The Vision

The Vision

'To set man free' is the sole passion of the Oneness Movement founders, Sri Amma and Sri Bhagavan. This vision runs as the nerve current through every activity of the Oneness Movement. The origins of this passion are to be traced back to the time when Sri Bhagavan was three years old. In his experience, the whole universe was an extension of himself. His consciousness had always been so. As Sri Bhagavan began to experience people, he became cognizant of the fact that people were not experiencing the world the way that he was experiencing it. He saw they felt separate from the rest of the world. This sense of separate existence, he discovered, was the edifice on which stood human suffering. This was the very first awakening that Sri Bhagavan had of the human predicament that shaped his future work. Sri Bhagavan felt that the human consciousness was capable of a much vaster and richer experience of reality than it is experiencing today. To restore man to the magnificence and splendor of his natural state of being became Sri Bhagavan's passion.

Thus the vision took its birth

The nature of existence is bliss. It is qualified by auspicious qualities like love, compassion, connectedness and silence. Man's consciousness is fettered by concepts, ideas, conditionings and mental constructions. Sri Bhagavan observes, 'When consciousness is purged of all its contamination, what remains is life, pure consciousness or God.' Hence, Sri Bhagavan defines Awakening or Oneness as 'liberation of life itself.' This 'total and unconditional freedom' Sri Bhagavan speaks about is elucidated in the following verse on awakening:

Awakening
Is
Liberation of life
Is
Liberation of the senses
Is
Liberation from the self
Is
Liberation from the mind
Is
Liberation from knowledge
Is
Liberation from conditioning
Is
Liberation from society
Is
Liberation from work
This is truth.
– Sri Bhagavan

Liberation of life

Awakening at a very fundamental level is to 'live life.' The scriptures define an awakened man as someone who is able to hold his senses under control. According to Sri Bhagavan, awakening on the other hand, is liberation 'of' the senses or freeing the senses from the clutches of the mind. The mind, with its judgments and commentaries, interferes with every sensory perception, making it stale and lifeless. If not for this interference of the mind, the human nervous system is capable of generating bliss through every sensory experience, be it seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touch, irrespective of the object of the experience. Thus one whose senses are liberated transcends the life of the mind and experiences the life of the senses.

Liberation of the self

Self is the sense of separate existence. Whenever there is the 'me' and the 'other', the result is fear — fear of what the other would do to me. Out of fear, struggle for survival, comparison, jealousy, hatred and all the rest are born. Sri Bhagavan says 'Self is only a concept.' A concept by definition is something that does not exist in reality. It is an illusion.

Liberation from the mind

The popular notion about freedom from the mind is either cessation of the mind where you enter a state of 'thoughtlessness' or transformation of the mind where the mind experiences greater freedom and peace within itself. The liberation Sri Bhagavan speaks about is neither of these. It is the cessation of the effort to stop or change the mind. Then you are free 'with' the mind. The mind with its contents exists independently only to aid you with practical issues of life but does not interfere with the experience of life itself.

Liberation from knowledge

When Sri Bhagavan speaks about liberation from knowledge, it is liberation from the bondage of knowledge and not knowledge itself. When knowledge is not translated into an experience, it becomes a hindrance to the very experience that you have set out to achieve. Knowledge that is an obstacle to the experience of life is a burden and a bondage. hence, it has to drop.

Liberation from conditioning

The ideas of communish, capitalism, equality, nationality, religion, etc. have been developed by man over millennia. These ideas and concepts have a life of their own. They are making use of your life for their survival. They enter you as a 'thought-bug' and color every experience of life. Liberation from conditioning is not to be devoid of any idea or concept but to be free to choose them in functional matters of life.

Liberation from society

Ultimately, man is bound by the concept of 'freedom' itself. He thinks freedom is achieved by going against the existing system and the norms of the society. 'Freedom' is essentially an internal state of existence where you no more arise from fear. Hence there is no suffocation or resistance against any structure, law or value that 'society' stands for. Freedom is not a revolt against something. It is a state of consciousness that has no opposites.

Liberation from work

Sri Bhagavan differentiates activity from action. Activity is an escape from inner void or pain of existence. It is done as a means to an end. You work, drive, cook, clean, pray because you have a psychological need behind all these that you want to fulfill. Action is where the destination or the purpose exists in a physical sense but not in a psychological sense. The experience is an end in itself. It arises from an inner state of joy and freedom. While the awakened man also works, he is free from the tyranny of work.

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