Have you ever wondered about all that mystery surrounding the words enlightenment and self-mastery? Wonder no more. Read on to find out. Every spiritual practice, either implicitly or explicitly, follows a model of creation. This article discusses an alternative model and demystifies what Self-Mastery and Enlightenment are based on this model. It also reconciles this model with the existing models based on Chakras and Kundalini.
Please follow the sanskrit transliteration scheme for the pronunciation of the sanskrit terms.
As you may have gathered by now, this site is dedicated to self-mastery and enlightenment. In this, rather long article (approximately 5,900 words), which is the key article for this site, I describe what it means to be the master of one’s self (i.e., to achieve self-mastery) and be enlightened.
Before we go on to answer this question we need to first introduce a few concepts, a model for describing the creation, and a definition of the self. This is because any path you choose follows a model whether that model is made implicit or explicit and various techniques are then designed based on that model. Human mind is such that it always wants an explanation of why a particular technique works—it requires reason and concreteness. Since we cannot beat the mind, we would rather use the mind to go beyond the mind. This sounds paradoxical, but we have no choice. This is the basis for all spiritual practices.
A Model Of Creation
In the articles, Hindu Views on Creationism and Evolution and in On gurus and Disciples, I discussed a model of creation, in brief. I will elaborate that model in this section to get a better understanding of that model and how we can use that model for self-mastery and enlightenment. The model described in this article, and in the aforementioned articles, is derived from vEdic scriptures and primarily siddhar tirumUlar‘s tirumandiram.
There is infinite void called brahman. Then, brahman contemplated itself. This contemplation gave rise to the primal vibration represented by Om or Aum giving rise to the Realm of Limitless Thought. This is the cosmic mind, a realm of unlimited creativity. I call this the “Om-Field.” The expression, “Limitless Thought,” means pure vibration, not restricted by any manifestation—it is the unmanifest, a zone of infinite possibilities. What we perceive, as voice, in our heads is the “Limited Thought”—thought limited to an embodiment. Limited thought is in the realm of sound close to matter.
Please refer to the flow chart of the model of creation in our discussion below.
The Infinite Void or brahman
The term “Infinite Void” is probably a misnomer and self-contradictory. However, I believe that it is the best expression the English language can offer to describe the undescribable, because it is infinite, eternal, and silent as if nothing is there, and yet it is everything.
This is also called brahman, sadASiva, parASiva or God. The word God is used here with the meaning of “the formless and the nameless” and not with the meaning of a deity. Figuratively, it is depicted as meditating Siva or vishnu in yOga nidra—the One contemplating on itself. This is also known as pure consciousness or witness consciousness. The word Siva is the reversal of the word Va-Si meaning “near” or “indwelling self.” The word vishnu is derived from the word vishu meaning the “infinite indwelling self.” Hence both words refer to the same brahman which is the pure formless being.
When the brahman contemplated itself, it gave rise to the realm of pure vibration. This is the realm of Limitless Thought is also the realm of the creative force parASakti or simply Sakti (which literally means “dynamic force”). This is where the infinite creativity resides. This Om-field devolves and lowers parts of itself to create the lower realms of light, sound and matter. Matter is the most compressed form of this energy. As described above, Om-field is the field of pure vibration and not limited by any form or manifestation. This is the realm of infinite possibilities. If you remember times when you had the “aha!” revelations, or moments of genius, your awareness was in this field, momentarily, which led you to your “instant genius!” 🙂
The Realm of Light
A part of the Om-field slows its vibratory rate to the frequency of Light (visible and invisible spectra). Here “invisible spectrum” spans also those frequencies undetectable by humans and other species, and by any equipment created to date.
In this zone, creation has already begun. Time and Space have come into existence. This realm has a very large frequency range. Of course, this is very small compared to the vastness of the Om-field frequencies. In this realm of creation, light beings, gods and goddesses (meaning various deities), and angels are created. They have bodies of light. They are still infinite beings compared to our physical existence on this planet. Feelings of lightness such as Joy and bliss belong to these two realms, because these feelings emit frequencies in this range.
The Realm of Sound
From Light comes Sound. That is, a part of the realm of light further devolves into the realm of sound frequencies. Similar to the zone of light, this realm spans both frequencies audible/detectable and inaudible/undetectable by anything on this planet. Emotions or feelings of heaviness such as anger, jealousy, and sadness belong to this realm. These emotions emit frequencies that fall in this range. Further, the thoughts we have, as voices, in our heads are in the realm of sound.
The Realm of Matter
When the speed of vibration of sound slows down and coalesces, comes Matter. Realm of matter includes solid, liquid, gas or air, and plasma. Everything that is visible to the physical eye and touchable belongs in this zone. This covers the smallest range of frequencies compared to any of the above mentioned zones. Similar to Om-field, light and sound realms, this realm spans a range of frequencies, though these frequencies are much coarser.
Limited Self, Ego, Mind, Soul and Atman
Scriptures talk about two “Selves”—brahman (The Supreme Soul or Being) and Atman (The Individual Soul). This Atman is also called by several other names, “ego,” “mind,” “soul,” etc., in the scriptures. However, my understanding is that there is no such thing as Atman, ego, mind etc., separate from brahman. All there is this one first thought, called the “I-thought” (to use Sri Ramana Maharshi’s terminology) that originates from brahman. This then becomes the Narrow Sense of Self (NSS) or ego when it identifies itself with the body. It sets up boundaries around itself. When this I-thought breaks its bonds with the body and starts moving higher into zones of sound, light and Om-field, it then shifts and expands into these zones resulting in the Expanded Sense of Self (ESS). When this I-thought resides permanently in the Light zone and above, unity consciousness is experienced. We say there is a limited self, mind, ego, soul etc., because we experience many other thoughts due to I-thought identifying with them. So, mind or Atman is nothing but a bunch of thoughts experienced in your brain and there is no entity called limited self, Atman, ego or mind. There is only one brahman or pure consciousness.
