Who is a wise person?

Published: 25th August 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2013 11:51 AM   |  A+A-

Sage Ashtavakra outlines many qualities of the wise person. One who shuns objects to be free from attachment is called a Virakta or a Vairagi. Contrarily, one who runs after objects and pleasures is a Ragi. However, for the wise man who does not wish to hold anything or be free from anything, he is neither unattached nor attached. He is liberated.

As long as the desire for something is very strong, the intellect loses the power to discriminate between what is permanent joy and what is ephemeral. This will lead to acceptance of what we like and rejection of all that we do not. These two are the roots and sprout of samsara or change in this world—shuttling between birth and death, likes and dislikes, joy and sorrow.

From participation in this world impelled by desires, attachment is born. In withdrawing from action and being non-participative, hatred is born. For the person who is like a child, free from this duality of attraction or repulsion, is completely resting in the self which is free of any movement, change and emotions.

When the attachment to objects of the world increases, the flip side of it is sorrow and such a person who is caught in that net of change wants to destroy that as he is unable to bear the misery. However, for the one who is free from attachment and hatred remains free of sorrow and even living in the world, there is no suffering.

In whom there is an attachment for liberation, the body, or the sense of mine, is neither a wise man nor an adept one. He is simply one who suffers miserably, says Sri Ashtavakra.

In a very humorous vein the sage says, even of Lord Siva who is the total force of destruction, Lord Vishnu who is the energy that preserves creation or Lord Brahma who is the creator of this Universe becomes a teacher of this truth of the self, the person who is unable to drop all the names and forms of this world mentally can never achieve a complete abidance in the self.

The sage says that the person has achieved the fruit of knowledge or the practice of yoga if he is contented and moves about freely always, revelling in the state of solitary bliss. The solitude here is not being cut off and shut off from everything, but it is born out of a feeling of oneness that everyone I see is none other than myself.

There is no suffering at any time in this ephemeral world for the wise person who has realised the changeless essence. That is because, he himself alone is so complete and realises that he is the whole constellation that constitutes all the different worlds in creation—beginning from the Earth to the highest and the lowest realms of experience.


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