There are two types of human beings – those who have understanding and those who do not. Those who understand are few in number whereas those who don’t understand are in the majority. Those who can distinguish between the knowledgeable and the ignorant are also very few in number. Everyone thinks they are knowledgeable. The first sign of ignorance is thinking that you are knowledgeable. If you say to someone that he is ignorant or a fool, he feels hurt. He might start arguing and possibly get into a fight with you. It was asked of Shri Krishna, “Who is ignorant?” He replied, “The one who identifies himself with his body.” Now, you all can think about this when you are alone - are you ignorant or knowledgeable? Do you think you are the body or something more?
One class of ignorant person considers himself to be the body; more ignorant than this is the person who believes he is a man or a woman; even more ignorant is the one who believes he is a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra and even more ignorant is the one who thinks he is Punjabi, Gujarati, Madrasi, Bengali and so on. Now, when you are alone think about which class you are in. After all, this was Shri Krishna’s answer, so He won’t make a mistake in His response. Someone considers himself to be a human being. Then what happens? A human body is related to other human bodies - to a mother, father, spouse, several children and all of our other relatives. Our mind is attached to all of them. Someone is being attacked. You ask, “What’s happening." “It sounds like someone is getting a beating.” “Who?” “Oh, it’s Ramesh.” “What? That is my son!” What happened? A moment ago you were relaxed and now you are anxious, “But it’s my son!” The person standing next to you is laughing at your condition. You are feeling distressed because you are the father and Ramesh is your son. When any of your family members experience pain, you suffer along with them and this is all due to identifying yourself with the body.
If you were not to identify with the body, then you would not feel related to others. When you do not feel this emotional attachment, then even if someone else is suffering, you internally remain at peace. Everyone must undergo physical suffering. You already undergo mental suffering like lust, anger, greed, jealousy, animosity and so on, and on top of this you share the suffering of others due to your attachment. In spite of this, when we say to each other, “How are you?” we reply with a smile, “I’m alright!” We are experiencing so much suffering, but we respond with a smile and say we are alright. We are fooling the other person when we say this, because the fact of the matter is that everything is all wrong.
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
14 November 2009
© Radha Govind Samiti