1). What is knowledge of SELF ?
Knowledge of SELF is called Atmanubhava or atmajnana in Vedanta. Any experience involves three aspects called triputi.
Experiencer (Subject) – 2). Experience (process) – 3). Experienced (object)
Subject is the individual body-mind-intellect (BMI) – so called me.
Let us take an example. I am enjoying ice-cream. In this example “Experiencer – subject” – I am stands for me – Prabhu”. Subject is called “self (note small letters)”. “Experiencing process” is enjoying”. ” Experienced Object” is ice cream. There is a two way split of the experience – Subject & Object both separate joined by experience of enjoying.
The purpose of Spiritual Teaching of Vedanta is to remove this two way split or subject-object duality and point out non-dual reality in any experience. Consciousness is the sole reality in any experience.
Consciousness is called ATMA or SELF (note capital letters). SELF is present in the self (subject), object and experience. SELF is infinite – Brahman.
To give an analogy water is present in every wave of ocean. While every wave is nothing but water, water is not any wave at all.
Hence we can say
- SELF (Consciousness/Awareness) alone is the Experiencer subject self.
- SELF (Consciousness/Awareness) alone is the experience.
SELF (Consciousness /Awareness) alone is the object of experience – ice cream.
This is the teaching of Vedanta.
However se should be careful not take it the other way. SELF is not any of these – subject (self), experience and object (ice cream).
Since SELF is substratum of any experience and every experience. Knowledge that there is really no subject-object duality. In reality SELF alone is the reality. SELF alone appears as subject, object and experience is called atmanubhava or direct SELF Knowledge.
2). How can I experience SELF ?
Many seekers would like to experience SELF. Many spiritual teachings guide the seeker to experience SELF. This is a misconception. Any experience has to be known by a subject to qualify as experience. For example – I have leg pain really means that I know that my leg is paining. In other words any experience translates into knowing. Experience of SELF in essence means knowledge of SELF which we have answered in question number 1). It is not possible to independently experience the SELF which is present in every experience of life. What will be answer for following questions for a person who is enjoying ice cream.
“Do you exist ?” – “Yes I off course I exist”
“Are you conscious ? ” – “Yes I am”.
” Are you enjoying ice cream ?” – ” Yes I am”.
The “I am” present in all the above question is SELF. It is your direct knowledge of SELF. ” I Am” is present in the subject, experience and experienced as knowing subject. Now, if I ask the question “who are you ?”. The answer will be ” I am Ramesh”. Now the “I am is qualified by personality called Ramesh. This qualified entity is the self (small letters). Obviously Ramesh cannot be present in the object and experience. But consciousness of Ramesh denoted by “I AM” is the underlying substratrum in subject Ramesh and object icecream and also the enjoyment process.
Prabhuji 28th August 2018 blog – lightoftheself.net