June 04, 2007

Gita XVIII-Jnana or Wisdom

If world is nothing but ebb and flow, continual becoming, it is due to action. At the human level, action is caused by desire or attachment, kama. The root cause of desire is avidya or ignorance of the nature of things. The roots of desire lie in the ignorant belief in the individual’s self-sufficiency, in the attribution reality and permanence to it. We have to get over this ignorance. Vidya or wisdom is the means of liberation from the chain of avidya-kama-karma.

Wisdom should not be confused with theoretical learning or correct beliefs, for ignorance is not intellectual error. It is spiritual blindness. To remove it, we must cleanse the soul of its defilement and kindle the spiritual vision. The fire of passion and the tumult of desire must be suppressed.* (IV, 39)The mind, inconstant and unstable, must be steadied to reflect wisdom from above.

Wisdom is direct experience, which occurs as soon as obstacles to its realization are removed. The effort of the seeker is directed to the elimination of the hindrances, to the removal of the obscuring tendencies of avidya. According to Advaita Vedanta, this wisdom is always present. It can only be revealed. Utter silence of the mind and the will, an emptying of the ego produces illumination, wisdom, the light by which we grow into our true being; this is eternal life, complete fulfilment of our capacity of love and knowledge, “the completely simultaneous and perfect possession of unlimited life at a single moment.”

Jnana and ajnana, wisdom and ignorance are opposed as light and darkness. With the dawning of wisdom, ignorance dies and evil is cut off from the root. The liberated soul overcomes the world. When we grow into this wisdom, we live in the Supreme. This consciousness is not an abstract one.

(to be contd.)

*(IV, 39) He who has faith, who is absorbed in it (i.e.wisdom) and who has subdued his senses gains wisdom and having gained wisdom, he attains quickly, the supreme peace.


Vikram Madan said...

You write:
"The fire of passion and the tumult of desire must be suppressed."

That does not sound quite right.

This statement seems to be encouraging repression of strong motivating forces within the human being.

Repression leads to stagnation of life energy which causes severe damage to the mental-emotional health of the human being.

Consider repression of desire to be the equivalent of food cooking under high pressure in a device known as the 'pressure cooker'.

In case of repression of desire, the food (desire trapped under the pressure of supression/repression) goes bad and leads to mental illnesses.

Vikram Madan said...

I'd like to know which verses in the Bhagvadgita encourage repression and suppresion.

Thank you.

gautami tripathy said...

Passion and desire are not necessarily of carnal. Those go much beyond that.

Suppressed here means to take in control, rise above it, not ignoreit or wish it away.

annie said...

i am adding this blog to my bloglines so i can keep up with your entries here. i am very interested in world religion.

Enemy of the Republic said...

This one I will come back to. I want to think about your definition of action. When you say passion, are you refering to the rajasic state?

the.red.mantissa said...

so much wisdom here ~ this all seems so clear and filled with light. i understand that you speak of passion here in the abstract, as in that intense longing that fuels our desires to attach ourselves to the worldly. indeed, desire seems at the root human difficulty, when one distills things down.

so, we must strive to act without desire (i.e. without a view to the fruits of said action), but with a discipline from within.

"The seers say truly that he is wise who acts without lust or scheming for the fruit of the act: his act falls from him, its chain is broken, melted in the flame of my knowledge"

thank you for this amazing blog. please keep writing. i want to keep reading.

desparado said...

yes.please keep writing,i want to keep reading.
Gita is such a source of life force.

Whitesnake said...

"He who has faith, who is absorbed in it"

Could be a dreamer?

The fire of passion and the tumult of desire must be suppressed."


AMIT said...

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