Chapter 10: We Are What We Do
The one who knows the birth
and the dissolution of the knower, the knowing,
and the objects of knowing,
yet is itself without birth or dissolution,
this self-illumined one is called sakshi,
That which resides in the consciousness
of all living beings,
from Brahma, the god of creation,
to the smallest insect, and which remains
even when all gross and subtle bodies are no more,
is called kootastha, the indestructible one.
Just as a thread passes through each bead of a necklace,
the soul threads each cell of the body
in order that it may become aware of its true nature
from amongst the different characteristics.
This one is called antaryami,
the knower of all thoughts and feelings.
Indian wisdom has not regarded man, as he is, as any more than just a bundle of diseases; as man is, he is a disease. But this is not a depressing attitude towards life. This attitude is not pessimistic. As man is, he is regarded as a disease, because as long as he believes this state of disease to be his health he cannot attain to his intrinsic potential.
Man has infinite possibilities. If a diamond lying among the pebbles and stones accepts itself as an ordinary stone, then it stops the possibility of any growth; no possibility is left for any refinement, for any evolution. If we believe that as we are is all there is, then there is no possibility to grow. Growth is possible only if we do not take what we are to be our ultimate potential. Wherever there is the possibility of growth in any aspect, we must not believe ourselves to be already perfect in that aspect.
A unique thing has happened in the history of mankind. It is that the West has never considered its external conditions to be the ultimate state of perfection; hence the West has succeeded in changing these conditions to a great extent. If there was poverty, it did not accept it, if there was illness, it did not accept it, if there was just a small hut to live in, it did not accept it, it did not accept rugged and uneven roads, it did not accept a slow speed of movement. The West did not accept the external circumstances as they existed. That is why the West has totally changed them.
But the East has undertaken an even deeper experiment. The East does not accept the inner state of man as it is. An indication of this is given when it is said that as man is, he is a disease. He is worthy of transformation; he should transform himself. He can attain to his inner being, only if he changes. If he transforms, only then can he attain to the state where he can be peaceful, content and blissful.
Our anguish is the anguish of a seed. If a seed does not become a tree, the anguish is natural. And if a seed believes in remaining a seed, that it is perfect as it is, then there is no way for it to sprout.
Hence the sage is explaining these five groups of diseases. We talked about three last night.now the fourth. The fourth is sattva, piety, the feeling of being “good,” and the fifth, punya, virtue.