Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 42

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

10. The Way of Knowledge: Jnana-marga

Our consciousness when united with the body is turned outward in order to accomplish its work of controlling the outer world by means of the senses. In its outward functioning, it employs concepts to achieve an understanding of the sensible. By turning inward, it normally gets an inferential apprehension of the self, through the acts which are apprehended immediately, in the sense that the objects apprehended are known by no other intermediary than the apprehension itself. All this does not tell us what the self, in its essential nature, is. We know about the phenomena of the self but not of the self itself. To get at the existential experience of the self, we should get free from the diversity of objects, external and internal, which impedes and prevents the direct or, intuitive vision of the essence of the self. Normally, the phenomenal content, external and internal, occupies the stage and the self is not perceived in its essentiality.

The more we obscure ourselves psychologically, that is, through introspection or reflection, the more are we in con-tact with the phenomenal manifestations of the self. We should adopt a different discipline, if we are to confront the Supreme Self in us. We must fold up the phenomenal series, go against the grain of our nature, strip ourselves naked, escape from the apparent ego and get at the abyss of pure subjectivity, the Absolute Self.

The Bhagavadgita describes to us how the aspirant avoids bodily excesses of indulgence or abstinence, goes to a place free from external distractions, chooses a comfortable seat, regulates his breathing, focuses his mind on one point and becomes harmonized (yukta) and detached from all desire for the fruit of action. When he attains this unity, he arrives at a perfect understanding with his fellow beings through sympathy and love and not because it is a matter of duty. We have the example of Gautama the Buddha, the greatest jnani or seer whose love for humanity led to his ministry of mankind for forty years. To know the truth is to lift up our hearts to the Supreme and adore Him. The knower is also a devotee and the best of them.[1]


References and Context

  1. VII, 17