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April 30, 2023

Wisdom of the Mystics: Atmananda Krishna Menon Ji

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In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the wisdom of Atmananda Krishna Menon Ji. He was a teacher of the Direct Path and one of our favourite contemporary spiritual teachers of the podcast, Rupert Spira is from this lineage. 

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Hello and welcome to The Bearded Mystic Podcast and I'm your host, Rahul N. Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Before we do begin, there's a few things I would like to share with you. The Bearded Mystic Podcast does need your support, and you can do so by signing up to our Patreon page. On Patreon, there is ad free and bonus episodes along with other benefits depending on the tier that you select. Details are all in the show notes and video description below.

On Saturdays at 11:

00 AM Eastern Standard Time, there is a free virtual meditation session along with discussion and q and a that happens afterwards. Please find the details in the show notes and video description below if you're interested in meditating with us as a community. Please do like, comment, and subscribe if you're watching this on YouTube. And if you're listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, please do give this podcast a five star rating and do follow, subscribe to get future episodes. And most of all, share this with your friends and family who may be interested in topics and themes like we're discussing today. Today we will be continuing on with the wisdom of the mystics, and we will be looking at the teachings of Atmananda Krishna Menon. And as you know, last month we looked at the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, and today we'll be looking at the teachings of Atmananda Ji. We're going to delve deep in some of his quotes and they are very, very wonderful. And I think the most amazing thing about when I was looking at these quotes was, was how direct he is and how even if you have just a basic understanding, and even if you don't, he kind of speaks to you at a level where you can understand, which I find happens a lot with Rupert Spira. He has this command where you're just able to understand what they're talking about. You know, you just know that they can directly not only get to your intellect, but actually touch your heart at the same time, because that's what spirituality should be doing. It's not just literally an intellectual mind game. It's also very much, something that plays out in the heart and that's where devotion comes up. Let's start with the first quote of Atmananda Ji's. Waves are nothing but water. So is the sea. Likewise the Jiva and the Lord are nothing other than Sat, Chit and Ananda Before I begin with this, one of the interesting things that we can see from this is that he uses the word 'jiva' and then says the Lord. And I would imply there that the Lord here may be either the isht-devta or Saguna Brahman or any of the deities that we may worship, like Sri Krishna or Ganesh ji or Shiva Ji. It could be any of those and what he's trying to say is that they are sat-chit-ananda which is basically Nirguna Brahman. Or they're integrated Brahman that we know where you have the world and it's wonders, and yet in that world you have the essence of that Formless Awareness. That's one thing I wanted to mention if I don't, later on, according to my notes. The ocean, the rivers, the waves, the streams are all different names, but they all contain only one thing. They're only made up of one thing, and that is water. No matter which way you look at it, they're just different names for water. Likewise, this Jiva, this individual soul, if we may use that word, and the Shared Being also known as Saguna Brahman, are one and the same. As we know Rupert Spira uses this term called the Shared Being, and I find it to be quite useful. Even here we can see that it's on about the same thing. The Jiva, the individual and the Lord is one and the same because if everything is that sat-chit-ananda, then it's not going to be anything different, right? It's gonna be one. There may appear to be different and we may get trapped into thinking I'm an individual soul with my own karma, with my own vasanas and all sorts, and then there's the Lord. It's different and I have to worship it and there's a separation between us. All that may appear to be, and we all may appear to have different names and labels that us humans have more or less given. If you asked a lion, if it's called a lion, or it's species, it's called a lion, it will probably be be like, no, not really. I'm just, I am or not even that. There's no words to explain it. It's human beings that have created this language and to some degree it helps us. But in other aspects, in spirituality, it's, it's a paradox, right? They all appear to be different, so the jiva, the Lord, Saguna Brahman, the Isht-Devta or our Guru and they may have different names and people fight over these different names, but they are made from that one thing alone. And that is, That Formless Awareness that we always talk about. If you are aware of the object, it's all good. The objects are the ones that change, but your awareness does not change regardless of what it is aware of. Even to the point where it is aware of emotions, intentions, thoughts, and obviously actions and objects itself. Atmananda ji says they are nothing other than sat-chit-ananda. Once we understand they are this existence, sat meaning existence and that's obviously what we refer to as the Shared Being, borrowing from Rupert Spira. And that means that it is encompassing all that is in existence. All the universe, the solar system, all the living beings and species, the rocks, the stars, everything that we can think of, even what we do not know about, like what happens on the other side of a black hole, all of that, every atom, all of that is the Shared Being because it's all one and the same. And the point to that is that the source of everything eventually comes from Brahman. If there is this reflection of existence, it's because of Brahman that there is a reflection and it's nothing other than Brahman. The next one is chit, which