"Brahman is sans quality and sans shape. Brahman is unattached, Brahma is without change. It has no limits, that is what the sages say." [Dasabodh, Chapter 7, Section 2]
How is Brahman? It has no shape. It is the natural state that remains when all the four bodies (the physical, the subtle, the causal, i.e., complete ignorance, and the supra causal, i.e., knowledge "I am") are set aside. One who knows his beingness is called "Ishwara"-God. Whatever remains prior to the "beingness" or knowledge is reality. After transgressing the four built in bodies whatever remains is shapeless, detached, in its own natural state and is steady. It never goes anywhere nor does it come from anywhere. That is Parabrahman, the Antahkarana (i.e. the innermost).
The seer, the witness, the one who sees and the one who sleeps is "Ishwara", God. He is a concept conceived through intelligence. When he sleeps he is quiet. One who experiences the state of awakeness does not disappear when experiencing the state of unconsciousness or sleep. Why can't we express the joy in sleep? Because the mind and the intellect are not there. Only when one awakes, one can express the experience.
A woman's nose-ring fell into the water. She told one man to find it and inform her as soon as it is found. The man found the ring deep inside the water but obviously could not inform her instantly as he was completely under the water. As the water and fire are enemical to each other the power of the deity of fire was absent when he was immersed in the water. Thus he could inform the lady that the nose-ring is found only when he came out of the water. Just like this one can not express anything in sleep, for during sleep there are no instruments that are required for expression. The mind does not take the touch of anything and so cannot say anything. A man climbed up the stairs but if his mind did not touch the question of how many stairs he climbed then he would not be able to tell the number. But the self knows on the whole that he climbed the stairs.
He (self) was there during sleep, during awakeness, and during samadhi. Who is experiencing sleep and samadhi? He alone. If he were not there, who would get sleep? So self is "Consciousness" and of the nature of "knowingness" and prior to that is Parabrahman. The Antaratman (the innermost Self) is the "I". He is God and always His nature is consciousness. They may be beasts, birds, deities, demons, Ram, Krishna, He resides in the heart of all. If He is not there, the objects become dead like log of wood. When He disappears, the ears, eyes, nose etc. are all useless. When He disappears all objects become immovable. Because of Him, is all the grandeur. If He goes then all is perishable. It is due to Him, that there is worldly activity, as well as spiritual understanding. All this is due to His Existence.
Till such time that He is there, Gods, demons, customs, etc. are there. But if He leaves, people do not touch the body. It is the Inner Self that gives the status of God to the body. One who calls the body God is none else than this Self. The one who writes the Vedas is also the Inner Self. So long as this Inner Self keeps interests in the worldly ideas, till then He is Jeeva (Gross body). If he starts talking of knowledge He is Shiva. When Jeeva and Shiva both disappear, what remains is Parabrahman.
The same man who does manual labour is a peon. If he works as an officer, he is an officer; if he works as a judge, he is a judge; but when he retires from everything he is Parabrahman. There is nothing (i.e., emptiness or ignorance) and beyond that is the fourth body which is of the nature of God. When a man worships a multitude of Gods and Godesses like Keshava (one name of Lord Vishnu), that worship goes straight to the Inner Self only, because this Keshava (Ke means only knowledge and shava means corpse) is in the form of knowledge in the body (which is a corpse without the knowledge) that is both his name and his place of residence. After worship the offering of food is shown to that God and consumed by ourselves only. If this Lord, the Innerself, makes that God (worldly idol God) stand, he stands for a life time.
But for the Inner God, this would not do. First this God, the Inner Self has to have a bath, and then sandalwood paste and clothes etc. and only afterwards everything is offered to the idol God. Each being, knowingly or unknowingly worships and the Inner Self alone. But he does so without understanding. Therefore he is a Jeeva or ignorant being. If he worships with the full understanding that he is God he becomes Shiva or one with knowledge.
All these gross bodies are actually the walking and talking temples. Due to ignorance the children enjoy themselves by putting up a make belief house out of stones. Like this, they will take a small rock which would serve as a utensil for drinking water, another stone will do for a bowl and then some stone is put up as God. In the same way ignorant people worship by creating idols. The real God has consciousness, knowingness. This idol has no consciousness. The fool worships an idol. Fool means an ignorant person. Those who have yet no knowledge of self have to worship an idol. But if they recognise whose idols they are, how wonderful it would be! The one who recognises this is the man of knowledge [Dynani].
The ignorant man makes a make belief God and worships him, the "knower" recognises the God of Gods (that is, his own Self) and then offers his worship. Shankaracharya called that Inner Self, the fourth body, "the original Illusion". The God may have infinite number of names yet the Truth is only one. For example if a child calls his own father "uncle", does it mean that the man loses his fatherhood?
Through the medium of this God one will understand the natural state of the Absolute-Parameshwar. If this God becomes steady, one will understand Parabrahman. This God (consciousness) is in the form of the power of knowing, the will power and the power of matter. Hence he is constantly moving. If this mundane existence is ignored, then he will remain in His natural state. Lord Vishnu (Consciousness) took incarnation ten times means that he started playing through all the ten senses. To do something means to take an incarnation.
