Thanks to Prashant Parikh and his blog, we are able to present a PDF document of Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati’s entitled, “Who Am I?”.

Click here to download the PDF of “Who Am I?”

The text of the document is below:

“Who am I?”


Hari Om.


Over the past few months, I have typed Swamiji’s book, word for word, for the benefit of those who may not be able to access this wonderful work. It is the best place to begin for those who are newly acquainted to Vedanta. The language is simple, and quite intuitive. There is bare minimal sanskrit vocabulary, and if you have a basic understanding of English, this is the book for you.

With Guruji’s permission and blessings, here is Swamiji’s book “Who am I?”

Let us begin with an invocation prayer to Saraswati Ma, for the successful completion of this work

sarasvatI namastubhyam varadE kAmarUpiNI |
vidyArambham kariShyAmi sidhirbhavatu me sadA ||



Swami Dayananda is a mahAtmA as well as an outstanding teacher of Vedanta. Swamiji expounds the most profound truths in a simple language, understandable by a layman, thus making a very difficult subject simple. Without departing from the tradition, Swamiji nevertheless communicates the subtle principles of Vedanta in a logical manner which can convince a modern educated man. Superb logic, minute analysis, scholarly depth and an authenticity arising from clarity of the vision – This is Swami Dayananda ji

Gujarat University organized three talks by Swamiji during November 28-30, 1980, under the auspicies of Shri Chhaganlal Gopalaji Sankara darSana lecture series. The topic was “who am I?”. This amazing question forms the very basis of life and in fact, all the endeavours and struggles of man can be traced to an innate desire to get the answer to this question. No knowledge or experience can be gained without “I” being involved in it and so, “I” forms the basis of all the knowledge and experiences in life. The life is understood when “I” is understood. Life gains a new meaning and direction when the “I” is known.

But I am not an isolated entity; I am very much a part of the world and therefore to know the “I”, I should also know the nature of the world. And world is a creation which carries the signature of the creator. So, to understand the world, the nature of the creator or the Lord must also be enquired into

In the three talks, Swamiji presents a clear analysis of the nature of “I” or the individual, the world and the Lord. And these are not three different entities although at the moment that is how I feel. In reality, the individual, the world and the Lord are manifestations of one reality Brahman. So the knowledge of “I” is to know me as Bramhan.

In the three talks, Swamiji presents a clear analysis of the nature of “I” or the individual, the world and the Lord. And these are not three different entities although at the moment that is how I feel. In reality, the individual, the world and the Lord are manifestations of one reality Brahman. So the knowledge of “I” is to know me as Bramhan.

The talks were recorded, transcribed and edited by the sincere students and Seekers at Ahmedabad and were originally published in English by Gujarat University. We are grateful to the University for permitting Sri Gangadhareshwar Trust to reprint the book in English and also to publish it in other languages. This generous attitude on the part of the University will make this beautiful work available to a much wider group of people.

Swami Viditatmananda



1) The Seeker and the Sought

2) The Subject and the Object

3) I, the Awareness

4) The Truth

5) Creation and the Creator

6) The Identity


1. The Seeker and the Sought
Nobody loves division. Any division, psychological division for that matter, yields a cause for conflict and also a lack. When I find myself a seeker seeking something desirable, I cannot rest content being a seeker, for the sought, the desirable is away from me.

The very fact that I seek is because what is to be gained is away from me, is something from which I am apart. And therefore until the sought is gained, the seeking goes on. While I seek, I apprehend a possibility of not getting what I want, and thus there is a fear. And there always are many contenders for the same end and so I have further fears.

Thus a life of seeking is a life of conflicts and strifes. Once the desired end is gained- whatever be the end- for the time being the seeker and sought are no more separate. They fuse into one experience of gain; in the gain of the sought the seeker ceases to be.

The cessation of seeking is what we call the experience of joy, of happiness wherein the seeker-sought fuse into one flame of fulfillment. And so it is clear: a division, a gulf, a separation, a chasm between the seeker and the sought is not something which we can brook, or happily accept.

If we analyze our life and experiences, we discover that we have always been seeking one thing or the other and the “sought” is the most predominant factor in our life. Until the desired end is gained, I cannot rest content. When one end is gained, again I seek. Something else becomes the object of my desire, of my seeking.

When that is gained there is for a moment relaxation, a fulfillment, a relief from sorrow, from conflict, from strife… and again there is another object in the very place where there was one before, as a “sought”. Again I seek. Thus life has been one of seeking desirable ends.

What is looked upon as desirable, as very important at one time, may change, in course of time, to become an underirable thing or a thing to which I am indifferent. As a child also I had sought things; they were only play-things. As I grew up I gave up those ends and in that place I found different ends to seek.

Thus the desires are changing and therefore the objects of desire also change. But one thing that does not change is the “desirer”. The desirer always remains the same

In Indian music, ‘as you know’, there is a tAnpurA behind the vocalist and the tAnpurA sets the Sruti, the pitch. The singer has different rAgas, melodies to sing: now bhupAli, now bhairavI. Like this he goes on changing the melodies. Each melody has its own scales.

The musician improvises new phrases of musical expression within the scales of a given melody, but when he is singing he keeps on changing the expressions. But one thing does not change and that is the Sruti, the pitch that is behind, which we do not hear when the song is being rendered. The Sruti is heard when one rAga ends and before the other begins

And thus the rAgas keep on changing. There are melancholic rAgas, there are hilarious rAgas, there are absorbing rAgas, morning rAgas, evening rAgas- rAga galore. But then one thing that never changes is the Sruti behind. That goes on and on and is satisfied as even the musician is, there is an applause, clapping. Then… the rAga is concluded. There is no singing for the time being.

There is silence and for a few minutes we can hear the tAnpurA that is in the background. In that hushed silence of a fulfilled rAga, we do not hear singing for the time being, but we do pick up the tAnpurA, the Sruti in the background and then afterwards the musician again renders a new rAga.

The word rAga has got several meanings. rAga means a melody. rAga also means a desire, a longing. If we watch our life, we find there is one thing that is constant, like the Sruti behind and, that is, I want… I want… I want… I want.

It is a constant pitch. “what” I want is a rAga; that keeps on changing. That “I want” something does not change; that is Sruti. When I was a child, I wanted marbles, balloons etc. When I grew older I wanted a bicycle, then a scooter and then a house. These are various things which keep on changing. Ragas change.

When the fulfillment of a given desire takes place, we find there is a hushed silence, there is a moment of peace, joy. Call it what you will. And then I pick up the background Sruti, ‘I want… I want…’ Again I look within to see “what” I want. A new rAga is born

The Unspelt Desire

This imagery helps us understand the life of struggles. That I want is always a constant thing; what I want varies from time to time, from individual to individual. I want a particular house. That house is the most covetable thing at the moment. It is ideally situated according to me, and therefore I have an eye on the house.

The house has come for sale and I go in for it. I am happy. My stars have really blessed me. And the other one who sold the house is also equally happy; he got rid of it! Stars have smiled at him too!

By the very fact that there is a buyer and a seller of the same thing, it is very clear that our rAgas vary. The very thing I want is the very thing the other man wants to get rid of. I desire to buy and you desire to sell. Thus our rAgas, our desires differ. But one thing that does not differ at all is that I desire, that you desire

At the bottom of all desires there is one desire, that is an unspelt desire, “I want… I want… I want’ It is an unqualified desire like a simple Sruti which is not a rAga. That I want is an unspelt want, an undefined want, an intangible want. But I definitely know that I want

That “I want” shows, there is an uneasiness about myself. All is not well with me. I want to become a different person, a person who is free from that original want. Whenever my mind enjoys that silence, as I experience at the fulfillment of a desire for the time being; well, at that time I find myself to be one who is not a desirer.

I find myself to be a person who is not wanting. But soon enough I find myself to be a wanting person. There is an uneasiness about myself. There is an all pervasive sense of dissatisfaction which seems to be my the very basis of all my strife and struggle; and according to my likes and dislikes, my desires keep on changing

One man wants to rule the kingdom, the other man wants to get rid of it. There were also kings like Siddhartha, the Buddha, who renounced kingdom. There were great rich men who renounced the property, seeking something, and there were people who wanted the property which the other renounced.

A saint, a renunciate seeks through renunciation- he is also seeking something; the other one is seeking something through getting hold of. Therefore, our scriptures single out this particular problem, discern this particular problem as a human problem. It is not the problem of just any living being;; it is the problem of every human being

There are two types of problems: first problem of a living being is the problem of survival, simple survival- like a plant also wants to survive. If it is growing under the shade of another tree it bends to seek sunlight. It goes all over with its roots in search of the sap, the food to keep itself going. Similarly an animal also wants to survive. Human beings also want to survive. In fact, the urge to survive is common to every living being.

The animals survive without much ado; they are able to survive without a government, without courts, without advocates, without the police etc. Thus the animals struggle to survive and we are also strugging to survive. I want food. I want shelter- these are all ordinary problems- problems of living beings

Then there is the biological urge, which also the animal has. It propagates its species and man also propagates his species. When that is done, then what? Then in fact, after we give him food, give him shelter etc, at the end of the whole thing he will ask, “Now what shall I do?” this is the second problem

This second problem is not the problem of the animal. From the animal’s stand point, I suppose, its life is fulfilled if it is able to survive and propagate. It always lives upto the expectations of nature. Programmed as every animal is, it lives its full life completely.

We do not see an unethical donkey. Even if it happens to kick a man, it has not committed an offence. In fact, the man who got the kick will be laughed at as to why he went behind the donkey. He should know better !


But when it comes to a human being, there is some plus in him which makes him different from other living beings. And that plus factor is the most evolved mind which is perhaps rudimentary in the plants, and relatively more evolved in the animals. In human beings, we find that the mind is highly evolved. It not only makes him conscious of himself. Being independent, he has the freedom to perform an action or not to perform it. Or to perform it differently * (kartu shakyam. akartum shakyam. Anyatha vA kartum shakyam)

If a donkey feels like kicking, whether the person is the owner or someone else, it kicks. A donkey again acts on instinct. We would not call a donkey an independent agent of action, even though it performs the action of kicking.

In colloquial usage we do say, “the donkey kicked” Grammatically the sentence is right. But did the donkey really choose to kick? If it has the freedom of choice then it should meditate, it should deliberate: should I kick this fellow or not? Does he deserve a kick, and if so what kind of a kick? Shall I just threaten him or really kick him? Should I use my left leg or right leg? Such a deliberation does not occur in case of a donkey; it felt like kicking and it kicked

When it comes to a human being, the situation is different. Suppose like a donkey – sometimes man does behave like a donkey – a man feels like kicking. He lifts his right leg and is about to kick the other person. Then all of a sudden he realizes the size of the other man and he quietly withdraws! His reason prevails over instinct, the impulse and he withdraws from the very action he wanted to perform.

This capacity makes him a self conscious being who is capable of choosing his actions, his means. He has the freedom to kick or not to kick or to postpone the action for a more favourable occasion! this freedom, this choice makes him a person who is conscious of himself as an agent of action, who exercises a choice in performing his actions.

It is this self-consciousness which makes man a different being. There is a self- complex too. Naturally since man is conscious of himself he cannot but make a judgment about himself. Since I am conscious of myself, I am aware of myself I begin to look at myself- WHO AM I? and certainly I have a judgment without a question of course. Nobody enquires before making a conclusion.

It is the nature of the intellect to conclude. When I look within, I discover a sense of incompleteness, a sense of limitation. If I see myself as a limited being, a wanting being, naturally I cannot stand myself and therefore I desire to be a different person, so that I can be acceptable to myself.

That is why even after 20 years of marriage this question remains, “do you really love me?” this uestion goes on hanging. Do you know why? Because nobody really accepts himself or herself as an acceptable person and therefore when anybody says “I love you” he or she cannot accept it without a pinch of salt. “How can I be the object of your love?”

Underneath, there is a self condemnation. We have an opinion about ourselves which is not self-edifying or in keeping with our status. It is a self-demeaning opinion and that opinion I cannot avoid as long as I find myself a wanting person; a person with whom all is not well.

It is this problem which is peculiar to the human being by the very fact that the problem exists, it has got to be solved. If there is a problem, there should be a solution too. And it is not that I cannot solve it, because now and then I see myself as an acceptable person in spite of my limitations.

