Three Stages of Self Realization

Trilogy Commentaries DWS Lsn 1, MWS Lsn 365


What is the Self? Parasiva the Transcendent Source of Omnipresent Consciousness. Self-realization in three stages. Realizing oneself as the Soul, realizing oneself as Satchidananda - Omnipresent Consciousness, and realizing oneself as the Source, Sustainer of that Omnipresent Consciousness. Move from a negative self-concept to a positive self-concept then to the idea that you're a divine being utilizing the Hindu practice of control and purification of the mind. We can then live in that state of permanent contentment.

Master Course Trilogy:
Dancing With Siva, Lesson 1;
Merging With Siva, Lesson 365
Self and Samadhi, Chapter 7

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Looking this morning from some material from the last few daily Master Course lessons. Two days ago then Merging with Siva lesson talked about Self realization is in several stages. And the paragraph presents three stages. One then I give you a quiz here. Just think in your own mind, mental quiz: What are the three stages that Gurudeva would refer to as stages of Self realization? See if you get them right.

So the first one: "Realizing oneself as a soul--rather than a mind, an intellectual and emotional type or a worthless person--gives satisfaction, security, and this is a starting point..."

We'll come back to each of these three. Well that's the first one.

Second one: "...Realization of the Self as Satchidananda gives contentment, a release from all emotions and thoughts of the external world, and the nerve system responds to the energies flowing through the vishuddha and anahata chakras..."

That's the fifth and the fourth chakras. The second one.

Then we have third one: "...Realizing the Self that transcends time, form and space, Parasiva, is a razor-edged experience, cutting all bonds, reversing individual awareness, such as looking out from the Self rather than looking into the Self."

Reversing means, normally, we think of here I am and I'm going within. This is: I'm within and I'm, this is time to come out. It's reversing.

Those are the three. Three stages of Self realization and it's a useful statement cause we don't always run into it in Gurudeva's teachings. Sometimes he just talks about one or the other, he doesn't necessarily go through all three. But what he's clearly stating here is it's a natural progression. One naturally leads to the other which naturally leads to the other.

Then also in the lessons in the last few days. Dancing with Siva, Lesson One. We all remember that. That just came around as of yesterday, Dancing with Siva Lesson One.

"Who Am I? Where Did I Come From?

"Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are, in truth, the Truth we seek."

Talking about this verse, I make the statement, the book is called Dancing with Siva. So naturally, what would you think the first verse would be about? Siva, right? But it's about the soul. So it shows how important it is that we need to focus not just on something separate from ourselves but on ourselves and on our spiritual identity. Right in this first sloka Gurudeva's emphasizing the first stage of realization; we need to see ourselves as a soul.

An interesting story about that, must have been last year. I'd been to the recently created Yogaswami Thiruvadi Nilayam in Colombo, Sri Lanka, three years now. And, gave three different talks. First year I gave a talk on Sivathondu, being of service, which is one of Yogaswami's very strong messages. Being a servant of God. The second year I prepared a talk on this point that you're not the body, mind and emotion; you're a divine being. And it's not only the first verse in Dancing with Siva, it's the first letter of the, in Yogaswami's letters. So, I was quoting them both. And quoting Gurudeva then I was quoting Yogaswami says almost the same thing. You're not the body, mind or the intellect; you're the Atma. Tamil says: Naan Yaar, Who am I? And it says Ni Atma. Can't get more simple than that. You are the soul. And about what was very interesting is between the first year I came and the second year I came they had written something on the wall. It wasn't there the first year. The first year it was just opening. The second year it had been there a year. And they had written this letter on the wall. My Tamil script was adequate enough to figure out that that was the letter I was quoting. Ni Atma. I said: Oh, naan yaar. It's up on the wall.

So, it shows it's very important to both Yogaswami and Gurudeva the idea that you're a soul. Well, what does that mean? Gurudeva explains it quite nicely here in this first quote we had. You're a: "... soul--rather than a mind, an intellectual and emotional type or a worthless person..."

So lots people these days are very active in the intellect. And, I was talking to one young man recently and he was saying he's always thinking. There's not a waking moment that he's not thinking about something. And I told him: "Well I'm never thinking, unless I want to be." But he was so involved in the intellect that he didn't really know how to stop it. And of course, that's not good. We look at the intellect as a tool, like the internet. If you're glued to the screen all day, jumping around from website to website obviously it's a problem. But if you say: I need to know something, you go, you find something, you find it and then you come out of the internet and you're using it as a tool, very controlled tool. So the intellect should be the same thing. It should be a tool that we turn on and off to accomplish a specific task. It shouldn't be running all day long. There's no need for it.

And then emotions, obviously the ups and downs of emotions are very distracting from inner life. So we need to learn to bring those under reasonable control. And a "worthless person" means a negative self-concept. So sometimes we grow up thinking other people are better than we are and we're not very good at this and that. We have a negative self-concept. And of course it comes from what our parents say, what our teachers say, it's not something we created on our own. They helped us create it. They were co-creators of this negative self-concept. So, if that's the case we have to work ourselves out of it. And Gurudeva gives us very fine tool for that which is called affirmations. And we can change our negative self-concept into a positive one over a period of a few years by regularly using affirmations.

