A gyani (enlightened being) knows his true, ever-blissful ‘Self’. Thus, although he performs all actions, he is not dependent on the world for anything. He is blissfully content in his own ‘Self’. And only such a being can be the non-doer of actions and thus the non-bearer of its consequences. He is ever content with whatever that comes to him of its own accord, being equanimous in success and failure, and thus he is not bound despite performing actions. Now check where you stand. More often than not, the slightest achievement fills people with pride and the slightest failure makes them despair. Even a trivial victory or success makes folk want to shout aloud from the roof top. People gloat, they boast and some even get their photos printed in the newspaper so that all sundry come to know of their ‘achievement’! On the other hand, even the most insignificant failure or defeat makes you despondent. Thus, the mind keeps swinging between the dualities of pain and pleasure. And such is your identification with the mind that when the mind feels happy, you say ‘I am happy’ and when it is sad, you say ‘I am sad.’

See, the root problem of all suffering is ignorance. Ignorance of what? Ignorance of your true identity! Not knowing your true identity, you regard the unit of body-mind as ‘I’. And this is what leads to all sorts of suffering and misery. Your true nature is bliss. So, if you want to really be blissful, you will have to realise your real ‘Self’. Body is not you, mind is not you - the key lies in seeing yourself separate from body, separate from mind. Well, you can see this body, but what about the mind?

I will narrate a Puranic story to make it clearer. Once Lord Brahma was sitting in his court, and since he is said to be the creator of this whole creation, his throne was higher than all attending courtiers. It so happened that a sadhu (hermit) entered his court, carrying a kamandal (container) filled with holy water in one hand and kusha grass (used in ritualistic offerings) in the other. As he walked in, he kept on dipping the kusha in his kamandal and sprinkling the holy water around, murmuring sacred hymns to purify the surroundings. All were curious to know who he was, and why was he doing an indecorous act of ‘purifying’ Lord Brahma’s court. For he seemed to imply that the place and deities were impure, needing purification! A bemused Lord Brahma welcomed him saying, “Dear Sir, although I don’t recognize you, I do warmly welcome you in this court, please be seated.” Rather rudely, the sadhu demanded, “Where should I sit? All thrones are occupied and hence impure. There is no unsoiled place for me to sit.” Lord Brahma tried to placate him saying, “Sir, you may sit in my lap, if it is okay with you.” Without batting an eyelid, the nonchalant sadhu walked up to Lord Brahma and dipping the kusha into the kamandal and sprinkling the holy water on Lord Brahma, he started singing holy hymns of purification, “Om Pavitroh Pavitrah,” before coolly sitting down in Brahma’s lap!

Now, Lord Brahma got really worried and asked, “Sir, who are you? Your actions leave me utterly perplexed. At least introduce yourself.” The sadhu retorted, “I am your ahankara (ego) who was inside you and is now in front of you. You could not see me. I have come to tell you that don’t be under any misconception that you are the supreme father and Lord of all beings. Not at all! You are dwarfed by my presence, I am your ahankara, superior even to you.’’

The point being conveyed through this allegory is that we cannot see our mind. It is only when we start meditating that the hidden attributes of the mind such as ego, anger, desires, jealously etc. begin to surface. We are aware of others – what they did, whether it was good or bad, but we haven’t seen ourselves. We analyse everyone else except ourselves. Hence in a way, our situation is similar to that of Lord Brahma, for everyone thinks ‘I am the greatest’. But when you start sitting for meditation, you get introduced to your own mind. You start seeing all the shades of your own mind. Thus, instead of pursuing this external world all the time, give some time to dwell within.

Extracted from the book ‘Art of Meditation’ by Anandmurti Gurumaa