An Indian Civilizational Perspective

What is self?

Just as when a spark from a flame comes into contact with flammable substance it bursts into an independent flame, even so this limitation of consciousness, when it is fed by latent tendencies and memories, condenses into egotism – “I”-ness. This I-ness is not a solid reality: but the jiva sees it as real, like the blueness of the sky. When the egotism begins to entertain its own notions, it gives rise to the mind-stuff, the concept of an independent and separate jiva, mind, Maya or cosmic illusion, cosmic nature etc.

The intelligence which entertains these notions conjures up the natural elements (earth, water, fire, air and space). Associated with these, the same intelligence becomes a spark of light, though it is the cosmic light in truth. It then condenses into countless forms – somewhere it becomes a tree, etc. somewhere a bird etc. somewhere it becomes a goblin etc., somewhere it becomes a demi-gods, etc. The first of such modifications becomes the creator Brahma and creates others by thought and will. Thus the vibration in consciousness alone is the jiva, karma, god; and all the rest follows.

– Vasistha’s discourse to Rama in Vasistha Yoga by Swami Vankatesananda pg 90.

Also read:  Just One...

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