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All inner development is just a process of re-remembering
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Question: Dear Sir, I want to inquire about a couple of perspectives that seem to be troubling me to some extent.

The first one is based on an earlier conversation I had with you: when there is action without the self, is that action marked by compassion?

The second doubt is: I was reading somewhere yesterday that there is a very strong disconnection between our body(which includes the mind) and consciousness. Does our consciousness, or rather cosmic consciousness work independent of the needs of the body or are the two deeply interlinked?

Would love to hear your response to the same.

Answer: What is compassion? Can any word exist without the consciousness of its opposite? The moment you use the word ‘compassion’, you cannot be fully compassionate because the very existence of the word will limit the compassion.

It is like this: what is all-pervasive cannot be known by the mind because the mind can only know via conflict. So, if a mind knows compassion and is able to assign a word to it, it only means a limit to the compassion, a certain lack of compassion, a point where the compassion ends and cruelty begins.

Now, will the mind know anything about the action without the self? Tell me, when there is action without the self, will there be any experience? Experience can be known only when there is a separate entity to experience the event.

In a way, compassion and a thousand more attributes will be there, but who will be there to experience?If there is no experience, the mind will not come to know. When the mind will not come to know, how can it label it as compassion?

In action beyond self, there is only beyondness. Later on, by recollecting, by thinking, by using memory(of a gap in time) and mind, you can assign labels to it. Only later on. Those labels will be limited and false, even if useful. As useful as vicarious bliss !

No name can suffice, however the word that I have seen come closest to the ‘beyond self’ is sat-chit-anand . Truth-awareness-bliss. It is just an apologetic surrogate, a timid pointer, nevertheless it satiates our hunger for labels.

The Second Part:

To me, it seems you are asking of Brahm, Aatm and the various layers of the self. I will just elaborate on how they have been classically defined.

The cosmic consciousness, that exists, the only Being that exists, is Brahm. It is timeless- ‘before’ and ‘after’ do not apply to it. It is there even if a single sentient organism does not exist. Is is there even if the whole universe is consumed by a black hole.

The reflection of Brahm in the individual being is Aatm . It is like the moon being reflected on the smooth surface of a lake. If the lake is calm, the moon will be reflected as it is. That reflection is Aatm, the individual consciousness. Not different from Brahm, but shines only on the condition of calmness.

The body and the mind, what are these then? Products of evolution. Products of time, hence the mind thinks only of time, and the body is a function of time. They have their independent nature. Both are matter. Aatm cannot change their nature, but Aatm is independent of their material nature.

For example, even a Buddha is subject to gravitation, even a Buddha must eat, and a testing lab will find his body to be the same as anybody else’s. In body, in brain, the Buddha is not very different. Even in his mind, he will not be very different. IQ tests will probably place him at 120 or so. How is he different then?

You could say that in the game of time, in the travel through aeons, the Aatm gathers a lot of residue. It is like the dust a traveler gets loaded with while journeying for long. The body is the residue of evolution, the mind is the residue of experience. But who is this traveler? What is his relation to this residue, this dust?

The analogy above is too simplistic. The traveler can easily brush off the dust. In our case, the dust is a fine product of ages of evolution. And we have been traveling since so long that it is easy to forget things. The dust is so nice, and we tend to become forgetful. All inner development is just a process of re-remembering.

But the analogy is essentially correct. Just as dust has its own nature, separate from the traveler, similarly our body and mind have their nature, separate from ‘our’ (aatm) nature. It is important to realize the nature of the body and the mind, and see that their nature is not our nature. Their nature is predominantly material-time. Aatm is para-material-time.

-Based on my interactions on various e-media.

Dated: 27th August,’11

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