I have physical limitations. I do not have the advantage of a bird which has wings. I do not have the advantage of a dog which has a better sensory perception in terms of smelling. Thus each animal has something peculiar and all these capacities of the animals, I do not possess. Again spatially I am limited. If I am here, I am not elsewhere.

Timewise also I am limited, because there was a time when I was not. And I always wish that I were also born along with Gandhiji so that I would also have become a TyAgi, a renunciate. So I wish I were before. Thus as a human being my perceptive capacities are limited, spatially I am limited, timewise also I am limited. Psychologically I am always limited. Emotionally also I am not always in the same poise. I like and I dislike, I love and I hate, I am quiet and I am agitated. It is not simple disposition of love and sympathy and compassion and mercy. There is a constant change, which limits me psychologically.

My intellectual accomplishments are also limited. The more I come to know, the more I discover the areas of my ignorance and therefore intellectually I am limited. Thus at all the levels- physica, emotional and intellectual- I am limited. But inspite of these limitations I do not see myself a happy person when there is a good turn in my life

Such turns may be few and far between, but they are never denied totally to a human being- however tragic the life may be. As a child when I wanted a balloon and got it from my father, I had a moment of joy. As a youngster when I got a scooter I again had the same moment of joy. There was always a time when I wanted something and I got it. Or even wanting and getting the things, just one fine morning I looked at the sky and the blue sky seems to be beautiful and bright. Well, in the night I see stars. They seem to speak a lot to me and I am happy with the set-up in which I find myself.

Thus without longing for anything, without getting anything, just being where I am I look around. Everything is bright and beautiful and I find myself at peace with the set up in which I am. There are moments when I hear a song which is a meaningful song or a simple melody of music. That simple harmony of sounds brings about a complete resolving of all my conflicts in the mind, and all those rhapsodial music of my mind in that very melody there is a harmony. Mind gets into the rhythm of that very harmony. I find there is absorption and at the end of it I find there is ecstacy, there is joy!

Thus without much struggle I do pick up moments of joy. Who can say “I did not have moments of joy in my life?” and at those moments, please tell me = did this person find himself a wanting person? No. When I pick up a moment of joy do I see myself a seeker still? No. Is there a sought separate from me, the seeker? No. The seeker-sought division just resolves

Some evening when I see the stars in the blue sky I am happy. There is duality. I am the seer and the star is seen. When I see the star and find that I am happy, is there a division? Well, there is a duality no doubt, but no division. A star is seen and there is a seer of the star. But the seer-seen seem to merge, resolve into one flame of joyous experience and this is what we call advaita. Advaita is not the denial of duality; it is an experience of resolving the division, the seeker-sought division, the wanting-wanted division

When I see the toothless mouth of a laughing child there is an object seen. In that open mouth I see the heavens! The setup, the situation is there. There is a joy. There is a clearance of all my conflicts and thus I experience an absence of division in spite of duality.

I do not take the child as myself. I see the child laughing for no reason, lying on its back looking at the ceiling. It goes on laughing when I look at that child I too laugh for no reason. Just an innocent laughter. I myself become a child looking at the child because a child laughs not for a joke.

The child laughs not for any great achievements. The child just lies on its back and looking at the ceiling goes on laughing. For what? My God, I do not know. The laughter comes from somewhere. Eventhough my heart is so heavy with all its burdens, somehow all the burdens clear up and I too laugh alongside the child. What a relief!

Similarly the sight of the stars, or hearing the music- such a setup as this does not really seem to destroy my joy, my happiness. Do you know why? Because there is a harmony. There is no division. The seer-seen duality does remain, but there is no division of the seeker and the sought.

If I wanted that child to be different I could not have laughed at it or laughed with it. If I wanted the sky to be different I would not have been happy with the sky. If I wanted the sun to be different at the time of sunset, I could not have been happy with the sunset.

How can I be happy with the setup when I want it to be different? I am happy only when I do not want a setup to be different from what it is. For then, there is no seeker, there is no sought. Thus in spite of all my limitations, I see myself, at such moments, as a person who is free. How can I then give up the hope, the struggle to be free, to be happy?


Experientially, if I did not have the knowledge of being free, of being happy, I would not have been able to come to a judgment that I am unhappy. Nor could I ever say that all is not well with me. To make a judgment, I must have a norm. No judgment can be made without. An action is lawful or unlawful if there is a law. If there is no law, there is nothing lawful or unlawful. If I do not have the norm, I cannot judge whether something is good or bad

To judge, I must know what the standard is. Let us take the example of coffee. If I have a standard cup of coffee in my mind, I can judge whether this coffee that I am sipping is good coffee or bad coffee. If I have no standard for coffee in my view, how can I make a judgment about it?

If this is the first time that I am tasting coffee and the host asks me “how do you like this coffee” I would say “This is the first cup of coffee I am taking and I cannot make my judgement about it. This is coffee; that is all I know”. But if Ive had rounds of coffee and in my mind there is a standard, I can then judge a cup of coffee even from the smell of it. I need not even taste it. Why? Because I have a standard to judge I feel that everything is not well with me, that there is some lack, there is some want.

This sense of dissatisfaction itself reveals that I have some standard, I have an ideal. I know something as the most as the most desirable: and I know it only experientially. At those moments when I pick up joy I do see myself as a whole person and not a seeker any more. At that time the seeker-sought division resolves

I find myself to be one or non-dual. Nobody loves dvaita, duality. Mere presence of two things does not make dvaita. Husband and wife, even though they are two, do not make dvaita. It is only when they do not agree with each other that they create dvaita. My two hands also do not make dvaita, really speaking. We do not understand what dvaita is and what advaita is.

Anyway, at these moments of joy, I have this experience of seeing myself as a person who does not want anything. Hence I would like to be that person at other moments too. So I begin to struggle like that person.

It is something like an Indian musician, who renders a melody and has to reach the peak, the octave. He has reached that point, the panchama, or the ‘pa’ and now he has to make finally and the audience is also worked up. That svara is on the top the nisAda, the saptama. He wants to reach there, from panchama to saptama and for this he has already reached a platform. But now he feels there is a frog in his throat. He has a bad throat. He has elaborately prepared the ground. He thought that the threat would clear up and he would be able to reach. But now he finds that if he tries further he would screech. He does not want to spoil his name

– being a good musician he cannot accept it. So he quietly comes down with a hope of preparing himself again for the same thing. Then his throat would be clear and he would reach the point. But again he finds he is not confident. Then do you know what he does? He simply raises his hand up and makes you all see, as if the svara is up there. You seem to be happy and he is also vicariously happy; for he knows his heights

Once you know your height, you cannot settle for anything less. That is what the struggle is about. Whether it is in cooking, in writing a letter, in writing an article, in doing a job or even in typing a letter- once you know your height, you cannot settle for anything less, because you know you can do better. You have done better in the past.

She has cooked so well, no doubt, that everybody praises her cooking. But she is shy because she knows her height. Others do not know. For them this is fine. But she has done better in the past and therefore cannot really accept these praises. She just shies away. Once we know our height we cannot settle for anything less.


A Seeker does not want to remain a seeker. I do not mind being a seeker . I do not mind being a seeker of knowledge but not a seeker of joy through knowledge. I can be a seeker a seeker of children but not a seeker of joy through children, because when children come, problems also come along.

When wealth comes problems also come; previously nobody with a receipt book for donation but now so many people come to my house! Previously I never kept accounts; I did not know how to write accounts. But now I should file income tax returns. So wealth comes, problems come, miseries would also come.

Thus if I seek joy through power, children etc, I am in for constant disappointment. That seeking never ends. Eventhough I pick up joy when I gain something that I wanted, that is incidental. At that moment I am no more a seeker.

For the time being, one rAga is over. In the applause of fulfillment of that rAga I do not hear the background Sruti “I want… I want… I want…”, but afterwards I do hear the Sruti I want… I want… I want…”. For the joy is just experiential. It just comes and goes away during experience of fulfillment.

At these moments of joy, all the human beings know their height; at that time they are no more seekers. One may seek wealth for wealth’s sake, children for children’s sake out of joy, but not for the sake of joy. Thus I know experientially that I am neither the sought nor am I the seeker. I become both the seeker and sought resolved into one. Is it not true?

Whenever you seek something, there is division of seeker and sought. When both the seeker and the sought come together, resolved into one flame of experience, there is only one joy. There is neither seeker nor sought. In that experience I see myself as a completely different person altogether. Once I have seen myself thus, how can I settle for anything less?

Therefore the problem of human being is of not lack of experience of advaita, the problem is of the lack of knowledge of advaita. When I go to deep sleep, there is total advaita. Is there any dvaita in sleep ? A mahArAjA, a king sleeps in the palace and a beggar sleeps on the pavement outside the palace. The maharaja was a maharaja until they fell asleep.

He was conscious of his royal problems or royal status, whatever they were. The beggar also was a beggar, looking at the sky and figuring out the stars that conspired to put him there and not inside the palace! But once the rAjA sleeps inside the palace given to all comforts and luxuries, and the beggar sleeps outside the compound given to vagaries of elements, deSa, the space disappears, kAla, the time disappears. All their memories, all their problems disappear. Everything disappears

In fact a second thing is not there and what is there is only non-dual experience. Please tell me, is there anyone who hates sleep? We may postpone sleep when we want to do something, but we never hate sleep. Do we hate sleep as such? Not at all.

Sleep is the most welcome thing. We take so much care to go to sleep. We see that the light is proper the height of the pillow is proper. Why? The bed is proper, the mosquito net is down and no mosquito inside ! We just see to it that everything is proper. Because we want to have a good sleep. We always take much care when we want to enjoy something.

We take so much care while going to sleep because what we are going to have is a field of enjoyment, a welcome thing. And in the morning we all know very well that it is a struggle to be out of bed. We wake up first and get up later!

But between waking up and getting up there is a great war, a conflict. In fact we begin our day with conflict. Why? Because we are reluctant to be out of a state wherein there was so much relief from sorrow, from duality, from problems. This feel of sleep is the most welcome thing. Thus we go to it with enthusiasm and we are reluctant to come out of it.

Therein there is advaita. There is no dvaita. Seeker-sought dvaita is not there. Even a perceptual like seer-seen, hearer-heard dvaita is not there. When we are sleeping we have no problem whatsoever. We may cause problems to others! But when we sleep we are free from all problems, because experience is advaita.


In advaita, friends, there is relief. There is a joy. We ll love advaita. Nobody wants dvaita. We fight only because of dvaita. It takes two- not merely two, conflicting two- for a fight. It takes two for a crime. It takes two for violence. It takes two for jealousy. It takes two for hatred.

It takes only one for love. Eventhough there is another, there is no division really. We accept the other person completely. There is just love, the flame of love which resolves the two into one. What a wonder! Whenever there is a joy in any experience involving two or three or four or ten, or millions; I tell you, there is only one. Seeker-sought division is not there.

A second thing, a conflict creates a seeker sought division, causes a danger to me. I become a seeker of getting rid of that thing which should not be there. And thus any kind of conflict is caused only by this kind of duality.

Dattareya about whom we have heard a lot had a number of gurus. One of his gurus was a woman and do you know what he learnt from her? He went to her for bhikshA . He asked for bhikshA. From the house a woman came and said, “sir you please wait, I will give you bhikshA. I have to cook the food and give it to you. Will you please wait?” Dattareya said “ok I will wait”.

He waited there inside the house. She gave him an Asana, a seat, offered him water and went inside. She wanted to cook rice but the rice was not there. She had paddy, but no rice in stock. So she had to pound the paddy. She started pounding the paddy. While pounding, the bandles she was wearing on her hands were making so much noise that she felt shy.

She thought that perhaps the sashu would think he is causing trouble to me. And he may quietly go away. Therefor she wanted to avoid the noise made by these bangles. She started removing the bangles one by one

Dattareya had already heard the noise of the bangles and now he happened to see her removing them.. She removed 8, but not the 9th one. He wondered why. And she began pounding. No noise at all. Yea! It takes two to make noise, dattareya understood. Thus he learnt a lot of things from different sources

When I am talking, I create a sound. Do you say that the SwAmI is making a noise? When somebody is singing reaching his octave, do we complain that he is making noise? We do not feel that way. Why? Because that is not noise. When we do not want the other person to talk and still he continues, he is making noise, really. But sound by itself is not noise.

