Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The nonlocal Self

The following story, which derives from one of the greatest Vedantic texts, the Chandogya Upanishads, beautifully describes the nature of the nonlocal self/Higher-Self:
Thousands of years ago the great sage, Uddalaka Aruni, sent his twelve year old son, Svetaketu, to a great guru, so that the boy could learn deeply about the ultimate reality. For a dozen years Svetaketu studied under this master and studied all the Vedas. When Svetaketu returned home, his father noticed that his son acted as though he had learned all there was to learn. So Uddalaka decided to pose the young man a question:
“My learned son, what is that thing which cannot be heard, but makes hearing possible, which cannot be seen, but makes seeing possible, which cannot be known, but makes knowledge possible, which cannot be imagined, but makes imagination possible?”
Svetaketu was perplexed and silent.
His father said, “When we know a single particle of clay, all objects of clay are known. When we know a single grain of gold, all objects of gold are known. The difference between one piece of golden jewellery and another is only its name and form. In reality all the jewellery is just gold and all the pots are just clay. Can you tell me, my son, what is that one thing which by knowing all can be known?”
Svetaketu replied, “Alas, my master did not give me this knowledge. Will you?” “Vey well”, said Uddalaka. “Let me tell you. The whole universe is one reality, and that reality is pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is absolute existence. It is One that is not followed by a Second. In the beginning the One said to itself, ‘I shall differentiate into the many, and so become all the seers and al the scenery.’ The One entered into the many and became the Self of each. The beings of all things are One, and the One is the subtle essence of all that exists. You are that Svetaketu. “In this same way bees make honey from the nectar of numerous flowers, but once the honey is made the nectar cannot say, ‘I am from this flower, or that.’ So too when you merge with your nonlocal Self, you become one with the Self of all that exists. This is the true Self of all, and Svetaketu, you are that.”
The young man replied, “Enlighten me more, my father.”
Uddalaka paused before speaking. “The river Ganges flows to the east. The river Indus flows from to west. However, they both ultimately become the sea. Having become the sea, they no longer think ‘I am the Ganges’ or ‘I am the Indus. So too, my son, everything that exists has its source in the nonlocal Self, and that Self is the subtlest essence of all. All is the true Self. Svetaketu, you are that.
“When the body withers and dies, the Self does not die. Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it, and weapons cannot shatter it. It is unborn; has no beginning or ending. It is beyond the boundaries of space or time, pervading the entire universe. Svetaketu, you are that.” “Enlighten me more, my father,” Svetaketu responded enthusiastically.
Uddalaka said, “Bring me a fruit of the nyagrodha tree.” Svetaketu brought the fruit. “Break it open.” Svetaketu did so. “What do you see my son?” “Tiny seeds, father.” “Break one now.” Svetaketu broke open the tiny seed. “What do you see, my son?” “I see that nothing is left, father.”
“That which you do not see is the subtle essence, and the whole of the nyagrodha tree, which comes from it. So too the universe sprouts forth from the nonlocal Self.”
Finally Uddalaka asks Svetaketu to place a cube of salt in a pale of water. The next day the sage asked his son to give him back the cube of salt. “I cannot give it back,” the young man responded. “It has dissolved.” Uddalaka asked his son to taste the surface of the water. “Tell me, how is it?” “It is salty, father.” “Taste in the middle and see how it is.” “It is salty, father.” “Taste it at the bottom, and tell me how it is.” “It is salty, father.” “Just like the salt is localized in the cube and dispersed in the water, so too your Self is simultaneously localized in your body and pervading the entire universe.
“My dear son, you do not perceive the Self in your body, but without it perceptions would not be possible. You cannot conceptualize the Self, but without it conceptualization would not be possible. You cannot imagine the Self, but without it imagination would not be possible. However, when you become the Self, and live from the level of this nonlocal Self, you will be connected to all that exists, because the Self is the source of all that exists. Truth, reality, existence, consciousness, the absolute – call it what you will, it is the ultimate reality, the ground of all being. And you are that, Svetaketu.
“Live from this level, Svetaketu, and all your desires will come true, because from this level they will not just be your personal desires, they will be aligned with the desires of al that exists.”

Svetaketu practiced al that he had learned and became one of the greatest seers of the Vedantic tradition.

In love and light,
Jacques - Holistic Life-Coach & Empathic Psychic - Usui Reiki Master - Motivational Speaker (Self-Empowerment), Writer & Trainer

Link to current Treatments/Readings available by Jacques

True enlightenment manifests as the unconditional desire to be of service to all of humanity. Knowing that you are a spiritual being living an Earthly existence is to live Life here and now from the Soul’s perspective– in all ways and in all things.

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