Atma = Brahman
The famous Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger
is known to students of physics as the man who gave what is
called the Schoredinger Equation, a corner stone of modern
physics. For this discovery, Schroedinger received the Nobel
Prize. Schroedinger was very much interested in the philosophy
of ancient Indians or Vedanta
as it is called. Swami’s Discourses as also the Bhagavad
Gita both echo Vedanta,
setting it in the larger context of the relationship between
man and God.
After extensive study of the Vedanta,
Schoredinger wrote down another equation, which is given below.
[This may be called Schroedinger’s second equation!]
Atma = Brahman.
does this mean? That is what we shall presently explore.
It has been mentioned elsewhere that there are basically
two paths to God, the ‘Outer Path’ based on Devotion
or Bhakti, and the ‘Inner Path’ based on Self-enquiry.
Both lead to the same destination, i.e., God. The Outer Path
will help us to see God everywhere in the Cosmos; this Omnipresent
God is referred to as Brahman. The Inner Path leads to the
Indweller or Atma. In other words, Atma is the nomenclature
used for referring to the God within. But then, we can’t
have two types of God, can we, one within and one without?
No, not possible, because God is only One. As Swami often
reminds us, “Truth is only One but scholars refer to
it in various names.” The Vedas proclaim the oneness
of the God within and without by declaring: Ayam Atma Brahman,
meaning that Atma and Brahman mean one and same thing. Schroedinger
the physicist, gave this statement a more precise and mathematical
form via his second equation.
Let us try to understand the deeper implications of this
Cosmic Equivalence. Let us start with the outside for that
is generally considered easier to understand. Right from ancient
times, people in all societies and communities had no difficulty
in believing that God pervades the Universe. It is difficult
to understand the wonderful things we see around us, like
the stars, the Sun, the Moon, the oceans, rivers, mountains,
etc., without a Creator who first created them. The conviction
becomes doubly reinforced when one sees the power in Nature
[as say, during a typhoon, for example]. Gandhi put this fact
beautifully when he said, “There is an indefinable mysterious
power that pervades everything; I feel it though I cannot
see it.” Thus, it is not difficult to accept God without,
even though we cannot exactly see Him with our eyes.
What about the God within? Here, practically everyone has
problems. When we talk of within, we mean within our body.
Since we are so much wedded to the concept that we are the
body, we cannot easily conceive that there is an extra-ordinary,
invisible force within us. Advances in science have heightened
the scepticism. If a person is asked, “How come the
heart pumps without any effort from us?” the reply would
be, “It is hard-wired; that is why it pumps.”
“How comes the body knows time, like when milk teeth
should fall, when hair should turn grey, etc?” Reply:
“Oh, that’s because there is a biological clock
within. It is built into the DNA.”
One can go on indefinitely in this manner. Swami sometimes
asks: “Who painted the peacock? Who put a red beak on
a green parrot?” Scientists can come up with mathematical
non-linear equations that ‘explain’ such phenomena.
Can everything be explained like this? Not really. Raise the
matter of Consciousness, and immediately scientists go on
the defensive. Some will say, “Wait, in a few years
science will give the complete answer.” Others will
say, “That is a grey area and I will not prefer to discuss
that which I know nothing about,” and so on. The fact
of the matter is that God and His Power can be very well recognised
within also, if one cares to look properly. This is what Krishna
told Arjuna, and what Baba has told us any number of times,
in much greater detail.
First of all, let us look at ourselves, our body that is,
from a purely mundane angle. The baby that is born is tiny
– just a few kilos. In a few years it becomes quite
big, and an adult can be anywhere between fifty to eighty
kilos easily. Now what is the body made up of? Basically cells,
no doubt of various different kinds. What are cells made up
of? Molecules. What are molecules made up of? Atoms. How did
these atoms get into the body? Via food. Where did food come
from? From ‘outside’. Thus, at the level of the
atoms, we see there is really no essential difference between
the outside and the inside; in fact, the outside has ‘sneaked’
into the inside, if one might say so! Incidentally it is of
interest to know that the atoms on earth form a part of the
collection of all the atoms in the Solar system; in turn,
all these atoms came from a star that was the parent of our
Sun! Thus, we all are remnants of a star that once blazed
in the heavens! [We may not be movie stars but are stars in
a real astrophysical sense!] God, it is said, is the force
within the atom. In that case, since we are made up of a billion
trillion atoms, God is very much within us.
