Blessed Immortal Atman! Beloved children of the Divine! Amongst the innumerable human beings on the surface of the earth, those few individuals who have before them an ideal and a goal, who live in order to strive, to fulfil an ideal and to attain a goal, they alone can truly be said to live their life in a very, very special way. For those who have no particular ideal before them to fulfil, who do not have as yet a clear-cut goal to attain, life is not being lived by them, but rather they are helplessly carried down this onward rushing stream called life. It is not they who are in charge, who are in control, who are engaged in a purposeful pursuit, but rather it is life in all its various implications that is in control. They are creatures of circumstance. They are caught in the midst of situations and are dragged along the currents of certain appetites and urges. They are caught in the net of desires and cravings and are pushed and propelled by inner compulsive cravings and desires.
In the eleventh chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, with his divyachakshu (divine eye), beheld both the benign and the not so benign aspects of the great cosmic Power in all its dynamic manifestation. In one direction he beheld a glorious Being, wonderfully adorned, shining, radiant, awe-inspiring. Yet, simultaneously in another direction, he saw another aspect, a terrifying aspect of It: something terrible, all-consuming, all-destroying, with a stream of living beings falling into Its jaws to be crushed, consumed and to disappear. As constantly as life was emerging, death was also consuming.
In this same way, life can be a creative process where every moment adds something to you, heightens you, enriches you and takes you further up; and it becomes to you a steady, continuous progress towards the Goal Supreme and for the fulfilment of a grand ideal. For, already within you, within your vision and understanding, your range of aspiration, has come a clear-cut goal and an ideal, something noble, something more than the common. Therefore, to you, in total, life means a creative process, a progression, an attainment, a fulfilment.
When this is absent, life consumes the individual. The individual is not living life. He is hurried away, as it were, down the stream, helpless, impelled, propelled, pushed hither, pulled thither and lamenting, but sometimes, very strangely, thinking himself to be fully in charge, imagining himself to be very, very purposeful. That is the mystery of maya. That is what is known as kartritva abhimana, the ego of doership. One is not really doing anything; one is made to do, and yet one thinks, “No, no, I am doing, I am doing it very cleverly, I am doing it in a wonderful way.”
And this is what is known as moha (delusion) and bhranti (erroneous thinking). It is a mysterious working of an illusory power about which we know nothing. We only posit its presence because of its effects. We know that millions and billions of human beings are totally deluded, totally in a state of intoxication, totally in a state of enslavement. They are not able to control their anger and their passion, but they think they are manifesting great power. Anger, a weakness, is taken to be a strength. Passion, a terrible overcoming process, is taken to be something to be proud of. Even so, various other enslaving forces, that propel one hither and thither, are mistaken for embellishments.
Thus, not aware of what one is doing, one is constantly allowing oneself to be made to dance by this mysterious power called mind, which is another name for maya. And so totally identified is the jiva-consciousness with the mind that the individual never knows that he is enslaved, never knows his exact situation. Rather, he rejoices in it, thinking “this is it, this is life.” As such, even while being made to dance like a puppet, one imagines oneself as being master of the stage and putting on a great performance. This is total delusion. And this is the position of ninety-nine percent of humanity, ninety-nine percent of the world’s population.
In this state of total identification with the mind, one does not know of one’s reality apart from the mind, different from the mind, distinct from the mind, something far above. And not knowing one’s real identity, one lives one’s entire life and passes away without ever affirming and asserting the Self. The Self is never manifested, is never given active expression to. Rather, in a state of total delusion, caught and enslaved in delusion, one thinks oneself as the master of the situation and as expressing one’s Self, whereas one is in a state of stupor.
A sage says that this is the condition of the vast, vast majority of human beings—pitva mohamayim pramadamadiram unmatta bhutam jagat—they are in a state of intoxicated spiritual stupor, of slumber, of total forgetfulness of the real Self, of total delusion about their true identity. Days, weeks, months, years fly by and life rushes towards its conclusion, yet they are not aware of the passage of time. They are so totally in the grip of the ego, so constantly occupied by worldly affairs, that they have no time or inclination to try to pierce the gloom, rise above delusion and know themselves.
