In Pursuit of Truth

The Indian knowledge systems thrive on the idea of dialectic of knowledge and ignorance. At this juncture, it is pertinent to distinguish ‘knowledge’ (Jnana) from ‘awareness’ (Chitta). When we know an object, we know its essential properties. When are aware of an object, we have perception of the object? For awareness we need eyes whereas for knowledge we need sight. According to Bhartihari, ‘Knowledge is constituted in our inner self.’ The true knowledge manifests itself. As long as knowledge is seen as a vehicle to achieve materialistic pleasures and comforts, we remain far away from its true essence. The whole utilitarian notion of knowledge is grounded on appeasing our bodily pleasures and happiness which is actually our ignorance. To shrug off the ignorance, we need to understand it. Interestingly enough, we should realize that knowledge is a progressive discovery of ignorance. What it means is, ignorance is not a stigma, we should rather embrace it to have knowledge. Indian systems of knowledge inquiry have unanimously celebrated, ‘सा विद्या या विमुक्तये’ – true knowledge liberates us. Liberates from what? It makes us free from all kinds of slavery. Liberation also entails renunciation of ignorance.

Instead of attaining knowledge to be ‘free’, we “use” it as a tool to fulfill our desires, which in turn, make us more unhappy. Therefore, Lord Buddha considered ‘desires as the root cause of all the pains.’ When we mistake our soul to be material, we fall prey to the traps of desire. One of the meanings of desires is ignorance. Ignorance is thus not an absence of knowledge but rather the opposite of it. Thus, the idea of being free has so far been the highest cultural ideal of Indian spiritual traditions. A person who has come out of the false knowledge and attained Samyakgyana is capable of distinguishing between the bitter and the sweet dimensions of life and can really attain happiness. Our nature creates various kinds of voids in us. We are c o n t i n u o u s l y bombarded with dre ams during the journey of life and the mind nurtures such dreams. One should quietly restore the mind from the path of constant craving for success. Some paths and destinations are life mirage, they are better left, and one should move on. Not every time we meet a person helping us carry or throw away the bag of life. A person has to learn to distance oneself from the bag on his own. Let’s remember J. Krishnamurti again, who said, ‘Thought is time. The thought is born of experience and knowledge, which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. The thought is ever limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution. When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts, he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep, radical mutation in the mind.’

Generally, it is believed that there has to be a causal relationship for any action. If it is believed that action is also possible without causation, all the work keeps on getting generated forever. However, it doesn’t work that way. According to the proponents of Asatkaryavada – the theory of non-existent effect – it is not so. The relationship exists only with Sat and not with Asat.

Asatve Nasti Sambandh; Karanai Satvsagibhi: ||
Sambandhasya Chotpati-Michchhato Na Vyavasthiti || 1 ||

[The causes influenced by the Sat do not indulge with Asat. There is a result even without causation, which nullifies the existence of causation.]

Whenever causation takes place between two things making one of them increase weight and size, one should consider the fact that both things are different. As in when we add one kilogram of ghee with one kilogram of flour, it makes two kilograms, but the result also increases. The same mixture becomes three kilograms if we add one kilogram of jaggery and the result triples. Thus, we can understand that ghee, flour, and jaggery are three different things. However, the weight of threads is the same as the weight of the clothes, so as the weight of the pot is the same as its soil; they are but one. If they were different, the result or weight would have been different. Satkaryavada believes that since cause and effect are not separate, the effect also has power like the cause. One wonders; if cause and effect are one and not separate entities, why are they known by two different names? What are they? Is the latent effect same as the cause? Is the non-clear and manifest cause same as an effect? For example, when the threads are not woven together, the cloth is latent, and when they are interwoven, the cloth becomes manifested, and we recognize the cloth. It is like the organs of a tortoise hidden in its shell; unless they are revealed, we cannot see them. In the same way, the cause is latent in the situation and becomes manifested when it is expressed.

There is a clear difference between jnana (knowledge) and vijnana (science). The first is gained only through inner self whereas the second could be gained through the facts of the perceptible world. The former is based on consciousness whereas the latter is grounded on intellect. There is only one entity that connects intellect with consciousness, which is mind. However, we should be careful that our mind does not become a store-house because we are dependent on the memories, social conditioning, customs, religion, dialogues, and disputes of the past. Somehow, we want to be liberated by the feeble support of leaders, books, and preachers. It is futile because all these entities enslave us rather than liberating us. It reminds me of a beautiful example, what if we anchor the boat to the shore and then try to paddle it!

Beware of mind because it is a shrewd entity. It keeps on interfering. It is more meaningful if we march towards introspection and self-analysis without the meddling of the corrupt intelligence. We have got everything except the simplicity of heart. We thrive on complexities. Trapping is our companion. When Krishnamurti talks about simplicity, he is not talking about food and clothes; rather, he is talking about the simplicity of mind and heart! An ability to see the world and the self without any prejudice is simplicity. When we look at a tree with the idea of the tree in mind, we are deceiving ourselves. Then we compare the two by evaluation. We don’t get to meet real people; we only meet them with our pre-conceived images of them. Thus, it is not a meeting of two blissful human beings but their reflections. We don’t have guts to face who we really are. We insist on ‘what should be’ over ‘what is’ which results in conflict. We are unable to raise ourselves above this struggle because we are bound by our desires, aspirations, and fears. We are our own slaves and it seems we have volunteered such a slavery. We are a result of our habits, and we need to get rid of them. We should understand the meaning of liberation. Otherwise, we will be tied up with the illusion of liberation, another kind of bondage. Let’s be free from the such chains. Let’s read new voice of the Practitioners of Jain Dharma, we have started our world of Jain Avenue, waiting for you to join!!

Editor – Sejal Shah (ph. d)