is obviously Pure Consciousness. It's Pure Consciousness itself. It's Formless Awareness itself. It's the eternal witness and the observer, it is the Purusha , the Witness Consciousness. It's Nirakar, it's Formless, it cannot be contained by any word, by any shape. It cannot be contained in any way, and that's what Pure Consciousness is. It's just the observer that remains untouched by the experiences of existence. And because it's untouched by any of the experiences of existence or objects or emotions, sensations, and all sorts, it's always in ananda, which is bliss. We are always in that balanced state of happiness and that sameness of happiness. So if you think about our life, we are always fluctuating in happiness. Sometimes you're really happy, sometimes we are not so happy. Sometimes we are just not happy at all. But blissfulness is where when you're in that sat-chit-ananda state, when you're in Brahman, when you are, when you realize you are Brahman, then you know you are literally just smooth sailing in ananda. That's all. That's how it is. Our default state is sat-chit-ananda, that's what we are. And once the jiva understands that it's just a different name. Once we realize that the Lord, God or whatever we want to refer it to, any deity, when we realize that it is just this One Being, this One Self, this Formless Awareness, this Nirguna Brahman We're all good. It's all this sat-chit-ananda and that's what this first quote means. Tell me if something about this first quote has interested you. I think it's an amazing way of making me understand non-duality simply, and let me know if you found it as simple as I did. The second quote. When Consciousness thus begins to receive due attention, it becomes revealed in the objects as well, and they themselves will in due course, become transformed into Consciousness. First of all, we have to begin with bringing attention to Consciousness itself, our own awareness. While you are doing activities, while you are sitting down, while you are not doing anything, just observe yourself. And what we need to start doing is start paying attention to the one that is being aware, the one that is witnessing and watching and observing, and that's all we are doing. So we are, we are literally turning the attention inward. And when I say inward, I don't mean it is within me, it's everywhere. The only problem is that we think that this observer is only within, but we have to understand it's as infinite as existence itself. Remember it's Sat-Chit-Ananda, it has no limit at all. We begin with being aware of that Consciousness, being aware of awareness. And this is done like I mentioned, by sitting and observing. And it doesn't need. As I talk about this, you don't need to do any special rituals. You don't need to be on a special diet. You don't need to be sitting in a certain posture or doing a certain breath exercise. You don't have to be doing any of those things. There's no other requirement. It doesn't care. This practice doesn't really matter if you are drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or it does not judge at all because there is no judging element in it because it's just an observer. We have to understand that whatever requirements a religion puts on you, it's not due to Consciousness itself. It may be due to the fact that, not that they want to control you, but they've found a method that's worked for them and they want. To say, oh, well, you know, do this and it may work for you. So that's what it is. I wouldn't take it too seriously and I'm not condemning people or religions for doing this. All I'm saying is that you don't need to do any of those things in order to be aware of awareness. To be aware of Formless Awareness, you do not need any special requirement at all. What does help is if you, obviously you've had, previous studying in this or you've had some basic understanding of what non-duality is, and that's where my podcast comes to help you. And where my meditation sessions come to show you the practical side of it. What we have to continue on doing once we start being aware of awareness, being aware of Formless Awareness, then we just watch patiently. Don't rush it. A lot of people want to rush spirituality as if it's a TikTok video or a YouTube shorts or a reel that should finish in 30, 60, 90 seconds. No, you need to be patient with it. It is like watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You gotta be patient. It's like watching Inception. It's like watching Tenet, any Christopher Nolan movie where you have to pay real attention, not only to what you are watching, but even to what you are hearing, because he also plays with sound, so you have to observe in that way. Just watch and then observe the observing itself. Then watch the watching itself, watch the awareness itself. Be aware of the awareness itself. Start settling in that. It's not gonna happen straight away, but be patient and just sit down and observe. That's all. And then at this point, Consciousness is then seen for the first time. What I mean by that is not that you are not already in Consciousness and you are not already aware of this Consciousness, but there'd be a point where you would get rid of the notion that there's me and Consciousness. There's only just Consciousness. That is what I mean by seeing Consciousness for the first time. You literally are in the understanding and realization that I am Formless Awareness and that is all there is. I can't see or perceive anything else. Whatever I see around me is just a reflection of this Formless Awareness. That's all. And I'm not going to be against it. I, I'm not gonna see Maya as this really bad thing. I'm gonna see as just a reflection. Now, for example, this is why I don't believe that one should leave our homes and go to the Himalayas and become monks and, and stuff like that, or become a hermit. The reason why I don't believe in this is because of this very thing that you can literally do this regardless of what you're doing in life. And also you don't see Maya as an impediment. You see it as a tool to be used. Now, if you know how to use something, you can build something beautiful. And likewise, the Rishis and the Sages, who are mainly we're householders. Sri Krishna was a householder. Sri Rama was