The Ultimate Exhortation of Vedanta- ‘To Be’
There is an ever present, spontaneous, effortless awareness in all beings. This awareness is a dense mass of existence- consciousness – bliss condensed into one. It is self- conscious sentience. That is it is endowed with self awareness which is absolute in nature. When in contact with the mysterious power called mind this very same consciousness cognizes the relative phenomenon of the world.
This awareness is the only entity in this world that is endowed with awareness of itself. As there is no need for another light to illuminate a burning lamp; it illuminates itself; similarly consciousness does never need another consciousness to know itself. This example is mentioned by the most venerable Shankara in his monumental work ‘Atmabodha’.
This consciousness illumines our thoughts, emotions, the feeling of the arrogating ‘I’ and feeling of attachment-‘mine’. The mind and all relative phenomena of the world appear in waking and dream states and disappear in deep sleep, swoon and Samadhi (trance), while the ever present awareness shines resplendently in all these states. In other words all these states are strung together in the unbroken thread of consciousness. Though these states come and go, they alter; the awareness remains the same ever, without any modifications. Our thoughts, actions, emotions, have only limited utility with regard to abidance in the absolute reality. Infact whether we recognize it or not it is an unchallengeable truth that we always, ever abide as that awareness. Knowingly abiding as that one realizes infinite peace and bliss, but one has to agree to the fact that always we abide as THAT. This means that nothing is to be done, to be accomplished to realize peace, for peace is one’s very inherent nature which is ever there. Only it is obstructed (veiled) by the ego and mind. The Self is the seat of all power.
In its mere presence innumerable universes appear are sustained and nourished and merge back. Similarly all actions that we claim to do, our thoughts, emotions occur by the grace of that infinite power that runs this universe. But all problems arise, all turmoil starts when we arrogate that ‘I do’ and create attachment that ‘these are mine’. This hinders the spontaneous peace. The ego is the great spoiler, the spoiler of peace, love and all good things of the world. It is the venom that vitiates the atmosphere. Its hunt for pleasure is cause of all miseries.
Indeed, it is because of the ego or the assumed ‘I’ that we have to seek the Self or God. On negating the ego or personality only the Self remains. The ultimate truth is that nothing besides the Self exists and we are ever THAT alone. When the mind becomes still one realizes one’s spontaneous abidance in the Self. This happens by the grace of the Lord. One is enchanted by the lord’s transcendental beauty and loses his relative consciousness in Him The Holy Bible says ‘Be Still and Know You are THAT’. The Upanishads too speak of this effortless awareness (Realization) which has nothing to do with action. Bhagavan Ramanamaharshi’s cherished exhortation was “Chumma Iru”( Be Silent). Bhagavan Ramsukdas also advocated silence ( chup sadhana)
This is the indescribable sublime greatness of a Brahmana (knower of Brahman) that his greatness neither waxes by karma (action) nor wanes by it.
All sadhana find their consummation in this ‘stillness’. One’s solemn duty is to cherish this awareness. Of course, love for it is inherent in every being. Thus the ultimate exhortation of the Vedas is ‘To Be’.