We have a question from Vijaya sonkusare
What are the ways or remedies in which we can constantly remember that our ultimate purpose is God realization?
For example, we all know that our aim is to become one with god..then i have a doubt that if we know this then why do we caught up in Wordly anxiety like..if the business project is not going well..we have anxiety, if i didn’t get a job, i get anxiety…how do i convince myself that i should not get caught up in wordly drama..what is the way to completEly ingrain tHis thought in my system?
I have previously discussed that the purpose of a life can never be defined in a precise way. No God, sage, learned man or even someone who had knowledge of the vedas have ever claimed that they were able to figure out what their purpose in life was, we are mere mortals struggling to survive on a day to day basis.
Anyone who claims that they’ve figured out the purpose of their life is speaking this with half knowledge. Sure, he may have found something to do for the rest of their life but remember that this knowledge of “purpose” is defined by external conditions and definitions which takes no account of what you think your purpose in life is.
Our ultimate purpose may not be God realization. It’s because we don’t know who we are, we don’t know what god is or could be and we don’t know what realization feels like. We think that we have realised something but that feeling may not be realization in the first place. It can simply be an illusion giving you the feeling that you have realized it while the reality can be very different.
This theory about god realization or understanding the purpose or understanding who we are is very well explained in Kenoupanishad
नाहं मन्येसुवेदेति नोन वेदेति वेद च ।
योनस्तद्वेद तद्वेद नोन वेदेति वेद च ॥ २
Explanation: I do not think that I know It well, nor do I think that I know it not. He among us knows it truly, who knows this, nor do I know that I know it not
The disciple means that we cannot know Brahman, as we know other objects, by referring them to a class by their inherent qualities and pointing out their differences. But at the same time, we cannot say that we do not know it absolutely, since it constitutes our very . soul. Any knowledge is impossible without it. He, therefore, who knows this double peculiarity of the knowledge of Brahman, knows it as much as it can be known ; and he does not know, nor anybody can presume to assert that he does not know Brahman, since none can say that he does not feel his self-existence.
Convincing Yourself of not Getting caught in Worldly Drama
The next part of your question deals with anxiety, stress of day to day life and how one can convince himself that all of that is going around him is simply worldly drama.
Every day we wake up and then start thinking about worldly things. We go about our jobs, our lives and we are constantly thinking about hundreds of thousands of things affecting our life, our existence, our well being, our future and what not.
All of this thinking is influenced by animalistic trait of continuing to exist in a jungle.
The Jungle law dictates how we think because the Jungle law’s objective is one and only thing – survive and adapt to your circumstances. Hunt but not get hunted.
Each one of us is basically an animal struggling to survive in this chaotic jungle of concrete which is made up of money, buildings, houses, jobs, restaurants and all things made by people or human society. Each one of us is a different specie which has developed his own way of surviving and dealing with day to day threats in the jungle.
This is called animalistic consciousness which is only limited to two layers – Annamaya and Pranamaya.
That I need food and that I need to protect my life is the motto of all animals and they operate until the end of this animalistic consciousness level of maintaining their existence alone.
However, human beings can think. And there lies the basic problem of getting caught up in the worldly drama.
Human beings have developed a third level of consciousness called Manomaya
Manomaya encompasses the processing of thoughts and emotions. It is the connection point between the lower and upper two sheaths (Pranamaya — Manomaya — Vijnanmaya). It involves the functions of the mind that relate to everyday living and our individual interpretation of life. The manomaya kosha can be either useful or detrimental, depending on how we train the mind.
The mind makes a constant commentary about our experiences as we go about our lives. It is this commentary that can be a major hindrance to the development of the mind. Essentially, our minds create constant judgments and assumptions based on our one-sided perception of our experience.
Here is something you should know
The present consumerist and material society trains our mind from childhood to acquire more than it is necessary because it can imagine a future need. Our education system, our beliefs, the way we think, the way we take decisions, the way we act, the way we decide what to do and what not to do, the way we do everything in our day to day life stems from this basic consumerist phenomenon of acquiring things more than one needs.
It’s like a wolf saying to another wolf
You have the food for today and tomorrow, don’t you? But wait, you may not be able to hunt day after tomorrow and then you will have to starve. So let’s invent a Fridge and keep hunting deers all day long. Then we will store this meat in the fridge and enjoy the food whenever we want to. Also, our children will no longer need to hunt the food since they will get it from the fridge. Don’t you think it’s a great idea?