a householder. The world that they created, as we know is beautiful. Anyway, I digress. At this point, you'll see that even the objects that you observe, are you, the objects that you are aware of, are you and they're, they're not separate. They're not different. They're one and the same. And at this point, what happens is there is no difference between the subject and the object. You no longer say, well, there is me and the object. There is this unified oneness that is unbreakable, that cannot be touched in any way, that cannot be harmed in any way, that cannot be dissolved in any way. It simply remains there, steady and static as you could say. This oneness is only attained through proper discernment and dedication to the practice. Like I said, you gotta be patient and not rush to want enlightenment. You have to be calm and you have to wait for the right time. And it's taken me 13 years to be comfortable with whatever I have attained, and I haven't attained enlightenment. And like I have previously said, a disclaimer, if this is your first time watching me, I don't claim enlightenment anyway, even if I was and, um, never will. But what I will say is that regardless if you're enlightened or not, continue on with the practice and stay humble. Listen to that Kendrick Lamar track and, and literally sit down and stay humble and I mean it, and this is done when you are dedicated and at the same time you have that discernment of the Real and unreal. And what we have to understand is that the mind is very fickle. It goes from one thought to another, from one emotion to another, and it doesn't steady even after enlightenment. It will calm down for sure. It'll be a lot calmer. But if you think that it will not poke, its ugly head around the corner, or its beautiful head around the corner, well it could and you have to be alert. And that's where discernment comes in. Whenever you see a thought appear that doesn't seem to be aligned to spiritual living, then you will just observe it and you will see it for what it is, and therefore remain untouched by it because it's not you. It's an object that you are aware of. So you don't have to associate with it. You don't have to identify with it. And you don't have to feel bad for having that thought because it's not even your mind. On that level, every action you do anyway, and every thought you have should be more or less pure. But say one negative thought appears, I, I wouldn't kick yourself about it. This oneness, like I said, is attained through proper discernment. Once I understand that there's this thought that appears, that isn't really part of my day-to-day life as a spiritual person, so let me just observe that and understand that it is part of this existence, it's part of this network in the mind, and it's arisen from somewhere, probably from a past karma, and it's one with me, let me deal with it in the appropriate way, which is just to observe it and not entertain it any longer than it should. What I mean by entertain it is bring it into action. Not even take a single step towards action, just observe the thought or the emotion and let it dissolve by itself. And when you observe, it's kind of like when you, if you ever seen where someone catches the sun, a ray of the sun, the sunlight onto a magnifying glass and they place it on a piece of paper and that piece of paper starts burning. It's like that. That's what happens when you are observing the fire of the illumination of Brahm Gyana burns away the past karma right there and then. That's constantly there. You just have to access it. Like I mentioned, what you will understand, and it's a natural occurrence that happens, is that you understand completely that this body and mind are also objects to this Consciousness. They are within Consciousness. Consciousness has no form. You understand that it's just simply an object. By seeing Consciousness in the object, we see that even we are Consciousness itself. Once you understand that the objects are Consciousness, then you can then look into awareness and then you realize, well, I've always been this awareness. I've never stepped away from being aware. Something within me despite being so, despite being put in the background. It's still there. Now think about it as you've grown older. Each year that you've grown, you've watched yourself age, you've watched yourself grow. That watcher that's been watching has not changed weirdly enough, that observer hasn't, your body's changed, your thoughts have changed, your emotions have changed, but the actual watcher that is you has not changed. Yeah. The me that is watching all this never changes. When we say we've changed as a person, the personality has changed that's linked to our emotions, but, or our body has changed, but nothing else changes. The watcher does not change. Once we've established this and we've established that actually the essence of everything is awareness and if I can be aware of everything, then there is only awareness. I don't need to personalize awareness as my thing, because then it becomes an object. So you see awareness as the only thing, and at that moment there is oneness and all duality disappears, and it doesn't even remain there for a second. It's not there for a single moment more, so that duality completely dissolves away. The example I like to give here is like how salt dissolves into the water and becomes the water itself. You never see a grain of salt last unless it's Himalayan pink salt. Uh, it takes a bit more time, but that you could say is the stubborn ego. But otherwise, if we've been trained in spiritual practice and we've been diligent in our practice and we've been honest in our practice, then we'll be like that salt that instantly dissolves in the water, becomes the water. And then by utilizing that example, once the object realizes what it is, once the jiva realizes it is Brahman, it becomes Brahman itself. It's not that it becomes Brahman, it understands it is always been Brahman. Once the object realizes what it is, then it understands that it has always been Consciousness itself. It's always been awareness itself and hasn't been anything different. The third quote. When objects are also realized as nothing other than Consciousness, one comes back to one's true nature, which is