorance how enlightened am I? Ignorance and knowledge cannot exist simultaneously. So ignorance has to give way to knowledge…unless I know it is ignorance. If I know it is ignorance I will not identify with it and it will have no power to create suffering. That I take ignorance to be knowledge is the problem, not ignorance per se. If I expose my mind to Vedanta in a dedicated way I will learn the difference between ignorance and knowledge, making it unlikely that I will identify with ignorance.

Ignorance has many forms. For example, the idea that ‘I am unique or special’ is ignorance, because you are just the five elements, mind, intellect, ego, tendencies and awareness like everyone else. The belief that someone other than myself can make me happy is ignorance, because there is not anyone else. The notion that something is right or wrong with the world is ignorance, because the world is only in your mind and your mind is not real. If it is real, where is your mind and the world in deep sleep? Why does the world not bother you when you sleep? The thought that I may get sick and die is ignorance, because what is born dies and what is never born never dies. Since I am awareness, I am never born. Therefore, death has nothing to do with me.

To catalogue all ignorance inspired ideas would take centuries. To make it easy, Self Inquiry has reduced ignorance to a list of one…I am the body-mind-intellect-ego entity…because this is where they all come from. The war with ignorance is not a fair fight at first. Is it reasonable to expect weak little David to knock out great Goliath with a small stone? But it is reasonable for him to take steroids and go to the gym every day and bulk up, giving him a fighting chance. You win the war by consciously substituting the ‘I am complete’ thought for the ‘I am incomplete’ thought when it arises—which it does with every illegitimate fear and desire. Fears and desires are just proxies for the idea that I am incomplete and inadequate. If you feel depressed because you are not getting what you think you want at work or in your relationships, ask yourself who is depressed and who wants the depression to go. Then, with the help of the knowledge: ‘I am the one in whom this depressing feeling is occurring,’ notice the natural separation between you and the feeling. Identify with the one who knows, not the feeling. The feeling dissolves and the vasana that gave rise to it is weakened.

Knowledge is very powerful. Nothing more than the conscious thought of awareness is required to ‘reach’ awareness because you are awareness… even when you think you are someone or something else. Substituting truth for untruth builds a truth vasana, which neutralizes the likes and dislikes that keep us tied to the wheel of action. It will eventually neutralize the ego-doer completely. Nothing can be done to make you complete and whole except to cancel the thinker-feeler-ego-doer. You were complete and whole before your body was born. You are complete when you think you aren’t.

The voice of ignorance is like an entity within. It seems real and conscious. It will find many reasons to sabotage your practice. It will say that it cannot assert the truth because it does not ‘feel right’ to do so. It will tell you that it is dishonest to say that you are free. Aside from the fact that the truth does not feel like anything, except perhaps the absence of suffering, it should be encouraged to take its steroids and pump iron. In other words, it is precisely when you do not feel good that you need to remind—bring the knowledge back to your mind—yourself who you are. Who you are is not a feel good experience, but practicing knowledge feels good.

It is necessary to stand up to the lie, over and over. Substituting the true for the false is not brain washing. It is a continual conversation with your ego. You cannot fail to win the argument if you explain the logic of the teachings to it. Although there is resistance, at some secret place within itself the ego knows that it stands to gain from accepting the knowledge. Patiently win it over.

Self inquiry only works for mature people who desire freedom strongly, have created a lifestyle that allows them to monitor the mind on a moment to moment basis and who know the difference between knowledge and ignorance. It does not work for extroverted people with weak or middling desire for liberation. Neutralizing the doer does not mean that actions are meant to be given up, only that the true source of action is known. The true source of action is not the doer; it is a complex web of impersonal forces illumined by awareness that animate the body mind like a battery animates a toy.

If attention is not properly introverted and the lifestyle is too active, applying the opposite thought will not work. In this case, the mind can be purified with the karma yoga attitude, until it becomes prepared for the direct application of self knowledge.

Those who take enlightenment to be a thought free state dismiss this practice. They say that the presence of any thought, including the thought ‘I am awareness,’ shows that the goal has not been reached. Aside from the fact that enlightenment is not a state of consciousness that can be reached, no thought, including the thought ‘I am a limited ignorant suffering person’, stands in the way of the self, because the self is present before, during and after every thought. It is a different order of reality. If you step on a person’s shadow, the person is not injured. Many discover the self precisely when they are completely identified with the suffering ego. Identification with the idea that the self suffers or enjoys is all that stands in the way of enlightenment. The knowledge just attacks the ignorance that brings on the identification.

The Three Gunas

In the last chapter we discussed how the three gunas affect the assimilation of experience, their relationship to spiritual experience and how knowledge of them can be a powerful purifier. But this teaching has another purpose: to directly discriminate the self from experience. If you are really only interested in liberation, you are not interested in gaining a particular experience or the effect of experience on the experiencer. As we know awareness is experience-free and we also know that experience appears in the form of the three energies. In this discrimination the inquirer simply pays attention to the guna operating in the mind and identifies with the awareness of the guna. Ignorance, of course, would like you to think that ‘you’ are dull and sleepy (tamasic), busy, passionate and agitated (rajasic) or clear, still and happy (sattvic). But you know better so you use self knowledge to separate from the experiencing entity, the Subtle Body, that ignorance insists is you. As always, the guna in play cannot be me because it is known by me. Like all the other discriminations it is simply a way to distinguish my self from the objects…in this case the gunas…appearing in me.


