Ramaa Ravi Shankar)
Hinduism puts forward the thought of every human being as
Jivatma, ‘particularised Self’. It professes the purpose of
human life as to choose and tread the path that rejoins the
Jivatma with the Paramatma. To put it another way, it is to
seek ‘one’s own very being, or better, the very being that
is oneself. Humans are the ‘fallen angels’ said
Annie Besant, separated from the One Supreme. Jivatma’s are
limited, not perfect. Highly limited because its pure
consciousness blends with the various shields of matter to
acquire a nature very different from its pure self.
supreme qualities of ‘sat-chit-ananda’ caught within the qualities of
Inertia, Mobility and Rhythm, (‘tamas-rajas-sattvic’) develop
different afflictions in human beings. Life experiences make entry and
exit through the sense organs, which are again limited and so in turn
further limit the attitudes and seal the human behavior. Immortal is the
soul yet mortality dawns on humans due to these various limitations.
in his Yoga aphorism points out, five kinds of afflictions, humans get
into. The afflictions being-Ignorance, Egotism, Liking, Disliking and
is said to arise in human beings from lack of discriminating power between
the real and the unreal. Men are said to confuse the unreal for the real
and real for the unreal. The physical body, emotions and mind are
professed as mere vehicles in human beings. The radiance of the soul is to
shine through them. However, these shields gain immense prominence in
daily living and project themselves as real, pushing away the actual need
to radiate the qualities of the soul. Human actions directed to the
projected reality is said to be the seed of Ignorance.
is the belief in the I-ness of the personality. Simply termed egotism is
‘Selfishness’. It takes birth with wrongful prominence given to the
shields of the body than meditating and operating on the qualities of pure
consciousness in oneself. It is non-understanding of the vehicles of the
body as only instruments of the real self ‘to play a proper part in the
and dislikes are images formed to suit the comforts and pleasures of the
personality and do not hold any value for an immortal being.
Possessiveness is clinging to the body without the true realization that
it is present to be used only as an instrument for the real self to gain
afflictions limit and enslave humans. This realization takes one to steps
from liberation from them. One has to gain admission, on one’s own free
will and accord into the school of life. This is the study for a lifetime
and its practice is in every moment of life.
would be the syllabus of such a school? The theory would contain
techniques that help train oneself in obtaining from the afflictions.
Practice of four qualities illustrated by Shri Shankaracharya in Viveka
Chudamani could be the practical and the outcome of this studentship would
lead to an awakening in the self which would be capable of responding to
the three powers of consciousness which are the Will, Thought and Love.
four qualities said in Viveka Chudamani are Discrimination, Detachment,
Six attainments and the Desire for Liberation. Discrimination, as said
before, is the power of understanding the real and the unreal. Detachment
is absence of agitation due to external objects.
six attainments are 1) Control of mind-resulting in calmness; 2) Control of
body; 3) Cessation of eagerness on external objects to gain happiness and
developing an attitude of contentment by accepting what the world offers;
4) Patient and cheerful endurance in trying conditions and the sequence of
Karma; 5) Sincerity and confidence in oneself and others; 6) Steadiness in
orienting one’s actions to definite purpose in hand. Desire for
liberation is determination to free oneself from the unreal and seek the
real and the reality of one’s own nature.
present day education teaches means to prosperity but creates a vacuum
after its acquisition. Prosperity alone without the right direction to its
use is a sure danger. Aim of prosperity is happiness. Happiness should be
in its right respective. It has to facilitate in experiencing oneness with
the Paramatma. As Batruhari, the Sanskrit poet points out, prosperity
should encourage charity, which in turn brings happiness.
clarifies that charity
should be given always with faith. It should not be given if one does not
have faith. It has to be tempered with modesty and propriety. Adorning
with these qualifications, students on the path of life can come to
clarity as Emerson said-“There is no bar or wall in the soul where man
leaves off and God begins,” and there could be no partition between the
spiritual and the material living for ‘the Supreme one and Self are