Enlightenment, awareness and realisation are terms to signify the experience of the Supreme Truth. Not all are eligible for this experience, the highest goal of human beings. What would be the nature of this unique experience? The Upanishads claim that this experience reconciles variety and oneness in creation — derived from a perception that sees no difference between the objects and beings of creation that of course display minute, small, big and complicated differences among one another in terms of name, form, characteristics, nature and so on. To recognise the chaitanya in one’s physical body and also be aware of the presence of the same chaitanya in all objects of creation — from an insect to Brahma — is explained as Sarva Atma Bhava. But to lead life with this Sarva Atma Bhava is a great challenge, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a discourse.

Awareness of Brahma Jnana makes one a Jivanmukta. He may renounce worldly aspirations but has to continue to live until the mortal body falls. The transformation is purely an inner one which alters his perception of the universe. He sees himself as part of the creation and accepts the supremacy of the Supreme Brahman who is in control of the entire universe.

In this state, he has to contend with three hurdles: tendencies arising from his body/mind complex (deha vasana); interaction with the external world and people in his midst (loka vasana); and the sense of pride in his Sastra knowledge (Sastra vasana). How is one to get rid of these? One way is to train the mind to remain unaffected by outside influences and maintain equanimity. Raga and dwesha need to be dealt with caution. Thoughts of God can help to sustain this mental tempo and guide one through life. Prahlada advises meditation on God and devotion to Him as a sure way to overcome attachment to the world. His prayer to the Lord is to rid him of any desire since worldly desires have always been the undoing of many great achievers, including his own father. The Upanishads speak of the ways in which this search for truth finds fruition — when individual determination is matched with the patience of a preceptor, himself a realised soul willing to instruct the worthy disciple.

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