When he becomes God he realises his ignorance. God is unsteady while Parabrahman is steady. To know the nature of both the steady and the unsteady is "knowledge". The intellect of the students of Vedas gets puzzled while thinking of this subject.
The source of all this universe is this Inner Self, yet the true source of this world is this phase of "sprouting of knowingness", which has no head or tail. On one side the world is created and the other side everything vanishes. If ones nature is known, the Inner Self disappears. The steady nature is always there and the unsteady one perishes.
The steady admits of no change but the unsteady or the self admits change. The self which is unsteady has passions, changes, desire, anger, greed, pride, etc. If some one calls him (i.e. the inner self) good, he swells with pride and if another calls him bad, he becomes sad; that means the Inner self is subject to change. One who calls the changeless and the changing as the same, is a beggar. It means that he is caught in the realm of the five elements. Beyond the body are Maya, principles of five elements, etc.
The essence of Vedas is : "You are that Principle". The Self is beyond the four bodies. There are various stages for explaining the Vedas. Brahman and Parabrahman are proved after debating and battling a billion times. Yoga means union or a device. That is the Paramatma- oneself encased in the five sheaths (Koshas).
- The cover of food: The outside covering, which may be called a coat. It is worn from out side to protect the self. This is the body consisting of blood, flesh, bones, hair etc. produced out of food.
- The cover of vital airs: The Self is covered with five vital airs (Pranas).
- The cover of the mind: The cover of mind along with concepts.
- The cover of the intellect: The cover of intellect with the concepts like sin or virtue, that one is so and so (Brahmana, Kshatriya etc.).
- The cover of happiness: Rest, sleep etc. One is happy as one has forgotten everything that produces unhappiness.
If one forgets everything, then all the bliss. One is happy because one has forgotten all sorrows. Where does the Jeeva (Ego) find happiness? The answer is "in forgetfulness".
Unknowingly he enjoys happiness in the sleep. Narada (name of a saint in the Indian mythology) is our mind. He goes round all the three worlds namely the gross, the subtle and the causal worlds. This mind sings praises of the Lord and also enters into argument and quarrels. He always has a begging bowl under his arm. The begging bowl is his stomach. When one goes to the office or to a place where devotional songs are sung, it is sure that Mr. Mind will take the begging bowl along with him.
Self is beyond all the states. Recognise the five sheaths explained above. Three hundred and thirty million deities are on the summit. All are for the sake of the body. Twenty-five principles, five sheaths of the jeeva and the three qualities (satva, rajas and tama) make up these three hundred and thirty million deities who live in the city of Kashi (the body). After transgressing the five sheaths, Vishwanath, the ruling deity of this city can be contacted.
Then, here itself, it is Kashi (holy place) for you. Whatever is in the microcosm is also in the macrocosm. Thus then we have to put forward infinite number of arguments as Parabrahman has to be proved. The Jeeva (Gross body) is one who can be talked about, or indicated and whatever is expressed through Jeeva's Speech is in words.
Which is the real nature of God and which is the unreal? The answer is Virat - the Big one made up of five elements. The subtle (Virat) is the three hundred and thirty millions of Gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh [Shiva]. This subtle is called HiranyaGarbha. Then His causal body is the Avyakrut - Unmanifest; i.e. this is the state of Primorchal Prakriti before any change occurred. This is Existence, Consciousness Bliss. This is the indication of the status of God.
Jeeva Ego has four bodies namely the gross, the subtle, the causal and the supracausal body . The first three can be described. The supra causal body is the goal to be achieved. From the earth comes the body: Macrocosm-Virat. You may say the body is a part of Him. The air outside and in the body are one and the same. Then how to call this air as belonging to you or me? For example if the property is one, how can there be two owners for that property? Air is only one.
Desire and senses make up the mind. The deity is the Moon. Mind (moon) is treacherous to the Guru (sun). It does not go to Him. The moon is accused of treachery to the Guru; that is, it does not want to get self-knowledge from the sun because it will die in the process.
The senses may be termed as Lord Indra. Rain means desire to drink. To perform a sacrifice means to prepare a good meal and eat it. Then it rains; that is, one has a desire to drink. Then man grows, his senses are appeased . Just like the earth grows when it rains. Saint Gautam means best among senses (Go = senses, Uttam = best). The elegant Ahilya (his wife) is the body. Both have the same expression and also the same goal. Therefore, Jeeva and Shiva are one; Jeeva is none else than Brahman. Jeeva has four bodies, Shiva has four bodies. The eighth body or Primordial Maya is steady.
That is His Primordial nature. Whatever is Parabrahman is what cannot be expressed in words. The God of the transitory is Ishwara, and that God's devotee is also transitory.
Both of them are false, perishable; therefore Jeeva and Shiva are Ignorances. Do not get tempted by these. All these are perishable and false. One who knows or recognises leaving them alone (The Truth) is a Dnyani- the knower.