The Realisation of the Absolute
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 5: The Process of Truth-Realisation

The Method of Pure Knowledge

Philosophical investigation and the heart’s innate longing are unanimous in ascertaining that the One Absolute Brahman alone is the Reality. If Brahman is the Truth, all outward forms of experience can only be an appearance. Brahman is not an object to be attained as something which is in space, because it is the Self of all, and not an external entity second to the Self. It is not even the object of knowing, for it alone is the eternal Subject of Knowledge, and the process of knowing is a psychosis which is a phenomenon. There is no such thing as knowing Brahman, because the knower of Brahman cannot separate himself from it. It is not an object of meditation, for meditation is thought, which involves a dualistic functioning, and a dualistic being is not Brahman. Brahman is not reached by thinking of any kind. Brahman is not an object of love, devotion or worship, for all these presuppose relational categories belonging to the changing world, which cannot be the essential Brahman. The Real can never be a matter for dealing in any way. It cannot be seen, heard, understood or known even through millions of years of hard objective effort in the space-time-world. The Absolute transcends every function, becoming and process. It is beyond thought, emotion, will, feeling, sensation, ascertainment, name, form and action. An individual as an individual can never know what is not an individual. We cannot know what we are not in our core. All that we know and experience is not beyond what we are ourselves potentially or manifestly. Every being is locked up within its own experience and it cannot know anything other than itself. Knowing and being are one and the same, and hence, we cannot know a thing without being that thing. All that is external to us is a reflection of our consciousness and there is nothing existent which our consciousness is not, ultimately. Whatever we are, that alone everything is. This extension of the subject to its objects of perception is, however, in the world of the consciousness of relative individuality, psychological, and from the standpoint of Consciousness itself, metaphysical. While the form in which an object is known to a relative subject is peculiar to the modes of its own cognitive organs, the reality that underlies this form is not governed by the categories through which the cognitive organs of the subject operate in knowing that form. The existence of the person who is perceived is not contained in and ruled by the conditions of the objectified consciousness of the person who perceives by being subject to these conditions. The world is not the creation of any particular individual’s thinking process, though all the particulars given of the known object to a knowing subject are what are cast in the moulds of the internal organs of the knowing subject. Though there is an objective reality which is known as having a form by the subject through a psychological modification, it has to be accepted that, as far as the subject is concerned, its experience is its truth, whether or not external objects exist as realities in themselves. When viewing from the level on which a relative subject stands, what becomes clear is that the experiences of that subject which are inseparable from its objective consciousness are its private conditions, and yet, from its viewpoint external objects exist, without admitting which even its own experiences cannot be accounted for. If there is no real object, there cannot be a real subject, too. The degree of reality which is revealed by the subject and which proves its existence is present in its object also, though this relative reality of the object may be sublated when that condition in which the subject perceives this object is sublated through a higher knowledge of a deeper essence of itself. This is the individualistic significance of the dependence of the object on the subject.

But in Consciousness as such, the whole objective nature of the world gets negatived, without even the least trace of the ignorance in the form of the notion of the reality of a second to Consciousness. In Consciousness the universe is transfigured and realised as itself. Whatever is known is Consciousness and not another. Consciousness is the Absolute and therefore no objective reality can be posited in regard to it. Though an objective world equal in reality to the relative subject is known to exist from the standpoint of the subject, whatever be the degree of reality manifested by it, notwithstanding the categories in which it is bound up and of which alone it has the experience, no such external world can exist to Pure Consciousness, for it does not cognise or perceive through the mind or the intellect and the senses, and its experience is immediate, non-relative. It is Self-Knowledge and not knowledge of an object or a state of existence. In the Absolute there is no external consciousness, no objective psychological process, no dualistic reality. In the state of the individual, however, there is subjective experience of an objective reality which has the twofold nature of being the subject’s knowledge or experience of its conditions and the conditions of the external world, and the external world itself independent of the subject’s experiences. This external world is valid to the individual but not to the Absolute.

Thus, the conception of the nature of Reality is a modification of the internal organ which acts within the boundaries of space, time and causation. The moment thought crosses these categories, it is no more thought and there is no cognitive functioning. As long as we feel that we are not Brahman, Brahman to us is only what we think it to be. Hence, all these processes that are meant to lead us to Truth-realisation are limited, and not perfect in themselves. “The Eternal is not reached through the non-eternal” (Katha Up., II. 10). “Just as those who do not know the spot walk over a hidden treasure of gold again and again, but do not find it, even so all these beings go day by day to that Abode of Brahman, but do not find it; for, truly, they are carried astray by what is false” (Chh. Up., VIII. 3. 2). Those who live in the region of thought cannot fathom the depths of the being of Reality.

Since bondage consists in mere ignorance of an existent Fact, liberation consists in Pure Knowledge of Truth. This knowledge is not the apara-vidya or the lower knowledge which is concerned with the thinking process, but para-vidya, the higher knowledge “by which That Imperishable One is attained”, which is the direct immediacy of Self-Identical Consciousness. Pure Knowledge is not a vritti of the manas, but the svarupa of the Atman. It is not so much knowing as being; it is not becoming. One cannot remove wrong knowledge by adoring or loving wrong knowledge, not even by meditating on wrong knowledge. The misconception of the rope as a snake cannot be sublated by meditating on the snake or worshipping the snake. It is knowledge that removes ignorance, fear and pain. Objectless knowledge, free from activity of all kind, is what is meant by that knowledge which brings instantaneous liberation, sadyo-mukti. Brahman is unknowable through means which serve an end. Pure Knowledge is not a means to an end but the end itself. It is not “knowing something”, but simply “Knowledge”. The moment Pure Knowledge dawns, there is a simultaneous and sudden illumination of Existence and the disappearance of nescience and bondage. “By knowing Him alone, one reaches the Immortal; there is no other way to go over there” (Svet. Up., III. 8). Knowledge alone is moksha.

“He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman itself.” —Mun. Up., III. 2. 9.

