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The Attainment of Liberation

by Swami Krishnananda

The Nature of Sadyo-Moksha

All endeavours aim at the common ideal of the perpetual abolition of sorrow and the experience of unending bliss. Bliss is only in the Infinite and sorrow is only in the finite. There is no bliss in the finite, and no sorrow in the Infinite. Therefore, the attainment of the Infinite Life is the supreme purpose of finite life. Knowledge and meditation have both their dear aim in the realisation of the Absolute. Moksha is the highest exaltation of the self in its pristine nature of supreme perfection. Emancipation is the Consciousness of the Reality not becoming something which previously did not exist not travelling to another world of greater joy. It is the knowledge of eternal existence, the awareness of the essential nature of Pure Being. It is the Freedom attained by knowing that we are always free. Knowledge is not merely the cause for freedom' it is itself freedom. Moksha consists in Jnana (Knowledge) and is not the effect or product of Jnana. Jnana is Existence itself, and hence it cannot be a means to attain Jnana of Existence. which is Moksha, as a thing does not attain itself. Chit is the same as Sat. To be what is, is Moksha. It is to realise one's Self, to be Oneself, and to be Oneself is to be the All.

"There is no consciousness after death (of individuality)," says Yajnavalkya. Since Consciousness alone is the entirety of being, there is no consciousness of anything objective in the highest state. It is the Fullness of Perfect Existence. It is, but is not anything; it sees, but sees not anything; it hears, but hears not anything; it knows, but knows not anything. It does not go to where it was not, it does not get what it did not have. Even the expression "It knew only itself" (Brih. Up., I. 4. 10) is an understatement of Truth, for it implies self-consciousness which is the characteristic of Ishvara and not Brahman. Brahman does not know, for it is knowledge; It does not enjoy, for it is enjoyment; It is not "existent" but "existence". It is non-material, has no contact with any objective being. "It eats nothing; no one eats it". It is the supreme "incorporeal which pain and pleasure do not touch." The realisation of the Self is in a way like the shining of the sun when the clouds no more cover him. It is the regaining of originality in the absolute sense. It is "quenching the fire of death with the water of knowledge" (Brih. Up., III. 2. 11)). It is deathless impersonality of conscious nature, not merely living as an eternal person. A person, even the absolute person (Ishvara), is non-eternal. No real change takes place in the realisation of Truth, but it appears to be all change! "Though the Full may be taken out from the Full, the Full alone remains without change". Even the utter extinction of personality does not involve the least transformation in true existence. It is the simple knowing, the great knowing, so mysterious and complicated, the ever unsolved problem, the only problem of the whole universe. And yet, it is the only Truth to the Knower The curious riddle, somehow, makes one feel that. truly, nothing happens in Infinity, though worlds may seem to roll in it. That which is so simply said as "Existence-Consciousness" and which is so easy to understand, is, after all, a hard nut to crack,--never understood, never known, never realised by any individual, the supreme identity of the greatest positivity and the greatest negation in one. The Absolute is really supra-relative, supra-mental, supra-rational. Whatever is spoken or thought is not Truth as it is. Truth is the union of the cosmic thinker and the cosmic thinking. There is no separate object of this thinking, nothing that is thought of here, for thinking itself is the object of thinking, thought thinks itself, all objects are mere processes of cosmic thinking, nothing real in themselves. Thought and its object, knowledge and the known, seeing and the seen, relation and the object related to, mind and the universe, are identical with the Universal Essence. The conscious transcending of the successive double relation in the cosmos, of the thinker who is identical with the thinking, and of the thinking which is identical with that which is thought of, is Liberation. The universe has no reality independent of its Universal Knower. The original delusion of the difference between the thinker and the thinking is greater than and is the cause of the secondary delusion of the difference between the thinking and the thought of. There is the thinking because there is the thinker; there is the thought-of because there is the thinking. The thinking is the object of the thinker; the thought-of is the object of the thinking. Egoism or dualityconsciousness and the world or multiplicity-consciousness are the respective effects of the mistake that the object is independent of and different from the subject in both these cases. Samsara is the knower-knowledge-known-relationship. But it must however be remembered here that the distinction between the thinker and the thinking and that between the thinking and the thought-of is not valid to the Cosmic Consciousness of Ishvara. This distinction is superimposed by the individual on Ishvara when it perceives, as an individual knower, its own distinctness and the variety of world-manifestation. Relations are meaningful to the individual alone and not to the Universal Being. These distinctions are present even in the superhuman individuals, even in those who have reached Brahmaloka or the subtlest possible state which is within the jurisdiction of individualistic consciousness. That which is above all distinctions and relations is Brahman, the knowledge of which is neither thinking nor sleeping. This is that which is asserted through endless denials, impossible to describe, impossible to imagine, nothing, everything! The only definition of the nature of Reality is perhaps "That which is not anything, but not nothing, that which is everything, and knows nothing but itself". That is Brahman! Therefore, bondage and liberation are only a matter of forgetfulness and awareness of fact, respectively, and not a change in being. The complete transcendence of one's individuality is at once the realisation of the Absolute. The moment the Jiva is negated, the cosmic play is explained, and the cosmos and Ishvara sink into Brahman.