Our Existence According to This Model
With respect to this model it is clear that we exist in all these realms, simultaneously, more in one plane than in the other, since we are a successive devolution of the Infinite Void. When we say “the manifest world,” we mean the worlds that we can see with our physical eyes and is the material universe.
The physical body, obviously, exists in the realm of matter. All the emotions—such as sadness, anger, jealousy—that weigh us down belong to the realm of sound. Considering these emotions as a unit we can call it the Emotional or Sound Body. Feelings of lightness—such as joy, bliss—belong to the realm of light and as a collective unit we can call it the Light Body. Space and Time belong to these three realms.
We, as awareness, dwell most of the time in these three realms. When we are mostly in the survival mode, we live in the realm of the matter, or in and as the Physical Body. Generally, people in the war torn and very poor countries live in this realm. Day to day survival is the most important thing. Fear is the most dominant here. However, most people who live in the developed and still developing countries live in and as the Sound or Emotional and the Physical bodies. When you are in this realm, you are usually weighed down by emotions. You may get irritated very easily, get angry, be jealous, attached to material possessions. You live a very stressful life when your awareness is in this realm most of the time. When you live mostly in the sound body, you will have a clear view of the physical world and you can perceive the nature of the physical world a bit better. For example, you may be able to know what is going on with the body at times. You will not have full control over it yet, since you are stuck in the emotional body and your emotions have direct effect on the body. You are mired in emotions and you have no control over them, they control you. When you successfully move out of the realm of sound into the realm of light, you have a clear picture of the realm of sound and matter. You will know what is going on there. Sometimes, when people were not telling the truth, you may have sensed an energy contradictory to the words you heard. It is because you were momentarily in the realm of light. You were able to clearly perceive the emotion behind the words. When you establish yourself in the realm of light you break the emotional bonds with your material and sound bodies, and you will be able to perceive the material world in anyway you please—as sound waves, light or pure matter. It is your choice. You will have full control. In the realm of light you experience vastness, lightness and oneness with the manifest universe. “Your body will be filled with light,” when you perceive your body as light. When you are in the zone of light, you transcend space.
When you move out of light zone and move into the Om-Field, you transcend time. You will have complete control over the lower vibratory realms of light, sound and matter (and hence time and space). You will be able to manifest your desires instantly. When you are established in the Om-field, your desires would not be constrictive and possessive. Your manifestation of desires will be just for experience and for expanding yourself to have Infinitely Expanded Sense of Self. Whatever you manifest will be for greater good, since you are no longer bound to the lower realms. You can rearrange energy at your will, since you are parASakti, the creative force, and create your own reality. There is no good/bad, right/wrong; no duality; everything is, “as it is“. This is the secret to manifestation and creation—live as awareness in the Om-field. When your awareness completely moves into the infinite void you become parASiva and there is no creativity here. You become witness consciousness. Things happen just by your presence.
There is no judgment about these zones as being good or bad, when we say, “higher and lower.” The distinction of higher and lower is only in terms of the vibratory frequency experienced by us in each realm. Just because someone is perpetually abiding in the material and emotional bodies, it does not make them bad. It may be that they are very happy being caught up in the drama that goes on in these realms. It may be that they are not yet exhausted and fed up with the experiences in these realms to move higher in vibratory frequency. Therefore, if you are happy being solely the physical body, fine. If you want to move up in your awareness and vibratory frequency, fine. There is no judgment here. Everything is, “as it is.”
Moreover, there need not be any fear that just because you are living in the higher zones of awareness, you will not be able to function in the lower realms. In fact, you will be able to function in the lower zones much more efficiently and effortlessly without being weighed down or getting caught up in the drama in these zones.
Delivering Our Worldly Duties
As I mentioned above, after we establish ourselves in the Om-field, we will have full control over the lower zones of light, sound and matter. In fact, to interact with the manifest world we will have to come down to sound and/or matter zones on demand and go back into the Om-field after the interaction is completed. When established in the Om-field we do not have any bondages to the emotions about the objective world, since emotions are the ones that bind us. Therefore, we can deliver our worldly duties with much more efficiently without the attachments and expectations which otherwise weigh us down and make us inefficient. When in Om-field the realization that the whole universe is a play of energy comes and enables us to look at everything we do with detachment and as just a play in which we adorn different roles as son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, student, teacher, employer, employee and so on. While being in this state of higher awareness we will consciously take on these roles and play them very efficiently. Others who watch you may not know this, but they may notice, for example, how good a father you are, and they may want to imitate you. 🙂 So, in essence, our living becomes effortless, conscious and efficient. Whatever desire we want to manifest it will become reality very quickly and will align with the greater good as I mentioned earlier. Living in this way, as the divine, is the true secret to creation and manifestation.
I Am My Own Master
Now it is time to define the title of this blog based on the model discussed in this article.