But, we don't want to stop there. But we do need a positive self-concept. You can't really move from a negative self-concept to realizing that you're the soul. Too big a step. You rather move from a negative self-concept to a positive self-concept then from the positive self-concept into the idea that you're a divine being.

So, moving on to the second one. Satchidananda.

Gurudeva says: "In my experience, the anahata chakra is the resting place of dynamic complacency..."

Interesting phrase that, ponder dynamic complacency. Normally complacency is not dynamic but this is dynamic complacency which I think you could really say is another way of saying contentment.

"... of thoughtful perception and quietude..."

This is anahatha, the fourth chakra.

"...Those of a lower nature arriving in the bloom of this chakra are released from turbulent emotions, conflicting thoughts and disturbances..."

That's pretty good, right? Imagine being free of all those: Turbulent emotions, conflicting thoughts and disturbances.

"...This to many is the end of the path, attaining peace or shanti. Once one attains shanti as just described, in my experience, this marks the beginning of the path, or part two, the second level. It is from here that the practices of raja yoga take hold, once shanti is attained. In the anahata chakra and vishuddha chakra, Satchidananda, the all-pervasive being of oneness, of the underlying being of the universe, is attained and experienced."

So that's a clear goal there. And I wrote about it in a Publisher's Desk in the last few years. I said: An Alternative to Happiness. Remember that one? I was talking about this idea of the realm of the anahata chakra, happiness when it comes from external sources is followed by guess what? Sadness right? The coin has two sides. Look at one then you look at the other. So, happiness goes down to sadness or joy goes down to sorrow. When it comes from the outside world we can't sustain it. It has an opposite. Gurudeva has some nice writings on that. So we're looking for something that's more stable and that of course is this chakra about inner experience of being content. Permanent contentment. So if we can see ourselves from the disturbances of the lower chakras, the first three, then we can live in that state and as Gurudeva says: Congratulations, now you can begin part two. He doesn't say congratulations you're finished. Says: Congratulations! Now you can start the serious work.

Third one: "It is the truth spoken by Vedic rishis as the Self within man, attainable through control of the mind and purification..." To this point should really mention here. "...It is not a matter of becoming the Self but of realizing that you never were not the Self. What is the Self? Parasiva."

So when Gurudeva talks of Parasiva, the way I translate it into simple English is "Transcendent Source of Omnipresent Consciousness." So Omnipresent Consciousness, that's something we can imagine. You know we're conscious through our body and Siva's conscious through the universe and so are we. If we can find that part of us that is conscious through the universe that's something the intellect can grasp. But that consciousness that's present throughout the universe has a source and that Source is transcendent meaning it's beyond. Beyond any possible description. But it's a simple way of looking at it. We see what is being sustained which is Omnipresent Consciousness and that which sustains it is the transcendent Source, the Parasiva.

And Gurudeva's point here is: You're already That. It's not a matter of becoming the Self. And that's what I stress through my analogy of the pond of water. You know, won't repeat that one again but it's... Part of us is hidden from ourselves and that part is called Parasiva and even the part of being omnipresent is hidden to some degree but not as well concealed shall we say.

How do we find it? It's "...attainable through control of the mind and purification." So those are two: purification of what? Purification of the mind is what's meant called "chitta shuddhi" in Sanskrit. Chitta shuddhi in control of the mind as in the "Yoga Sutras" "chittas vritti nirodha." Restraining the mental activities. Control of the mind and purification. Purification is another control of the mind, it's just, it's the what we call the subconscious mind.

What are we purifying? We're purifying the subconscious mind. So we're working with the mind. The conscious mind is that which thinks. Generates mental activity. The subconscious mind is there too and it's the reservoir of everything that's happened to us in this and past lives. And it's, in itself it generates mental activity. So, but it also needs to be purified.

So the simplest way of describing, I have a whole talk on that. "What is the Purpose of Hindu Practices?" To purify the mind. That's a very simple way of looking and explaining. Why do we go to the temple? To purify the mind. Why do we have a homa? To purify the mind. Why do we do Seva? To purify the mind. You know it's a very simple answer to young people as to the purpose. Why do we need to purify the mind? Cause it's impure. Why is it impure? Because we didn't act wisely in the past. A very simple explanation. And well, why are we doing that? To find the deeper Self within ourself. Otherwise we just keep going around and around and around. Eventually we get tired of the Earth and if we're not careful might not be here, huh? So watch out for global warming; we could end up without a place to reincarnate. So we don't want to do that. Maybe global warming will motivate us to move ahead more quickly with our moksha.

Anyway that's the idea, very simply said. Self realization in three stages. Realizing oneself as the Soul, realizing oneself as Satchidananda - Omnipresent Consciousness, and realizing oneself as the Source, of course, sustainer of that Omnipresent Consciousness.

Well thank you very much. Have a parade coming up for those who can stay. We have a parade when we start our ritaus; we have in Gurudeva's system we have three ritaus instead of six seasons. Why do we have three instead of six? Because Gurudeva only wrote three books, he didn't write six. That's the answer, right? If he wrote six books we'd probably have six ritaus.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Most people try to experience God through other people. Disciples see a guru as God. Wives see their husband as God. Devotees see the Deity in the temple as God. But all the time, behind the eyes of their seeing, is God.
—Gurudeva