LIBERATION:This chapter teaches that Liberation can indeed be obtained by constant and prolonged meditation on the Self in the form of ‘Sivoham’ (I am Siva) which means ‘I am Atman’. The characteristics of Jivanmukti (Liberation in this life) and Videhamukti (Liberation after death) are described. Because the individual self, which is nothing but the mind, has lost the knowledge of its identity with the real Self, and has enmeshed itself in bondage, its search for the Self, its own eternal primal nature, resembles that of the shepherd searching for a lamb which all the time he bears on his own shoulders. However, the Self-oblivious ego, even when once made aware of the Self, does not get Liberation, that is Self-Realization, 32 Words of Grace on account of the obstruction of accumulated mental tendencies. It frequently confuses the body with the Self, forgetting that it is itself in truth the Self. Long-cultivated tendencies can indeed be eradicated by long-continued meditation: ‘I am not the body, the senses, the mind, etc., I am the Self ’. Therefore, the ego, that is the mind, which is nothing but a bundle of tendencies, and which confuses the body with ‘I’, should be subdued, and thus should the supreme liberated State known as Self-Realization be reached after prolonged devotional worship of the divine Self, which is the very Being of all the gods. This self-investigation annihilates the mind, and itself gets destroyed eventually, just as a stick used to stir the funeral pyre is itself finally burnt. This is the state of Liberation. Self, Wisdom, Knowledge, Consciousness, the Absolute and God denote the same thing. Can a man become a high officer by merely once seeing such an officer? He may become one if he strives and equips himself for the position. Similarly, can the ego, which is in bondage as the mind, become the divine Self, simply because it has once glimpsed that it is the Self? Is this not impossible without the destruction of the mind? Can a beggar become a king by merely visiting a king and declaring himself one? Similarly, unless the bond of the mind is cut asunder by prolonged and unbroken meditation, ‘I am the Self, the Absolute’, it is impossible to attain the transcendental State of Bliss, which is identical with the annihilation of the mind. ‘The Self is the Absolute and the Absolute is the Self. The Self is the Absolute alone. That which is covered with husk is paddy, and when de-husked becomes rice. So also, when under bondage of action one is the individual self, and when the veil is removed one shines as the Absolute’. Thus proclaim the scriptures, which further declare: ‘The mind should be drawn within and restrained in the Heart until the ego-sense, which Self-Enquiry 33 sprouts as the ignorant mind, is therein destroyed. This is wisdom and meditation as well; all else is mere lecturing and pedantry’, and, in consonance with this final word, one should fix the mind on Him, be aware of Him and realize Him by every possible endeavour. Just as a Brahmin actor does not forget that he is a Brahmin, whatever part he may be acting, so also a man should not confuse himself with his body, but should have a firm awareness of his being the Self, whatever his activity may be. This awareness will manifest as the mind gets absorbed in its own primal State. Such absorption leads to Bliss Supreme, when the Self reveals itself spontaneously. Then one will not be affected by pleasure and pain, which result from contact with external objects. Everything will be perceived without attachment, as in a dream. Such thoughts as ‘Is this good or that?’ ‘Is this to be done or that?’ should not be allowed to arise. Immediately a thought arises, it should be annihilated at its source. If entertained even for a little while, it will hurl one down headlong like a treacherous friend. Can the mind which is fixed in its original State possess an ego-sense or have any problem to solve? Do not such thoughts themselves constitute bondage? Hence when such thoughts arise due to past tendencies, not only should the mind be curbed and turned back to its true State but also it should be made to remain unconcerned and indifferent to external happenings. Is it not due to Self-forgetfulness that such thoughts arise and cause more and more misery? Though the discriminating thought, ‘I am not the doer; all actions are merely the reactions of the body, senses and mind,’ is an aid for turning the mind back to its primal state, nevertheless it is still a thought, but one which is necessary for those minds which are addicted to much thinking. On the other hand, can the mind, fixed unswervingly in the divine Self and remaining unaffected even 34 Words of Grace while engaged in activities, give in to such thoughts as ‘I am the body. I am engaged in work’, or again to the discriminating thought, ‘I am not the doer, these actions are merely reactions of the body, senses and mind’? Gradually one should, by all possible means, try always to be aware of the Self. Everything is achieved if one succeeds in this. Let not the mind be diverted to any other object. One should abide in the Self without the sense of being the doer, even when engaged in work born of destiny, like a madman. Have not many devotees achieved much with a detached attitude and firm devotion of this nature? Because the quality of purity (sattva) is the real nature of the mind, clearness like that of the unclouded sky is the characteristic of the mind-expanse. Being stirred up by the quality of activity (rajas) the mind becomes restless and, influenced by darkness (tamas), manifests as the physical world. The mind thus becoming restless on the one hand and appearing as solid matter on the other, the Real is not discerned. Just as fine silk threads cannot be woven with the use of a heavy iron shuttle, or the delicate shades of a work of art be distinguished in the light of a lamp flickering in the wind, so is Realization of Truth impossible with the mind rendered gross by darkness (tamas) and restless by activity (rajas), because Truth is exceedingly subtle and serene. Mind will be cleared of its impurities only by a desireless performance of duties during several births, getting a worthy Master, learning from him and incessantly practising meditation on the Supreme. The transformation of the mind into the world of inert matter due to the quality of darkness (tamas) and its restlessness due to the quality of activity (rajas) will cease. Then the mind regains its subtlety and composure. The Bliss of the Self can manifest only in a mind rendered subtle and steady by assiduous meditation. He who experiences that Bliss is liberated even while still alive. Self-Enquiry 35 When the mind is divested of the qualities of darkness and activity by constant meditation, the Bliss of the Self will clearly manifest within the subtle mind. Yogis gain omniscience by means of such mind-expanse. He alone who has achieved such subtlety of mind and has gained Realization of the Self is Liberated while still alive. The same state has been described in 1 Rama Gita as the Brahman beyond attributes, the one universal undifferentiated Spirit. He who has attained the unbroken eternal State beyond even that, transcending mind and speech, is called videhamukta; that is, when even the aforesaid subtle mind is destroyed, the experience of Bliss as such also ceases. He is drowned and dissolved in the fathomless Ocean of Bliss and is unaware of anything apart. This is videhamukti. There is nothing beyond it. It is the end of all. As one continues to abide as the Self, the experience ‘I am the Supreme Spirit’ grows and becomes natural: the restlessness of the mind and the thought of the world in due course become extinct. Because experience is not possible without the mind, Realization takes place with the subtle mind. Since videhamukti connotes the entire dissolution of even the subtle mind, this State is beyond experience. It is the transcendental State. ‘I am not the body. I am the pure Spirit’ is the clear and indubitable experience of the jivanmukta, that is one who is liberated while yet alive. Nevertheless, if the mind is not totally destroyed, there is the possibility of his becoming apparently unhappy in his incidental association with objects, as ordained by his destiny. He may also appear to the onlooker as not having realized the unbroken eternal Bliss, because his mind seems to be agitated. However, the Bliss of Liberation in life is possible only to the mind made subtle and serene by long continued meditation.