How to explain the world from the standpoint of reality? That is the task of the student of Adhyatma Yoga. Is this the only task? Yes. If any other duty or task is presumed, it can be only relative and conditional; in Atman there is no relation and no condition.
A man sees Mount Fuji, and he knows that the top of the holy mountain is triangular, covered with perpetual snow, and that there is a Shinto shrine on the top. There are some people who have not seen Fuji but have read about it, have become worms of the books about Fuji and have listened to so much about it. But when they speak about Fuji, they can never talk like the one who has seen it and whatever they say will never be free from error. Is there any truth about the world about which there can be no doubt? (We are not speaking in terms of the Cartesian philosophy but in terms of the absolute Truth.) That most undoubted truth is: “Shivoham, Shivoham, Shivoham.”
How can the world be explained from the point of view of “Shivoham”? There are two ways. One way is to accept the relative existence of the world. The other is what is called by Shri Shankara ajatavada – the world was never born, it has never existed and it is only an appearance like the blueness of the sky, the tent-like character of heaven, the meeting of heaven and earth at the horizon, the fixity of the stars in the firmament, which are all illusions. Therefore, from the standpoint of the highest truth, from the standpoint of Swami Sacchidananda , and he was like the one who has seen Fuji, the world is merely an appearance superimposed on Atman, the absolute consciousness.
The duty of each and every sane person is to mature this consciousness by the process called nididhyasana. What is to be done in the world?
Shri Swami Nirbhayananda has said: “O Nirbhava, take delight in nididhyasana.” The mystery will be cleared in nididhyasana.
Each and everybody is jivanmukta, not that some have become it and some are on the way. It is not so. Each and everybody is jivanmukta. Shri Swami Sacchidananda used the following metaphor. There is a sweet called pira made of milk boiled on a slow fire to which are added sugar and cardamom seeds, fried almonds and raisins. I am not wishing to make your mouths water but one who has never tasted it could never describe it. A man wished all the time to try it. He had been invited to a banquet by a friend and, among the many dishes served, was pira but he did not know its name and therefore he thinks he has not eaten it and complains: “I have never eaten pira.” But in fact he has eaten pira. So each and every human being has tasted the joy of jivanmukti or Atman in sushupti, in the state of tandra in the space between the dreaming and dreamless states when dream-consciousness ends and sushupti-consciousness begins.
In “Nirvana Prakarana”, Shri Vasishtha says: “O Rama, mark the interval between two thoughts. One thought has come and gone, and another is about to begin: this is a very sukshma (subtle) point. Mark this and in that mark you will clearly see Atman or jivanmukti.” Therefore let us know we have eaten pira. It is no use being anxious for jivanmukti. the more anxious you become, the more you put it away from you, the more it increases the illusion. A man thought his shadow was a policeman but the more he ran, the more it pursued him. He beat it with a stick and the shadow responded in the same way. He must know it as shadow and that is the only way.
By anvaya and vyatireka, the argument of entirety and the argument of separateness, Atman is known to be the only fact, the universal fact, Sat Chit Ananda, instead of saying “today I am ajnani” and thinking the day will come when you will be jnani: those who think they will be jnani will never be jnani. You close your eyes with your hands; you yourself have created the darkness; it is not the sun that has become dark. The sun of Atman is self revealed and self-illumined. No other entity is svayamprakasha. Let us therefore rest in the conviction: “I am jivanmukta. I am jivanmukta.”.
Every isolated object in the world, which appears to be divided, belongs to a great whole of which it is a part. This is an axiom; it is self-evident. Some corollaries in the geometrical sense may follow from it but this truth is a self-evident axiom. A tree is part of the forest, a branch is part of the tree, a leaf is part of the branch, the earth is a part of the solar system, the solar system of the universe, the universe of the billions of universes of Einstein. It is true. Let us ask: “What is the whole of which everything is a part?” Does not this axiom apply also to our individual existence? No truth is truth unless it is universal. Non-contradictability, universality and the ontological test, of which Professor Hocking has spoken so eloquently, are characteristics of truth. What is the whole of which our life, mind and body is a part? It is Ishvara. Is Ishvara the final and ultimate Reality? Yes. The totality of all our lives, minds and bodies and their transcendence is called Ishvara. Is there anything else, more than our life, mind and body? Yes, there is – chetana, consciousness. What is that of which our consciousness is a part? Brahman. What is the essence of Ishvara? Brahman. What is the essence of jagat? Brahman. What is the answer to “Tat tvam asi, Tat tvam asi”? Brahman.