Archive for the ‘Chapter 16’ Category

444/16: The Price of Liberation

May 30, 2007

There is a price for everything. If we want to achieve spiritually exalted state, the price we have to pay is the give up our current state, in which the value of a man is measured in terms of his status in the society. Instead, a person’s worth should be measured by the calmness of his/her mind. Thus, our understanding can only be judged by those individuals who know us extremely intimately. Apart from ourselves (whose judgment is likely to be biased) the only other human being who can really see the true worth of a man is his/her guru.


Verse 444, Chapter 16:


ऐसा जो कामक्रोध लोभा । झाडी करुनि ठाके उभा ।

तोचि येवढिया लाभा । गोसावी होय ॥ ४४४:१६ ॥


Translation: Only those who completely give up the three deadly vices of ‘attachment’, ‘anger’ and ‘greed’ are fit enough to receive and master the exalted state (of being constantly close to the God).


There are some amongst us, who want to understand the real meaning of religion. If, for guidance, we look at any of the teachers (saints) who has understood the real import of religion themselves, we see that they all say that ritualistic practices form a much lower level of understanding. These practices are generally advised to those who do not have the capacity of understanding abstract thought, leave alone the capacity of implementing abstract thought in every-day life. Therefore, our search for proper understanding of religion cannot stop at performing religious rites faithfully. The question then arises as to when would we say for sure that we have finally understood what religion stands for.


The common strain in various different answers given by countless saints following different religions is the verse above. Basically, it is saying that our real understanding of religion is best reflected in our behaviour in daily life.  How we react when we are confronted with different situations in our everyday life is the best examination of our understanding. Just like in a school, where our understanding of the prescribed texts is measured by the annual examination, events in our daily life are constantly allowing us to evaluate how far have we progressed in our search for truth of religion or God. This is the only way to be sure that what we have heard has been properly understood by us or not. As long as we consider our behaviour in the world as different from our search for God (or truth, or religion), we have no hope for proper understanding. Therefore, all of us, who are honest in our search of God, should first accept that our behaviour in the world at large is the only real test of our progress. Once we accept this criterion, we would automatically be keen to develop the knack of looking at our own behaviour in a neutral manner.


Now the question is: what kind of behaviour is said to reflect proper understanding of religion? When can we say that we pass this acid test of our understanding?


Let us look at it logically. When we are really interested in a phenomena, we devote our whole attention to it. All other things become a distraction to us and we do not pay much attention to them. Therefore, if we are really interested in finding the true nature of God, all things that prevent us from understanding Him will be viewed by us as mere distractions. Since the God we are searching for cannot be found in any single thing of this world, the true seeker would look at this world in a distracted way. Hence, the first consequence of our nearness to God is to reduce ‘attachment’ to things of this world. Please note that reduction of attachment does not mean ‘aversion’. Aversion is not the opposite of attachment. Detachment is the opposite of attachment. Thus any increase in our detachment to this world should be viewed as a progress towards God. In fact Ramakrishna Paramahansa used to say that the whole import of Gita can be understood by saying Gita six times. The word then becomes Tagi, means Tyagi, the renouncer. Renounce your attachment to this world is the entire teaching of Gita.


The moment we develop detachment, anger and greed automatically becomes less. In fact, the test of our increasing detachment is the vanishing of these two emotions from our life. Therefore, Dnyaneshwar Maharaj is telling us that disappearence of these emotions from our life is necessary condition for us to be able to see the truth of God. We have got used to guide our life solely with the help of our attachments and greed. To be near God, we need to give different orientation for our existence. Unless we have developed the power of mind to ignore our attachments and greed and control anger, we should not even expect to see the omnipresence of God. Therefore, before demanding a quick ‘proof’ of the existence of God, we should see for ourselves if we are capable of understanding the proof.