Discovering the self

The Gita directs every individual to recognise the value of the human intellect by using which one’s understanding of the esoteric and special nature of the indwelling self in all beings is made possible. But intellect is not to be understood as synonymous with intelligence, though both are no doubt great assets to all beings, pointed out Srimati Sunanda in a discourse. Intelligence is the ability to learn about the objective world and to acquire knowledge and work skills in life, etc. But intellect or ‘buddhi’ is the ability by which one understands the presence of the undying self within and of its relationship with the world outside. It helps to understand the Supreme Principle who holds the entire universe together even as the gems are held by the string on which they are strung.

Adi Sankara in his Atmabodha points out that the process of discovering the reality of the self is difficult since the self is well hidden by various layers and is not explicit. It is similar to the presence of butter in milk, which is not evident. But just as butter is extracted from milk through a certain process, the self can also be realised. The fluid milk is made into firm curd when it is kept at a specific heat and a little bit of curd is added to it. Then the curd is churned patiently to get butter. The butter needs to be preserved by keeping it in water. Likewise, the human mind is fluid like milk. It runs helter-skelter. It lacks concentration. Daily study of the Gita and scriptures is the curd and constant self-enquiry, prompted by one’s inherent experience, is the heat that provides the conducive environment for keeping the mind stable. The need to find the truth is now established in the mind. Then this quest has to be kept alive and preserved in the water of devotion.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 8:46:43 AM |

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