The First Verse – 2

Summary: To keep an unbiased view towards our own life, we must constantly see the abstract ultimate reality in the form of our very existence. However, the fear losing our name, fame and other possessions that we have acquired with so much effort keeps us from taking such an attitude. Hence, we should first learn to eliminate this fear.

The first Verse : Aum, Namoji Adya, Ved Pratipadya, Jai Jai Swasamvedya, Atmarupa.

Tanslation: Aum, Salutations to the one from which everything has evolved, the one about which Vedas talk, hail the one which can only be cognized by self-experience and which has taken the form of our inner being.

We saw in the first part that Swasamvedya means trying to see things happening around you as the God itself. However, the first three descriptions (adya, vedpratipadya, and swasamvedya) describe the ultimate goal in an indirect way. Just like Vishnu is referred to in an indirect way by his name Shreedhar (Husband of Laxmi).
In the final phrase atmarupa, Dnyaneshwar Maharaj directly tells us where to look for God or reality or the ultimate goal in our life. He says that God exists in our life as the very essence of our existence; our very own being is what has been praised in the first three phrases. This also explains the need of describing it in an indirect way as follows: We cannot perceive a thing unless we are different from it. For example, we cannot see our own face. At best, we can only see its reflection in a mirror. Exactly in the same way, we can only see the reflection of our `atmarupa’ in things around us. By looking at our behaviour in the world, we can surmise the stuff we are made of.

But even here we can draw correct conclusions only if we see things as they are. In the famous film `Roshomon’, director Akira Kurosawa describes a robbery in a forest through the eyes of people who are robbed, an observer and also the thief who robbed them and we actually see completely different stories each time! In our own lives, we too have encountered many situations in which we were very sure of what happened till we were told otherwise by some one else. Then we are no more sure of what had happened!

Therefore, in order to understand properly what has been happening in our own lives we must first develop the knack of observing things as they are. If we are emotionally involved in a thing, we wont be an unbiased observer. If India is playing a cricket match, how many of us can boast of calmly watching the proceedings? Further, if we happen to lose the match (a common occurrence these days!) how many of us can say that `but it was a good game’? This happens because we have already decided on which side to take. In life too we usually take sides when we see things that happen around us. The trick of being a good observer lies in taking as much a neutral position as possible. This is not an easy task.

Many of us will feel that if we are neutral to what happens around us, won’t we lose all the fun? Better do something that interests us. Others would say even if we want to be neutral, those around us wouldn’t let it happen. But one should see that being neutral is not being inert. It is a mental state. Not a physical one. You may very well play your own part in the event happening to you, you can even get emotionally attached to that event. Yet in your mind you should distance your own Self from your actions. It is just like a maidservant looking after her master’s kid. With full attention to detail yet knowing very well that it is not her own kid. Or, it is like someone doing everyday chores with a bad toothache. Very often his attention is drawn towards the paining tooth. Or like a very miserly person whose mind constantly goes back to the money he has kept in a hideaway. One should develop this kind of concentration on one’s own inner being / Self. That will help you in having the correct attitude of being an observer of your own life.

The biggest obstacle in our developing this impartiality is our fear. The fear of losing what we have painstakingly acquired. And that too for something that we are not really sure of! Isn’t it very comforting for us to continue with our own lives even if we know that it is not an ideal one? At least we are dealing with something that we know very well. On the other hand, it is not clear what will we gain by letting go all our prejudices and starting life afresh with a new attitude.

What you will gain is the eternal calmness of mind, the lack of any kind of incompleteness and a sure feeling of doing the right thing in life. Note that all of the above gains are psychological in nature. If you are looking for material benefits by doing this sadhana, you may as well start looking for water on the moon!

This completes our discussion on the first verse of Dnyaneshwari. At least for the time being! I like this verse immensely and a lot more can be said about it. However, we may have another occasion to elaborate.

Right now, a question can be raised as to how can we tackle the fear of self-destruction, the fear of losing whatever we have acquired so far. Because, this fear is preventing us from taking an impartial view towards our own life. Our next post would be on this issue. Till then …

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