If a person wants to reach himself, there is no process of walking to himself or approaching himself through any relational functioning. To reach himself is to know himself. Here knowing is not a means to reach himself but knowing itself is reaching. It is like a sleeping man waking up and knowing himself, which is also at once being himself. Means and end are identical in the case of the knowledge of something which is the very being of him who tries to know it. This knowledge is not dependent on the capricious knowing subject, but the nature of the Object, Brahman, which is eternally real. No action which involves an objective modification can sublate the primal ignorance, for such action is not antagonistic to ignorance. Ignorance cannot remove ignorance, even as darkness cannot remove darkness. The method of Pure Knowledge is the absolute way of realising the Absolute. Here the way and the destination are the same. Consciousness, even when it is in the state of apparent limitation, is controlled by the absolute law of its higher real nature which is not within the sphere of an individual necessity. All thought is perforce based on the principle of the Conscious Integration of Existence. Pain is the effect of directing thought against the Absolute Necessity which requires, according to the rule of perfection of existence, each state of the individual consciousness to attune itself to it. Pure Knowledge simply illumines us, but does not require us to do something after that illumination. Pure Knowledge is not an act, for it is not independent of that which is to be known. Even shravana, manana and nididhyasana are not actions in the true sense, for they presuppose the knowledge of that which is their aim. Ascertainment of the nature of Reality is itself the beginning of the process of Truth-realisation. Intellect and intuition are not antagonistic but differ only in the degree and the nature of their comprehension of Truth. The direct knowledge of Reality is the zenith of the experience which has its starting point in the shining of the higher purified intellect. It does not, however, mean that intellectual appreciation of Reality is the goal of philosophy, for the search after Truth does not end here. But it cannot be denied that our perception of Reality has, somehow, a direct bearing on how far we succeed in shaking ourselves free from the conviction that the world of appearance is real. Intellect is lifted up and not nullified in intuition. Viveka is not the intuitional Truth but an intellectual discrimination, and yet, it is this clarified perception that paves the way to the highest experience in intuition. Viveka gets merged in jnana. The intellectual knowledge of Reality is the fundamental requisite for the dissolution of thought in the intuitional wisdom of Truth. Even the mere decisive intelligent grasping of the nature of Truth changes the spirit of man’s life, and his feelings grow deeper, wider and subtler every moment. Intellect is the gateway to intuition. Reason is necessary to justify faith in Truth. Metaphysical acumen is the foundation on which is built the edifice of transcendental Experience of the Absolute. The true philosopher is not a creature of his intellect, but a sage in the making. His method may be classified under three heads in the order of succession, the fourth state being the ultimate realisation itself:

1. Integral Understanding of the Nature of Reality;
2. Repeated assertion of the Integral Understanding;
3. Progressive dissolution of the Integral Thought in Integral Consciousness;
4. Absolute Experience which transcends all relations.

These stages correspond to shravana, manana, nididhyasana and sakshatkara in the terminology of the Vedanta. Each succeeding stage here is the effect of the deepening and the expanding of the preceding stage. Even the integral thought or the infinite psychosis (brahmakara-vritti) of the third stage is only a ‘stage’, a ‘step’ which destroys all ignorance and finally destroys itself, too, in That which is beyond being and non-being, beyond knowledge and ignorance, beyond joy and sorrow, beyond substance, quality and relation, beyond space, time, cause, effect; beyond everything.

“He, who has become the Pure Light by the Peace of Knowledge attained through the affirmation of the Attributeless Being, beholds it.” —Mun. Up., III. 1. 8.

Knowledge of Brahman is not an act, and Brahman is not a result of an action or an effect produced through a change in the being of the one who knows it. The rope that is perceived on the sublation of the ignorance conjuring up the false snake is not the production of any act but is merely the unaffected existence which was such even prior to the negation of the ignorance which appeared in relation to it. The knowledge of Brahman is independent of human endeavour, and so, it cannot be connected with any act which is by nature relative and is always what is known, an external to knowledge, and is never the same as or related to Consciousness which is by nature trans-empirical and unmodifiable. Nor is Brahman related to an act as the object of the act of knowledge, for knowledge is not an action. Knowledge is being. If knowledge is to become an act, then, who is to know this act of knowledge? The attempt to know such a knower would only land one in an infinite regress from which extrication is not possible. Knowledge of Brahman is being Brahman, and this is moksha or Liberation. Moksha is not what is produced, for it is eternal. The realisation of Brahman is the realisation of the Atman or the Inner Self, and since no action can be a help in knowing oneself, moksha or Self-realisation is not the result of any action. Action or movement has a meaning when what is to be reached or effected is outside in space, but is ineffective when what is to be reached is the reacher himself, who is not something which is situated in space or changing in time, i.e., when Consciousness is what is reached and also the reacher. The knower cannot be known through an act of knowledge, and there is no such thing as a knower of a knower or a knower of knowledge. Individualistic knowledge is a mental act, but the Absolute-Knowledge which is Being itself cannot be an act. In knowing an external thing knowledge appears as a mental or an intellectual process, but Brahman is not anything external, and so it cannot be known through any process or act. Knowledge which knows Brahman is Brahman itself; the knower, the knowledge and the known are one in Brahman.

All activity is a manifestation of the defective nature of the imperfect individual. Action which is a means to achieving an unachieved end is incompatible with Perfection which is Supreme Fulfilment. Action is not the essential nature of a thing; it is the agitation of the illusory vestures in which things are shrouded that is called action. It is possible to change the course of an action, but Self-Knowledge is ever unchanging. Action is relative; Knowledge is absolute. Action is dependent on the individual doer; Knowledge is independent of the individual and rests solely on the unchanging object, Brahman, with which it is identical. Knowledge is not subject to the process of producing, obtaining, purifying or modifying as action is and as the results of action are. After an act there is something to be known or attained other than the act; but after attaining Knowledge there is nothing to be done and nothing else to be attained. Action is of the nature of prompting or inciting one to something else outside but Knowledge is Illumination itself which is at once the breaking of the bond of samsara and the experience of the Perfection of the Absolute. The jnana-marga or the Path of Knowledge, because it aims at a fusion of the means and the end in one, is, for those who are not endowed with the necessary equipments, extremely hard to tread, and the difficulty is well pointed out in such references to it as “the razor’s edge”, “the pathless path”, and the like, which show that Knowledge has a unique track of its own which is not what is known to the mind and the intellect working with the material supplied by the senses. “The path of the Knowers is untraceable like the track of birds in the sky and of aquatic beings in water.” As the great Acharya, Sankara, has said, “The intelligent and learned person who is an expert in arguing in favour of Truth and refuting what is false and goes counter to it, who is endowed with the qualities mentioned above, is the one fit for the reception of Self-Knowledge. Only he is said to have the fitness to enquire into and know Brahman, who has the discrimination between the Real and the unreal, whose consciousness is directed away from the unreal, who is possessed of inward composure and the other virtues, and who is yearning for Liberation” (Vivekachudamani, 16, 17). Only those who have a penetrating insight and are perfectly dispassionate can walk the Path of Knowledge.

