Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights and Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — The Trick Of The Mind

April 21, 2018

The Trick Of The Mind

 Swami Venkatesananda in California     The effect of the physical exercises is not difficult to see and to experience; but when it comes to meditation and satsang, people are disappointed if they do not experience something extraordinary. The disappointment is greater in satsang because they do not seem to achieve something. Yet they who have understood the meaning of meditation and satsang realize that they are more vital than the yoga asanas. They do not look for achievement, but for the source of the desire for achievement. That desire is the mischief-maker. Enlightenment is pushed away by the very desire for enlightenment. Desire for liberation is the perpetuation of bondage. Shall we drop the desire for liberation, then?  Oh no; for then there is desire for other things. Such desire is the source of sorrow in this world.

      It is here that one sees the genius of yoga. The yogi sees that desire for pleasure and possession externalizes the mind and the subjects it to the experience of sorrow. The yogi is asked to abandon such desire and cultivate dispassion, so that his attention may be focused within to observe the arising of desire itself. This focusing of attention is meditation and is constant, though one has to learn it and practice it as an exercise.

      The attention thus focused reveals a wonderful truth. Desire for the object arose because the object was seen as the source of pleasure. Surely, the object seemed to be attractive because the ego-sense, 'I', thought so! In meditation the yogi discovers that he cannot see what the 'I' is. When the unreality of the 'I' is realized, the object of experience (whether it is called worldly or spiritual) drops away. One's own normal every-day life becomes enlightened or divine life.



      It is arising of this 'I am this body' idea as Truth which is known as asmita in yoga. This arises in ignorance. This is ignorance. There is no difference between what is known as avidya and what is known as asmita. Avidya is unwisdom, ignorance — and asmita is 'I am this body'. Avidya is said to be the cause of asmita. But what is the cause of water vapor? Water. That is, the cause is always found in the effect. Once you learn to look at it this way, then you have understood the entire vedanta. The effect is non--different from the cause. The effect is the cause.

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