If the wolf imagines a future need, then it will keep hunting deers all day long. Because him imagination has no end. Today he will imagine the needs of his children, tomorrow he will imagine the needs of his friends and then so on and so forth.
But wolves cannot imagine that far. Because their minds haven’t developed to the Manomaya consiousness level. It is humans who have developed their minds to the Manomaya consiousness level.
And since humans have trained their mind to think, think and think – it will continue to think about arbitrary things and act according to that thinking which is simply an illusion. Here is an example
I need a house in the centre of the city to enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of life. I cannot afford it, so I must earn money. To earn money, I need to get a good job. But to rise above the competition, I need a good degree. But to get a good degree, I need money which I don’t have. I will take a loan from the bank, get the degree and then repay the bank when I have a job. But wait, by this time I will need a partner and someone to take care of me because this pursuit will surely move me out from my parents and friends.
…….And the story goes on…….
By the time he is able to fulfil his thinking of acquiring a house in the centre of city, 10-15 years have passed away and he no longer wants a house in the centre of the city. He now wants to move to a different country and settle there. And by the time he moves to a different country, god knows what he will want then.
So in this case, the pursuit of the subject is influenced by this thinking that once he is able to build a home in the centre of the city, he will be able to enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of life. But this assumption is wrong because by the time he is able to fulfill his dream, the definitions of enjoyment, comforts and situations will change and his wish will be something else.
So let’s see how will this subject complicate his life?
- He will first set an imaginary goal of acquiring something material that is way beyond his reach and very difficult to reach. (I want to be a big business man, I want to be famous, I want to reach the top of the world)
- He will spend two decades of his life to reach where he wanted to reach.
- This journey won’t be easy and it will create stress, tension, anxiety, worries and what not.
Now the subject bewildered and frustrated with his life, will one day come and ask a sage
O sage! How do I simplify my life? How do I not get caught in worldly goals. O sage, show me the path to mental peace and not getting muddled by worldly thoughts which causes nothing but anxiety, tension, worries and suffering.
The sage will reply
O subject. First, thou hasn’t obtained the eternal knowledge of vedas without which one cannot simplify his life. Go and learn the vedas, the upanishads and understand what truly matters, understand that what is happening around you is simply a maya, an illusion which comes out of your own mind. None of what you see around you is real and just a reflection of your thoughts, your wants, your ambitions, your desires.
You have trained your mind to look at objects through your material lense, hence your sufferings are also material in nature. If you train your mind to look at things through a different lense, these material sufferings shall go away. You will no longer be worried, tensed, anxious and angry all the time.
The subject may ask
But how do I train my mind o sage, tell me.
The sage will reply
Just like I cannot teach you how to run and hunt your food on a day to day basis, I can only tell you that you have to master a craft and find someone who will employ you for that knowledge of craft. You and only you have to find out how to master that craft. In the same way, I can only tell you that you need to know Vedanta, Upanishads and other scriptures which explain in detail how to control ramifications of the mind and not get attached to the material illusions of the world. One can stay in the material world, work, maintain a family but still remain unattached. These learnings are there in vedanta and one has to find it out on his own, no teacher can give the synopsis to a student on his behalf just like none can teach you how to climb a tree but yourself. I can show you which tree to climb but I cannot climb it for you, you only have to learn it how to do it yourself.
So the basic synopsis of what the sage is telling that a wolf can remain in the jungle and be a wolf, do all the activities that the wolf needs to do to survive in the jungle. But with the knowledge of how to control the way the wolf thinks, the wolf will be able to avoid material miseries like anxiety, stress, unhappiness and worries.
By transforming his thinking and knowledge of vedanta, the subject first moves from Pranamaya to Manomaya and then through work transforms from Manomaya to Vijnanmaya (the consciousness level of self awareness).
Once the subject has knowledge of vedas and is self aware, worldy illusions cannot affect his happiness or well being. The subject becomes a Lotus leaf
The Lotus leaf is born in the muddy water, it spends its entire life in the water. However, the leaf is not influenced by the very water where it lives.
It is unattached. It is pure and it is not affected by it’s surroundings, yet it continues to do its karma as if nothing has happened. The lotus leaf has the knowledge of how to remain unattached from worldly illusions and continue to exist without getting influenced by external factors, which is the reason why the lotus leaf enjoys the company of God Vishnu.
“God realization” comes to Lotus leaf and the Lotus leaf doesn’t have to run to god because the lotus leaf has learned how to remain unattached by the repercussions of the pond, the water, the surroundings, the flower, the honeybee and everyone else.