The Denial and the Affirmation

The above threefold process of Truth-realisation is carried on through the methods of denial and affirmation. The denial is the forced negation of the microcosmic and the macrocosmic objectivity, a transcendence of the superficial phenomenal vestures; of the physical, the vital, the mental, the intellectual and the nescious planes of existence, which, both individually and cosmically, constitute the gross, the subtle and the causal manifestations differing in the degree of the intensity of their objectifying power. All these are denied as

“not this, not this,”

for, That which is the Real is not this which is seen and which appears to create a difference in existence. Even the worship of God outside oneself is not ultimately correct, for here God becomes an object set against a subject. Everything that is an object of knowledge is ultimately unreal, a ‘not-That’, and “he who worships a divinity second to his own self, thinking ‘I am one; he is another’, knows not (the Truth); he is like a sacrificial animal” (Brih. Up., I. 4. 10). “One should adore the Self alone as dear” (Brih. Up., I. 4. 8). Even an objective God is a self-limitation of the Absolute, and so a being existing as the subjective knower of an objective existence and the objective ideal of the subjective devotee. God is the cosmic integration of the physical, the subtle and the causal universe, whereas man is an individual disintegration into the physical, the subtle and the causal body. Hence, both the individual and Ishvara are phenomenal beings, though Ishvara is to a very large extent more real than the individual. Anyway, all objective beings, whether individual or cosmic, are to be denied through the force of the integrating thought which moves towards the Unity of Existence. The Taittiriya Upanishad (II. 8; II. 2-6) explains this method of self-transcendence, where the five objective layers of consciousness are crossed over to the experience of the Absolute. Each internal layer is subtler and more extensive than the external ones and pervades them as their self or very being. Hence, when, through this method of negative assertion aided by faith and reason, all the external consciousness-sheaths are stepped over, the innermost real Self, the Brahman, which includes and transcends all these as their sole Being, is realised. Here, the body and the world are simultaneously negated in all their degrees of manifestation, and thus Reality is experienced in its Essence.

The affirmative method is a direct attempt to identify oneself with the Absolute. It starts with the attunement of oneself with every being of the universe, and then proceeds with the ideas of Eternity, Infinity, Immortality, Immutability, Completeness, Independence and Absoluteness. This is a much bolder method than the negative one, because positivity is always a harder reality than negativity, more difficult to grapple with, and hence a greater amount of courage, perseverance, patience, firmness and severity of will are needed here.

“I am the Absolute”, and “All this is the Absolute”,

are the two forms of the positive assertion of Reality. These are the two stages of Experience-Whole, the latter succeeding the former. The former is in relation to oneself, the individual, and the latter is the conclusive certainty. The former arises in relation to the subjective body, while the latter arises with reference to the whole universe. At first there is the experience “I am the Reality”, and subsequently the greater experience “All is the Reality, I am the All, the Reality alone is.” “Aham brahma asmi” and “sarvam khalu idam brahma” constitute the great affirmative processes of Self-Integration, in which even the infinite psychosis (brahmakaravritti) generated through the first experience is dissolved in the Pure Existence-Consciousness attained through the second experience. This is a sort of attempt at drowning oneself in the Absolute-Consciousness at once by stopping all foreign dualistic thought (vijatiyavrittinirodha) and allowing the essential unifying consciousness to assert itself fully (sajatiyavrittipravaha). Thought gets buried in conscious absoluteness by brushing aside the idea of all multitudinousness and duality. The individual effort ceases at the experience of the infinite psychosis, for this is the beginning of the dissolution of the individual consciousness of separateness in the Consciousness of the Infinite Completeness. Beyond this stage of infinite cognition, it can only be the functioning of the Force of the Truth of Absolute Unity that causes the change of experience; otherwise, such an effortless transformation cannot be explained. Effort is exercised so long as objective integration or the integration of the perceptible universe is effected, but the Absolute-Integration in which the personality or the individual itself is swallowed up into Infinite Being cannot be the effect of any effort on the part of the individual. This is a super-rational mystery, and so not a subject for philosophical discussion.

The ideas of the Absolute Ocean of Light, Power, Wisdom, Bliss, Peace, Unconditioned Plenitude and Unlimited Satisfaction are the ways of positive affirmation. There are numerous sentences in the Upanishads that suggest this process of Truth-realisation. Thought materialises itself into effect through intense affirmation, and a superior and more expanded state of consciousness thus experienced through the affirmation of the super-individualistic Truth helps in unfolding the state immediately beyond it, and thus Absolute Perfection is attained and realised in the end. This is the method of brahmabhyasa or brahmabhavana which brings immediate liberation, here and now. “Here (itself) he experiences Brahman” (Katha Up., VI. 14). “His vital energies do not depart; they merge right here itself” (Brih. Up., IV. 4. 6; III. 2. 11). The Knower of Brahman does not pass through different planes or regions; He is.

The Brahmakara-Vritti

The brahmakara-vritti is the highest expansion of the mind into the Infinite Nature of the Absolute, where the mind is withdrawn from the perception of plurality and duality and is fixed in the perception of the Infinite. It is the supreme state of the mind, the stoppage of all its modifications, where it takes the form of unlimited existence, spaceless and timeless, where nothing exists besides the limitless expanse of Consciousness. It is not a mere feeling of a state of Infinity but a positive immediateness where the thinking subject expands into the Infinite. There is a vanishing of individuality altogether, and there is the cognition of the Essence. It is the spiritual eye, the intuitional vision, obtained through the repeated practice of Absolute-Affirmation. It is the last vritti or psychosis, whose object is its own infinite form, which is not supported by anything else, which has nothing external, which rests solely on the power of its potential and actual contents. Even this experience is to be transcended by the Absolute-Experience which is the Goal of even the brahmakara-vritti, where the vritti destroys itself by itself on account of the exhaustion of its contents through experience, and exists in Identity with the Absolute. Brahma-samstho-amritatvameti:

“He, who is established in Brahman, attains Immortality.” —Chh. Up., II. 23. 1.

