Sat Chit Anand
The competition between Ganesh and Karthik, the two sons of Lord Shiva is a familiar story. Both of them were asked to go around the world three times if they wanted to eat the delicious fruit that was held in Lord Shiva’s hands. Ganesh simply circled around his parents thrice while Karthik really went around the world on his peacock three times.
The question here is not about being cleverer or faster. The question here is about the definition of the word ‘world’. To Ganesh, his world comprised of his parents. And Karthik construed the meaning of the world, as the real world and went around it thrice.
What is the difference between the world that exists in reality and the world that we have created in our minds? The real world is the actual world- the reality, the physical world that exists. We may or may not exist, but the real world continues to exist.
But, like Ganesh, we have the ability to create our own illusionary worlds within the real world. Our world, as we perceive it, comprises of our parents, children, our jobs, our joys and our sorrows. This illusionary world is created the minute we wake up and ceases to exist the minute we sleep or die.
How is this perception of our world created? Our mind creates our world for us. What is our mind made up of? Our mind is made up of our thoughts. The minute we wake up, we start thinking and our world is created. And when we go to sleep, our thoughts cease to exist and therefore our mind and our world cease to exist. What is the state of our mind when we are sleeping? It is one of deep bliss and pure peace. And this is the state of mind that we constantly try to achieve in our waking hours – joy, peace, bliss. It is inherent in Man’s nature to seek happiness. In fact he pursues it relentlessly throughout his life and wishes to remain untouched by sorrow. The happier he perceives himself to be, the more he loves himself. While he experiences this state of ‘Ananda’ in his sleep, he now wishes to experience it during his waking hours.
To experience this state of bliss, he needs to ‘know’ himself. And he can gain this knowledge by asking himself the question: “Who am I?” This method of self inquiry will make him more aware of himself. He will realize that he is: a being with a physical body which just exists, has some consciousness and is capable of experiencing and creating a state of bliss for himself. That is the essence of: Sat Chit Anand.
From where then does our real identity, our understanding of ‘I’ come from? A little probing will reveal to us, that it arises from our hearts. We all have experienced this strong connection between the heart and the mind in our lives. If we persistently question ourselves, we will realize that the first thought that arises when we wake up is an ‘I’ thought. It is only after all our ‘I’ thoughts are appeased that other thoughts are entertained.
Instead of entertaining all the other thoughts, we need to focus only on the thought of “Who am I?” This will lead us to the answer that we are ‘Beings’. The next thought will be, “To whom has this thought arisen?” The answer will be, “This thought has occurred to me.” The next question that arises in the mind will be, “Therefore, Who am I?” and the mind will go back to the source as the thought automatically subsides, leading us closer to our state of bliss.
Brinda R Shah.