Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved and blessed children of the Divine! Sadhaks and Yogis, mumukshus and jijnasus! Jijnasu means one who has a great thirst for jnana, spiritual knowledge, one who makes vigorous efforts to attain jnana. Mumukshu means one who is desirous of attaining moksha or liberation, one who has keen aspiration to attain liberation. So in the ultimate context a jijnasu who attains liberation is also a mumukshu. He wants knowledge because he wants liberation. Transcendental knowledge alone leads to liberation because bondage is due to ignorance. Ignorance cannot be removed or destroyed by any other means except by its contrary positive factor, knowledge. Darkness disappears the moment light comes. There is no other way.
Therefore, for attaining liberation or freedom from bondage, which is due to ignorance, which is ignorance, the remedy is the attainment of knowledge. You may ask then: “What about the devotee who only does bhakti (devotion) and therefore is not after knowledge? He is not a jnana yogi, he is not intently trying to master the scriptures, meditate over their meaning, trying to solve the riddle, untie the knot of the heart through jnana.” The answer is, that when the devotee attains the object of his bhakti, that object of his devotion is kevala jnana svarupam (of the nature of pure knowledge), the Supreme Being. And that personal God, sakara saguna brahman (Brahman with form and attributes), is nothing but knowledge, supreme knowledge, pure consciousness that has taken form for the devotee’s sake. It is nothing but pure bliss consciousness, pure wisdom consciousness. It does not have a gross material form like ours.
Neither is the name of the personal God like ours. Each Name is a name of cosmic significance, that which brings out some supreme, sublime quality or attribute of the transcendental, nameless, formless, indescribable, immutable supreme Brahman. When they say Narayana, they say that which pervades all space, which is infinite, most expansive, pervading everywhere. When they say Siva, they say that which is supreme auspiciousness, supreme blessedness. Krishna is that which powerfully attracts towards Itself everything that exists. Rama is that which being in their heart, delights the Yogis or takes delight in being in the hearts of Yogis. Vasudeva is that Being which pervades everywhere and dwells in all things that exist.
So the name and form of the personal God is no other than the impersonal Absolute, temporarily having assumed a certain form visible to the spiritual eye of the devotee. And through devotion, when he realises his ishta devata, that ishta devata, being no other than the absolute parabrahman, immediately blesses the devotee, conferring upon him supreme wisdom consciousness, supreme divine knowledge. “Sraddhavan labhate jnanam—He who has intense faith in Me and worships Me with one-pointed devotion, to him I give Supreme jnana.”
Therefore, Gurudev again and again drew our attention to the fact that the highest state of transcendental devotion is not different from transcendental wisdom. Para bhakti and jnana are one and the same. When devotion to the Lord is taken to its very pinnacle of perfection, fullness, then it is nothing but pure knowledge. He used to say cryptically, “Bhakti yoga begins with two and ends in One.” Therefore, there is no intrinsic difference between the path of devotion, or God-love, and the path of knowledge, or jnana yoga. They ultimately lead to the same realisation, the same supreme transcendental experience.
Knowledge, therefore, is the one means of attaining liberation from bondage, which is constituted of ignorance of the infinite, eternal Reality, ignorance of your true transcendental nature, ignorance of your essential ever-free, ever-pure, ever-full (nitya-mukta, nitya-suddha, paripurna) atma svarupa. When you realise your true self as ever-free, ever-pure, ever-full, then and there you arrive at a stage where you get brahma jnana or supreme knowledge, which is the ultimate liberator.
But then, how does knowledge come about? How did this light come and illumine this hall? Earlier, all was darkness. Now, all is illumined. It happened when the lamp was turned on, bringing about once again a connection between this bulb and a source of invisible power called electricity. Similarly, a plant flourishes as long as it keeps contact with its source and origin, the soil. Pull it out and it withers and dies.
So it is with each and every one of you. You must keep in contact with the source of your being, be ever linked and connected with the origin from which you are. Then, day by day, your spirit will begin to unfold. It will grow, develop, progress, expand, and you will attain divine experience. You will become divine.
But when there is no connection, or you have alienated yourself from It, or forgotten It, or thought of yourself as something independent, then you are full of sorrow and anxiety, pain and suffering, misery and fear. You are full of a sense of want. Why? Because you have unwisely cut yourself off from the source of your being. The secret of a progressive and fruitful life is to be inwardly ever linked with God, linked with the Cosmic Being. If you neglect to do that, then your life will be just what it is, always in a state of discontentment, dejection, depression, dissatisfaction. All the negative things come to prevail, to dominate and torment you, to pull you hither and thither. You feel helpless, you weep and wail. You do not know what to do. You are in despair.
If you want to put an end to this, the only way is to link yourself with God, Who is your source, origin. Keep that connection either through enquiry and discrimination, or through constant unbroken remembrance of God and devotion, or through meditation and continuously thinking about Brahman, or through worshipfully dedicating all activities to Him. Do it by whatever means, but by any means do it! Put an end to this disconnection from God. Put an end to your alienation and forgetfulness of God Who is all in all to you. Then your sorrow, your suffering, everything will start receding and ultimately vanish. When the sun rises, darkness cannot remain. When you become filled with God, sorrow, suffering, pain, ignorance, bondage, fear, worry, anxiety, tension cannot remain. They disappear.
So remember, separation from God is the root cause of all human miseries, the centre of the human problem. That itself causes bondage. Put an end to this alienation and separation by Yoga, by bhakti, by jnana, by enquiry, by discrimination, by sadhana. Seriously strive after that supreme state of being constantly in a state of oneness, attunement with the Supreme and overcome the sorrows of samsara. Banish the darkness of ignorance and bondage and come into the light of supreme divine wisdom. That is the wise way. Do it now and become blessed. God bless you with success in your sadhana! Gurudev grant you ultimate fulfilment of your aspiration and your desire!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
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