Sunday, April 24, 2016

The power of discrimination (Viveka) II by Nityananda Atman

The power of discrimination (Viveka) II

The discrimination is the highest of virtues, because thanks to it we can transform ourselves in real human beings and live in harmony with the eternal Truth (commonly called God) and the universal laws of life experiencing peace, love and bliss,.

The capacity of discrimination allows us to realize the truth behind the illusory phenomena, ie. to realize what is true and what is not, what is beneficial and what is harmful for us and for our fellowmen.

What is beneficial and what is harmful?

Beneficial is what diminishes the ego, what promotes good health (physical and mental), prosperity (individual and collective), causes inner harmony, unity with everything, happiness, peace (individual and collective) awakening and realization of Truth.
Harmful is what causes physical and mental illness, poverty, misery, imbalance and disharmony (personal and collective), wickedness, violence, forgetfulness and ignorance of the Truth.

Swami Sivananda says about Viveka: Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, between the permanent and the impermanent, between the Self and the non-Self. Viveka dawns in a man through the Grace of God. The Grace can come only after one has done unceasing selfless service in countless births with the feeling that he is an instrument of the Lord and that the work is an offering to the Lord. Association with saints and study of Vedantic literature will infuse discrimination in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum degree. One should be well established in it.

The door to the higher mind is flung open when there is an awakening of discrimination.

The aspirant should separate himself also from the six waves of the ocean of Samsara - birth and death, hunger and thirst, and exhilaration and grief. Birth and death belong to the physical body; hunger and thirst belong to Prana; exhilaration and grief are the attributes of the mind. The Soul is unattached. The six waves cannot touch Brahman which is as subtle as the all-pervading ether.

The highest form of discrimination allows us to have direct experience and knowledge of the essence of life, the eternal Truth (brahman, Consciousness). It allows us to realize that this truth is always shinning in our hearts, that is perfect, unchanging and eternal; that it is unaffected by what happens to the imperfect, variable and perishable body and mind and eventually discrimination allows us to realize that we are this eternal Truth, the immortal Spirit of life, incarnated in a human body.

Paramahansa Ramakrishna have said: "Discrimination is the reasoning by which one knows that God alone is real and all else is unreal. Real means eternal, and unreal means impermanent. He who has acquired discrimination knows that God is the only Substance and all else is non-existent.

Adi Sankaracharya writes in his book Vivekachudamani: The realisation of Truth is brought about by discrimination and not in the least by ten million of acts.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati says: Once you are fully aware of the magnitude of human suffering in this relative world, you will naturally begin to discriminate between what is real and what is unreal. Brahman, the Absolute, is real and jagat, the world, is unreal. This is viveka, right understanding or discrimination. Sincerity and faith will develop, aspiration or keen longing to realize God will be felt and you will remember the truth constantly. You will have to assert constantly, ‘Aham Brahmasmi, I am Brahman.’ By incessant practice, name, form and desire will vanish and you will realize Brahman. It is the vedantic sadhana or spiritual practice. Discrimination, aspiration, always remembering the truth, assertion and finally realization are the various stages or means for realization of Brahman.

The discrimination is not the result of studies in colleges and universities, or the accumulation of knowledge. Socrates, for example, as well as many other sages of the past and the present age have not developed the discrimination due to their erudition, but through intense spiritual practice, self-enquiry, reflection and meditation.  

The main causes that we lack of discrimination is the ego which is an aggregation of multiple small egos, the passions and desires, the laziness (physical and mental) and the predominance of tamas and rajas gunas in the mind.

We can develop discrimination by systematic practice and the increase of sattva guna in the mind.  Control of senses and mind, purification of the mind and heart, the development of virtues such as truthfulness and compassion, satsang and the studying of spiritual books and sacred texts,  reflection, contemplation, auto-observation, self-enquiry, all these are means to develop Viveka. 

Discrimination is the highest faculty of a human being. Every moment we make decisions. Without discrimination we cannot see things as they are and thus we cannot decide rightly according the circumstances. Especially for spiritual aspirants Viveka is a sine qua non. They must be able to discern if something is helpful or not for their sadhana or for their development. They must be able to discern if they do their practice properly. To discern if a suggestion that appears in their mind is something that comes from their consciousness or from the ego. Ego likes also to play the voice of consciousness.  In relation with the ego discrimination enable us detect the play of the ego from its very beginning; viz. we can perceive the first movement of the egoic impulse and thus to avoid identification and be lost in it. The earlier we detect the ego the easier for us to dissolve it and remain focused in our source.  Without discrimination we cannot recognize the tricks and illusions that the egoic mind creates constantly and thus we will fail to dissolve the ego.

