Life Is Religious – In Gita Verse 16.24 One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.

Krishna says religion does not consist of any particular act, worship or prayer either. It is a way of living in which everything in life becomes worship and prayer. It is not a ritual, it is a way of life. In this religion, it is not one’s acts that are religious, it is the individual who is religious. No behavior is religious, life is religious.

Only by being free from the bondage of the ego, of the “I”, can consciousness rise above the individual and become one with the totality. Just as an earthen jar separates water from the ocean, the clay pot of the ego keeps the individual away from the truth.

What is this ego, this “I”? Have you ever searched for it in yourself? It only exists because you have never looked for it. When I myself tried to find it I found that it did not exist. In some quiet moments go deep into yourself and look. You won’t find the “I” anywhere. The “I” does not exist. It is a mere illusion that we have ushered into existence because of its social utility. Just as you have a name, you have your ego too. Both are utilities, of value from the practical point of view, but they are not real. That which is in you has neither name nor ego.

There is no such thing as entering into nirvana, into moksha, into liberation, into the soul, into the atman. How can you enter a place you have never left? So what happens then? As I said, there is no such thing as an entry into nirvana, but what happens is that the world we were in dissolves like a dream and we find ourselves in our selves. As such, this experience is not at all like entering, it is more like finding yourself on your bed at the abrupt termination of a journey you were taking in a dream. Since you haven’t gone anywhere there is no question of returning; since you haven’t lost anything, talk of achieving something is meaningless. You are only dreaming a dream; your traveling and searching are in a dream. You don’t have to go anywhere or find anything. All you have to do is awaken.

The realization of the truth is always perfect, always complete. And that experience, that attainment, is not gradual. It is not evolution, it is revolution. Does anyone awaken from a dream progressively, gradually? Either there is a dream or there is no dream. There is no middle stage.

Yes, the sadhana may take a long time but the realization of truth takes place like a flash of lightning – in a moment and in all its totality. Realization does not take any time to happen as such, because whatever happens over a period of time is always gradual, progressive. The sadhana occurs in and occupies a span of time, but realization does not take any time at all. It is beyond time.

For the realization of the truth, a sadhana of goodness and renunciation is not enough. This is a partial sadhana. For the realization of truth it is essential to rise above both good and evil, love and hate, above both samsara and moksha, the world and emancipation. That state, in our language, is called veeragatha, the state beyond both attachment and detachment. Veeta Raga chaitanya, desireless consciousness, is the state where there is neither love nor hate, neither good nor evil, but where there is only pure chaitanya, pure consciousness, steadfastness in the self. The realization of truth only happens in this state.

You must cultivate an unconcerned and watchful mind. You must weave that mental state into yourself like the very breath that is interwoven throughout your life both night and day. You should be unconcerned and watchful in every activity, practicing no-action in action – just as an actor is quite aware that he is acting when he plays a role. He does not become concerned with the character and loses his consciousness in it. Although acting, he remains detached. You have to become like that and remain like that.

If a man is watchful while engaged in activity it is not difficult for him to remain unconcerned. It is the natural consequence of observation. I am walking on a road. If I observe the act of walking fully, I will feel that I am walking and at the same time that I am not walking. Walking is being done on the physical plane but there is no walking on the level of consciousness. You will feel the same while eating or while doing other things. There will be one point in you which will remain just a witness. It will neither be the doer nor the enjoyer. The deeper the experience of this witnessing becomes, the more the feelings of happiness and of sorrow will gradually dissolve – and then you will realize that absolute and pure consciousness that is atman, yourself.

Krishna says the witness, the knower is the self. This self is different from birth and death, different from maya and moksha, from illusion and liberation. It is only a witness, a witness to all things – to light, to darkness, to the world, to nirvana. The self is beyond all dualities.

As soon as a person knows this witness he becomes like a lotus – separate from the mud of which it was born and detached from the water in which it lives. Such a man is calm and composed in all life’s varied situations – in pleasure and in pain, in honor and in humiliation – because he is only a witness. Whatever happens, happens. But it does not happen to him, it happens in front of him. He witnesses. He becomes just like a mirror. A mirror reflects thousands of images but no mark is left behind.


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