Sunday, August 9, 2009

Three Stages of Knowing the True Self

     The following is another passage from the book "History of Mysticism" by Swami Abhayananda.  This one deals with the three "stages" of knowing God, the Absolute Reality—and then understanding It as your True Self in the end.  (By the way, there are so many "gems" in this book that I would recommend anyone who wants to truly understand mysticism to read the whole thing.)

It has long been recognized as a fact of mystical psychology that,

as a man comes to know God in the unitive vision, he knows in that

some moment, his own true Self. This intriguing fact is expressed most

succinctly in a passage from the ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana; in it,

Rama, who represents the Godhead incarnate, asks his servant,

Hanuman, “How do you regard me?” And Hanuman replies:

dehabhavena daso’smi

jivabhavena twadamshakah

atmabhave twamevaham

(When I identify with the body, I am Thy servant;

When I identify with the soul, I am a part of Thee;

But when I identify with the Self, I am truly Thee.) 1

These three attitudes represent progressively subtler stages of

self-identification:from the identification with the body, to identification

with the soul, until, finally, one comes to know the Divine, and thereby

one’s eternal Self. While each of these three relational attitudes finds

expression as the prevailing attitude within various individual religious

traditions, they are essentially representative of the viewpoint from these

different stages of self-awareness.

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