- I Am—The Expanded or Infinte Sense of Self or Being or brahman
- My Own—The Narrow Sense of Self or the I-thought
- Master—True Teacher
In the sanskrit language this is also called, “svayamAcArya,” meaning,
- svayam—Infinite Indwelling Self
- AcArya—True Teacher
That is, “Infinite indwelling Self is the true teacher.”
Therefore, “I Am My Own Master” or svayamAcArya means,
The infinite indwelling Self, Being or brahman is the true teacher, training the narrow sense of self or the I-thought to expand, evolve and merge into brahman.
When this merger happens, “aham brahmasmi” or “I am brahman” is realized. This can be further expanded to the following definition of self-mastery, self-realization and enlightenment.
Self-Mastery, Self-Realization and Enlightenment With Respect to This Model
From the above discussion, we can define Self-Mastery as,
Attaining mastery over one’s limited sense of self, by expanding or evolving one’s awareness into higher realms, living effortlessly and consciously in the Om-field and beyond, detached from the manifest universes made up of light, sound and matter, being able to exert full control over these realms including time and space, creating one’s own reality and be the divine that one is.
According to this model, Enlightenment is synonymous with Self-Mastery.
Knowing Your Zone(s) of Awareness at Any Given Moment
You can know which zone of awareness—matter, sound, light, Om-field—you are in at any given moment by noticing how you are feeling and what your state of awareness is. If you believe that there is nothing to you beyond the physical body, or you are nothing but the physical body, then you are living in the zone of matter. If you are uncontrollably emotional, you are in the realm of sound or in the emotional body. If you are uncontrollably emotional and also have physical suffering, then your awareness is stuck in both matter and sound. If you are reasonably joyful and happy no matter what is happening around you, and you are clearly aware of your emotional and physical states, then you are in the zone of light or light body. If you can perceive your body as any of light, sound, and matter and you are able to be instantly creative, you are in the Om-field.
Relationship of Spiritual Techniques to The Model
Now that the model is laid out, let us discuss how the various spiritual and yOga techniques relate to this model. All techniques rely on one principle,
If you want to know the ocean clearly, you need to be outside the ocean. To get outside the ocean start studying it bit by bit. So, study sound to get out of sound; study light to get out of light.
- Physical postures and exercises—By doing AsanAs or physical postures and exercises, your awareness of the body increases. By studying your body deeply, by studying every muscle and bone using your awareness, you can free yourself from bondage to the physical body or form. You essentially use your body to free yourself from your body.
- Breath control exercises—Breath is the bridge between the body and the higher realms of existence. By performing breathing exercises or prANAyAma techniques, by observing the breath we can break the bondage with the physical body. Some breathing techniques incorporate sound (mantra or chanting) and light visualization (dhyAna or meditation) steps which essentially combine the breaking away from physical, sound and light bodies. However, to perform such combined technique effectively one should be already having at least the glimpses of the higher realms.
- yOga for the sound body—Use of sound, sacred syllables, mantrAs, exists in every culture and religious tradition. These mantrAs are to be chanted with awareness of the sound, proper pitch, rhythm and intonation. By closely observing and being aware of the way sound propagates within your body and the way your body-mind complex is affected by it, you can become free from the zone of sound. Additionally, you can free yourself from this emotional or sound body by deeply observing your emotional states, being aware of them and being detached from them. By observing the sound body, you can move out of the sound body. This is also known as mantra yOga, laya yOga or shabda yOga. Each of the mantras have specific qualities. By properly chanting them you can awaken those qualities in you, by opening the corresponding centers in the frontal lobes of your brain.
- yOga for the light body—Use of visualizations, meditations on light and form of deities or symbols has been part of religious traditions for eons. By visualizing light, colors, multidimensional geometric art, religious symbols, forms of deities, and contemplation on abstract concepts like, “Who am I?” “What is the purpose of my life?”, you can free yourself from the light body and move into the Om-field. Study light to move out of light.
- yOga for moving into the Void—As far as I intellectually understand the part of moving from Om-field into the witness consciousness, the Void or brahman, all you can do at this point is to surrender and develop devotion and brahman itself will pull you in, when you are ready!
If you are able, you can use combinations of posture, breath, sound and light techniques to directly move from matter to Om-field. For example, techniques such as yOga nidra or yOgic rest can be used to move into Om-field directly from the zone of matter.
Relationship to kundalini and the chakra Model
In yOgic parlance, parASakti (the creative force of brahman) after creating the baby in the womb will retire to the base (sacrum) of that baby’s spine. This dormant energy is likened to serpent or snake, that coils around the sacrum three and a half times and goes to sleep. However, it is not completely asleep. A small portion of it is used to sustain the organism. When this potential energy is fully awakened, it moves up through the central psychic channel (sushumna nADi) coinciding with the spine, to meet her consort sadASiva located in the sahasrAra chakra (meaning thousand petalled or glowing with the light of thousand Suns) in the Fontanelle. It is said that there are seven (7) psychic centers or chakras (literally, “wheels”) of energy along the spine. There are thousands of such chakras throughout the etheric body, but most common are these seven along the spine, since the spinal cord is the connection between the brain and the rest of the body. In siddhar tirumUlar‘s tirumandiram, which discusses Siva yOgam, fourteen (14) chakras are given—seven along the spine in the back and seven in the complementary positions on the front of the body. You can imagine that fourteen chakras are obtained by splitting the seven. In the illustration, the root chakra is not shown split and the mouth of god chakra (at the base of the skull in the back) is not shown. Each chakra when fully awakened and balanced, introduces corresponding qualities in the individual. Bottom three chakras correspond to the matter (physical body) and sound (emotional body) zones and the upper three chakras relate to light (light body) and Om-fields. The seventh chakra as mentioned earlier corresponds to brahman, sadASiva, pure or witness consciousness. The chakra system will be elaborated in a later article.