changeless and above all states, including samadhi. Now, this has to be truly understood because it's quite powerful. It's an interesting quote and whatever Atmananda ji has written here, we really have to think about it. Now, many of times people see objects as something bad. Maya is bad. My vasanas are bad. My body and mind is bad. It's distracting me from spirituality. My attachments are bad. My friends and family are bad. All sorts of excuses are given as bad because they distract us from spirituality apparently. Well, that thinking is nonsense in my opinion, anyone that turns around and says that these things are bad does not really understand the essence of everything. Even to say that vasanas are powerful, one should even ask the question, if your vasanas are powerful, if your karma is powerful, if your attachments are powerful, where do they get their power from? And if you look at the seed, the cause, it all arises from Formless Awareness. It all arises from you. So whatever you give attention to is eventually what you're going to end up becoming, whatever you imagine yourself to be, is what ends up happening, especially in spirituality. When it comes to the subtle elements like being attached, certain tendencies we have, certain desires we have, all those things. Realistically, we have to understand that all of this arises from Formless Awareness, and therefore there's no need to be so angry or upset about Formless Awareness. Also, I would like to go into, well, what is observing that these vasanas are more powerful? It's us. We are doing it. I'm doing it. You are doing it. Oh, my desires are so powerful. My desires want me to buy the next big car, my next big house. Jealousy has arisen, oh, my jealousy is so strong because my neighbor has got this, or another family member has this. All that power comes from ourselves. If we understand that, then we understand the power of Consciousness and if you are not seeking Consciousness, then you're happy living in delusion. Simple as that. No law of attraction nonsense is entertained here. You can if you want, I'm, I'm not condemning anyone, but it's your path you choose, but it's something that we don't, something that I don't think is actually a solid thing to practice, because once you understand who you are, what more do you want? I don't really understand. And if you do not understand the fullness of who you are, then that means you weren't complete in the first place. That is subtle things that we have to understand. Once we realize that objects of Consciousness, of Awareness and Formless Awareness itself are one, then we come back to our true nature. Then we automatically know who we are, what we are, and we are comfortable with it. We are happy in it, we are peaceful in it, we are calm in it. We are, we are in this steady state of mind, steady state of being. The other fact is, as we notice, our body and mind may change, even though we know we are one and the same as Formless Awareness. We have to understand that our true nature, that watcher within that observer within is changeless because Consciousness does not change regardless of what the objects portray through sense projections, through karma, through vasanas, through our desires, through anything that we observe. All those are just objects, but our awareness does not change because of them. Our Awareness does not become good or bad. It doesn't become right or wrong. Awareness is awareness, and when you operate from that source, from your true nature, then your every action is done with a lot more thought. Everything is slowed down a little, and actually this is why I'm always against the fast hustle culture. I believe true wealth is being steady and being consistent. If you are erratic, you won't get far in terms of real attainment, either you be consistent in being erratic or you be consistent in being calm. The main thing is about being consistent. Our true nature never changes. Our true nature remains the same. Awareness remains the same. It doesn't change in its quality at all. Atmananda ji says that these states is even above samadhi. Now what does he mean by that? How can these states be above samadhi? How can this being in true nature be above what people say is a great experience? Samadhi is the silence of the mind, the silence and the expansion of the mind. Who wouldn't want to attain that. Now we all think Samadhi is the highest. I did, and for many years I thought I wanted Samadhi and then now I don't. Not that it's bad or it's not worth going for or not worth striving for, but I realized how futile it was, and yet it provided me a lot of kind of growth as well. So I'm not going to limit it. If I didn't think about wanting Samadhi, I wouldn't be going on this path. I wouldn't be even thinking about this path. So I appreciate it regardless. If you think about it, if you're in Samadhi and you come out of it and you say, I was in Samadhi, what is Supreme then? The Samadhi or the observer experiencing the samadhi? It's obviously the observer and that's why, if you can recall the samadhi, the samadhi is actually an object and therefore it's numerous sensations that one gets from that samadhi, someone can turn around and say they're in this tearful state and they're, apparently they're in oneness and time slows down and or time passes by really quickly or, or whatever they say. But that's still an object and it should not be celebrated. Let me make that clear. There are a lot of people with enlightenment stories with this, with this type of story. It's not to be celebrated. In fact, they're missing the biggest clue and that should tell you to stay away or to be very skeptical about what they say. And that is not enlightenment, by the way, just because you say that several hours passed by when you were sitting in meditation, but you thought it was there, you were there for five minutes, you were just having a brilliant time. You know, some of my best experiences, I thought time had passed by, but I felt it was five minutes. Again, if you say that you felt that you were one with everything, well you felt you were One. But do you know that you are one with everything and does that disappear with time? So those are the things that people should ask. And what I find is people don't ask these