Times of India
Exploring the nature of true realisation
28 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, DEEPAK RANADE
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Whatever events unfold outwardly, there is a continuous passive act of observation of these events. This plain awareness is what animates the
Exploring the nature of true realisation (Getty Images)
intellect, thoughts and every aspect of existence; it also gives rise to the illusory self, to the identification of each individual as a separate body form.
It also affirms this identity as the real self because the body is the most tangible proof of existence. We can touch, feel and react with this tangible instrument. The ego is addition of many layers of likes, dislikes, preferences and priorities to this mind-body form. The sense of separateness. Of being one of a kind. Of discreteness.
The more we endeavour to attain salvation, the sense of separateness only gets reinforced. All chemicals such as alcohol and drugs induce a state of disconnect. A fleeting disconnect with the surroundings. This disconnect is pleasurable as it blunts the sensibilities and makes the individual immune to any unpleasantness of daily living. But it also fortifies the sense of separateness. This feeling of disconnect and indifference is momentarily blissful. These chemicals are addictive because they give an illusory, fleeting glimpse of 'spiritual' experience similar to the state of realisation.
The so-called chemical disconnection is 'exclusive'. In the sense that it refurbishes the sense of separateness but isolates the individual. The state of realisation, however, is inclusive. This inclusive disconnection is an all-pervading sense of oneness, in which any connection is superfluous. Connection or disconnection is relevant only in duality or an illusion of duality. Once this illusion of duality vanishes, what remains is unity. An impersonal awareness.
Realisation shifts the identification of the self from the mind-body form to just plain awareness. Like a drop of the ocean. This drop, when separate from the ocean, will become acutely aware of its independent existence. The drop can see the ocean separately and this separateness gives not only itself, but also the vast ocean a separate identity as well.
When the drop merges in the ocean it does not destroy the physicality of the drop. The drop just merges and loses its separateness. It becomes one with the ocean. Till the point of impact, it still maintains its identity, but at the moment of impact, the drop seemingly disappears. That state of merger can thereafter not be perceived, because perception was of the drop. When the drop ceases to exist, who or what is there to perceive?
The disconnect that occurs by inclusion is everlasting, beyond any time-space considerations. Compassion for all life then becomes the effect rather than any imbibed virtue. The sense of unity is not even an experience because experience implies the existence of an experienced. And we all are conditioned to believe that realisation would mean probably seeing some divine light, or hearing some soulful music or a tremendous state of happiness and so on.
The merger automatically dissolves the ego. It also liberates one from all desires and lust for sensory gratification. The body will eventually live out its destiny, but there would be no sense of doer-ship. There would be just a residual observer who transcends even joy and sorrow. The unqualified awareness celebrates a sense of 'am-ness' unadulterated by expectations and longing.
The intangibility and dissolution of one's identity can scarcely be expressed by any means of communication. The final moment of oneness can be experienced only when all layers of misconception are peeled away and the real self is apperceived not as a separate identity but paradoxically the absence of any.
The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org