Atman Awareness is the Real Essence of Existence
Pronounced /aht-muh n/
Note: Self in Hindu Philosophy is often used as an interchangeable term for Atman, but in western philosophy Self is considered the Ego or personality. Similar modern concepts of Atman are Higher-self, Enlightenment and Heightened awareness. In my personal experience of Atman it is the higher-self or soul that can be awakened and the self is ego or false self.
Defining the Atman
The Vedas define the Atman as the eternal core of our being, the Soul, or Primordial Self. Which is One, Infinite and Eternal Breathe. that after death either transmigrates to a new life or attains release “Moksha” from the bonds of existence.
In the yogic tradition awakening Atman is a precondition to attaining Moksha, and so in certain schools of thought Atman has been incorrectly identified with Brahman, this confusion with Brahman relates to the similarity between Atman and Paramatman which is a part of Brahman, and with which the Atman can commune. This confusion is probably because Paramatman incorporates the word atman; parama, meaning “supreme” or “highest”, and ātma, which means individual Spirit, Soul or Self.
Paramatman /puhr-uh-maht-muh n/
Paramatman is the Supreme Soul, Oversoul or Spirit of Brahman which is also Shakti (Spirit) the feminine aspect of Brahman. (Much like the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit is an expression of God the father), but there are other schools that see the Atman or individual Self as a potential Paramatman or God, bound by “karmic” limitations. And in Buddhism the Atman is viewed as illusory and the Paramatman is seen as the only real permanence.
Looking at the word Atman, we find that its origins are: an, to breathe and tman, self. So at the root of the word is the original idea of breath and self, and yogis have utilized this connection with the breath and Self as an instrument to free the Atman and thereby gain access to the transcendental planes of consciousness.
Since concepts such as transcendental consciousness, soul and even mind can only be defined on an intellectual level, and cannot be grasped, or comprehended. Atman can only remain an elusive and abstract goal of the yogi. A mental concept and therefore a prison-house in which we entomb the reflection of a glowing awareness that no Mind/Ego can grasp. Reading, thinking and studying are processes of the intellect. The Atman is beyond the intellect; if we use words—the intellect’s language—we are only binding awareness to a dimension which cannot, by its very nature, be bound or defined.
We perceive automatically according to our present conditioning; we give it form and boundary and therefore dwarf and distort it. The Atman is formless, beyond time, distance or name, but each of us clothes it in the form most familiar to themselves. This is where we experience the paradox, “It can be felt, but cannot be touch. It can be realized but cannot be known”. Yet through the practice of dhyana (meditation), the yogi can become a living breathe in the deepest sense of the word—intensely, single mindedly surrendering the Self in perfect an intense dhyana. The whole being is harmonized, uplifted, integrated, made One-all-consuming living holy breathe.
We are only the sum of our nature, the antelope is an antelope, it can be no more and no less, the bear is a bear, a dog is a dog, an a human is a human. Each acts according to their nature, our acts are the sum of our DNA programing. We often assume that because we have feelings, that we are more important and can be more that what we are, but this is our delusion or egos desperate attempt to hide from this smallness, this insignificance.
The Atman is also only the sum of its nature, and just because Atman awareness manifests as an individualistic being, that at first cohabits with the Self, does not mean that Atman awareness is human awareness. Atman is not an ego man but a Godman in human form. This should be remembered both by the yogi and the devotees of the yogi, the Atman is not human, and does not have human concerns or feelings. The Atman consciousness rules the Self or Ego consciousness, first as a shared witness to the Doings of Self, but growing steadily until there is no Self, there is only awareness full and unbound continuous awareness.
Silence is the Atman,’ replied the sage Bhava. And Proclus described the Supreme as ‘ The Unity of unities . . . more ineffable than all silence, and more occult than all essence.’ Lord Krishna summed Atman consciousness thus: ‘I am the silent meditation.
