This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Book: Swami Dayananda Saraswati Review: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi
My attempts to manipulate the world to my liking are not always successful. I cannot change people to make my life more comfortable. Nor can I make things happen as I want them to happen. The only thing open to me is to deal with myself as a person. I need to relate to the world objectively and learn to let people be what they are, and relate to them as they are. There is never total freedom from relating: we are born related, we live related, and we die related. Just as you can deal with a scorpion objectively and with a caution, so too can you deal with difficult people. A scorpion stings with its tail, people sting with words and looks. In our „Shastras‟, fear is addressed. Freedom from fear can be relative or absolute. Relative freedom from fear is accomplished by being objective (reducing subjectivity). In life, if you achieve objectivity, you assure for yourself a certain ease, a degree of freedom even while relating to this world. Wherever you are, you are connected. The connectedness is amazing. There are cultural connections, social connections, ancestral connections, biological connections, and genetic connections. Everyone is connected to everything else in the universe.
Hardware evolution (the physical body) is taken care of by the genetic code within the programming that is there. That is „Prakriti‟, meaning nature, that which is capable of creation. Free will (the faculty of choice that we have) has to be in the hands of the person, and the capacity that we have to know has to be used in order to make ourselves feel at home wherever we are. Situations like parentage are not negotiable, they are given. The place of birth, time of birth, childhood, and the world that I confront are all given. My body, its limitations, and its capacities are given. My faculty to know and my free will (my ability to choose) are also given. Certain fundamental laws and forces are given, and that we can make use of them is also given. The faculties to explore, discover and invent and the materials and resources necessary for that are given. Also our being here with a body, mind, and senses confronting the world is given. Arrogance and pride are due to ignorance; nothing else. If you begin seeing the reason why there cannot be pride and ignorance, then you are naturally humble. When knowledge is there, humility will be natural. When we see all that is given, it is natural for the human intellect, the rational thinking faculty, to think of a giver. A giver is assumed and talked about, but the giver himself does not appear anywhere. It seems that he loves to be behind the scenes, yet the human intellect assumes that there is a giver because of the complexity and intelligence that is involved in the making of every living organism that we see. The „Ishavasyopanishad‟ starts with the prayer:
“That is whole; this is whole. From that whole, came this whole. Taking this whole from that whole, what remains is only the whole.” „Purnam‟ means limitlessness, completeness, absolute fullness, wholeness. „Idam‟ stands for this entire world, what is perceivable. „Adam‟, that, refers to a thing to be known, which due to some kind of remoteness is not available for immediate knowledge. But it can be known upon destruction of remoteness.
Vedanta teaches us how to be objective about ourselves. To be objective, we must understand things as they are. „Purnam‟ is a word revealing a reality that is limitless. The other word for it is „Brahman‟. „Purnam‟, „Bhuma‟, „Anantam‟, „Purushah‟ all have similar meanings. The causal condition, prior to any forms being there, is said to be „Purnam‟. There was nothing other than itself. Purnam means that which is not limited by time, place, or the qualities of any object. It is not limited by space because there is no place, where it is not. It is not limited by time because it does not exist in time. There was not a time when it was not, and there will not be a time when it will not be. And it is not limited by the qualities of any object because there can be no object that can be away from it. This is what is called „timelessness‟. The entire „Jagat‟ means the world that is known plus the world that is not known. In the dream, we have the capacity to think of stars, and stars are there. By our own thought („Sankalpa‟) they just appear. This is an amazing creation. The same being, who is in the form of all the objects, pervades and sustains this entire world. So you, the dreamer, the maker of the dream are the dream space, dream time, and everything in that dream time and dream space, whether it is a particle or a mountain. The entire Jagat is not separate from God. We need not search for God or locate him in heaven. If there is a heaven, that itself is non-separate from God. When I see that the whole „Jagat‟ is pervaded by „Ishvara‟ (the Lord), that opens up my heart to appreciate the big picture. „Purnam‟ is limitless in terms of knowledge, power and skill. From this limitless „Purnam‟ alone, this „Jagat‟ was born. And the born „Jagat‟ is not separate from the material cause. And the material cause is not separate from the maker.
[The Shrimad Bhagavat reaffirms:
“I take refuge in that self-existing Being in whom is this universe, from whom is this universe, by whom is this universe, who Himself is this universe, and who is beyond this (differentiated universe) as also beyond that (undifferentiated Nature).” [Shrimad-Bhagavat 8.3.3] The child‟s total helplessness is compensated by its innocent total trust in the people who care it. The child cannot afford to distrust the hands that tend it.
