I And Mine: [01.07] - I And My Mind - My Being

Published: 21.10.2005
Updated: 06.08.2008

Laid up with flu, I was lying on the ground. It was a small house in a small village with open skies. My mind wags absolutely free and unfettered. Right in front of me was a tree. Everything shone bright in the midday sun. I first looked at the tree and then at the sky. The former had a minuscule existence against the latter. Small but limitless. The sky is limitless both spatially and temporally. And in terms of time the tree too is limitless. Not even an atom of the tree can ever be destroyed. It is bound by the philosophical principle that says:

Anything existent in the present was so in the past and will be in future too.
Anything non-existent in the past can never be either now or in the future.

The sky and the tree have absolutely no idea of their being or not being and yet their existence is unhindered and limitless. If every single atom that exists will forever be, then how can I doubt my own existence. When even an atom cannot defy the universal principle of everlasting existence, how can I be an exception? A little more thinking made me wonder why it is that man alone should doubt his existence. He has a more developed consciousness than that of a tree and, therefore, entertains doubts about it; furthermore, his consciousness is not as developed as that of a yogi and, therefore, he cannot understand its infiniteness. From both angles, he is a loser.

Some truths in this world are palpable, others are subtle, and yet others are abstract and intangible. I can apply palpable and subtle means to know the first two types but I have no means of knowing that abstract and the impalpable truths. I can see a mango, taste it, smell it, and touch it simply because it is a palpable reality. In the case of an atom, none of my senses can perceive it but a microscope can reveal its existence. On the other hand, there is no microscope, through which an abstract truth can be perceived, and existence is such abstract and impalpable truth. It is not amenable to sense perception and therefore defies all attempts of knowing it. If my existence were no part of me, I would have resorted to its description in words that people who claim to have apprehended their existence have used. Innumerable people have described their belief in the eternity of their existence in language, and have asserted at the same time the ephemeral character of the physical body. If it were merely a matter of belief, I could subscribe to it too. The whole thing undergoes a change when one wants to know and not to believe.

The senses, the mind, the intellect, and the language are all means of indirect experience, whereas knowing results in direct experience. Since none of the means of indirect experience are of any avail when it comes to knowing, I despair of researching on my existence.

Fortunately the picture is not altogether despairing, since the illumination of the awareness of my existence does come out through the senses, the mind and the intellect to operate in the external world, its ultimate return to the inner being notwithstanding. Being geared to external perception, I can see the outer goings on. Being devoid of the introspective life, I am totally ignorant of the inner processes. This explains why I have no knowledge of my existence.

Once, my guru asked me to block the flow of consciousness into the external world. As soon as I did it, I found myself face to face with my essential being. It was no longer the case of any duality of my being and its awareness in me: It was integrated self-awareness as an objective truth, devoid of all subjectivity. It is in this context, that I have questioned the competence of the intellect and refused to accept its assertion of the dichotomy between body and soul.

Prior to the above state I was engaged in intellectual pursuits - discoveries made with the help of the intellect. Then there was a duality of being and its awareness. I was the researcher, and the awareness was the object of research. Intellect had even created this division. As soon as I prevented the flow of awareness from passing through the intellect, my being and its awareness lost their duality, and along with that, the difference between the researcher and the thing researched on disappeared.

Just as the old, traditional lamp has given way to the electric bulb resulting in the devaluation of the former, the intellect will also lose all its value the day, we become acquainted with the power of natural awareness.

Intellectualism has made the indirect appear direct, simply because the senses do not have the power of direct apprehension. They have limited powers of perception and those too of the externals. Further, they cannot but distort perceptions. Objective truth can be experienced only through medium-neutral awareness. That alone constitutes direct apprehension where all constraints of time and senses are overcome. Fast and future lose all meaning in such a state, for each succeeding moment and my being cohere perfectly well. The two thus absolutely reconciled, I find that my being has become truly dynamic.
  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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  1. Body
  2. Consciousness
  3. Guru
  4. Soul
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