When the human spirit aspires to transcend the physical limitations, it goes in search of higher knowledge. When Arjuna was instructed by Lord Krishna in the battlefield about the truths pertaining to life, death and eternity, his curiosity was aroused and he was keen to be clearly instructed with regard to the ultimate knowledge. What is really worth knowing is clearly spelt out by Lord Krishna, and His clarification regarding the highest knowledge that is capable of conferring immortality on the knower echoes the essence of many of the principal Upanishads, pointed out Sri N. Veezhinathan in a lecture.

This subtle knowledge pertains to the Eternal Brahman who has no beginning or end and is transcendent and eternal. The difficulty in describing this Supreme Nature — which is said to be without any qualities or characteristics (Nirguna) and is not subject by time or place — is acknowledged in the scriptures. Being beyond the parameters by which any object or being in this world is identified — through its characteristics, nature, species, activities, etc. — the Absolute Brahman remains indefinable. Yet, it is shown that realised souls have attained it through the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman with attributes (Saguna). The inherent paradox is best recognised in the subtle Self within each individual being. This inner spirit animates each being. This truth can be grasped by the mind which has to be brought under control. Otherwise, it remains far away, though near and within us.

Krishna talks of the qualities and characteristics that determine one who has truly renounced the world and become eligible for liberation. Such a person knows that birth, death, old age and disease have imperfections and longs for only the perfect state of liberation that surpasses all these.

To transcend this worldly attraction, one has to renounce all sense of I and Mine. It is a really difficult state to attain. But the help and advice of spiritual preceptors can be beneficial. Seeking the company of those who are already in this quest can help us in the right path. Satsangh is like a medicine to the disease of Samsara.

More In: Faith | Friday Review