The Factor of Devout Meditation

The empirical rationality cannot think too much of its own independence. It is not always that the analytical intellect is guided by right experience, and when not thus guided it often passes along the very edge of a huge fall into self-deceit and delusion. Only a carefully guarded intellect can hold the torch of correct discrimination to help in proceeding rightly along the path to the higher consciousness. Faith seems to transcend the unaided reason. Faith can directly hold on to the truth declared in the Srutis, while the theoretical reason cannot do so without passing through the lower phenomena, a scientific explanation of which is always demanded by the intellect. It wants to understand even delusion and phantasm. The formalistic intellect is a naughty child which will not listen to the words of the elders. It always wishes to be self-dependent. But this autonomous attitude is not always successful, especially when dealing with matters concerned with supersensuous and trans-empirical regions. Reason which goes against the accepted tradition of the intuitional revelations of the Srutis has to be rejected, however just such a reason may appear to be. Reason is meant to strengthen the faith which we have in the Vedic and Upanishadic declarations. If philosophical enquiry arrives at a conclusion different from these, it may well be considered to have been led astray by false shadows. Even in the so-called rationality—except, of course, that rare higher pure reason which is independent of causality and the categories—with which man in the world is ordinarily acquainted, there is, as a matter of fact, hidden behind an element of faith in and devotion and surrender to one’s own convictions and persuasions which are brought about by the relations causing experiences in an individual. It is not the pure independent reason, but instinctive experience, controlling even the lower logical reason which is inseparable from the causal chain and the categories, that forms the ground of the life of an individual. Rationality proceeds from experiences which themselves cannot be accounted for rationally. Sensuous perception forms the basis of the relative reason and the logic which argues in terms of the cause-and-effect-relation. The validity of this perception itself cannot be established by reason. Truly, our sense-experiences befool us every moment and we take pride in running after the mirage. Our yesterday’s reasoned-out facts and beliefs are contradicted by today’s, and today’s by tomorrow’s. Where, then, is the certainty that what we intellectually ascertain and instinctively believe in is not a mistake of the confused mind? The intellectual sifting of empirical categories with great intensity of sincerity and realistic fervour is itself clear proof of how the intellect and the instinct deceive us by making us love and take deep interest in what is to be completely contradicted and negated in a higher and truer eternal experience. Faith in the Ideal as ascertained by intuitive cognition, the Srutis, seems to be the only solace to the individual who cannot directly see the higher light. Upon him shall descend the Grace of the Supreme Being:

“One who is free from the personal will beholds Him and becomes freed from sorrow—through the grace of the Creator (he beholds) the majesty of the Self.” —Katha Up., II. 20.

The innate nature of all discretive beings is to love an external being. An individual cannot live without loving something or some condition which he is not himself. Love for external things is an involuntary internal urge to become unified with everything by filling the gap in one’s being, and, thus, reach Truth-Experience. But this is a vain attempt, for the One Truth is not to be experienced through objective contact of any kind. Man is punished with an objective tendency. “The Creator inflicted the senses with outward activity” (Katha Up., IV. 1) and this cosmic drive is felt in all individuals, in spite of themselves. The mind alone is the true sense of all perceptions, and its pleasure, therefore, lies in objective willing.

Our folly lies in that we allow the mind to run in all directions. The dissipated rays of the mind take interest in countless objects of the universe, both seen and heard. The essential power of the mind manifests itself only when it is centred in infinity as its object. It is the concentrated ray of the sun passing through a lens that burns things focussed through it, not so much the rays that are scattered in all directions. The mind should be concentrated on the One Substance, not localised in space, but filling all existence. This One Substance is the Supreme Being, God, the object of devout meditation. Love for the objects of samsara has a selfish origin and so is a fetter to bind the self to birth, life and death in transmigratory existence. The love for God is a veritable sacrifice of the self to the universal, and is, therefore, redemptive of phenomenal consciousness. The love for the Universal Being is the zenith of love. The ego cannot assert itself, for God is everywhere. The mind cannot modify itself into various psychoses, for, to it, there is no object but God. Wherever it moves, it feels the presence of the One Being. The whole world is clothed with the glory of God. He who is supremely powerful and supremely wise pervades the earth and the heaven at one stretch. The mind, not being fed by sensual food, dies of itself, and the self reaches God, the consummation of all desires and aspirations.

“This is the final Goal; from this they do not return; thus, this is the check (of samsara).” —Prash. Up., I. 10.

This is drowning oneself in Truth-Consciousness. This is plunging into the ocean of bliss. This is taking a bath in the sea of ambrosia. This is drinking deep the immortal essence.

Meditation on the Eternal Being is the supreme form of love. A belief in the degrees of truth and reality is necessitated by the fact that the universe appears to be a gradual materialisation of the Spirit. A completely transcendent being unconnected with the meditator is impossible to be meditated upon, for a negation of duality in the beginning itself brings about a statis of the faculty of thinking, an inert condition which frustrates the meditative process. Meditation starts with duality and ends in Unity, from an adoration of God to the being of God.

The Purusha-Sukta of the Rigveda describes one of the grandest visions of the Supreme Being (Rigveda, X. 90). This is the highest object of spiritual meditation with form. The Vishnu-Sukta says:

“Just as the eye spread in space (sees the expanse), the wise always behold That Vishnu’s Supreme State. The wise Brahmanas who are always spiritually awake, sing of in diverse ways and illuminate this, that Supreme State of Vishnu.” —Rigveda, I. 22. 20, 21.

A later Upanishad (Skanda), mentioning these Rig-verses, says that “this is the teaching of Vedas for the attainment of Salvation, and this is the secret doctrine.” Many other minor Upanishads quote these verses as the substance of their teaching in the end, and this is used also as the colophon of many Vedic hymns. This and the famous hymn of the Purusha, with the Nasadiya-Sukta, are, as it were, the sum and substance of the Vedic vision of the Supreme Being as endowed with the best conceptual qualities carried to the degree of perfection. One of the ways in which meditation on the Supreme Being is practised is through the process of the recession of all effects into the Highest Cause. Earth is dissolved by water, water is dried up by fire, fire is extinguished by air, air is absorbed by space, space is lost in the Virat-Purusha or the God of the universe. Even this Purusha is an expression of the Cosmic Subtle Energy which, again, is an expression of the Cosmic Mind. The Cosmic Mind merges in the Cosmic Intelligence and the Cosmic Intelligence is merged in the Unmanifest, the Indescribable Primordial Nature, Mula-Prakriti, the Undifferentiated Transcendental Power of Objectivity. The overstepping of this final causal state unfolds the Consciousness of Being which is the Absolute, Brahman. This meditation is practised through a progressive transcendence of the lower states with the help of ceaseless and severe persistence in trying to dwell in a deeper and a wider consciousness every moment. Every human being has the power to do this, but it depends upon how far he is successful in satisfying himself that this alone is his sole duty in life.

