CHENNAI: Scriptures recognise two types of knowledge, the lower comprising the knowledge of the rites, rituals and scholarly study of scriptures and the higher comprising the knowledge of the Self (Atma Jnana) and of the Brahman (Brahma Jnana) gained through personal experience or self realisation. The latter alone is true knowledge since it leads to liberation from the cycle of birth. The Upanishads discuss the ways and means of attaining this highest knowledge through dialogues between master and disciple, analogies and descriptions of the Supreme Brahman as experienced by different seers and sages.

Some of important ways for salvation recommended in them — the constant chanting of the Pranava Mantra, meditation on Rudra, chanting the thousand names of Vishnu and residing in Varanasi — are helpful to the sincere spiritual seeker, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a lecture.

In the Jabala Upanishad, the term Varanasi is explained as the place between the eyebrows and the nose and is referred to as a sacred place where the Supreme Brahman resides in all beings and hence has to be worshipped. Brihaspati, the preceptor of the celestials, tells Sage Yajnavalkya, “Kurukshetra is the Avimukta, the famous place that destroys sins and protects the good, where the celestials perform sacrifices to deities and which is the abode of Brahman in all beings.”

The Sage then explains to his disciples that Avimukta is established at the meeting place of the eyebrows (Varana) and the nose (Nasi). The Brahma Jnanis are thus able to realise the Self that is unmanifest and infinite by meditating at this juncture.

In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna explains the technique of meditation and points out three important parameters to obtain the result — one-pointedness of mind, setting bounds to one’s life to achieve this and evenness of vision or a state of equanimity.

This can be achieved by stopping the wheel of thoughts in the mind by coming out of the habit of brooding on trifles. When the mind keeps on flitting from one thought to another, the whole strength is lost. The mind has to withdraw from the world and follow the disciplined way of life.