This is not all. Each of us is something more than a bunch
of mere inanimate atoms. We are alive; there is a life-force
within us. This life force is called Praana, and technically
one speaks of five types of life forces [Pancha Praanas].
Despite all its spectacular advances, science does not have
even an elementary clue as to the nature of this life force.
Perhaps it never will [unless it changes its present perspective].
There are so many manifestations of the Divine force within
us; each and every one of them is derived from God. As Baba
often reminds us, we chant the hymn Aham Vaishvanaro ….before
a meal. What does this hymn mean? It means that the One digesting
the food and distributing the nutrition to the organs [so
that they may do their respective work] is God! Who is the
One that moves the limbs? It is God, and as the presiding
deity of the limbs, He has a special name – Angeerasa.
The mind is the most potent agency in the possession of man.
All the advances in science and technology have been born
in some mind or the other. Swami reminds us that the power
of the mind reflects the power of God. In the Gita, Krishna
says, “Among the senses, I am the Mind!” echoing
the same sentiment. Added to all this, the Heart is the seat
of God; that is why God is called Hridayavasi or One who dwells
in the Heart. Baba has told us any number of times that the
Heart is the Permanent Address of God.
Swami often tells us: “I am in you, with you, around
you, below you, above you…..” Devotees are thrilled
to hear this but few care to understand how profound this
declaration is. It is a statement with deep implications.
An atheist may say there is no God, but he is alive because
of the Divine forces operating within him. God is always within
us as the Atma, as the mind, and as the various forces that
animate the body.
In short, gross matter is a manifestation of God in an inanimate
form. Subtle matter [of which the mind is made] is a manifestation
of God in a subtle form. Living beings are complex manifestations
of God made up of both gross and subtle matter, and having
within them various aspects of God. Man is the most complex
manifestation of God in Creation, having within him extra-ordinary
powers and capabilities, all derived from God. However, all
these manifestations of Divine Power are conditioned in one
manner or the other, by the Gunas. To put it crisply, they
all are BELOW the Gunas. The Avatar, is a special exception.
Externally, the Avatar looks very much like any one of us.
The Avatar has a body, the body grows, the body ages, and
so on. Nevertheless, the Avatar is special because unlike
us, He is NOT below the Gunas; rather, He is ABOVE the Gunas.
This is a vital difference. More about Gunas in a later chapter.
This brings us to three important words that
Swami often uses. They are: CONSCIOUS, CONSCIENCE, and CONSCIOUSNESS.
Let us try to understand these and relate to what has been
said so far.
We are CONSCIOUS of the world around us. This has been earlier
referred to as Secondary Consciousness; it is the faculty
that enables us to become aware of our EXTERNAL environment.
We are CONSCIOUS thanks to our sense organs [Karmendriyas]
and the organs of perception [Jnanendriyas]. A scientist would
say we are conscious of the external world due to the combination
of the sense organs working in conjunction with the brain.
Different terminology, but essentially the same description.
Conscience is what guides us from within.
It is the voice of God.
Beyond the CONSCIOUS and CONSCIENCE, lies CONSCIOUSNESS. We
must be clear about these three, the THREE C’S as one
might call them. Baba often refers to these three C’s.
Let us establish the hierarchy. At the top
is CONSCIOUSNESS. It is better to call it UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS
[UC] or ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS [AC], which is the term used
in Vedanta. UC/AC is nothing
but Brahman, Atma,
etc. In other words, UC represents God. Conscience is nothing
but an aspect of UC that is resident within, and guides us
[that is why it sometimes referred to as the voice of God].
Conscience is thus that ‘portion’ of UC that ‘relates’
to a particular individual.
