“I am Limited” is your conclusion not an experience!

gurudev (2)

Is it really true that your experiential reality shows you to be limited? Is it indeed your direct experience that you are limited? What is direct experience? It is something that takes place in the mind and through the sense organs. However, atma obtains as the witness. The sense organs and the mind cannot objectify it. The fact is that yourself or mind cannot be objectified by any available प्रमाण pramana or means of knowledge. You can truly never really ’see’ yourself. In reality, it is a mere notion that you are limited, something that you just take for granted. You believe quite strongly that you are an insignificant speck in this universe, limited in every possible way. Nevertheless, who is it that says you are insignificant? It is you yourself who says that you are insignificant. Yet on what grounds do you say that?

Have you ever experienced yourself to conclude that you are limited? Given that the self cannot be objectified, how do you say you are limited? Is it because you were born, because you have a body that is subject to various limitations, and because you are going to die some day? What was born? Only the body is born; you are not born. The conclusion that one is limited truly has no basis. You may feel that you are a limited being, but the self that is judged to be limited is indeed not available for direct experience, unlike this flower in front of me, which is there for you to see here and now.

Atma cannot be objectified by any available means of knowledge, and, therefore, not available to inference or to any other means of knowledge. The conclusion of the self being limited thus has no basis. You can never see the “I” directly and you cannot experience it in any way or even visualize it, like you can any other object. It is like looking at yourself in a mirror and concluding that there is a big stain on your face, when, in reality, the stain is a flaw or smudge in the mirror. In the same way, you look at your body, see that it is limited, and conclude that you are limited. The cause for it is the identification with the body, which is the non-self. There is a lack of discrimination between the self and the non-self.

The self can never become the object of perception or object of knowledge. It is of the nature of knowledge and cannot become the object of knowledge; it is the witness and cannot ever be witnessed or objectified. So you must understand that you cannot ever say that it is your experience that you are a limited being. It is a conclusion and not an experience.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

Excerpts from Advaita Makaranda

Swamiji’s various discourses videos

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