questions because one, they watch it on YouTube. Obviously, you can't answer the question unless you're small timer like me. I could possibly answer it, and even then I struggle. So imagine those with hundreds of thousands or even 10,000. It is pretty difficult, right? So we have to understand that unless someone gives a proper account that's verifiable, it's very difficult to accept. And I would always be skeptical. I wouldn't, I, I wouldn't just fall under the trap of being like, wow, they're enlightened because of this experience. Remember that experience is an object because the awareness is explaining that experience. That's the key to observe. And yes, I am saying that enlightenment is an object. If you start thinking you are enlightened or I am enlightened, if you have that thought, that that's an object too. Now someone may ask, well, what if you have nirvikalpa samadhi, when there is only Pure Consciousness, where no object is seen and neither is an observer seen. When there's a complete dissolution of everything, that is the highest state of being. Now nirvikalpa samadhi is the same as just being in awareness. And that is what I would say is samadhi. Now, for example, you still have to come outta that if you want to function in the world. What I would say is more ,practical is yes, experience that in meditation, and you must, you must have that absorption. For example, when we do our guided meditation and I go through the guidance of Formless Awareness, and then there's silence for two minutes, I leave two, three minutes for silence. In that two or three minutes, it's more than enough. One minute is more than enough. 30 seconds is more than enough. Just go, just absorb yourself into Pure Consciousness, into Formless Awareness, and that is all you need. That 30 seconds, maybe even less than that. What I want to say is, it's better to not just be in samadhi, but actually come out of it and live your day-to-day life, but in awareness. What I mean by that is there is this constant awareness within you. It doesn't shut down in any stage, like waking, dreaming, deep sleep. Basically I'm talking about the turiya state. You have to be constantly in awareness. That to me is the ultimate, being aware of awareness. We should never deviate from that. And Formless Awareness will never declare itself. Like I mentioned, it's never gonna turn around and say I'm enlightened. It doesn't know what enlightenment or ignorance is because those states don't exist in it. They are reflections, but not it. It is your true nature and there is no recognition of anything outside of that. There is nothing outside of your true nature. It's as simple as that. Now let's go to the fourth quote. It is this witnessing ‘I’ that is the real ‘I’. Fixing attention there and establishing oneself in it, one becomes freed from bondage. So you know, the observer I, meaning I who observes these objects is the real I. So if I am observing through my eyes, this object of the microphone, that witness is the real 'I'. That's the true 'I'. The true I am. The seer that watches and sees that is Formless Awareness. That is Pure Consciousness. There is no separate 'I'. There is no 'I' here, and then another 'I' as you or the world out there. There's just one 'I', and this I-ness from the body and mind simply just does not exist. When you try to locate this 'I', when you try to see where does it begin from, you find it has no beginning and no end. And therefore, if it has no beginning or end, it's not contained just in the body and mind. It must be something that transcends it. We have to understand what it is that transcends it. Once we understand that, then we must fix our attention to continuously be an observer. Take your time and just fix your attention there. Like I mentioned, be in that absorption for a bit and we must watch and then become the watching. That's when you know you're established in it because when you are watching, that means you're completely the watcher. There is no separate identity now. There is no separate I-ness or there's no 'me' and 'my mind'. You know, there's just 'me' and my mind is contained in 'me', not 'me' and 'my mind'. We must become completely established in it. Yeah. We must try our best to be completely established in it. And we do not need to move to any other place because there is no other location. What other location is there to go to? You don't need to go to the other side of the universe, just be here and you're at every point in the universe. When we are one in Consciousness, when we are one in awareness, then we become freed from ignorance. Avidya disappears completely. There is no ignorance at all that I am this separation, that I'm separate to all of this. I'm separate to others. I'm separate to the world and to other living beings. That separateness is disappeared, that separateness is resolved and thrown in the trash really as a concept. When we are one in Formless Awareness, we also are never bound to another object. Even if you're in a marriage and like me, or you're about to become a dad like me, you are not bound . You love them, that detachment increases your love, it enhances your love and it makes you more complete in your love because it does not require you to restrict them in any way. You love them for what they are, and you recognize yourself in them. You know it's all the same thing, and that's why your love is more pure and it comes from more from a place of understanding and a place of compassion. In this sense, we attain true freedom. This is what freedom really is when you are detached, yet you act responsibly in the world. You have to be nice to your spouse, to your partner, to your parents, to your children. You have to be nice to everyone. You have to be good. If someone's being rude to you, then I would say, if it's a continuous habit of theirs and if it's a behavior that's continuously reoccurring and it's not stopping in any way, and it's not reducing in any way despite your attempts to try to solve that situation, then I say you do have to show a different side, but you don't have to let go of awareness to do that. You can do it in awareness, and it's done with the greater good in mind, and that's the whole point of having discernment. In the end, really jivanmukti is about