In kundalini yOga, the goal is to purify the chakra system and awaken kundalini to move up the sushumna nADi up to the seventh chakra. Note that this is a model that was created to explain what a yOgi experiences when his pure potential is awakened. Also, this prompts our mind to generate devotion and surrender of the ego.
In the next section, we discuss the physiological links to the spirituality. This is required because only through the body we can go beyond the body. This also discusses, what happens to the body as your awareness shifts and raises in frequency.
Role of the Brain and the Endocrine Glands
As you may have understood from this discussion that when we practice any technique or walk on any path, we do so through our conscious choice. This means you are in control of your body and brain. Let’s see what happens to your body as you move up in your level of awareness.
We know that the pituitary gland is the command gland of the body. This gland is located at the center of the head in the saddle of the sphenoid bone. Hormones secreted by this gland command the rest of the glands that regulate body’s systems. Ancients had known this and associated with the Agnya chakra (Agnya means command) or the brow chakra with this gland. Traditionally, this chakra has been shown to be at the center of the forehead, and associated with the pineal gland. However, the Agnya chakra, the command center is to be associated with the command gland, the pituitary. The pineal gland is located near the back of the head. The chakra associated with this gland, I believe, is the mouth of god chakra described by siddhar tirumUlar. Each of the six chakras (not considering sahasrAra) correspond to endocrine gland(s) and organs in the region of the particular chakra. We know that brain has centers corresponding to each of our body parts. Research has also shown that human brain cannot distinguish between what is perceived as outside reality and what is being visualized under closed eyes. By just imagining that you are moving your limbs, without actually moving them, brain can be made to think that the limbs are moving. This means that by creating specific exercises brain can be made to perceive anything. Through carefully crafted (spiritual) practices body-brain duo can be fully activated to hold the higher level of awareness that you (as the ego) are expanding into.
As our awareness shifts and our vibratory level increases, more of the pituitary opens up and we (as awareness) come into full control of it. This means that we get full control over the rest of the glands, our brains and bodies. As more of the brain opens up our perception of the world changes and becomes more expansive and inclusive.
Coming to the brain itself, it acts as an antenna that picks up vibrations in the Om-field (zone of limitless possibilities), magnifies and changes them when we use those thoughts, and releases those modified thoughts back into the consciousness stream. This is the reason sometimes we feel that we read others’ thoughts. Remember, we are existing in all zones of awareness, simultaneously, and are a continuous devolution of one infinite consciousness. If our awareness is limited, then we reject most of these higher vibrations and limit ourselves to the lower vibrations, and use only a small portion of our brains. We know that we use less than 10% of our brain’s capacity. What is brain’s full capacity anyway? I don’t think anybody knows a correct answer to this.
It is known that frontal lobes of the brain are key to creativity and genius. As we practice spiritual techniques to open up our pituitary and other glands, more of our brain opens up. This means more electrical current is generated by our brain, and body should be refined enough to handle this increased higher vibratory electric currents, and hence the yOgAsanAs. As more brain centers open up, we get the ability to perceive our world as we want, based on which brain center we want to use at any particular moment, making us masters of our own selves, and lead an enlightened, effortless life.
I would like to conclude this article by reiterating the definition stated in the beginning of this article,
Attaining mastery over one’s limited sense of self, by expanding and evolving one’s awareness into higher realms, living effortlessly and consciously in the Om-field and beyond, detached from the manifest universes made up of light, sound and matter, being able to exert full control over these realms including time and space, creating one’s own reality and be the divine that one is.
- This article appeared in Meditation, Yoga & Spiritual Growth Carnival- Edition #11 hosted by Anmol Mehta. He praises this article as,
The flagship article for Desika Nadadurâ€™s Self-Mastery Blog. Once in a while there comes an article which can change your view of Reality and elevate your consciousness to a new level. This article is of that caliber.
- This article appeared in Carnival of Truth #6 hosted by Andrea Hess. Thanks Andrea!
Hi DNA! I just stopped by to see what you’re up to. Pretty amazing as usual.
Thanks for visiting again, commenting.
Hey Desika, remember me? Just thought I’d drop by to see how you are going, and wow found this fantastic article! It really strikes me how many different schools of thought are pointing essentially to the same thing. You must have spent ages on this work of art.
Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.
Of course, I remember you buddy!
You are very true that many different schools of thought (in fact, I believe that all schools of thought and religions) point to the same core essential truth behind all the veils of rituals and dogma. One has to be vigilant not to get caught up in the ignorance of dogma and forget who we truly are. I am very grateful for your appreciation of this article. I hope that this article will help the seekers of truth or at least give some food for their thought.
Well, well, well, Mr. Nadadur,
What an article! Brilliant. This is an excellent model to embrace in order to understand and apply oneself towards one’s spiritual evolution. I have come across it in other forms (physical, emotional and mental body emerging from creation), but I have gained much from your depiction in terms of the matter, sound, light and Om fields.
I agree w/ associating pituitary w/ Agnya. Am looking forward to your article on elaborating on the chakra system.
With regard to your comments on the brain, I find it helpful to relate it’s various regions to the primary chakras, and understand the opening up of the brain as a result of the activation of the respective chakras.
