Our Scriptures repeatedly impress on us that the Ultimate Truth can never be known by a “me” by taking any amount or type of action. “brahman” is known only by “Knowing.” Puzzlingly, It knows Itself!
Here is a selection of a few mantras for deep contemplation as we enter the New Year:
1. नायमात्माप्रवचनेन लभ्यो न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन ।
यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यस्तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूं स्वाम् ॥ — muNDaka, III-ii-3
[This Self is not attained through study, nor through the intellect, nor through much hearing. The very Self which this one (i.e. the aspirant) seeks is attainable through that fact of seeking; this Self of his reveals Its own nature. Trns: Swami Gambhirananda.]
2. नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लभ्यो न च प्रमादात्तपसो वाप्यलिङ्गात् ।
एतैरुपायैर्यतते यस्तु विद्वांस्तस्यैष आत्मा विशते ब्रह्म धाम ॥ — muNDaka, III-ii-4.
[This Self is not attained by one devoid of strength, nor through delusion, nor through knowledge unassociated with renunciation. But the Self of that knower, who strives through these means, enters into the abode that is brahman.Trns: Swami Gambhirananda. ]
3. नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन ।
यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यस्तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूंस्वाम् ॥ — kaTha upa, I-ii-23.
[Same mantra as at # 1 above.]
4. न कर्मणा न प्रजया धनेन त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानशुः ।
परेण नाकं निहितं गुहायां बिभ्राजतेयद्यतयोविशन्ति ॥ — anuvAka 12, mantra 14, mahAnarAayaNopaniShad.
[Neither by works, nor by offspring, nor by wealth, but only by means of renunciation can the life eternal be attained. Higher than the heaven, hidden in the cave, it shines. Those who make strenuous effort enter into it.]
5. न कर्मणा न प्रजया धनेन त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानशुः ।
परेण नाकं निहितं गुहायां बिभ्राजतेयद्यतयोविशन्ति ॥ — mantra 3, kaivalya Upanishad.
[Same mantra as at # 4.]
6. चित्तस्य शुद्धये कर्म न वस्तूपलब्धये । — verse 11, vivekacUDAmaNi of Shnakara
[All action is for the purification of the mind but not for obtaining the (true) substance.]
7. कुरुते गङ्गासागरगमनं, व्रतपरिपालनमथवा दानम्।
ज्ञानविहिनः सर्वमतेन मुक्तिं न भजति जन्मशतेन॥ – verse 17, bhajagovindaM of Shankara
[One may cleanse one’s sins immersing in Ganga’s waters. One may fast and donate riches to the needy. But devoid of jyAna or Knowledge of the truth, none else can get liberation in spite of being born a hundred times.]
8. वदन्तु शास्त्राणि यजन्तु देवान् कुर्वन्तु कर्माणि भजन्तु देवताः ।
आत्मैक्यबोधेन विनापि मुक्तिः न सिध्यति ब्रह्मशतान्तरेऽपि ॥ — verse 6, vivekacUDAmaNi
[Let erudite scholars quote all the scripture, let gods be invoked through sacrifices, let elaborate rituals be performed, let personal gods be propitiated — yet, without the realization of one‘s identity with the Self, there shall be no liberation for the individual, not even in the life times of a hundred Brahmas put together.]
9. ज्ञानादेवतु कैवल्यम् – garuDA purANa
[Liberation is from the Knowledge (of the Self) only.]
Sage Vasishta also gives importance to Detachment and Dispassion:
10. अस्ति चेद्भोगवैतृष्ण्यं किमन्यद्ध्यानदुर्धिया ।
नास्ति चेद्भोगवैतृष्ण्यं किमन्यद्ध्यानदुर्धिया ।। — verse 19, sarga 46, book 2, Ch 6, Yogavasishta
[Meditation is useless without Detachment. Meditation is meaningless with Detachment.]
In a slightly different context:
11. नाहं वेदैर्न तपसा न दानेन न चेज्यया ।
शक्य एवंविधो द्रष्टुं दृष्टवानसि मां यथा ॥ — verse 53, Ch. 11, Bhagavad-Gita
[Not by Vedas, nor by austerity, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in this Form as you have seen Me.]
Rupert Spira explains the same message in a direct way that Awareness cannot know Itself as an object, but is never not known and It knows Itself by being Itself in this Video of 13:25 min.
BEST WISHES FOR A TRULY HAPPY NEW YEAR