It would not be out of place to paraphrase here in a nutshell the essence of what Patanjali has said about yoga:

Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind-stuff. This leads to the resting of the Self in its essential nature. The control of the mental modifications is effected through practice and dispassion. Of these, practice is the effort to secure steadiness in meditation. It becomes established when practised for a long time, without any break, and with perfect devotion. Dispassion is the consciousness of mastery arrived at through desirelessness for objects both seen and heard. Higher than that is the desirelessness even for the primal modes of existence, reached through the consciousness of the Self. Success is quick to those whose practice is intense with dispassion. Then comes the attainment of the Inner Consciousness, and also the absence of all obstacles. Practice of Affirmation should be done of the One Reality. Then, the consciousness is filled with Truth. Thus, with the restraint of all mental modifications and impressions, is attained the seedless Super-Consciousness. —Yoga-Sutras: Samadhi-Pada.

For those who cannot meditate on the highest Divinity, Ishvara, Patanjali prescribes meditation on “Dispassioned Ones”, i.e., persons who have realised the Supreme Being. We see in the Upanishads, too, how it was not always that the seekers used to devote themselves to the Pure Absolute, but there were many who contented themselves with relative realisations of cosmic powers, though they were intended to lead them on to the Absolute. Some mystics practise meditation through a twofold process: (1) considering the whole universe as being the One Mass of the Body of the Cosmic Deity which they adore, and (2) perceiving the universe as filled with infinite number of identical forms of the Deity of adoration. Here, the factor which aids Absolute Integration, after attaining objective integration, is the Grace of the Universal Being. Divine Grace is the Consciousness-Pull or the attraction of the part towards the Whole which is more powerful and more real than the part, and the natural spiritual impetus which drives the soul to know itself in essence, when it surrenders its part-consciousness to the Whole-consciousness, i.e., when it crosses the gravitational region of disintegrating and diversifying nature and enters the region of the integrating drive, which, the Power of Truth-Consciousness, has its spiritual gravitational force running towards the absolutely Real Being. The meditator attains progressive salvation, passing through the different planes of the higher consciousness.

The Synthesis

The methods of the Affirmation of the Absolute and the meditation on the Universal Divine Being are not actually much different in their essence. The extreme of rational thinking proclaims that since change and duality are unreal, the factors of objective meditation and divine grace lose their validity. It says that the conscious affirmation of Pure Knowledge is not like meditation on an external God, for the former is non-different from the object of knowledge, while the latter is independent of the object of meditation. In the first case Knowledge is dependent on the essential nature of the object (Vastu-Tantra), and hence self-existent and eternal, whereas, in the second case, meditation is dependent on the idea of the subject (Purusha-Tantra), and hence capricious and phenomenal. The object of Pure Knowledge has its nature connected with it in a relation of simultaneous and immediate identity, while the nature of the object of meditation is connected with the meditator’s thought in a subject-object-relationship and changes according to the desire of the meditator. Hence, meditation becomes only an apology for Pure Knowledge.

The seekers of Truth through the method of Pure Knowledge cannot be many on earth, since such a rigorous ascertainment and assertion requires the brightest intelligence and the purest heart, free from the desire to have any dealing with anything external to the Self. The majority of seekers are suited only to the method of devout meditation on God as conceived of by them. Moreover, the grace of God is a fact of divine revelation due to the force of Truth-Consciousness experienced through the total surrender of the personal will. This practically amounts to what the philosopher-seeker does through Pure Knowledge and absolute disdain for all relational concepts. We do not find, even in the Upanishads, many people, except a few like Sanatkumara and Yajnavalkya, taking recourse to such a strict method of Pure Knowledge in its highest logical sense. The majority of the Vidyas of the Upanishads in general abounds in qualitative meditations on the Absolute, and it is very difficult to find such Vidyas there as devote themselves to the method of realisation of Truth through self-identical Knowledge. Only the Pure Absolutism of Yajnavalkya suggests this method. This shows how rare seekers are who are prepared to remorselessly cut the chain of qualities and relations through the ruthless axe of Pure Knowledge. This immediate Knowledge is with precise reference to the indeterminate absolute Reality, whereas, the meditative process is in relation to the determinate cosmic Reality. As far as practical religion is concerned, the two do not seem to pull man from two opposite sides, but act as the Higher Wisdom and the lower knowledge of the Absolute.

Self-Purification and Discipline

Knowledge and meditation, however, are not possible for one who is worldly, sensual, deluded proud, egoistic and selfish. It is the clean mirror that reflects the shining sun and not the wall built of mud and stone. Love for the Infinite means detachment from all particulars and renunciation of objective indulgence. Renunciation is the denial of the validity of plural and dual consciousness in the light of the truth that “Existence is One”. The discriminative grasping of the nature of the essential existence implies the negation of the state of appearance which is in contradiction to the nature of Reality. An aspiration for higher purposes in life necessitates a transformation and transcendence of lower conditions of limited life. The mortal and the Immortal are set in opposition to each other. The instinctive assertions of the individual ego can never be consistent with the nature of the Absolute. So long as there is faith in the objective nature of the world, there is a loss of the highest purpose in life. There cannot be perfect satisfaction and Divine Life except in the realisation of the Transcendent Presence. It requires a rejection of the form of the world, together with its contents. Likes and dislikes, attractions and repulsions, are distractions which hinder the soul’s progress towards Eternity. The knots of the heart which tie the individual to the earth must be broken before the central court of Reality is stepped into. A complete surrender of selfishness and egoity to the cause of Spiritual Perfection is the condition demanded by the process of Truth-realisation. Truth does not pay heed to lame excuses and twisting of ultimate facts for one’s material good. A refusal to feed the selfish individuality and an expansion of consciousness with an absolute end are what pave the way to one’s Final Liberation.

In the Upanishads we find a scientific and psychological presentation of what is the greatest obstacle to Self-realisation. They classify this under three distinct heads:

“Desire for progeny; Desire for wealth; Desire for world.” —Brih. Up., III. 5.

The first is one of the two vital urges of life, the other being the instinct of self-preservation. It is the expression of the creative impulse said to have been set at work ever since the original creative will of the Universal Being was let loose. Variety is the meaning of manifestation. Every individual force is a copy of the cosmic creative force in a state of riotous degeneration and uncontrollable activity. It is not easy to direct this self-multiplying nature (avidya) unless one starts to work against it with the help of the higher self-integrating Nature (vidya). The seeker of Truth goes to the very root of this self-reproductive energy and compels it to diffuse itself in the Ground-Noumenon. One who lets go the flow of the creative force gets entangled in the endless process of diversifying and multiplying existence and ever remains away from the Consciousness of the Absolute.

