Astavakra and indifference to ‘becoming’

Janaka said:
In me, the boundless ocean, the ark of the universe moves hither and thither, impelled by this wind of its own inherent nature. I am not impatient [affected].
In me, the limitless ocean, let the wave of the world rise or vanish of itself. I neither increase not decrease thereby.
In me, the boundless ocean, is the imagination of the universe. I am quite tranquil and formless. In this alone do I abide.
The Self is not in the object, nor is the object in the Self which is infinite and stainless. Thus It is free from attachment and desire, and tranquil. I this alone do I abide.
Oh, I am really consciousness itself. The world is like a juggler’s show. So how and where can there be any thought of rejection and acceptance in me?

Chapter VII “Nature of self-realisation”, Astavakra Samhita, Swami Nityaswarupananda

The man who flowers is the man who is, who is not becoming.

“All our thinking and activity is based on becoming, is it not? I am using that word becoming very simply, not philosophically, but in the ordinary sense of wanting to become something either in this world or in the so-called spiritual world. If we can understand this process of wanting to become something, then I think we shall have understood what sorrow is, because it is the desire to become that gives to the mind the soil in which sorrow can grow . . . We have never a moment when there is no ‘becoming’ and only ‘being’ – that ‘being’ which is nothing. But that ‘being’ which is nothing cannot possibly be understood if we do not fully grasp the significance of ‘becoming'”

“Is there not a difference between the flowering mind and the becoming mind? The becoming mind is a mind that is always growing, becoming, enlarging, gathering experience as knowledge. We know that process full well in our daily life, with all its results, with all its conflicts, its miseries and strife, but we do not know the life of flowering. And is there not a difference between the two which we have to discover – not by trying to demarcate, to separate, but to discover – in the process of our living? When we discover this, we may perhaps be able to set aside this ambition, the way of choice, and discover a flowering, which is the way of life, which may be true action.”

-J Krishnamurti

That thou art

Brahman is Satyam (Reality), Jnanam (Knowledge), Anantam (Infinity).
– Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.1.3

There is no second thing separate from It which It can see.
– Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.3.23

Through the mind alone is It to be realised. There is no differentiation whatsoever in Brahman.
– Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.4.19

In me, the limitless ocean, let the wave of the world rise or vanish of itself. I neither increase nor decrease thereby.
In me, the boundless ocean, is the imagination of the universe. I am quite tranquil and formless. In this alone do I abide.
– Astavakra Samhita, 7.2, 7.3

The only certain knowledge

“Whatever knowledge we may obtain about anything other than ourself is indirect and therefore open to doubt. The only knowledge that is direct is the knowledge or consciousness that we have of ourself as ‘I am’, and hence it alone can be certain and free of all doubt.

Before we know anything else, we first know our own existence as ‘I am’. This knowledge or consciousness of ourself is our primary and essential form of knowledge. Without knowing ‘I am’ we could not know anything else. Our consciousness ‘I am’ can stand alone without any other knowledge, as we experience daily in deep sleep, but no other knowledge can stand without this consciousness ‘I am’.

. . . . . .

Only when we attain true knowledge of our consciousness ‘I am’ will we be in a position to judge the truth and validity of all our other knowledge. Thus the belief that objective research can lead to true knowledge – a belief that is implicit in and central to the philosophy upon which all modern science is based – is philosophically unsound, and is based more upon wishful thinking than upon any deep or honest philosophical analysis.

All objective knowledge is known by us indirectly through the imperfect media of our mind and five senses, whereas consciousness is known by us directly as our own self. Therefore, if we seek true, clear and immediate knowledge, rather than attempting to elaborate our knowledge of objective phenomena by turning our attention outwards through our mind and five senses, we should attempt to refine our knowledge of consciousness by directing our attention selfwards, towards the essential consciousness that we always experience directly as ‘I am'”

From Happiness and the Art of Being, Michael James, Trafford.
ISBN: 978-1-4251-2465-6
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Belief and the ending of knowledge

From a dialogue between J Krishnamurti and Swami Venkatesananda (“The awakening of intelligence”)

K: How do I know the highest? Because the sages have said it? I don’t accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion, they might be talking nonsense or sense. I don’t know, I am not interested. I find that as long as the mind is in a state of fear, it wants to escape from it, and projects an idea of the supreme, and wants to experience that. But if it frees itself from its own agony, then it is altogether in a different state. It doesn’t even ask to experience because it is at quite a different level.


K: If Vedanta is the end of… which is by its own… the meaning of itself is the end of knowledge.

SV: Yes, it’s wonderful, I never thought of it before: the end of knowledge.

K: Freedom from knowing.

SV: Freedom from knowledge, yes. (Laughs)

K: Then why have they not kept to that?

SV: Their contention being that you have to pass through that in order to come out of it.

K: Pass through what?

K: Now wait a minute, sir. Then why must I acquire it? If Vedanta means the end of knowledge, which the word itself means that: the ending of Vedas which is knowledge, then why should I go through all the laborious process of acquiring knowledge, and then discarding it?

SV: Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be again in Vedanta. The end of knowledge is, having acquired this knowledge, coming to the end of it.

K: Why should I acquire it?

SV: Because otherwise it can’t be ended.

K: No, no. Why should I acquire it? Why shouldn’t I, from the very beginning, see what knowledge is and discard it?

SV: See what knowledge is.

K: And discard, discard all the… Never accumulate. Vedanta means the end of accumulating knowledge.

SV: Quite right. That’s right. That’s correct.

Bhakti, jnana and karma yoga reinterpreted

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what – at last – I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.”
– Bertrand Russell