Yoga of the Self – The Art and Science of Non-Contactual Contact
From Divine Life Society Publication - The Search for Truth
In the recognition of the true nature of the Self, there are before us three great impediments – personality, society and the world, due to which, rarely do people become successful in the attempt. The assertion of our personal individuality contradicts our aspiration for the true Self which we wish to realise. Secondly, we are involved day in and day out in our contact with society and we live a social life much more than anything else. Thirdly, we perceive a large universe in front of us.
All these three difficulties mentioned are connected with the three states of consciousness, jagrat, svapna, sushupti – waking, dream and sleep. Neither the waking nor the dream nor the sleep condition is the essential nature of the Self. The Self is just as it is. It is Pure Being, Existence as such, Existence which is aware of itself. It is not existence like a stone’s existence. It is a consciousness-existence, or rather, existence-consciousness. In Sanskrit, we call it sat-chit. The Existence which is aware of itself is sat-chit. It is not limited by any kind of conditioning factor in the world and, therefore, it is utter freedom. So, it is bliss, ananda. Sat-chitananda is the nature of the Self.
The Self is a wonder. Because, Desha-kala-vastu-pariccheda: the de-limitation caused by space, time and individuality does not apply to the Self. Whoever knows the Self shall have everything.
Can anyone contact a Being, as such? If this could be possible, one can contact the Self, also. Actually, there is no such thing as contact with the Self, because contacts are always between two things and in the Self, there are no two things. No one is there who can contact it.
The contact of things in this world, says the epic Mahabharata, is like the contact of logs of wood floating on the surface of the ocean. The contact has been caused not because of their effort but because of the wind that blew from above. When the wind blew in another direction, the logs are separated. Neither birth nor death, neither coming together nor separation, is in anyone’s hands. It is the will of the cosmos that operates.
Contacts of any kind are not to tempt us to such an extent as to make us forget the true nature of the Self. All joys born of contact of sense organs with things are wombs of pain, says the Bhagavad Gita.
Non-contact is the nature of the recognition of the Self. Yoga of the Self – atmasakshatkara, or brahma sakshatkara – the realisation of the Absolute is the way, the art, the technique, the science of non-contactual contact. It is contacting oneself.
To contact yourself, you do not require eyes. You close the eyes, don’t see anything, and yet you will know that you are existing. Let there be no sensation of any kind through the organs of perception. You will still be conscious that you are there. There will be the existence-consciousness of the personality. You will know that you are: “I exist, and I am aware that I am existing.” To have this apprehension, sense organs are not necessary. Sense organs are not the means to practise yoga.
By sense-control, by the abstraction of the operation of the organs of perception, by freedom from desires that are mortal, deceptive and perishable, by contentment with whatever one has, by noncontact with people and having no attachment to anything, the Self reverts to Self-consciousness, the Aloneness that it is.
A gradual inwardness has to be practiced, rising from the personality and society and going further above into the cosmic existence, then finally centering oneself in the True Self. This indescribable thing is our own Self. “You” are the most important thing in the world. And if we can bring this Self of ours, which we consider as the greatest value, into the surface of actual, visible contemplation, direct perception, that would be the state of the practice of the yoga of the Atman.