Faith

Self knowledge

To know the Self is the most meaningful quest in each one’s life time. This is the ‘atma-anatma’ jnana that is taught in the Upanishads. They address human beings as the ‘sons of immortality, amrithasya putra,’ to remind them of their true nature which is the atma within and not the perishable body, pointed out Sri V. Abhiramasundaram in a discourse. They advocate the need for every being to probe questions such as ‘who we are, where we come from, what is the purpose of our life, and where we are heading, etc.’ Giving constant thought to these issues alone can help one to formulate a correct perspective of oneself in relation to the cosmic scheme of things.

Self knowledge has universal value. All other knowledge is related or dependent and draws sustenance from this. Sri Ramakrishna often used to compare the state of spiritual ignorance in human beings with that of the young Rajali bird that happens to be hatched along with the chickens by the mother hen. When the mother hen with outspread wings would hide the young ones, the young Rajali bird would ask her why she is doing so. She would say that it is to protect them from being taken away by the powerful Rajali bird. The young one would accept and continue in the ignorance of its true nature.

Whatever is thought of as ‘I’ becomes a misconception when people tend to associate with the physical body. They think they are in bondage and are caught helplessly in the cycle of births. Due to ignorance of our true self and consequent lack of correct valuation of things, we develop undue attachment to the objects of our desire. This is the root cause of all problems Without knowing our real nature and the truth of our existence we can never find real peace.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 6:42:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/self-knowledge/article27152345.ece

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