The only thing whose reality we cannot doubt is our Consciousness of our own Existence – our Non-Dual Self-Consciousness, "I exist". Other than this Non-Dual & fundamental Consciousness "I exist", everything that we experience is open to doubt. Hence we cannot reasonably avoid doubting the reality of all Duality, & suspecting that in fact the only Reality is our Non-Dual Consciousness of our own Existence, "I exist".
By what standard can we determine whether or not something is real ? A thing can be truly said to be real only if it is absolutely, unconditionally & independently real, & not if its reality is in any way relative, conditional, or dependent upon something else. Therefore, according to Sri Ramana, something can be called real only if it satisfies 3 essential criteria: it must be:
2) Unchanging, &
If something is not Eternal, though it may appear to be "real" for a certain period of time, it was not real before it came into existence, & it will not be real after it ceases to exist, so in fact it is unreal even while it appears to be real. Because it is confined within the limits of Time, its seeming reality is relative & conditional. That which is Absolutely & Unconditionally Real must be Real at all times, & cannot be limited in relation to anything else.
Moreover, if something undergoes Change during the course of time, it is one thing at one time, but becomes another thing at another time, & hence it does not exist Eternally as any one thing. Being impermanent, that which changes is not Real.
However, the most important criteria by which we can determine something as real is that it must be Self-Shining. By the term "self-shining", Sri Ramana means "self-knowing" or "self-conscious", that is, knowing itself by its own light of Consciousness. That which is Absolutely & Unconditionally Real need not depend upon any Consciousness other than itself to be known. If something depends upon something else in order to be known as existing or real, then its reality depends upon the reality of the Consciousness that knows it. Since it does not know itself to be real, it is not real at all, but merely appears to be real so long as it is known by the Consciousness that knows it.
Measured by this standard, the only existing Reality is our fundamental Consciousness "I exist", because among all the things that we experience or know, it is the only thing that is permanent, the only thing that never undergoes any Change, & the only thing that knows its own existence
without the aid of any other thing.
Unlike this Consciousness "I exist", our Mind is impermanent, because it appears in the States of Waking & Dream, & disappears in Deep Dreamless Sleep. Even while it does appear to exist, our Mind is constantly undergoing Change, thinking of one thing at one moment & another thing at another moment.
And though our Mind appears to know itself by its own power of Consciousness, in fact the Consciousness by which it knows itself & all other things is only our basic Consciousness "I exist", which it seemingly usurps as its own, but which is nevertheless independent of it. Our Mind is distinct from our essential Consciousness "I exist", by the light of which it seemingly knows the existence of itself & other things, because our Consciousness "I exist" can exist in the absence of our Mind, as in Deep Dreamless Sleep.
The above themes & 2500 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com
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"There is no Creation, no Destruction, no Bondage, no longing to be freed from Bondage, no striving for Liberation, nor anyone who has attained Liberation. Know that this to be Ultimate Truth."
– the "no creation"
, Shankara, Ramana, school of Gaudapada Nome – Ajata Vada
for very succinct summary of the teaching & practice, see: www.ajatavada.com/