When you are listening to me, you do not realize that there is advaita. I will prove it later. There is advaita. There is only a perceptual dvaita, but when you are absorbed in the topic there is no dvaita, no conflicting dvaita. Thus everybody loves advaita. Nobody loves dvaita.

When at home, if all the members are able to accommodate one another, eventhough they have different notions, opinions, taste etc, we find there is a harmony. They love that harmony. Who wants a discordant note in a symphony?

In an orchestra there are different instruments. Each of these instruments has its own tonal effect, its own form, etc. Each one enjoys its individuality but all of them merge into pattern of symphony. There is advaita there in the pattern. But if one fellow goes out of tune to become predominant he creates disharmony. That is called dvaita, and dvaita brings about discordance

Upanishads: Means of special knowledge

Nobody loves dvaita, nor do we have to make an attempt to learn about dvaita. We need not study dvaita. Which scriptures do I require to know that I am different from God, I am different from this world, I am different from everybody else? Which Swami has to come and give discourse? If there is something that is common between me and the world, between me and the maker of the world, if there is something which I do not perceive then I do require that special knowledge which would make me see this fact., inferentially I can see, but perceptually I do not see. And that fact has to be revealed by another means of knowledge which we call upanishads or vedAnta.

It does not take physics to know that silver is silver, copper is copper and gold is gold. What is required is only good eyes and our own experience to notice that the colours are different and the properties are different. We can easily see that each one is different from the other.

It does not call for knowledge of physics at all. But it definitely takes physics to know that gold, copper or silver- whatever be the type of substance there is only one thing, namely matter, which is convertible to energy. Energy can become matter. For us to know the particular equation E = mc^2 it definitely takes physics. it calls for a physicist to know the advaita that exists among the different types of substances. What is there is one energy which alone appears differently.

Similarly, to know that I am a jiva, an individual, that I am physically, psychologically, intellectually limited, that I am bound by my own body, mind and intellect and that I am spatially limited, that my powers are limited- what shAstra, scriptures do I require.? What vedAnta do I require? Which guru do I require? I do not require a lamp for it. I have to be there, alive and awake, that is enough. My little mind is good enough to give me this knowledge. I do not require schooling or university or any kind of education at all for that. I require myself to be awareful, that is enough. I should not be sleeping. In sleep I have no problem any way, I have to be either dreaming or awake to know that I am isolated from everybody else, that I am distinct from others; I do not require a teacher or sankara or upanishad to come and tell me that.

But if there is something common between you and me, as in case of two substances where differences are only apparent and the reality is one, viz; energy, if between I, aham and this (idam) there is something common, and the differences are only apparent, it definitely requires special knowledge to know it. And it is this special knowledge we lack. That is why we are seekers all the time. We have experience of that special knowledge, of that special fact. In experience we find that in spite of our limitations we are advaitins. This becomes an ideal for me and I want to become that in terms of knowledge alone. If there is a fact which is already an accomplished fact and if I do not know the fact, the problem is not gf getting something I do not have; it is the problem of getting to know something that already is.

What is unfolded by the upanishads is I, the individual (jivA) the world (jagat) and the maker (ishvara) of this world in which I find myself for all the three jiva, the individual, jagat, the world and ishvara, the Lord, there is acommon base in the vision of the upanishads. This common base is advaita. As said earlier, advaita is not open for our choice. We cannot choose between dvaita and advaita because we want only advaita. As long as I am a seeker separate from the sought I feel small by the very gap obtained between I, the seeker and the sought. Naturally I cannot stand this smallness and I want to bridge the gap, overcome the smallness by gaining the sought.

Tell me, are we interested in maintaining this seeker-sought relationship? or, are we interested in gaining the sought so the seeker would no longer be? I am a seeker because I want the sought. Therefor the cessation of seeking is all that I seek. In fact I do not seek for the sake of seeking. I am a seeker because I feel very small. The seeking comes from the sense of smallness, limitedness. So in the vision of the upanishads the seeker sought difference that we see is not really there. That difference does not exist in sleep. What we call dvaita, is the duality that is perceptual. Upanishads accept the perceptual dvaita and then inqquire into what exactly the sleep is. In sleep there is an identity.

Experientially we gain this advaita. Experience of sleep is a non dual experience. An experience of joy is also a non dual expereince. Once I expereince myself as a person who is no more a seeker naturally I want to be that person. There is no choice in that I want to be free from limitations, and there fore there is no choice, in whetehr i should be a seeker or not. I am a seeker in order that I cease to be a seeker. Seeking is not for the sake of seeking. And so if this is what we call non dual or advaita well there is no choice. Again this is advaita, as I told you, is not totally unknown to us. In sleep it is known experientially. And what is required is only a certain knowledge, a definite knowledge of the self in which according to the upanishads is the non dual, advaita


The entire vedAnta which is otherwise called upanishads can be expressed in one sentence and that is Tat Tvam Asi, that thou art. Tat meaning that stands for something and we have to understand the meaning of that is. A pronoun can stand for any noun. Suppose in the street a donkey is going. If I point at it and say “tat Tvam Asi”, you know what its meaning is. In upanishads, tat means that which I am seeking in life. I want to be free from limitations. As we have seen, there are timewise limitations, spatial limitations, etc. I want to be free from all these limitations. That limitlessness, which I seek, the freedom from limitations which I seek, is myself. In the vision of the shruti, not in my vision. Shruti means upanishad. In my vision I am a seeker of the freedom from limitations; in the vision of the shruti, i am already what I am seeking. Asi is a verb of being. It is a very which reveals a fact. Like when I say you are, this ‘are’ is a verb all right, but it does not imply any action. In/ am, ‘am’ is a verb which does not reveal any action, unlike ‘he goes’, ‘he talks,’ ‘he walks’ etc. In all of which, some action is involved, but these are verbs that reveal action

but is, am, are- these are not the verbs of action. They are verbs of being. And so here in this statement tat tvam asi, thou art that, the verb art naturally reveals a fact and therefore I am not going to become that, because of the fact I am that. The seeking comes from self-ignorance. I cannot seek if I know this fact. I cannot seek a thing that I already have if I know that I have it.

Nobody can ask the Lord or anybody else to give him a head over his soulders, because he has one already. even if I ask the Lord who has appeared before me to give me a head over my shoulders, what answer can the lord give me? the lord would say “well, I continue to be almighty inspite of my incapacity to give you what you want”. “how come?” I qustion. Lord would reply, “eventhough I am the Lord, I cannot give you a head over your shoulders because you have one already! If you want another one, I can give you.”

That is why I am almighty. I can give you one more head, but do not ask me to give you a head that you already have. I cannot give that”. Even the lord cannot give me what I already have. He can give me what I do not have. Naturally I cannot ask him to give me a head over my shoulders, I can no doubt ask of him “oh bhagavan please give me something in my head”. And Lord may stuff it with something. But that is different asking altogether

Well, so it is clear that getting a thing which I already have is just impossible; nor is there a ncessity. And if, there seems to be necessity it is only because of self-disowning. A man was once reading using his reading glasses when somebody came to see him. the man lifted his glasses to his forehead and started talking to th visitor. After the visitor departed, he wanted to continue reading. So he looked for his glasses “where are my glasses?” he searched all over. The glasses were not there on the table, in the drawer, on the floor. Nowhere could he get them”, finally he understood that he had been wearing them all the while !!

When my glasses are with me and I still want to be the owner of the glasses then the problem arises because of my non-recognition of the thing I possess. The owner of the glasses, the possessor of the glasses wants to be the owner, the possessor of the glasses !

This Kind of seeking arises because of disowning what I possess. In the vision of the Upanishads what we seek is ourself. So they point out, you are that which you are searching! They arrest our attention and point out ” hey, you are that !” While thus pointing out who I am, the upanishads also take care to show exactly what I am not

By analysis, by enquiry, by vichAra, they make us see that “I am that, aham bramhan asmi”…

2. THE SUBJECT AND THE OBJECT- the world- an object

The enquiry starts like this: To begin with, we can reduce the whole creation to two factors; one, the subject “I” and the other the object “you”. These two are the only things and there is no third factor in the creation. Just think I am the subject and everything else is object of my knowledge. Similarly, the earth, trees, plants, flowers, branches, roots, men, women, children are all objects of my knowledge. So all the things that I know are objects of knowledge

That things that I do not know now, they also when I come to know, will be what? Objects of knowledge. We are told by shruti, by the vedAs, that there are 14 lokAs in the field of experiences. BhUh, buhvah, svah, mahah, janah, tapah, satya are the seven lokAs up, and atal, vital, sutal, rasAtala, talAtala, mahAtala, and pAtAla are the seven lokas below. These are the 14 lokas.

Suppose I go to these lokas, then every loka I visit is going to be what? Object or subject? “Object”. What we call hell- naraka, that also will be object only. If it is subject, I am naraka, everybody will be naraka ! Therefore everything including hell is an object of my knowledge. Heaven also is an object of my knowledge.

God too, an object?

Now suppose I happen to go to the heavens which is considered to be the abode of God or bhagavAn. Rows of very faithful devotees have been waiting there for long time and they all seem dejected. But now they all are given an opportunity to see God. They are sitting there. Somehow I have gone there out of interest and I sit somewhere in the ninth row in the back. And bhagavAn gives darshana. All right, I look at bhagavAn. All the devotees are quiet. There is pindrop silence because nobody talks. There is bhagavAn seated so I also cannot talk to anybody. Naturally all of us with our eyes upon God, look at God.

How long will I look at, this way? I am also looking at God. It is what? That thing is over. And now I have to go near Him and see Him closely. Just another view of God. That also I can do immediately. Then I want to go behind him also. Because when I am in front of Him I cannot see his Back. How does his back look? Does he look the same as others from the back? So I go behind and notice a person sitting there. Who is this fellow? My God? He is a great sinner. I know him well and I also know what all things he did

Somehow he must have managed to come to heaven right in the presence of God. I am unhappy because the God is seated there is an object. Since he is an object, he can go out of my mind and that has happened already, as another object has occupied my mind. Any object out of mind is out of sight. Out of sight is not necessarily out of mind, but definitely vice versa

Thus bhagavAn comes in my mind and goes. Therefore I am definitely better than God, because I am more powerful than God. I can dismiss God from my mind!

So understand well that this kind of God is not much different from my big uncle, who has got a number of industries, mills etc and feeds a number of people. Therefore like my big uncle, God is another might being, but not almighty. How can he be almighty when he is different from me?


I have got only a limited power, but that power is definitely mine, and not God’s. You also have got some power. Even an ant has got a little power. Therefore he is different from everything else. Thus God is another person, he is an object for me. He is just another mighty being, and so he becomes limited. We will talk about God later

Well, my concern at the moment is only to discuss with you the God whom we see as a person. It is one thing to invoke God in a particular form. We can invoke the Lord even in a milestone or in any other form: It depends upon how we look upon a symbol. But to accept that God is different from me is a different thing altogether. If he is different from me, he is an object, therefore heaven is an object and then anything that we see or experience in heaven is also an object. All of them will be objects alone and therefore there is only one subject, viz. I.

The sounds are many, the forms are many, the colours are many, the smells are many the scenes are many, the forms of touch are many, all of these are many. What i can perceive is many cells are many, atoms are many…. who is aware of all of these objects? the only awarer “I”. How many “I”s are there? There is only one “I”. If we think of another subject, what does the subeject become? ? The moment we think of another subject it becomes an object.

Therefore I am the subject and everything else is the object. Now you, the object may say that “swamiji, i look at you and you look at me so there are two subjects” but that is not true. Because when you are looking at me, what do you really look at? The physical body. You are looking at my physical body and similarly, I am also looking at your physical body only. That is how enquiry starts. We are looking at the physcal body only. We know only the physical body. So it is indeed an object of knowledge

I am not this body

As far as the objects other than my pohysical body are concerned, I have no confusion whatsoever. I may mistake one object for the other, but I do not commit the error of taking an object as the subject I. That type of mistake I do not commit at all. Does anyone commit?

My dear child and my dear wife and my dear house are the most beloved things. These are all very dear to me. But I do not say “I am the child” when the child is born, I am not born! I see the child, I do not become the child, nor do I commit the error of taking the child as myself. If I take the child as myself then when I feed te child I should be feeding myself too. Such confusion does not arise.

