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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1995
by Swami Krishnananda

3. Knowing the Knower

(Darshan given on March 31st, 1995.)

An ashramite: Swamiji, I want to know who is the knower. If it is the knower, then there is somebody to know it.

Swamiji: This world is the known. You are seeing me, so I become a known to you. Otherwise, you will not see that I am existing here.

Ashramite: But consciousness is ignorance.

Swamiji: That means your consciousness is not everywhere. You are only theoretically saying that, but practically you are making a distinction between one and another. But if you are really drowned into that consciousness that it is everywhere, you will never see anybody outside you.

Ashramite: Swamiji, afterwards there is nothing known.

Swamiji: You will know only yourself at that time. But as the mind is not allowing you to feel that which you are describing now, you are still seeing multiplicity. Otherwise, all these people sitting here will look like branches of your body. You will never see anything outside you. It is like the Viratswarupa, which is that only. All this universe becomes like a part of the body of that Cosmic Being, and you will not feel anybody is existing at that time. But the mind is telling you that it is not so because you are so-and-so, you are a person, you have got all sorts of accumulated ideas; you are personality-conscious. Therefore, duality-consciousness comes. Personality-conscious and duality-consciousness are the same thing, but that which you are saying is a theoretical conclusion, and it isn't true.

Ashramite: Really does it exist or not?

Swamiji: For you it exists because you are seeing it. You may say it is not existing, but you will feel that it is there. It is really not existing, but you must really feel that it is not existing. You are thinking that it is not existing, but your feeling is different. There is a difference between thinking and feeling. The feeling says, “I am quite different from everybody.” But the thinking says, “Maybe it is not like that.” If the thinking and feeling join together, it becomes intuition. That requires deep meditation. What you are telling now is to be driven into the feelings so that you will not think anything else afterwards.

Another ashramite: Swamiji, we can state it in this way, how much we think of ourselves, as individuals. We think, and we are aware. This is the consciousness. Thinking ourselves and thinking others go together. The mind is also a faculty of this individuality. The mind expands. The more the mind expands – 'the mind expanding' means myself expanding. So whatever we are saying, it is in me only.

Swamiji: When you are existing, others also exist. You cannot say, “I am existing, and others should not exist.” It is not possible. Are you existing as a person? If you say you are not existing, then others also do not exist. They go together with you. But when you say you are existing, you cannot assert yourself and deny others because the whole world is just like you only. If one thing goes, everything goes. Something going and something else remaining is not possible.

First ashramite: Does existence have an awareness that it exists?

Swamiji: That has got awareness of itself only. It has no other awareness. It cannot be aware of something else because that 'something else' is not there at all. It is a subtle matter.

Ashramite: After salvation of the soul, what happens then?

Swamiji: You become a universal being.

Ashramite: So it knows that it exists.

Swamiji: Does God know that He is existing? If God knows that He exists, then it will be the same thing when liberation takes place. The Universal Being is aware of itself. That is Sat-Chit-Ananda, consciousness of being; that's all. It is not consciousness of becoming, or consciousness of an object. God has no outside object. He is just aware of Himself only, and in that everything is included.

A visitor: Swamiji, should I do asanas?

Swamiji: You can do it if you like, but it is not an essential thing. You can do it, but if you don't want to, you can not do it also. You can do a few asanas, but not so many.

Another ashramite: What is svadharma?

Swamiji: That work which you can do, and which you must do from the point of your understanding and physical strength, is your duty. That which your understanding cannot permit and your physical constitution also cannot permit, that is somebody else's duty. For instance, you cannot become a soldier in the army. That condition doesn't apply to you. Nor can you be a shopkeeper. You cannot be a trader or drive an engine because you are not fitted for that. That duty, that work for which you are wholly fitted, that is your dharma. It is up to you to find out what it is and what you are fitted for. Sva means your own, your own capacity. Your capacity is called sva – intellectual, emotional as well as physical, and from that point of view you must think what you are fit for. Your mind, your intellect, your feeling, your body – they tell you what you are fit for.

Ashramite: So sva doesn't mean the Self.

Swamiji: No, it has no connection with the Self. It is the individual person because the Universal Self doesn't do any work, so it has no connection at all. It is the individual self. There is no dharma for the Universal Self. It is itself only. All these laws, regulations, duty, everything applies to the individual self only. And so you find out from your point of view: “I am this kind of person; this is what I can do, and more than that I cannot do, and if I try to do anything else, it is not fitting for me.”

The position you are occupying in society and your circumstances physically, mentally and emotionally will determine your duty. Are you in England or in America or in India? That also conditions it. What you can do here, you cannot do in Europe because of other external conditions. So all the factors must be considered in order to know what is best for you. Your position in this world determines the duty you have to perform.

Another ashramite: It is written that sannyasins should not take an oil bath.

Swamiji: Every instruction should be taken in its spirit, not in its letter. It is considered as an excessive attention paid to the welfare of the body. As little attention as possible, the minimum attention, may be given, and you need not give luxurious attention to the body. If you are sick, then the application of oil might be necessary, but if you are sturdy and already perfectly well, then it may not be necessary. You should use your common sense to decide what is necessary and what is not necessary.

Dharma does not permit ill health. You must do whatever is necessary to maintain your good health. A sick person cannot do sadhana. So oil or no oil, whatever it is, these are all… You cannot take things as they are literally. Whatever is necessary to maintain mental, emotional, intellectual, physical, integrated health must be done. The body should be healthy, the mind should be alert, and the emotions should be calm. If you can assure these things, then you can do what you want.