Faith

Steps to realisation

Most of us who are involved in worldly concerns are said to be in Pravritti Marga. This kind of preoccupation ties us down to samsara, the cycle of birth. Vedanta vichara shows that there is also another marga, Nivritti, which leads us to release from this cycle. Tremendous effort is needed to travel in this path and realise the subtle self as the abode of everlasting peace and bliss.

In the Ashtavakra Gita, the preceptor Ashtavakra imparts to Janaka this highest knowledge of the self, praised in the Gita as Raja Vidya and Brahma Vidya, in clear cut terms, pointed out Sri R. Rajagopala Sarma in a discourse. At the outset itself, Janaka is taught to differentiate between the body and the self. Understanding this dichotomy can bring about equanimity in any individual, a most difficult ideal to attain even for realised souls. We can say and feel the self as distinct and as the essence of consciousness. But the bondage caused by the body is also very real and makes a great impact on us all the while. We are constantly aware of the limitations of the body, birth, old age, disease, death, and we cannot escape all kinds of misery that life plunges us in.

But once one is able to leave aside the bodily concerns, he can sense the freedom and joy of being only conscious of the self and not the body. The thought that ‘I am the doer’ is the greatest hurdle to be overcome in this quest. Instead one should repeatedly evoke the thought that ‘I am the consciousness and the one and only self, existing eternally and always apart from the created universe.’ Listening to such explanations of Ashtavakra, Janaka, the disciple, who is already well versed in Vedanta and is also a ruler par excellence, is overwhelmed with the awareness felt within and is grateful to his preceptor.


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 4:52:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/steps-to-realisation/article35527968.ece

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