I know the child as the child and not as myself. Confusion of taking an object for myself does not happen. Therefore the whole world other than my physical body is kshetra, an object, which i refer to by the pronoun ‘this’. Therefore this tree, this plant, this sky, this star, this heaven… everythin can be referred to by the word “I”. I alone can be referred to by the word “I”. An object can never be referred to by the word “I”. It is always refer to by the word ‘this’.

Now I ask the question, “who are you?”
“I am the son of so and so”.
this means the son reveals the nature of “I”. If you are only the son of so and so, then you will always be the son and never a father. But you are a father too. Therefore are you the son or are you the father? You cannot call yourself the father without having a son. You are not a father to your father but you are father to your children. Therefore I am the son with reference to somebody and father with reference to somebody else.

So also I am uncle, cousin, neighbour etc, with reference to some friend, foe, etc, with reference to others. But with reference to myself, who am I? All the previous answers are related to the physical body. Therefore I can say, I am this physical body. That is all I can say

Why? Because in this physical body I have the “I” sese. In everything else, other than the physical body, I have ‘this’ sense. There is this cloth which is very close to my body but I do not have this “I” sense in it, I never say “I am the cloth”. I take it as ‘this’ cloth, ‘my’ cloth. I can say these are my clothes. The clothes are not me. Nobody has this confusion.
But hwen I touch your body then you do not feel your body is touched. Instead you feel you are being touched. I feel I am touched. Simple, where this body is walking somewhere, it is not that somebody else is walking, but then I am walking. If the body is tall, I am tall. If it is fair, I am fair, dark, I am dark. Fat, I am fat… If the body is here, I am here, it is not that body remains here and I walk away! So i do not keep the body, where the body is, there I am. Therefore when the body sleeps, I sleep. When the body stands, I stand. Wherever the body is, that I am; whatever the body does, that I do. So I am the physical body.
Therefore when the question is asked, ‘who are you’? the answer should be, I am the
physical body.
Nothing else is me. When the body is healthy, I am healthy. When the body perishes, I perish. But this conclusion is a little too hasty. When I say I am tall, is it not because this body is tall? Do i know the tall body or not? If I do not, then how do I say I am tall? I know that it is the body that is tall. I know the tall body which is like even knowing the sky and the stars therein. When I see a tall tree, I do not say I am tall.
I do not take a tree for myself, because a tall tree is an object of knowledge. And similarly, this tall body is the object of knowledge. Without it being the object of knowledge, I would not know anything about it and since I know this body- tall, fat, short etc- naturally I am the knower of this body. On seeing a tall tree, I do not say I am tall, but seeing a tall body, I say I am tall. How do I say that? I commit an error because I do not know. That is ignorance.

If I know that I do not know, I better know it. I cannot accept confusion.

Ignorance is not a sin. Because no one chooses to be ignorant. Everybody is born ignorant. Therefore, that is one thing you need not work for; you need not join a university to pick up ignorance. Ignorance is something I am born with. When I am born, I am ignorant of everything including my mother tongue. I am ignorant of my father, mother, everything. Therefore I start with ignorance and then keep on shedding the ignorance
Hence this ignorance is not something unusual. What is unusual is that I draw conclusions without proper inquiry. I should not conclude without a proper inquiry
My physical body is as good an object of knowledge as any other physical body, in fact I know my body more intimiately than you do. That is the reason why I am able to say I have a back pain and I apply for leave. I know my pain very well. I know where the pain is. I know my physical body more intimiately than yours. “I” cannot be the object of my knowledge, but the body definitely is. Therefore I am different from the body. I can be tall, or s hort, or fat or lean with reference to somebody. This physical body is as good as an object of knowledge as any other object.
You can say “swamiji I am the sense organs with the help of which I see this body, I touch this body” and So i must be the sense organs. This conclusion is again not true. I cannot be the eyes because I very well know that the eyes are blind, the eyes are sharp, etc. Therefore since I know the eyes I am the knowler, I am the seer
Neither mind nor the intellect
And now I may conclude I am the mind- mind or thoughts coming from the mind. All conclusions take place in the mind alone and then this is also being the conclusion, naturally I should be the mind. And experientially, when the mind is restless, I am restless. WHen the mind is quiet, I am quiet. When mind is sorrowful, I am sorrowful. Angry, then I’m angry. Therefore mind and I are identical?

But how do I say I am restless when mind is restless? How can I make this statement? Well, I do not know, it is my experience.

Experience is not final, it is not knowledge and that is why experientially I know and still I do not know. Experientially I know but knowledge wise I do not know. What is this experience? Here is an expereince. One man came to see mee

“Swamiji I am restless, I want peace”

“You are not restless, you are silence. you ARE peace”, I told him

“swAmiji, I am restless”, the man said.

Although I see the fellow is restless I say
“you are all silence, you are fine”

swAmi (earlier he used swAmiji, now he uses only swAmi” swAmi, I am restless, I am telling you I am restless

“no, you are silence” I replied

and the man told me “I am not only restless but now also losing my temper, So I say again that I am restless, I am now also angry. Please do not go on with this, you are a swAmi, I do not want you to be the target of my anger. Please do not keep on repeating. I am restless and you do somthing about it”

“OK, I will tell you. How do you say you are angry?” I asked him

“because I know my mind”

“Do you know your mind?”

“Yes I know my mind, it is restless”

“if your mind is restless how can you say that “you” are restless”?

“why? Why should I not say?”

“suppose you see a tree, and because the tree is restless, do you say “I am restless?” ?

“No I do not say I am restless when the tree is restless”

“Then how can you say you are restless?”

Because I know the restless mind

“You know the restless mind and you know a restless tree, then you are no more the restless mind. How do you conclude “I am restless”? ”

“Well I do not know”

“That is better. That is a better statement than the previous one. You cannot make a statement that you are restless when all the time you know that the mind is restless.”

An unknown restless mind cannot make me restless. When it is unknown, I would not say “I am restless”, because I do not know anything about the restlessness of the mind. If I know the mind is restless, it is an object of knowledge and I cannot make the statement, “I am restless”. I am the witness of the restless mind. When I say I am restless, I am committing the mistake of taking an object for the subject. When the eye is blind and I say I am blind, I take the object viz the eye as the subject, I. When the body is tall and I say I am tall then again I am taking the object for the subject. This is what we call a mistake, an error; subject-object error, in which an object is taken for the subject.

Then if you say “I am memory” that also is not true. Because I am there to recollect the memory. Not that I have gone with the memory. I have collected them in the past and those are the memories I can recollect. That means I am the one who recollects. Before I recollected the memories, present I was to recollect the memories, to objectify the memories. I can just recollect exactly what I did at an earlier time; what I ate. I can make a list of all the items in lunch. Anyone can do it. Therefore I am the one who is aware of what had happened and naturelly therefore memories cannot be I. So to say that I am memory is not true.

Again to say that I am a doctor of mdicine, doctor of law, etc is also not true, because I am aware of that. I am aware of the knwoeldge of law. I am aware of the knwoledge of medicine. Therefore with reference to the knowlewdge of medicine I am a doctor of medicine or with reference to knowledge of law, I am a doctor of law. But I am not born a doctor nor born a lawyer,I am the one who has gatehed knwoledge. Infact I know what all I know

And you cannot also say
“swamiji now I know”.
“I am ignorance”
That is also a wrong conclusion. I cannot be ignorance, because I am kowledgeable. When I make a statement, “i am ignorant”, it means that I have at least the knowledge that I am ignorant. And therefore I cannot say that I am ignorance. I am knowledgeable with reference to what I do not know. I know what I do not know. THerefore I am neither knwoledgeable nor ignorant with reference to knowledge, knowledgeable. With reference to ignorance, ignorant
Therefore what am I? From one standpoint I am knowledgeable, from another stand point I am ignorant. Therefore I am not the one who is neither ignorant nor knowledgeable and therefore who is that “I” because of which I am aware of everything? I am aware of ignorance, aware of knowledge, aware of memory, aware of emotions, aware of sense organs, aware of hunger and thirst, aware of this physical body. I am the subject, I am the awarer.
Everybpody has to say “I am the awarer”. I am awarer, you are awarer, he is awarer, she is awarer. Even an ant has to say “I am awarer”. If I ask an ant, an ant is aware of the ant mind, ant body, etc. A mosquito is aware of mosquito mind, mosquito body, therefore every creature would say I am awarer. Every cub can say I am awarer, if I can make a cub speak
Now if all of us are awarers, where should the differences exist? Differences exist only in memory. Differences should exist in knowledge. Knowledge itself is not different, but you may not know what I know, I may not know what you know. Therefore ther eis a difference between actions, difference between knowledge, difference between areas of ignorance, difference between areas of knowledge, difference in sense organs, difference in the body and so on
But in awarer, is there a difference? Is there a difference between I the awarer and he the awarer and any other awarer? No, there is no difference between the body awarer and vice wise man awarer, the he awarer and the she awarer.

That is a question. How many awarers are there? Like a chil, each child is like another child. Is there any difference between two children? NO difference. There is no “variety” in chilren but there is a number. In sanskrit also we have nAnAvidham- nAnA is many in number and vidham is variety. If all the chairs are identifical in size, in colour, in material from which they are made well you can say many but not various. Similarly I am awarer, you are awrer, he is awarer, she is awarer, very bug everything is awarer. There is no variety in the awarers. One may say that there is no variety, but there is a number of awarers. Are there a number of awarers?


I am aware of something, therefore I am called the awarer.

You are awrae of the object in my hand. So you are awarer, now this object is removed. Then you becme awarer of Swami. I am a seer with reference to an object seen, hearer with reference to a sound heard. Similarly I am awarer with reference to the objects that I am aware of; the objects that are seen, heard, known in general.

Now let us assume that the Swami , the object is removed from the awarer, what would be there? If the object is removed from awarer what would remain? If the object is removed from the subject the awarer, the object is gone, but the content of the awarer will remain. Object comes, object goes. When an object comes I become an awarer. When the object goes I am the content of the awarer. Let me call the content of the awarer as awareness.

Put it in another way, In awarerness are these words heard. You are awawreness, When the word is heard, awareness is, otherwise you cannot hear. When the word is no more spoken, is there awareness or not? Awareness is. Awarenses is when words are heard, awareness is when words are not heard. Awareness is when forms are seen, awareness is when forms are not seen. Eyes are closed, awarenss is. So also awarenesess is when thought is. Awareness is when a thought is gone. In awareness is the object, the thought. Even when the thought goes awareness still remains. An object of thought is, awareness is. The object of th thought is gone, means a thought is gone- awareness is.

Put it differently, the space is in awareness. The space is, awareness is. Space is not, suppose you are not aware of space in sleep, where there is no space, awareness is. I know that there is no time, no space, no memory in sleep. How do I know that? I know that in sleep I did not know anything. Not that I knew everything earlier, In sleep I did not know anything and that means I was there aware of the sleeping state.

And therefore, sleep is, awareness is, time is awareness is. Time is not, awareness is

Space is, awareness is. Space is gone, awareness is. Now does the awareness have a dimension? How many inches or how big is the awareness? This awareness has no form. All forms are objects of awareness. Awareness itself has no form

Since it has no form of its own, awareness is formless. It has no form to be called this big or that big. It has no height, it has no length. It has no breadth. It has no front, it has no back, it has no left, it has no right, it has no above, it has no below. Why? Because there is no form. Awareness is formless and therefore is spatially limitless

Now look at it this way, space is, awareness is. Therefore the star is, awareness is. And therefore the limitless awareness is, space is. Space is, the limitless awareness is. now between the limitless awareness and space, what is the distance? No distance. Between the space and the moon what is the distance? There is no distance.

Now tell me, the moon is in awareness because I’m aware of the moon. Between awareness, you and the moon, awareness is. What is the distance? There is no distance. Between I the awareness and the moon in awareness, if there is any distance, what should it be? Space? and the space is where? In awareness. Between awareness and space there cannot be any distance. Therefore in awareness is the space, in space is the moon, in space is the sun, in space are the stars, in space are all the planets.

All of them, the whole physical universe is in space and the space is in awareness. Therefore between awareness and any object in the world, what is the distance? There is no distance between awareness and this physical world.


