Faith

Removal of ignorance

The greatest hurdle to the jivatma’s salvation is the ignorance of the true identity of the indwelling atma. For all of us, the ‘I’ sense or the ego sense is strong and this is part of one’s deha dharma. It gives rise to the tendency to look upon one’s own body, wife, children, kith and kin, etc, one’s possessions such as house, profession, etc as the source of happiness.

The entire lifetime is spent in thinking of how to own them, and then how to protect them, and safeguard them from dangers with no concern for the welfare of the atma. In all his works, Adi Sankara teaches us to ponder on the teachings of the sastras which focus on those eternal truths that are of real value for the atma in contrast to the laukika topics with which most of us are generally preoccupied with, pointed out Sri K. Ramasubramaniam in a discourse. In his grantha Satasloki, the acharya highlights the benefits of Mimamsa Vedanta drawing attention to the way the Upanishads try to explain the truth of the immortal atma with simple examples and anecdotes. It is similar to the way a concerned mother, keen to pacify the crying child, tries to offer various playthings or fruits.

The aim is to make us understand that all of us have accumulated ignorance through several births and this has to be removed with conscious effort. As long as the mind is a slave to ignorance, the truths cannot be realised. The Kenopanishad teaches us to evaluate the cause behind the way the sense organs function. The ear or the eye does the wonderful job of hearing the sounds of the external world and seeing the objects. But in reality the ear and the eye are only instruments and cannot function by themselves. It is the immortal atma within that enables these to do their duty.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 3:40:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/removal-of-ignorance/article34806513.ece

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