Asmita in Yoga Meditation

QUICK EXPLANATION ON ASMITA

Asmita = veil of I-ness
 
Asmita = second of the 5 kleshas (which means coloring or veil)
 
5 kleshas: avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, abhinivesha
 
Asmita = when pure non-dual Consciousness forgets it is non-dual (avidya) it can play as an individual (asmita), this second coloring comes almost simultaneous with avidya, this is a very subtle veil of I-ness, it has not yet have any characteristic, it now appears as an individual entity, that has the four functions of mind; manas, chitta, ahamkara, and buddhi.
 


 

 
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ON THIS PAGE:
ASMITA: PRACTICAL
YOGA SUTRAS ON ASMITA
SWAMI RAMA ON ASMITA
SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON ASMITA


 

ASMITA: PRACTICAL

Observing asmita in daily life
It might not be as easy to observe asmita as some other concepts in the list of “what is…?”, but asmita too can be observed in daily life. You can start by being aware that right here and now, at this moment, you think you are a person with certain characteristics. If you realize this you can wonder; How is this possible? How can I be convinced that at this moment “I am a human being”? Because your true nature is pure non-dual Consciousness, which is here and now all the time, never lost, and ever-present. What seemed to have happened is that some part of pure Non-dual Consciousness has fallen asleep. Thereby it seemed to have forgotten its true nature (avidya) therefore the veil of asmita, of “I-ness” appears to exist. It is then able to take on characteristics; such as the belief that I am a person with name and form. Being aware of that process right here, in the space where you are standing, you can realize; I am not an “I AM…….” (fill in any thought you think you are at this moment!). Even more so, the whole idea that I’m “something” is ignorance. You can realize there is something that believes it is an individual. Something that, just as in a dream, in which you see the people you talk to as separate, sees the people and things in the waking state as separately. However, when you wake up you know it all happened in your dream. It came out and took place in one mind. Then you can wonder; if it is possible in the illusion of a dream, might it be possible that I am also dreaming right now? That although I experience things as dual, as separate right now, they truly are One? Maybe it is an illusion? Maybe the real I is pure Non-dual Consciousness, which is one without a second? Being aware of asmita during the day, will help you to strengthen your constant contemplation. What is the “True Self” and what appears to be veiled as “I-ness”? Therefore strengthening your buddhi, which is able to discriminate between real and unreal, between eternal and temporary. Thus, as soon as avid seems to have taken place, asmita also rises. It is the finest veil of I-ness after which all kinds of specific identities can be adopted. You can observe asmita by becoming aware of the fact that at this moment you are asleep into a “something”. Regardless of what that “something” is, without asmita each “something” is not be possible.
 
After asmita there is the possibility to take on ragas and dveshas
After avidya and asmita appear to have veiled pure Non-dual Consciousness can a now apparent individual take on attractions and aversions (raga and dvesha). These attachments will be stored in the latent unconscious mind (chitta) as samskaras. When a samskara wakes up and is projected into the conscious mind or active unconscious mind it is an active desire. Therefore every attachment has the colorings of avidya and asmita, as every desire seems to appear as a separate desire. Appearing to have its own existence it will protect itself to maintain its existence by adding a layer of fear (abhinivesha). Every desire, every thought, every habit pattern is a separate appearing object within the mind-field (vrittis in chitta). Recognizing this will give insights about asmita.
 
Meditation on asmita
Even when all false identity, thoughts, and desires have been temporary set aside in meditation, there will still be a sense of “I-ness”. This sense is the veil of asmita. This ‘naked’ feeling of “I-ness”—not being related to any characteristics or specifics—can be an object for meditation. You can even go into samadhi on asmita. This is explained in yogasutra 1.17 (see below). By directing the attention towards asmita standing alone, it too will lose its coloring, and can eventually be set aside. Therefore asmita is an object too on which you can meditate. Any object is made of prakriti, so even asmita, the finest veil of individuation itself is made of prakriti, the subtle matter of manifestation. All of prakriti needs to be set aside so that purusha (Consciousness) can be experienced resting in its own True Nature.
 
Contemplate on difference between asmita and ahamkara
Asmita risen simultaneous when avidya seems to occur. It adds individuation or I-ness to the appearing forgetting process. This I-ness then appears to have 4 functions of mind and one of them is ahamkara. Ahamkara is the force or power that is able to take on identifications. Ahamkara is the “I-maker”. It is because of ahamkara we can say “I am a woman” or “I am a man”. So notice the difference. Asmita is “I”, purest individuation, and ahamkara is the force of “I am……..”. Ahamkara creates desires and false identities because it can color incoming sensory impressions with either like or dislike. These desires and false identities are not part of ahamkara, but seems to exist because of its power to take on identities. Asmita, ahamkara and the samskaras are three different things that occur within the manifestation.

 

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DAILY OBSERVATION AND YOGIC SELF-AWARENESS ASSESSMENT

Eventually the concept of asmita will swim around in your awareness all the time, as it becomes a part of constant self-awareness. Also, becoming aware of asmita will have the effect that you will increase your use of this word in your daily vocabulary to express yourself and you will discover how asmita relates to other concepts, processes, or insights. For example, you the difference between ahamkara and asmita, or you suddenly see that asmita itself is a vikalpa too, of which you may first thought it was pramana. Eventually you will discover how all these concepts dance together and coming to know this dance will guide you towards that which is beyond all the concepts. This is because as you increase your self-awareness, you will discover that everything you can observe is not who you truly are, you are not asmita, you are the One that is able to witness all these concepts. Therefore asmita has to be transcended, who you really are is beyond individuation. This will increase the non-attachment towards asmita, while you can be in awe of the beauty of the Divine dance of Consciousness that appears to play as an individual, therefore only appears to have asmita. Therefore practicing self-awareness is actually practicing not-self-awareness by which the True Self will eventually reveal itself.
 
