May 2013, No. 153
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The consciousness that "I am the body" has arisen from my ignorance or delusion about myself. Therefore, it is a product of avidyā (ignorance). The awareness of "I am Brahman" has arisen from the study and reflection of Vedanta. It is therefore the product of vidyā (knowledge). But delusory knowledge is incapable of dispelling reflective, discriminative knowledge. Therefore, the awareness that "I am Brahman" is never affected or dispelled by the awareness of body consciousness. Body consciousness never destroys Brāhmik awareness.
We unconsciously accept ourselves as different from our equipment. We say my body, my emotions, my thoughts. The possessor is different from the possessed, just as I am not my car or my dog. The pure Self is distinct from body, mind, and intellect. This supreme Possessor, the pure Self in all living beings, is the one all-pervading Consciousness. The three bodies—the gross, subtle, and causal—are the three types of equipment through which the Self functions. We can think of the Self as the fuel that propels these three vehicles to perform. The Self is the life force that functions through the three bodies to create the human personality of waker, dreamer, deep sleeper.
The Self is, was, and will be. There was never a time when It was not in existence. There will never be a time when It will not exist. It exists in all the three periods of time—past, present, and future. It is of the nature of pure Existence. The Self does not grow or decay. Since the Self is unborn, It is not subject to the modifications that all objects undergo in time, including growth and decay. Changes occur in the realm of time and space only. The Self, being beyond time and space, is immutable. . . . Man becomes fearless with [this] knowledge of his imperishable nature