“Mind alone is the cause of man’s bondage and freedom.” Amritabindu Upanishad
Many years ago I read a book by Jane Roberts called the NATURE OF PERSONAL REALITY. Jane Robert channelled a source called Seth. Regardless of what you might think of channelling, at some point in her delivery Seth addresses why anyone would want to seek Nirvana. Why anyone would want to destroy the Ego and lose the experience of enjoyment? He declared it to be folly.
At the time I was quite affronted by this statement and dismissed his stand. I was after all on a mindless quest to obliterate my soul so why would I take note of such a statement? It would have been good to take heed because it is a searching question.
“Birth and death are only ideas. They pertain to the body or the mind. The Self exists before the birth of this body and will remain after the death of this body.” Ramana Maharshi in Talk 487.
Samkhya Philosophy is described as ‘that knowledge knowing which does away with all suffering.’ And this is the key to understanding the nature of this admittedly absurd pursuit.
In a sense the undertaking is a kind of trade, though that puts it very crudely. One is trading one’s Ego for Bliss – not happiness, BLISS, but that is also a crude oversimplification.
Though we might enjoy moments of happiness when things are going our way; when we have our health, enough money, enough food, good company, a new something or other, but this is happiness and not Bliss. There is no doubt that life does have a certain charm at times but there are also times when life is a torment. Technological Civilisation with all its benefits (whatever they might be) is a recent state of affairs but such sophistication is as thin and fragile as gossamer and can be swept away by a gentle breeze.
Jesus warned us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Desire creates your universe; that’s just the way it works. Ram Dass.
Suffering is never so far away, as the Buddha declared. (Read the story of the Buddha and the Black Mustard Seed.) And for so many reasons suffering is beyond one’s control. It is in those dark moments that we question the nature of existence and how we might be freed from suffering. Ask any survivor in the current war zones in the Middle East right now what they would do to be free of suffering.
It is our habit to look to the world and circumstance to satisfy this desperate need but any solution obtained by materialism can only ever be temporary. And this includes joining or belonging to groups or movements that promise Shangri-La by virtue of being one of a chosen few. It is a fact we either accept as being the way it is or we ask that profound question, “Is there a way to be free of suffering? And therefore how does life work if it is not to be taken at face value?” In this pursuit there is a process and it soon becomes apparent to the open mind that suffering cannot be eradicated by any material means and that suffering is a natural part of the human condition. It takes a wise soul to point out that to have any impact on the nature of suffering we must look inwards in a very particular way. And thus there starts the journey that has no destination.
Hence, “There are no stages in Realization or degrees in Liberation.” Ramana Maharshi