Lamp of Non-dual Awareness: CHAPTER I- ON SUPERIMPOSITION

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In this work the author has explained how Ignorance obscures
the true nature of the Self which is non-dual only; how by its
veiling aspect it covers It (the Self) with two effects — ‘that It does
not exist’ and ‘that It does not shine forth’, how by its other aspect,
in the shape of the mind, projecting individuals, Iswara and the
world and presenting them as real, thus giving rise to illusion; how
one fully qualified is alone fit to obtain this knowledge; how a bare
scholar of the shastras cannot be fit; how inquiry is the chief means
for knowledge; how this inquiry consists in hearing of, reflecting
upon and contemplation of TRUTH, and Samadhi; how the
indirect knowledge gained by hearing puts an end to the idea that
‘It does not exist’ and the direct knowledge gained by reflection,
which means inquiry ‘WHO I AM’ and seeking within, destroys
the wrong notion that ‘It does not shine forth’; how the knowledge
of THOU in THAT THOU ART is identical with the knowledge
of THAT;how by meditation the different latencies perishing which
were the obstacles on the way and the mind which is the limiting
adjunct (upadhi) of the individual perishes too and by the eventual
unobstructed realisation of BRAHMAN (God) the Seeker becomes
free from the bondage of the three kinds of Karma which form the
cycle of births and deaths; how in truth there is neither bondage
nor release for the SELF and in what way to extinguish the mind.

CHAPTER I

ON SUPERIMPOSITION

7. Greatly afflicted by the three kinds of distress (tapa-traya),
intensely seeking release from bondage so as to be free from
this painful existence, a disciple distinguished by long practice
of the four fold sadhana, approaches a worthy master and prays:
8-12. Lord, master, ocean of mercy, I surrender to you!
Pray save me!
Master: Save you from what?
Disciple: From the fear of recurring births and deaths.
Master: Leave the samsara and fear not.
Disciple: Unable to cross this vast ocean of samsara, I fear
recurring births and deaths. So I have surrendered to you. It is
for you to save me!
Master: What can I do for you?
Disciple: Save me. I have no other refuge. Just as water is
the only thing to put out the flames when the hair of one’s head
is on fire, so also a sage such as you are, is the sole refuge of
people like me who are on fire from the three kinds of distress.
You are free from the illusion of samsara, calm in mind and
sunk deep in the incomparable Bliss of Brahman which is
beginningless and endless. Certainly you can save this poor
creature. Pray do!
Master: What is it to me if you suffer?
Disciple: Saints like you cannot bear to see others suffer, as
a father his child. Motiveless is your love for all beings. You are
the Guru common to all, the only boat to carry us across this
ocean of samsara.

Master: Now, what makes you suffer?
Disciple: Bitten by the cruel serpent of painful samsara, I
am dazed and I suffer. Master, pray save me from this burning
hell and kindly tell me how I can be free.
13-17. M.: Well said, my Son! You are intelligent and well
disciplined. There is no need to prove your competence to be a
disciple. Your words clearly show that you are fit. Now look
here, my child!
In the Supreme Self of Being-Knowledge-Bliss who can
be the transmigrating being? How can this samsara be? What
could have given rise to it? And how and whence can it arise
itself? Being the non-dual Reality, how can you be deluded?
With nothing separate in deep sleep, not having changed in
any manner, and having slept soundly and peacefully, a fool
on waking shouts out “Alas, I am lost!” How can you, the
changeless, formless, Supreme, Blissful Self shout forth “I
transmigrate — I am miserable!” and so on? Truly there is
neither birth nor death; no one to be born or to die; nothing
of the kind!
D.: What does exist then?
M.: There exists only the beginningless, endless, non-dual,
never bound, ever free, pure, aware, single, Supreme, Bliss
Knowledge.
18. D.: If so, tell me how this mighty massive delusion of
samsara veils me in dense darkness like a mass of clouds in the
rainy season.
19-20. M.: What can be said of the power of this Illusion
(Maya)! As a man mistakes a post for a man, so also you mistake
the non-dual, perfect Self for an individual. Being deluded you
are miserable. But how does this illusion arise? Like a dream in
sleep this false samsara appears in the illusion of ignorance which
is itself unreal. Hence your mistake.
21-24. D.: What is this ignorance?
M.: Listen. In the body appears a phantom, the ‘false-I’, to
claim the body for itself and it is called jiva. This jiva always
outward bent, taking the world to be real and himself to be the
doer and experiencer of pleasures and pains, desirous of this
and that, undiscriminating, not once remembering his true
nature, nor enquiring “Who am I?, What is this world?”, is but
wandering in the samsara without knowing himself. Such
forgetfulness of the Self is Ignorance.
25. D.: All the shastras proclaim that this samsara is the
handiwork of Maya but you say it is of Ignorance. How are the
two statements to be reconciled?
M.:This Ignorance is called by different names such asMaya,
Pradhana, Avyakta (the unmanifest), Avidya, Nature, Darkness
and so on. Therefore the samsara is but the result of Ignorance.
26. D.: How does this ignorance project the samsara?
M.: Ignorance has two aspects: Veiling and Projection
(Avarana—Vikshepa). From these arises the samsara. Veiling
functions in two ways. In the one we say “It is not” and in the
other “It does not shine forth.”
27-28. D.: Please explain this.
M.:In a discourse between a master and a student, although
the sage teaches that there is only the non-dual Reality the
ignorant man thinks “What can be non-dual Reality? No. It
cannot be.” As a result of beginningless veiling, though taught,
the teaching is disregarded and the old ideas persist. Such
indifference is the first aspect of veiling.
29-30. Next, with the help of sacred books and gracious
masters he unaccountably but sincerely believes in the non-
dual Real, yet he cannot probe deep but remains superficial
and says “The Reality does not shine forth.” Here is knowledge
knowing that It does not shine forth yet the illusion of
ignorance persists. This illusion that It does not shine forth, is the second aspect of veiling.
31-32. D.: What is Projection?
M.:Though he is the unchanging, formless, Supreme, Blissful,
non-dual Self, the man thinks of himself as the body with hands and legs, the doer and experiencer; objectively sees this man and that man, this thing and that thing, and is deluded. This delusion
of perceiving the external universe on the non-dual Reality
enveloped by it, is Projection. This is Superimposition.
33. D.: What is Superimposition?
M.: To mistake something which is, for something
which is not — like a rope for a snake, a post for a thief, and
mirage for water. The appearance of a false thing on a real is
superimposition.
34. D.: What is here the unreal superimposition on the
real thing, the substratum?
M.: The non-dual Being-Knowledge-Bliss or the Supreme
Brahman is the Reality. Just as the false name and form of snake
is superimposed on a rope, so also on the non-dual Reality there
is superimposed the category of sentient beings and insentient
things. Thus the names and forms which appear as the universe,
make up the superimposition. This is the unreal phenomenon.
D.: In the Reality which is non-dual, who is there to bring
about this superimposition?
M.: It is Maya.
D.: What is Maya?
35. M.: It is the ignorance about the aforesaid Brahman.
D.: What is this Ignorance?
M.:Though the Self is Brahman, there is not the knowledge
of the Self (being Brahman). That which obstructs this knowledge
of the Self is Ignorance.
D.: How can this project the world?
M.: Just as ignorance of the substratum, namely the rope,
projects the illusion of a snake, so Ignorance of Brahman projects this world.
36. M.: It must be regarded an illusion because it is
superimposed and does not exist either before (perception) or after (knowledge).
hing absurd in it.