Thus, sometimes, Conscience is also referred to as INDIVIDUAL
UC or the Atma,
is everything. All the power of the Universe springs from
it. All the power of animation in the individual also springs
from it. The enormous power of the mind also flows from the
Atma. The life forces or the
Pancha Praana are stimulated
and energised by the Atma. An
aspect of UC guides us acting as our [resident] Conscience.
An aspect of UC animates us and helps us to become aware of
the external world; that is, this is the aspect that makes
us Conscious. Thus, as Swami often puts it, CONSCIOUSNESS
[or Universal Consciousness if you prefer], CONSCIENCE, CONSCIOUS
[meaning Secondary Consciousness] are all related and form
a hierarchy. Incidentally, the Vedas
This essentially means that the Individual
Consciousness and the Universal Consciousness are one and
the same. An individual experiences this identity when he
sees ONENESS everywhere. What is the meaning of seeing Oneness
everywhere? It means that one must see Sai everywhere, in
every thing, all the time. Baba has a special name for this
kind of unified feeling. He calls it: CONSTANT INTEGRATED
AWARENESS [CIA]. He also says: Awareness means TOTAL
UNDERSTANDING. In practical terms it means that other than
God, there is nothing else in the Universe. Everything is
God – stars, galaxies, planets, the Sun, the Moon, mountains,
the sky, the clouds, water, fire, earth, the rivers, the oceans,
the mountains, the trees, the animals, and so on. DOUBT: Are
snakes also God? Of course yes, though most may not accept
it. Swami says that ancients Indians swore by this philosophy
of Oneness, and that is why they worshipped everything as
God – the five elements, the Sun, the Moon, the oceans,
the rivers, plants, trees, animals of all sorts, yes, even
snakes! They never harmed any species. They constantly asserted
in as many ways as possible, that EVERYTHING IS GOD, and that
THERE IS ONLY GOD!
QUESTION: If a tiger is God, then why is it cruel?
ANSWER: The tiger is a part of Creation. Creation is a manifestation
of God. The tiger is thus a manifestation of the Diversity
that is projected from God. Externally, the tiger appears
ferocious and even cruel. This is the dress that God dons
when playing the ‘role’ of the tiger. Let us say
there is a movie in which an actor is asked to play the role
of a villain. The fact that the actor acts like a villain
in the movie does not imply that the actor IS a villain; he
is only acting like one. In the same way in Creation, God
dons every role, both animate and inanimate. And He plays
every role to perfection – in fact, God must be given
all the Oscars every year!
Let’s get back to the tiger. It has
beautiful stripes. That is one aspect of the beauty of God.
The tiger is powerful – that is a tiny manifestation
of the power of God. The tigress loves its cubs and protects
them fiercely – these qualities are reflections of God’s
love and God’s protection. Thus if one looks at the
BASIS and not the superficial aspect, then one would certainly
see God even in a tiger. But that does not mean that one should
rush to pat a tiger on the back! As Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
only put it, “Tiger also is God but it is better to
admire this God from a distance than go near it!” Incidentally,
the so-called cruelty of the tiger arises from the fact that
it is [like all of us are] below the Gunas.
This business of above and below the Gunas
would become clear later.
Let us wrap us this chapter.
God is everywhere; He is within as well as without. He
is present but in subtle form.
If we look for Him, we will find Him; otherwise not.
Within, we call Him Atma; without, we call Him Brahman.
Two names but same God. Therefore, Atma = Brahman.
Wherever we turn, we are seeing or experiencing nothing
However, this Universal presence and manifestation of
God is not very evident to us. This is because we have become
conditioned to superficial existence. We see only the ‘surface’
and not beneath the ‘surface’. On the surface,
a mountain is a beautiful geographic formation formed due
to upheavals of the earth’s plates, continents colliding
etc. But beneath the surface, the mountain is manifestation
of God’s majesty. And so on.
The true seeker MUST not see the surface but always below
Why? Because, looking at the surface can cause superficial
feelings like desire, attachment, infatuation, hatred, jealousy,
etc. All these promote the feeling of differentiation. Looking
beneath the surface, on the other hand, promotes the feeling
of unity; it enables one to see the underlying unity beneath
the superficial diversity.
