Freedom, Death And Immortality : The Vedic Yoga Perspective — X

In Vedic Yoga perspective, there is this world that includes the man and a world that man includes, behind which apparent existential phenomena, even behind the self which sways with external haps and internal waves, is the unseen subtlemost phenomenal origins of existence : its karma repository, the substratum, its ignorance and truth value, the Nescience and the Godhead. All of these we have considered in our discussion through this series, up until the last part, along with brief overview of paths of our retreat into the unseen and the processes involved thereon.

       In sum, we conclude :

I … Men are free to choose and act but are not free of its consequence, inexorable and real but unseen. The only real freedom one discovers is through releasing the self from its associate karma repository and unburdening it of its adjunct definitions by a name, form and nature which, shockingly, only serve to remove our self from its own truth value.

That ignorance limits our being and orients us to things finite and transient, for experiences that merely pass away and leave us the same hungry and dissatisfied, indulging with satisfaction like crunching on grains of sand, and ever expectant of something else, something more or less.

II … Death has subtexts in our gross and subtle domains that are inconsistent and contradictory. It signifies an end, absolute disappearence of the material body but is without meaning, and is inapplicable, to unseen being. Prana, like energy, is indestructible, as are all things non material : mind, karma, intellect and substratum. 

Ignorance, of the individual self, is an absence of true knowledge; hence, as darkness cannot co-exist with light, ignorance is automatically non existent in the presence of true knowledge of the self. Nescience, on the other hand, co-exists with true knowledge of being, which the Godhead is never without. Hence, Nescience remains as potential, the ultimate unmanifest, with Consciousness Pure. Nescience is true, ignorance is not.

Biological death is absence of the self, which lends consciousness to functioning domains within the body, which form then passes into non existence, being reduced to more fundamental material forms and non material energy.

III … In Vedic Yoga perspective, rebirth and reincarnation of the yet unawakened self is essential corollary to its indestructability, alongwith its moored extension in subtle domains : prana, mind, intellect, karma repository and the substratum.

Each of these moorings are a part of the conditioning package of the ignorant self. As explained, there are paths proper to transcend the subtle domains, not kill, that very broadly involve deep yearning for the Godhead, constant practice of specified values, following a way of life in accord with laid steps, and renunciation of all objects of attachment, gross or subtle, that cloud the memory of being consciousness pure.

Until the self uproots itself from its conditioning, packaged of its own ignorance, it must attach itself to an embryonic form and be reborn into another body, another life with freedom to choose and opportunities to act, and continue with being summed up in karmic impressions from before.

At its next interim end, when its body will lie dead, the self will either have furthered along the evolution scale towards the Godhead or regressed, or transcended entire to attain its identity with memory of being the Consciousness Pure. What it does, and how, is the exclusive business of the self but there is no doubt about what it should : merge, experience and identify with the Godhead. “There is no other way,” the Vedas declare.

IV … Apart from emphasising the contrary nature of respective “stuff” that constitute the self and the non-self adjunct, immortal consciousness and dead matter gross and subtle, the Vedic Yoga perspective offer three helpful insights into the being of man : five sheaths, three great spaces and the three states of being.

The first sheath, farthest from the self, is that of the body that is made or constituted of food. It covers the second sheath, vitality, which is the first subtle extension of the self that flows into and pervades the body. The third sheath is that of mind — outer, that conects with vitality, emotes and wills; middle, where the self doubts and thinks; and, the inner, the intellect, where he knows, which is also the fourth sheath of the self. And fifth is the bliss sheath, where egoism meets its subsuming singularity in its own substratum, the causal or memory ground of consciousness that holds the karma repository and individuation program with constant survival and perpetuation drives and fundamental yearnings to love and be loved. 

The three great spaces are material, mental and causal. The material space is the one in which gross objects exist : bodies big and small, live and inert. It is marked by finitude, limitations, inviolable natural laws, and death.

The mental space extends over a range, between unexamined will and perceived knowledge, with karmic flow into vitality and the outer mind and knowledge flow into the karma repository. Here, the primary law is one of karma, with the force of endlessly streaming, rapidly mutating forms of ignorance, on one part, and the stilling, illumining power of knowledge, on the other. The two meet in the middle mind, offering at once in their wake certain bondage of the self and sure opportunities for freedom of the self, respectively. Nothing ever dies or ends; they can only be transcended with self effort.

The causal space is forever veiled to the individual self. It is virtually an unsurmountable singularity barrier that can be accessed through only upon conscious shedding of individuality, which tantamounts to existential death of the personal self.

It is the rarest of rare aspirant who gathers enough strength and capacity through following the practices of its chosen path, with renunciation of fruits or accruing powers, to win against the survival program embedded in individual being and achieve the breakthrough, filling the self with the memory of it being the Consciousness Pure. It is then difficult to say if the self will remember its former being as an individual, for it is without the means that would enable such memory, and return to reoccupy the body since abandoned. If at all one does, it would be directly facilitated by Nescience, the Great Mother of the universe.

V … Seamless knowledge of the three states of individual being is of huge spiritual value and a crucial milestone in Vedic Yoga perspective. It is an important realisation to know that the self never stops witnessing being through its wakeful, dream and deep sleep states.

The wakeful state underscores the power of gross objects, people and things, over the five sense organs of the individual self : sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The interfacing organs transmit inputs that stimulate or excite vitality, drawing the mind and the self to felt or perceived object. The entire aligning of individual being, and the concerted play, constitutes the habitual object orientation of the self. 

The dream state is primarily a glimpse through impressed memory of past experience, with gross or subtle objects, in present or previous incarnations of the self. Though a projection in its subtle domain, a dream is also a creation by the self — there is no other being than the individual self — in subtle terms. And though constituted of subtle content, the objects created in the dream are experienced as real to the dreaming self, while the dream lasts. The whole experience is like reading a book about oneself including happenings from one’s forgotten past, matters not dealt with consciously enough when they happened, and experience with objects one is more attached to or revulsed by, more afraid of, one loves more and is more pleased by.

While deep asleep, the individual self turns away from every one of its domains, gross and subtle, and identifies with Nescience, the universal vitality adjunct, which keeps the body functioning. Without the light of consciousness of the self, all other domains right upto egoism are enveloped in dark and are rendered inactive. But the witness nature of the self remains uninterrupted. It experiences undifferentiated bliss, with which memory one wakes up to say, “I slept blissfully and was not aware of a thing.”

Commonly, it is relatively easiest to attain the witness mode in wakeful state, when the domain effects line up to reveal the habitual object orientation of the individual self. In dream state, objectivity is realised when awareness issues from the dreamer of the dream, projecting the dream out of its own lucidity and feeling the dream experience on behalf of people and animals in the dream, including the entityhood of inert objects in the dream.

Witness awareness is hardest to realise in deep sleep state. Usually, it first occurs as memory of awareness in the state while one is entering or just coming out of deep sleep. The knowledge then matures with repeat experience, as it happens, and conviction of passive witness awareness in deep sleep deepens. The dawn of seamless knowledge of being, through the three states, is major milestone whereupon the the individual self easily retains witness consciousness, with reversed orientation, across all the three states, enroute to total transcendence from its individuality and its domains.

*

This brings to the end of this part and, as of now, completes the series on Vedic Yoga perspective.

AUM !

May we be protected (both the teacher and the pupil).

May we be nourished (with that same spring of true knowledge).

May we together work with vigour (to purify our being adjuncts for true knowledge of the self to reflect).

May our study enlighten (us with true knowledge of being), and not give rise to mutual hostility.

AUM !

Peace (be upon our gross being).

Peace (be upon our subtle being).

Peace (be upon our causal being).

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