Understanding Self Doesn’t Eradicate the Mind

neti neti - not this - practice

INQUIRER: I feel, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I can’t be Radhika (name hidden for privacy).

RESPONSE: Then why the rest of the email?

If you know you are not Radhika, then why so concerned with what goes on in Radhika’s mind?

What goes on in Radhika’s mind has nothing to do with the real you.

Moreover, the appearance of thoughts and feelings is never going to end for the apparent individual.

The day that no more thoughts seek expression through Radhika’s mind, is the day that Radhika dies.

For the mind-body-sense mechanism that is referred to as Radhika, is only manifesting as a vehicle for thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

It is the counter across which the experience of the objective phenomena is had.

You don’t need to eradicate thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

You only need to see that they neither belong to you (i.e. you are not the apparent individual person experiencing them) — nor can they affect (i.e., enhance, diminish, modify) you in any essential way.

Both of these understandings are easily verifiable through an examination of your own experience.

First of all, the subject cannot be the object it experiences, and thus you cannot be the thoughts, emotions, and sensations arising within the scope of your awareness.

Second, through a conscientious contemplation of your experience of life — it becomes quite obvious that you, awareness, are never not present.

For most people, the understanding of both above, reveals itself through the sense that they are the same person now as they were when they were six years old.

Though the body has grown; the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, opinions, memories, and fantasies have changed; and the emotions have continuously fluctuated — the same you (atman) is watching these phenomena now as was watching them  at age six.

Person called Radhika is nothing more than the apparent entity defined by the elements comprising the instrument of the physical body and the sensations, emotions, and thoughts arising within psyche and experienced through the organs of the subtle body.

Moreover, you, awareness, never take the day off, so to speak.

You never awaken in the morning and tell Radhika to go off and conduct her daily affairs on her own because you are just too tired to tag along today.

You (awareness) are ever present and always aware of whatever is going on, even if it appears to be “nothing” as in the state of deep sleep, and are completely impartial to the quality of experience.

If Radhika feels happy, you witness her happiness.

If Radhika feels sad, you witness her sadness.

If Radhika feels nervous, excited, jealous, angry, sick, tired, or energetic, so you experience these moods.

And throughout it all, you never fluctuate.

You remain the ever still “field” of being or “light” of awareness in which all the sensations, emotions, and thoughts arise and subside.

No matter the nature of the object or the quality of the experience, you are the one in which it exists.

INQUIRER: When I say Radhika, what I’m referring to is just a bunch of inane/absurd thoughts. There is no Radhika.

RESPONSE: Actually, there is a Radhika. Were she not, you would not experience her. While Radhika exists, however, the truth is that she is not real. She is an impermanent entity with no independent self-nature, nothing more than a bundle of ephemeral objects (i.e., elements, sensations, emotions, and thoughts) whose existence is entirely dependent upon you, awareness.

INQUIRER: There’s a body (a meat tube) and a bunch of inane/absurd thoughts. How can I continue to think that’s Radhika?

RESPONSE: Because the intellect has been so deeply conditioned to believe that it’s true identity is the apparent person the mind-body-sense complex with which it is associated.

Of course, the real question is, “Do you really think that the body and its associated bunch of mind-stuff is you?”

You seem pretty clear that it is not.

So what is the problem?

The body and mind are not going to evaporate in flash of white light once you know them to be nothing more than the phantoms they are.

The show goes on. The drama of daily life continues.

You simply know it to be a holographic movie whose machinations ultimately make no difference.

Thus, you play the character you have been assigned, but accrue no karma because you know you are not the doer.

You interact with the other characters, deal with various conflicts, and experience all kinds of psychological phenomena —  but you understand that you, awareness, are free of it all.

Hence, you can enjoy the extravaganza of life without the erroneously assumed sense of incompleteness and inadequacy, the stress of pursuing object-oriented happiness, and the burden of responsibility for the results of your apparent actions that previously distracted you from reveling in the peace and happiness that are your true nature.

INQUIRER: Furthermore I know I have to be awareness because that’s all that’s left. There’s nothing else I can be. How long does the insane fan keep turning when the electricity has been cut off?

RESPONSE: Depends on what you mean by the “fan.”

To reiterate, the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that constitute the experience of the apparent individual you seem to be will never stop until such time as the prarabdha karma (i.e., the actions slated to play out through the vehicle of the mind-body-sense mechanism with which you, awareness, are associated) — is exhausted.

These phenomena are not what is meant by the “fan.”

The “fan” is your belief in the reality of these phenomena.

Once you know they are not real and that they have no affect on your essential nature, then you are free.

The “fan” has ceased spinning.

You are no longer caught in the cycle of samsara, no longer bound to the wheel of birth and death—birth.

In this case death-birth is a symbol for how awareness is “born” as an apparent person each time it identifies with a thought via the intellect — and consequently believes itself to be the apparent person with whom it is associated.

Keep in mind that understanding doesn’t eradicate the mind. Rather, it simply nullifies one’s identification with all the mind’s stuff.

INQUIRER: I inquire about this hour after hour after hour. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

RESPONSE: No. Keep contemplating your true nature as witnessing awareness until the penny finally drops. This is the nature of nididhyasana, the final phase of self-inquiry and the doorway to the full assimilation of self-knowledge and ultimate inner freedom.

INQUIRER: It just amazes me in a very negative way that I can continue to think these ludicrous things are true.

RESPONSE: If you know you are amazed in a very negative way that Radhika can continue to think these ludicrous things are true, then are you really thinking—i.e., are you really buying into the belief—they are true?

In other words, are you the one thinking the sensations, emotions, and thoughts arising in the mind are true — or are you the witness of the one who is claiming to continue to think they are so?


  1. Hi Andre.
    The more I read your responses, the more I think that ‘ I’ am not asking the questions.
    If it is only the BMI that seeks to know, of what use are both the questions and the answers?

    Is it not better for me to accept that there will be questions and answers that pertain to Robert, but that they have nothing to do with me?

    Therefore, is it not better that ‘I’ remain silent in reflected consciousness, ( my apparent experience as a Jiva) as an acknowledgement that both my questions and the net for answers are not real?

    1. The questions naturally subside at their own time. Until then, one rejoices in asking whatever is pertinent to one’s understanding.

      Nididhyasana is asking questions, although they become more and more subtle (less quiet) by passage of time.

      Also, why stop asking? The jiva’s mind needs something interesting to do. No Q’s = blunt mind = limited appreciation of the the vastness of Lord’s glories.

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