Removal of ignorance

CHENNAI: Delusion is the cause of ignorance about the eternal truth. The immediate reality of the world around us forces us to believe in it though we perceive constant change in all that is born as it grows, matures, ages and dies. This is why we do not sense the inner essence of existence. It is to dispel this ignorance and provide a panacea for humanity to be relieved from the endless cycle of sorrow and delusion that the Lord chooses to instruct the divine Truth to Arjuna prior to the Mahabharata war, pointed out Sri N. Veezhinathan in a lecture.

The subtle nature of His omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence that is not easy to recognise is revealed to Arjuna. The three Gunas, Satva, Rajas and Tamas that constitute the nature of creation, found in human beings, are the cause for every individual’s actions. The attraction to worldly objects is found in those who are steeped in Rajas and Tamas prompting them to disregard and deride the scriptures. While Rajas kindles greed, ambition, etc., Tamas gives rise to demonic tendencies, and such promptings lead to vain aspirations and acts of cruelty. But those in whom Satva Guna is predominant accept the authority of the scriptures with dedication and worship the Lord as the imperishable source of all beings.

The Lord calls these people as “Mahatmas”, who, because of their past good deeds, realise the Lord’s greatness and have single minded devotion to Him. They remain connected to Him at all times in their mind and heart.

There are others who follow the scriptures but yet fail to realise the all pervading Supreme Being as the indweller in all aspects of creation. These people also perform Vedic rituals to propitiate the celestials, and gain their desires according to their effort. But they are subsequently forced into the cycle of birth since they have not aimed for the ultimate goal of life, salvation.

The Katopanishad illustrates the ephemeral nature of existence both in this world and that of the celestials through the thirst for the ultimate truth that Nachiketas displayed. Nachiketas proved his eligibility to know the truth by his renunciation of all the temptations that Yama offered.

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