Reality as it is
Atmananda (Shri Krishna Menon) (1883 -1959)
When we speak or write about some subject, reading one of the old 'classics' can be refreshing. Simply because the language is not contemporary so we are forced to read attentively. Thoughts that want to tell you a priori what the content is hardly get a chance.
The Atmananda Upanishad by Krishna Menon, which consists of two parts: Atma Darshan ('The meeting with the Self') and Atma Nivriti ('The return to the Self'), is and remains a pearl among these works.
Below there follows Chapter 11 from Part 1, Atma Darshan.
Words such as immutable and formless, etc., cannot even by their negative import, show Reality as it is.
The statement that man is not a beast is no doubt true. But does it show any of his true characteristics?
It is impossible to show Reality as it is. Words are at best mere pointers.
If, without knowing this, one contemplates what is literally signified by words, one's experience of Reality will be tainted to that extent.
If words are taken merely as helps to rise above all thoughts, it is perfectly in order.
If Reality is conceived of as beyond all thoughts, and contemplation directed accordingly, words may help to lead one to a stage where all thoughts cease and Reality is experienced.
Doubt may arise whether it is possible to contemplate anything beyond all thoughts. It is possible. The difficulty is only apparent.
It is true that only an object of perception can be directly contemplated. The 'I' is always perceiver and never an object of perception.
As it is not an object of perception, direct contemplation of the 'I' is out of the question. Nonetheless, because it is experienced as one's Being, it is possible to contemplate it indirectly.
Can it not be contemplated as the residue left after the removal of everything objective from the apparent 'I'?
This contemplative thought itself will automatically come to a standstill in the end, and in that stillness will be seen shining one's true nature.
What is beyond all thoughts may be indirectly contemplated in other ways as well. They will also take one to one's true nature.
Always bear in mind that such words as Consciousness or Knowledge, Being or Happiness, all point to the 'I'.
Hold on to one thought to dispel other thoughts. Let that thought be such as points to one's being.
Think of one's being as that into which all thoughts merge, then the one thought taken hold of gives up its form and merges into Being.
Just as we apply the word knowledge to denote also the function of knowing, we use the word happiness to denote the function of enjoying as well.
It is within the experience of all that knowledge and happiness dawn only when the respective functions of knowing and enjoying cease.
Thus, Knowledge and Happiness are one's own Being. With this conviction, if thought is directed to either of these, that thought also gives up its form and merges.
Merger will never be into deep sleep, but into one's own Being. All knots of the heart will be cut asunder by this means.