Look at the self-assessment PDF (assessment-120918.pdf) and a PDF that includes daily internal dialogue and daily observation (sumseven-110410.pdf) on the website of www.abhyasaashram.org (when you are on this page scroll all the way down to find the downloadable PDFs) These PDFs can be used as tools to explore and expand your understanding on asmita.

 

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YOGASUTRAS ON ASMITA

1.17 The deep absorption of attention on an object is of four kinds, 1) gross (vitarka), 2) subtle (vichara), 3) bliss accompanied (ananda), and 4) with I-ness (asmita), and is called samprajnata samadhi.
vitarka vichara ananda asmita rupa anugamat samprajnatah
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2.3 There are five kinds of coloring (kleshas): 1) forgetting, or ignorance about the true nature of things (avidya), 2) I-ness, individuality, or egoism (asmita), 3) attachment or addiction to mental impressions or objects (raga), 4) aversion to thought patterns or objects (dvesha), and 5) love of these as being life itself, as well as fear of their loss as being death (abhinivesha).
avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha
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2.6 The coloring (klesha) of I-ness or egoism (asmita), which arises from the ignorance, occurs due to the mistake of taking the intellect (buddhi, which knows, decides, judges, and discriminates) to itself be pure consciousness (purusha/drig).
drig darshana shaktyoh ekatmata iva asmita
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3.48 By samyama on the process of perception and action, essence, I-ness, connectedness, and purposefulness of senses and acts, mastery over those senses and acts (indriyas) is attained.
grahana svarupa asmita anvaya arthavattva samyamad indriya jayah
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4.4 The emergent mind fields springs forth from the individuality of I-ness (asmita).
nirmana chittani asmita matrat
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SWAMI RAMA ON ASMITA

”The greatest obstacle after avidya is asmita (egotism or self-centeredness). Asmi, the first part of the word asmita, means “I am”; -ta means “-ness”. To become egotistical means to go to the darkness of ignorance. Asmita is the failure to comprehend the true nature of the soul.”
~ Sadhana pg. 69
 
Asmi means “I am”. Only God, the one reality, can say, “I am One”, but two cannot because two are not one. Two has no existence of its own because two exist only on the existence of one. Only one can declare, “I exist”, because tomorrow you may not exist like this. When ego says, “I exist”, this is false identification. Instead of saying I, you should say, You exist”, and then I won’t have ego. “I am thine, and thou art mine. You exist and I exist, but I exist because of you. I acknowledge my existence, but realize it is because of you”. Ego should not be enveloped with pride but with surrender, so that ego shines, until finally you acknowledge, “This is all your grace.”
~ Sadhana pg. 72

 

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SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON ASMITA

Read the whole article “Witnessing” on www.swamij.com
Nature of I-ness: Asmita is the finest form of individuality. It is not I-am-ness, as when we say, “I am a man or woman,” or “I am a person from this or that country”. Rather, it is I-ness that has not taken on any of those identities.
Mistake of thinking it is about me: However, when we see I-ness or Asmita as a coloring, a klesha, we are seeing that a kind of mistake has been made. The mistake is that the thought pattern of the object is falsely associated with I-ness (Asmita), and thus we say that the thought pattern is a klishta thought pattern, or a klishta vritti.
 
Read the whole article “Avidya and Adhyasa: Veiling and Projecting” on www.swamij.com
Consciousness (or whatever you want to call it) is veiled, in the same way that a metaphorical wave forgets that it is the ocean. This primal forgetting is called avidya (Veiling, Ignorance). By virtue of the forgetting, the individual (sometimes called Asmita) can then operate as Intelligence itself, or buddhi. We all do this in daily life when we are so involved in a moment in one activity or identity that we forget the others.

 

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Yoga Meditation, Contemplation, and Devotion for Self-realization

This site is an offering to those who deeply long to experience Pure Consciousness that is known as Divine Mother or Tripura (‘Tri’ means three, and ‘pura’ means city); She is the one that lives in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Temporary leaving behind the three cities and residing only in Pure Consciousness is called Self-realization. Another name for this realization is Yoga; the union of the individual self with the universal Self; the union of Atman with Brahman, or Shiva with Shakti; or the dis-union of Purusha and Prakriti. Some might think of Tripura as an anthropomorphic being but She is not, She is the Non-dual Reality in which all appearing manifestation seems to exist. All that is, is the Non-dual Reality.
 
On this site the teachings of Yoga, Vedanta, and Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra are offered to guide you in learning to meditate directly on Tripura by using modern ways of communication such as through animations, while preserving the ancient wisdom. These teaching have been given to us by an ancient lineage of meditation masters, lovingly called the Tradition of the Himalayan masters. These practices lead us to a space of stillness and silence where Yoga meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer converge into deep devotion and constant awareness of Tripura. At the end of the journey when all efforts are exhausted, grace will dawn. This is known as shaktipata, through which the final barrier is removed, which is the piercing of the bindu, and leads to the direct experience of Non-dual Reality. This finally reveals an unimaginable Joy from knowing the Non-dual Reality or Pure Consciousness!

 

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