by Swami Krishnananda
This is why we are unhappy in this world. We now know why we are unhappy. We are other than what we truly are in the artificial condition of the waking condition. Therefore, no man can be happy in the world. Don’t try to be happy here. It is impossible to be happy in a world of relationships or in an untrue self in the waking life of relations. The untrue cannot make us happy—only the true can make us happy. Hence it is that we find that we come out of sleep with a sense of refreshment and happiness. So happy are we—we would like to continue the sleep and not get up early in the morning. We don’t want to get involved in a bundle of relationships once again, but somehow we are forced to by certain circumstances. The deep sleep condition reflects our true nature, and it is into that which we sink and which we truly are, and so we are the happiest. Happiness and our true being are the same. Being and happiness are identical.
In addition to being and happiness, we also know by implication that the deep sleep state was a state of consciousness. It was Being-Consciousness-Happiness, or satchidananda. This is the Sanskrit word for Being-Consciousness-Bliss. Sat is being or existence, chit means consciousness, ananda is bliss. We are satchidananda—Existence, Consciousness, Bliss packed into one Reality. Not three different features, but one condensed mass of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss we were and we are, but we have forgotten it. When we sink into it in deep sleep, we come out tremendously refreshed and happy. Nothing can make us so happy as this state. The analysis has led us to the conclusion that our true nature seems to be Reality—an indivisible unity of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss which is satchidananda. However, when we come up again into this bundle of vicissitudes of relationships called the world, we completely forget this true nature, and through a mysterious ignorance we begin to say, “This is mine, and this is mine.” This “mine” is a false relationship, and it entangles us more and more in states of unhappiness. The only recourse for a little happiness is to go to sleep again and again. There is no other way. When we are dead-fatigued with this nonsensical world, we feel like going to bed. Let us not think of the world anymore.
Wherever we go, we are only in the world. Now let us stop here and not go further. The Samkhya analysis has led to the point where one discovers that one’s true being is consciousness, existence and freedom unparalleled, but along with this tremendous discovery, the Samkhya has made a mistake. It is the mistake of thinking that there must be some unknown material substance which must be the matrix of what we call the world outside. What is it that we enter into in the waking life? What is it that we see outside? Consciousness sees something in the waking world. What do we mean by the world? Though the Samkhya sowed the seeds for a higher analysis where consciousness was accepted to be a universal reality, it could not get out of the prejudice that there must be something behind the material phenomenon of the objective world, without which the world seems to be difficult to explain. “I may be consciousness, but what is this world?” The Samkhya posited an unknown, indeterminable matter, which it called prakriti. If consciousness is ‘within’, there is prakriti ‘outside’. The Samkhya is therefore a philosophy of the prakriti and purusha relationship. We began our analysis of what relationship really means. We concluded our study with the recognition of the difficulty of the gulf between consciousness and matter—purusha and prakriti.
This quandary brings us to the end of the Samkhya, and it can go no further. As our scientists ended here, the Samkhya also has landed itself in the same difficulty. The physicists tell us that the world is made up of tremendous, indeterminable energy. Energy pervading and constituting everything is, according to modern physicists, the stuff of the universe. One might equate this with the prakriti of the Samkhya. The Samkhya and the modern physicists are on the same footing. They cannot go one step further, because it is difficult to know anything more than this. We have a dark screen in front of us or a mountain in front of us, one may say, and we cannot penetrate it. This difficulty into which the physicists have gone and in which the Samkhya has landed, is nothing but the old difficulty of the problem of the relation between subject and object. We started our analysis with a tremendous question of what relationship there can be between subject and object. Now we have concluded after all this study that the difficulty seems to be the same. We are no wiser yet. But there seems to be a ray of hope and a way out of this quarrel.
