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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Human life is primarily meant to gain knowledge and gain such knowledge as will fulfill completely one’s life. Knowledge alone has the power to complete and fulfill human life. In our spiritual parlance, religious parlance also we say, Brahma Jnana is supreme in human life. Mark! It is explained as jnana, Brahma jnana. Knowledge of Brahman means the Supreme Reality, the ultimate substance and source. This is the basis on which our entire dharmic culture has been built. So, knowledge we consider to be supreme.
The modern world also is interested in knowledge. There are scientists working day and night in different branches of knowledge, to add to the measure of knowledge, the variety of knowledge that they have. As a result of scientific inventions, many facilities and comforts to life have been added. In the process you will find, our life has been contaminated also very seriously. The air is contaminated, water is contaminated, the earth is polluted. I think fire has not been polluted. What does it mean? In the name of knowledge, we should not strive to do anything that we want. There must be a filtration, a discrimination, a kind of a selectiveness in the approach.
When you approach knowledge in this manner, we find that the entire gamut of knowledge can be divided into two. One is called inferior knowledge, another is called superior knowledge, as Mundakopanishad puts it. You will be surprised to know that all the Vedas and sastras are included in the inferior knowledge. When I first read it when I was in Calcutta in my pre-sannyasa life, I was wonder-struck. What! We consider the Vedas to be extremely sanctifying and Vedas and sastras together are inferior? Then what is superior? So Saunaka is told by Angiras, the superior knowledge is that by which you know, by which you know what?
By which you know the imperishable presence. Why this statement? It is because including our body and the senses, whatever we see and interact with in the world in the form of objects, all of them are perishable. They are evanescent. They are transitory. If all of them are transitory, then how is the transitoriness surviving? A changes into B, then what changes B into C? There must be something that is causing the change. Wherever there is a change you should understand the change can subsist only upon a changeless substratum. Because everything is perishable, there must be something imperishable. Is there anything like that? Is it only a conjecture or is there any compulsive experience for us as we experience the world? - If such a question is asked, here is the answer.
Everything is experienced by me, by us. All are objects experienced. But the subject which undergoes the experience or experiences the objects is oneself. That is what we refer to as ‘I’, ‘I am’. All other things are described with the possessive case. My, my, my, my body, my eyes, my mind, my intelligence, my ego, my knowledge, my parents, my car, my earth, my road, everything is mine. The “My” and the “I” are different. By the possessive case, you always refer to an object which you can and you do possess. Then the subject is something different from the objects. If mind also is an object, intelligence also is an object, ego is an object, then what is this subject? Something still further within, very inward. That ‘I’, right from the beginning till the end of our life, changelessly we have been referring to and we are not referring to an external substance or entity. When I say, “I am”, I have no doubt it. I am, I am. The am-ness belongs to the ‘I’ and what is this ‘I’? It is not the body, not the mind, not the intelligence, not the ego, not anything but something different from. Now, we already have an indication that something imperishable is there associated with the perishable body and other things.
Now let us go back to the two divisions of knowledge. One is the inferior knowledge which covers including the Vedas and six sastras, everything that you learn because it is all about the objects. The knowledge about the true subject ‘I’ alone will become superior. What a beautiful statement, analysis and finding! It is this subject knowledge that constitutes the spiritual pursuit in our country. The subject knowledge can come only to a seeker who seeks it and the path also is one of knowingness, knowingness. Krishna puts it beautifully in the Bhagavad Gita:
It is knowledge. It is the knowable. And through the path of knowing alone, you can approach it. In other words, the subject knowledge can be pursued and achieved only within our body, by employing the instruments of mind and intelligence. When you start approaching the subject knowledge and you are having degrees of it, so to say, you will find your entire perception about the world, evaluation about the world, the lingering for the world, all these will change. Without any force. It is a self-transformation that takes places naturally, easily, lightly, comfortably and fulfillingly.
Put in any manner that one likes or one can. The discussion is always around this subject knowledge, knowledge of the subject. And the only subject we can think of, we feel to some extent and we can probe into and be successfully knowing in full is that ‘I’, ‘I’. The definition of the Self is actually:
Aham pratyaya gocharah
That which you denote by the term ‘I’ is called the Self, the Supreme Reality. This knowledge is the one that occupies our Upanishads. It is dealt with in Ramayana. It is equally dealt with more elaborately by Mahabharata. Whenever there is doubt and the doubt cannot be resolved, the redress lies in the subject knowledge. That is why Krishna tells Arjuna:
न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ।। १२ ।।
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ paraṃ ।।
“Arjuna, what you are seeing as Krishna is the body. But the Krishna proper is not body. There was no time when I was not. There was no time when you were not. There was no time when Bhishma, Drona and all the others were not. You see the body, it was born, I agree. But the body is not what makes itself felt. There is something besides the body which animates and activates the body. That presence is what one is and that was there even before the birth of the body.”
All of you have come and taken your seats in Vijnana Bhavan here. How could you come here if you were not earlier? You were earlier in your residential rooms or loitering here and there, because you were, you are. If you were and you are, you will also be.
न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः ।
“This is true not merely of me, of you, of all the people who have assembled here including Bhishma and Drona.”
न चैव न भविष्यामः
“There is not going to be a time when we will cease to exist or cease to be."