If you don’t submit this article to my carnival I will have to fly over to your house and give you some taste of low vibratory matter meeting your chin :-).
I have also shared this gem out, I feel it would be of great service to those seriously interested in enlightenment.
All Good Wishes,
Thanks for your appreciation of the article. I can only take the credit for writing down the article. All the credit goes to great teachers like Siddhar Tirumoolar.
I agree with you and it is a scientific fact that every part of our body is mapped to a portion of the brain as a distorted man called “homunculus.” Therefore, region of the chakras are mapped to the regions in the brain. I believe that the full activation of the chakras also signifies, physiologically, the full activation of the ductless glands in those regions as depicted in the figures in this article. And, this activation is basically activation of the corresponding regions in the brain. Most importantly the activation of the frontal lobes of the brain are the eventual goal of our evolution. Activation of the frontal lobes gives a perspective of the creation from the 5D (Om-field).
Of course, this article is made for your blog carnival. I was going to submit it, but got very busy with my duties at my job. Moreover, I don’t want to get beaten up by a yogi (on the other hand, it is a great privilege to get beaten up by a yogi; it is a blessing, a kind of initiation!). 🙂
Love and Light,
Regarding your article on Enlightenment, it was an excellant research work and you have put up
the differenct models into a consolidated form with reasons. Hats off to you ! Keep giving such
spiritual foods for innocent people like me.
Finally, one layman’s question : Why should we go for enlightenment? Please answer in straight> do not give any evasive reply.
Thanks & regards,
S N N CHARI, CHENNAI
Dear Mr. S.N.N. Chari,
Thank you very much for your appreciation. I am glad that it was of help.
Now, coming to your question: As seen from the model put forward in the article, we are multidimensional beings with our awareness mostly in the physical and sound bodies, in the present age. Because of this we are caught up in the emotional dramas that occur on this planet, be it with our families, friends, coworkers or even strangers. As you may know, “en-light-enment” means, “to live in light”. Meaning, when our awareness completely moves into light zone, we are not caught up in the emotional dramas of the earth and can live effortlessly.
It is not the question of “Why?” but “When?” Enlightenment is only the first step in our evolution. It is not the evolution that scientists talk about—one species mutating into another. It is the evolution of human species to become the source itself. It is part of our journey whether we want it or not. Our higher self (divine within) is always trying to pull the lower self (outer self or ego) toward it. We always have this subconscious desire to move up into light. This is the reason why we always try to better ourselves in our outer lives. Why should you decide to move into light? I cannot answer that question for you. This is a question that you should contemplate upon to get an answer for yourself. This urge to move into light comes from within. Something outside of you may trigger that urge. Some life experience that shakes you up so much you want to know the meaning of this life. Or, you may be bored of all the earthly experiences since you have gained wisdom that you needed to gain from all of them. Now, you want explore other facets of yourself. Any of these reasons could trigger your outer self to recognize the inner urge to move into light.
As I said, Enlightenment is only the first step. There are, I believe, infinite steps to become Lord Narayana (the manifest and the unmanifest; not the deity form)—the creation itself. Next step is the physical ascension. That is, converting this material body itself into light. This was proved by Dhruva, who ascended with his physical body and became a star in one lifetime. So did Arundhati and Vasishta, and Prahlada become stars. Saints like Ramana Maharshi chose to leave their bodies, for reasons I do not know, but he has also ascended. Great Siddhas like Thirumoolar, Agastyar, Kriya Babaji all ascended with their bodies converting them to light. All these are available to us to be our masters.
So, whether one wants it or not it is our eventual path. Some may want to graduate to the next step from being in a physical body in this lifetime. Some may not think of it at all and may take few more lifetimes to move to the next step. Either way there is no judgment. It is up to each individual to decide, since the “All Loving Almightly” has given us “Free Will” to choose.
I hope this helps answer your question and gave something to contemplate upon.
i have read so many books about enlightenment but they always say one must desire nothing. i will be 62 and no source of income and been dreaming to have at least something i could share others to uplift them in their situations.it is a miracle that in searching inspirations i have found your website teaching quick manifestastion of wishes and desires, a guru on spiritual matters and the material world where one could have what is needed.i thank you so much desika for your free materials in the internet.i am just learning how to type and dont know much about computer.i could feel your sincerity and love in what you want us to know. i am a filipino. may god bless you.
Your comment deeply touched my heart. What you said made all the effort I put into this website, worth everything. If I can be of further help, please let me know.
I will discuss the nature of desire in one of my future posts. Suffice it to say for now, “Without desire even enlightenment is not possible. Without desire you cannot drop desire. Remaining in the material body is only possible because of desire. It is a double edged sword.”
Thanks again for your comment.
I am a seeker following anahata and jnana yogas. My primary path is ‘anahata nada’ because mind is transcended in the nada – the audible life stream or Om vibration. I am a bit uneasy over your portrayal of the realm of inner sound as the sphere of just emotions. As I understand it, the inner sound reverberates even after all material afflictions and emotions have been transcended. The inner vibration has various manifestations which progress to increasingly higher spheres of consciousness. To limit the inner sound to merely emotional sphere of being is bad theory.The shabda stays till the nishabda ( infinite void of brahmana) is attained. Even after the inner light is perceived, all movement is due to the sound vibration. This is the link to nadabindu upanishad.
