The Upanishads clearly say that freedom, liberation or truth is only for that person who desires it. Even ordinary things in life come to us only if there is some kind of a desire or a calling.
Truth of existence is the topmost experience that anybody could have and it goes without saying that to attain that, the seeker must know first that if it exists, and desire to know and attain that.
The Sadhana Chatushtaya (four steps for practice) to realise the self places great emphasis on the fourth practice called Mumukshutwa. A Mumukshu is a person who has an intense longing for truth.
How does this longing come? When do we long for home food? When we have been eating out for a long period of time and feel sick of outside food, we really crave simple home-made food.
In the same way when the seeker has explored the world, experienced the different people, places, situations and things; gone through success, failure, heartbreak, sorrow, exhilaration, joy, grief, suffering, pain and more, there comes a point when everything seems pointless.
At that time, with the right knowledge through the direction of a realised master or a teacher of the books of knowledge, he has to come at first to the realisation that this little self within the skin of this body that we refer to as I, the Ahamkara up to the whole body itself, is a source of bondage.
It is not just limited and binding, it is a concoction of a false identity of an individuality not tempered and treated by right knowledge.
When this false identity is discovered, the first step is to withdraw attention from it. The next step is to realise one’s own true self and setting the mind free in the light of that truth of consciousness. This intense desire to be free is called Mumukshutwam.
How does this wrong identification with the body happen in the first place? Whatever we are right now is because of our thoughts and feelings and whatever we think we are, is also a direct result of thoughts only. So we think: I am this body only.
And that thought is blessed and we move about this world as a body. The next major level of identification is with the mind. We often say, “I feel happy”, or “I feel sad.” These feelings stem from identification with the mind. To unite the consciousness with the intellect makes us say, “I am brilliant,” or “I am a dunce.”Mumukshutwa is a desire to break free of the opposites and unite with the self within.
The writer is Sevika, Chinmaya Mission,Coimbatore (www.chinmayamission.com);