The Ultimate Knowledge – Gita VII

 

Gita Chapter VII – Jnana Vijnana Yoga – Ultimate knowledge

Bhagavad Gita from chapter one to six, the discourse was about individual, the issues and dilemmas facing him, the need to engage in action, the ways to do it, the importance of knowledge and renunciation and how all of them work together. We also understood that we are beyond this body, mind and intellect and are eternal atman. That being our identity the next step is about awakening the self, the inner being.

The journey from now on is of spiritual journey of a man. It is moving away from Individual consciousness to consciousness that pervades the world, the source of all consciousness the ultimate reality. That we call by many names, Brahman, Param-atma, God, Supreme soul, Universal Consciousness, Krishna consciousness and so on. From 7th chapter onwards the gear shifts and the direction is towards understanding this world, reality, universal consciousness or God, worshiping a godhead and aspects related to it. That from this chapter Gita becomes highly conceptual is may be why few attempts to talk or write about it.

Godhead, Manifestation of God and Devotion

All of us from time and again have a question, especially when we embark upon a journey to understand universe. Is there a God. Who is He or She. What defines God. What are the attributes. Why and how should I pay reverence to God. And related questions there off. Why there are as many gods in the world as there are beings in the world. And we have the limitations imposed by our body, senses, mind and intellect in trying to comprehend that which is beyond these instruments of ours. Within this constraint we try to understand when Krishna goes about explaining the God Consciousness.

Ultimate Knowledge

The ultimate knowledge is knowing that God is everything and in every being and he is the ultimate reality of what world is made up of. He is omniscient, omni present, Nature – one who does the functions of creator, sustainer, destroyer where all the three are necessary for evolution. He is life personification, essence of everything and anything, controller and illuminator. To put it in nutshell, nothing moves without him.

The World:

And what is world. It is made up of Elements – earth, water, fire, air, ether, intellect, ego and mind. Apart from this there is the universal soul, of higher nature, that is present in everything, matter and life in this world and it supports it. All beings that are born have two components, matter and energy. Soul, and Godhead is the source of all origin and dissolution.

Excellence in everything

Godhead is the source code of everything and everyone, for no animate or inanimate energy can exist without matter and consciousness necessary for that state of existence. And what we call as matter, plant, animal or body is the coming together of elements of earth, fire, air, and water, and when they disintegrate the body dissolves.  And the seed of intelligent is from ether that creates our mind, ego and intellect. In essence, not even an atom moves without God consciousness.

Nature of Godhead

God is the substratum of everything ever born and also the one in which everything dissolves. He is immutable, un-manifest, unsurpassed, veiled by illusion and controls the world. He is the essence of everything. He is the basis of the flavor and fluidity of water, the heat and light behind the sun, moon and fire, the vibration behind the sound, the elements of atmosphere, the solidity and fragrance of earth. He is present in all life forms. He is the prowess personified in the valiant, as strength in the powerful and life force in everyone. But the challenge is while he is all pervading, manifest in everything, present at all times – past, present and future, he is not easily comprehensible by sense organs, mind and intellect for he is beyond all that.

Purpose of Worship

Why do one pray. There are two types of people. One who do not believe in prayer being helpful and the others who believe prayer is a great source of inspiration.  All our prayers fall within these four types. When we are suffering, grieving and sad and need help we pray to God asking him to alleviate our suffering.  Or we ask for wealth, success, fame, promotion, college admission essentially those aspects which make one seem successful in the eyes of the world. The third type ask for knowledge for knowing that everything becomes easily attainable. And fourthly the wise pray to god, not for seeking in any of the above, for he is free of dualities, illusions and delusions that affect the world but to attain liberation for this is considered as ultimate in prayer and Krishna holds him to be the dearest.

By worshiping God, by taking refuge in God, practicing yoga one will know God in Full. When one worships with complete indifference to the fruits of actions, comprehend with the aids of mind and intellect – gather from outside and by going inside, by intuition and meditation one reaches perfection.

World as a playground

Worship for deliverance from suffering because of dualities – birth/death, pain and suffering. We take birth in this world of experience, illusionary world as long as the soul has desire. We have inherent tendencies accumulated from various births and led by them we seek our experience in the world. Each birth is a step towards soul’s evolution. And this is directed by the consciousness in us, desire, knowledge and action and our nature of rajasik, satwik or tamasic.  And it is the god who drives us in this world to fulfill out right desires, that is desire as per the state and stage in life. So, we understand that wish fulfillment is not denounced as long as it is right.

And we understand the futility of materialistic nature of the world. It dawns on us that we come from God, play in this world for some time and go back to the God. And the stay in this world is like crossing of the ocean, full of challenges and dualities. Knowing this world, the elements, the God consciousness, transitory nature of our life the wise seek liberation and merges with consciousness.

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Why Suffer

The Fault is of the Sufferer

Suffering is inevitable aspect of life. All of us suffer. When we suffer the first questions that crosses our mind is why, why me, why now, what did I do wrong, is there a reason for it, will I recover and where do I go from here.  And many a times that answers we get, if at all we get, would be more complex and confusing. And rarely we get answers that are simple, profound and to our liking.

When we suffer, due to some reason after the first set of questions, we want to know who is at fault. And when a problem resulting in suffering occurs, be it in home, school, college, office, public space, it happened because of so and so, or an incident, or accident or a natural cause.  If one were to go by psychiatrist, after analyzing our life, one identifies that our parents, siblings, teachers, Government etc. are the reason one is suffering.

In his book “The fault is of the sufferer”, Ambalal Patel, A Jain Guru gives an interesting says that, Sufferings happen because of three cause – one’s Karma (Action) which is Law of the Nature, mistakes committed by us in the past, and ignorance of the ways of the world.

Karma and Nature’s Law

“Nature’s law governs this world at all times. The simple rule being -Those who deserve merit receive their merit and those who deserve punishment are punished. Nothing operates outside the law of nature. The law of nature is completely just, but because one does not understand it, he does not accept it. When one’s understanding becomes pure, he will be able to accept nature’s justice. “This law is exact and no one can ever change it. There is no law in this world that can inflict suffering upon anyone, not even the law of the government”.

Past Mistakes

One is free of sufferings, but we suffer because of our past mistake, be it of this life or past life, and are bound by it. Because of our mistakes, be it of understanding, thinking, action in any area of the field we work, mistakes happen resulting in failure, accidents, loss, gain and so on. And once we identify the mistake and eliminate it we can be free of resultant suffering.

Ignorance

Majority of the People do not have the knowledge of the Reality of this world and how it functions. They only have the knowledge of ignorance, the relative world, which causes them to wander endlessly, life after life. To give an example, if someone steals your wallet, need to identify whose fault is it and why is that only your wallet was stolen and not anyone else’s?

Karma is Relentless

We read newspapers or watch TV, we get to know about lots of untoward incidents like, theft, accidental death and atrocities happening. This leads to worry, anxiety, negative thinking, unwanted imagination causing us suffering. One needs to know that You will only be robbed if it is in your karmic account. If it is not in your karma, then no one in this world can touch you, so be fearless  and not afraid of what is happening around us. No one has any control over you. If you happen to get robbed, all you need to do is ask yourself who is really suffering and then move on. The world is not meant for suffering, it is meant for enjoying. People receive that which is due to them according to their karmic account. Some people are happy and some are suffering all because of our legacy. Most importantly, if you are suffering, it is your own fault. Therefore, do not see anyone else’s fault, otherwise you will create new karmic accounts for your next life.

Learn to Live

One must learn how to live life. Suppose you fight at home, say between father and son, or husband and wife, and one of them is suffering and not able to sleep while the other has no concern whatsoever and is able to go about himself/herself, and sleeps soundly, know that the one who is suffering is at fault. The fault is of the sufferer.

There is no one in this world that can inflict the slightest bit of suffering upon you, and if someone does, he is merely an instrument in it. And do not blame the instrument, but know that the fault is of the sufferer. Once this fact is understood all problems and quarrels at home will cease and then one can use the energy to do other things.

If you just understand that the fault is of the sufferer, the burden of this worldly life will be lifted significantly. God’s law says that at any given time, at any given place, the person who suffers is at fault. A pickpocket is happy when he steals a person’s wallet. He will enjoy himself with the money he stole, whereas his victim will be suffering. He must have stolen in his past life and so today nature has caught him and therefore he is paying for his mistakes. Therefore, the sufferer is at fault.