Human birth has been specially conferred to see Unity
and not diversity. Seeing diversity and being guided by
it is the characteristic of animals and demons. Being in
harmony with diversity is human and seeing unity beneath
diversity is Divine.
Man must perceive the Unity underlying diversity and thus
discover his intrinsic Divine nature; it is for that purpose
and purpose alone that the rare gift of human birth has
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THE ABOVE
The concepts discussed here are not
easily found elsewhere. The presentation may appear a
bit long and certainly complex, but needs attention in
as much as it relates to the core of Baba’s teachings.
A good grasp of the concepts herein would greatly help
in understanding the essence of the teachings of Swami.
The aim of this discussion may be summarised
as follows. It is to convey that God pervades the outside
world; He pervades also the inner world; and the God “outside”
is the same as the God “inside” as is only
to be expected.
Stated as above, it might all seem obvious
but the obvious is often not so obvious! Hence the need
for such a chapter.
The Omnipresence of God must understood
step by step. First we must realise that God exists always,
in particular even when the physical Universe does not.
Thus, He is truly beyond both Space and
Next we must appreciate that once He
has created the Universe, He pervades it in various ways.
Thus, God is present in the Universe and He is also beyond.
God beyond the Universe is the ‘Ultimate
Ultimate’ as one philosopher put it. This is the
truly Formless God that the Vedas
refer to as Niraakara Brahman.
It is often said that God pervades the
entire physical Universe and that there is no place where
He is not. Indeed this is true.
God pervades the physical Universe as
the Immanent God and as the Transcendental or Causal God,
if one might say so. These terms need explanation.
In Swami’s language, at the Causal
level He is the Source of everything in the Universe,
while at the Immanent level He is the Force behind the
actions performed by the entities in Creation. For example,
in a human, the Heart is the Source while the powers of
the Mind and the body together represent the Divine Force.
It is preferable to use the term Energy instead of Power,
and so we shall use the term Divine Energy in place of
Divine Force, most of the time.
So, the two things to focus on are the
Divine Cause or Source, and Divine Force/Power or Divine
These two entities in Creation namely,
Cause and Energy are referred to by various pairs of names.
and so on. In Western philosophy, the
terms Spirit and Matter are more common. We shall generally
use the terms Consciousness and Energy for this pair.
The next thing we must note is that
Consciousness and Energy [or Divine Consciousness and
Divine Energy, if one wants to be more fussy] are present
everywhere in the Universe, including in so-called empty
We may find it difficult to accept the
idea of energy being present in empty space. But even
science admits of it. For example, in space there are
vast stretches of emptiness. But light energy from distant
stars travels through this emptiness in all directions.
Since light is energy, we see that energy can exist even
in empty space.
OK, so we agree that Consciousness and
Energy pervade everywhere. Incidentally, one may recall
here what Gandhi once said. He remarked: “There
is an indefinable mysterious power that pervades everything.
I feel it though I cannot see it!”
Arising out of the above, we next note
that these two entities namely, Consciousness and Energy
are present in the human also. The former is the Cause,
while the latter is the effect. Especially where humans
are concerned, Consciousness is often referred to using
the term Atma, and Baba has
pointed out several times that the power of every single
organ of the human body flows from the Atma.
This Divine Energy that manifests in
a living human body has a special name: Praana.
Thus, if the eyes are able to see, it is due to this life-force
called Praana Shakti. Motor
activity, digestion, blood circulation, etc., all happen
on account of Praana Shakti.
In short, both Consciousness and Energy are present in
the human body, as they ought to be.
At this point, it is necessary to make
a reference to scientist’s definition of a living
being. Many years ago, Academician Oparin of Russia said
that a being may be said to be living if it performs the
It must show metabolism, i.e., it must
be able to take in energy in a higher form and give out
as waste, energy in a lower form.
It must show growth and decay.
It must be able to reproduce.
