Question: “I am not born in time, time is born in me.” Just how is time born in me? And similarly, the Rishi then says, “Aham”, is he meaning to say consciousness when he says the word, “Aham”? I am beyond time?
Speaker: ‘Aham’ is something that anybody can utter, anybody can announce. You may say, “I am a father,” you may say, “I am a body,” you may say, “I am learned man,” still you are saying, “Aham”. Then there is somebody who is talking in the negativa – he is saying, “Naham” – No, not this. No, not this. In the beginning, one starts with what appears to be, because one has no option. It appears to you that you are the body, so you start with it. You start with it and then you go into the fact of it and then you go into all the suffering related to it. That is the movement from saying Aham to Naham. But when you say, “Naham,” that is an emptiness but not an elimination in the nihilistic sense. The Truth has not gone anywhere. With the false eye disappearing, what remains is then called as Aham. It is not Aham in the usual sense in which anybody uses it.
When the Upanishad says, “Aham Bhramasmi”, that Aham is really not the same Aham which says, “Deho Aham”. Are you getting it? In some sense, it is a limitation of language – you have to refer to yourself. But this ‘yourself’ that you are referring to has itself changed, so do not take the two Aham’s to be the same. You see, the ego is an incompletion, it is clamouring for completion. Getting it? One way for it to find completion is to get attached with objects here and there.
If the ego is not careful, if it is not touched by wisdom then it will forget that the objects that it is getting attached to, that the objects that it is pinning its hopes upon, are of its own projection. And how can that which I have projected bring completeness to me? If I am incomplete, all my projections would also be incomplete, they cannot take me anywhere higher.
But the stupid ego keeps getting attached to this and that, trying to gain completion. This is when the ego says, I am X, Y, Z, A, B, C. These X, Y, Z, A, B, C are all objects, the ego is trying to get attached to them in the hope of gaining that final peace.
And then there is the wise ego whose wisdom lies in having seen its own stupidity. Nothing else can be wise about the ego. The ego sees that all that I have been trying, constantly, in every breath is so very fruitless, stupid and self-defeating.
The cessation of the ego’s movement is the submergence of the ego in its Source.
Why do we call it the Source? Because the ego just melts into nothing. It’s gone, totally gone! That Source is not another object. That Source is not some definite point from where the ego once arose in time. When we say, “The Source”, all that we mean is that there is something beyond the ego into which it totally submerges, dissolves.
This that is gone, finds that only he was there, is there, will be there. He is the one that rose as Aham. He is dimensionally different though, he may be using the same words, but he is dimensionally different. So, just because the word is the same, please do not be deceived. It is beyond the comprehension of the idea driven mind to ask, “Who is it who says, ‘Aham Bhramasmi’?”
Well, nobody! Nobody specific, nobody in particular. Nobody.
Till you are ‘somebody’, do not utter those words.
Excerpts from the session at Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi. Edited for Clarity.
Watch the session at: On Upanishad: The Self that is not a product of time
Commentaries on ASHTAVAKRA GITA
Commentaries on Ashtavakra Gita is a collection of 8 Questions asked by a seekers when they were not able to relate the verses of Ashtavakra Gita in their daily living.
Even the greatest texts in the world can be just a mental load if they don’t bring you to peace. This text on Ashtavakra Gita is essence of Ashtavakra bringing one to his/her essential nature and simplicity of life.