The self is always within us

The birth defect that all human beings have is called avidya.

Published: 03rd February 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2019 06:44 AM   |  A+A-

The birth defect that all human beings have is called avidya. The Atma Bodha says that the dullness of mind and the constant seeking for happiness keeps us in a state of ignorance about the source of happiness. It is like having  crores of rupees at home and not aware of it, and begging from house to house ignorant about the wealth and imagining that is the only way to earn money.

The four types of yoga—Karma, Bhakti, Jnana and Raja—help to turn the outward gaze for happiness within. When the vision turns inward, there is a quietening of the body, mind and intellect. The mind becomes steady and the self reveals itself just as a lamp reveals its presence when an opaque covering around it is removed. The light of the self is always there, but since our gaze is on objects, emotions and thoughts, we are not aware of its presence. Even without removing the objects, emotions and thoughts, if we shift our gaze inward, the knowledge of the self reveals itself.

Though the self is that finest element of consciousness which is abundant and present everywhere around us, within and without, it is only through the help of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Brahma sutras and the numerous other texts expounded by the great masters, does it truly reveal itself to us.

If we are living in this world chasing after some desire in the hope that they will give permanent joy, there is no possibility of realising that the eternal source of joy is present within. However, on the contrary, when we say enough is enough to the sorrow-coated experiences of joy in the world outside, the divine spring of joy within makes its presence felt for the one who chooses to discover it.

The master explains this process of finding the self with a beautiful example. Many women while getting ready for a party might be wearing a gold chain. Yet, in a hurry they forget that it is on the neck and will be busy fretting that they cannot find it until some bystander points it out to them. They sheepishly touch it and see, wipe their sweat and smile with the happiness that they have found it.

The self, too, is like that missing gold ornament. It has never left us and will never leave us at any point of time. All we have to do is to drop other pursuits and sit quietly to meditate on it and realise it is there within us.

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