The first few years account for what is called the core personality in every individual. Then the child comes to understand that the parents are fallible, and everybody else is also fallible. Seeking help when you need help is intelligent living; seeking help when you can help yourself is immature. We are born ignorant and given the faculty to know, and we keep learning. When we learn, we are shedding ignorance. We are not really gathering knowledge because knowledge is already there. We do not say, “Gad is infallible”; we say “The infallible is God”. To say, “The infallible is God”, a lot of understanding is necessary. You have to intimately understand the infallible order, which is „Ishvara‟, pervading everything. This is the big picture. The whole picture of life is different. The small picture that we now have is the problem. Within that small picture, every problem solving creates more problems. We need to have a big picture. Neither I blame myself, nor do I blame the world. This is a very important stage in one‟s understanding. To be objective is to understand myself in the scheme of things and to understand that this world, which is intelligently put together, includes my body-mind-sense complex, and that this world, the creation, is not separate from the cause. Both the maker and the material cause is identical. This is the vision we need. It is within the order to desire, to do, and to achieve. And governing all this, there is an order of „Dharma‟ (right or wrong). We all commonly sense what is right and wrong. Every living organism, including a mosquito, knows, “I should not be hurt by anybody”. And the human being not only knows “I should not be hurt by anybody”, but also knows “Others do not want to be hurt by me”. We are all very clear about what we want from others, and we also know what others want from us. This is the basis of the universal order called „Dharma‟. We have to live using our heads, making deliberate thoughtful choices. For human action and for relating to the world, there should be a governing matrix of norms, and that is given to us. It is another manifestation of „Ishvara‟, the Lord, manifest in the form of „Dharma‟ in our heads. Based upon „Dharma‟ is the law of „Karma‟. When we accomplish various ends that we want to accomplish in conformity to „Dharma‟ (what is right and wrong), we have no conflicts. But when we do things to others that we don‟t want to have been done to ourselves, there will be conflict and negative consequences. The means and ends have a definite connection; therefore there will be an appropriate result. When you do a willful action against the law of Dharma, that action will produce a
result called „papa‟, which will get translated in terms of unpleasant situations either in this life or later. When you reach out and do somebody good for that person, that is an appreciable „Dharmic‟ action because you like it, everybody likes it. That is exactly what everybody wants done to them. It is a noble action that will attract a result called „punya‟. This „punya‟ translates itself into pleasant situations either in this life or in the hereafter. A thing is acknowledged to be existent because either directly I see it with my senses, or without my senses, I infer or presume it to be. My ignorance, knowledge, emotions, body, senses and objects are all evident to me through your various means of knowledge. My existence does not need any means of knowledge, nor does it need any evidence. The self, to whom everything becomes evident is „self-evident‟ – „I am’. My being in this situation in the world is evident to me. In fact, whatever becomes evident to me in the world, and to whom it is evident, is the self. God has to be both the subject as well as the object in order to be „Purnam‟. He is both self-evident and what is evident to the self. The self is unique. There is only one „I‟. There is no second „I‟, and the uniqueness of this „I‟ is that it is self-revealing and self-evident. Objects are absent in sleep, but consciousness is „I am‟. That island of sleep, which we so enthusiastically enter into and so reluctantly come out of, must be a happy island. There is so much love for sleep because there is freedom from all limitations. You do not become limitless consciousness because that is what you already are. You are limitless (Purnam). And this „Purnam‟ is what you experience when you sleep.
“That thou art.” [Chhandogya Upanishad]
Vedanta teaches that I am already free. I have to become free from the notion that I am bound. It is a notion, not a truth. Consciousness is „Chit‟, consciousness is „Sat‟, and consciousness is limitless „Ananda‟. Three words are there but it is all One. Consciousness is „Sat-Chit-Ananda‟.
„I am‟ is recognized as self-revealing, self-existent consciousness that is spatially limitless. It is the content of time; therefore, limitless. The Veda says: “Understand „Maya‟ to be the creative power („Prakriti‟), the cause of everything.” The entire „Jagat‟ is „Ishvara‟, and „Ishvara‟ is nothing but this „Purnam‟, „Brahman‟. The same „Purnam‟ „Sat-Chit-Ananda‟, the limitless consciousness as „Ishvara‟ is manifest in the form of this world. Therefore, this world is „Purnam‟, the same „Sat-Chit-Ananda‟ alone. „Ishvara‟ in the form of this „Jagat‟, is understood in the form of physical order. The word „Jagat‟ disappears; order remains. This is called understanding. The order is interconnected. There is a biological order, a physiological order, a psychological order, and a cognitive order. There is also an order of „Karma‟ and an order of „Dharma‟. All these are „Ishvara‟. „Ishvara‟, who is infallible in the form of order, can easily be understood. The infallible is not away. It pervades me, and it pervades everything and everybody. Nobody is bad; nobody is good. People are people. Everyone is struggling with his or her own mind all within the order. This understanding gives us freedom from blaming ourselves and others. When we bring more „Ishvara‟ into our life, we will find the space necessary to understand the profundity of „Ishvara‟ and the profundity of our „Self‟. The truth of „Ishvara‟ is the truth of our self.
“This Atman (Self of man) is the Brahman.” [Mandukya Upanishad]
We remain „Purnam‟, limitless.
Review: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi