An interesting question is raised: What must be the attitude or faith of a seeker interested in self-development? In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Only one person in many thousands seeks full God-knowledge. And of these, only one in many thousands truly gains it. Despite these odds, it is the intent of God that all beings are, in the fullness of time, destined to reach this degree of perfection. What, then is the attitude that leads to self development and realisation of innate divinity?
avidya San. f. ignorance, especially in a spiritual sense arising from the illusion of maya, the veil of separateness. The darkness of ignorance veils our perception, so that we see a snake in a rope and are deluded by our senses into believing the world is real; we are unaware of the true Reality that underlies and sustains it.
parama+brahman San. N. the supreme Self, the Absolute.
atmaswaroop: cf. atmaswarupa; Consciousness, the Self, original nature, our true essential nature. (embodiment, form of the Atma)
Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;
shunya Hin., San. adj. var, sunya void, empty m. null, void, nothingness, emptiness, non-existence; solitude.
sunyam: void SB 1.14.14
Question 184: Sir, what must be the attitude or faith of a seeker interested in self-development?
Answer: Ramji, faith or attitude is of four types:
(i) The attitude of body-ego and the assumption that ‘I am an offspring of my parents’ — this attitude is a cause of great bondage because it leads to the illusion of multiplicity.
(ii) ‘I am distinct from all objects and feelings, I am a witness to everything and I am more subtle than the point of a hair, or anything else’ – this attitude brings peace and liberation.
(iii) ‘I am Atma, the immortal, and I pervade everything in the vast web of the universe‘ – this attitude also leads to liberation.
(iv) ‘I am unreal and the universe, too, is unreal. I am shunya (non-entity) like akash (void) where nothing exists’ — this attitude also leads to liberation.
Of these four types of faith, the first one is the cause of bondage; the remaining three lead to liberation and these are attained with the purity of mind. Between an atom and Brahma, all that is experienced is an aspect of Atma (Atmaswaroop), like the waves in an ocean, which are aspects of water. The distinction of oneness and multiplicity experienced in the universe is the ideational potency of Paramatma because of which the Absolute is perceived as multiplicity. The advait (non-dual) Atma is always omnipotent, omnipresent, non-ideational and free from the ideas of duality. You should reﬂect on Atma; and realising the universe as ignorance (avidya), renounce everything. Or, you may assume that I pervade the real and the unreal, I am of the nature of illumination, and everything is illumined by me; I am immortal, pure, formless, supreme, free from blemishes and ideations, the jiva in every jiva, the cause of every cause, of the nature of experience and the seed of all experiences.
Ramji, knowing so, abandon the ideas of I, you, and that and adopt and realise with firm faith what I have told you, and then only you will be free from ego. Renounce all desires in your mind, and being free from the ideas of love and hate, perform good actions overtly. After due reflection on all states, fix yourself in the supreme state. Within your mind, be disinterested in all objects and actions. Overtly, you may appear to be consumed by desires, but you must be in peace within. Perform all functions overtly, but be detached within your mind. Be merry when you have riches, knowing them as unreal, and express sorrow when you are faced with miseries, knowing them, too, as unreal. Overtly, you may appear according to your circumstances but within, you must be in peace. Being free the feelings of a doer, interact in the world.
“Beyond this world of nature I have a second higher aspect that is distinct from all of nature and yet interacts with it. This is My spiritual realm (Purusha). Purusha is the life force, the source of consciousness in all beings, and the animator of all life. This mysterious power supports and sustains the entire universe.
6. “The commingling of these two realms, nature (which is inert matter) and spirit (which is life consciousness), is the womb of all beings. Life itself originates in this union of nature and spirit. The entire universe evolves from these two aspects of Me, and will finally dissolve into Me.
7. “I am Pure Consciousness, Arjuna, the underlying essence of all elements and beings. Nothing whatsoever exists separate from My Divinity. There is no power in the cosmos that does not emanate from Me and belong to Me. The entire universe is suspended from Me as if I were the string in a necklace of jewels. The gems may differ vastly, but the force holding them all together, the central thread, is Me, Divinity.
8. “I am the innate nature of everything. In pure water I am the sweet taste. In the sun and moon I am the radiance. In the very centre of human beings I live as virility and courage. I am the sacred word Om, which designates the Divine, and I am the sound of it heard throughout the universe.
9. “I am the slight, delicate scent, the sweet fragrance of the earth. I am the brilliance in both fire and sun. I am the light of Divinity in all beings. I am the subtle spirit in spiritual practices that gives them their existence – I am the love in the devotee, for example, or the austerity in the ascetic, or the sweet sense of charity in the giver.
10. “I am the primordial seed of all entities, the power of discrimination (buddhi) in those who are intelligent, the splendour within all resplendent beings and things.
11. “Of the strong, I am their might and vigour. As I am beyond all attachments, I am the power in unselfish desire. I am the subtle force in good actions that puts them in harmony with the welfare of humanity. I am the innate urge to help others.” (Bhagavad Gita: 7:4-11)
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat
“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”