Without a great development of discrimination we cannot also eliminate the desires that are powerful and persistent.  If we cannot discern how the ego make us identify with its imaginations and projections and if we cannot discern the illusory nature of pleasure it becomes very difficult or impossible to dissolve the desire mecanism from our psych. Discrimination causes the development of dispassion and detachment which are of the greatest importance to renounce and dissolve desires. Without dispassion we cannot talk about meditation. If our mind is attached to sensual pleasures cannot remain calm and focus for much time; thus meditation is impossible, and without meditation self realization is impossible as well. Dispassion can be of a permanent and intense nature only when is the result of our capacity to discriminate and realize the illusory nature of sensual pleasures. Without this the mind will not give up pleasures and we will be always in a struggle to control our mind and turn it towards it s source. Thus the development of discrimination is unquestionable.

Sri Sankaracharya affirms in his texts the importance of Viveka and Vairagya. Let see some extracts of his work SATA SLOKI about Discrimination, Dispassion, Renunciation, Detachment.

Discrimination and Dispassion (Viveka and Vairagya)

The essential pre-requisite for the dawn of Self-knowledge is dispassion. This is of two kinds according to Sage Patanjali's Yoga sutras, namely, inferior dispassion and superior dispassion
The inferior type of dispassion arises as a result of the realization that attachment to one's house, friends, son, possessions and the like culminates only in sorrow. 
The superior type of dispassion arises from discrimination between what is eternal, namely the Atman and what is perishable, namely the body-mind complex.

Dispassion and Renunciation
When this superior dispassion arises, all worldly objects and pleasures become as revolting as vomit. One who has attained control over the mind as a result of such dispassion is fit to renounce the world. This renunciation not only means leaving his home, but also giving up attachment to his body. 

Everything in this world, being only name and form, is unreal from the absolute point of view. All things appear to have reality and function in various ways only because of the substratum, Brahman (consciousness), on which they are superimposed. By renunciation alone, can the unsurpassed bliss of Brahman be enjoyed and so one should not covet impermanent things like wealth and possessions. 


Fire does not burn wet firewood, but if the firewood has been dried by the heat in the atmosphere in summer, then fire will burn it. 
Similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge cannot enter the mind of a person who is deeply attached to his family, wealth and possessions, even if he has acquired considerable religious merit (punya) by the performance of Vedic rituals, by begetting a virtuous son and by using his wealth for noble purposes. 
Only if he has developed strong detachment can Self-knowledge dawn in his mind. Therefore the scriptures declare that the acquisition of pure detachment is essential for a person who seeks Self-realization. 

Discrimination also helps us recognize the games of pride and vanity in us. Desire and pride are the most difficult egoic tendencies to recognize and be aware of their play. A very well development of Viveka is necessary not to be deluded by them and dissolve them. Without a proper development of Viveka we cannot succeed in the battle against desire and pride. Of course fear and anger are also two of the stronger tendencies we have to work for many years in order to dissolve them. Each thought, emotion and action must be examined with proper attention and the light of discrimination. This is the only way to succeed in the dissolution of ego.

As soon as discrimination arises, the power of the mind becomes weakened and the mind tries to recede and retrace its steps to its original home, the heart. The mind cannot do anything improper in the presence of discrimination. It will be dethroned because the will becomes stronger and stronger when discrimination is awakened. Thanks to viveka one can leave this miserable samsara, cycle of birth and death. ~ Swami Sivananda
Due to the very fact that the ego tries constantly to make us identify with the body and the mental and emotional forms, we must constantly exercise the faculty of discrimination in order to impede these identifications to happen and remain as detached observers of the movements of the ego itself and the mind. This is something we have to do moment to moment. This is the corner stone of spirituality, viz. by the power of attention and discrimination to impede moment to moment identifications to happen (identification with the ego, body, emotions, thoughts, objects) and keep our attention focus in its source. 

Finally Viveka in its higher function enable us discern our Self as the silent substratum of all forms and experiences and totally different and unaffected by the body, energy and mind as well as the external forms. 
Discrimination with dispassion consist the two wings that allow us to fly towards liberation and eternal peace and bliss. These two are the most important virtues which open the gates towards Self-realization. 

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