Now an automobile takes in energy in
a higher form and rejects energy waste. It does not grow
but it certainly degrades. And it does not reproduce.
Therefore, it does not fit into the definition. Arguing
in this manner, one could convince oneself that everything
from bacteria upwards indeed fulfils Oparin’s criteria.
But there is one important ingredient
missing in Oparin’s definition, and that is a living
being is AWARE that it exists! Oparin left out Awareness
or Consciousness because the scientific community is very
allergic to using those words. They have no framework
within physical science for accepting concepts like consciousness,
that is why!
Awareness exists in living beings for
the simple reason that everything HAS come out of Divine
Consciousness in the first place. Take a rat; it knows
it is alive, and when it sees a cat, it flees because
it wants to protect its life.
In other words, while science may dodge
the idea of Consciousness, in Spirituality, we must accord
it the first place. Everything flows from Consciousness
or the Atma.
This Consciousness [which, remember,
is the same thing as the Atma]
is all important. It is there BEFORE Creation and also
during Creation. In fact, it is the backdrop against which
all the evolutionary processes in Creation take place.
In schools we are taught: First there
were no planets. Then planets formed. Then life appeared
on earth, and after that the evolution of species took
place, culminating in the appearance of man on earth.
We need to fill in on all the missing details in the above
There are two ways of looking at this.
One is as follows: God à gross matter, gross matter
à plants, plants à animals, animals à
man, man à God. This cycle has already been referred
to in the Guide Book. We now consider another point of
Remember the DNA? It is supposed to
have two strands [intertwined in an extraordinary fashion].
In the case of evolution, there are three stands [like
in some muscular proteins]. These are: 1) The strand of
evolution of gross matter from the original Cosmic soup
that existed at the moment of Creation. 2) The emergence
of life from inanimate matter and the subsequent evolution
of living species. 3) The evolution of Consciousness in
man. All these three processes take place against the
backdrop of the two entities referred to earlier, namely,
Universal Consciousness and Divine Energy. These two provide
the basic support and framework for all these evolutionary
For every aspect of evolution mentioned
above, Consciousness [or Siva, etc.] is the CAUSE while
Energy [or Shakthi] is the
DRIVING FORCE. [If it is any help, one may use this analogy:
In a car, petrol is the cause, and the engine is the force!].
Now what is the meaning of evolution
of Consciousness in a human being? This is an important
question and needs attention. This is where three words
used by Baba come into focus. They are: CONSCIOUS, CONSCIENCE,
and CONSCIOUSNESS [which really means UNIVERSAL or ABSOLUTE
Let us start with the first word namely,
CONSCIOUS. What does it mean? It means to be aware. Of
what? Of the external world. All of us are aware or conscious
of the external world [through of course the senses].
Animals too have this capacity of being
conscious of the external world, and in some respects
their sense of awareness is superior to that of humans.
However, thanks to his brain, man can do incredibly well.
Man’s immense scientific knowledge is a tribute
to this ability.
But man’s capacity for Awareness
does not stop with the external world. He can cognise
the Internal world too, and this is far more important
in the scheme of Creation, than becoming aware of just
the external world.
When man becomes aware of the Inner
Being and responds to it, we say that man is following
his CONSCIENCE. Thus, following one’s Conscience
represents a higher kind of Awareness; it implies climbing
up the ladder of Consciousness.
Man will follow his Conscience when
he recognises it to be the Voice of God. If he thinks
a bit further, he would realise that God resides in others
also. When this realisation sinks in deeply, he would
become aware of what is perhaps the most important thing
to be known in Creation, and that is: THERE IS ONLY GOD,
NOTHING BUT GOD, AND HE PERVADES EVERYTHING HERE AS WELL
AS BEYOND, AS THE SUPREME UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS. This
is the highest state of Awareness.
The Awareness ladder is what was referred
to earlier as the third strand of evolution, and going
up this ladder is equivalent to evolving to higher and
higher state of Awareness or Consciousness.
Seen in this light, one can see that
from inanimate matter through plants and animals, God
is preparing living beings to go higher and higher up.