I feel you have taken a reductionist and limited view of the inner sound vibration which is the primary creative power mentioned even in the Gospel of John as the holy word inherent and indeed equal to God.The sufis call it kalma. The vedas mention it as udgith or om. Tao, logos and ‘comforter’ are other names for the inner vvibration or the ‘audible life stream’. I skimmed through your article in a hurry so do correct me if I have taken a narrow view of your article. The genral tenor of the article pleased me and seems illuminating.
love and regards,
Thank you for your insightful comment. The anAhata nAda comes in the Om-field, in my model. It is the first and foremost (after the Brahman or sadASiva, of course) and is the realm of Sakti the creative force which devolves successively into light, sound and matter. Even to feel that anAhata nAda in the material realm, it has to devolve. So, I don’t believe that I have reduced anything in my model. Nor did I ignore anything. I may not have explicitly stated a few things.
That said, as I stated in the beginning of the article, every spiritual path follows a model whether that model is made implicit or explicit. A model, by its very nature, cannot capture the infinite. Models are created for the mind to grab on to something and stop complaining and stop throwing obstacles on the path. So, the Self or Brahman in which everything arises and dissolves is not really discretized, as this or any model would suggest. “Practice”, that suits your current level of awareness, is more important than any model.
When you get some time please go through this article carefully and let me know, if you have more questions. I’d be more than happy to discuss.
This is the rough model which I use :-
1.) â€˜ Infinite bliss of pure beingâ€™ is the great supreme purity of blessed consciousness which is the highest happiness and is beyond all appearances, attributes and individuation of any kind. Itâ€™s the true essense of everything that appears to have an individuated existence, from the entire universe to the sun to me and you and the chair on which you are sitting. â€˜ The Infinite Bliss of Pure Beingâ€™ corresponds with â€˜PARAMATMANâ€™ or the infinite bliss beyond the apparent individuated essence.
2.) The first and primary emanation which appears from the â€˜INFINITE BLISS OF PURE BEINGâ€™ is the great AUM consciousness from which the great effulgence of pure consciousness appears. This is the effulgence which is experienced by yogis as the brightness of a million suns shining as one. Bliss and the greatest happiness which fills the innermost recesses of being is the primary attribute of this effulgence. The great cosmic symphony described as AUM or the word ( gospel of john/bible), logos( Greek mystics), Udgitha etc. is the â€˜AUDIBLE LIFE STREAMâ€™ which emanates from AUM along with the effulgence. This audible life stream too has bliss or the greatest happiness as its primary attribute.The AUM consciousness corresponds with the ATMAN or the apparent individuated essence.
3.) As the AUM consciousness with its sphere of effulgence and audible vibration involutes or descends a bit, the CAUSAL SPHERE ( Karana ) comes into manifestation which too has bliss , though now somewhat individuated as its primary attribute.This corresponds with the sheath or covering of â€˜BLISSâ€™( Anandamayi kosha).
4.) With further involution of the AUM consciousness, the SUBTLE SPHERE OF ENERGY( appears from the causal realm.Consciousness takes the gross form of energy. This corresponds with the sheaths of pure INTELLIGENCE( Buddhimayi kosha) and pure EMOTION( manomayi kosha).
5.) The involution of the sphere of energy into the GROSS SPHERE OF MATTER( jara) occurrs when energy is transformed into matter. Consciousness appears as apparently lifeless in the form of rocks, earth, fire, physical light, electricity etc..( Its extremely important to remember that the effulgence of AUM experienced in meditation is the light of consciousness with pure bliss and pure consciousness as its attribute and hence is very different from the physical light, say of sun. Besides the effulgence of AUM doesnâ€™t cast any shadow which physical light does.)
6.) As involution occurrs, the three spheres intercat with one-another and exist in tandem with one of them having prominence in its sphere of power rather than as isolated realms. Thus within the earth experience, the gross frequencies appear as the earth, soil, rocks etc. while the subtle frequencies appear as sentient beings ( birds, fishes, human etc.) and the more subtle frequencies appear as human beings.
I have read your entire article and it gives me much joy. The one difference in our models is that I see sound and light as beyond the material sphere and emotions. In the anahata nada meditation, the inner AUDIBLE LIFE STREAM ( Aum vibration) is the primary target of concentration even after the inner light becomes visible. According to this theory the inner sound is the primary vehicle of the movement of consciousness to higher planes and the ultimate ‘ infinite bliss of pure being’ where effulgence and vibration are resolved into infinity. If you have the time, you can go through my blog, http://anahatanada.blogspot.com/, which, though,is unstructured and quite autbiographical with the holy and the profane mixed up. I must say, I really liked your exposition and would like to stay in touch with you. Your correlating the glands and inner experiences was especially enlightening.
Love and regards,
You are so generous in giving us/me (seekers) something to help us move towards enlightenment.
I have been trying to practice detached mind, living in the now, and accepting what is. However my mind is rarely still, and though sometimes I feel I have grasped what you and others are trying to tell me, my mind seems to cloud in again and I become confused. My mind seems to be mostly attached, how does one look inside ones self? I spend lots of time driving and am trying to bring myself to focus in the now, but without too much success.
Can you help me to help myself?
Thanks for the elaboration of the model you follow. This is the classical model, I believe.
Thanks for adding it here for everyone’s benefit. It gives an alternative to the model I gave.
As I stated, all models are there so that our mind can rest, so that it can perform the techniques without too much analysis. The One Infinite is a continuum and cannot be discretized by any model.
I started going through your site. It is very interesting and insightful. I like your poetry as well.
Please do keep in touch.
