Bhagavad Gītā Chapter 5: Who am I? Recognizing Ātman by Jñāna Yoga (32)


Lesson 32 shares process of recognizing Ātman (“I” – Awareness). We also see 2 major benefits of following Karma-Yoga & Jñāna Yoga being vairāgya (dispassion) and jivanmukti (Liberation).

Terms used in class:

  • bhoka: enjoyer (function of ahaṃkāra; ego). Meaning function which enjoys (also can mean doesn't enjoy) the sensory input data, or enjoys the RESULTS of the karta's actions.
  • karta: doer (function of ahaṃkāra; ego). Meaning function which takes ownership of all thoughts/emotions/actions/consequences. This is what we call the false “I” (or lower self), which due to ignorance, person identifies with without ever questioning it.
  • jīvanmukti: Liberation in present life.
  • jīvanmukta: Liberated individual (eg: One who ‘attains' jivanmukti is a jivanmukta. Thus a jivanmukta is one who is liberated while living).
  • prayojanam: Benefit which the text/teaching, as result of understanding it, will provide to the aspirant.
  • sādhana: means to __. (EG: Bus is means to final destination).
  • sambandha: end (EG: “You're hired!” is the end. While means is the prior job application.)
  • vairāgyam: without rāga (meaning without passions based on persons likes/dislikes). So we can translate to: dispassion (doesn't mean “apathy/numbness”, but seeing things as they are without adding/subtracting personal value onto them).
  • vyāvahārika: Empirical/transnational reality. Reality we all experience. EG: Sun, clouds, trees, wind, gravity, colors, etc.

  1. STAGE 1 of Jñāna-Yoga: Recognition of Ātman (Awareness as yourself):

    i) We used hand example. And asked “What do you perceive?“. Answer goes on for lifetimes talking/gossiping/crying over/being excited about the features of the hand (Object/Mithyā). Yet never acknowledge the light in whose presence the Object and it's features are illuminated by. We miss the obvious! We miss what's always present.

    For same reason we miss Self (“I” as Awareness, my Identity) which illumines every thought/emotion/conversation/doubt/epiphany from birth to death.

    The hand example explains the ongoing Satya/Mithyā relationship in our moment to moment experience. The light (illuminator) being Satya, and object illumined being Mithyā.

    Thus key to mokṣa is recognizing unceasingly that there is Ātman (Self/awareness who illuminates all experience) and anātman (Not-self/object like a thought, whether subtle as memory, or gross as a tree).

    ii) Nature of light illuminates the hand. Similarly nature of Awareness (Brahman) is to illuminate the entire creation. Light is independent of the object which it illumines.

    EG: Light continues shining when hand is removed or changes form. Similarly, “I” (Awareness) remain unchanged, perfectly pure, eternally limitless, unceasingly conscious of my existence… despite illumining the ongoing changes of my body/mind and the world which body/mind perceives… all which belong to Mithyā order of reality.

    How to prove? When mind's thought is present, are you Aware? Yes. When thought is no-more, do you cease to exist? No. You continue being Aware of not only yourself (just like any other day), but also of the fact that the thought is no-more.

    So we're talking 2 different orders of reality. Satya/Mithyā. And there is a relationship, just like there is a relationship between the different waves (compared to: people, objects, universe) and the same H2O Water (compared to: Brahman), which all waves of the entire Ocean (compared to Existence) inhere.

    Thus all that is here is ONE without a second. One H2O. One clay.

    iii) Light (Awareness) as though appears to move when the hand (object) moves. But actually it's only the hand (object) that moves. Thus the hand is karta/bhokta. And whatever is karta/bhokta is also accumulating pāpa (demerit/negative) and puṇya (merit/positive) karma.

    Meaning Awareness (Satya) is NOT the doer/enjoyer. This will be discussed in more depth in session 33.

  2. STAGE 2 of Jñāna-Yoga: Learn to IDENTIFY with Consciousness as Myself. This will be discussed in more depth in session 33.
  3. Benefits of following 2 sādhana's (Karma Yoga & Jñāna Yoga)

    Spiritual Values:

    vairāgyam: Without rāga (dispassion). (Gradually dropping external psychological dependences)

    Understanding limitation of depending on external factors for happiness. EG: Whether/government/family members not under MY control.

    Physical dependence (food) we can't avoid, so it's fine.

    But dependence  on psychological factor is sorrow. Called: saṃsāra.

    Problem is with US and not WORLD.

    “You are problem. You are solution.” – Swami Dayananda Saraswati

    So a CORRECTION is required on your part: Go from dependence on external objects to independence (knowing the limitation of external objects which doesn't exclude your own body/mind condition).

    Don't think of external as “outside envelope of my body”. This is flaw in logic. Because your body-mind is also “external”, it's also part of vyāvahārika reality. It's also another changing object known to you; Awareness.

    Instruction: Learn to depend on yourself (Ātman; Awareness) and not the ego-wanting self – for peace and security. “Object around, wonderful! Not around, wonderful!”. This is FREEDOM!

    Just make sure the independence is NOT a pretending independence, because that's ego (karta/bhokta) motivated action. The independence comes from UNDERSTANDING that you-Awareness are already free (knowledge gained in classes). Honesty. Honesty. Honesty.

    Benefit of Self-Knowledge:

    Jīvanmukti: Inner freedom, here and now.

    This is not outer freedom, because have to follow society rules like anyone else.

    How long a jivanmukta's body lives? Until prārabdha is over. Just like for anyone else. Because body is vyāvahārika reality (Īśvara's creation, thus is controlled by orders/laws of Īśvara).

    Jīvanmukta doesn't say “I will continue until my prārabdha is over“. Because a jīvanmukta identifies with Ātman (eternal Awareness).

    Upon death, jīvanmukta is ONE with Brahman, without individually. Called: videhamukti. Kṛṣṇa in CH5 calls this: Brahma-nirvānam (Oneness with Brahman).

Recorded 15 Jan, 2019

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