Knowing the self is the only means to understand life and its import



When we talk of self-realisation, it is just that we are looking for a state of mind that neither adds anything to it nor anything can be taken away from it. As a result, one finds oneself in bliss, devoid of any kind of joy and sorrow that keep us in the other kind of bliss of ignorance and bondage.

In other words, it is seeking and understanding the ultimate truth about ourselves. And the truth is that we are just mortals; and in this short life we have a chance to know and attain a state of mind that it is blissful and is not affected by joy and pain.

Once you reach this stage of mind, it is a realisation that you are truly blessed with all human qualities of head and heart. Only this kind of mind-stage gives one the possibility of having a life that is truly one with the self.

The Siddhas in the Yoga Vasistha is said to have helped King Janaka of Videha in self-realisation. The ’songs’ in these teachings are so influential that Janaka is said to have got realisation soon after listening to them. All that the mighty king had to do was to reflect on the true meaning and message in the songs and how they would help one take to spiritual life. The Siddhas have it that the knowledge of the self confers bliss and helps the merger of the knower and the known. It was primarily this message that the king imbibed and became ‘alone’ and thus free from all kinds of material needs and desires for the self. That transformed him into a ruler full of compassion and love for his subjects. He could thus rule selflessly and dispassionately, adding to his subjects’ welfare and happiness.

I am always impressed when I recall Swiss philosopher Henry Fredric Amiel, “Life is too short and we never have enough time for gladdening the hearts of those who travel the way with us. Oh, be swift with love, make haste to be kind.” That is the way to go in life; and a life fulfilled is a life given to others. Fulfilment, after all, lies in a life shared to unburden your fellow travelers’ pain and worries.

In its essence, life is giving and the joy of giving is great. Only one who practises the joy of giving can understand the import of the saying. Because, in the words of George Granville, “What we frankly give, forever is our own”! The lesson, therefore, is: Giving is receiving!

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