Moksha is neither a mass of consciousness nor self-consciousness. It is the very life and order of the universe, ever present, unchanging. It transcends even the sense of immortality which, also, is conceptual. The Light of the Absolute puts an end to all relative existence, and the world does not exist even as a remembrance. There is no such thing as inert, inanimate, dead matter or blind force. It is all Supreme Force, Knowledge and Bliss without motion of mind. There are no planes of existence, no states of- consciousness, no degrees of reality. This is the most blessed and supreme state of absolute freedom and conscious eternal life, not merely a conviction but actual being. It is the awful grandeur of the utter negation of limitation and experience of Infinitude, not mere continued personal life. It is the complete dissolution of thought in simple existence, which is the mightiest nothing! It is an immediate here and now of spacelessness and timelessness, the inexpressible, beyond joy and sorrow, beyond knowledge and ignorance, beyond life and death, beyond all that is beyond! It is the fullest Reality, the completest Consciousness, the immensest Power, the intensest Bliss. Truth, knowledge, power, happiness and immortality are its shadows. Unseen, transcendent, uninferable, unthinkable, ununderstandable, indescribable, imperishable, the loftiest, the deepest, the Truth, the Great,--That is the Absolute. The light of limitless number of suns is darkness in its presence. It oversteps the boundaries of being, and nullifies all ideas of existence. It is the Giant-Spirit which swallows up the mind and the ego and wipes out the individual consciousness to the very extreme. It is the Thunder that breaks the heart of the universe, the Lightning that fuses all senses of empirical reality. The bubble bursts into the ocean and the river enters the sea! The soul merges into the extremely Real.

The Grandeur of the Absolute is grander than all other grandeur. It is the crowning edifice of truth and glory. Nothing is beyond That. It is neither form, nor content, nor existent. The soul sinks into It by an experience of all-fullness,--neither essence, nor kingdom, nor wisdom, neither equal nor unequal, neither static nor moving, neither sitting nor resting, neither one nor two, neither true nor false, neither this-ness nor that-ness, nothing known to us, nothing known to any existent being. It has no name, there is no definition of It! It is That which is. It is not love, not grace, not world, not soul, not god, not freedom, not light, for all these are relative conceptions. It is not Satchidananda, which is only an ideal 'other' of what we here experience. Satchidananda is only the logical highest, a mere intellectual prop. Reality is beyond Satchidananda, also. It is Itself, the eternal sun that shines in the infinite sky of the absolute world! It transcends cosmic consciousness. It is the supra-essential essence. Eternity and Infinity embrace one another to form Its Centre of Experience. It is an Ocean that sweeps away the earth and the heaven and the netherland. Sun, moon and stars are dissolved in It. Brahma, Vishnu and Siva vanish into It. It is the Life of life, Wisdom of wisdom, Joy of joy, Power of power, Real of real, Essence of essence. Birthlessness and deathlessness float in It like ripples. It is the supreme Death of all, and yet the highest peak of real Life. The totality of all the joys of the universe is merely a distorted fragment of That Supreme. It puts an end to the vicious circle of transmigratory life.

The Upanishads have left no stone unturned in attempting to give the best expression to the majestic Absolute-Experience:

"The knower of the Self crosses beyond sorrow." "He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman Itself." "The knower of Brahman attains the Highest." "One who is established in Brahman reaches Immortality." "He returns not again, he returns not again."

"By knowing Him alone one goes to That which is beyond death. By knowing the Supreme Being, the wise one casts off both joy and sorrow. They who see Him, the Self-Existent,--they, and no others, have eternal peace. Of him, whose desires are completely satisfied, who is totally perfected, all desires dissolve themselves here itself. The liberated one becomes onefold, threefold, fivefold, sevenfold, ninefold, elevenfold, hundred-and-elevenfold, twentythousandfold! He goes to the other shore of darkness. That state is ever illumined, it is always day there. Time, age and death, sorrow, merit and demerit do not go there. Fearless is the state of the Bliss of Brahman. Even the gods fear him, even Indra and Prajapati cannot obstruct him--he becomes the Self-Emperor. The knot of the heart is broken, all doubts are rent asunder, and all actions perish, when That is seen. which is the Highest and the Deepest. His vital-spirits do not depart, they are gathered up, here itself. Being Brahman already, he becomes Brahman Itself. He is the maker of everything, he is the creator of all, the universe is his, he himself is the universe. This is the supreme treasure. The freed souls enter into the All, they enter into Brahman, they are liberated beyond mortal nature. The whole constitution of individuality becomes unified in the Supreme Imperishable. As rivers enter the ocean, leaving name and form, so the wise one, liberated from name and form, reaches the Transcendental Divine Being. Thus is Immortality."

This is Immediate Liberation (Sadyomukti), the instantaneous experience of the Absolute through the sudden destruction of the fabric of personality built by Avidya, Kama and Karma. Karma is the child of Kama which is never fulfilled until its source, Avidya, is destroyed through the realisation of Brahman which is unsurpassed Perfection. How can, by knowing one thing, another thing be attained? The attainment and the knowledge here are the same, self-identical. The Supreme Brahman is the All.

Sadyomukti is the processless immediate experience of Brahman, spaceless and timeless, on account of one's habituation to the non-dual knowledge of the Self. It is given to a very few to realise Brahman in this way, for most of the aspirants cannot proceed with their meditations without some kind of objective content in their consciousness. The quick and sudden illumination, which Sadyomukti is, is a very unique experience, and it puts an end to the relative notions of Ishvara, Jiva and Jagat. In this, there is neither the experience of the degrees of phenomena nor resting in the region of Ishvara or Brahmaloka after being freed. It is at once being Brahman.

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