knowing what the real 'I' is, what this real I am is, and being established and being completely dedicated to this truth, to this true 'I'. Now let's go to the fifth quote. Atma is that changeless, one rasa, into which thoughts and feelings merge. To see it, enter it and establish it as the ‘I’, removes all delusions and brings in lasting peace. We know the Atman, which is Brahman itself, is not the individual soul. We know that the Atman, which is Brahman, is changeless. We understand this completely, and our awareness is also changeless. We know this from our own experience because when we are the witness, when we are this awareness, Formless Awareness, we know this awareness doesn't change in any way. Like I mentioned before, if you grow from a toddler to childhood, to teenage to middle age to elderly, the watcher in all those stages of life, has been untouched by the experiences of the body and mind as it changes and it decays and it slows down. Yet that watcher remains the same. The observer within remains the same. One thing one can say is, does the atman here refer to the mind? In this case, no. It's pretty obvious that he's talking about Formless Awareness because he says it's changeless. The mind, as we know, does change. The other thing I want to say is we don't even have to go far as looking at the stages of life that we observe, but even thoughts, thoughts are different in quality, when we observe each one, none of them are the same. Whatever thoughts that we have that are projected in the day, the multiple thoughts, we can observe them. The watcher remains the same regardless of the quality of thoughts, regardless of the thoughts that are projected. That screen of awareness does not change in any way. It's not moved in any way. It stays as it is. Then 'rasa' here means the one essence. The only essence there is in every object is this Atman, this Jiva, this Formless Awareness, which we know is Formless Awareness eventually. It's only an individual when we think it's an individual, when it realizes it's Brahman, it becomes this Formless Awareness. Therefore the essence is in every object. Now, our thoughts and feelings all merge into one essence known as the Atman if you think about it, all the projections on the screen becomes the screen itself, and gets absorbed into the screen. Or you could say it's like salt that dissolves into water, becomes water itself. Likewise, our thoughts and feelings all merge into that one essence known as the Atman. Therefore, the Atman is unchanged by the contents of diversity or of duality, it's not influenced by it in any way. The question that may appear for us is if we want to remain in Formless Awareness, and that may be our whole endeavor, right? That may be the whole thing we are looking for. What do we need to do to get there? , I wanna know how to get there. So tell me. Well, once we see this Seer, once we observe the observer, once we are aware of the one that is aware, we must fully enter into it through our viveka, so through our discernment and be established in it and see it as the eternal 'I'. So discern what is real and unreal. Get rid of everything that is unreal and go straight fully into that which is real, which is changeless, which is this watcher and observer and be established in it and see it as the eternal 'I'. Do not see as anything other than that. It's the eternal 'I am'. This 'I-ness', remember, does not change in any way. It does not get blemished in any way. It's not modified in any way. It remains as it is. Once we do this, remove the central delusion, which is that we are this body and mind, and if we think about it, all the other delusions that we have are rooted in this central delusion. If we think we are the body and mind, then we think that we are our religion, we, we give ourselves a label of a religion or a caste or a race or a color, or a sexual orientation or gender, et cetera. But the root delusion, the central delusion is that we think we're the body and mind. Therefore, to go beyond that, we must understand that the central delusion is this body and mind, which is always changing, which is always in flux. But to go into lasting peace, we need to enter into the eternal 'I', the 'I am', which does not change regardless of anything that happens and that state is full of peace, that is unbreakable. Nobody in this world can shake that peace away from you. Then quote six. If reality is conceived of as beyond all thoughts, and contemplating directed accordingly, words may help to lead one to a stage where all thought cease and Reality is experienced. The last two or three quotes are hinting upon the same thing, but they are different, if you look at it in a nuanced perspective. Now, I've kept this quote specifically because I think it answers a question that I get a lot aren't words Consciousness? Aren't thoughts Consciousness? And then if so, why did Consciousness or this Reality create words, thoughts, images, and sensations? I get asked this a lot. Once we have immersed ourself in this Formless Awareness, and we've established this earlier, and once we know that it's the only Reality there is, then how can any other object enter it and claim to be a Reality? Once we say that there is another reality, like a thought or a word, or an image, or a sensation, Then we are saying that that thought is the Subject, but we know that the thought isn't the subject through our direct experience of being the observer by being the witness. That's what Atmananda ji is trying to say. If reality is conceived of as beyond all thoughts contemplating directed accordingly, words may help lead to one to a stage where all thoughts cease and Reality is experienced. Words may help. The words that I speak today may take you to the experience where Reality is experienced. To get there, one has to pay full attention. And like He said, contemplating directed accordingly. One has to direct their attention to Formless Awareness and fix it there. Once we know that the Reality is conceived as beyond all thoughts, then we know contemplation is something that hints us beyond thoughts. It's, for example, it takes you into a leap of understanding and an understanding that doesn't necessarily need words. That's all that needs to be done. Yeah, that's all. Consciousness