Of a journey without fear

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Sep 2017 11:43:22





By Vijay Phanshikar,

“From dreams awake, from bonds be free,
Be not afraid. This mystery,
My shadow cannot frighten me,
Know once for all that I am He.”
- Swami Vivekananda

THIS assertion! -- “I am He” -- is a universal spiritual signature. Swami Vivekananda is one of the most contemporary souls who lived among us making this assertion. So powerful was this assertion of his and so firmly made that the three words appeared the most
natural when Swami Vivekananda said those. Such was the mesmeric power of his personality, such was the conviction in its tone and tenor.

Just four lines! Yet, they conceal in those few words a universal truth that Gods and sages have alike endorsed: I am He. I am He.
Aham Brahmasmi -- I am the Brahma -- said the sage in Chhandogya Upanishad in the Sama Veda.
Brahma -- He! I am He.
Such words come only from the Divine, or divine incarnations. Mortal humans cannot utter those words. They may use those, but could never personify their meaning. For, they are not mere words, but they signify an inner
self-realisation that only sages make possible - after having renounced the worldly attachments, after giving up on worldly desires, after giving up on temptations of ordinariness.

Swami Vivekananda embodied the words Aham Brahmasmi, in a manner only he could do. That was so because he was He, a self-realised person who was not frightened by his own shadow, who was not bothered about what lay in his own shadow’s shade!

Such a stage does not come just for wishing. It comes after tapasya that takes a complete dedication of every grain of material energy, surrender of every desire, submission of every emotion at the altar of the divine -- Renouncement in totality of everything that may entrap the person in petty frames. And when that happens, one attains a stage where one can say in simple words -- ... My shadow cannot frighten me ...!

In other, more materialistic terms, this means that I have given up my past, I have snapped all connects that may hold me back on the strength of some undesirable
dimensions from my past. And when I jettison myself from my own past, when I am in a position to say ‘no’ to all connects with my past, when I have attained a condition in which I have established a total disconnect with terrible tentacles of my own past ...!

That also means, in other words, that I have only the present to live in, and no future to look forward to. For, I am a Sanyasi, the one who has renounced all desires, all drags, all drudgery of ordinariness. Now I live in a zone of total sublimity where I have attained the trinity of inner stability of the soul, unflappability of the mind, and gravitas of the physical body. With no desires left to occupy my thought, to hijack my inner harmony, to disturb my inner tranquility, I am He. This may sound quite unpoetic to many. To Swami Vivekananda, however, it was the most poetic and most romantic of experiences -- to be able to say Aham Brahmasmi with utmost authenticity, with most sincere intent. For him, Aham Brahmasmi are not just two words; they are the expression of human sublimation.
But Swamiji does not suggest that attaining such a condition is ever easy. For that stage to be attained, he advises:

From dreams awake, from bonds be free, Be not afraid. ...
The message is clear -- Don’t live in a world of dreams, in which you are mostly likely to see only fake images that are not true. Awake from your dreams. Free yourself from all bonds. Be not afraid of your past. Get ready to renounce the fear of your own shadow. Get out of your past. Live in the present. And if at all you have a vision for the future, may it be in the form of Truth’s pursuit. The moment you shed your fears, the moment you emerge from your own shadows, you will become Nirbhay, the one who has mastered fear, conquered self-pity that acts as a drag.

When such a condition is attained, then one comes to the realisation that I am He. The Divine. The Brahma.
This is the ultimate of destinations. But this destination is not outside. It is very much within me. And I will be able to attain it only when I make that journey inward -- from Me to He.