In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the importance of Gyana or Knowledge and why it is the absolute Supreme Path towards enlightenment, towards liberation. Karma (selfless service), Bhakti (devotion/worship) and Dhyana (meditation) all need Gyana (knowledge) to go to the Eternal State of Brahman.
To listen to Satinder Sartaaj's song Aarti: https://youtu.be/QxEL53vdjmc
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast and I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Another reminder to sign up to the Patreon page for The Bearded Mystic Podcast, the link is in the show notes and the video description below for as little as $5 a month, we get to keep this podcast ad free and you get bonus content. Let's get started into this episode. It's going to be really interesting because in Sanatana Dharma or in the dharmic traditions, we have a concept that is called Gyana or Jnanam, which means knowledge or wisdom. With Gyana, we get the real true understanding of what to Brahman is and Gyana is basically knowing Brahman, it's the knowledge of Brahman. Without this understanding, this basic understanding, we cannot excel in the other pathways, that are in the tradition. Some of the popular ones are like karma, selfless service, seva, which is very important. When it comes to Bhakti, when we're having devotion towards an Isht Devta towards a God, towards a particular deity. Gyana helps there. Also, in meditation, Gyana is very helpful. By looking at these four things, I'm going to show how Gyana is the Supreme path. Gyana helps your devotion, helps your bhakti it helps your karma, helps you conduct seva selflessly. Then at the same time, it also improves your meditation, your focus on the truth and allows you to stabilize your mind on the reality as it is. If we didn't have Gyana, if we didn't have wisdom, that knowledge, that Brahma Vidya, devotion lacks direction. When we have devotion, it can easily become blind faith. It can become extremely ritualistic, without us actually even realizing it. For example, we may just believe in something because, we don't want anything bad to happen, or we take a chance. You know when some people say, why don't you just follow it any way? What have you got to lose? You may be right. You may be wrong. That's gambling. True Dharma never gambles. There is always a result. If you look at our traditions, especially Advaita Vedanta, Adi Shankara Ji, he fully goes into Gyana. He fully understands why we are worshiping and that's what we need to do with our own practice. We need to look at why we're practicing, why we're committing ourselves to such devotional practice. If I am doing murti puja, am I reminding myself what the murti is representing? If the murti is representing an aspect of nature. Am I understanding that nature and really respecting that nature. If I'm doing a ritual for my ancestors, am I feeling the presence of my ancestors and the great gifts that they've given to me in my current time. It's not that rituals are bad or doing any of those practices are bad. They all have a purpose, but remember it is Gyana, it is wisdom, knowledge, philosophy that defines those practices. Let us never get into blind faith. It's an important one to make because I have noticed a lot in our traditions, we focus so much on just doing things because we've been told to, but we need to challenge this now. We need to find out why we conduct such things, why we do such things? Devotion always needs a direction. We need to know what we're worshiping. We need to know that eventually everything leads to Brahman. No matter what we do, it is all worship towards Brahman. When we do this, life becomes incredibly exciting. It becomes incredibly interesting. Imagine that every act that you do. That you say it is of your worship, of your bhakti, of your devotion is done in the remembrance and the awareness of Brahman, can you imagine the ecstasy you can feel? That's why true devotion is a kind of stabilized ecstasy. You see a lot of people, they say they're devotional and they go completely like off the rocker, like really crazy. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a stabilized ecstasy. I'm talking about an ecstatic mode where there is stillness, that even in your stillness, there is a certain movement, a certain gracefulness. That's what I'm talking about. Please do always remember that when we worship aspects of nature, if we do surya namaskar, thank the sun. Don't just do the exercise. But thank the sun because without the sun, we wouldn't have this earth. We wouldn't have food, we wouldn't be able to live for longer than eight minutes without the sun. When we worship some thing, let us worship it completely and see how it impacts our whole universe, our whole life. We may do mantra japa. A very beautiful practice. One that I do sometimes. One that I enjoy doing for 30 minutes, I do enjoy mantra japa. But it is not just there for our listening or just to recite and feel a little bit spiritual. It's not about that. Listen to the words, understand the words, understand each Sanskrit word, and then fully feel what it is pointing to. Become the mantra is more important. That is devotion and that's where Gyana helps because it gives you the understanding. We're very fortunate. Someone like me, who doesn't have a full understanding of Sanskrit can find the translation, even though the translation may be a poor dim light but that is still better than no light at all. Definitely if you're reciting mantras or listening to mantras, do enjoy them and understand them. It brings a totally different aspect to it. Like I mentioned, it takes you on a different path, a different pathway altogether. Ultimately, devotion gets you to such a point where you ask yourself, "well who is doing the devotion? Who is being devoted? Who is the one that I'm devoted to? Who is the one that is questioning right now who they are devoted to?" Ultimately devotion will lead you back to your true self, the true inquiry into who you are and what you are. So that is devotion. Going back home, going back to reality, to Brahman. When we are devoted, do we ever ask the question where is the 'me'? When you're in front of the murti, and you have the thali set up, the Agni burning. Are you one with the agni? Are you one with the murti? That's the