or Awareness does not need to be in thought. It's not contained in thought. Awareness is aware of thought. Thought is observed by Awareness. Therefore, is an object. Words are an object. They may help to lead, but to actually get there, you need the direct experience. To do that, we just need to be in the awareness of Formless Awareness. That's the direct path to understanding this Reality and experiencing this Reality as it is, and therefore it's beyond thought. My words helped. But to get there is not of words or thoughts or sensations or anything like that. That's why on this path of spirituality, and especially with the Direct Path and Advaita Vedanta or non-duality in general, one thing I will say is that I don't think you have to go to a Guru. I don't think that's necessary. It's good to have one. It's a positive experience if you have a decent one. If you have one, utilize it. Don't ask your spiritual teacher for nonsense stuff. Ask them for spiritual things. What we need to understand is to remain established in this, to continuously experience this Reality, it is good to have a spiritual friend or a Guru that will help us use these words and that may use words to help us become established in This. Utilize their help, get their help, take their guidance, and they will take you to the next level. It's really important to understand that. Even when we do neti-neti, right, that is still words. When I do the guided meditation and we eventually get to Formless Awareness, I have to use words to get there. Words help us, but words are not the knowledge itself. The words are not experience itself. They are just pointers to that Reality. That's all. They're just signposts. Nothing more. They're not the actual location, they're just signposts. This is very important to really grasp here, and I think it's really important for me to say, do find yourself a mentor, someone that will answer your questions and help you spiritually, because that type of community is necessary in this, in my opinion. I've seen people who think they can become non-dual teachers just because they attended one retreat, or they think they understand it. Don't get into the delusion that you think you understand. That's the number one thing. The thing with the non-dual path is it is steeped in humility. So once you become arrogant even slightly, you lose it. That's why the path of Gyana is so difficult and this is why people don't understand. That's why we say utilize bhakti and devotion, be devoted to that Non-dual Self, be devoted to Brahman, be devoted to an isht-devta. Why? Because it just helps you, it will help you stay in that experience. There's nothing more grounding than love itself, and that's where devotion stems from. Once we've experienced this Reality completely, and it's unbreakable and we cannot move away from it at all. Then let me make it clear. You will never have a doubt about this Formless Awareness at all. Once you're in that state of not doubting, you're just in the experience of that Reality all the time. You're constantly in the awareness of Formless Awareness, and there's no other place you wanna be. There's no other experience you wanna have because all experiences are contained within this. That's the end of the sixth quote. Now we're going to the seventh quote and this is interesting because I've talked about devotion and Gyana. And it's been a theme that I'm talking about a lot recently, or I have felt myself contemplating a lot recently and so let's begin with the seventh quote. I have no mine-ness, attachment or egoism. I am eternal, non-doer, all purity, self-dependent and self-luminous. Attributeless, changeless and unconditioned, I am the abode of Love, stainless, the one without second and ever peaceful. This quote is a great summary of Atmananda ji's teachings and I will even go as far to say it's on par with the Upanishads it's that beautiful and I wouldn't want to consider it anything less than that actually. It is of the highest truth. And this highest truth is where we want to be established in, is where we want to be in at all times. To be in the awareness of Formless Awareness. Now, let's go into each thing he's just said. It has no mine-ness. I have no mine-ness. This true 'I am'. Yeah, we, we were talking about the real 'I'. Now we're talking about that 'I'. Don't think of it as the personal identity. Do not fall under that trap. But right now, when I say 'I' am talking about Brahman, this Formless Awareness itself. The true 'I', the real 'I'. I have no mine-ness. One cannot create any identity because no label sticks to it. I cannot say, this is mine, this body is mine, this car is mine, this house is mine. This is mine. That is mine. I don't have real ownership. In spirituality, we give everything to the isht-devta, our body, mind, our material possessions. We give it all to Formless Awareness. Therefore, we naturally have nothing that we can say is mine, even as 'Rahul' , but even as Consciousness, because there is only Consciousness, because there is only Awareness, then there is no objects for it to attain. In both ways, there is no mine-ness. As Rahul or the real 'I'. Let me expand on that even further. There's no attachment to any object, and I mean this in terms of our possessions we have, our investments. I don't care what portfolio you have, there is nothing that is yours. Family, job, education. It doesn't matter what degree you have, none of it is you. None of it is attached to the real 'I' and nor is there any identity that is formed from what we possess. And neither is their arrogance that one has such and such. Even if one has the highest position in the country, maybe as a president to the Prime Minister, or one is the CEO, or one has a job that is considered to be low skilled, that still is not you. Yeah, those are labels. They're not the real 'you'. They're not the real 'I'. We have to understand that we cannot be attached to anything or identified with anything because then it's not the real 'I' because Formless Awareness does not change at all. Then as the True Self, Formless Awareness one is eternal and one is never born and will never die, this remains as it is. This does not have a lifespan. This is beyond life. It's beyond death. It's beyond this whole cycle that we