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Do Enlightened people find it difficult to relate to the world?

Where is the world to begin with? (Laughs) So, that is a rel­a­tivis­tic frame­work. Enlight­en­ment means the world dis­ap­pears. There is only Truth. There is no world, the world in terms of rel­a­tivis­tic mech­a­nism. That is seen for what it is, and hence it dis­ap­pears. There is only Truth. There is only the Absolute. That hav­ing been said, the world is a rel­a­tive real­i­ty. And there is noth­ing lim­it­ing us from not per­form­ing in that real­i­ty. The fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple is always in front of us. It is all this. And any­how you are trained in what­ev­er you are trained and that helps you per­form your reg­u­lar work, your swad­har­ma, as it is said in the Indic tra­di­tion. That is how Bha­ga­van Krish­na, Rama, every­one worked. So Krish­na was prac­ti­cal­ly enlight­ened. But he oper­at­ed in the world, for the ben­e­fit of every­body. That is called dhar­ma. He lived for dhar­ma. So that means all his actions were ori­ent­ed towards dhar­ma. For that you use your instru­ments. The antahkarana, the bahyakarana. The antahkarana – man­as, chit­ta, bud­dhi, ahamkara. Bahyakarana – the body, you use it towards dhar­ma. Towards per­form­ing what­ev­er high­est prin­ci­ple that you know of. But this is no way, lim­its you from the vision of Truth. The vision of Truth is there, all the time. And you act. And that you clear­ly will rec­og­nize that, it is not action. You are not act­ing it. Where are you? You are not there. It is inac­tion in action. Which you can clear­ly see. So, this is what Bha­ga­van Krish­na taught Arju­na. Arju­na was bound up in action. And hence, when you are bound, that is when you find it dif­fi­cult to relate to the world. (Laugh­ter) In fact, if you are enlight­ened, it is not at all dif­fi­cult to relate to the world. Because where is the world? So it is not at all dif­fi­cult. So, only for peo­ple who are bound, by kar­ma, they find it dif­fi­cult to relate to the world. So in Yoga Vasish­ta, Vasish­ta beau­ti­ful­ly explains to Sri Rama, if you look at it absolute­ly, Rama, there is no gain or loss. Gain or loss is eval­u­at­ed only with­in a nar­row, rel­a­tive frame­work. If you expand it, then there is no absolute gain or loss. And hence be firm in your swad­har­ma. Be devot­ed to your swad­har­ma. This is what the crux of Yoga Vasish­ta is this. That is real­ly sound. So, and that is sim­ple yet pro­found. We gen­er­al­ly find relat­ing to the world an issue, because we always oper­ate on the basis of gain or loss. “What is in it for me? Gain or loss?” Now, when it is com­plete­ly expand­ed, the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple is such, there is no gain, there is no loss, it does not work in these rel­a­tivis­tic frame­works. And hence you can actu­al­ly, work towards dhar­ma. With­out a sin­gle scar on you because you sim­ply know the Truth. You are the Truth. And that empow­ers you tremen­dous­ly in action. And there is no mis­ery or suf­fer­ing. You are not bound in kar­ma. You are not bound. You are sim­ply free.

The Story of Raja Janaka: Exceprts from Swami Venkatesananda’s Vashishta’s Yoga


In the Yoga Vasish­ta, Vasish­ta nar­rates the sto­ry of Janaka’s enlight­en­ment to Rama -

“There is a great monarch whose vision is unlim­it­ed, who rules over the Vide­ha ter­ri­to­ry: he is known as Jana­ka. To those who seek his aid, he is a cor­nu­copia (horn of plen­ty). In his very pres­ence, the heart-lotus of his friends blos­soms, he is like a sun for them. He is a great bene­fac­tor to all good peo­ple.One day he went to a plea­sure gar­den where he roamed freely. While he was thus roam­ing, he heard the inspir­ing words uttered by cer­tain holy, per­fect­ed rishis -

“We con­tem­plate that real­i­ty in which every­thing exists, to which every­thing belongs, from which every­thing has emerged, which is the cause of every­thing and which is every­thing. Alas, peo­ple run after oth­er objects, fool­ish­ly giv­ing up the Lord who dwells in the cave of one’s own heart. The man whose mind is well-con­trolled is firm­ly estab­lished in peace. When the heart is thus estab­lished in peace, there aris­es the pure bliss of the self with­out delay.”

Hav­ing heard the words of the rishis, King Jana­ka became ter­ri­bly depressed. With the utmost expe­di­tion, he retraced his steps to the palace. Quick­ly dis­miss­ing all his atten­dants, he sought the seclu­sion of his own cham­ber. In a mood of intense anguish, Jana­ka said to him­self — “Alas! Alas! I am help­less­ly swing­ing like a stone in this world of mis­ery. What is the dura­tion of a lifes­pan in eter­ni­ty, yet I have devel­oped a love for it! Fie on the mind. This lifes­pan of mine is but a triv­ial moment, eter­ni­ty stretch­es before and after it. How shall I cher­ish it now?

Day after day, month after month, year after year, I see hap­pi­ness comes to me bear­ing sor­row, and sor­row comes to me again and again!

