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Published by: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi on Feb 26, 2010
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By: ShankaracharyaCommentary: Swami RanganathanandaEdited: Swami ShuddhidanandaSummary: Satyendra Nath DwivediPart 3STEPS TO SELF-REALIZATION (Continued)
All knowledge begins as a subject knowing an object. At the farthest reach of thisprocess, through the entire gamut of acquiring positive knowledge. Vedantadiscovered that the mystery of man and nature could be solved first through aninner penetration to understand the nature of the objective world, followed by adaring investigation into the nature of knowledge itself. Among the experienced,the experiencer, and the experience, Vedanta conducted an enquiry into thenature of ‘experience’ itself. The Sanskrit word for experience is ‘
’,while the word for knowledge is ‘
’. The word for the knower is ‘
’, andthat for the object of knowledge is ‘
’. In Vedanta ‘
’ and ‘
are designated as ‘
’, the triple group. Vedanta discovered ‘
’ as the ‘Consciousness-Field’ and all objects (
) and all subjects(
) as its passing configurations, and this resolved the ‘triputi’ distinction.And according to it the ultimate reality of Atman or Brahman is of the very natureof Experience (
), of the very nature of knowledge (
), of the very nature of consciousness (
).Some of the greatest utterances of the Upanishads convey this Truth:
“Brahman is Pure Consciousness” [Aitareya Upanishad 5.3] “Brahman is Truth, Consciousness, and Infinity.” [Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1] 
“All this manifested universe is Brahman, this Self is Brahman.” [MandukyaUpanishad 2] “There is some entity, eternal by nature, the basis of the experience of ego-sense, the witness of the three states (of waking, dream and sleep) and distinct from the five sheaths; which knows everything that happens in the waking state,in dream and in profound sleep; which is aware of the presence or absence of the mind and its functions; and which is the background of the notion of egos.This is That. ” 
We read in our schoolbooks that God is omniscient. What does it mean?Vedanta alone answers this question. Yes, here, in this very human system,there is a divine reality, which knows everything, which sees everything, and thatis our true nature, and that is God. That is how God is presented in theUpanishads. That omniscient ‘I’ is the Atman.Atman is that which is aware of the presence or the absence of the ‘
’ andits functions. That is the eternally existing ‘I’ watching the buddhi’s functions andalso its disappearance during sleep. The real ‘I’ always exists.God in Vedanta ceases to be external. He is our own Self. We cannot affirm Him,and also we cannot deny Him. Our affirmation as well as denial does not makeany difference to the ever-existing entity. It is the witness of both our affirmationas well as negation. We can just experience Him. That’s something wonderful.That’s why in Advaita Vedanta there is no fear of God suffering at the hands of rebellious subjects. God in Advaita Vedanta stands on the solid rock of directexperience.In the Upanishads our sages subjected the God concepts to a thoroughinvestigation, turning it upside down, as it were. The God-concepts could notstand this enquiry at all and vanished one by one. But the real God can never vanish by such questioning. That questioning turned the vision of our sagesinward. They then discovered the God always available to us directly in our experience as our eternal Self – the Self of all. It is ever the Self and never thenon-Self. It is the centre of the infinite energies pulsating throughout thisuniverse. That is God as given in the Upanishads, and later also in Gita andother Indian books.Krishna says in the Gita:
“I am the Self in all people.” “I am the thread that runs through everything in this universe.” 
 All beautiful ideas have their root in the great investigations of theUpanishads.
“Which itself sees all, but which no one beholds, which illumines the intellect,etc., but which they cannot illumine. This is That.” “By which this universe is pervaded, but which nothing pervades, which shining,all this (universe) shines as its reflection. This is That.“By whose very presence the body, the organs, mind and intellect keep to their respective spheres of action, like servants.” “By which everything from egoism down to the body, the sense objects and  pleasures are known as palpably as a jar – for it is the essence of eternal knowledge.” 
When we penetrate into the human system, searching for the true Self, we comeacross many pretenders to selfhood. The body, the senses, the mind, and theintellect – all these are not the Self.The Upanishads remind us that we are not helpless creatures born to be slavesto gods. We are one with the Supreme, and even gods cannot prevail over onewho realizes this great truth.
Therefore, the Vedantic message to everyone is that of freedom. Be free!Freedom is our birthright. That is our true nature. The body, the senses, themind, the intellect, and even the ego – none of these are free. The only

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