THE PROCESS OF KNOWING
The process of knowing Brahman is an easy and natural process but made complicated by misunderstanding. “Is it possible to realize “I am Brahman” by mind?” Mind has a unique quality. It can reflect the pure Consciousness – the Atma. The reflected Consciousness is called chidabasa. For example, in a dark room, open a small window and let the sunlight fall on a surface of the mirror. One can see a small image of the sun on the mirror. A beam of light is emitted from the surface of the mirror. This reflected light illumines the dark room and it illumines the mirror also. When you move the mirror, the reflected light also moves and illumines the respected area. Now compare this example with the Vedanta concept of Consciousness. Sun is compared with the pure Consciousness – Brahman. Mirror is compared with the mind, the reflected image of the sun is compared with the reflected Consciousness – cidabasa. Just like the reflected image illumines the dark room, the reflection of the pure Consciousness, cidabasa illumines the mind. Whenever we concentrate on a subject, then the reflected consciousness illumines the thoughts connected with that subject. The consciousness behind all our actions is the cidabasa. It is not the pure consciouness – Brahman; It the reflection of the pure Consciousness, cidabasa.
When you see an object, the image of the object falls on the mind. This creates a mental wave in the mind. The mental wave is nothing but the modification of the mind. The mental wave in the mind is called a vritti. It is also said as mental ripple. Whatever information we gather through the sense organs, our thoughts, our words, everything creates vrittis in the mind. The vritti is about the object or matter on which we focus the mind. Whenever a vritti arises in the mind it is illumined by cidabasa. By this process we attain knowledge and we store it in the form of impressions as memory. If the cidabasa does not illumine the vritti then we are not aware of the vritti itself. Therefore, knowledge happens in two steps. The first step is, vritti is created in the mind. Second, that vritti is illumined by the cidabasa. All these happen in a fraction of a second. In Vedantic term, the arising of the vritti is called vritti vyapti. Illumination of the vritti by the cidabasa is called phala vyapti. Therefore to attain knowledge we need vritti vyapti and phala vyapti.
In dream also the same thing happens. The dream vrittis arise in the mind and immediately they are illumined by cidabasa and we are aware of the dreams. In deep sleep the mind shuts down and there are no vrittis and no knowledge. In deep sleep, illumination of the absence of the vrittis takes,+ place. This is how the normal process of knowing takes place.
Now what happens in Brahma jnana is, we change the focus of the mind towards Brahman – Pure Consciousness. We receive Brahma jnana from scriptures and teachers. Vritti about Brahman itself is created in the mind. These vrittis are called Brahmakara vritti. In the beginning stages, a student will have Bramakara vritti along with the vishaya vritti (thoughts about objects). The mind is not pure, and cidabasa illumines the mind. In the final stages of Brahma jnana the mind becomes pure and it is devoid of other vrittis regarding the worldly objects. Cidabasa is less powerful to illumine the pure Brahmakara vritti. Therefore, cidabasa is not needed to illumine the Brahmakara vritti. It is just like using torch light to see the sun in the broad day light. Brahmakara vrittis are directly illumined by Brahman or Atma. In the initial stages of Brahma jnana, vritti vyapti and phala vyapti takes place. In the final stages of Brahma jnana only vritti vyapti takes place and phala vyapti is ignored; because vrittis are directly illumined by Brahman. This is the point where cidabasa (reflected Consciousness) loses its identity and merges with Brahman. There is no more individual identity for the cidabasa as well as for the mind.
Therefore, vrittis are in the mind. Even the mahavakya “I am Brahman” is a vritti; till the cidabasa and the mind loses their identity, Brahman is known by the mind. This is the view of the Vedanta philosophy. Vedanta philosophy uses knowledge as a path to know Brahman.