Steady Wisdom: Day 71

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 71

I am pure, unchanging consciousness, always at peace.  I am unborn, action-less and free of the ego.
-Ashtavakra Samhita 15:13

To say that action and the ego exist is to admit that they are objects known to me.  As consciousness itself I am the knower of objects but I myself am never an object.  Therefore, when the body and mind act, prompted by the desires of the ego, I remain pure, action-less and unchanged, like the sun remaining pure, action-less and unchanged despite illuminating the various activities of the world.  OM. 

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What is moksha?

Q: What is moksha and how can this state be described? 

A:  From the perspective of Advaita Vedanta, moksha is the direct realization of the fact that 1) You and the universe/God are non-separate from one another and 2) You and the universe/God are fundamentally identical as brahman, the one true reality. To use a common Vedanta metaphor, this realization is like a wave first understanding that it is non-separate from the ocean and then realizing that it is fundamentally identical with the ocean as water.  Here, the wave represents you, the ocean is the universe/God and water is brahman.   

So moksha is realizing “I am brahman” (Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 1.4.10). Since brahman is “defined” for instance, as “that which has no sin, no decrepitude, no death, no sorrow, no hunger, no thirst…” (Chandogya Upanisad 8.7.1) then realizing that you are—and always have been—brahman means that YOU are free from birth, death and suffering. This is moksha i.e. freedom (moksha literally means “liberation” or “freedom” in Sanskrit) and it is synonymous with enlightenment (self-knowledge) in Advaita Vedanta.

Enlightenment in this sense refers solely to the direct realization that you are the ever-free brahman.  Since you are brahman and always have been brahman, this is just the recognition of an already existent fact, not the attainment of a particular state.  By extension, this also means enlightenment is not becoming brahman or merging into brahman.  Why? Because you can’t become or merge into the brahman you already are, similar to the way that water can’t become or merge into the water it already is.  You can only recognize that you already are brahman and that you’re already free.      

All my best – Vishnudeva

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Steady Wisdom: Day 57

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 57

I am not the body, nor the prana, nor the sense organs, nor the ego, nor the mind, nor the intellect.  I am the eternal consciousness that witnesses them all. 
-Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Sara Sangraha V.835

How can I even speak of the body-mind and its various functions?  It is because they are all known to me, the consciousness that illuminates them.  And just as the sun is never the objects it illuminates nor is it affected by them, I am never the body-mind that I illuminate nor am I affected by it.  OM. 

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Steady Wisdom: Day 55

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 55

Knowing I am really the self, I play the game of life without being deluded by it. 

-Ashtavakra Samhita 4:1


This much is clear:  I am the self, the one reality; the body, mind and world are false.  Despite knowing this, the body, mind and world continue to appear.  But this is no problem because I am no longer deluded by their appearance.  OM. 

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What is samsara in Hinduism?

Q:  What does the term “samsara’ mean in Hinduism? 

A:  Hinduism is very diverse, with numerous different religious sects and philosophical schools.  So you’re going to get different answers depending on who you ask.  To be clear, I am answering from the perspective of Advaita Vedanta, particularly Advaita Vedanta as taught by Shankara, Swami Dayananda and Dayananda’s students.

Swami Dayananda defines samsara as “the life of becoming.” In other words, it is 1) Identifying with the body and mind, thinking it is who you are and 2) Subsequently believing that the mortality and suffering of the body and mind belong to you. Further, you believe that the qualities and character of the body and mind define who you are.

Because of this you are always trying to become something other than what you are.  Perhaps you want to be happier, perhaps you want to become immortal to escape death. Or perhaps you want something more mundane like a slimmer waistline and a more respectable position at work. Either way, feeling like you need to be something other than what you are, that you’re not good enough as you are, or that you’re somehow lacking is a painful cycle: this is samsara.

This painful cycle of thinking that you’re the body-mind continues (perhaps over lifetimes if the theory of reincarnation is true) until you see directly realize that instead of being the flawed, mortal, ever-changing and limited body-mind, that you’re the immortal, changeless, limitless brahman (the very essence of the entire universe) that is always perfect just as it is.

But you asked “What is samsara?” not “how do I end it?” so I’m getting ahead of myself.  That’s an answer for another day. 

All my best – Vishnudeva