have to go through. And if we look at this true 'I', this real 'I', where does it begin and where does it end? Can we locate a beginning to it? Can we locate an end to it? I don't think we can. The Formless Awareness is always the non-doer. That true 'I' is the non-doer because although the body and mind may continue to conduct activities and do actions, such as thinking, feeling, and doing general day-to-day activities, it's really a non-doer because it doesn't accumulate any karma because it doesn't place any identity upon any act that is done. Therefore, it is beyond even the fruits of any actions that are done. If one receives pleasure from the action, great. If one receives pain from the action, that is great because that true real 'I' is changeless in its demeanor, in Its state, is not blemished by anything, the body and mind experiences. Due to that, this Formless Awareness, this 'I' is all purity. It cannot be blemished in any way. It cannot be stained in any way. It remains as it is, and this Formless Awareness is self-dependent. It doesn't need anything else to be dependent upon. It is complete in fact, everything else depends upon it, but it does not need to depend on anything else. Even for its own Self, it's just being as it is. It's not doing anything to be dependent or even upon its own Self. Do not expect this true 'I', this real 'I' to be dependent upon an object. The way to check that you are not in Formless Awareness is to see whether you are dependent on a particular object that is beyond the function where when I say dependent, meaning that you think that that is you, you've identified with it. That's what I mean. Being dependent, for example, I am dependent to eat a healthy diet. I know that's only for the body, but that has nothing to do with the I-ness. Therefore, it's not going to impact me in any way, the true 'I', you see, that's what I mean. Formless Awareness is self luminous. It's its own light, as I mentioned. You know, the ray of sunlight through a magnifying glass, it burns through paper as you place the sun, the light onto that piece of paper, it's like that it's its own light and it, there's no darkness in it at all. There is only complete light, and that's because it's wisdom itself and it is the remover of ignorance. It has no attribute. So it's not the creator, the sustainer or destroyer. There's no objects that is being created. There's no object that is being maintained or an object that is being destroyed. There is only this Formless Awareness The 'I' doesn't know anything separate to it. That's the key to understanding this, and it is changeless because as we know, it does not modify in any way and it's unconditioned because nothing can condition it in any manner. So heat and cold cannot condition it. Our wealth cannot condition it. Our state of mind cannot condition it. Awareness remains awareness, and most of all, it is the abode of love, and this is where that compassion is there, where unconditional love is there. It's where we feel home and it's something we feel strongly with a spiritual friend. I know, certainly with my own Guru, I have felt unconditional love. I feel that it's that unconditional love that I share because if it was given to me without any condition, then I should share it without any condition too. And it does make you feel at home. The embrace of my Guru is where I always feel at home. The embrace of my loved ones is where I feel at home. And the reason for that is because there's no greater emotion than love. There's no better way than sharing love by giving somebody a hug and experiencing that love. And like I mentioned earlier, it is stainless. It's not stained with any emotion like hatred, jealousy, enmity, because like we mentioned, it is the abode of love. It's the house of love, the house of surrender in the true sense where one surrenders one's body and mind to this love. That doesn't take anything away from us. There is no second to it. It is omni-present, meaning it's the only thing present. There is no second here. There's no object and Subject. There's only the Subject. Objects are just appearances and that's it. It is ever peaceful, meaning nothing can disturb it. The one that understands what the true 'I' is, they are unmoved by any situation that happens in life within. Even if outwardly, they may be showing emotion, inwardly, they're completely still and that takes practice. When I say practice, I mean real practice. It's not something that happens overnight. So as we end this episode and we conclude what Atmananda Ji has said, one thing I will make very clear here is that to be in devotion with Formless Awareness is the best path to take, is to make this Direct Path really work for you. And also you have to really work hard, want to understand this wisdom, but at the same time to practice it diligently and continuously. And there's nothing better than then treating each stage as a novice. Even if you go to the highest stage, treat yourself as a novice and you will go far because humility is what keeps you grounded, and whatever keeps you grounded, keeps you in the real 'I', which is Formless Awareness. And that is the end of the episode. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family who may enjoy this content. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates? Join the Bearded Mystic Podcast WhatsApp community group to continue the podcast discussion and details in the show notes and with the description below. Like I mentioned in the beginning, it's really great if you can support the Bearded Mystic Podcast through Patreon. There you get ad-free and bonus episodes, like I mentioned, and other benefits depending on the tier that you select. Do check out the details in the show notes and video description below. And I really do appreciate any help that you can provide for the podcast. Please do rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Do like and comment on this video and subscribe on this YouTube channel. And do follow or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app that you are listening to this episode to right now. Thank you very much for listening and we'll end with the Soham and Shanti mantra. Soham Soham. I am That I am That Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste