Saturday, November 17, 2012

The four Pillars of Knowledge


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You have heard “Everything is God. There is nothing outside of God.”. Then why is this not your experience? This is a fundamental question. Why is God not an experiential reality for you?

To reach the self, there are four major tools, the four Pillars of Knowledge:

The first one is called Viveka. Viveka is grossly translated as discrimination, but it’s not just discrimination. Viveka is the understanding or observation that everything is changing. Whatever you consider as stationary or solid is neither stationary nor solid. Everything is changing. Existence is an ever changing reality.

Our own bodies are changing. Every minute new cells are born and old cells are dying. Every time you breathe, old energy goes out and new energy comes in. Our body is a bundle of atoms and atoms are always disintegrating. Our thoughts and emotions are changing. You are not the same person you were yesterday. You cannot maintain the same degree of happiness or sadness all the time. It fluctuates. Emotions, feelings, view points are all changing.

But there is something different from all this that is not changing. The one who is observing the change is non-changing, otherwise how can one recognize the change? The reference point to recognize change has to be non-changing. Discriminating between that which is not changing, and everything else which is ever changing is “Viveka”. Understanding that everything in this world is changing would reduce 99% of the misery in this world.

The second pillar is called Vairagya. Vairagya is translated as Dispassion. Behind every misery there is hope. Hope is the fuel for miserable people. There is deep desire for some joy in the future: If I change my town, I will be happy. If I change my relationship, or my job, or my company, I will be happier. People who are single think they will be happy if they get married. Married people think they were better off when they were single. A child thinks when he/she grows up and goes to college they will happy. A college student says “Once I get a job I will be happy”. A manager says “When I become the director I will be happy” Postponing happiness sometime in the future can make you miserable right now.

Pleasure can also tire you. How long can you look at something beautiful? Eventually you will get tired of it; your eyelids will fall off. How long can you smell a beautiful fragrance? People working in the perfume factories are sick of perfumes. If you like donuts, how many can you stuff through your mouth? How much ice-cream can you enjoy? Music- how much can you hear? Touching, and being touched, how long can you enjoy? The world is full of pleasure for the five senses, but the senses have their limitations. But the mind wants endless joy. An attitude of “So what! Let it be, whatever” takes away the feverishness in you and brings you to that pillar of dispassion.

Dispassion is NOT apathy! Often we think dispassion means being unenthusiastic, depressed and not interested in anything. This is not dispassion! Dispassion is lack of feverishness. Dispassion is full of activity and enthusiasm, yet devoid of feverishness. Dispassion towards the enjoyments of the five sense or the spiritual enjoyment, towards the seen and the unseen, the outer world or the inner world, is the second pillar of knowledge.

The third pillar consists of the Six Wealths. The Vedas have mentioned six types of Wealths: Shama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Shraddha, and Samadhana.

The first wealth is Shama. Shama is tranquility of the mind. When the mind wants to do too many things, it gets completely scattered. When shama is established, you are able to focus and your mind is more alert. When dispassion is firmly established, shama automatically starts happening, the mind is tranquil.

The second wealth is Dama. Dama means control over senses, the ability to have a say over one’s senses. May times you don’t want to say something, yet you do. Many times you don’t want to look at something, yet you look anyways. You decided you are full and you will not eat anymore. Then some nice food is served, and it smells so good that you go ahead and take a bite, and another. Soon, to your surprise, you find that you have stuffed in more than your tummy can take. Having Dama, you are not carried away by our senses. You will say “Yes” or “No” to the senses, not the other way around.

The third wealth is Titiksha. Titiksha means endurance or forbearing. When difficult things come, forbearance allows you to go on without getting completely shaken. In life, some pleasant events happen, some unpleasant events happen. So what! None of them stay forever. Health comes and sickness comes. Moods come and go. Profits come and losses come. People come and go in life. Titiksha is not getting shaken by what happens. Of ten what is unpleasant can become pleasant later on. What you thought was very bad, later on was found to be very good for you. It made you strong. Understanding this helps not hanging on to the past and not judging events as good or bad. The ability to not get carried away by the events is Titiksha. When you play a game, winning and loosing is a part of it. The game has more value when it is a little tough. If you already knew who will win the game, you will loose interest in the game. Look at life as a game. Just turn back and look at all the difficult situations you have gone through in life. In spite of it all, you are complete today. The difficulties could not destroy you. They only made you stronger. You are more powerful than them.

The fourth wealth is Uparati. Uparati means rejoicing in your own nature, being with your nature. Often you are not with your nature, you or doing things because someone else says or does something. Often people do things for approvals from others. Being in the present moment, being the joy that you are, the ability to rejoice in anything that you do, that is Uparati. Letting go of everything, being playful is Uparati, and then taking everything seriously is also Uparati. These are completely opposite values, but taking them together, living them together, that is Uparati.

The fifth wealth is Shraddha. Shraddha means faith. Faith is needed when you have found the limit of your knowledge. You know something this far, and you don’t know anything beyond that. Your willingness to know the unknown is Shraddha, the faith. If your mind is fixed, and says “That’s it. I know it all”, that is ego. The more you know, the more will be the feeling that you don’t know. Recognition of the unknown is Shraddha. Faith in your self, faith in the Master, faith in the Divine, faith in the infinite order of things, faith in that love of infinity, is Shraddha. Observe the nature of doubt. Doubt is always about something positive. When someone says, “I love you”, you doubt asking “Really”? But when someone says, “I hate you, I am angry at you”, then you don’t doubt it, you don’t ask “Really?”. Doubt the negative, and be confident of the positive. Without faith, it would be like someone saying, “First let me learn how to swim, then I will get into the water”. You have to get into the water to learn swimming. The entire world works on faith. For example, any system, whether a credit card system, airlines, banks, even a medical system, although there is no guarantee, there is a high probability that everything will work the way it is meant to. If there could be 100 percent probability, then there would be no need of faith. When there is less than 100 percent probability, that means the result is not knowledge, it is based on faith.

The sixth wealth is Samadhana. Samadhana means being at ease, being content. How do you feel when you are at ease? How does it feel when you are totally at ease, calm and serene? Being at ease with you, at ease with the people and situations around you, with the whole existence, is Samadhana. This is a great wealth by itself.These six wealths together form the third pillar.

The fourth pillar is called Mumukshatva. Mumukshatva is the desire for the highest, a desire for total freedom, for enlightenment, whatever you want to call it. First of all you can desire something only when you feel it is possible for you. When you think it is not possible, then you cannot even desire it. When you think enlightenment is not possible for you, then slowly you eliminate the possibility, and then the next possibility, and then the next. Mumukshatva is present when there is a deep desire for the highest, a burning desire, a longing for the Divine.

When there is a desire in someone to learn, it should come from within. Don’t think you have to attain it. Think you already have it. To some degree, to some extent, you have all the six wealths also. If you put a little more attention on them, they become stronger and more solid in you. The pillars are already there, you only have to make them stronger, build them a little higher.


|| Jai Guru Dev ||

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