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Isha Upanishad - Shloka 11
|by Dr. R. K. Lahri|
One, who knows Avidya and Vidya,
The seer wants us to resort to the understanding of non-duality as the Truth is non-dual. It is true that actions involve duality and we have to function in apparent duality. Let our nature partake of both duality and non-duality. The reality is neither duality, as it is the power of mind that creates this division, nor unity, as the concept of unity arises from anti thesis of duality. They are all notions and concepts and not the Infinite Consciousness.
The seer says that nothing is entirely physical or entirely metaphysical. One presupposes the other and explains another. What is matter - Avidya? It is only an infinitesimal part of the phenomenon of nature. The vast part is not nature. Avidya or physical sciences and material world of scientific rational is not non-inductive in religion and metaphysics. Dualism presupposes unity and non-dualism suggests dualism. This is needed for a helpful and healthy life style in the God’s world. It has been rightly said, “Compassionate yet not contemptuous, not avoiding pair of opposites, not jealous, neither intelligent nor non-intelligent, neither motivated nor non-motivated, we should live with equal vision and inner calm in full understanding. It is a fact that he sees the Truth who sees all things are strung in the Self as beads are stung on a thread and also the one who knows well “I am not the mind”.”
The knowledge based on Avidya only gives results and therefore is binding. It clings to the notion of the world. In reality, there is no difference between meaning of world, Brahman or the Infinite Self. The world is as true in relation to Brahman as the dream city is true in relation to waking consciousness. It goes to prove that there is no duality as the world and the cosmic consciousness are synonymous. In all such cases we have to realise our true nature by self –Enquiry. Avidya arises when we believe that there is something outside of knowledge and other than knowledge. Knowledge does not have an object to know. Knowledge is independent and eternal, beyond any description. When this truth is directly realised, there is perfect knowledge.
Jinan or knowledge is for awakening and enlightenment. Its contemplation is the means to such awakening. There is absolutely no relation or division between knowledge and the object of knowledge. In the verse, there is stress on the word “Ubhayagm saha”. It means both together. The theoretical knowledge of Vedanta doctrine cannot grant salvation to anyone. They are good as preparation to higher approach. Even the previous preparations are discarded after reaching the limit as we leave the rungs of ladder one by one while climbing. The actions are necessary for preparation only. We have not to delight in them but remain unaffected by them. So the case with Avidya and Vidya; both being concepts have to go and let only Self Knowledge shine.
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