Those who have known the spiritual reality refrain from the delusive instinct of creation and hold fast to the Consciousness of Truth.

“Brahmanas, having known that Self, rise above the desire for progeny, desire for wealth, desire for world, and live the life of mendicants.” —Brih. Up., III. 5.

The seekers who austerely transform the objectifying energy into the Conscious Power that causes the blossoming of the self-sense into the objectless Consciousness are the integrated aspirants of the Absolute, whose power is used to carry on profound spiritual meditation. The Chhandogya Upanishad says that, when purity and light are increased, there is a generation of steady consciousness which shatters open the knots of the self. Such glorious aspirants glow with a lustrous spiritual strength which handles with ease even the most formidable forces of nature. They are the heroes who have girt up their loins with the vow of leaping over phenomenon into the Heart of Existence. Love that wants an object is not perfect. True love is never expressed. It simply melts in experience. It is transient affection and defective faith that pour themselves out on objects of sense. Love is spilt on ashes and not ennobled when it is directed to fleeting appearances. True love is self-integrating and not the medium of the interaction of the subject and the object. All energy is creative, but we have to direct it away from diversifying creativity to the unifying one. Avidya and vidya are both the creative powers of the Absolute; only the one is a descent to ignorance and separation, while the other is an ascent to knowledge and unity.

Desire for wealth is the desire for possessions the greed for material gain, which is the effect of the instinctive love for life, the self-preservative impulse of the individual nature. As being is more real than becoming, the desire for self-preservation is a more powerful instinct than self-reproduction. The two are intimately connected with each other. They function mainly through the senses having the water-principle as their source of energy, which are the working channels of the desire for phenomenal existence and formative action. The whole business of ordinary gross life is essentially the one play of the twofold individual nature of protecting and increasing individuality. These positively harmful impulses have their negative phase in indolence and sleep, which is a temporary winding up and an adjournment of the preservative and the creative action, when the senses at work are tired, or when they are denied their objective demands from the external nature. Talkativeness and physical activity are two others of the dynamic forms of the vital creative impulse which takes recourse to violent methods of self-expression when it is not allowed to do its normal function of creation. The stubborn and unsubdued lower creative nature flows out impetuously in a thousand channels and tethers the individual to the social life through creating innumerable relations between the individual and the other contents of the world. The desire to live as an individual and in diversity with relative connections with one another is the whole scene of the worldly life kept up by this mighty process of the disintegrating nature. When such a process is forcedly stopped, there is a general negative reaction of the active forces in the form of bringing forgetfulness of everything by inducing deep sleep in the individual. Sometimes they react with a bursting activity. The task of the aspirant lies, therefore, in a double guarding of himself against positive action and negative inertia.

Desire for world is the desire for one’s own name, fame, power, lordship and enjoyment in this world or in a heavenly world. The first two are born of the high estimation of the greatness of one’s individual being, whereby the hankering for advertising and proclaiming oneself to other individuals and for receiving high praise, honour and exaltation from other individuals is strengthened. This reception of worship of one’s ego is given a further elevated push by the desire to domineer over other individuals and stand above them all, distinctly recognised as great in knowledge and power. This process of egoistic relation with external beings which is used to harden the sense of individual reality is the outcome of the great conceit born of the double misfortune of forgetting the Real and catching the unreal. The height of selfish nature is reached in the craving for great name, wide fame and enormous power, which block the ego-consciousness away from expanding itself into Infinite Consciousness. The original universal momentum of creation and preservation somehow gets perverted and spoilt when it begins to work in the individual which falls too short of the Real. The perversion of Truth actually starts, in one sense, with Ishvara himself, though he remains unfettered through his immense proximity to the Absolute, and especially because of his having no being second to himself, which he may relate himself to. The shedding of tears, however, starts when duality and multiplicity begin to play havoc, and through an extreme of passion and darkness the individual is rendered incapable of knowing what actually is Truth and what its relation is to the world and its contents. The omnipotence of the Absolute Nature degrades itself in the individual in the craving for self-exaltation and supremacy over others, which is the effect of the misapprehension of the true relation existing among individuals. The universal natures of omnipresence and omniscience are cast down into the states of clinging to individual life and individual conceit respectively. Infatuated love is the unconscious blind movement along the wrong path of the one bond of integral love that connects beings of the universe into a one whole being of Self-Bliss. The Self-Love of the Universal Being gets degenerated into relational attachments among its individual parts. Selfishness and egoism are the crude rotten forms of the instinct of Eternal Self-Existence misrepresented by the action of the concealing and the distracting power of Reality. The whole drama of phenomenal life is a blind struggle of the disintegrated consciousness to find itself in the truth of the absolute nature of Reality. Life’s struggle cannot cease as long as Absolute Consciousness is not realised, for the eternal nature of Reality will not cease to assert itself in the individual even for a single moment. But the absolute urge appears to be incapable of being answered in the individual so long as it is unable to know the true meaning of the involuntary calls and the higher demands of life given rise to by the phenomenal nature and the Truth-Impetus. The individual’s ignorance of the facts of experience is due to the presence of forces of intense clouding and self-dividing of consciousness, respectively known as avidya or tamas and kama or rajas. The absence of the knowledge of one’s relation to the Absolute Self-Identity of all individuals is the cause of life’s distresses. There is a foolishness in every individual which makes it believe in the manifoldness of the individuals, and thus reap the bitter fruit of transmigratory existence with its dreadful concomitant laws of action and reaction, cause and effect, etc., which turn ceaselessly the endless cycle of the birth and the death of individual states of consciousness. The breaking of this dissipated relation of world-endurance can be affected only through the higher knowledge which soars above the relations of space, time, cause and effect. Without transcending the sway of these phenomenal relations one cannot hope to achieve success in acquiring Pure Knowledge or practising meditation on God. Truly, there is no other relation among individuals than the fullness of the being of a conscious identity of itself. There should be no attitude of an individual towards other individuals except of the awareness of the Self-Identity of Complete Being. There is no ignorance and sorrow as long as the individual is at least an absolute individual, Ishvara, where there is no subject-object-opposition, but misery shows its head the moment duality-consciousness dawns, and multiplicity-consciousness makes matters worse. The evils that are bred by individual thought-relations act as the mala or the dirt that covers the pure consciousness of the Self. The relations themselves are the vikshepa or the tossing force, and the delusion that causes relations is the avarana or the befooling root-ignorance. This dirt, this tossing and this veiling, which are the causes of bondage, have to be removed through the intense practice of Meditation and Knowledge.


