Likes and dislikes pin us down to the material world. They are at best only a constant source of sorrow. The phenomenal world appears real when we live in it. Its immediate presence creates in us a pervading sense of reality.

The embodied jivatma experiences the world through the senses, mind and intellect. When thus engaged in worldly activities, one does not pause to realise the inner essence of the immortal Self which is the essence of eternity, consciousness and bliss. Only when we understand that what we are seeking is eternity and that what we are chasing is impermanent, we begin to realise our ignorance and try to overcome it, Swami Swaroopananda said in a lecture.

The illusory nature of the world can come to an end if one uses the axe of detachment to cut the roots that bind us to samsara. We depend upon people, things, etc., in life and we think we can’t live without these. We struggle to enjoy something that we think gives us satisfaction.

But ultimately all worldly pleasures leave us more dissatisfied because of their impermanent nature. This dependence is born and sustained in our imagination and as long as we hold on to it we will continue to live in ignorance.

Ignorance is compared to darkness and darkness (say, in a room) is removed only when a lamp is lit and not by other means such as sweeping with a broom. Our ignorance too can be removed only by the light of awareness of truth and not by any other means. Only a mind freed of worries and anxieties can perceive the truth with clarity. Purity of mind is the basic qualification of a spiritual seeker.

Only when the mind is free of pride, delusion, attachment will the Truth be revealed in it. Quietude of mind and mastery over senses, firmness in duty, forbearance, a firm belief in truth, a meditative poise, etc., are spiritual practices that fail to have the desired impact in a mind that lacks tranquillity and discernment.

The Lord advises us to seek that permanent and highest state on attaining which there is no return to this cycle of birth. This is the surrender that the jivatma makes to the primordial being.