And the greatest concern is that in this condition the intellect further aids and abets maya by making the individual think how wise he is, how clearly he perceives. So there is intellectual delusion also. The intellect functions, but only to conform to this pattern of delusion and to further confirm one’s mistaken identity, even while imagining that by its exercise it has managed to go beyond deluded identity and be established in truth.
This is the very peculiar part played by the intellect. Seemingly it exercises knowledge, but it exercises its knowledge within the state of delusion, augmenting the delusion instead of destroying it. Whereas the intellect was meant to be the sharp, pointed spear to rend this dark curtain of delusion and go beyond it under the leadership of God-consciousness, it too succumbs to maya and further confirms the delusion by imagining that its knowledge is wisdom, imagining that apara vidya (lower knowledge) is para vidya (higher knowledge). This is part of the great delusion.
But those few fortunate beings into whom God has given this great grace of an awakening, and a continued active exercise of this awakened awareness as the basic part of their consciousness, having this inner state of light, they clearly perceive the Goal and are always aware that life is meant to be a fulfilment of a great, important, spiritual, philosophical, moral ideal. They indeed really live. They indeed make use of life, using it for the fulfilment of this ideal and for purposeful propulsion towards the great Goal. They are blessed.
Their purposefulness is because of their wakefulness, their awareness. And this active, inner wakefulness is progressive because a goal has already been set, and that goal is powerfully pulling it up every moment. This progressive awareness makes life meaningful for them as a constant movement to fulfil a great ideal, to attain a sublime goal. Ideals and goals are seemingly also present in the lives of others, but not in their true implication, in their true sense. For, there is but one ideal: movement towards Divinity, towards perfection, and there is but one goal: eternal awareness of one’s essential nature. These two make life real life. Otherwise, we imagine we are living, but actually we are in the darkness of stagnation.
Thus should the awareness be awakened and kept constantly awake through constant pondering, manana, of the great truths presented to us by the scriptures like Vivekachudamani, Atmabodha, Bhagavatam and the Upanishads. That is our only guarantee of making life a purposeful process. That is the only guarantee. That is the only possibility of keeping away from the inner consciousness all delusion, all moha, all intoxication—a constant living in the light of these great truths and our own constantly exercised vichara (enquiry) and viveka (discrimination). Without actively and constantly exercising vichara and viveka, there is no sadhana, there is no spiritual life, there is no Yoga. One cannot be a jijnasu or mumukshu, and there is no true life. Life is not being lived; it is making use of you as a pawn, as a puppet.
Therefore, let ever within you ring that Upanishadic call: uttisthata jagrata, prapya varan nibodhata (Arise, awake, having reached the wise, be enlightened), and let every moment of your being be a response and an answer to this call—“Yes, I am awake, I stand up and move towards the Goal, I move towards wisdom supreme, I move towards the ultimate state of illumination and enlightenment.” Then every moment and every movement of your life and being will be a response to that Upanishadic call. It should ring with every beat of your heart. It will ring with every throb of your pulse. That is life. That is sadhana. That is jijnasa. That is true mumukshutva.
May God endow you with this inner awareness and purposefulness, dynamism and wakefulness! May you be like Nachiketas. May you be like one of those great immortal personalities of the Upanishads. That kshamata (capacity) is within each one of you. Therefore God has brought you to a place, a set-up and a life where all these are possible—if only you wish it, if only you will it. God bless you all!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
Please subscribe to Divyajivan Mailing List. We will update you with new uploads of spiritual literature on the web of Holy Master Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, saints of his lineage and other saints. We will also update you about the Sivananda Ashram, Ahmedabad website and facilitate communication with Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji Maharaj.
To manage your subscription, please visit Subscription Page. You can also subscribe and unsubscribe from this page. You may unsubscribe by yourself anytime you wish. You will be required to send confirmation link that you will get in your e-mail to complete this subscription.