The Upanishads lay down that an aspirant after the Absolute should be endowed with

“tranquillity of mind, self-control, cessation from activity, fortitude, faith and concentration of thought.” —Brih Up., IV. 4. 23.

Self-purification, self-discipline and austere penances consist in the negation of individual relations through total self-abnegation and refusal to indulge in subject-object-relationship. The difficulty of this achievement is well warned about:

“A sharpened edge of a razor, hard to tread, a difficult path is this”;and therefore we are advised: “Arise! Awake! Obtaining men of wisdom, know (it).” —Katha Up., III. 14.

And further,

“To them belongs that unblemished Abode of Brahman, in whom there is no crookedness and falsehood, nor tricks.” —Prash. Up., I. 16.

“He dries up even to the very roots, who speaks untruth.” —Prash. Up., VI. 1.

“This Atman is attainable through truth, austerity, perfect knowledge, self-restraint, unremittingly (practised).” —Mund. Up., III. 1. 5.

The Upanishads are never tired of emphasising that truth (satya) and self-restraint (brahmacharya) are the most important of the accessories to Purity and Knowledge. We find them almost everywhere suggesting that Brahman is reached through brahmacharya. Prajapati’s instructions to gods, men and demons, who, by nature, have an excess of passion, greed and anger in them respectively, lay down “self-restraint (continence), charity and compassion” as the remedies for these three propensities (Brih. Up., V. 2). Complete world-renunciation also is suggested in the statements: “Brahmanas who know the Self wander as mendicants,” and “practise penance in forests, living on alms.” The scholar is asked to “become disgusted with learning and desire to live as a child”, and then to “get disgusted even with the childlike state” and “become a sage”, and then, again, to “transcend the states of both sagehood and non-sage-hood” and “become a Brahmana (Knower of Brahman).” “Everything is dear for the love of the Self,” and hence, towards all that is seen and heard a total indifference should be developed. In the Infinite, nothing else is seen, nothing else is heard, nothing else is known. When the self is emptied, the Absolute shall fill it with itself. “All the desires that are lodged in the heart should be plucked out” and “the five senses of knowledge should cease together with the mind, and the intellect should not function.” “Not he who has not ceased from bad conduct, not he who is not tranquil, not he who is not composed in mind, can attain Him through intelligence.”

The realisation of the worthlessness of having any connection with the objects of the universe is a single fatal stroke on all evil conduct. An action or a thing cannot be judged through its objective worth. Material prosperity does not become the criterion of truth and justice. “There is no hope of Immortality through wealth.” The true worth of a person or a thing does not depend upon what he or it appears to others. Nothing achieved by a person, however praiseworthy and grand it may seem, is worth a farthing, if he has no knowledge of Truth. “If one is to perform sacrifices and worship and undergo penance in this world even for many thousands of years, without knowing that Imperishable Being, transient indeed is what he has done.” The seeker should not be cheated by the joyous beauty and the dignified life of the sense-world. Where there is no cat, rat is the king. As long as the oceanic flood of the Consciousness of Brahman does not uproot the tree of samsara, the world seems to be an adamantine truth. A thoughtful person should discriminate that his ability, his greatness, his power, his different desires and ambitions are to be spread out in the realm of the indestructible Reality and not in this world of mortals, not even in the heaven of the gods. Such separative temptations should be checked and transformed to constitute a force that reveals the Inner Essence of life. This dispassion is cultivated through the discernment of the non-different nature of the subject and the object. The indifference to the perceptible variety should always be born of an intelligent conviction of truth and not of mere failure in life. True renunciation is inseparable from an intense love for the Real. Dispassion for relative life means a passion for what is absolutely true. The distaste for phenomenal life is the desire for self-integration and mystic introversion.

It is not possible to transcend finite life unless the seeker rejects all changing forms and boycotts the natural flow of the current of manifestation. The more complete the work of the manifesting nature, the more is the Truth hidden from view. The secret of triumphing over the overwhelming expressional habit of life lies in the firm holding back of the objective current. The rule of self-control does not spare the expression of even the highest intellect. Even a brilliant exposition of the nature of the Metaphysical Reality is not without the taint of some lack of restraint on the part of the philosopher. Truth is mercilessly just and exact and is not favourably disposed to even the least lapse from itself. Brahmacharya is a “categorical imperative”, which, in the Chhandogya Upanishad (VIII. 5), is stated to be not merely the generally understood student-period of continence and study of the Vedas under a preceptor, but the entire course of life of the Brahmana, regarded as the way to the realisation of the Self. The Anu-Gita says that a brahmachari is one who has effected complete self-control, who rests in Brahman, and who moves about in the world as a form of Brahman. He is a votary of perfect non-injury and love. Compassion is the process of the Self-fulfilment of the essential Spirit through a spontaneous outflow of itself towards egoless conscious beings. The man of self-control is circumspect about the evil one who often comes even in the garb of holiness and piety. His spiritual eye is always open.

The seeker may, if necessary, know the different methods of approaching the Absolute, to clear his doubts regarding ultimate facts. But it is not always without the danger of confusing the aspirant about fundamental matters. No philosopher has ever been able to standardise the way to the realisation of Brahman. There are always what are called “ultimate doubts” which no human being can clear. Even if there are millions of methods differing from one another, they become one when extended to their own absolutes. The Absolute is one, whatever be its nature. It is best, therefore, for every seeker to take to one method and go on with it until its own absolute is reached. It will be realised that the absolute of one is the Absolute of all. “As water rained upon narrow passages runs here and there along mountains, so he who perceives many dharmas separately runs with them alone” (Katha Up., IV. 14). It is the nature of the Infinite Reality to appear to be accessible through infinite ways, each being true when it proceeds to the Infinite, and “as pure water poured into pure (water) becomes like that (pure water) itself, so becomes the self of the seer who has knowledge” (Katha Up., IV. 15). Clearsightedness, passionlessness, serenity, self-restraint. indifference to the world, fortitude, faith, collectedness of mind and yearning for liberation from bondage are the prerequisites of spiritual meditation.