Freedom from Suffering

No one is at fault. The fault is of the person who blames others. There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma. They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If you want to know who is at fault in this world, find the one who suffers. He is at fault.

Problems between people are escalated and exacerbated by each placing the blame on the other. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they must suffer them all over again. Their accounts can only be settled through awareness and intelligence that the fault is of the sufferer. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled.

World as Machine

If your finger gets stuck in the gears of a machine, the machine is not at fault. Similarly think everyone around you is like a machine. All these parents, children, husbands, wives, colleagues, partners, society, Government are nothing but machinery. They are not responsible for your suffering. By thinking like this shift the blame to self and thereby reducing the suffering gain control. If you do not let yourself be affected by the actions of others, then you do not suffer. So, understand that fault is yours and that is why you suffer. Comprehend this one will be at peace.

The Action Reaction Cycle

There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma (Actions). They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they will have to suffer them all over again. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, you have to accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled. Whatever you have given to others, you will receive in return. If you accept it gladly, you will be settling your account. If you do not accept it, you will have to suffer. Know that the fault is of the sufferer.

Your inner enemies of anger, pride, attachment and greed (krodh, maan, maya, lobh), makes you see faults in others. The vision of the Self, does not see any faults in others.

Our sufferings are either physical, mental or intellectual. Sometimes it is the ego that suffers and so the ego is at fault. Sometimes the mind suffers and so the fault is of the mind. Sometimes the chit (the subtle component of the mind that is composed of both knowledge and vision) suffers so the chit is at fault. The Real Self is detached from the mistakes of the relative self. In situations at home, in the business, at work, everywhere, just look to see who is suffering; the one who suffers is the one who is at fault and exists as long as there is ault. Once the faults are gone, no one in this world, no event in this world, will have the power to give any suffering to you.

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Excerpts fromThe fault is of the Sufferer”, by Ambalal B Patel, A Jain Guru.

Cosmos and Man

Tree of life, circle of life, river of life are some of the terms used for the journey of life that is comprised of permanent change!, ups and downs, meandering, expansion and constriction, soaring and souring in the dump, of colours of spectrum and of all in between shades. As above so below, the famous saying shows the close relationship between the cosmos and mankind where both man and nature are needed for the survival of each other and nature more so for man. The Chinese creation. Mythology explains this as below.

According to one of the Chinese mythology of creation, the god of creation is “Pangu”, who creates our earth and separates earth and Sky out of darkness and chaos.  First there was a cosmic egg in which he was growing. He comes out breaking the egg, where by out of the material thrown out and up the sky is formed and earth by that which was thrown down, further creating yin and yang, spirit and matter, sky and earth. He grew the world, got tired and died. From his body the world and all the elements in it and human body grew as below.

From his breadth – wind and clouds

Voice – thunder and lightning

Eyes – sun and moon

Arms & Legs – 4 directions

Trunk – mountain

Flesh – soil and the trees in it

Blood – rivers and veins

Hair – gross and herbs, skin

Bones and teeth – stones and minerals

Sweat- rain and dews

Hairs in the head – stars in the sky

Moods and emotions – weather

Thus was the world created and human beings came later. The similarly between man, the world and all things in the world are unmistakable. It is also apparent that the man who is born from nature, grows with the help of nature, akin to nature, who is sustained by nature when at the end of his life dies, becomes fossilised and morphs and merges into mountains, trees, minerals, rainfall and so on. Thus man and nature become indispensable to each other and more so nature to man.

Considering the billions of years it has taken for the cosmos to evolve and vast ness of it, its complexity, its interrelatedness man as an individual is just a speck and looks insignificant. That he is like any other element, plants, and animals and other life forms with slightly advanced consciousness.

But many a men live their majority of their life unconsciously.  The challenges of life are various and as many as the number of men present. By overcoming the known, unknown and random obstacles man is able to lead his life successfully until he becomes oneness with nature.

  • inspiration from “Understand Chinese mythology” by Teresa Moorey