Now please understand, isnt this physical body within the space, is it outside the space or within the space? It is within the space. Now in awareness is space, in space is this body, in space is that body. All bodies exist in space and space itself is awareness and therefore between awareness and this body, or any body that exists, there is no distance

Therefore where Am I? There is no location for I. Awareness is not located. The body is located in space and space itelf is located in awareness. And awareness is located where? The question does not arise. Awareness is not located anywhere. In awareness is located space with reference to which I say “here”, “there” and so on. And therefore in awareness is space, and in space is the body and everything else. So where is awareness? Where the akasha space is. Where akasha sines, there the awareness is. That is, awareness is not located in space. In awareness is space, therefore awaareness is called all pervasive.

This is what we mean by the term all pervasiveness. What we mean is that it is not located anywhere in space. Space is located in awareness. I am aware of space, space is not aware of me. I am aware of time, time is not aware of me. I am aware of the concept of time, the concept of space, but the concept itself is not aware of me. PLease understand that. Therefore I am awareness in which all concepts exist and all objects of concepts exist. So naturally I am limitless awareness.

Therefore how many I’s are there? There is only one limitless awareness and I am that limitless awareness. In english also there is no plural for awareness. How many awarenesseses are there? There is only one awareness. Because two limitless cannot be there. In limitless awarenes is the mind, this mind that mind, this memory, that memory, this space, time the whole creation. Think of anything and it is in awareness. Certain things look outside our awareness. They are not outswide awareness, they are outside the mind. Certain objects are outside the reach of my mind, outside my thought. That is good, because otherwise the whole creation would be in my mind. Awareness is common, no doubt.

In awareness is space and time, in space is an object. That object is outside my mind and therefore it looks to be outside me. It is not outside me, it is not outside awareness.

Just as we say we are all inside the compound with references to that compound wall, we all all inside and there are people outside too. But then from the stand point of space, who is outside and who is inside? From the standpoint of space there is nobody outside nor inside. All are inside, so also from the stand point of awareness. There is only one limitless awareness. There is no second limitless awareness

Therefore awareness is rightly called brahman. Ayam AtmA bramha. AtmA, the self, is but bramhan. Bramhan means limitless. The word bramhan is derived from the root brh, which is in the sense of growth or increase. So bramhan meanst he big. Big is an adjective which qualifies a noun. A big mountain, a big elephant, a big rat etc. Therefore qhen I use the word big, it reveals a dimension. The dimension of the word big is determined by the very noun it qualifies. Big mountain means the bigness of a mountain. When I say ‘big among rats’, the bigness has become rat bigness, not mountain bigness. From this it is clear that being an adjective, the word big assumes a dimension of the very noun it qualifies.

Now suppose we form a masculine or neuter noun out of the root brh. That noun is Bramhan. bramhan means big. It is a noun. A noun is an object, not an adjective. Therefore how big is the noun bramhan? It has no definitte dimension. It is limitlessly big. Therefore atmA is the awareness that is limitless, the big bramhan. Limitless big means bramhan. That is why Ayam AtmA bramha. This self, this “I’ is bramhan, and everybody’s AtmA is also bramhan. You cannot become bigger than what you are. You are limitless


The meaninf of the word I, as unfolded by the Shruti, the upanishads, is simple. Unqualified Awareness. If I reduce the whole creation to two factors, the subject and the object, then the subject is revealed by the word I and the object can be referred to by the pronoun ‘this’. In sanskrit the equavalent words are aham and idam. Aham is I and idam is this. There is no confusion between aham and idam, so long as the word idam, the pronoun this, refers to an object external to the physical body. So, this object, this pole, this light, this music, this chair, this tree, this man, this woman, this sun etc- I never take any of these as myself

But when it comes to my physical body, I take this body as myself eventhough it is an object of my awareness. I am aware of my physical body. It is all right to say am tall or short far or lean with reference to the body. There is nothing wrong in it. Like even when having reached the destination by a car I tell my friend ‘from baraoda to ahmedabad, I did in two hours” it is not possible for anybody to cover the distance in two hours, centered on myself there was no action. I was related in the back seat of the car, so I myself did not perform any action but then I did it in two hours with reference to the car in which I was traveling.

Similarly, if I say I am tall, I am short, there is nothing wrong. but if I take the physical body itself as myself without an inquiry, without knowledge, then there is a confusion between the self and the body, between aham and idam. So too the restless mind is subject to objectification. The mind is an object of my awareness, cannot be the one who is aware of it. So too, memories, knowledge, ignorance, all of them are objects of my awareness, therefore the word “I” refers only to the subject which is but awareness.

This awareness itself does not have a form, all forms are objects of awareness. If awareness also had a form, how would I come to know of it?

suppose I say yesterday I saw in my meditation, the awareness, the “i”, in the form of a flame. People say that… how is it possible? Because the one I saw, the awareness, is the one that is the “I” we are talking about. I am not talking about the lights that you see, which are outside. People see lights inside. This is the beginning of all the troubles to come later. We are talking about the one who is aware of this light. That light is not something that comes and goes, that shines and everything else shines after it

My eyes and mind are bright, capable of sight and knowledge respectively. I the awareness, blesses the mind and so the mind is conscious. In the light of the sun, during the day, I see various objects and all the objects themselves being opaque, I would say shine after the sun. They have no original light. They shine for my perception because of the sunlight, reflecting the sunlight

I can put it this way: the sun shines (bhAti) and the other planets and satellites within the system ‘shines after’ (anubhAti) the sun. The sun itself shines because my eyes shine. The bright sun is no more bright for the one who is blind. There may be the hot sun for him, but not the bright one.

So the bright sun shines because my eyes shine, and my eyes shine because my mind is behind the eyes. That is the reason why, when th mind is elsewhere, eyes fail to see eventhough the object is there. I draw blank. This can be seen very clearly with reference to hearing. Ears shine meaning, they illumine the sound. The ears hear these words only when the mind is behind the ears.

Eventhough the ears are here within the scope of audibility, you may not hear these words if the mind is elsewhere. In the audience I see this now and then. When most people laugh about some remark I might have made, I notice someone- there is always one fellow- nudging his neighbour and asking, “what did the swAmi say?” Not that he has suddenly gone deaf, he had heard my earlier words. He will hear me again later

In between there was a black out, why? Because the mind was not behind the ears. There are some, I am sure, who have not heard even this sentence. Thus when the mind is shining behind the eyes, ears etc, they light up the respective objects of perception viz forms, colours, sounds etc

“He whose intelligence ‘flashes’ outside through the eyes and other sense organs, just like the bright light of a great lamp placed in a jar having many holes, and after whose shining the whole universe of objects shines to him, the divine teacher, sri dakshinAmurti is this prostration” (Sri Dakshinamurti Stotram-4 )

What a beautiful illustration! Here is a jar with holes, five of them, let us say. The jar itself is in a room which is dark and inside the stomach of the jar is kept a lamp. Five beams of light source emerge out of the five holes. Each beam of light illumines some objects, that lie on its path. But the light inside is one, not many. Similarly, my sense organs, five in number, light up their respective objects. Eyes light up the forms and colours, ears the sounds, nose the smells, tongue the tastes and the sense of touch the various forms of touch.

Each of them can be likened to a beam of light as it lights up the objects. Behind these sense organs there is one light called the mind. They all shine after the mind. The mind itself with its moving patterns of thoughts lights up the sense organs which in turn illumine their respective objects


In a text called panchadasi, there is a chapter called nAtaka dIpa prakaranam, wherein is employed the illustration of a theatre lamp. The mind is compared to a dance and this dancer dances on a circular auditorium wherein there is only one bright lamp above. The lamp ligthts up the audience in front, the sense objects, it also lights up the dancer, the mind; the mind is compared to a dancer since it moves. This dancer keeps on varying according to the mood. Just as there are many different rasas, moods, sentiments.

There are modes of the mind called vrittis. When an object is perceived, there is a mode in terms of the response to what is perceived. Thus the mind dances. The dancer herself is dancing. These vrittis dance and there is a light that lights up the mind which illumines the objects.

What is that light, one single light alone, which illumines the dancing mind and which shines even if the mind does not dance? That single light lights up anything that obtains in the mind. The dancer goes and comes back the other way and again dances. The light above illumines her as soon as she comes. The lamp lights up an empty auditorium.

It also lights up a filled up auditorium. And there is a master for whose sake the dance itself is arranged. He, is sittong on the very stage in one corner observes the audience (sense objects, the world) the musicians (the sense organs) and the dancer (the mind). The sense objects and sense organs are like the rhythms and instruments which set exactly what the vritti is going to be. Whenever an object is perceived by a given sense organ, there is a corresponding vritti, just as the compliments set the dancer’s rhythm, the steps, the moods, etc, the whole show is for the one sitting there, the master.

This is all for his entertainment. Many a times, he identifies with the dancer. He becomes very sad when the dancer expresses a mood of sorry, and that master is also illumined by the lamp above. That lamp shines bhAti. That lamp is aham. We can go back to the previous illustration of the lamp in a jar.

“whose intelligence ‘flashes’ outside through the eyes and other sense organs, just as the bright light of a great lamp placed in a jar having many holes”. Like even the beams of light which go out to light up the objects there is a light behind the light that is the mind and the sense organs.. gyAna is there so the mind shines, the sense organs shine. When the mind is not active the sense organs are resolved, withdrawn, like the sense organs of a tortoise.

Still “I”, the awareness lights up the mind as in dream where the senses are no more exposed to the external world but then there is a world created in the mind which the ‘I’ lights up. When that is also gone, the whole theatre is empty, as it happens in sleep, still the light lights up for you to say in the morning “I slept well, I had a good sleep. I did not see anything did not hear anything, did not know anything”

This recollection of the experience of the deep sleep indicates that there also the “I” is shining. Does it ever cease to shine? Is there a light that even illumines the ‘I’? No. Everything else shines after that. It itself shines of its own accord. It does not come, it does not go. The thought comes and thought goes, but the “I” remains shining. Space I am aware of, time I am aware of. Time gone, space gone for a split second- I become a flame of joy, I still find that I am shining. Thus that which survives time, that which survives space, that which survives any object shines (bhAti). Everything else shines after it (anubhAti)

There the sun does not shine, nor the moon, nor the stars; there lightnings also do not shine, what then to talk of this earthly fire? Verily, everything shines after Him who shines. This whole world is illumined with his light”

This beautiful verse occurs in two different upanishads- Katho and mundAko. This verse is traditionally chanted in temples by the priests while showing the light before the Lord (Tatra sUryah na bhAti;) there the sun does not shine, means the sun does not illumine it. (na chandratArakam) neither the moon, nor the stars (na imAh vidyutah bhAnti) even these lightnings do not light up whom (kutAh ayam agnih) then what to talk of this earthly fire? Verily everything shines after Him who shines.

This whole world is illuminated with His light. He is self- effulgent and to illumine Him I am holding this agni, this lamp, this flame… O Lord what a fool I am!


In south india there are many temples. Sometimes we wonder as we go inside a temple. the temple itself is a miniature creation There are open corridors, as we enter these corridors, we find there the sculptures depicting different aspects of life. There are musical instruments, there are dancing poses, people, men, women. We can see the entire world in sculpture.

Entering the mahAmandapam we find again various angels, gods etc. Still we proceed further and the mandapam becomes darker and darker. Finally we stand before the main shrine. In the shrine is a deity; there is an idol. People worship that idol. In fact nobody worships an idol, one worships the lord.

We know the idol is made only of stone, in spite of our knowledge that this is merely stone, we worship it and that means we are not worshipping the stone, but the lord behind the stone.

Now we stand there before the idol. The stone from which the idol is made is black. The place is dark. The who performs puja is also not particularly fair, he is dark and his clothes are also black. The idol has received a number of oil baths therefore it has become very dark.

And we stand there having been exposed to the bright light of the external world. our eyes are not attuned to see the Lord who is there. But we know he is there, how do we know he is there? An oil lamp is burning and in that light we see the dazzling jewellery, the precious stones, the ornaments with which the lord is decorated. We see only the dazzle of these ornaments called vibhutis, the glories.

