'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We are now studying Aatmabodha. As always, with each week, you are encouraged to review the previous teachings and spend some time in contemplation of the meanings as the affect your life. Please do consider purchasing the text. Remember, also, to recite the mangala charana before each study and review the lessons before each new one.
The text now moves on to give an example again of how it is that avidya is converted to vidya.
Ah< mmeit ca}n< baxte idGæmaidvt!.46.
Aham mameti chaajnaanam baadhate digbhramaadivat ||46||
Just as right information removes the wrong notion about the directions, so too, the knowledge that is gained as a result of the experience of Truth, destroys the ignorance that is characterised by the notions of "I"ness and "my"ness.
The Self-knowledge that is born out of the experience of the Reality, immediately and instantaneously destroys ignorance - here called by the more specific term 'ajnaanam'. It refers to the specific knowledge of erroneously created by the idea that we are the ego. This wrong perception of a limited, coloured and distorted life is brought about by that ego, which demands that "I" am this and that is "mine".
The example given as comparison as to how we can clear up our understanding is that of being given directions. We have all experienced being 'lost', is it not so? There is a tendency in some, to continue suffering the confusion of the streets of a new place, or to loose our sense of direction rather than stop and ask for help from someone with more local knowledge. The ego won't let us! If we but stop for a moment and ask for that help, however, we often find that we have actually been where we wanted to be all the time, just one corner to go is all.
There is an example given of a traveller heading for a village in the Indian countryside. His friends had said to him that to travel at night was not such a good idea, as he did not have even a bullock cart. He was walking and it was some considerable distance. "Not at all, I have travelled that road before and know it well!" he declared and off he set. It was winter though, and also a dark moon. All the markers he though he would remember did not appear to him. At one point he could feel the ground changing beneath his feet, but still he trudged on. Before long, he felt something grab at his clothes. He jumped. Surely there would not be snakes about in the night? Knowing he had not been bitted, he tried to continue. Soon he was being scratched all over. He stopped in despair. Whenever he tried to move, something caught at him. There was no sound of animals, though, so he decided just to stand and wait for dawn. He knew it could only be an hour or two away. Sure enough, within two hours, the sun rose. As he had suspected, he had landed himself in a thicket of thorn bushes… and when he looked over to his right he could see people moving on the road he had supposed he was travelling!
Every day we work in the dark of ignorance of the Truth of Self and complain of the pricks and thorns of life. We think only in terms of our poor little individual selves, for the Light has not Dawned. What is more, it is not that the Truth has to arrive… it is that we are walking with it at all times, but our ego is creating a veil of darkness resulting in mis-steps.
The directions are ever there, whether we know them or not. So long as we are confused, we take the East to be West and so on. A right understanding gives us the true directions. So too, when Self is known, we are able to fix our relationship in the world on more stable and sure footings and with a more balanced vision. No longer will the pricks and thorns cause us to stumble.