The way out is through our own nature. The scientist has not gone deep into the substance of his own being, because he is too busy with the world outside. I would ask you to read one small book. The very quintessence of modern physics is given there, and one will find how interesting it is, and also how the modern physicists have come very near to our Vedanta philosophy. It is a small book, but a very pointed analysis has been made. The book is called The Universe and Doctor Einstein. Read this book. It is written by an American journalist, Lincoln Barnett. He covers the entire range of modern science in this small book, and he concludes it very interestingly. I was very pleased to read the last page of this book. He says that the physical science of today has ended in Einstein’s theory of relativity. All of this is hanging on all of that, and that is hanging on this, and there is no such thing as unrelated motion. All motion is related to something else. If two trains run parallel at the same speed, the passengers cannot know whether the train is moving or not. Sometimes in the railway station, if another train is moving and we are standing, we think that our train is moving. It is because of an optical illusion created due to the perception of motion while being seated in a stable train. Einstein’s theory of relativity concluded that motion is relative. Absolute motion does not exist, because nothing can be regarded as an absolute, existent and unrelated body. But the interesting writer of this book concludes with a very pertinent question: Who is it that is saying all these things? Who is this Doctor Einstein? All that we may attribute to a scientist—his body, his organs, his eyesight, his instruments—all these are a part of the relative world which he is trying to study. But who is this gentleman who is studying the relativity? There seems to be a necessity to study that thing which is making all these statements and which says that everything is relative. Who is this that is saying that everything is relative? Not the body, not the tongue that speaks, and not the eyes that see. These are all part of the relative world. With this, the small book concludes.
Here our Vedanta philosophy commences: Know the Self and then you shall be free. This is also the oracle of Delphi speaking. The whole philosophy is centred on the necessity of knowing the Self, and then one will know everything. We should not try to know the world, because we cannot know it, as it is unrelated to consciousness. Consciousness cannot relate itself to anything that is unconscious. Awareness and matter cannot come together. The Samkhya is in a difficult maze on account of falsely imagining that there can be a counterpart to consciousness and that it can be real. The counterpart of consciousness is unreal. It cannot be real, because consciousness is a whole, and it cannot be divided. Can one divide consciousness into parts?
Suppose, for the time being, we take it for granted that consciousness can be divided. Who is it that becomes aware of the divided consciousness? Who becomes aware that there are two parts of consciousness? Consciousness is aware that consciousness is divided into two parts. How interesting and humorous! Tell me what it is that is between the two parts of consciousness. We may say it is matter. What is the relationship between the parts of consciousness and so-called matter that we have posited between the two? Is it matter or is it consciousness? We can go on ad infinitum piling up matter after matter to explain the relationship between the imagined matter of our mind with a part of consciousness that has been presumed for the time being.
The simple psychological truth is that two parts cannot be known unless there is something which transcends the two parts. We cannot know that there are two persons or two things unless the two persons and things are transcended by a connecting consciousness. It is not two that see the two, but one that sees the two. One asserts that there are two; however, it is not two that say that two exist. I, as a single unit, know that there are two, three or a hundred. Even the multitude in this variety is known by one. I, as a single unit of awareness, assert that there are many things in the world. This one that knows should therefore transcend the limitations of the variety of the world. The one is completeness, as we just now have learned. The one unit of our conscious being is a whole and not divisible, and this indivisible whole cannot brook any kind of external relationship. We are an unrelated whole. Do not say that there can be another whole.
Samkhya says that there are two wholes—consciousness that is a whole, and matter that is a whole. Here is one infinite, there is another infinite; but there cannot be two infinities. There are not two wholes—the whole is only One. If one asserts that there are two wholes, then neither is a whole—both are only parts. It is only theoretical jargon that the Samkhya invents when it says that there are two infinities, purusha and prakriti. Impossible. By implicated analysis and through a kind of inference, not by perception, we learn that our consciousness should be a whole, and that it is Being and Freedom combined. This is our true nature. This we are.
