oÉÉåkÉÉåÅlrÉxÉÉkÉlÉåprÉÉå ÌWû xÉÉ¤ÉÉlqÉÉå¤ÉæMüxÉÉkÉlÉqÉ |
mÉÉMüxrÉ uÉÌ»ûuÉe¥ÉÉlÉÇ ÌuÉlÉÉ qÉÉå¤ÉÉå lÉ ÍxÉkrÉÌiÉ ||2||
bodhonyasādhanebhyo hi sākṣānmokṣaikasādhanama |
pākasya vahnivajjnānam vinā mokṣo na sidhyati ||2||
Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so without Knowledge, there is no emancipation. Compared with all other forms of discipline, the Knowledge of the Self is the one direct means for liberation.
In the process of cooking, ingredients can be substituted, but fire is essential and has no alternative. Similarly, there are alternative paths that people may take for seeking the Self, but the Knowledge of the Self is essential for mokṣa – liberation.
The previous stanza’s reference to tapas - austerity should not be misconstrued to understand that austerity itself will elevate one. Austerity and self-control brings a person to a state of physical and mental discipline where the focused and quiet mind can be established in the Self. Performing austerities, rituals, charity, mind control and scriptural study qualify the person to seek the Knowledge of the Self, which is the only thing that can then remove the avidyā - ignorance that keeps us from liberation.
When a surgery is to be performed, it can be managed without many amenities and facilities with a makeshift arrangement, but the person performing the operation must have the required knowledge for the surgery to be successful.
Shankara emphasizes here that knowledge is mandatory for liberation.
AÌuÉUÉåÍkÉiÉrÉÉ MüqÉï lÉÉÅÌuÉ±ÉÇ ÌuÉÌlÉuÉiÉïrÉåiÉç |
ÌuÉ±ÉÌuÉ±ÉÇ ÌlÉWûlirÉåuÉ iÉåeÉÎxiÉÍqÉUxÉ†¡ûuÉiÉç ||3||
avirodhitayā karma nāvidyām vinivartayet |
vidyāvidyām nihantyeva tejastimirasanghavat ||3||
Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does verily destroy ignorance as light destroys deep darkness.
The darkness of ignorance can only be countered by the light of knowledge. Action is not the opposing force of avidyā – ignorance. Desire gives rise to thought that results in action. Unless the action is dedicated to a higher altar, it strengthens the underlying vāsanā that manifested itself as desire, and the karmic cycle continues. Even if the action is dedicated to the highest altar, or divinized, it can only serve to exhaust the karmic cycle of a lifetime. It still cannot result in liberation.
Krishna says in the Bhagwad Geeta (4-37) that as the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, so the fire of knowledge burns to ashes all reaction to material activities. Jnāna burns all āgāmi karma and liberates a person. And further, Krishna says (4-41,42) that one who has renounced the fruits of his action, whose doubts are destroyed by transcendental knowledge and whose mind is firmly seated in the Self, is not bound by action. So the doubts that have arisen in the mind out of ignorance can only be slashed by the weapon of knowledge.
Knowledge alone leads one to liberation.
mÉËUNû³É CuÉÉ¥ÉÉlÉÉ¨É³ÉÉzÉå xÉÌiÉ MåüuÉsÉÈ |
xuÉrÉÇ mÉëMüÉzÉiÉå ½ÉiqÉÉ qÉåbÉÉmÉÉrÉåÇÅzÉÑqÉÉÌlÉuÉ ||4||
parichhanna ivājnānāttannāśe sati kevalah |
svayam prakāśate hyātmā meghāpāyenśumāniva ||4||
The Atman appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals itself by itself, like the sun when the clouds pass away.
The Self is luminous and is not visible to us because of our ignorance, like the sun is not visible to us when the clouds obstruct our vision. Just as we can see the sun when the clouds pass away, we will realize the Self when ignorance is destroyed.
The Self is the one universal consciousness. With our limitations of knowledge, we see multiplicity in the world because of our multiple super-impositions caused by our misunderstanding about the nature of the Self.
In the Shiva Purana, the story is told of Daksha expressing his anger at his son-in-law, Shiva for not standing up to receive him. In response, Shiva’s close devotee Nandishwara cursed Daksha and other brāhmins for being so ignorant as to forget Shiva's greatness. Shiva chastized Nandi for cursing the brāhmins and asked him how he could forget that Shiva is the Supreme Consciousness in all? Nandishwara looked around, and as a realized soul, he saw Shiva in everyone around him, and realized his mistake.
Krishna says in the Bhagwad Geeta (4-35) to Arjuna that once a person has learned the Truth, such a person will realize that all living beings are a part of Him. Once we have realized the Self, we realize the One consciousness that pervades the universe.
A¥ÉÉlÉMüsÉÑwÉÇ eÉÏuÉÇ ¥ÉÉlÉÉprÉÉxÉÉÌ²ÌlÉqÉïsÉqÉç |
M×üiuÉÉ ¥ÉÉlÉÇ xuÉrÉÇ lÉzrÉå‹sÉÇ MüiÉMüUåhÉÑuÉiÉç ||5||
ajnānakaluṣam jīvam jnānābhyāsādvinirmalam |
kratvā jnānam svayam naśyejjalam katakareṇuvat ||5||
Constant practice of knowledge purifies the Self (jivātman), stained by ignorance and then disappears itself – as the particles of the kataka-nut settles down after it has cleansed the muddy water.
A person with ignorance is compared here with a container of muddy water. We see the world as a reflection of the Supreme Consciousness on our body-mind-intellect equipment. It is our ignorance that distorts the superimposition of the Self just like the mud in the water distorts reflections. This gets corrected when we purify our equipment by jnānābhyāsa.
jnānābhyāsa is the continuous practice of meditation. This allows the person to destroy the identification with the material world, and instead assert one’s divine spiritual nature. This identification, “I-am-the-Self”, has to be constantly reinforced. But this reinforcement is in itself a flow of thought, and is therefore of a finite nature. When the body-mind-intellect equipment is cleansed of impurities, a person attains equanimity. Once the muddy water is cleaned, the kataka nut particles dissolve, just like the more commonly used alum in modern times, and are not needed any more. Once a person has calmed the agitations of the mind, effort like meditation is no longer needed.
Once asleep, one does not need to make an effort to sleep. Similarly, knowledge practices are no longer necessary once the mind is firmly established in the Self.