17 - निराशता निर्भयता
Qualities of the Knower are Pursuits for the seeker
Desirelessness, fear-lessness, given to eternal ways, inward equanimity, knowledge orientation, rid of worldliness and doership, gentleness, doubt-lessness, resoluteness, genuine friendship with one and all, intelligential clarity, contentment, softness, soft-spokenness - these qualities dwell in a Knower of Truth, who remains desireless having delivered himself from the dual notions of acceptance and rejection.
Points for Introspection:
All our sufferings and miseries in life arise from desires based on likes and dislikes. We desire to possess or enjoy whatever we like and we desire not to face or interact with whatever we do not like. Because of these inherent likes and dislikes one is always agitated, not contented. Only when one is able to transcend likes and dislikes, he will be contented for ever.
A Knower of Truth is one who has transcended likes and dislikes. He remains always contented, full of delight and not bound by any desire or intolerance.
This śloka enlists some of the qualities that dwell in a Knower of Truth. What are the qualities that make him ever-delightful, ever-contented? Should not a seeker try to cultivate these qualities?
Śankaracharya says in his commentary on Bhagavad-geeta (2.54): अध्यात्मशास्त्रे कृतार्थलक्षणानि यानि, तान्येव साधनानि (adhyātma-śāstre kṛtārtha-lakṣaṇāni yāni tāny-eva sādhanāni) – in spiritual science, whatever are the qualities of a Knower, become the pursuits for the seekers.
When a seeker yearns sincerely, and strives zealously to cultivate these qualities getting rid of worldly desires, he very naturally evolves to the state of a Knower. To cultivate the qualities of a Knower, a sādhaka will have to transcend preferences and prejudice. He will have to pursue purity of mind and intelligence and develop dispassion. In the pure mind, the Self reveals itself, just as in a clear mirror one is able to see his face distinctly. A seeker then experiences his own Self as different from his body-mind-intelligence complex and experiences it as the Universal Self. This is the Supreme Knowledge.
Cultivation of the qualities of a Knower goes hand-in-hand with the Knowledge of the Self. The qualities are indispensible. When a seeker is not able to reach his goal of realizing the Self, even after a long period of sādhanā, he must understand that he has not cultivated the qualities of a Knower. These qualities are essential for the purification of our mind, which in turn is necessary to attain the supreme spiritual Knowledge.
This śloka should be by-hearted and chanted repeatedly, focusing on the meaning of each word as applied to our behaviour and thinking. For example, contemplation on the word निर्भयता (nirbhayatā) will adorn the mind with fearlessness. Anybody who is not soft-natured and talks roughly or hurtingly can bring about the qualities by repeated rumination on मृदुता (mṛdutā) and मृदुभाषिता (mṛdubhāṣitā). So too the other qualities can be imbibed. When one thinks about the meanings of the words, he should introspect “what do these qualities represent when applied to our life and behaviour, why am I not able to acquire them" etc.
This śloka should be chanted repeatedly throughout the day. It is very useful for one’s active and interactive life, not to speak of quiet moments. As one ruminates over and over each word, the fondness for the quality grows. Simply by intense fondness, the qualities become part of one’s life, making the mind placid and peaceful.
निराशता (nirāśatā) = Desire-lessness; निर्भयता (nirbhayatā) = freedom from fear; नित्यता (nityatā) = given to eternal ways; समता (samatā) = inward equanimity; ज्ञता (jnatā) = knowledge orientation; निरीहता (nirīhatā) = freedom from worldliness निष्क्रियता (niṣkriyatā) = dissolving doership; सौम्यता (saumyatā) = gentleness; निर्विकल्पता (nirvikalpatā) = doubt-freeness; धृतिः (dhṛtiḥ) = resoluteness; मैत्री (maitrī) = genuine friendship with one and all; मतिः (matiḥ) = intelligential clarity; तुष्टिः (tuṣṭiḥ) = contentment; मृदुता (mṛdutā) = softness; मृदुभाषिता (mṛdubhāṣitā) = soft-spokenness; हेयोपादेयनिर्मुक्ते (heyopādeyanirmukte) = free from the dual notions of acceptance and rejection; ज्ञे (jne) = wise men; तिष्ठन्ति (tiṣṭhanti) = remain; अपवासनम् (apavāsanam) = free of desires.
निराशता निर्भयता नित्यता समता ज्ञता निरीहता निष्क्रियता सौम्यता निर्विकल्पता धृतिः मैत्री मतिः तुष्टिः मृदुता मृदुभाषिता हेयोपादेयनिर्मुक्ते ज्ञे अपवासनम् तिष्ठन्ति ।
nirāśatā nirbhayatā nityatā samatā jnatā nirīhatā niṣkriyatā saumyatā nirvikalpatā dhṛtiḥ maitrī matiḥ tuṣṭiḥ mṛdutā mṛdubhāṣitā heyopādeya-nirmukte jne apavāsanam tiṣṭhanti.