True gnana is the ability to perceive only the atma of a person, and not to take notice of external appearances, said Velukkudi Krishnan. Once Veda Vyasa and his son Sukha Brahma walked past a river. There were many women bathing in the river. When they saw Sukha Brahma, they continued to bathe, without any shyness. But the moment they saw Vyasa, they hastened to cover themselves with clothes.

Vyasa asked them why they did so. The women replied that they had to cover themselves in the presence of a man. Then what about Sukha Brahma, who had just passed by, Vyasa wanted to know. Why had they not covered themselves when Sukha Brahma had passed by?

The women replied that Sukha Brahma would not even have noticed that they had few clothes on, for he saw nothing but the atma. But Vyasa had noticed them, and so they had to cover themselves up. Vyasa himself was a great sage. And yet even could not attain the state which his son had reached, namely that of seeing only the atma and not noticing the body. Sukha Brahma was in this sense superior to his father.

A truly evolved soul does not let his mind dwell on anything but the Supreme One, for he has understood the nature of the atma, and he knows that the way to moksha is through surrender to the Lord. While the gnani sees the atma, and therefore attaches no importance to anything else, this does not mean he will go on making friends indiscriminately.

Since his thoughts are only of God, he will not seek to multiply worldly bonds, for all worldly ties come with obligations. If we enlarge our circle of friends, then we become obliged to attend even minor functions at their invitation. And so we will keep spending our time in worldly matters, and will be left with no time for spiritual pursuits. This would be an undesirable state of affairs, as far as a gnani is concerned. The true gnani seeks solitude and contemplation. That enables clarity of thought. The human mind is often in a confused state.

Contemplation of the beautiful form of Lord Narayana rids our minds of confusion and doubt. And this will lead us to surrender to Him.

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