The quest after the Atman, the eternal fact of existence and principle of all life is the most difficult spiritual adventure. Our ancient sages and prophets spent lives and lives to discover the true nature of the apparent World and the non-apparent, eternal Brahman. E3fh of these learned Seers had proceeded along a spiritual path of enquiry that appeared to him to be the most infallible and surest way to attain the perfect spiritual knowledge of Brahman.
It is often reiterated that the World in which we exist is of the nature of an illusion, a mirage. The principal question that springs up from this assumption is; if the world is a mirage, are we not also parts of that mirage? An illusion by its very nature, is false. Then there will be no spiritual good or benefit to strive for. Man in that situation, becomes a mere purposeless, meaningless entity. a floating speck of dust in the whirl winds of Ignorance. The danger stemming off from this assumption is that human beings may grow indifferent to their Own spiritual good. If this view that the world ill an illusion is stretched too far and is interpreted fallaciously, man will be left with nothing beyond to strive for. He may console himself with the misleading argument that he merely exists for the sake of existence. The argument further leads to the view that we are "abnihilo" and are disintegrated into a Zero-state or Shunya by death, thus misleading such people to a Shunya Vada, which' is the most dangerous paradox as far as man's spiritual welfare is concerned. It goes without saying that Shunyavada will naturally lead the way -to either an attitude of agnosticism in some or even to an attitude' of atheism in others. Both these. views 'are detrimental to -the spiritual welfare of an individual. The enquiry into the individual Pratyagatman and the universal Pararnatrnan or. Brahman, their inter-relation is quite an arduous one.
The main reason for this situation is . that the Vedanta that speaks of the real "unity" in the apparent "Duality" of Atman and Brahman cherishes ideations that are not to be seized with the cognising and comprehending Mind, which can work only by the assistance of the five senses and sense perceptions and the sixth sense, namely, the Intellect. Spirituali deations and concepts are comprehensible only .to Intuition or Gnana which is unrelated to the six senses. The intuitive faculty is attainable only through spiritual training and penance, which is the source of all powers, faculties and puis- sauces, Tapas is the medium through which real Wisdom can be atained. It is desoribed that even Thwasta as soon as he was born of Hiranyagarbha, did not know what for' he was created, nor did be possess that power which was necessary to bring the Cosmos into being. He was in "agnana" in the midst of primeval darkness. When he was in the horns of a dilemma he was urged by the Divins voice to do penance and learn what there was to be learnt: When such was the situation of the powerful creator of the Cosmos, how much profounder would be the ignorance of the ordinary men who are centred in the exercise of the senses lurking in the folds of ignorance to mislead and seduce them ? The human beings are so constantly habituated to exercising these five senses in all matters that the spirit prognosticating Intuition remains for the most pert unused in them. The only way to sharpen this Intuition" is by employing it in meditation and penance. Meditation and· penance do by their very nature help in sharpening the edge of the faculty of Intuition.
Most of the books on the spirit lore urge urge upon us a simultaneous exercise in two directions an endeavour to sharpen the Intuitive faculty and to call off the Mind to a blissful dissociation from the objects of the senses. Tue great Indian Seers of the pas realised the impossibility of attaining such state of meditation and penance because of the two deterrents flesh and world. Hence most serious effort of the spiritual Researcher should be exerted in avoiding the trammels of flesh and world and in attaining a state of Spiritual isolation from the world of allure meats and temptations. In such a state the Mind is released from the morbid attachment to the worldly concerns. The Mind, accustomed as it is to the routine worldly activities, becomes freed just as a bull drawing the oil-mill is released from his absurd, futile and endless gyrations round the hub of the oil-mill after the oil is crushed. Life is dependent on the flesh and the flesh can not keep alive but by food. The most basic need of life is food. It is but natural to start with a premise, though not a correct one, that Food is the source of all life, for life is born of the living and no life springs from a lifeless body. Senses and mind function only when there is life in the corpus, It is to this end that food is required. It is the means and the substance to satisfy the animal in man and keep the animal alive. Honce Bhrugu, to start with, identifies the Brahman, the all-inclusive source of cosmos, with Food. From this initial assumption he rises gradually higher and higher in his enquiry to find Brahman in everything. In other words, he gradually reaches a mature mental state where the all-pervrsiveeness and all inclusiveness of Brahman becomes as clear to him daylight.
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