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तदा बन्धो यदा चित्तं सक्तं काश्वपि दृष्टिषु।
तदा मोक्षो यदा चित्तम- सक्तं सर्वदृष्टिषु॥
– अष्टावक्र गीता (८- ३)
Translation: There is bondage when mind is attracted towards any of the visible things and liberation is when mind is not attached to anything visible.
Question: It is bondage when the mind is attached to any of the sensory perceptions. It is freedom when the mind is detached from all perceptions. Everything is sensory perception. So what is freedom from sensory perception?
Speaker: When the mind is not divided, then there is a quality about it. Then you call that quality ‘one’. Somebody has said that the sum is greater than the total of the parts, or probably that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. What he has said is that two plus two is five. I want to talk about this extra ‘one’. The sum is greater than the total of the parts. Two plus two is actually five.
If you talk about this extra quality when the mind is undivided, when the mind is total, then this extra ‘one’ comes into being. When you are not divided, then two plus two fetches an extra ‘one’, and this extra ‘one’ is the juice of life. You will not get it in two, you will not get it in another two, but you will get it when there are no two’s left; when there is unity, when the fragmentation has seized. This ‘one’ is the gift. This ‘one’ is grace. But for this ‘one’ to descend, you have to ensure that two is meeting two. When two meets two, then one is given as a complimentary gift. When you are total, then mind experiences that extra-ordinary peace, that extra-ordinary sense of realization and relaxation. Words are a very poor way of communicating it or even hinting towards it.
You have asked, ‘What is freedom from sensory perception?’ Freedom is that extra ‘one’ which comes when sensory perception is total. What do I mean by total sensory perception? How do we usually proceed? We are never total in the way of our living. Right now, as you are sitting over here, your ears are flooded with my voice. You are looking at me. So there is nothing else in the range of your vision, except me. But yet, there is something else that is bugging you. In the back of your mind, there is something humming. There is no totality, there is no immersion. Something else is always there. Two plus two is not happening. There is a two and there is something separate from it, the plus is missing. The mind is divided. The mind is divided.
Freedom from sensory perception actually means, ‘total sensory perception’. Freedom is the fruit of totality. You ensure totality, the fruit comes as grace.
You can only ensure that you are not divided. You can only ensure that you are not pushing yourself in random directions. You can only ensure that you are available to whatever there is, and that requires faith. For you to be really present here, you have to forget what will happen after 9:30 p.m. There is a fear that there is something lurking, there is an urgent task waiting, that you have to reach somewhere, or you want to finish-off the pending tasks, and the rest of it. There is a fear that if those tasks are not taken care of, then you might lose something.
To be fully immersed in the present, requires a deep faith in the basis of the present.
Call it whatever you want to call it. You want to call it ‘God’, welcome. We are never total. We are never total. We cannot avoid sensory perception, so that is given. But we never allow it completely either. And it is a kind of heresy for us, a spiritual heresy, to allow sensory perception to be complete. We will start calling it ‘hedonism’. ‘How can you be so captivated and so enamored by what eyes are seeing? Oh, these are the things of the material. These are the things of flesh and blood.’
You are holding a rabbit in your hands. What else is there except sensory perception?’ Why must there be anything beyond sensory perception? Just look at that creature. Look into his eyes. Let the perception be total, and you will then realize what is beyond perception. But that comes as grace, remember.
We are such idiots, that we refuse the obvious and we chase grace. You are refusing to have a beautiful rabbit in your hand, you are refusing to have a complete look at it. You are refusing to absorb the complete presence. The thing that is flesh and blood, you are refusing it. You are not admitting it. And what do you want? You want liberation, you want joy, you want freedom. And you forget that liberation, joy and freedom do not come as a result of your effort. They are that extra ‘one’. Two plus two is equal to five. You ensure two plus two, somebody else will give you that extra ‘one’.
‘Two plus two is such a mean thing, you know. It is a thing of the senses. It is a thing of the world. Why must I bother about two plus two? My primary concern is one.’ You will not get ‘one’, without first passing through two plus two. You will never be able to go beyond the senses, without first soaking it into the senses.
Do you remember that we talked of the roots and the fruits? The health of the plants cannot be seen by digging up the roots. It can be seen only by the freshness of the fruit, and that is sensory. The fruit is sensory. You will have to look at it through the senses. But when you really-really look at the fruit, then the door to the root suddenly opens up.
It is impossible to love the fruit without being grateful towards the root. But first, you have to look at the fruit. You can look only at the fruit. Who can look at the root? The day you are able to look at the root, the root is destroyed. Why do you forget that? The day you claim that ‘today I had a look at the root’, the root is finished. The root is uprooted now. But we are achievers. We must go and dig the root. Silly, this is silly.
Go ahead, look at the world, the world itself reveals you the truth.
But you are directly chasing the truth, and there is nothing called ‘the truth’. You can never target it. Never! You can hallucinate, that you have had some kind of samadhi but all that is exactly that, hallucination.
You are creatures of flesh and blood, and be humble enough to except that. There is this world and you are meant to live the world, in its completeness. But we don’t know that, because we are so afraid. We do not observe, because observation requires courage. We do not witness, because witnessing requires stillness. The world itself is sufficient. No other truth is needed. Everything is here. Everything is here.
You will hear the anhad with these very ears, I am assuring you. You do not require to be in another state. You will see the prophets with these eyes. It’s all available. That is why Ashtavakra repeatedly talks of ‘svachch indriyan‘. Let the senses be clean. With clean senses, you are able to see everything. You do not require to go into another world. You do not require to dream up fantasies. The rabbit is enough. Hold it properly, treat it with care, look into its eyes, and you will know. Or, the birds, when they are singing, listen to them and you will know. It’s all sensory.
When the bird is singing, how do you hear the bird? Do you hear the bird using some metaphysical faculty? You hear it using your ears. It’s all sensory. But please listen to the bird. You will know, you will realize. Let the bird teach you.
You will realize. It’s all there.
– Excerpts from Clarity Session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Looking attentively at the world, one enters the Truth beyond world
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