Ashtavakra Samhita, Chapter 6, Verse 04

The seer

Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V

Index, Verse Index, Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 3, Verse 4,

Verse 04

aham vaa sarvabhuuteshu sarvabhutaanyatho mayi
iti jnaanam tathaitasya na thyaago na graho layah


I am in all beings, and all beings are in me. Therefore, for this (Self) there is neither renunciation nor possession nor destruction.


The Self as the sum of all

The realization that you are in all and all are in you is the highest realization. Meditate on it. If you keep up the thought in your mind and frequently contemplate on it, you will cultivate empathy, compassion, understanding and feeling of oneness. Most of us are prisoners of our minds. We are bound to our egos and our identities, which leads to selfishness and all the evils that are associated with it. By seeing yourself in all, you can overcome much of that problem.

You will experience it even in your wakeful consciousness, if you can temporarily silence your ego and feel as if you are floating in the emptiness of the space. The truth is, behind the diversity of appearances most people are just like us. Even science confirms that genetically we are much closer to many animals. When you see a person, think of that person as a different version of you. Most importantly, the awareness of “I am” is present in him and pervades him as much as it does in you,

The Self is universal. It is the sum of all. The diversity of creation is apparent. Its underlying unity is hidden. So is the case with the dualities. The duality of the Supreme Self and the individual Self is superficial and illusory. They represent the same indivisible, infinite reality. By its very definition, as the infinite reality, the Self is present everywhere and in everything because any infinite realty cannot have boundaries, conditions and limitations. If two indistinguishable infinite realities occupy the same space, we cannot distinguish them either. In other words, the which is present in everything without any distinction, cannot be more than two.

The individual Self is an illusion. It appears only in the consciousness of the perceptual mind, which cannot identify any object without perceiving it in relation to something else. We may say that the limited Self temporarily manifests in the unlimited Self to create the experience of duality and delusion. However, in truth it is one reality. Just as the same light from the Sun spreads everywhere and appears in different places, the same Brahman pervades everything and appears in everything.

Brahman is the self-same universal Self. He is both the cause and effect, the subjective and the objective reality, and the Self as well as the not-Self. He is immanent and transcendent, mutable and immutable, day and night, corporeal and incorporeal. These dualities arise and subside like waves in the manifested Brahman. Since, he is one, without a second, everything has to happen within himself.

His manifested self may arise from his oceanic, pure consciousness like a wave or a projection or a shining phenomenon. It happens within himself, because Brahman is the ultimate support and without a second. He pervades as well as envelops all. He is inside as well as outside. He is the all-pervading (sarv-vyapi) universal Self as well as the inner lord (antraryami) of all. If liberation is your aim, you have to cultivate nearness to him by strengthening this thought renouncing your ego. You have to grow in his light, focusing your attention upon him and cleansing your mind and body so that you can cultivate not only nearness but also oneness.

The ego sees the distinction. Its sense of self is limited by its name and form. Hence, it perceives the world in relation to itself. The consciousness of the ego is defined by the fundamental duality of “I am” and “you are.” The self-concept is central to its survival and self-preservation. At the same time, it is also a major problem since it creates fear, selfishness, egoism, insecurity, anger, envy, lust, pride, delusion and so on.

In the consciousness of the Self, there is no such duality. It is free from all notions and concepts, including the notion of “you” or “other.” Its whole consciousness is filled with one indivisible “I am” not as a thought or idea but as its very essence. The state of the witness Self is also “I am.”

Meditate on the Self as “I am” (aham). Dissolve the boundaries of your limited Self by recognizing this “I am” in every living being. The feeling of “I am” is universal. Everything is a projection of it only. In the deepest, subjective state, when the mind and body are restful and all thoughts subside, and when you become the witness Self, all that remains is this “I am” only.

That state is not defined by what it has or has not, what it is or what it is not, or what it does or does not. It is without names and forms, without qualities and distinctions and without states or limitations. It is pure consciousness, without modifications, objectivity, attachments or desires. No one can adequately explain that state to you, but if you ever manage to dissolve your mind in the witness Self, the truth becomes known instantly. In that state, you can instantly enter the consciousness of anyone and know his or her thoughts. You can effortlessly empathize with anyone and feel their feelings and sufferings. Compassion is the natural and abiding state of that awakened soul.

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