When the human stage is reached, humans must take off
and not fall down like a lead balloon!
If one becomes God-conscious, then there
is a take-off. If instead one sinks to the level of a
beast or a demon though sporting a human form, then it
means the “flight is going to end in a disaster”!
The sum and substance of this discussion
is simply to convey:
GOD IS OMNIPRESENT, i.e., EVERYWHERE.
HE IS BOTH WITHIN AND WITHOUT.
THE GOD INSIDE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THE GOD OUTSIDE.
And so the final score is: The Indweller,
whom many just refer to as the Soul, whom others speak
of as the Atma and so on
in different terms, is no different from the Cosmic God
who pervades the Universe and is often referred to as
Brahman. Hence Atma
= Brahman! In other words,
or rather in Swami’s words,
THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, AND HE IS OMNIPRESENT!
SOME STUFF FOR THE ADVENTUROUS!
What follows is a technical amplification
of some of the concepts explained above. This amplification
is intended to help the reader to understand some of the
intricate concepts, that Baba touches upon in some of
His Discourses. It is to be stressed that reading this
portion is not absolutely essential. But those who are
intellectually curious may find it useful.
In the above, two terms were used: Consciousness
and Divine Energy. It must be remembered that these are
not really separate from each other, and are dealt with
as separate mainly for operational convenience. They are
inseparable like the two sides of a coin. In what follows,
we shall ignore the two sides and just focus on the coin
as a whole. In other words, we shall henceforth use only
the term Consciousness exclusively.
The basic question is: What are the
different aspects of Consciousness, if any, that manifest
in the micro- as well as the macrocosm of Creation? In
this context, we shall consider
The three Akasas
or spaces or worlds,
The three states of existence of an individual,
The inter-relations between the above.
Let us start with the macro. Now, for
every effect, there must be a cause. If the physical Universe
is the effect, then there must be a cause for Universe.
Obviously, that Cause is God. Swami sometimes uses the
terms Ishwara or Brahma to refer to the Causal aspect
God/Ishwara/Brahma operates in His own
world. This world/space/Akasa
is called Chidakasa, and
it is an absolutely super-subtle world.
From the Cause, we turn to the Effect
or the physical Universe. The associated space or world
is called Bhutakasa.
Is there anything between the Chidakasa
and the Bhutakasa? Indeed
there is, and it is the subtle world entitled Chittakasa.
Now why does this intermediate space/Akasa
exist, and what precisely is its role?
Consider the following example. There
is an artist and one day he paints a picture. Here the
artist is the cause and the painting is the effect. But
before he actually paints, the artist must get an idea
or a concept. Thus, in this case, thought is the stage
intermediate between cause and effect. Philosophers maintain
that so it is in the case of Creation also. Just as for
a human thought occurs in the human mind, the thought
of Creation occurs in the Cosmic Mind. Chittakasa
is the space associated with the Cosmic Mind.
At this stage, the following table would
We also note that just Ishwara is the
Presiding Deity of Chidakasa, the other two spaces also
have their own Presiding Deities. The details are as below:
Swami has given a very simple and elegant
way of picturing these three worlds/spaces/Universes,
call them what you will. The basic idea is the following.
For each space, there is a microcosm. These are: The individual
Heart for Chidakasa, the
individual Mind for Chittakasa,
and the individual gross body for Bhutakasa.
Starting from the microcosm, one arrives at the macrocosm
simply by putting together all the individual units. In
The super-subtle world is just the aggregate
of all the individual Hearts. Likewise, the subtle world
is just the aggregate of all the individual minds and
the gross universe is just the aggregate of all the bodies.
Swami in fact writes equaltions like:
HEART X INFINITY = COSMIC HEART.
MIND X INFINITY = COSMIC MIND.
BODY X INFINITY = GROSS UNIVERSE.
This establishes a clear one-to-one
correspondence between the micro- and the macrocosm. A
bit more of fine print has to be added.
We have already seen that there are
presiding deities associated with macro worlds/spaces.