(1) What are the three kinds of knowledge and their objects?

(2) Why is self knowledge ‘absolute’ knowledge?

(3) Is liberation absolute knowledge? Why or why not?

(4) When the jiva is negated as ‘not-self’ does it cease to exist? If so, why?

(5) Is the statement “I am enlightened because I am experiencing the self directly all the time” direct or indirect knowledge? Why or why not?

(6) What is direct knowledge and its benefit?

(7) Why is self inquiry not asking the question ‘who am I?’

(8) What is self inquiry according to Vedanta?

(9) Vedanta says the ‘I’, the self, is limitless. Limitless does not mean big. In what sense is the ‘I’ limitless?

(10) The truth is what is always good. Why are you the truth, not what you believe, think and feel?

(11) The truth is reality. If you know the truth you will not pursue objects for happiness because?

(12) Even if objects were real, give the most compelling reason why you will not pursue them if you know who you really are?

(13) Why will you stop trying to fix yourself when you know who you are?

(14) Why is the teaching that objects are non-existent not true?

(15) Why are objects not real?

(16) Though the subject and the objects are both awareness, why are they not the same?

(17) Why is it not possible to change the subject or the objects?

(18) Isvara, the creator, is conscious of all material objects and sentient beings. Jiva is conscious of its body and environment. Isvara does not depend on jiva even though jiva depends on Isvara. In what way is Isvara dependent?

(19) Why can’t pure original awareness (paramatma) create without the help of Isvara?

(20) Isvara seems to control jiva but it actually doesn’t. Why?

(21) Because a jiva is consciousness and matter it is confused about its true nature. This confusion is called superimposition. How is superimposition removed?

(22) The fruit of self knowledge is limitless bliss. Does this mean that the jiva feels good all the time and never suffers pain?

(23) “I went to the store, I am thirsty, I am happy, I know you,” and “I am blissful” are five common statements jiva makes. Why are they ignorance?

(24) The three state analysis reveals two basic facts. What are they?

(25) The thought I am limited, inadequate and incomplete creates an endless stream of fears and desires. How can the jiva remove this thought?


(1) (a) Absolute knowledge…knowledge of the pure original propertyless self. (b) Relative knowledge….knowledge of the eternal manifest and unmanifest principles in the apparent reality. (c) Information…knowledge that is constantly changing, factual daily knowledge.

(2) Because it is always true. It cannot be negated.

(3) No. Liberation is for the individual who lives in the apparent reality. Without knowledge of the nature of the apparent reality, a person cannot live happily in it?

(4) No. It continues to exist. It is just known to be unreal.

(5) Indirect, because it does not negate the experiencer and it leaves the self as an object of experience. It is spoken from the standpoint of the jiva. However, it would be direct knowledge if it said, “I am enlightened because I am experiencing the self as the self” because this statement is spoken from the standpoint of awareness.

(6) (a) “I am awareness.” (b) It allows the jiva to manage its desires. It eliminates doership. It stops the seeking.

(7) The answer is already known. But the word ‘inquiry’ is meaningful because the inquirer should continually question his relationship to the thoughts arising in the mind to determine if they are in line with self knowledge or ignorance.

(8) It is the consistent application of self knowledge to the Subtle Body brought about by discriminating the self from the objects appearing in it.

(9) It does not modify to the experiences generated out of it.

(10) Because the way I see things is based on my desire to please myself. The desire to please myself means that I love myself before I love anything else, which means that I am what is always good.

(11) (a) Objects are not real. (b) You are happiness, fullness.

(12) Because the self…’I’ am full.

(13) Because I am perfect as I am. Because I know that the part of me that is imperfect is actually mithya…a projection…and since apparent things are not real, they cannot be fixed.

(14) Because we experience objects. You can’t experience something that does not exist.

(15) Because they change from moment to moment. What we know of an object is always on its past.

(16) Because they exist in different orders of reality. The objects depend on the subject but the subject does not depend on the objects.

(17) The subject, consciousness, is immutable and the objects are not real.

(18) (a) Isvara depends on consciousness to create the world and the jivas. (b) The creation has no meaning without the presence of jiva. It is simply consciousness and matter, neither of which have any meaning apart from the jiva. Consciousness doesn’t mean anything because matter doesn’t exist from its standpoint and matter is not conscious so consciousness has no meaning to it, nor does it mean anything to itself. Scripture says that the creation is ‘for the enjoyment of the jivas.’

(19) Because it is non-dual. It cannot be modified.

(20) One unreal thing cannot control another unreal thing. (21) By discrimination, separating the material sheaths from the self.

(22) No. The material part of the jiva suffers pleasure and pain. The self of the jiva is bliss, the confident knowledge that pleasure and pain belong to the material portion.

(23) Because the self is not a doer/enjoyer/experiencer.

(24) The three state analysis reveals two basic facts. What are they? (24) (a) The self is not an experiencing entity. (b) It is the witness of the experiencing entity and its experiences.

(25) By asserting its wholeness and completeness as ever full awareness.