It is a constant effort to keep the mind in check. Especially, when we are working in the world with so much mental chatter and egotistical behavior it is difficult. It is said that “Prana” (or life force) is also the energizing factor of the “mind.” So, Pranayama (breathing exercises) is one way to calm the mind down. Meditative techniques are another way. However, doing pranayama and meditative techniques in succession is a powerful way. Detachment from your thoughts then becomes natural.
Don’t try to control your thoughts. The act of controlling energizes that which you are trying to control.
You can perform one or more of the following techniques daily:
A Powerful 3-Part Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique
A 10 Minute Ujjayi Pranayama, Victorious or Ocean Sound Breathing Technique
Simple Techniques for Busy People to Help Access Inner Peace and Joy
Yoga Nidra or Yogic Rest
As you will see, the last technique of yOga nidra is a very powerful technique as it involves breath and visualization.
To come back to the present moment, breath is a very powerful gateway. If you notice that you are wandering in your thoughts and not in the present moment, then take a couple of deep abdominal breaths and return the breath to its normal pace. Then, bring your attention to your breath without changing it (if you are driving or otherwise doing something that requires your full attention, then bring your attention to breath partially and bring the rest of your attention fully to your surroundings and what you are doing). This should bring you back to the present moment.
If you are really interested in moving further in your spiritual evolution and more powerful techniques, then you should get initiated into one or both of:
Babaji’s Kriya Yoga
Thirumoolar’s Siva Yoga
They both offer very powerful combinations of breathing, visualization and meditation techniques.
I hope that this is of help.
Thanks for your insightful comment.
I read your article “Self Mastery & Enlightenment Demystified”. It is extermely well written and eminently readable. However, I have a few suggestions. If you don’t like them, ignore them.
1. As you stated, there is no judgement on the different realms of cosmic vibrations. They are formed only due to higher or lower frequencies of vibrations. Here the flow chart showing them can not be in vertically downward direction from “Void”. Please change it to concentric circles one over the other. That avoids unidirectional vibrations from “Void”.
2. You mentioned that there is no such thing as “Atman”. I differ with you. Because there is Atman, there is Re-Birth. If there is no Atman, there will be births (creations) in generations after generations but not Re-Births. The term Re-Birth or simply rebirth indicates to specific Atman. So also Re-Incarnation. They are inevitable in the Karma world based on individual Karma.
3. You discussed in the article, rather briefly mentioned about “Gnana Yoga” and “Bhakthi Yoga”, though you did not use these terms. You did not touch upon “Karma Yoga”. All the three yoga types enable one to realize Brahman ultimately as enunciated in the Bhagavadgitha by Lord Krishna. All the three yogas lead to self mastery & enlightenment.
4. The Kundalini Chakra model is good but its relationships with the harmones is oversimplified in the article.
Holistically, the article is very good and makes the point about Self-Mastery, not about enlightenment.
Dear Dr. Murthy,
Thank you for your insightful comment.
(1) I agree with the concentric circles approach. I guess I have been doing too much of software engineering, lately. I will see if I can change that when I have time. Even if I don’t when people read your comment they will understand.
(2) I believe that the term Atman has been very misunderstood. I like Sri Ramana Maharshi’s explanation using the I-thought, that arises from Brahman and identifies with one of these realms of vibration. When this I-thought gets attached to other thoughts that arise from it, we create an individuality and so we call that mind, atman, etc. This I-thought is the one that reincarnates in that realm, depending on which realm it was attached to. This is my understanding.
(3) I reserved Jnana, Bhakthi, and Karma Yoga for later articles, since this article was already getting too long. Kriya Yoga is another that actually includes all the three approaches above. The true state of Jnana and Bhakthi are the same.
(4) I did not want to give another esoteric description of Chakras, since there are million others who have done that. I wanted to give a description of what happens to the physiology and psychology of the human being, when each of the chakras awaken and balance.
To me there is no difference between Self-Mastery, Enlightenment and Liberation. Living free of emotional attachments, and attachment to thought induced states is liberation–Jeevan Mukti. I have described it further in, “What is Enlightenment?” and also why liberation or enlightenment is only first step in our evolution “Why Enlightement?.”
I am very grateful for your insightful comment. You made me contemplate quite a bit. 🙂
Love and Light,
Woah! It took me 60 minutes to read the entire post!
The post definitely does live up to the title.
But, what I don’t really understand is that, when one does perceive the entire body as light, there comes a need for us to issue the athma as the athman and the whole concept of “panchaboodham” is not properly refuted.
This was indeed an eye opening and I must say that it has made me think about myself a bit more. I have been interested in the world of spirituality for some time and the main reason being not satisfied with what I get in my day to day life.
How do one restrict their ego? In this world of competition, is it not a bit hard to not feel a bit proud when one accomplishes something,
Thanks for this post, this was something that really touched me and made me think a lot about what I’m doing in my life….
I think this is something that everyone should reach, the power of the soul is underestimated by many…
Thanks for taking an hour off of your time to read this article.
I state in the section, “Limited Ego, self, …,” that from a higher perspective, there is no such thing as Atman. Great masters have always said, aham brahmasmi (I am Brahman) or sOham (That I am). They have not said this to recite as a mantra, but to live it everyday (you can recite this as a mantra with this understanding). So, the prescription is that we live as the creator. Every morning when you wake up ask yourself, “How can I be more creative today? How can I be more like the creator who is effortless in his creation?” From this perspective, you are creating everything, everything is in you and nothing outside of you. This is the “Top down approach” to spirituality, as opposed to the the “bottom up approach” most contemporary gurus teach, “You are ignorant and I am god, and I can give you salvation.” No one but you can help free yourself.