The Preceptor and the Disciple

However intelligent the seeker may be, it is not possible, except in the very rare cases of the perfected unworldly beings, for him to grasp the exact technique of meditation on the Ideal of Attainment. Spiritual knowledge is imparted with the best result, not so much through the precision of reason and logic, as by image, art and beauty. It is the change of the feelings of the heart and not merely of the understandings of the intellect that touches the being of the inner man. Adhyatma-Vidya is the science of the innermost essence of the universe, and it does not come under the intellectual categories of objective discernment. The teachings of the sages have all had the conspicuous characteristic of appealing to the whole nature of a person, not merely to an aspect of him. The highest teachings are accomplished in the language of the heart of man. The troubles of life are not alleviated through flowery expressions and subtle hair-splitting. The cause of sorrow is rooted in the very make-up of the individual and not only in his superficial coatings. The inner disease is not cured by washing simply the outer shirt. The root of illness has to be dug out.

The best performance always becomes possible when both the subject and the object effect a conscious interaction, not so much when the effort is exercised by the subject alone. Mind is objectified universal consciousness. The conscious subject and the conscious object are both consciousness-stresses differing only in the degree of the subtlety and the expansiveness of their condition. Each higher, subtler and more expansive state is more potent and inclusive than the lower. No action or event is completely subjective or completely objective in the lower limited sense of their individuality. The truth is midway between the two. Action and reaction are the subjective and the objective forces simultaneously working, each being intimately connected with the other. The external and the internal are the two complementary phases of the one whole being. There is no purpose served when there is eye to see but no light, or, when there is light but no eye to see. The contact of both effects perception. If entire individual subjectivity were the truth, the individual would have been the absolute lord of the universe, and, if entire objectivity were the truth, no individual could attain liberation, and freedom would be a chimera. The subject and the object have, therefore, equal shares in determining the effect of their interaction. The internal and the external forms of the one power of being blend together to produce an effect.

This fact well explains the wonderful process of the teacher’s imparting of knowledge to the disciple. The transformation of the consciousness of the disciple is the joint action of the receptive capacity and the conscious exertion of the disciple and the consciousness-force of the teacher sending it forth. The teacher should be

“a shrotriya and a brahmanishtha.” —Mund. Up., I. 2. 12.

The more potent spiritual energy of the teacher is infused into the less purified mental state of the disciple which results in the dispelling of the darkness and the enlightening of the mind of the latter. The consciousness of the teacher enters the dark corner in the disciple who bears it with the strength of truth and purity and receives it to the extent his mind is purged of rajas and tamas.

We hear of earnest seekers going to a teacher and imploring,

Adhihi bhagavo brahma,”

“O great sire, teach me Brahman.” Bhrigu learnt Brahma-Vidya from his teacher, Varuna, Nachiketas from Yama, Sukesha and others from Pippalada, Shaunaka from Angiras, Svetaketu from Uddalaka, Narada from Sanatkumara, Indra from Prajapati, Maitreyi from Yajnavalkya. The disciples are generally asked to observe silence and continence in sequestration for many years before being initiated into the sacred truth. They had a great joy in leading a natural life in isolated places, practising spiritual penance. The transcendental mystery is not easy to be contemplated upon amidst the distracting bustle of social life. The distant forests, thick and green, away from the touch of the air of the business of worldly life, have ever since ages managed to attract lovers of silence and peace. The forests breathe a new life, unknown to the common man, and speak in the language of eternity. They seem to be happily unaware of the revolting forces and the brute conflicts in nature which man so much complains of. In these forests, the seekers spend their time in silent meditation, entirely devoted to the Supreme Reality. “Faith, continence, austerity and knowledge” (Prash. Up., I. 10) are the watchwords of these blessed ones who practise Self-integration with iron-determination. The sincere votaries of Truth, equipped with all the spiritually ethical qualifications,

“realising that the Not-Done can never be reached through what is done, getting disgust for the action-bound world,”

went humbly and reverentially to the Preceptor for receiving from him that knowledge which reveals the Imperishable. And to them the glorious Teacher speaks the Knowledge of Brahman. The disciples were “those high-souled ones who had the highest devotion to the Supreme Being, and for their preceptor as much as for the Supreme Being.” To them alone, it is declared, the truth becomes illumined. Uddalaka, illustrating his proposition that only “he who has got a preceptor can know” the Truth, compares the one who is without a spiritual guide to a blindfolded man who may miss his way and reach some other undesirable destination due to his lack of sight. The Mundaka Upanishad says that he who is desirous of real prosperity should worship the knower of the Self. No sophistry of intellect is allowed to hamper the growth of the divine relation that exists between the Guru and the sishya.

“Even the gods had doubt as to this, for truly, it is not easy to be known; very subtle is this matter” —Katha Up., I. 21.

“He is not easy to be known when told by an inferior person, though (He may be) expounded about manifoldly; unless declared by another (who is supremely wise), there is no way (of attaining Him); for He is inconceivably subtler than what is very subtle, and unarguable.” —Katha Up., II. 8.

Even the proud Indra and the great Narada became humble before their teachers. This speaks of the majestic transcendentness of the Absolute, not knowable through easy means. How innocent and simple was that Satyakama who said to his teacher, when asked about his parentage,

“Sire, I do not know this, of what family I am; I asked my mother. She told me in reply: ‘I begot you in my youth, when I was much busy in service, and I, being such, do not know this, of what family you are’.”

Then, the teacher inferred that Satyakama must be a Brahmana, telling him that “a non-Brahmana will not be able to speak thus (the truth)” and accepted him as disciple. Narada bows down and says, “O Lord, I am in sorrow; may the Lord take me across sorrow.”

“Not by reasoning is this knowledge to be attained; instructed about by another, it is easy to be known.” —Katha Up., II. 9.

These make it clear that Self-knowledge cannot be attained by an individual striving for himself in his ignorance independently, without a teacher. None can reach it by his own personal effort, without a proper guide; very mysterious and subtle is it. Book-learning is dead knowledge; the knowledge which directly comes from the teacher is a dynamic consciousness-power. With regard to this it is said:

“The father should speak the knowledge of Brahman to the eldest son or a worthy pupil, not to anyone else; even if one should offer him this sea-girt (earth) filled with its treasures, verily, (he should consider that) this (knowledge) is greater than that; verily, this is greater than that.” —Chh. Up., III. 11. 5.

The initiation is only a matriculation of the pupil in the spiritual current, but the actual effort to soar high into the Absolute is to be exercised by him with the grace of the preceptor through protracted

“meditation which is the firm restraining of the senses, with vigilance and non-pride, for the meditative condition comes and goes.” —Katha Up., VI. 11.

There is no greater error than spiritual pride. Even the state of high meditation is transitory, it passes away quickly. Let there be no pride, no conceit, even if one may feel that he is about to be finally liberated. The light of discrimination should always be kept bright. When the process of practice is perfect, there quickly comes the highest experience of Reality.