There are similarly, deities associated with the microcosm
also. The correspondence is as below
QUESTION: Are the three deities
Vaishwanara, Taijasa and Prajna
really different from Virata, Hiranyagarbha
and Ishwara? Not really,
and it is all a matter of nomenclature. The macro aspect
is called by one name and the corresponding micro by another,
that is all. To put it differently:
the “universal” aspect of Vaishwanara.
Hiranyagarbha is the “universal”
aspect of Taijasa.
Ishwara is the “universal”
aspect of Prajna.
What the above implies is the intimate
connection between the micro and the macro. The micro
would always reflect the macro and what is not found in
the micro cannot be found in the macro. This should call
to mind the observations that Swami often makes: 1) You
are God. All the powers that God has are latent in you
also. 2) What cannot be found in man cannot be found anywhere
in the Universe.
By way of wrapping up all this, attention
must now be called to the three states of existence of
an individual namely, the waking state, the dream state
and the deep sleep state. Besides, there is also the question:
WHO AM I? These two issues would now be considered.
First, the issue of the three states.
The waking state is characterised by a complete awareness
of what is going on around the individual. In the dream
state, since one is asleep, the senses are at rest; however,
the mind is active, and is responsible for the dreams
that one has. In the deep-sleep state, even the mind is
at rest. The above is a clinical description of the three
states. We must now link all this to details of awareness
In the waking state, one is fully conscious
of the external world. In the dream state, this external
awareness is muted. In the deep-sleep state, this external
awareness [called elsewhere as secondary consciousness]
is totally dormant. However, something else is active,
and that is what is called the Primary Consciousness,
which is always active.
Since the above is likely to be a bit
confusing, the ideas are restated in a different set of
words. 1) Primary Consciousness is always there, meaning
that it is operative in the deep-sleep state, in the dream-state
and in the waking state as well. 2) However, in ordinary
people, this Primary Consciousness gets eclipsed in the
dream and waking states; it makes itself felt only in
the deep-sleep state. 3) We know that Primary Consciousness
is operative in the deep-sleep state, for it is that which
makes the Self aware of deep sleep and experience the
refreshing effects thereof. 4) Secondary Awareness or
Consciousness is a derivative of Primary Consciousness,
and operates fully in the waking state and partially in
the dream state.
And now we come to an important point.
See figure 2.
This figure tells us something about
what may be called the “i” consciousness and
the “I” Consciousness. The former is the awareness
of the lower self or the body and the mind, while the
latter is the Consciousness associated with the “I”
or the Heart. Let us start from the deep sleep state.
In this state the body and the mind are dormant, and the
Heart alone is awake. Therefore, it is “I”
Consciousness alone that prevails. This is what has been
referred to earlier as Primary Consciousness. As one wakes
from deep sleep passing through the intermediate dream
state, one finally reaches the full waking state. Here
our external consciousness [or secondary consciousness
or external awareness] dominates. That is the “i”
consciousness associated with the lower self prevails
over the Higher Consciousness associated with the “I”
or Primary Consciousness. This is one way of saying that
when we are fully awake, our ego easily dominates and
eclipses our True Self. Conversely, when we go to sleep,
our ego is partly eclipsed in the dream state and becomes
dormant in the deep sleep state. The “I” Consciousness
now prevails at last, and experiences the Bliss of deep
Please note that deep sleep is by no
means a very spiritual experience! It merely helps in
recognising the transition from the causal to gross and
the reverse transition from the gross to the causal. It
is this analysis that led ancient Indians to understand
the deep connection between the states of an individual
and the states through which the Universe itself goes
through at birth and at dissolution.
We turn finally to the question: WHO
AM I? Normally a question of this type brings a reply
like, “I am Smith.” Swami says that Smith
is the name given to the body by parents but man is not
just the body. Then who exactly is man?
We now recall statements that Baba often
makes in this context. He says:
You are not the one you think you are.
You think you are the body but you are NOT the body.
You are not the one others think you
are. Others judge you by your Mind but you are NOT the
Who then are you? You are the one you
really you are! And who is that? You are You.
