Pursuit of higher knowledge

Pursuit of higher knowledge

The work emphasises the importance of true knowledge, which means discrimination between that which is eternal and that which is transient or impermanent.

The knowledge of the etern- al means realisation of the existence of one supreme entity called God. Also, by extension, it means to acquire the knowledge, the methods to attain this power of discrimination, the dangers and pitfalls in this quest and the means to avoid and overcome them are all lucidly explained in the work.

In the Indian system of philosophy, a distinction is made between the knowledge of the experiential world and the knowledge of the realm which is beyond the ken of the human mind. Whereas the former is important for a man to lead his life successfully in this world, it is the latter which enables man to rise above his limitations and attain to the divine.

The dividing line between these two worlds, the external and the internal is where the mind functions. The tendency of the mind is to look outwards, towards the outer world. It is here that wisdom plays its role, directing man towards his inner self, to seek the divinity within himself.

This is a task which is easier said than done and which can only be accomplished through the grace of a Guru, a preceptor. The pursuit of any learning, be it worldly or spiritual, requires the guidance of a teacher. But in the context of imparting spiritual knowledge, the Vivekachudamani mentions the special qualities of a Guru.

The Guru must be one who imparts instruction about the one supreme entity and one who compassionately leads the pupil by hand after ascertaining the pupil’s competency and readiness to receive the instruction. The pupil on his part, must possess the qualities of humility and respect for the preceptor and must repose full faith in him in his pursuit of higher knowledge.

The Guru is described as an ocean of compassion, who, upon realizing the aspirants thirst for knowledge, shows him the way to self-realisation, without expecting anything in return. Just as sweetness is to sugar, as fragrance is to a flower, it is the most natural thing for a true Guru to impart knowledge.

One is here reminded of Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi as also Sadguru Chandrashekara Bharathi, who, though always residing on their splendorous peaks of atmic realisation, frequently  calmed the turbulence and turmoil in the minds of true seekers.