Similar is the case in our life, I do not know where the lord is, I do not know who the Lord is, whether it is a he or a she event that is a question! But then I see the vibhutis, the glories. I see the sun, the moon, the order in creation. These are all his glories. They are the glitters seen in the small little flame of the pil lamp, in the light of my buddhi, my intellect. And with this I know and I become an astika, a believer, that there is a lord

I stand there in the temple in great vneration and hope that I will see the Lord. I will have the darshana, the vision of the Lord. Now there is a priest (who is in place of the guru)

He holds a light of camphor (which signifies the light of knwoledge)

capmphor is a peculiar substance in that it burns itself completely without leaving any traces behind, just as in the light of knowledge all ignorance is burnt

so in that light I see the lord whom I knew to be there. From the astika a believer, I now become a jnAni, the one who knows. I have darshana, the vision of the lord in the light of knowledge shown by the guru

As the priest shows the light, I see him from the feet to the head. The guru reveals to me the nature of the Lord and I see in that light nothing is left out. The ignorance is totally burnt. All my notions, my errors, totally get burnt in the light of knowledge, the jnAnagni. And in that flame, I see my lord and I say

“oh bhagavan! How did I ever miss you? Once I know, how could I ever miss you? That is my apraAdha, my fault. Oh Lord, please pardon me. What a fool I have been to have missed you.”

and thus at this time the priest chants this well known mantra “”na tatra suryo bhAti” oh! I hold a small light, a camphor light before you, oh lord, to light up the one who lights up everything: bcause of whom everything shines.

What light can I hold before you except the light of knowledge? And that knowledge is: The Lord, the Self, “I” shine and everything else shines after me


that self shining, self effulgent “I” is independet. It does not require a means of
knowledge to reveal itself. f I ask you “are you conscious?” what do you have to do to answer? Should you see something in order to say “I am conscious ? should you close your eyes and say “I am conscious”? or as usual would you say “I will consult her and tell you”?

When I ask whether you are conscious or not, there is no doubt in your mind that you are conscious.

It is not that I think therefore I am, I am therefore I think. Before a thought arises, I exist, after a thought is gone, I exist. There is a self effulgent being which remains when thought comes and thought goes. I exist as a self effulgent being and therefore everything else shines after me

The existence of everything else has got to be proven by pramAnas, the valid means of knowledge which are at my disposal

Thus the existence of colour is proven by- eyes, that of smell by the nose, etc… ad it is upto me to operate these pramAnas or instruments to perceive the respective objects. But there is one thing that need not be proven by anybody and that is that I exist, that I am conscious, that I am effulgent. All pramAnas means of knowledge, viz the sense organs and the mind shine after that which itself does not require any proof of its existence or effulgence

This self effulgent being is aham, I. Which itself has no form and therefore it is limitless. If it is limitless, it cannot be called brahman. It is brahman because bramhan means limitless, therefore they say ayam AtmA bramha. Ayam AtmA means this self, for which no proof is necessary. It is aparoksha AtmA or immediate self. The AtmA or “I” which does not require any means of knowledge to determine whether it exists or not

The self effulgent I, the self evident I, is limitless brahman, and it survives the time. Time shines only after this I, the awareness. time comes and goes.

The concept of time goes on changing , my mind can get into different scales of time and that is why sometimes the time hangs on and sometimes flies away. You know the relative nature of time very well. When you stand talking to your beloved at the bus stop, buses go like this, one after the other. You do not bother at all

But then when you wait alone for the bus you find buses never seem to come

A great scientist said that if you want to know the relative nature of time, do one thing. Stand on a hot plate for one minute

Just for one minutte, that is enough. On a hot plate, remember. On that hot plate, stand for a minute with a stop watch in hand, you will understand why it is called a stop watch. It does not move at all! because down below is a hot plate. So remember, this is waht is meant by relative nature of time. Whn the same man is talking to his beloved, the time acquires wings as it were. This is the relative nature of time

The mind gets into different time scales and then it has got its own time chronological or subjective time. The chronological time is that which is involved in motion etc and the subjective time is that which is created subjectively by our own mind. Whatever be the time it shines after what? After I, te awareness, the limitless

Nothing can be away from the limitless and therefore the awareness itself, the “I” is not bound by time. It is not mortal. It has nether a beginning nor an end. Before the beginning of everything there must be an awarer. To say that an event began, there must be an awarer, an observer who should be there before even the event began

That an event began and ended means taht its prior non existence should be known to the observer and also the posterior non existence. The observer is always there before the beginning of the event and also after the event has ended. Therefore if awareness itself is considered to have a beginning and an end then there should be another awareness to observe the beginning of the event and also after the event has ended. Therefore if awareness itself is considered to have a begining and an end, then there should be another awareness to observe the beginning and end of awareness.

We are talking of that ultimate awareness, anyway, which is not subject to time, not subject to beginning or end. That which is beginningless- not subject to beginining and which is endless- not subject to end, i.e which existns at all time is called ‘sat’ in vedanta, and the awareness is called ‘chit’, thus awareness, cit, is beginingless and endless


Can truth be defined?

Once while giving a talk in a university in Western United States, I said that Vedanta is a teaching that is a means of knowledge which unfolds the nature of yourself, the word and the Lord. At the end of the talk, a professor of physics came to me and asked.

“Swami did you say that your teaching Vedanta is going to reveal truth?”

“Yes it reveals Truth”, I said


“Do you mean to say then that the words reveal Truth?”

“Yes, words reveal truth”

“do you mean to say that you are going to define Truth?”

“I want to define Truth”

“But then Swami is it not that any definition of anything can only be from a stand point and is subject to negation from another stand point?”

That is true. I also know that. Not knoy do I know, our forefathers also knew that and therefore I said “Yes, that is true”

An definition represents only a point of view. You can define this cloth in different ways. You can define this material as a cloth, as a scarf, as threads, as cotton fibers. That also can be reduced to more fundamental substances. You can go on defining. All the definitions are relevant from their standpoints and therefore no particular definition is final because it is always from a stand point. Therefore every definition is subject to negation from some other standpoint.

You can go on reducing a thing to another thing, to more basic things. Then definition also keeps on changing, and therefore no definition is possible about the truth. Once you define truth, it is subject to negation from another stand point. Thus truth is not available for definition.

“any definition is subject to negation. Therefore if you say you are defining truth, it is also subject to negation” he said “that is true”

“Then how are you going to reveal truth? How are you going to define truth?”

“well I am going to define truth right now. what is not subject to negation IS truth ”

He was shocked, “how come it didn’t strike me!”

Neither did it strike me. Somebody had to tell me. My Guru taught me, I told him

What is not subject to negation in all the three periods of time is truth. There is nothing new about it. It is called Satya. Because everything else is subject to negation and does not qualify to be called satya. What is not subject to negation in all 3 times is called satya.

The man came the next day, an hour before the talk and said to me

“swami ji I tried to shake your statement but it is impossible, and therefore swamiji, tell me one thing. Is there such a thing as truth?” he asked me

He was a scientist, so he could not remain with a doubt. A scientist with a doubt in head means he is finished. It is something like a bug in the ear, an active bug! so he could not sleep the whole night. He tried to shake this definition but could not, therefore he came to me and asked me

“Please tell me swamiji, s there such a thing as truth?”

“yes there is and I will tell you what it is, you please attend today’s talk”

“Swamiji I will attend not only today’s talk but all your talks, but you must tell me right now I cannot wait another hour”

“there is only one thing my dear sir, that you cannot negate”

“please tell me sir, what is it?”

“that is you”


“yes, you, try to negate yourself. you can negate time, you can negate space, but when you try to negate yourself in the attempt of negating yourself, you will wind up sitting there tightly. You cannot negate yourself. How will you negate yourself?”


I cannot negate the subject itself. An object is subject to negation. The subject is not subject to negation because who is going to negate the subject? The subject cannot negate himself. In the name of negation, the subject will be sitting there tight and therefore he cannot be negated

Thus the subject is something which is not bound by time, which is not bound by space. It is the one in which space is, in which time is. And the whole creation is ideed in the space-time frame work and so the whole creation is in “I” that which is called Brahman, the substratum of all the creation and naturally therefore it is sat

Things come and things go, but this one is present at all times. This is exactly the “is” in everything, that “is” in every form of existence.

When we say the sky is, the cloud is, the space is, the time is, the earth is, he is, she is, it is etc, I am also “I is” only. Where we say something “is”, there is a knowledge also involved in it. There is awareness of hte existence of that thing. The existence of anything- sky, clouds, time, space etc can be established only when I am aware of them. The awareness chit and the existence sat is the common plane in which the whole creation is

The sat and chit is at once limitless and formless and therefore it is fullness itself. That is the reason why whneever one is happy, one is with oneself. Whenever I am with myself, I am happy. In spite of the limitations of the body, mind etc, I am happy. When I am happy, I am full. When I am full, I am happy

If that happiness depends upon the negation of all the limitations or if it depends upon the filling up of all the limiations- physical, perceptual, intellectual limitation- I can never become full. Because how am I going to fill up my physical limitations? If I am here, I am not there. I can expand a little more but I cannot cover the entire space. I can gatther a little more strength, but I cannot lift a mountain. My intellectual knowledge is also limited.

The more I know, the more I come to discover what all I do not know. It is only the one who does not know anything who thinks he knows a lot. Thus by knowing more, I come to know that I have yet to cover better areas of observation; I have yet to rise to a better elevation of observation, I come to know many areas which still do not know. Many new areas of ignorance open up!

Thus endless research goes on and on. Therefore intellectually also I am limited and if I have to wait for the moment of fullness until these limitations are filled up my God, I can never get that fullness.

But this fullness is not denied to anybody, however tragic according to him- his life may be. Nobody is denied these moments of fullness. Because everyone does discover a moment of joy now and then and that time he is full, all full. From where do I pick up these moments of fullness in spite of the limitations which I have not yet filled up? I do discover for myself a fullness which is called joy, Ananda. From where do I pick this up?

where is happiness?

Well it certainly is not from outside. Because no object in the world can be called happiness. There is sun, there is moon- all definable from a standpoint but none of them is called happiness.

Is there any object called happiness? If there is one we will all go and get a bit of it. There is no such object and no objec can be considered a source of happiness also, because the same object is a source of unhappiness for somebody else. Sometimes the very object that I take to be a source of happiness for me also becomes my source of unhappiness also…

I know a man waiting to marry a particular girl, she was already married. Her husband was trying to get rid of her ! after having done it both are happy !
One heaves a sigh of relief to get rid of her, other heaves a sigh of relief to have her !

Both feel that God is great ! What does this mean? It means that the poor thing, the girl, does not have anything to do with the joy of one or the sorrow of the other

And therefore, the person herself (or himself) or any other object for that matter, cannot be considered a source of joy or a source of sorrow. A person or a thing is only an object. So there is no such object as happiness.

Nor is happiness an attribute to an object which we can perceive with our sense organs. Like the green leaf, like a big pot, there is no such thing called a happy leaf or a happy pot. Is it there as an attribute to an object? If it is, that object should give me happiness at all times and places. But such is not the case! Therefore happiness is not an object outside the world.

Happiness is not there at a particular place also. Is there happiness on the beach? We cannot say that, because beach is nothing but sand. There is nothing more than that. You may say the beach makes you happy, but the beach can make you unhappy too, because on this beach often we see a man sobbing. He has lost his wife and he often used to go to this beach with his wife and whenever he thinks of the beach, he remembers the tragedy and gets depressed

Happiness is not the place. If it is a place where happiness is, all of us can make a bee line to that place, so it is not a place that is a source of happiness.

Nor can we say that a particular time is a source of happiness. You cannot say “swamiji everyday at 5 I laugh and I’m happy and afterwards I become sorrowful again”

Such a thing is not there and so time cannot be said to be the source of happiness. Like the place, time can be a source of sorrow too.

Neither time, nor place, nor object is the source of happines, and the whole external world consists of time, place and objects. Then from that, where do you pick up happiness?

Someone says “from within”…

“what do you mean by within? In your intestines? your kidneys? Is happiness in your heart? Heart is subject to an attack, lungs are subject to get congested. What exactly do you mean is the source of happiness? Within means what?”

“Swamiji don’t take it literally. When I say within, I mean the mind”

“Oh, so the mind is the source of happiness. Then what is the source of sorrow?”

“swamiji, that is also my mind only”

“then how can it be both? Can it be a source of sorrow as well as joy? How can it? If you say the mind, when there is jealously there is mind, when there is hatred there is mind, and also frustration, restlessness and joy. Therefore from where do you pick up joy?”

“Swamiji, by mind I mean a particular frame of mind”

Look here is a garland in my hand, before I picked up this garland what was in my hand? Nothing. Then you did not see the garland. Now when you see the garland, what is on your mind? Elephant or garland? Garland of course.