question! See, I think murti puja gets a lot of bad rep. I know that some people do not believe in it they think it's wrong, but I think it has a lot of benefits if you understand what it's representing. But like I said, even the practice, the ritual aspect, there's a lot of beauty that can be seen there and each thing has a meaning. The rice on the thali has a meaning, the sindoor in the thali has a meaning. The diva has a meaning. Again, where is the 'me' when one is doing the act, where is the 'I'? Because this devotional act is not meant to create duality. Devotion is only devotion in non-duality. This is the real fact. A lot of people claim to be devotional, but with duality, they are not devotional. Devotion is a complete union. When devotion is directed, it brings a sense of love that makes knowledge vibrant, wisdom ecstatic. That's so true. There's a overwhelming sense of love that comes from devotion. Devotion towards the guru, devotion towards the Murti, towards the family deity, towards nature, everywhere becomes your Mandir, everywhere becomes your temple because wherever you look, you see the love of the Lord. You see the love of Brahman. You see that essence of Brahman in everything. That oneness gets you there. I would recommend a song. It's by Satinder Sartaaj, it's called 'Aarti'. It has translation, it's on YouTube. I'll post the link in the show notes and video description. But listen to that song, listen to the music, listen to the words, understand the words, contemplate upon the words. And it will take you to another level because when you do the 'Aarti' of creation, the Lord will appear and you will see that the creation and the creator are not different. They are one and the same. Appearance can give us delusion. That's why it's important to have devotion with direction. Now without knowledge or wisdom, karma can become selfish. Selfless service can become all about me. What am I doing? How much am I volunteering? We make selfless acts into PR exercises, whether it's on our LinkedIn page or whether it's for this spiritual organization or religious organization or charity that we work for. One then does have to question, where is the selflessness in that? Yes, it's very important that we raise the awareness that such acts are done because to be honest, it can inspire more people, which is what we want to do. But at the same time, there's a fine line between self promotion and promotion of doing the actual work. So when we do acts like that with other motives then we are not serving Brahman. We are not serving the Lord. We're not serving Bhagwan. We're not serving Waheguru. We're not doing any of that. We're not serving the Buddha in everyone. We have to understand that when we are with knowledge, with Gyana, we understand that Brahman is everywhere and in everything. And therefore when we help someone in need, we are helping Brahman. In fact, when we do that, and this is very interesting and be with me when I say this, that if you help someone because you see Brahman in them and you see them as Brahman, you get rid of the stories that the media tells you about those people. So say you had to go and help migrants, you will not see them as the media sees them. But if you see them as Brahman, you'll serve them differently. But if you think they've come over to this country, they want to take our jobs. You're not going to serve them diligently, or with respect, then it's not selfless. So understanding first that everybody and everything is Brahman, a natural sense of service appears. That again becomes bhakti because it's worship and we automatically, because we thinking of Brahman, we are meditating and again, deepening our understanding of we are Brahman. Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Tvam Asi. When we witness as Brahman, when we are witnessing our selfless deeds as Brahman, when we act as if Brahman is acting through us. So we're serving Brahman in others through the Brahman in us. Basically is what we're doing. We serve others unconditionally. We don't look at where they've been. We don't care about where our monies is going. We don't care about whether they will eat the food or not. We understand that people need help. We understand that they're going through difficult circumstances. Not everyone has had the deck of cards that we've received. We all have had a different life story and because of the nature of the world, there's multiple layers to each and every person. When someone is in dire need, we need to be there for them. For example, in a country like America, how can we even let poverty exist? How can we let poverty exist anywhere? When we allow poverty to exist everywhere, then that means that we are not looking to serve others. We still have something within us that says that we still want to be better off. We don't want to give too much, where others start gaining more and we start losing. Then it is not seva. Then it is not karma yoga. When we serve others, we do not look at their caste, we do not look at their religion, we do not look at their race, we do not look at their sexuality. We do not care about any of the labels, we are beyond the labels. That's how we serve and there has to be no ego in serving. This is a challenge actually, because we all have an aspect of ego and we're all working on that path towards the ego-less state. But when you are Brahman, there is no ego. When you're fully immersed in that understanding that there is only Brahman in others and me, then there can be no space for the ego. The ego cannot exist in that place. It's not fertile for the ego. But a mind that allows to see differences and therefore cook up stories that it doesn't know and judge people based on what has been told by the media or by people around us who listened to other things, who read a Facebook post and suddenly decided that this section of people are all crooks and criminals. We lose that aspect of service. Then that creates ego. That's what builds ego. So the ego then becomes a place of growth there. But in the state of the Gyani, the one that is immersed in Gyana, the one who is focused on the Gyana, focused on wisdom, immersed in the wisdom. They never let the ego take over. The ego may try to take over, but they will always go back to Brahman. Brahman is indivisible, one's help is indivisible. Brahman