Exercise in Psychology

Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Thu Aug 13 01:32:13 CDT 1998

Oh Nanda, what a magnificent post, what a delight to read!
Thank you so much for sharing the fruits of your sAdhana.

If I understand it correctly, you have described purity of mind with
sattva predominant.  Purity because there is no content such as
thoughts or feelings, or limitations such as attitude or "point" of
view.  And sattva (which tends towards light) predominant over rajas
(which tends towards action) and tamas (which tends towards fixity).

This is so very important: this is the path to freedom.  The efforts
that you are making -- as difficult as they may appear -- are trifling
in comparison with the rewards.  With continued regular practice, the
difficulties diminish, the obstacles disappear, and the mind will find
deeper peace for longer periods.  The reason is obvious: whatever you
practice becomes part of your nature -- and as your nature becomes
more sAttvika, it re-inforces itself.  This is a virtuous circle
(opposed to the vicious circle of tamas).

> It takes a while to go beyond the mind and stay in the base
> conciousness. This conciousess is devoid of thoughts and can be only
> expressed as existence. There's not even an "I" sense, for ultimately
> even the "I" is but a mental conception. I just
> am or even better, "It just is"! On an average with great effort I can
> remain in this state for 2-3 minutes, before thought waves engulf me.

This "existence" is the ego-sense (asmitA).  The Atman (Witness, Light)
is identified with the object seen, namely the sAttvika mind.  (sattva
tends to light, but is not the Light Itself).  The ego (ahaMkAra) with
which we are so familiar, is when rajas and tamas overpower sattva.
The "thought waves" that arise are simply rajas; the "engulf"-ing is
the overpowering of sattva; and "me" shows the identification with the
mind (Atman is never engulfed).

2-3 minutes is very good!  It is not easy to remain there because it is
a state of very great potential: it appears quite unstable because it
is so unfamiliar.  But this changes as the nature becomes more sAttvika.

> On one such occasion when I was in this state of just existence, I
> deliberately let my mind wander. The process can be best described as
> storm clouds gathering over a peaceful town. Here I was all peaceful and
> existing and suddenly I could mentally see a whole wave of thoughts coming
> up and just engulfing me. My state of existence was lost.

That is a magnificent observation and brilliant description of the play
of the guNa-s.  You will learn to recognise these storm clouds of life,
and not invite them in, not entertain them.  You will come to value the
peace over the thrill and excitement of the thunderstorms of life.

> On reflecting on it I felt that it was as if my individuality had been
> hijacked. From the peaceful state of existence to the individual "I"
> enjoying the empirical world. On further reflection it struck me that my
> individuality cannot be hijacked as there's * no
> individuality in this state of existence *. Individuality is only a
> mental conception.

The individuality is usually associated with rajas and tamas, and is very
limited and fixed; but with the increased light available in sattva, these
tight and rigid bonds are slackened, and there is a sense of freedom, of
moving to a larger world.

Continue with this path and there will be more sattva available to you,
more light -- a reflection of the true Light which is your own Self, the
real guru (dispeller of the darkness of ignorance).  [When the disciple
is ready, the guru appears.]  As the light increases, you will come to
discriminate between the Witness and the play of the guNa-s (the mind):
that is true viveka!

      When the seer beholds not an agent other than the guNa-s
      and knows Him who is higher than the guNa-s, he attains
      My being.  [gItA 14:19]

In the light of your experience, you may find it useful to re-examine
gItA 18:19-40 where knowledge and so on, are described in terms of
the predominant guNa, as well as Chapter 14 on the guNa-s and their

Regards, Charles.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list