Know Thyself

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It is not difficult to see the necessity of knowing oneself and this journey of self discovery takes many forms. Yet it does not bring us to a clarity that can solve our psychological problems of conflict, want or sorrow. We may find temporary relief through psychoanalysis or meditation or retreats but the questions remain. Most of us are no longer as discontent for we have found some answer or have a little order but that precisely is the danger. One must not smother the flame of discontent or one looses the energy that is required for the search. So the primary reason we cannot cross the barrier is the tendency to escape or to make life easier or to seek happiness. The more we seek the farther we stray and any correction often requires a complete abandonment of all that we falsely pursue.

This brings us to the question of escape and what it constitutes. An interesting story illustrates this point. Once a key was lost and there was a frantic search being made for it near a lamppost in which the good Samaritans also joined. The wise Nassuridin on seeing the commotion asked what the matter was and soon understood the situation. He asked the person who had lost the key where he had last seen and the most likely place he had lost it. The man innocently remarked that he was searching near the lamp post as there was some light and the other entire path was dark. This is our problem for we look for the answer to our problems in the wrong place. Thought has to see the problems that it has created rather than look for the angels to solve that which could be solved by common sense.

I would narrate another story that was told by Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Once a Guru told the disciples that God resided in the heart of each being and one need fear nothing. Walking back home the disciple encountered a mad elephant charging and heard the Mahout (minder) shouting and cautioning people to get out of the way. While others ran for cover the disciple stood his ground for he remembered the message his master had given him. The elephant in a rage caught and threw him. The poor disciple narrowly survived a fatal injury. When his Guru came to see him he asked why he was injured whereas he had followed the advice, to see God in everything. His Guru calmly told him that he had in fact disregarded the advice of Mahout God.

Metaphysical speculations lead nowhere and most of the so called Gurus preach things which they understand only intellectually and have read from scriptures. Moreover being renunciates they prescribe renunciation and exercises that are best performed under direct guidance in a life totally devoted to spiritual pursuits.

For those reading this probably belong to the ordinary humdrum of life so it is here that the problems are to be faced and prescriptions demanding common sense needed. All that is needed is "Sincerity". Yet one has to find out as to what is being Sincere and how one fares.