Sense of discrimination

CHENNAI: The guidance of many realised preceptors and sacred texts are no doubt valuable to the spiritual seeker; yet the truth of existence is something that can only be intuitively realised in the individual's consciousness. That is why the discussions on the nature of happiness that feature in the Upanishads and in philosophical works such as Adi Sankara's Viveka Chudamani are not readily internalised by many of us, pointed out Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a lecture. In these works, it is clearly indicated that true happiness is not attainable as long as one associates with the material world.

The tendency to associate happiness with worldly objects is very strong in most of us as we are all under the sway of the material world with all its glitter.

Adi Sankara's advice is to develop the right sense of discrimination (Viveka) so that the Self is able to recognise its true nature and overcome the cycle of Samsara that has its share of joy and sorrow.

The Jivatma desirous of liberation has to contend with very strong challenges. The prime suspect in this case is the delusion caused by ignorance. Unless one is able to discriminate between the real and the unreal, one can never attain salvation. This barrier has to be broken and this is not an easy task.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the distinction between the body and the Self is repeatedly stressed. The Self acquires the body as a result of past actions. Every human being is a unique union of the gross and subtle elements and the Self gets a chance to experience the world on the one hand and also realise its true nature.

The sense organs such as eye, ear, and tongue with the help of the functions of the mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi) and ego-sense (Ahamkara) are responsible for the experiences.

The mind is a very powerful force and dictates the thought, word and action and this potential has to be understood and intelligently handled. The deep impressions in it pull the Self to the worldly glitter. But the same mind alone can help us to overcome the ignorance and motivate us to turn away from it and look inwards.