Swami says, “You should say ‘I
This “I” is the primordial
entity that always exists, i.e., it is nothing but the
Atma. In other words, although
for worldly purposes I may be X or Y or Z, in the spiritual
sense, all are the same, all are the Atma!
That is the Reality.
To summarise: The individual has three
states of existence.
With the body, he experiences the gross.
This he does in the waking state.
With the Mind, he experiences the subtle. This he does
in the dream state.
With the Heart [the Cause], he experiences the super-subtle
Causal state. This he does in the deep-sleep state,
Hence, one must not merely see the world.
One must not merely analyse the world. One must experience
the world with one’s Heart!
One last and important point. God exists
BEYOND Creation. Is there any state of existence that
enables one to connect with this Absolute State of God?
Yes there is, and that is often called the Transcendental
State or Turiya State. This is the state where one experiences
Pure Oneness. Such experiences are extremely rare and
have been discussed in the Message
of the Lord. It has been given to a rare
few to spend their entire lives in this state! Blessed
indeed were they!
To sum up, Primary Consciousness is
the only Reality:
CONSCIOUSNESS + WAKING = WAKING STATE!
CONSCIOUSNESS + DREAM = DREAM STATE.
CONSCIOUSNESS + DEEP SLEEP = DEEP SLEEP STATE.
CONSCIOUSNESS ALL BY ITSELF = THE FOURTH STATE, THE STATE
OF BEYOND, THE TURIYA STATE!
Man can cognise the working of the world
by understanding the nature of gross body, the Subtle
body, the Causal body and the Super Causal body. What
is true must exist in the waking, the dream, and deep
sleep states. Truth is that which is unchanging at all
times, the past, the present, and the future.
Reality thus has
three main parts. They are empirical reality, that we
experience in the waking state, the illusory reality that
we experience in the dream state, and Absolute Reality,
that we experience when we know who exactly we are.
The following incident should be of
A devotee of Baba once had an unusual
experience. At the time the devotee had this experience,
he was living in a big city in India. He was high up on
the social ladder, and also held an important position
in the local wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation.
Swami paid a visit to the city where this devotee was
living at that time and naturally, the devotee had many
occasions to interact with Bhagavan. One day, Swami was
in the company of a small group that included this particular
devotee. Suddenly, Baba turned towards him and asked,
“Who are you?” Everyone was quite surprised,
because Swami knew very well who this devotee was. As
for the devotee himself, needless to say he was quite
dumbfounded. Baba then restarted the general conversation,
and after a while He once again asked this devotee, “Who
are you?” The devotee could not make head or tail
of the question and therefore remained totally silent.
The others around were equally perplexed; Swami knew very
well who this person was; why then was He asking the question
again? Yes, there must be some deep reason behind, but
what was that reason? No one knew nor could guess. General
conversation started again, and a little later, Swami
asked the question “Who are you?” for the
third time! On this occasion, one of those present tried
to tell Swami who this person was but Baba promptly shut
That night when he was alone, the devotee
thought deeply about the incident. After much pondering
he caught on to what Baba was telling him. Many years
earlier, when he was a young man, he once casually asked
the family Guru,
more out of respect than any genuine interest, for some
spiritual advice. The Guru
asked, “Do you have a good photo of yourself?”
The young man was quite puzzled by the question but politely
responded, “Yes, I have.” The Guru
then said, “Keep that photo by your bedside. Every
night, before you go to sleep, take a good look at the
photo and tell yourself, ‘That is not
me, that is not me, that is not
me…’” The young man was completely foxed.
Was the Guru out of his mind?
Politely he said, “But Guruji, the person in the
photo is me!” “No, it is
not you!” “What do you mean it is not me?
Then who am I?” The Guru
smiled and said, “Ah! That is what you should find
The devotee realised that Baba was telling
him to embark seriously on the path of Self-enquiry! When
Swami repeatedly asked the question, “Who are you?”
He was not trying to find out the physical identity; rather,
He was giving a broad hint that the time had come for
the devotee concerned to seriously introspect to discover
his true nature!