1. What is the light of consciousness?
It is the self-luminous existence-consciousness which illumines for the seer the world of names and forms both inside and outside. The existence of this light of consciousness can be inferred by the objects illuminated by it. It does not become a separate, known object.
2. What is knowledge (vijnana)?
It is that state of stillness, pure consciousness, which is experienced by the aspirant and which is like the waveless ocean or the motionless ether.
3. What is bliss?
It is the experience of joy (or peace) in the state of vijnana free of all activities and similar to deep sleep. This is also called the state of kevala nirvikalpa (remaining without concepts).
4. What is the state beyond bliss?
It is the state of unceasing peace of mind which is found in the state of absolute quiescence, jagrat-sushupti (lit. sleep with awareness) which resembles inactive deep sleep. In this state, in spite of the activity of the body and the senses, there is no external awareness, like a child immersed in sleep who is not conscious of the food given to him by his mother). A yogi who is in this state is inactive even while engaged in activity. This is also called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi (natural state of absorption in oneself without concepts).
Editor’s note: The acts of sleeping children like eating and drinking are acts only in the eyes of others and not in their own. They do not therefore really do those acts in spite of their appearing to do them.
5. What is the authority for saying that the entire moving and unmoving worlds depend upon oneself?
The Self means the embodied being [dehi]. It is only after the energy, which was latent in the state of deep sleep, emerges with the idea of ‘I’ that all objects are experienced. The Self is present in all perceptions as the perceiver. There are no objects to be seen when the ‘I’ is absent. For all these reasons it may undoubtedly be said that everything appears, remains and disappears within the Self.
6. As the bodies and the selves animating them are everywhere actually observed to be innumerable how can it be said that the Self is only one?
If the idea ‘I am the body’ is accepted, the selves are multiple. The state in which this idea vanishes is the Self. Since in that state there is no trace of a second object, it is said that the Self is only one.
Editor’s note: The idea that one is one’s body is what is called hridaya-granthi (knot of the heart). Of the various knots this knot, which binds together what is conscious with what is insentient, is what causes bondage.
7. What is the authority for saying that Brahman can be apprehended by the mind and at the same time that it cannot be apprehended by the mind?
It cannot be apprehended by the impure mind but can be apprehended by the pure mind.
8. What is pure mind and what is impure mind?
When the indefinable power of Brahman separates itself from Brahman and, in union with the reflection of consciousness (chidabhasa) assumes various forms, it is called the impure mind. When it becomes free from the reflection of consciousness (abhasa), through discrimination, it is called the pure mind. Its state of union with the Brahman is its apprehension of Brahman. The energy which is accompanied by the reflection of consciousness is called the impure mind and its state of separation from Brahman is its non-apprehension of Brahman.
9. Is it possible to overcome, even while the body exists, the karma (prarabdha) which is said to last till the end of the body?
Yes. If the agent (doer) upon whom the karma depends, namely the ego, which has come into existence between the body and the Self, merges in its source and loses its form, will the karma which depends upon it alone survive? Therefore when there is no ‘I’ there is no karma.
10. As the Self is existence and consciousness, what is the reason for describing it as different from the existent and the non-existent, the sentient and the insentient?
Although the Self is real, as it comprises everything, it does not give room for questions involving duality about its reality or unreality. Therefore it is said to be different from the real and the unreal. Similarly, even though it is consciousness, since there is nothing for it to know or to make itself known to, it is said to be different from the sentient and the insentient.