The “I-am-realized” Delusion – 3:

Part – 2

We come across very often in the Western Advaita circles, teachers and well-read writers who do not hesitate to say “I am realized.” Such a  deluded belief in claiming Self-realization appears to be based principally on two fallacies. One is that when they say that “I know I am aware,” they falsely assume that they are in touch with the Absolute Awareness. The second is that they think that they see a world of multiple objects even after Self-realization, because the  objects apparent to them are preexistent to their perception, all the objects being already ‘brahman‘ — as if the indivisible brahman has made it especially easy for them to perceive Itself (brahman).

As Swami Sarvapriyananda lucidly explains in this Video, about 30 to 32 min into his talk, the awareness one knows when one says “I am aware” is the fallacious or shadow consciousness and not the Absolute Consciousness. An easy verification can also be made by oneself to ascertain if it is the chidabhAsa (reflected Consciousness) or the Absolute brahman through a simple test as suggested by the Swami Ji in that talk. Thus the awareness that they assume to be in touch is not brahman, but the reflected Consciousness only.

The second fallacy of them claiming that the worldly objects “seen” are brahman Itself appearing divided into several objects needs a careful consideration. As already discussed in the previous two parts of the present Series, certain conditions are necessary for the appearance of the objective world of many. The first is that there has to be a finite ‘seer’ with a separate identifiable body-mind and sensory apparatus as explained by Shankara in his adhyAsa bhAShya and the ‘seer’ has to have “ignorance” as repeatedly emphasized by him in all his commentaries.

All of us see multiple objects, not because they exist out there, but because we project them. We use the mind and the perceptual apparatus as an intermediary in our perception and it is this intermediary apparatus that shows us the multiplicity, as explained in the picture below. If we change the “intermediary mind,” lo behold, the world shown by it will also change! And we experience this all the time, in fact 3-4 times a night, during our dream cycles. Our mind is capable of showing an external world and also a separate internal world. A different version of the schemata was presented earlier here.

Fig. 1: Schematic of Object Projection by the Mind.

A world appears if and only if there is a finite mind (the Vedantic name is avidyA) intervening and not otherwise.

Swami Sarvapriyananda easily demolishes the deluded claims of clever people who cleverly delude themselves of the claims of Self realization in 2 mins flat in this Video from 1.00.23 to 1.02.31.

Fortunately the Advaita scriptures provide several ways to appraise oneself about his/her status about “Realization.” I had the opportunity to present a few articles on such Litmus Tests here and here. In addition, one’s own progress on the Path of Knowledge (jnAna mArga) can also be assessed by following the guidelines provided by Sage Vasishta as pointed out here.

Sage Vasishta in Yogavasishta (6th Chapter: Nirvana) as well chAndogya Upanishad tell us that the thought (which itself is not too common) of the one who is identified with brahman readily materializes as an empirical reality and it also looks that all their wishes get immediately fulfilled. We shall discuss the relevant references in our next article.

(To Continue  …. Part – 4)


4 thoughts on “The “I-am-realized” Delusion – 3:

  1. Can you not summarize these ‘easily demolishing arguments’ rather than requiring the reader to watch an hour-long video?

  2. Dennis,


    First of all, I have not asked the reader to watch any hourlong Videos.
    Of course, one may do so if s/he likes.

    I suggested watching a segment of merely 2 min in each of the two videos:

    1. Just 2 mins from 30 to 32 in the Video at:

    2. Again, just 2 mins from 1:00:23 to 1:02:31 in the Video at:

    Secondly, the reason that I chose not to summarize in my own words is because hearing from the horse’s mouth could give more confidence to the people who may doubt what I say.


  3. Ramesam,

    I was (perhaps?) laboring under the misapprehension that you have been disagreeing with what I have been saying regarding the appearance of the world. You pointed to the video (Part 1 of the Vedantic Meditation retreat) as being what I assumed to be a clear refutation of what I have been saying and a vindication of your views.

    I have just finished watching the entire video and find nothing contentious there. As before, I remain impressed with the knowledge and clarity of explanations of Swami Sarvapriyananda. So I am somewhat mystified by the tone of your post. In the discussions following my post ‘Who am I?’ – – I explained my understanding and the exposition seems to agree with that. As regards the world disappearing, Swami S talks about continuing to eat, drink etc. following enlightenment, so he too obviously accepts that the world continues to appear.

    The only point of difference concerns the second video you reference in your last comment. Here, Swami S is equating enightenment with jIvanmukta. I would disagree with this. jIvanmukta only comes about when any remaining pratibandha-s have been eliminated, as I discussed fairly exhaustively recently.

    Best wishes,

  4. Dear Dennis,

    Thanks for the observations.

    As you may have noted, the essay opens with the mention of two fallacies.

    The first one is about asking the question by some of the popular Western Non-dual teachers, “Are you aware now?” almost as an alternative to what Shankara poses at verse 12, aparokShAnubhUti, viz., “Who or What am I?” and later popularized by Ramana.

    Those teachers contend that the seeker gets in touch with his/her Absolute Awareness during the pause immediately after the question is posed to her.

    Sw-S seems to suggest in the first Video cited by me that one gets in touch only with the reflected consciousness and not the Absolute Consciousness. Thus the downstream interpretation of those teachers assuming that Absolute Awareness has been known during the pause becomes suspect.

    The second fallacy is about one believing in his/her Self-realization in spite of the persisting mental idiosyncrasies and on the top of it, explaining away all such aberrations to be belonging to the mind. They insist that such aberrations do not mean to indicate a deficiency in their understanding. I have come across many people in the West including some Non-dual teachers who believe in the collapse of their sense of separate self, despite their inability to give up their ‘business-as-usual’ attitude with regard to their strong attachments. Sw-S points out very clearly that such conditional understanding (e.g. I am realized, but my wife is nasty, I will ditch her to run with her girlfriend etc.) shows an absence of clarity at the level of their intellect in discerning their own mix ups.

    I am holding up naming those teachers to protect their privacy.

    Regarding the differences in our viewpoints, you may have noted that the continued appearance of finite objects as solidly as was before ‘enlightenment’ does throw a question mark on the claims of being enlightened. I hope to go into it in more detail in subsequent posts.


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