Gyana Marga – A road to liberation.
Gyana – Knowledge in Sanskrit has been described as one of the paths to liberation. Most knowledge is acquired for practical benefits or for worldly success. Either you acquire knowledge to get around in the world, like knowledge of French will help you communicate with people in France and knowledge of herbs would help know which ones are useful and which ones are poisonous. This kind of knowledge is essential for one’s survival.
Success is often also linked to amount of knowledge one acquires. The rush for acquiring MBA and other degrees defines the value of knowledge in the scheme of things. The current era is labeled as the Knowledge era; where knowledge is prized over capital, labour, land etc.
So where does this knowledge to liberation fit in? Is it really relevant? Well it is relevant, if the quest for knowledge is really there. It is relevant if we find ourselves unhappy in spite of all the progress we see around. It is relevant if your life seems meaningless in spite of the worldly success you might have.
Many well learned men sought what is the ultimate knowledge which man can ever acquire. Some scientists have explored the frontiers of space and are trying to discover the Higgs Boson particle, which supposedly gives mass to the entire universe. And billions of dollars have gone to research the origin of the universe, where and how did it all start… On the other hand psychologists, sociologists and other philosophers have examined the issues of mankind and have explored the wellbeing of human mind and what keeps us going, and where is the human race headed.
Vedas – the knowledge created by the Ancient Seers of India have described life and its abstract nature and its relation to God. Their focus is on the ultimate knowledge which liberates us from the trials and tribulations of life. Same is the case with Ashtavakra Gita and Bhagawad Gita. Gita – the song of life, describes the duality which we are all sandwiched in. Each action of ours brings forth a result and along with it, another set of problems. No action is flawless. And yet we need to act and be free. Why is this knowledge so priceless? Simply because it liberates us. What does this liberation mean? It means that we as individuals have a choice – a choice to see that the entire universe is our own creation and is one being. This choice of seeing the whole instead of parts is liberating. It transcends conventional behavior and actions. It transcends everything one sees from the plane of logic.
It doesn’t mean that logic is not important. Logic is very important to know the cause and its effect. Logic allows us to organize things efficiently; it helps us to run businesses, trains and organizations. But it stops at that. It doesn’t offer synthesis.
In the path of knowledge – Gyana Marga, it is all about finding this synthesis and thus happiness and liberation. This synthesis is about the source of life, the source of everything and experiencing Oneness in spite of the duality life offers. The ability to celebrate this Oneness over duality is what Gyana Marga is all about.
How does one start about on this path? Most of you already are on the path. The knowledge of life is not separated from life itself.
That is what Siddhartha, the young Buddha, sought before his enlightenment. The ability to observe, contemplate and reflect, are the skills required on this path. And all of us have been blessed with these skills. So put them to use, and see the beauty of the universe through the lens of Oneness, and celebrate.
By Vikas Bhatia