23. Insight! Not Outside
The Bhagavad Gita does not demand that the seeker after truth should run away from 'life'.
If that was the intention, this beautiful expression: 'non-attachment to, non-psychological dependence upon son, wife, wealth so on', found in the thirteenth chapter, would be meaningless.
Without having to change your external appearance or your social, political, domestic or civil status, to find this insight is what is referred to as jnana.
So that it applies immediately to your life and mind without waiting for an external change.
Jnana is best defined as insight - not intellectual or emotional assent or understanding.
It is not something that appeals to you, because then the 'me' (the ego) is still there.
Gurudev often pointed out that jnana is not against reason, but it is not the end product of logic.
It is independent of reason, of emotion, of life-style, of social status.
It has to be discovered in your very life, because it is the very basis of all experience.
That is what gives value to life, that is the very meaning of life, that is the source of life.
Without that there is no experience.
Insight is not thought-power or intelligence that you can cultivate, nor is it the result of some sort of discipline that you can practise.
It is not something which needs to be or can be developed, because it is independent of the 'me', the ego.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with anything that you do.
It demands a certain inner alertness and a certain inner freedom to remain aware in and through all experiences, whether the mind, on re-awakening after the experience, retrospectively calls it pain or pleasure, happiness or unhappiness.
At the time of the experience there is no happiness or unhappiness.
It is after the experience that the mind wakes up and says: "It is good: let me have it again."
The bliss is gone and memory, the 'me' takes over.
But whether the 'me' arose or did not arise, in and through all these, the content (which is pure awareness) never undergoes any change.
One needs intense awareness to discover this.
That awareness is lost sight of the moment a feeling or a misunderstanding arises that this comes from that.
Somebody slaps you on your cheek. It hurts. You call him a rascal.
At that moment, if you are alert, you will notice that your pain has gone.
Your attention is on that man.
So, alertness is lost the moment that awareness is directed towards something else.
There is a stage in which you can remain aware of what goes on within you, while being aware at the same time of what goes on around you.
But in your present state, either you are able to remain aware of your own experiences, or allow the awareness to flow towards the presumed object of the experience.
We are almost all the time caught up in the awareness of the object, so that the experience which arises in consciousness is, completely lost sight of.
That is why the teachers give you a sort of neutral stimulation, and call it concentration or meditation.
It is possible for one who has learnt the art of meditation to understand it in an extremely simple way.
You may concentrate your attention upon the breath or upon a thought.
With the help of both of these it is possible to find what the state of your mind or your inner being is when inhalation has stopped and exhalation has not yet begun.
Thought comes to an end at this juncture.
You can pursue a thought to its own source.
It comes to a stop.
Before the next thought arises, what is the state of your being?
That is consciousness, awareness.
It is not an object of awareness, it is awareness.
Awareness cannot cease to exist or to remain aware.
'I am' itself is an experience of that pure awareness, which is the content of all our experiences, thoughts and expressions.
Insight is freedom.
The moment it leans on something outside, it ceases to be insight.
That insight is, at the same time, virtue of the highest order.
In this insight you see that you are not really attached to each other, that there is no attachment.
This non-attachment is not one which involves effort or isolation.
The enlightened person who is always alone, is never lonely, he is all-one.
You had to see Swami Sivananda to understand this.
Wherever He was, whatever situation He was in, surrounded by whomever, He was one with the Lord, and therefore He was alone - one with all, al(l)one.
Others also, not knowing thus, worship, having heard of it from others; they too, cross beyond death, regarding what they have heard as the supreme refuge. (13:25)
Upasate means to sit near to, draw closer.
So, hearing this truth again and again, repeatedly, you draw closer and closer to this truth.
Your mind and your heart, bit by bit, enter into this truth.
Truth enters into your mind and your heart slowly.
Know thou that nature and the spirit are both without beginnings; and modifications and qualities are born of nature. (13:19)
What is purusa, what is prakrti and what are the guna?
Purusa is like fire.
The flame of a candle is fire, but what is fire?
It is something which is intangible, it is what is responsible for the flame burning there.
Whatever fire is, it fills this flame.
If you have a painting of this flame, it will not burn - there is no fire.
On account of the presence of that, flame becomes a flame.
The same thing when it can be seen and experienced, becomes prakrti.
The purusa and the prakrti are eternally present, eternally together.
Though they seem to be two, they are inseparably one.
That is, what you see is prakrti.
Unseen and filling the entire thing is the purusa.
This flame has three qualities.
One, that it is luminous; two, that it is hot; three, that there is some smoke.
The smoke is produced by the flame, and yet is capable of putting it out.
If you contemplate this, it is shattering!
In the light generated by this fire you are able to see - that is sattva, luminosity.
The luminosity of a flame is non-different from the flame, it is part of the nature of this flame, it cannot be separated from this flame.
Even so, sattva cannot be isolated.
When your mind is clear and calm, then sattva prevails.
Rajas, which is compared to the heat of the flame, is characterised by restlessness.
Rajas means restless activity, restlessness, dynamism, dirt, unclarity.
In winter, a little bit of heat is good; in summer, you do not like it; and you have to use heat fairly carefully otherwise you burn your fingers.
Rajas is good, without it you cannot function, but that function has to be carefully done in light.
Tamas is blinding darkness, doubt, dullness, sleep, stupidity, but it is not independent of prakrti and purusa.
This is one of the most beautiful teachings in the Bhagavad Gita.
There is a suggestion that sattva, rajas, and tamas are inevitably inherent in the whole universe.
These are the integral parts of objectivity.
As long as there are objects and awareness of those objects, these three will last.
They belong to the nature of God, not to 'me'.
When, in the light of insight, this truth is seen, you are free.
But, the light of insight cannot function if tamas is allowed to preponderate.
If you accept tamas as God's will, then the insight is gone, and you do not see anything.
So, in order to kindle this flame of insight within you, you blow away all the smoke, but not because you think smoke is terrible.
What you think is terrible is also a part of the divine plan - but if you use that argument to rationalise your own stupidity, you remain stupid.
So, first blow away that cloud of stupidity from your consciousness.
When you become aware, you suddenly realise: 'O God, what I thought was evil is also a part of your nature or prakrti.'

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
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