The Conscious and the Inert

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Radiant Divinities! The conscious and the inert exist side by side in this creation of God. You constitute the conscious factor, the entity; the universe outside you constitutes the inert factor. You perceive a mountain, the mountain does not perceive you. You perceive a tree, the tree does not perceive you as you perceive it. A great rock of granite, existing for thousands of years—you perceive it, it does not perceive you. It is not even aware that you are perceiving it. Even though it may exist for thousands and thousands of years, it remains the same. It may gradually be worn away, but it does not evolve.

Whereas a conscious being like you comes into the world and from the moment of birth you begin to perceive things, you begin to react to them. Then as you grow you interact with them, and still later you begin to act upon them. Further on you investigate them, analyse them, enter into their very heart and core. Nothing can conceal its secret from you. You probe and wrest the secret out of everything. Why? Because you are a conscious being. The inert continues to exist as it is; the conscious ever advances, ever evolves, ever improves and masters everything. Thus man as the conscious being is the powerful one. He exerts his influence, and the inert yields to the power and the force that consciousness brings to bear on it.

Therefore, from a pragmatic and rational point of view, it is meaningless to say that the universe is bondage, that we are caught in samsara (the process of worldly life) and helplessly suffer. It is a wrong notion, a misstatement, a contradiction of the true, inner, essential fact. The universe cannot bind anyone. Samsara has no power because it is jada, or inert. It has no power to bind; it cannot hold anyone in thraldom, in bondage. It has no power of its own; it cannot cling to you, bind you, hold you down from becoming whatever you wish to become. It is you who cling to it. It is you who are aware of its existence, who act and set up relationships. Bondage arises from you, not from samsara, not from this world, not from this creation of God. It does nothing. You are the one who has become bound by your own way of relating yourself to samsara, by your own way of failing to understand samsara and by wrongly understanding things around you.

As a conscious being you have intelligence, you have perception, you have thoughts. You have the power of thinking, inferring, discriminating, enquiring, comparing, contrasting, analysing, knowing, selecting, rejecting. You also have the power to perceive “what binds me, what liberates me, what is inimical to me and what is beneficial to me.” All these you possess because you are a conscious entity.

Therefore, the way in which consciousness is applied and used throughout prakriti (Nature) determines what the universe does to you or what you can do to the universe. You can triumph over everything around you. The way in which you apply your faculties and express your consciousness depends upon your understanding of the universe and yourself. If there is knowledge at the basis, then everything you do you do rightly, and the universe around you becomes a help to your evolution. If the basis is ignorance, wrong perception, then you create bondage.

The universe is as God created it. It was meant to be a help for your evolution, but you convert it into a hindrance. It itself is neither this nor that. It is you, it is man, it is conscious being that makes God’s creation whatever it becomes to you—a help or a hindrance, bondage or a liberating factor. This is the truth.

The conscious is the powerful factor; the inert is powerless. We may endow it with power. Tobacco is an inert thing. It is a leaf, it does nothing. If you leave it by itself it will dry up, wither away, vanish. We began to relate ourselves to it in a slavish way, in a wrong way, in an unwise way. Then it became to us a hindrance, a bondage, a menace, a danger, a destroyer.

The degree of ignorance, the degree of folly with which we relate ourselves to these things determines the degree of harm they can do to us. By themselves they can do nothing. Tobacco, liquor, gambling den, narcotics, money, bad company, anything and everything around us—they do not attack us, they do not pursue us or have a malevolent intention towards us. They do nothing, they can do nothing, they have no power. It is we who endow them with power.

Therefore be wise. Know this central truth about yourself and the universe around you—yourself and all things. Gold exists. For a person who never thinks about gold, gold does not exist, whereas a criminal or an avaricious person becomes a victim of gold. Why? Not because the gold did anything. It does not pursue them or attack them, rather they develop intentions towards it, pursue it. It does not hook them; they hook themselves to it, bind themselves to it. As a result they can descend into any type of crime, even murder. Why? Because of the conscious, not because of the inert.

Therefore, again and again ponder this truth, again and again reflect over this fact, again and again think deeply of this situation. Know that bondage arises from our folly; bondage arises from utilising our God-given faculties in a manner they were not meant to be utilised in, in a wrong manner. Any endowment can either be wisely used or it can be misused, abused. If we do not use our human potential and our faculties—our eyes, ears, tongue, nose, sense of touch, hands and feet—wisely, they can all become problems to us. Sight, sound, taste, scent and touch were given to us for a purpose, a positive purpose, to help us. But we can make each one of them into a hindrance, into a problem. Not because they are problems, but because we have wrongly related ourselves to them. We do not apply them in the right way; we misuse them.

This is the crux of the human problem, the human situation, the jivatma’s plight. It must be understood well. It can make a world of difference. Think deeply of this truth—you and the universe around you which is inert. Think very deeply. This is the central problem of philosophy—man and the universe. The universe is jada, it does nothing. Man is conscious, he does everything. And what he does and how he does it determines bondage or liberation, sorrow or happiness, peace or the absence of it. Everything is determined by what you do, how you understand this inert universe, how you relate yourself, and how you make use of the human potential.

Think about it ten times, a hundred times, a thousand times. Think about it morning till evening, day after day, all your life. In that lies your arising from unrealities to the Reality. In this deep reflection lies your arising from darkness to Light. In this deep reflection and contemplation lies your arising from bondage and mortality into freedom, liberation and immortality. This is the truth. Grasp this truth and become wise. Become your own liberator now and here!

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