In Vedanta, the reality of the creation is also taken to be Brahman. The reality of my Self, and the reality of the creation are exactly the same, nondual Brahman, and that’s why it is called, advaita, because in reality there is no second thing.
Traditional teachings of Advaita/Vedanta hold that the problem is one of ‘self-ignorance.’ In fact, the individual is a product of ignorance, of Maya, which has the power to veil and cover reality for the individual’s mind. When the individual’s mind recognizes what is really true, self-ignorance is dispelled, and that is called ‘moksha.’
The scriptures, teachers and teachings are not teaching you ‘about’ Brahman, they are pointing out that you *are* Brahman, and showing you how to recognize that actual, experiential fact.
Mithya means those things which have no being of their own, and which depend for their apparent existence on something else. What do they depend on for their existence? The self, or Brahman.
The only `thing’ which cannot be categorized numerically is Brahman, orlet’s say the only way to categorize Brahman would be to say that Brahman is one without a second.
Realization: The ever present ‘you,’ which doesn’t come and go, is awareness itself.
The teacher asks the student to notice changing objects of perception, and then asks the question. “Although everything else comes and goes, do you? Do you come and go, while everything else changes, or are you that ever present awareness to which everything appears, and in which everything comes and goes?”
This ‘you’ which doesn’t come and go is the subject, awareness.
For several years I listened to this teaching, trying to discern the subject. There seemed to be no dearth of observable changing objects, but where oh where was this unchanging subject?
Then one fine day, (I think it was when I was just sitting comfortably at home looking out the window, and pondering this teaching), I realized that I didn’t need to look for the subject because the subject was already present. Present as unchanging ‘me,’ awareness, and in fact, always had been.
Then I realized that previously I had been searching for the subject as if it was an object. I had heard descriptions of this subject, this awareness, so I was trying to find some ‘thing’ which matched those descriptions, all the while overlooking, not seeing, the actual subject, which never changed, and in whose presence all changes were occurring.
In the end, somehow in an instant, it just became evident that the subject was already totally present, always had been, and was ‘me,’ most essentially me, not the body, not the mind, not the sense organs, not any changing object, but ‘me,’ self-evident, unchanging awareness.
Communication Style: Yahoo Group participation, one-on-one emails, monologues, dialogues and group discussions.
Here is the way these two words, ‘Atma’ and ‘Self,’ are used in the teachings which I study.
The word ‘Atma’ is used to point the student to the direct recognition of what the student
already takes him or herself to be.
This can be done in a variety of ways, but a very simple way is similar to Greg’s ‘skin bag technique.’ It is called seer/seen differentiation.
The premise is anything I can objectify is not me.
So one can start with objects, like tables and chairs, which are clearly ‘not me.’ Then go on to the body, which can be objectified, and end up with seeing that the mind is also an object, as thoughts are also ‘known’ i.e. objectified, and therefore ‘not me.’
So what is left after all that the mind had previously taken me to be is knocked off? Me. Atma.
Once everything that can be objectified is knocked off from Atma, from me, it is seen that this ‘Atma’ which the mind took so completely to be mine alone, is not separate in any way from what other people take to be their self alone.
If you’ve removed the body and the mind from me, and are left with Atma, Me, then what is left to separate anyone in any way?
What makes me different from you? Not the body or mind, we’ve already gotten rid of that. Not space. Space is an object.
Then since everyone (according to Advaita/Vedanta) has this sense of me, which the ‘I am’ thought labels, then what separates that sense of me from anyone else’s sense of me? Nothing.
So then it is shown that the Atma is the Self. And there are not two Selves. It is not that I have one Self, and you have another. There is nothing at all which separates us in any way. And yet this Self is so completely ‘personal’ to each person because it is indeed what makes me, me. The fact however is that it is what makes you, you. If one can see that what is so entirely beloved to me, my Being, is exactly that which makes each and every being so entirely beloved to them, then what would the result of that knowledge be?
This Self is the Self which Ramana is referring to. In the final analysis there is no difference between my Atma, and your Atma, or anyone’s Atma. Atma is only the one Self. There are no two atmas, although there are an infinite variety of minds, and a correspondingly infinite number of minds which have an ‘I’ thought, all of whom when referring to the one Atma/one Self say, “Oh that’s me. That’s who I am”