Why are we caught in this cycle of birth? How did we get our karma? Why do we continue in Samsara? Since such questions have prevailed from time immemorial with no definite answers to the root cause of this endless cycle, a worthwhile alternative would be to seek a way out of this mess.

Even the Upanishads state that the mystery of the universe continues to baffle. But they teach us the way to salvation and help us to reason, analyse and arrive at an understanding of the truth of the Self, pointed out Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a lecture.

When we see a mud pot or a well-crafted gold ornament, we are carried away by the external appearance of the pot or the intricate workmanship of the jewellery and fail to notice the main reason of their existence, the mud or the gold. Similarly, we have to probe the main reason for the existence of the universe and its variety of beings and feel the presence of the all-pervading Supreme Brahman in it.

Our interaction with the entire universe strengthens our belief in its reality. This is Avidya and its offshoot is moha or illusion which casts a veil over our proper understanding of the truth. So this illusion has to be removed. Sastras advise us to see the essence of truth behind what we perceive. When this happens, it leads to enlightenment.

The dichotomy between the body and the Self has to be understood. The undying Self is the essence of consciousness and bliss; but its true nature remains covered by the darkness of delusion.

The Bhagavad Gita explains these truths from a practical standpoint and provides guidelines for upright living and practice of meditation to seek salvation. Perception and inference aid in understanding the knowledge. However, perception is not of the physical kind since the Supreme Brahman is not to be seen with human eyes. It is a super-sensuous discernment. Krishna’s description of the path of renunciation focuses on our mental attitude to worldly attainments while being a part of it. Work helps to purify the mind, and when the fruits of all the work we do are relinquished with the only aim of realising God, ignorance gives way to enlightenment.