Alas, I am bound with­out a cord; I am taint­ed with­out impu­ri­ty; I am fall­en, though remain­ing at the top. O my self, what a mys­tery! Even as the ever bril­liant sun sud­den­ly faces a cloud float­ing in front of him, I find this strange delu­sion mys­te­ri­ous­ly float­ing towards me. Who are these friends and rel­a­tives? What are these plea­sures? Even as a boy see­ing a ghost is fright­ened, I am delud­ed by these fan­ci­ful rel­a­tives. Know­ing all such rel­a­tives as cords that bind me to this old age and death, I still cling to them. Let these rela­tions con­tin­ue or per­ish : what is it to me? Great events and great men have come and gone, leav­ing just a mem­o­ry behind: on what shall one place reliance even now? Even the devas and trimur­tis have come and gone a mil­lion times: what is per­ma­nent in this uni­verse? It is vain hope that binds one to this night­mare known as world-appear­ance. Fie on this wretched con­di­tion.

I am like an igno­rant fool delud­ed by the gob­lin known as the ego sense, which cre­ates the feel­ing, “I am so-and-so”.Knowing full well that Time has tram­pled under foot count­less devas and trimur­tis, I still enter­tain love for life. Days and nights are spent in vain crav­ings, but not in the expe­ri­ence of the bliss of infi­nite con­scious­ness. I have gone from sor­row to greater sor­row, but dis­pas­sion does not arise in me. What shall I regard as excel­lent or cher­ish­able, see­ing that what­ev­er one has cher­ished in this world has passed away, leav­ing one mis­er­able. Day by day peo­ple in this world grow in sin and vio­lence, hence day by day they expe­ri­ence greater sor­row. Child­hood is wast­ed in igno­rance, youth is wast­ed in lust­ing after plea­sures, and the rest of one’s life is spent in fam­i­ly wor­ries : what does a stu­pid per­son achieve in this life?

Desire is the seed for this world appear­ance. I shall dry up this desire! I have enjoyed and suf­fered all kinds of expe­ri­ences : now I shall rest. I shall not grieve any­more. I have been awak­ened : I shall slay this thief who has stolen my wis­dom, which is the mind. It is the mind that gives rise to the false sense of “I” and “mine”. I have been well-instruct­ed by the rishis. Now I shall seek self-knowl­edge.”

See­ing the king thus seat­ed engrossed in deep con­tem­pla­tion, his body­guard respect­ful­ly approached him and said,”Lord, it is time to con­sid­er your roy­al duties. Your majesty’s hand­maid­en has pre­pared your per­fumed bath. The holy priests await your arrival in the cham­ber, to com­mence the chant­i­ng of the appro­pri­ate hymns. Lord, arise and let what has to be done be done, for noble men are nev­er unpunc­tu­al or neg­li­gent.”

Jana­ka began to muse,”What shall I do with this court and roy­al duties, when I know that all these are ephemer­al? They are use­less to me. I shall renounce all activ­i­ties and duties and I shall remain immersed in the bliss of the self.

What shall I seek to gain in this uni­verse, on what eter­nal truth in this uni­verse shall I rest my con­fi­dence? What dif­fer­ence does it make if I am engaged in cease­less activ­i­ty or if I remain idle? Noth­ing in this world is tru­ly endur­ing in any case. Whether active or idle, this body is imper­ma­nent and ever-chang­ing : when the intel­li­gence is root­ed in equa­nim­i­ty, what is lost and how?

When the mind is thus estab­lished in desire­less­ness, when it does not seek plea­sure, when the body and its limbs per­form their nat­ur­al func­tions, action and inac­tion are of equal mean­ing. Hence, let the body engage itself in its nat­ur­al func­tions; with­out such activ­i­ty, the body will dis­in­te­grate. When the mind ceas­es to enter­tain the notions “I do this”, “I enjoy this”, in regard to the actions thus per­formed, action becomes non-action.”

Reflect­ing thus, King Jana­ka rose from his seat as the sun ris­es on the hori­zon, and began to engage him­self in his roy­al duties, with­out any attach­ment to them. Hav­ing reached the under­stand­ing already described, Jana­ka func­tioned as the king and did all that was nec­es­sary, with­out get­ting befud­dled and with a great strength of mind and spir­it. His mind was not dis­tract­ed by roy­al plea­sures. In fact, he moved about as if he were con­tin­u­al­ly in a state of deep sleep.

From then on, he was inter­est­ed nei­ther in accu­mu­lat­ing nor in reject­ing any­thing : with­out any doubt or con­fu­sion, he lived in the present. The light of self-knowl­edge arose in his heart, free from the least taint of impu­ri­ty and sor­row, even as the sun ris­es on the hori­zon. He beheld every­thing in the uni­verse as exist­ing in cos­mic pow­er, chit shak­ti : endowed with self-knowl­edge, he saw all things in the self which is infi­nite. Know­ing that all that hap­pens, hap­pens nat­u­ral­ly, he nei­ther expe­ri­enced ela­tion, nor suf­fered depres­sion and remained in unbro­ken equa­nim­i­ty. Jana­ka had become a jivan­muk­ta, lib­er­at­ed one while still liv­ing.

Jana­ka con­tin­ued to rule the king­dom, with­out his self-knowl­edge set­ting or ris­ing again on account of the evil or good preva­lent around him. Remain­ing for­ev­er in the con­scious­ness of the infi­nite, he expe­ri­enced the state of non-action, even though he appeared to oth­ers to be ever busy in diverse actions.

He did not brood over the past, nor did he wor­ry about the future : he lived in the present moment, smil­ing hap­pi­ly all the time. Jana­ka attained what­ev­er he did by dint of his own enquiry. Sim­i­lar­ly one should pur­sue enquiry into the nature of truth till one reach­es the very lim­its of such enquiry. “

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