is within everyone. I'm going to serve everyone. That's the difference. And when I'm talking about serving others, I'm talking about real life stuff. Like I'm talking about helping other people in their circumstances they're in today, not donating to your local temple. That's important. Do that. They need the help too. They have bills to pay, but I'm talking about on the ground. That's more important. One should always look to help and contribute in that way, whatever way it's good for us. When we act without ego, it brings peace to the mind as well. It's what we're looking for. We all are looking for peace. Without knowledge, without wisdom, without Gyana, meditation is just a mind game. Without proper knowledge of the Self, of Brahman, meditation actually becomes a game of the mind. The mind will meditate. It knows it's an act that it needs to do, and it will run a riot whenever it wants to. We've had that where our mind jumps from one thought to another one desire to another, one feeling to another, one emotion to another, you wasn't feeling hungry and now you need to eat. You didn't want to watch television today, but now you're going to watch television because the mind is saying you don't want to meditate, what are you meditating on? It's not going to help you. But when you remember that your meditation is about meditating on the Gyana, on the wisdom, on Brahman, that underlying unifying consciousness, awareness, then meditation is a natural process. Meditation then becomes part of your breathing. It's your breath. You don't have to do a certain act. You don't have to sit down to meditate. You can walk and meditate. You can drink your water and meditate. You can shower and meditate. You can watch TV and meditate. One has to, with the right knowledge, one can train the mind to be in such a way. And to keep our understanding firm, we have to remind ourselves of the truth. We have to keep working upon the truth. We have to keep focusing on the truth. We have to keep the company of the truth. The truth has to become our best friend. GaN has to become our best friend. Gyana has to be our closest companion. Then meditation takes a different flight. You see what can happen with meditation? We can also get lost in the internal world, the internal levels of consciousness, and certain practices show different aspects of consciousness. But I believe that it is better to go straight to the top. If you want to know Brahman, you will know Brahman straightaway. Don't go through the different techniques that will take you step by step to Brahman. Don't get involved in chakras and all this. Go straight towards Brahman and therein lies bliss. Therein lies happiness. If you want to really keep our mind focused during meditation and staying away from the monkey mind, no offense to monkeys. It's just best to have a real understanding of the Truth. And like I've mentioned in previous podcasts, how it's really important to have a proper understanding of the philosophy of your tradition that you follow. It's really important that you do that because if one doesn't understand one's tradition, one can get lost easily. What I've shown here in this podcast is without wisdom, without Gyana, we're not able to achieve what we need to achieve. Just to recap this episode, knowledge or Gyana is the ultimate aim of spirituality. Without knowledge, most spiritual acts are going nowhere. Knowledge gives birth to an acute sense of awareness, which is needed for devotion, meditation and karma. Let's remind ourselves that devotion, meditation, selfless service are all aspects that lead us to Gyana. They lead us to wisdom. They take us to Gyana. Gyana has to be to Supreme because like I said, without understanding everything else falls away, everything. That's what I have felt in my own life. When I have focused my life upon the Gyana and understanding the Gyana and living the Gyana, living the wisdom, living the truth that is spoken and has been written about in our spiritual texts. It's all there. One just has to have the eye to see it and the eye to see it appears in many ways, there's many ways to get it, but one way is when we keep reading and contemplating, when we allow our mind to be exercised in the wisdom. When you let Gyana take over the exercise because first you're going to put the effort through your understanding, through your intellect. Then what's going to happen is you're going to have intuitive understanding. Then this intuitive understanding starts churning. That intuitive understanding starts taking over as the exercise. Then what eventually happens is you become the understanding. You become the Gyana, you become the wisdom, and then it's not intuitive, nor is it intellectual. It is now your state of being, and that is the Supreme path. For me, I love the intellectual exercise. I could listen to a talk for three hours and I can be very attentive. You put me in a place where your concentration can go here and there. Like for me, short talks, don't do enough justice. You can't cover topics with a short talk. They all have benefits. For me, I love the one hour lessons, the two hours, the three hours. I love reading a book for three hours. That is my type of lifestyle, and that's really helped me. So find out what helps you and practice some of the things that I've mentioned today and see how you feel? I do believe that each of the pathways will lead you to knowledge. When you're in devotion, you'll be asking, who am I devoted to? When you're doing karma, you'll be asking, who am I doing the act to? And then when you're doing dhyana, you're asking, "who is it that is meditating?" And they all lead to one thing - Gyana, towards understanding wisdom. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast, please do remember to follow or subscribe to this channel and do leave a review for this podcast. I'd really appreciate knowing what you think. You can follow me on social media and I will leave the links below to each of those accounts. I do share small clips on there that you can share with friends and family. And if you feel that anyone in your friends and family circle would love this podcast do share it with them. A new episode is uploaded every Sunday and Thursday until next time, take care. See you again soon.
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