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Thoughts are natural and they will always return. So, [if you think thoughts need to be kept away for liberation] you [would] have to do nirodha all the time to see ātmā. Even if you see ātmā in samādhi, ātmā becomes objectified and is reduced to the level of any other object in the creation. If ātmā is the object, who is the subject? Assuming you see ātmā in samādhi, can there be fulfilment in terms of knowledge or of fullness? You continue to be a saṃsārī. According to this, if you settle for ātmā, you miss the world and vice-versa. So, [with this misguided approach] a yogi is always tense, afraid of the world.
Elimination of thoughts is not knowledge; it is not self-discovery. Thoughts do not cover ātmā. Thoughts come, I am. Thoughts go, I am. Compare this with: snake is, rope is; snake is not, rope is. So there is the mistake of equating thoughts with ‘I’. If I do not know who I am, this original mistake is never corrected by removing thoughts. Vedānta does not accept thoughts as the cause for sorrow. The mistake of taking thoughts to be ātmā is the cause of sorrow. This is entirely different from what modern Vedānta and Yoga say.
Sorrow is the result of a mix-up between the real and the apparent. A wave is not separate from or independent of water, while water does not depend upon the wave. So too a thought is not independent of ātmā, I, awareness, while ātmā is independent. The mistake of taking the thought to be ātmā is obviously the cause of sorrow. Even if thought is a problem, the solution, “Get rid of thoughts” is wrong. The thought, 'I am small' is a problem. So, enquire if you are really small. Mistaking the thought for ‘I’ is the problem and the solution is the knowledge, “I am real. Thoughts are apparent.”
The reality given to the mind is to be destroyed by knowing the invariable ātmā manifest in all thoughts. Ātmā is not covered by thoughts. A thought is awareness plus a form, just as a wave is water plus a form. The wave does not cover water. The wave need not subside for us to see the water; in the wave itself, we see water. There is no covering at all. Ātmā cannot be covered by anything except ignorance. It is always manifest. I am awareness, always free from thoughts, in spite of thinking. This is the darśana of the one self. What is real is always one, one alone is real. This knowledge destroys the old silly mind that stood against me. Thinking continues but it is known as mithyā, apparent, and so it is as good as non-existent. One's shadow is not a problem. Mithyā is not a problem—it is useful; mind is useful and that is all there is to it.
'Talks on Upadeśa Sāram' pp78-81, Swami Dayananda
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