For any perception, there is a relevant mode of thought which is called vritti in sanskrit. A vritti is as good as the object perceived. Therefore when a garland is seen what form of thought should be there? Garland thought. And when only my simple hand is seen, what is the thought? Hand thought. Therefore the form of our thought is always true to the object perceived

So correspondingly to a garland outside, there is garland thought in my mind, and I say “this is a garland”.

At that tme do we say “I am a garland?” No because if I am a garland, I am fit to be worn by people! So I see the garland and say “this is a garland” but am not the garland. Same applies for thoughts as well. This is a thought, this is a feeling, but I am not this thought/feeling


Now when you are happy, what is there in the mind? Happiness. Is it not? And do we say “this is happiness”? In case of a garland we say “this is a garland”, but when there is a thought of happiness in the mind, do we say “there is happiness” or do we say “I am happy” ?

Yes we say “I am happy” that is an entirely different thing, since I do not say “this is happiness” is happiness an object? “this” or is it the subject “I”? It is the subject “I” really. That is the truth of it.

That is why we do not say, “this is happiness. If happiness is an object you know what that means? the objserver of happiness must be different from happiness! So it is always away from me. Formerly it was “there” and now it is “here”, but still I am not happiness. I would always remain unhappy but that s not so. So happiness cannot be an object, it cannot be away from me. Happiness is my very nature.

Happiness means fullness. That fullness is experientially when the mind stops projecting, when the mind is resolved. That is why sometimes the sky makes me happy, because that that time the mind is non projecting.

I accept the sky as it is. The mind is non projecting when it is simple, when it is not willing, not assuming, not desiring for a change of set up outside or of anything inside. Thus a simple abiding mind picks up joy. That is what generally happens when we experience something desirable. The mind does assume that state when we pick up happiness for it is our nature. Our nature is fullness- Ananda

Someone may say “Swamiji, I cannot accept this argument because whenever I am unhappy, I also say “I am unhappy”. The mind is unhappy, so I am unhappy. Then which is the truth? whether “I am happy” is truth or “I am unhappy is truth” ?

That can be settled very easily. Listen to this dialogue. A man once went to an eye specialist and complained to him

“doctor please help me, I have a problem that my eyes see! ”

“what? what do your eyes see? do they see two things where there is one? or two as one?”

“No doctor, my eyes see one as one and wo as two”

“then what is the problem? Do you not see things that are near or is it things that are far? ”

“No I can read all those letters there and also see the things that are near, I can read a book also”

“is it that you do not see colours?”

“No i can see you are wearing a blue shirt, i see colours”

“then perhaps it is your problem that you do not see in the evening”

“i can see in the evening too, I have eyes like an owl”


“then what is the problem?”

“I told you in the beginning that my eyes see”

Then the doctor said “oh I see, you have come to a wrong doctor, in the next block here is a psychiatrist. Please try him”

I doubt if such a conversation would ever take place

So what is natural is not a matter for complaint. That my eyes see, ears hear, is not a matter for complaint. Nobody comples to a doctor because he gets hungry at regular intervals, because its natural. No one complains that they are healthy. Therefore, what is natural is not a matter for complaint; but then I complain about sadness. I do not want to remain sad.

Even my system doesnt accept alien bugs. If they enter the body, the system throws them out. Anything foreign is thrown out. That is the system. Similarly, when i have sorrow, do I welcome it? No. I want to get rid of sorrow as soon as I can. And if I am happy, I am not in a hurry to get rid of it. I am not tired of being happy. I am tired of being sorrowful

I avoid sorrow and frustration. evenin in our common dealings, we do not congratulate a person who is ad. Nor do we sympathize with someone who is happy. We do not say “this should not happen to you sir, why of all people are you happy? you are such a kind man, a benefactor of so many, I am so sorry that you are happy”

this would be ridiculous, so be clear about it. The common sense experience is good enough to know that I do not complain about being happy.


I complain of being sad. Therefore happiness is my nature. Aham sachchidananda: I am sat, chit, ananda. If I am sachchidAnanda, what is this world? The world shines after me. The world is, I am. The world is not, I am.

Look, suppose there is a golden chain in your hand. Now for the time being let us suppose that I do not know what a chain is, that I only know what gold is. Then if I ask you, “what is hanging in your hand?”
you say “a chain”. but I do not know what a chain is, I have never heard the word chain, but I know what gold is.

So I am surprised at your answer “is this a chain? where is it? I can see only gold in your hand and not a chain”.

You insist it to be a chain. Then how can it be two things simultaneously? How can two words be used for the same thing unless both the words are synonyms? If the chain and the gold are synonyms, like jala and udaka that is fine. Here if you say gold and chain are two words used for the same object then they should be synonyms. If they are synonyms, chain should be gold. Wherever there is chain, there should be gold.

But this is not the case; otherwise copper chain can be exchanged for gold, and therefore gold and chain are two different things

Chain, the word, the name (nAma) has got its corresponding object. Gold, the word (nAma) has its object. I have an object for my word gold. I find it is all gold- I touc gold, I pull gold, and therefore it is gold. You say it is chain. Then what is it? Chain is gold, is it or not? Yes, chain is gold. Suppose the chain is gone, where is gold? The chain is broken, resolved, melted and still the gold is.

Please understand well. When the chain is, the gold is. When the chain is gone, the gold is. Therefore what is satya? Gold is satya. And the chain is just the form and name. Chain is a word, a name for which there is a form. Before the creation of the chain the word chain with its knowledge was there in mind of the goldsmith. And he gave a form to the gold.

Therefore creation is nothing but a form with a name chain. The chain is not independent of gold

Now think. There is one tonne of gold. Out of this one tonne, I make thousands of chains, thousands of bangles, thousands of rings and place them all in a pile: Let us say a one tonne pile.

Before the ornaments were created, there was one tonne gold. After the chains and bangles and rings are created, there is still one tonne gold. Let us say there are some 50,000 pieces. Now let us count them. I cound first lAbham. lAbham means one. Number one is called lAbham. So I counted gold and took the whole thing, then what is left for you? Nothing. ou do not have anything.

Suppose I do not count gold, what do you have? 50,000 ornaments. Dvaita is if I count the ornaments as many, advaita is if I count ONLY the gold. Even when I count 50,000 one thing does not change there; that is gold. Gold… gold… gold… each of these are gold, the gold thought does not change.

The chain is definitely different from the ring because what the chain can do the ring cannot do. We cannot put the ring on the neck, however slim we may be! The chain has a reality about it. The ring has a reality about it. The bangle has a reality about it. It is not that theya re not real, but they dont really exist without gold!

That is the point. They do not have independent existence, but therefore they cannot be dismissed as non existent either

Chain cannot be dismissed as a man’s horns can be. How many have I got? How sharp are they? That cannot be answered because a man’s horns are non existent. But can you say that the chain is non existent? Chain has an existence though a dependent existence and therefore you cannot dismiss it as non existent. You cannot accept it as existent either, because it does not have an independent existence. And therefore what is it? It is called mithyA or unreal

So gold is satya or real, the chain is mithya or unreal. Bangle is also mithyA, ring is also mithyA

satya plus mithya is equal to what? One gold plus many forms (ornaments) is qual to what? It is equal to one

This is called advaita. It is what our upanishads say. Ekamevadvityam Brahma: bramhan is one without a second. A modification, like a pot of clay exists only in name depending upon the speech. Clay alone is true. It is the advaita or the truth, because that is the nature of creation. We examine any creation it is found to be like that. You say pot, I say there is only clay. You say chair, I say there is only woo, the substance of which the chair is made.

You say car, I say there is no car at all, what is there is steel, rubber, air, gas, water etc. None of them is a car, but then it is a name given to an assembly of a lot of things performing a certain function. Well, we call it a car, this is what we call mithyA. We often misunderstand what mithA is. MithyA does not mean non existent, mithyA means what is usefully existent, but not independently existent

Now look, when the space is, awareness is; time is, awareness is; earth is, awareness is; he is, awareness is; she is, awareness is.

Now when the time is gone, awareness is. Therefore what is satya? Awareness is satya, awareness is called brahman. Brahman satya; brahman is real… jagat mithya; creation is mithyA.

Therefore satya, which is one; plus mithya, which is manifold, is equal to what? It is only one

This is what we call the non dual (advaita)- not shankara’s advaita as people say. Shankaracharya was only an Acharya, he was the one who presented this truth to the people, in a way that can be understood. He captured the tradition of teaching in those beautiful sentences of his exquisite prose and kept alive the tradition for the future generations to come. He himself aquired this knowledge from his guru or teacher. His guru taught him and therefore the knowledge has been coming down traditionally

Our salutation to the line of great teachers which very well began with Lord sadAshiva, which has shankarAcharya as the middle link, and which extends right upto our teachers

Thus we do not know where this knowledge comes down from. I cannot find the sources. I know my guru had this knowledge, that is why I got it from him. He got it from his teacher, and so on. Every teacher is a disciple of his own teacher.

Someone asked me “who is the first teacher?” I asked him “who is the first father?” First father was a son of his father who himself had a father. Again, that father also ha a father. The first father is the Lord, the creator, and so also the first teacher must be the Lord himself



The creation of a chain involves two causes: One the material cause, the gold, and the other the efficient cause, the goldsmith who made it

Any creation involves a material cause as well as an efficient cause. The efficient cause should have the knowledge of what he creates and the purpose for which it is created.

The one who creates a pot must have the knowledge of the pot. And he also knows for what purpose he creates it. otherwise he could as well have made both the sides open! So he knows the purpose of that creation. Further he finds in himself the skill to create. He has got the skill to create the pot. In fact the creator of anything has got the knowledge of what he creates and also has got the power and the skill of creating it.

When I observe this world, I find it a useful creation. The sun, the moon, the earth; everything is useful. Nothing is redundant. If I feel something is useless, it is because I do not know its use. Even I am useful; at least at the time of election I become useful. The creation would be incomplete without me and that is why I am there. In this creation everything is useful; that is what a scientist is trying to understand: what a particular thing for being is and how it is useful.

He tries to understand the meaning of a set-up whether it is a cellular system or a nuclear system. What does that accomplish? We discover that everything is so orderly. It is such a useful creation. my eyes are a useful creation because there are forms and colours to see. My ears are a useful creation because there are sounds to hear. The digestive system too is a usefuul creation. I have created none of them and none of us can boast of this creation..

Even if I build a house, I must know better that it is not my creation. I may say I have created with my own hands; but the hands are not mine anyway. They were created. My mother and my father and even the cucumber that I can eat can claim authorship of those hands.

Many things that I can claim ownership of: what is it that I have got a claim over? Have I created this house? This land is not created by me, the bricks are not created by me. Even if I make bricks, the earth is not created by me. The fire that bakes the bricks is not created by me. That law that “fire should be hot” is not created by me… my God! then what have I created? Nothing. Neither can I boast of this creation nor can anybody else like me also boast of it. How can I create the world?

I am an individual who is himself created. I come and go. Creation was there when I came and it will remain even after I go. No one who existed before or anyone who is here in the present can be the creator. Therefore the question naturally arises “who is the creator?”

The creator must have knowledge of what he creates. The creator of the pot knows the pot, so the creator of everything must have the knowledge of everything. He must be omniscient. he must be all knowledge.


Now the question is, where is that omniscient one, the all intelligent being, whom we call ishvara or God? Where is that God?

A child asks his mother “mom tell me, who created the son?”

“God” she said

“mom, where is God?”

“he is in the heavens”

“In heavens? did you see?”

“no, I did not go to heavens”

“then how do you know?”

“that is what people say that is what our scriptures say, that god in heavens created the world”

“then mom, who created the heavens?”

“God! who else can create heavens? God created the heavens”

“mom, where was God before creation of the heavens?”

“shut up, dont ask silly questions! Go and study”

The boy went away, he did not understand why this was considered a silly question and the boy thought over. He being a youngster could not give it up and therefore he went on thinking trying to figure out things. One fine morning he came to the mother who was busy in the kitchen and said

“mom I have figured out”


“i know where God was before creating heaven”


“you told me that heaven and hell are two places up above, so before the creation of heavens God must be in hell!”

the mother remained silent

“mom you said that only bad people go to hell, why should god be in hell, why worship him if he’s bad?”

