निद्रा न विद्या ग्रहणम् न विद्या
गृह्णाति किन्चिन्न यथार्थ बोधे
निद्रा प्रदार्थ ग्रहणेतरा स्यात्
चिदेव विद्या विलसन्त्यशून्या—१४
nidrA na vidyA grahaNam na vidyA
gRihNAti ki~nchinna yathArtha bodhe
nidrA pradArtha grahNetarA syAt
chideva vidyA vilasantyashUnyA—14
निद्रा न विद्या = Self knowledge is not sleep; ग्रहणम् न विद्या= grasping (perceiving) of worldly objects is not self knowledge; गृह्णाति किन्चिन्न यथार्थ बोधे= In self knowledge, as it is, one does not grasp anything; निद्रा प्रदार्थ ग्रहण् इतरा स्यात्= It is different from grasping and non-grasping of objects; चिदेव विद्या विलसन्ति अशून्या = consciousness alone is self knowledge which is self effulgent and not a void.
What is knowledge of the self? Is it like the normal knowledge we gain in our worldly transactions or is it a sleep like state where nothing is known?
In this verse, bhagavAn RamaNa is refuting what self knowledge is not. He mentions it is not like the objective knowledge and sleep. On a positive note, he mentions it is where there is no grasping (of objects), the consciousness itself which is self effulgent is the self knowledge.
We have various sciences, art forms, various branches in Mathematics etc. We gain knowledge in these fields and consider ourselves knowledgeable. Is self knowledge akin to this type of grasping? Is it like a gross appreciation of the world? If not, then is it like sleep where one grasps nothing?
Both are not self knowledge. The self is not something that can be grasped per se. It is me, the very subject, the illuminant of all perceptions. How can the sun illumine itself?
In any worldly objective knowledge one grasps an object through the mind and organs. The atma is the basis for the mind and organs to function. Hence the Atma as such cannot be grasped by the mind objectively. The atma being non dual, there is nothing else to be known on knowing it. In self knowledge as it is, there is no grasping of the world, because the world is unreal. There then arises the possibility of self knowledge being a sleep state. Even this is not acceptable. Since, in sleep there is a very subtle essence of thought of absence of everything else. There is an extremely subtle perception of absence. That is why we get up with the thought of having slept well. There is an experiencer in sleep also. That seer awareness is the consciousness.
Self knowledge is not perception of absence or objective grasping. It is the assertion of the unreality of the objective appearances and the claiming of the self effulgent consciousness within as one’s true nature. It is important to note that self knowledge not being a grasping of objective knowledge does NOT amount to not seeing the world. The world continues, the body continues, the transactions continue even after self knowledge but the reality status that was attached to it earlier has lost significance. Just as a mirage is known to be sand alone and not real water to quench thirst, so also the world is known to be a mere appearance on the core of atma. The mirages continue to appear every now and then on the desert sands; so also the world continues. Self knowledge has nothing mystical about it where the whole world vanishes and we land into an ‘all- peace- altruistic- euphoric’ state.
Self knowledge is me, the the atma and claiming it alone to be my true nature. It is definitely not a void as buddhists claim. If it were a void, who knows the void? The atma alone is shining and that am I, the fullness not emptiness.