This is the adhyatma analysis of our ancient seers and sages, whose records we have even today in the scriptures. In India we have the Upanishads, which are supposed to be the recorded documents of these revelations of the sages. These sages did not know this by mere implication, but by diving deep into this experience. This experience of what we truly are is called realisation. Why should we not know what we truly are? Can we know what we truly are? This is the borderland of yoga practice. Now we have come to the border of the land of yoga. Why is it that we seem to be in a difficulty even knowing our own self? We seem to be a whole completeness and indivisible awareness, but at the same time we seem to be involved with something that we are not. Now we have found the necessity of going into a deeper analysis of the problem that is apparently before us. Even if our judgment has concluded that we are something whole, we seem to be involved in something. This is the problem of yoga which has risen out of the conclusions of the Samkhya and the Vedanta philosophies. So there seems to be a necessity of going further. Why is it that I seem to be unhappy and involved, though my judgment rationally concludes that I cannot be unhappy, because I cannot be bound? What can bind me? Relationships can bind me. Relationships seem to be incapable of any kind of connection with me as true awareness. Awareness is a unique something which cannot be related with something which is unaware. Such is my blessed true nature, yet I am so involved, miserable, restless. What is this?
To rectify this is the purpose of yoga. We seem to be in a kind of illness. A sickness seems to have caught hold of us. What is sickness? To be out of tune with ourselves is sickness. We have a great science of medicine called Ayurveda. They say physical sickness is the imbalance of the material humours of the body called vata, pitta and kapha in Sanskrit, which simply mean the wind element, the bilious element and the cough element. There are three elements in us, and if they are all in balance we seem to be healthy. If there is an imbalance of these three humours, then we start saying, “I have got joint pains, cough, and all sorts of things which may lead to further complications.” If they are in balance, in equal proportion, then we are healthy. So health then is a condition of balance. This Ayurvedic science also gives us insight into our true nature. What is meant by balance of humours, and why should we feel happy and healthy when these humours are in a state of balance? What do we mean by balance? Balance seems to reveal our true nature. Imbalance seems to disturb the reflection of our true nature. The whole is reflected in a state of balance. The whole seems to be cut into parts in a state of imbalance.
I’ll give an example as to what it means. If the sun is reflected in agitated water, it seems to be shaking in the water. One cannot see an undisturbed reflection of the sun in shaky water. If the surface is parted, then the sun’s reflection seems also to be parted, cut, muddled, etc. When a balance is maintained on the surface of the water, the whole is reflected and the entire sun is seen. Our nature is a whole—do not forget this fact. Our nature is not fragmentary or dissectible. In whichever condition the wholeness of our being is reflected, we are happy. It may be a physical condition, a social or a political condition—it makes no difference. If our wholeness can be reflected in any condition, we are happy. When our being is fragmented, we are unhappy.
“Balance is yoga,” says the Bhagavadgita. Samatvam yoga uchyate. This is a great statement of the Gita. A balance of forces is yoga; or simply, balance is yoga. Harmony is yoga—imbalance is not yoga. Imbalance is out of tune with oneself. So, what is yoga? To be in tune with oneself is yoga. To practise yoga and be in tune with Truth one need not leave the world. Do not think that yoga is going here and there, to this ashram or that ashram. All these things are not yoga. Yoga is anything which reveals or reflects the wholeness that we truly are, and the world is anything that makes us feel that we are fragmented, dissected, cut into pieces and out of tune with ourselves.
There was a lady from America who came here. Her problem was that she was out of alignment with herself. She asked me, “Swamiji, can you tell me how I can be in alignment with myself?” That question is the beginning of yoga psychology, the aim of which is to bring oneself into alignment with one’s own self in every level of its manifestation. We have a true self, which by implication we discovered in the state of deep sleep, and we have a false reflected self in which we also seem to find happiness by secondary externalisation of our wholeness. We are happy with our family on account of this reason. When the balance of the family is maintained properly, our wholeness is reflected in it sympathetically and externally. As the whole sun is reflected in calm waters, so a balanced family can give us a little happiness. Our wholeness is reflected as the sun is reflected on the calm waters of a lake. When our family is imbalanced we are not happy, just as the sun may be shaking and disturbed as the waters are shaking. An imbalanced family makes us unhappy. It may be a community or a country—any further externalisation of the wholeness leads to unhappiness. When the country is in imbalance, we are unhappy. When there is international tension, we are not happy, because tension is not harmony. The wholeness is not reflected in any kind of tension. Yoga is a very deep psychology, based on tremendously profound metaphysics and philosophy. Yoga is so simple to understand, and one feels so happy when one understands what it really is. This is because it is something connected directly with us and not with something outside ourselves.