“shut up”

If before the creation of heaven, God was in hell, the question is still there “who created the hell and gave it to God?”

if you say God created hell, where was he before?… Nobody, none of these religions can answer these questions. You must be a vedantin to answer this question


Looking at any deliberate creation, let us say a cloth, I can appreciate that there must be an efficent cause, an intelligent being behind the creation of the cloth. It does not take a great intellect to understand that. But then there is an unfortunate omission on the part of those theologians who fail to recognize the second cause of creation. What is the second cause for creation? The material cause.

If I appreciate the material cause, if that is taken into account, then there is no problem..

The omniscient all powerful God created this world, accepted. Since the creation is complete, he might be almighty, all powerful, all knowledge. Now the question is, what is the material out of which he created the world?

Let us see wherefrom the letter Z created. We may say it was created from Y, so Z from Y, Y from X, X from W, and so on…

Now the question is from where was the material for A found? We have to say, from the Lord himself. It cannot be outside because there is nothing outside the lord. Even the “outside” is yet to be created and therefore the Lord is the efficient cause and also the material cause. This is what the upanishads say. Just as a spider creates (the web from itself) and folds up (unto itself), so out of the Lord does the universe emerge.

A spider who creates a web in the corner of a room is an intelligent being. He is intelligent enough to create the web and so the spider is the efficient cause for the creation of the web. And to get the thread for the web he does not have to go out to get the material, the substance from outside. Unlike a bird which goes out and picks up the straws and fibres to make the nest, the spider finds the substance in his own body in a gland out of which out comes the thread.

So who is the material cause for the web? It is Mr Spider. Who is the intelligent cause for the web? Mr Spider again. So God is the material cause as well as the intelligent cause of the universe

We will understand this better by the example of our dream world. Who is the creator of the dream world? the dream mountain, the dream rivers, the dream car etc. I created the dream world, and so I am the creator of the dream world. I created it just like that. I thought and it was there. And from where did I get the material for the mountains and rivers there in the dream? Did I go anywhere to collect it? No Then I must be the material cause too. My own memories are the material cause for the dream creation

also I am the efficient (intelligent) cause of the dream world

Now see this, the lord is the efficient and the material cause. Then where is the Lord now? Can the material cause ever be separate from the creation? Can cotton be separate from the cloth? No. The weaver, the efficient cause is different from the clot. That is why we buy textiles, we do not bring the weaver along !

But where the effect is, there the maeterial cause must be. The effect is the cloth. Where the cloth is, there the material cause- the cotton is. That is why however forgetful I may be, it is not possible that I leave the cotton behind and bring the cloth along!

I cannot forget to bring the clay when I bring the pot. Alongwith the pot, will come the clay, because pot is clay. The cotton is cloth, cloth is cotton

If lord is both the material and efficient cause, where is the Lord? The Lord is space, the lord is time, the Lord is moon, jupiter, mercury, mars… The Lord is the winds. The Lord is the earth, the Lord is the tree, the foliage, the cow, the child, the man, the woman, this hand. The Lord is this nose, and these eyes that read. The Lord is the thought behind these eyes, the Lord is the consciousness behind them all, behind the thought, behind the eyes, behind the creation.

Space, time, stars, galaxies, behind the whole thing. The Lord is behind everything. The Lord is everything and therefore where is God? Where is he NOT!


That is why our God is happily married. I prostrate to Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati who are the parents of our creation.

Like a word and its meaning, the Goddess, the material cause, and the God, the efficient cause are inseparable. Is there a creation without the material cause? The creation involves the material calls which is called Shakti, the Goddess and efficient cause is called the Purusha, Siva.

Purusha and Prakriti, Ishvara and mAyA. The creation is apparrent as I told you, and we must have an apparent cause for it.

This apparent cause is called mAyA. That is the material. The whole creation is ishvara. That is why one cannot appreciate Indian culture unless one knows what Ishvara is. Our ishvara is not up in the heaven. God cannot be outside the creation. God cannot be inside the creation. If he is inside the creation how is he going to create? If he is outside createion, there is NO such thing as “outside creation” therefore God is… God is creation. That is God can neither be inside nor outside creation

Therefore there is nothing outside creation, thus the reason why for a Hindu, the sun is God, the stars, planets, earth, tree, mountain, air, bird… EVERYTHING is God for him.

Everything is God,What is not God? suppose you want to touch me and you touch my little finger. Would I feel that I have been touched only a little? Again if you touch my middle finger, is it that I get a little more touch? and if you pull my hand a little more attention? In that case to get my full attention you should give me a massage! But that is not so. Even if you touch my little finger, you are touching me.

I am equally present everywhere in the body and every part of the body is “I”. Similarly any form is Lord’s form and so I can see the Lord in any form.

People say that Hindus are idolaters, that they have many Gods. But those who have only one God also have one God, pls the devotee because God is always taken to be different from the self. Whereas the Hindus have god ONLY the God. The devotee is not different from him. That is advaita

They, the dvaitins (dualists) have got one God plus man. They have made God an entity sitting somewhere in heaven. But it does not make sense. If God is only one thing, he is not this, he is not that. If I am different from God, then every living being and similarly inter things are also excluded from God. Then he must have his own physical body. Thus God becomes limited spatially. he becomes limited in power too. Because I have a certain power which he does not have. Every small little thing in creation has got some power which is excluded from God and therefore he should be a limited entity like my big uncle sitting somewhere!

And then why should I worship him? I also have got my ego and therefore I may ask him to worship me for a change. This does not make sense because if he is limited He cannot be called God

The Lord is the creation. He cannot be apart from the creation. Every form is his form and every name is his name. And naturally therefore I can invoke him in any name. in any form. That is why we accept any form to worship God. I may not accept your concept of God, but I would accept your form of worship

God must know all languages. If we pray in sanskrit he should be able to understand the language. Sanskrit is considered to be the language of Gods. It is a very well made language. But then he should be able to understand any language

Even without language also if we pray he should be able to understand. Well that is God and until I know him I worship him in form


How many Gods?

I will relate to you an event from my personal experience. Once as a brahachari I was traveling from delhi to madras in a train. There were two other persons besides me in the compartment. I occupied one corner. The other two corners were occupied by the other two. The man who was sitting in the other corner of my seat was reading a book and the other person asked him

“what are you readin?”


“what is Gita?”

“Gita is a scripture ”

“who gave out this scripture?”

“Lord Krishna”

“who is he?”

“he is God”

“what about Rama”?”

“he is also God”

“what about Siva?”

“he is also God”

What about Narayana?”

“Narayana is also God”

“then what about Ganesha and all the rest?”

“they are also Gods”

“ai, how many Gods have you got?”

this poor man did not know much. He said “we have many Gods”

“don’t you get confused?”

“I do not, in my Puja room I have all Gods, I do aarati to them, I have no problem, no confusion at all”

but the other man said “it must be confusing”

“no sir, it does not confuse me at all”

“it has to be confusing” the other man said, and he began telling a story. He seemed to be a long time appointed missionary. No reflection upon the person because this is common of all missionaries. Even every Christian should know this and a hindu should also know this. So then this missionary told a story

Two persons happened to be traveling together. One of them was a hindu, the other a Christian. On the way, there was a wide river.

Neither of them knew swimming but they discovered that there was only knee deep water in the river so they thought they could cross it. Thy entered the water, and all of a sudden, an upstream dam burst and there were flash floods. The water started rising and came upto the neck, there was water everywhere and they were in fear of drowning.

the hindu man started praying “O rama where are you please come and help me”

Lord Rama heard this call and rushed to help the man, but before Lord Rama could reach and save him,t he man lost patience and started calling Lord Krishna “oh krishna please come and save me” so lord Rama went away, then without waiting more for Krishna he called Lord Siva, and and then Lord Ganesha and before any of them could reach he called a different name out, and thus drowned.

On the other hand, this christian prayed to Jesus for help “oh jesus please save me!” and there came a log of wood floating in the river. He caught hold of it (and left the poor hindu drowning… this is my addition!) The christian crosssed the river and for a Hindu because there were so many Gods there was confusion.

When this story was concluded thus hindu who was reading Gita, listening to the story, was in a corner. He felt greatly cornered. He had no answer to give. The christian fellow, while telling the story was also covering me, looking at me now and then. Now he looked at me very triumphantly and victoriously with a winning smile.

I also smiled back and said to him “that is an interesting story”
“yes” he said and came towards me. As a brahmachari with a beard and a peculiar dress, I should be a real catch for him,

so he came and sat before me and said “see what a confusion there is?”

Then i said “it is really an interesting story. When did it happen?”

he said “well… well I.. I”

I said “ok, dont bother. Let us say it happened on a friday at four o clock. If it was any other day, any other time, that is also ok with me”

“Ok, go ahead” he said

Then I asked him “how many christians are there in the world?”

“o there are millions”

“ok, let us say on this friday at 4 o clock, there was in London a man who was knocled down by a car in the street and was crying “oh jesus please save me” there was another person who was attacked by somebody in the streets of paris, he too called out to Jesus to save him. Then one in south africa, in johannesburg, there was a woman in a maternity hospital in great pain. She also cried “oh jesus save me”

now please tell me, where will jesus go? if he goes to save one prson, the others will drown. On the other hand look at the hindu Gods. If lord rama goes to save the brahmin in india, Krishna can save the other, and Siva can save the third, Ganesha; the fourth, and so on. Isn’t it really wonderful how many gods who can come to the rescue, rather than being just confined to one?

Friends I must admit one thing. My logic is not particularly sound, infact it is more ridiculous than his. But when someone talks ridiculous you have to talk more ridiculous. That is all that is required in this kind of confrontation. Whether you call him Jesus, or Krishna, if the Lord wants to save you he will be invoked in any name and form.

A finger is just a finger. The little finger can be looked upon as a small part or aspect of the body. But the same finger becomes a means, by touching which someon can draw my attention by merely touching my little finger. Similarly a particular aspect of creation is called devatA, a deity and the same devatA can be a form in which we can invoke the whole Lord.

That is how it is. And therefore the “many” gods are only different aspects of the same Lord and the same Lord is invoked through all the deities just as the same person is invoked by contacting or worshipping any part of the body. There is only one God… there is ONLY God


the lord is the creation, the physical creation is He. The thoughts are also the Lord. The consciousness behind the creation, behind the thoughts is satya, the truth, which is also the truth of the Lord. It is the truth of myself, which alone is the truth of everything, and therefore there is only one Lord. Where is another Lord? I would like to know

Until this truth is discovered, I need an altar where I can place my head and invoke the Lord, the almight, the all powerful, the all knowledge

I invoke the Lord in any given form, call it Rama, Krishna, Siva, or Ganesh; to invoke his grace, his blessings.

So I can come to know that there is only one Lord. In the beginning, I worship the Lord who is everything and then I discover the fact that I am everything. This is advaita. It is not shankara’s advaita, please understand. It is what our upanishads reveal

There were philosophers who had their own schools of thoughts, but shankara did not have a school of thought. Advaita is the fact, it is the truth, which cannot be shaken by anybody, nor can it be improved upon by anyone. No one can tell me his God is more than limitless. On the other hand we cannot accept a God who is less than limitless because it is against the experience of life. Until you are free from limitation, you will never rest content

Like the river finding her level, until she reaches the ocean, she cannot rest content. She cannot reconcile that there is a dam and that she need not flow any further, until she can continue her journey to the ocean. Thus she goes on all the time, because until the river reaches the ocean, until she has the vision of ocean, the flow does not stop. Understand the river has to lose her name and form

“as flowing rivers get themselves disappeared in the ocean losing their special names and distinct forms” (Mundaka upanishad, 3-2-8)

Giving up all the name and form she has to become one with the ocean. Once upon a time se was Ganga, Jamuna etc. But now that individuality is dissolved in the identity with the ocean.

Similarly, every individual’s heart is yearning for that freedom from limitations, a limitation which imposed upon himself due to ignorance and error rather than by a fact. And so the one who owns up to this knowledge, that man alone is called a wise man. Until then, everybody is “otherwise” and the otherwise has got to become wise.

And therefore, we invoke the Lord, sing his glories, sing his praise. What is wrong in that? His grace will bless me and will fill up my heart and make me see that I and the Lord are but one


Dear all, thus ends Swamiji’s fantastic book. My pranAms to Bhagwan, to the whole Guru shishya parampara starting with Dakshinamurti bhagwan, and especially to Guruji for giving me the chance of writing this book

hari om shri gurubhyo namah, harih om

Hari Om.