The Fundamental Error

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Radiant Divinities! Beloved sadhaks and all those assembled here in Gurudev’s spiritual presence this morning hour! One of the fundamental basic teachings of Vedanta is that the whole problem of the individual soul, the jivatma, is due to adhyasa, identification with this human personality and all that it means. They say you have identified yourself with factors which do not constitute your real nature, your true identity. And this is the bondage in which you are caught, which prevents you from experiencing your real nature. When you are identifying yourself with all that goes to make up your human personality, how can you expect to experience your divine personality? You cannot think of yourself as two beings. Either you are divine or you are human with all its imperfections and drawbacks.

The basic mistake, the great error, the fundamental first sin, as they say, is deh ko mai manna (considering the body as “I”). It is due to this adhyasa (wrong identification) that you identify yourself with your upadhis, with your likes and dislikes, your prejudices and vices, your lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy. You identify yourself with these things and therefore you are one with them. They completely catch hold of you. You are in their power. For the time being you become that; you are no longer divine or even human; you take the form of that strong emotion or passion that dominates you. You become it, and in that state you are in total delusion. You do not know what you are doing. All reason, intelligence, common sense take leave.

This has to be avoided. And in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna has carefully spelled out the root cause and its consequences: “When a man thinks of objects, attachment for them arises. From attachment desire is born. From desire anger arises. From anger comes delusion. From delusion confusion of memory. From confusion of memory the destruction of discrimination. From destruction of discrimination, he perishes.” Thus the Lord spells out very clearly what leads to what and the root cause of it all: “when a man thinks of objects.”

We are constantly engaged in thinking about the things here. We are constantly thinking of sense-objects, this world, this creation of maya. We are not constantly engaged in thinking about that Being Who is beyond all sense-objects, beyond everything—yattat buddhigrahyam atindriyam (that which is beyond the senses but can be grasped by the pure intellect). If we engage ourselves in thinking upon tattva, upon Brahman, upon Bhagavan, thinking about paramatma, about satchidananda svarupa, then these aberrations will not occur.

But we are precisely doing what the Gita tells us is the root cause of our delusion, sorrow and ultimate destruction. When you do not avoid the root cause that Lord Krishna has clearly spelled out, then your fate is also sealed. Your fate also becomes inevitable, because you are doing precisely what Lord Krishna has warned you against. We are engaged in thinking only of sense-objects, the world, things here, persons here, events and occurrences here. We are not engaged in thinking about Bhagavan. We are not engaged in trying to absorb ourselves—thought, feeling, heart, mind, soul—into that Being. If we did that, then there would be no problem, there would be no trouble.

We are not doing tattva chintan (reflection upon Truth), we are doing vishaya vastu chintan (reflection upon sense-objects). And thus it is inevitable that we identify ourselves with lust, anger and greed and go to hell. Because Lord Krishna has said that these three are the gateways to hell. We are in a state of identification with whatever comes into our mind, our heart, whatever takes hold of our emotional level, our sentimental level. We are completely in its grip.

Therefore, long ago they said: “Look here, you are not these things, you are sakshi (witness) of these things. Try to develop the sakshi chaitanya vritti (witness consciousness) within you. Do not always go on perpetuating this adhyasa avastha in your antahkarana (state of wrong identification in your inner being). It is not good for you. Be a witness, be detached, stand back.”

And now modern psychologists have discovered this same Vedantic reality. They say that as long as you are totally in the grip of your emotions, you will always be suffering. All these inner dramas, all these inner complexes and neuroses, are a result of identifying yourself with negative trends of thinking and feeling.

One of the great psychologists of Europe, practising, in Paris, said: “No, no, assert and affirm positivism. Say, ‘I am not these things; I am something getting better and better each day. I am ascending up, my life is going up, it is moving towards perfection and wholeness. These aberrations are not in me. As far as I am concerned, I am becoming better and better and finding myself higher and higher day by day.’ ” He gave this formula of asserting the positive state of the inner being.

If we apply the fundamental thesis that adhyasa (wrong identification) is the root cause of all these undesirable things and, therefore, make this determination: “I should not allow this adhyasa to characterise, to dominate my daily life; I must root out and oppose this adhyasa; I must refute, reject and eradicate it; I should not fatten it, or make it still stronger and more deeply rooted by my foolishness; on the contrary I must oppose it, eradicate it”—if this process of Vedanta is applied in our daily life towards our emotions, moods and strong passions, towards our strong likes and dislikes, then our whole life will undergo a transformation. It will no longer be conflict-ridden with strong feelings for and against people, and things, and events. Life will start flowing smoothly, harmoniously.

If we invoke our witness consciousness and say: “I am not the mind, the ego, the intellect or memory; I am not these things nor all the various modifications of these things; no, I am not, and I shall certainly not identify myself with this non-Self; all these various psychological states are not my true condition, and I will only affirm my satchidananda tattva”—if in this way you bring this great discovery of Vedanta into your daily life and you practise Vedanta in your daily life, the transformation will come. Your life will no longer be a slavish following of anger and passion and the other things that come into you. Your life will acquire a certain dignity, a depth, a certain serenity, and ultimately it will grow into divinity.

Ponder this point, this fundamental, basic central thesis of Vedanta: that adhyasa is the root, the essence of the problem of the jivatma. Ask: “What is the relevance of this wrong identification to my daily life? Because if that is the root of the problem of this mundane life, it means that my whole life is that problem diversified. I am living a problem; I am allowing the problem to proliferate and become more and more elaborate. Unless I alter the problem itself, I will be completely caught and submerged in it.”

For instance, when you are making a mathematical calculation, if in the beginning you make one error and do not discover it, then all your further calculations will be wrong. You may cover pages with figures, which may be correct as far as the workings are concerned, but your conclusions will be wrong because they are based on an original error. In the same way, if we keep this adhyasa with us and do not do anything to get rid of it, and upon the basis of this wrong identification go on living our life, then our whole life will be full of ajnana (ignorance). It will not be vastavik jivana (real, true life), it will be vishama jivana (a difficult, disordered, complicated life). Your life will be a caricature of what life ought to be. But if you live in awareness, in knowledge, in wisdom, if you live wisely, rejecting this false connection with the non-Self, and if you identify with the Self, then life will be true life, an authentic life. Otherwise, it will be a spurious life, a false life, a contradiction of your true nature.

Therefore, you being divine, being children of God, being the son of God, addressing God as Father, Mother, Friend, Relative, if you do not want your life to be a caricature, an anomaly, a contradiction of the Truth, then you have to bring Vedanta into your daily life. Realise that as long as adhyasa is there, you will be living a blind life. Therefore be determined: “I have to open my eyes, I have to stand up with clarity of vision, I have to live my life with divinity in action, Vedanta in daily life.”

That is the only way of liberating ourselves from the clutches of the enemies which are within our own selves. Unless you apply Vedanta in your daily life, subjectively, objectively, you cannot correct this undesirable situation and soar into a higher realm of consciousness. Ponder this and make Vedanta your cure, make Vedanta your mahaushadhi (great medicine) for the bhavaroga (disease of transmigration). Make Vedanta your great liberator! God bless you!

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