This is how Krishna began the discussion. What for? Not religiously liberate Arjuna but to make his mind doubtless, confident and immensely courageous and resolute. What for? To fight the war in front. Krishna did not create the war nor did Arjuna. War resulted. War can be only with by two sides. So, the war has come to be and it has to be fought. Arjuna found he did not have courage for it, clarity for it, confidence for it, stability for it. Now all the stability Krishna was providing but he started the discussion with a reference to the ‘I’ and it’s infinite and eternal nature. There is a beautiful description:
Arjuna’s mind was confused about the propriety and impropriety of his action, of his fighting. As a result of which he got completely confused, dumbfounded. Such a man unable to resolve the crisis, sought refuge under Krishna. So, Krishna is exposing and clarifying the beautiful sastras of our country. The entire sastras are to gain for you true knowledge. The senses are there to gain knowledge of the objects but the mind and the intelligence alone are there to gain knowledge of yourself.
God, Brahman, all these are words synonymous to the Self, the ‘I’ and from there Krishna was developing. “Your fear is that so many people will be killed but I want to tell you Arjuna, that the individual presence which we refer to as ‘I’, it is unkillable.”
This presence which you refer to as ‘I’, it is ajah, unborn. The body is born. When a lamp is lit by a flame, a new flame is born. Does it mean fire is born? No, No, No. It is unborn. It never gets born. It is ever present.
Nityaḥ – constantly present.
Sāśvatah – permanently.
Ayam purānah – this is the most ancient. Nobody knows when it began to be.
Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. It is true that we are going to kill a number of bodies here on both sides. When bodies are felled so to say, hanyamane sharire na hanyate, the imperishable presence which animates and activates the body is unkillable. It is inexhaustible. It will not disappear. It will not become extinct. Constantly, this thought, this message, this knowledge, this was being driven home to Arjuna.
My dear seekers, our ashram is a place of jnana. Here we have satsang. In the satsang, we, on the basis of our own experience, experiential confirmation, we are presenting the beautiful sastras which deals with subject knowledge, one thing or the other. It may be Bhagavad Gita, it maybe Upanishads, it maybe Vivekachudamini. It may be another text, Srimad Bhagavatam. Everywhere you will find, this, this indestructibility of your own identity is the subject of discussion.
People are wondering – ‘What is my identity? Am I an Indian? Am I an earthly denizen? Am I a human?’ The real identity is you are already referring to as ‘I’ and it is within the body, not the body. And on analysis we find it is not the mind, not the intelligence, not the ego. Then what? Something beyond that. Felt by everyone. Not thought by everyone. Felt by everyone. Not enquired into by everyone. So, make a little enquiry. When you go back from the Ashram, you must always understand that knowledge is supreme in human life; that alone can fulfill a person. Any possession that you have, the body itself is left. And with the body whatever you have gained, will they not be left then? The house, the family, the belongings, the money, the deposit, the will you have written, everything will have to be left. The unleavable entity, if at all, is the ‘I’ yourself, ‘I’ oneself.
So, it is this knowledge that we are constantly discussing in our satsang. Devotion is part of it. Yoga is part of it. Any other form of sadhana is subsidiary to it. But the knowledge is the supreme. Understand that there is such a knowledge. What you have is object knowledge and what you further need is subject knowledge. This subject knowledge can be had only by a sense of enquiry and introspection. You should have a life where you think about matters. Try to evaluate them from the level of intelligence - What is this life? Am I living it properly? What is the relationship around me? Is there any God? Anything, you have to enquire.
Such an enquiry should be there even in your profession. Otherwise you will not have professional excellence. A professional should be thoughtful, thoughtful. What new plans and projects can I represent or can I think of with a view to increase the utility of our company and increase the resources and how can the resources be employed? There also, it is thought and introspection.
Am I living in the right manner? Do I need any qualities of the mind and heart? What is my life judged from the true mental and intelligential level? How to become good? How to become noble? How to become charitable? How to become amiable and loving? I only want you to be happy, happy, happy. Look happy, be happy, experience happiness. Interact with people in a happy manner, amiable manner. Nothing else.
Mostly people carry a wry face, sunken face. I don’t know, why? For smiling and being light, you need only the mind, the mind you already have. Understand the magnitude and potential of the mind. Mind has got infinite potential and infinite magnitude. With the help of the senses it sees the infinitely various world. The world of infinite variety and infinite distances. All these are captured by the mind. Can you imagine then the breadth and depth and height of the mind? It is infinitely resourceful. You are using some conventional notes of the mind. Believe in your mind. Have faith in your mind. Understand you mind. Mind is a treasure, treasure, treasure and make it so. Make it so. Make it so. I always say devotion is a great treasure but the devotees do not make it a treasure. A man who relies on God, I don’t think he has to worry about anything, anything. God is there to worry about and his worrying is much more efficacious, effective than your worrying about. Everywhere it is matching, matching, rubbing, rubbing your mind with the knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.
So, the take home from our Ashram is the satsang we hold, the books we have written, you can go through them. Understand that you are not the body but something different from it. Mind, intelligence and ego are the evidence for our being something different from the body. And try to feel it, want to know it and be zealous about the whole process. Be given to introspection, reflection and rumination, then everything will follow.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.