I will be writing an article soon on this top-down approach. I hope this answers your questions. If not, ask.
Please also see my answer to question by “psychic” (very similar to your name, except it is singular!).
In the top-down approach, the ego does not exist, only the concept of creation. You create, you enjoy, but without attachment to it. If your creation dissolves later, then so be it. So, if you feel elated because you accomplished something let the feeling pass through you, feel elated fully without guilt or holding back, but don’t let it touch you and don’t get attached to it. Remember, this is your internal state of elation. As long as you don’t thumb your nose at somebody else literally or figuratively, because of your so called accomplishments, there is nothing wrong with elation. Also, ask yourself what experience that was and what wisdom did you gain from it. We are on this planet because we want experiences and the consequent wisdom.
This means that everyone of us was supposed to be on this planet at this very moment at the very place we are in. In the top-down approach, everyone is brahman and therefore equally a beacon of light, intelligent and creative.
I don’t believe in the dog-eat-dog world. I believe in a cooperative world. Remember the good bacteria in our intestines. We are feeding them, and they are helping us–a cooperative world. Change your internal state from competition to cooperation and the rest will follow.
Thank you for your kind words.
This post surely enlightened me on various aspects, and I need to thank you for that. I have always believed that there is a force in us that we can tap into, but there was no concrete guide that I could look upto. But yours have served the purpose.
Can anyone do Yoga? Does one need to be fit and flexible? Or do we reach there, with Yoga?
I am glad that this helped your understanding.
Yes, anybody can do yoga. Becoming fit and flexible is a side effect and benefit of yoga and you don’t have to be fit and flexible to start yoga. If you feel that your current fitness level limits you or you have physical limitations, then consult a competent yoga teacher (I am talking about postures here, since yoga encompasses much more than physical postures) who can tailor/customize the postures for you.
Please note that goal of yoga postures is not becoming like a pretzel (though that is what is propagated in the mainstream), but to keep the body free of pain and disease, so that one can focus properly on one’s spiritual practices without distractions from the body and mind.
I hope this helps.
Brilliant and thought provoking!
Hi Desika, I have been searching it seems like forever for a way to grasp the concepts of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I happened upon your site reading other blogs and BAM! Your article was brilliant and directional. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain and define many questions of us who are searching for understanding.
You certainly made my day 🙂 I am looking forward to reading more of your articles and following your thought provoking blog.
I am very happy that serendipity brought you to my blog and this article aided your understanding.
Your blog got me interested in Thirumoolar’s 3DQ. Your article is amazing for the reason that a simple man like me could atleast make an attempt to understand ‘BRAHMAN’. But I think Ascension without the Body is superior to Ascension with it. Your views on this please.
All of us can only try earnestly. Rest is up to that Brahman only.
This is my current understanding of ascension.
Ascension with the body or without it is a choice.
(1) Ascension without the body entails that after self-realization/merging in to the void, you stay in that void without care for the body garment or the world, e.g., Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, et al.
(2) After merger with that void, if you bring that knowledge to express through the body into this world in order to transform the manifest world back to that divine light, by surrender every cell in your body to that divine energy, and transform it (body garment) to divine light, it is called ascension with body., e.g,, Siddhar Tirumoolar, Mahavatar Sri Kriya Babaji, Sri Ramalinga Swamigal (19th century). Even Sri Aurobindo was working on this before he decided to leave the body garment.
I hope this helps.
I haveen pratising pranayama,51 letters chanting and meditation, but I am no having any
experience so far. kindly guide me.
[Email ID deleted by the admin]
Experiences come on their own accord depending on the practitioners inner state. Don’t get attached to the experiences. Don’t practice techniques expecting experiences. Before, during and after the practice remember the divine (any form or no-form that you choose like Siddhar Thirumoolar, Shiva or whoever or whatever) and offer the techniques and the results from them to your chosen divinity.
Hope this helps.
Are you enlightened?
It is a tricky one, isn’t it?
If I go around telling that I am enlightened, then I am not really enlightened, is it? If I think I am NOT enlightened, then I am blocking the light within to shine through. 🙂 So, there is really no one answer to your question.
Please read What is enlightenment?
Hello Desika: Namaste. This is an outstanding article and blog post. The world-renowned philosopher, writer, and mystic Eckart Tolle was once asked what lies beyond death and he replied that this depends upon our need for form. So, if we need “form”, we return to a realm of form. If we have transcended the need for physical form, then we, as consciousness, move on to higher realms where form is less or not present. So, in many ways, OM is kind of a bridge between the Infinite Void (Brahman) and realms of creation featuring form (sound, light, matter, etc). Again, excellent post and wishing you well with this blog. Naamaste, Keith
Namaste. I totally agree with you. OM or Sabda Brahman is the ripple in brahman before the creation happens (of course, there is other theory that creation never happened and that this manifestation is nothing but a dream of that brahman/consciousness 🙂 ).
I have started reading a translation of Yoga Vasistha titled, “Vasistha’s Yoga” translated by Swami Venkatesananda. I am just floored to read so much of what quantum physics says now and much more. It is a hard read as it requires a lot of contemplation and unable to read more than a paragraph or two per day. It talks about how atman dreams of a body and acquires it and whatever it feels/thinks at the time of shedding that body manifests as its next incarnation.
Very interesting indeed.