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12. Indivi(sible)duality
Knowledge, to be complete, perfect and free from the possibility of doubt arising, should be total knowledge - or knowledge of the totality.
Knowledge of the totality implies the synthesis, the unification (yoga) of knowledge, the knower and the known.
That is, there is an experienced division which is intuitively realised to be non-existent, and which is also intuitively realised as the source of all pain and sorrow.
Can this experienced division be realised to be non-existent?
That is what they call an intuitive understanding, or self-realisation, enlightenment, etc.
If that is also an experienced (divided) experience, if you see God as you are seeing another, you are seeing something which you have created, which comes into your life and departs from your life.
Everything that has a beginning has an end.
A state in which neither a beginning nor an end was experienced, the deep sleep state, was a state of no problems, no pain, no sorrow, no division.
Can that state 'prevail'?
If you use the word 'experience' you are trapped.
An experience arises and therefore it has to come to an end.
This is the problem dealt with in the Bhagavad Gita: on the one hand there is an experienced division, on the other hand there is an intuited state of non-division.
That intuition, at the same time, reveals that the state of divisionlessness is also free from sorrow - sorrow being an experience.
And, (what is important), any experience related to that, which has a beginning and an end, which comes into being and goes, is sorrow.
The enjoyments that are born of contacts are only wombs of pain, for they have a beginning and an end. O Arjuna, the wise do not rejoice in them. (5:22)
You are trapped in something which is itself passing, which had a beginning, which will have an end, but which seems to be in the middle.
Madmen, sages, mystics and fools see the reality each in a different sense; to each one that reality exists.
But the question is: is the reality real in itself - or does it come into being because you think it exists?
Who is going to answer this question?
'You' cannot answer it, as, for instance, you cannot possibly convince a lamp that there is a thing called darkness.
So, whether the problem, the world and the objects exist because you think all these things exist, you do not know; but they are.
When you think of a division between you and another, the division exists.
When you think he is your friend, he becomes your friend; when you think he is your enemy, he becomes your enemy.
And your existence is similarly comprehended by him; this much is certain.
Therefore, what you are, should be understood, not as something different and distinct from him, but in essence, without any relation to him at all, without comparison or contrast.
Is there a total knowledge which has in it the elements of the homogeneity of deep sleep and the awareness of waking?
Can these two be combined in such a way that while remaining quite awake, alive, you can live homogeneity? In chapter eighteen there is a most beautiful expression:
That by which one sees the one indestructible reality in all beings, not separate in all the separate beings - know thou that knowledge to be sattvika. (18:20)
It is undivided and yet it is.
It exists in diverse objects as if divided.
Hence the sages have used the most beautiful and apt illustration of indivisible space which is capable of being thought of as not only divisible, but divided.
This total knowledge appears to be divided on the surface, with the self, or me, as the perceiver, as the knower.
Can this become a totality, where knowledge alone exists, but without a contradiction of the knower and the known?
If you expect, for instance, that a man of enlightenment is not aware of the world, then you are trapped in the division between total knowledge and its opposite - which exists only in your mind, not in his - and you are forcing your concept of knowledge on the man of enlightenment and demanding that he, being a man of enlightenment, should behave in a certain way that you think he should, because you think he is different from you!
But, his state cannot be described.
Awareness is not awareness unless it is at least aware of itself, and from that arises awareness of the other.
A lamp is not a lamp if it does not illumine itself and, at the same time, illumine everything.
We are seeking to combine all these.
How is that done?
Krsna emphasises that, in order to have a comprehensive knowledge of the totality of existence, one should understand adhiyajna, adhibhutam, adhidaivam.
Do not make nice little images of these words and of atma, jiva, ahamkara, manas, citta and so on.
Is it possible to study all these factors without creating images of them?
They are not things which you can think of.
Between the words 'thing' and 'think' there is no difference.
That which you can think of is a thing, is material.
Even a thought, if you can think of it, is a thing, an object of your knowledge.
It is a trap; it will destroy your knowledge.
Krsna said:
This knowledge should be sustained till antakale (the time of death). (8:5)
Meaning: however much you might pretend to have understood that time is a creature of the mind, you must allow for the temporal existence of time.
It is beautiful!
Appropriate action in this world is possible only if you do not pretend to have solved the problem.
When you look directly into the eyes of the problem, then the problem itself will dissolve.
So, without pretending to have solved the problem, become intensely aware of it.
We are different but we are equally different.
Become intensely aware of diversity, of your difference from him.
Just as he is different to you, you are different to him.
But, he can be hungry, you also can be hungry.
He feels cold, you also feel cold.
Why do we consider each other different?
Is it possible, therefore, without assuming that unity and diversity are conflicting factors, to discover (not think) that they are complementary factors?
Is it possible to see that what is known as matter, mind, atma, jiva and self, are inscrutable factors that have to be understood?
In order to understand, one must stop assuming, one must stop building images of these.
The blessed Lord said: Brahman is the imperishable, the supreme.
His essential nature is called self-knowledge (the adhyatman).
The offering (unto the gods) which causes the creation and existence of beings is called karma. (8:3)
The supreme (or the totality) does not undergo any change.
The totality does not decay.
What a magnificent truth!
There is constant change - which implies constancy, plus change.
These two are not contradictory, but complementary.
'Svabhavo dhyatmam ucyate' - the nature inherent in this totality is called adhyatma.
Or, to put it the other way around, atma or selfhood is inherent in this totality, even down to the point of individuality.
That is, you do not belong to yourself, yourself belongs to that totality.
What is called adhibhutam or elements have a beginning and an end.
This is a cycle which goes on.
No-one can arrest it.
Even gods when they incarnated, had to die.
Adhibhuta (knowledge of the elements) pertains to my perishable nature and the purusa is the adhidaivam.
I alone am the adhiyajna here in the body, O Arjuna. (8:4)
Purusa is that which is able to observe all changing phenomena.
Changing phenomena here means not only, the world or the universe outside, but your own body, mental states, your own states of consciousness or existence, your own states of maturity and immaturity.
Yajna is a certain type of knowledge which enables you to give and take, which enables you to engage yourself in appropriate action, and to understand that all creatures in this universe have the same needs as you have.
What is your idea of self-sacrifice?
For the ritualists, yajna is something where you prepare a sacred fire and pour some things into it.
Yajna is self-sacrifice.
But the body is not the self, and the mind is not the self, and all that you are doing in the name of yajna or self-sacrifice is sacrificing that which is not your self.
If you have two shirts, and you give one to her and the other to him, it is not self-sacrifice, it is shirt sacrifice!
Krsna makes a most noble, sublime, intriguing, enigmatic and inspiring statement.
In effect, he says:
This spirit of self-sacrifice is not what you think it is, it is the divine presence.
The recognition of the divine omnipresence is self-sacrifice.
Why so?
If you still cling to the definition of the word sacrifice as something which is killed, then it is at the moment of the realisation of the omnipresence that the idea of self or ego is destroyed, totally and completely.
If you adopt the other view of the word sacrifice (which is to 'make sacred'), then the very moment at which you realise this divine omnipresence, the self has been made sacred.
That is, it is no longer your self, it is no longer my self, it is God's self.

The Bhagavad Gita - Introduction | EN

Swami Venkatesananda

The Song of God - Introduction - Swami Venkatesananda - enlarged 4th edition – 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
1998 - 2017

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