27th November, 1938
Somasundara Swami, a long standing devotee, asked: There is akasa in a
mirror and it reflects images. How are these contained in the mirror?
M.: Objects remain in space. Objects and space are together reflected
in the mirror. Just as the things are found in space, so they are in
the reflection also. The mirror is itself thin. How can these objects
be contained in its compass?
D.: How does the akasa in a pot illustrate this point?
M.: There is no reflection in the akasa of the pot. The reflection is only in
the water in it. Keeping several pots filled with water in a tank, the akasa
is reflected equally in the water in each of the pots and in the water of the
tank. Similarly the whole universe is reflected in each individual.
D.: The mouths of the pots must be above the surface of the water
in the tank.
M.: Yes, it must be so. Otherwise can the pots be recognised if sunk
in the tank?
D.: How does the reflection take place there?
M.: Pure ether cannot take reflections; only the ether of water can do
so. Glass cannot reflect objects; only a plate of glass with an opaque
lining on its back can reflect the objects in front of it. Similarly Pure
Knowledge does not contain objects in it nor reflect objects. Only
with the limiting adjunct, the mind, it reflects the world.
Neither in samadhi nor in deep sleep does the world remain. There
cannot be illusion either in bright light or in total darkness. Only
in dim light a rope seems a snake. Similarly Pure Consciousness
remains light only; it is pure knowledge. The mind rising from it
is deluded that the objects remain apart.
D.: So then the mind is the mirror.
M.: Mind - mind what is it? It is a mixture of Chit (intelligence) and
sankalpas (thoughts). Therefore it forms all these - the mirror, light,
darkness and the reflections.
D.: But I do not see it.
M.: Chidakasa (chit-ether) is Pure Knowledge only, It is the source
of mind. Just at the moment of rising up, the mind is only light;
only afterwards the thought “I am this” rises up; this ‘I-thought’
forms the jiva and the world.
The first light is the pure mind, the mind ether or Isvara. Its modes
manifest as objects. Because it contains all these objects within
itself it is called the mind-ether. Why ether? Like ether containing
objects it contains the thoughts, therefore it is the mind-ether.
Again, just as the physical ether though accommodating all the gross objects
(the whole universe) is itself the content of the mind-ether, so also the latter
is itself the content of Chit-ether. The last one is Chit Itself. There are no
things contained in it. It remains as Pure Knowledge only.
D.: Why call it ether? Physical ether is not sentient.
M.: Ether denotes not only the insentient physical ether but also Pure
Knowledge. Knowledge does not consist in knowing objects: this is
relative knowledge. But Knowledge in its purity remains all alone,
One, unique, transcendent Light!
D.: Well - should we be imagining it in our meditation?
M.: Why imagine? We can think of another only if we are independent
of it, whereas here we cannot remain independent of this Pure
Knowledge. Rather, only IT is! How can It be imagined to be so
and so or such and such?
D.: How are we to proceed?
M.: Only get rid of the non-self.
D.: It looks all right now; but later it is all forgotten.
M.: Your forgetfulness implies knowledge, for you know you forgot;
otherwise how can you speak of forgetting it? So forgetfulness also
is Chit-akasa (Chit-ether) only.
D.: How then is it not clear to me?
M.: Chit is knowledge pure and simple. The mind proceeds from it;
the mind is made up of thoughts. Darkness or ignorance interposing.
Pure Knowledge seems different from what It really is; the same
is seen as ‘I’ and the ‘world’ which are full of desire, attachment,
hatred, etc. Therefore desire, etc., are said to veil the Reality.
D.: How to be rid of thoughts? Is it as said in the Atma-Vidya - the
eye of the mental eye, etc.?
M.: There the mind stands for ether, Being (sat); and the eye for
knowledge (chit); both sat and chit together form the universe.
D.: How to realise the same?
M.: As pointed out in the Atma Vidya “being the eye of the mental eye,
the ether of the mental ether.....”, meaning, the Knowledge behind
the relative knowledge, the Chit-Ether containing the mental ether,
remains as the Only One always shining bright.
D.: Still I do not understand. How shall I realise it?
M.: It is also said, “Remain free from thoughts,” and “It is realised
only in the mind drawn within.” Therefore, the mind made free
from thoughts, and merged in the Heart. is Chit Itself.
D.: Is the aforesaid mental ether Isvara or Hiranyagarbha?
M.: Can the latter remain independent of the former? The same is
Isvara and Hiranyagarbha.
D.: How do they differ from each other?
M.: The Immanent Being is called Isvara.
D.: Is not the Immanent Being Chit-akasa only?
M.: Immanence can only be with Maya. It is the Knowledge of Being
along with Maya; from this subtle conceit Hiranyagarbha; from
the latter the gross conceit virat. Chit-atma is Pure Being only.