Atman is not Brahman, but Brahman is the source of the Atman’s essence which descends into the yogi in a flame of pure Delight. The Yogi consumed by the Divine flame forgets his roots, identity, and home. Called Savikalpa-samādhi, this state of transcendent awareness is for the yogi liberation while still in the embodied state (total enlightened bliss, a state were awareness perceives the Unknowable reality of Brahman). The yogi comprehends the vastness of Brahman, and just as a ripple fades into nothing the Self is lost in the ocean of Brahman’s Divinity.
Brahman’s flame manifested due to the steady accumulation of the Sri energy that has seeped into the emptiness created within awareness by the yogi’s internal purge. This accumulation creates a magnetic attraction within, beckoning the Spirit of Brahman. Although this configuration is described as a flame, the size of a thumb, and is said to exist physically between the area of the heart and solar plexus, its exact location is not described in any yogi texts. It is said to have no physical or mental aspect as such, other than as a mere reflection or an idea in the intelligence of the mind. However, unquestionably it exists, and is real. All else is false, or an illusion, which withers away.
For the yogi, Savikalpa-samādhi is an awareness that has merged within the ocean of Brahman The self does not lose its identity in this stage, but only experiences the bliss of Atman awareness’s ability to know Shakti (Spirit) the feminine aspect of Brahman. In Savikalpa-samādhi, the Ego-self is conscious of the Atman within; and is temporarily separated from the exterior world, the Atman awareness’s wakening temporally over takes the Ego-self and the Ego-self happily surrenders to the blissful experience that the Atman awareness brings. The Ego-self because if its dhyana practices was able to gather this awareness without squandering its power.
Now here is where there is some controversy about the Atman, Hindu philosophy agrees that the Atman is the original Self, that predates the Ego-self. But this is where there is a division of opinion as some schools of thought say that there is no self-aware Atman, and that the Atman is a dormant potential that is developed though the practice of dhyana. But also that Atman awareness is only awakened through a buildup or accumulation of Spirit and that if the Spirit is absent then the Atman will remain dormant, regardless of how much dhyana is practiced. This idea does fit with what we see, in a world full of millions of meditators why do so few attain enlightenment or Atman awareness, this school of thought is in line with the Christian scripture; Matthew 19:23:26 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The rich man being the practitioner who is well versed in scripture and spiritual practices but empty of Spirit.
Atman and the Sri Yantra
The Sri Yantra, or mother of all because all other Yantras are derived from its configuration of nine interlocking triangles, surrounded by two circles of lotus petals with the whole encased within a gated frame called the “earth citadel.” The nine interlocking triangles centered around the Bindu (the central point of the Yantra that is the junction point between the physical universe and its unmanifest realms) are drawn by the superimposition of five downward pointing triangles, representing Shakti, the female principle, and four upright triangles, representing Shiva, the male principle. The nine interlocking triangles form forty-three small triangles, each housing a presiding deity associated with specific aspects of existence.
The Sri facet of the Yantra symbolizes the final union of Shakti and Shiva, and the Absolute Reality that is to be realized. It is the journey of consciousness represented in symbolic stages, and each of these stages corresponds with one of the circuits with which the Sri Yantra is composed. Beginning from the outer plane to the Bindu point in the center, a map that describes the totality of consciousness in the same way the Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe (God’s creation). And just as the Kabbalah forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation in Judaism, so does the Sri Yantra guide the yogi on a spiritual quest.
The Sri Yantra is also called “Shri” or “Sri Chakra,” “Narayoni Chakra,” or the “Nav Chakra.” The term “Sri” is used to denote the reverence to be given to this holy Yantra, and the Sri Yantra is often referred to as the “Raja Chakra,” which means “King of all Chakras.” Yantra means “instrument” or “machine” that is a geometrical pattern made up of several concentric figures (squares, circles, lotuses, and triangles). The Bindu point at the center of the Yantra signifies unity, the origin, and the principle of manifestation and emanation, and Sri Yantra is the yogic equivalent of the Buddhist mandala.
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