Friday, August 5, 2011

Intellectual miserliness

The shastras/ scriptures talk of moksha/ atma gyaan/ Brahman as a state of awareness/ consciousness inherent in us, realizing which, delivers us free from sorrow, suffering, all limitations and sense of bondage. This state, which is, our true nature of being, is eternal, limitless, of the nature of knowing and bliss.

This being so it also points to the fact that humans show a great sense of intellectual miserliness when it comes upon enquiring into it. Knowing that there is such a state of ultimate fulfillment we still do not seek it. This indeed is a wondrous mystery of Creation.

Misers are those who have enough money to spend but don’t have the heart to spend it on themselves or on others. The ones who do not have any money and therefore do not spend cannot be called misers. The misers do not spend as they are afraid of money going away or because their priorities are not clear and they are not clear about what the money is for.

The scriptures give us interesting definitions for misers. It is extended here to the disuse of one’s intellect (buddhi).

यो  वा  एतदक्षरं  गार्ग्यविदित्वा  अस्मात  लोकात  प्रैति स  कृपणः  | (ब्र्हदारन्यकोपनिशद : ३ : ८ : १० )

Yo vaa etadakshram gaargyaviditvaa asmaat lokaat praiiti sa krupanah | (brhadaaranyakopanishad: 3: 8: 10)

“A miser is one who leaves this world not knowing that he or she is Brahman.”

Sri Krishna too urges Arjuna thus:

बुद्धौ  शरणमन्विच्छ  कृपणाः  फलहेतवः  | (भगवद  गीता : २ : ४९ )

Buddhau sharanamanviccha krupanaah phalhetavah | (Bhagavad Gita: 2: 49)

Seek refuge in ‘buddhi’ (right attitude) and apply it to achieve the highest. Those who put this intellect to limited use and work therefore to achieve limited results alone (dharma, artha and kama alone) and not for ‘moksha’ are misers.

This person is called a miser because he or she is given an intellect but does not use it. This ‘buddhi’/intellect is the discriminative power one is endowed with. Its primary use should be for gaining Self-knowledge. Moksha, the highest fulfillment, gaining which nothing remains to be gained. Misers whose aims are small and not ‘moksha’ underutilize their buddhi.  The misers with money, leave it behind unintentionally, for others to enjoy it, but no one can enjoy their ‘buddhis’ after they are gone.

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