The multi-tier existential self of man — the I — was analysed in the previous part of this series. It is not the self-in-itself, which is unqualified and absolutely unfeatured; it hence ever surpasses our objective detection and discovery.
What continues to be in our consideration is the existential self of man.
The existential being-for-itself already introduced is forever qualified and featured, gaining subtexts and tertiary qualifiers contributed by its adjunct domain. It is emergent and conscious in its world of gross objects, in the body, in prana or vitality, and in the mind. It is awake to phenomenal effects respective to these domains, some it feels an affinity and few it identifies with : objects, things or people; the whole range of emotion and will; and doubts, thoughts or ideas.
Phenomenally, it must be understood, none of these domains are independent of others. They are in an hierarchy of varying degree of grossness or, inversely, of subtleness relative to the previous gross domain. The material world, the body, is the most gross and mind the subtle most among domains we have discussed so far.
The self is auto-sensed but only as cloaked in its various qualified and featured existential forms proper to the Mind, Prana, Body or worldly domain. The subtler domain in the hierarchy is more subjective or owned by the self than one more gross. It also pervades the gross, allowing the existential self to extend upto the objects or effects in the gross.
For instance, the world includes the body, which pervades the world, whereupon the Body-I extends upto things and people we encounter. Likewise, the body includes the prana or vitality, which pervades it, whereupon the Prana-I extends upto the organs and effects in the body. And prana includes the mind, which pervades it, whereupon the Mind-I extends upto the pranic effects of emotion, will, desire and want.
What pervades the mind ? It is the intellect with its Knowledge-I, the witnessing existential self cloaked only with what it knows, what it has settled as truths with inviolable validity. Urged by curiosity alone, the Intellect pervades the Mind and, through it, the prana that pervades the body which, with its limbs and sense organs, extends into the world of gross objects.
It is important to note this role differentiation as (A) the Doing, Desiring, Experiencing and Thinking Existential Self emergent in mind, prana or body domains and (B) the Knowledge Self, curious and knowledge-centered, which observes without intervening the Experiencing Self, its desires and actions and their happy or miserable consequences, compares the present with previous outcomes for similarities and differences, sums or updates the database of experiences, and sifts up consistently valid truths for itself.
No spiritual quest of man commences except of his tiredness as the Experiencing Self, and without identity with this scrupulously and obsessively truth-searching Knowledge Self. The experiencing existential self is rich in activity and experience, with unceasing series of transitioning facts of the moment, but is ignorant of the inviolable truths pertaining to both the fact and the personal processes involved in experiencing it.
What pervades the intellect ? Bliss, in which the individuated self of man subsumes to unify with the universal. The term is not of the kind that includes happiness or joy. It is a pervasive sensation of ecstasy, complete unburdening and total freedom that floods upon loss of this differentiated identity we have in our sense of ourself. Gone then is the individual person we were; gone too are even traces of this finitude and limitation compulsorily loaded to object oriented awareness; and, gone is the transience pre-booted into beings born to perceive, experience, know, and die.
The greatest of satisfaction, contentment, joy or happiness that humans may feel offers a tiny fractional glimpse of bliss we speak of here. Just as the Knowledge-I of man is marginalised while the experiencing existential self prevails, riding on prana or vitality flares or engaged with an sense-object or occupied in passing thought, the Bliss domain pervading the intellect is not even revealed until the Knowledge-I accesses or chances upon a truth with capacity for infinite expanse.
As a domain, Bliss is the adjunct qualifier, the cloak, of undifferentiated self. The Bliss-I, self proper to the domain, is of another quantumly superior order compared to these many existential individual selves anchored to as many bodies on earth. We might have noticed the gulf between the word “Bliss” as it means in common usage and the hard to describe meaning it signifies in the spiritual context herein explained. To avoid introducing inaccuracies, we will not add an explanatory word to flesh out the Bliss-I-Self common to all living beings. Which is not to say that our discussion on the subject is exhausted.
Though the Bliss-I is the supreme self a man can evolve to be, sans this sense of being a tiny speck separated from others… limited, finite and transient, few have experienced this transcendental truth of ourself.
For now, we conclude that the Bliss-I is ultimate, seemingly suprahuman Truth Value of the existential self of man. We will bring this subject back into our discussion a little later, after revisiting the nature and functions of mind.
… to be continued …