Being Managed by Knowledge and Action

Amid ambushes, attacks, counter-attacks, weeping, winning, litigation, protests, and beating the breast—despite enduring them all—humanity once again finds itself lighter on its feet. It aspires, stands, and continues to survive to this day, moving forward. This resilience is proof enough that it is divine. Its origin is divine, its destiny is divine. Few among us get curious to know the divinity first hand. They barge into the domain of divinity and become free to experience it homogeneously. With the new gospel that they thus find they burst upon the society like an avalanche, and change the course of its existing currents, if their personality measures in cosmic proportion. If not so cosmic, upto the tip of their nails they are soaked in divine. They are the salt of the earth, bringing comfort to our hearts through their words and actions. These days, young and old among them, are even viewed on platforms like YouTube. Some succeed in hiding themselves, but society benefits even from them, more than we know. All of them are managed by knowledge. When they say I, in the horizon of their heart they can locate their Self which is distinct from body and mind. Rest of us have to play the game of light and shadow until we find the source of perennial joy with the sweat of our brows. Shadow is compared with ignorance. No shadow can stand without light. In this sense, and only in this sense, we are managed by ignorance. But there is a strong note of consolation here. We are the ones who define the majority. With few glimpses to our credit, we decide the texture of the fabric that goes into the making of a nation. We give the identity to our nation, of being religious. We the sappers and miners of a religious conquest. Lord comes to conquer the ground that we prepare. We the pedestrians of religion. The commoners. We have a different way in which we move and act. That way is compared with how the farmers work in their fields. To irrigate their fields, peasants dig into the earth, creating a passage from their field to connect with the water reservoir. At last they remove the piece of soil that blocks the way from where water flows to the field and fulfils the purpose. That is called the way of yoga. We are the practitioners of yoga and we are supposed to give as much importance to means as to the goal. That should be the natural inclination of our mind in all the activities of life. In looking for health, when we again and again fall back on unconscious patterns of how we ate, drank and smoked earlier, we fail to achieve health. 

The Journey of Self Exploration

At the beginning of our spiritual journey we evaluate the facts of life and move in a certain line of development. We generate the principal from concrete facts of life. This process is called induction. It takes us to the highest generalisation through the unfolding of personal identity until we stand face to face with the highest reading of our mind. The highest reading is the reservoir of consciousness. This process takes place in the knowledge-space of the heart. As long as we adopt this line of development there is a chance of raising the spectre of isolation from society. Since we are in the mode of seeking something, we renounce so many things on the way. Good and bad both. Even the so called good things of life sit heavy on our limited consciousness. Our soul aspires to soar high in search of unlimited.

Fear and Individuality

Although fraught with fear, this process of individuation is worth undertaking. Why? Because it grants us a sense of self autonomy. Society or community is nothing but the group of individuals. The stronger its individuals the better the community. We say this line of development is fraught with fear primarily because we ourselves are largely motivated by fear. We fear being visible to the eyes of public judgement and choose to make ourselves invisible; and later suffer because no one tends to see us. We understand that loneliness is weakness and at the same time, establishing human contact is understood as a failure of independence. But there is nothing to worry about. Freedom that we are aiming at will set us free from the clutches of fear once we stand face to face with our real individuality. That is what happens when we receive some feedback in the knowledge-space of the heart. But from here we follow a different line of development which runs diametrically opposite to the first line of development called induction. The second line is called deduction—bringing the principle in close contact with the facts of life. We are supposed to convey the feedback to the parts of the heart that are responsible for functioning in the mental and elemental spaces. In want of that, we render these two parts weak, and block the possibility of experiencing the joy of freedom while living, to its fullest. While following the first line of development we gain individuation and on the second line we learn to establish a soulful connectedness with the people around.

Beyond Consciousness: Attaining Freedom Through Action

But no matter how hard we try, the culture of consciousness alone cannot bring all the grace to our rescue. We need to understand that the world of consciousness is ultimately perishable. After engaging in a prolonged process of conscious cultivation, we realise that consciousness alone cannot resolve all our challenges. Through the process of conscious cultivation, individuals often develop heightened awareness, better control and understanding. However, they may encounter limitations in addressing complex issues solely through conscious thought and efforts. Consciousness cannot solve all the problems here. We need access to the superconscious state of mind. This state too feels like unconscious. The superconscious state, which is the higher level of awareness and intuition, offers a broader perspective and access to insights beyond the realm of ordinary consciousness. By tapping into this state, individuals can gain a more profound understanding of themselves and the world around them, leading to greater clarity beyond the morbid desire to solve all the problems of life. Indeed, a lot has been solved under the prolonged process of consciousness. All of them do not resolve here. The workers of the world, the men of action, need better access into this state than devotees and children of God. The workers attain their feats of achievements through this state of mind. They work unconsciously. Although the conscious worker feels insecure and a need to exercise control over the situation, the thus unconscious worker realises he is free, and that perfection and freedom are not to be given by others; that everyone else is as perfect and free, and he doesn’t have to exercise any external control on others. In the field of action, the ability to exercise healthy self-assertion and to receive it from others is better than laziness. But freedom is the best, and the goal of life.

The Reservoir of Universal Love

‘Three men who are working for the same office under the same denomination cannot act in concert together.’1 Where lies the problem? It happens because we have not come to terms with our own limitations. We need to resolve issues with our own self first. While we have not accepted our smaller self we expect others to strike an agreement with us. That does not happen. Acceptance doesn’t mean liking or perpetuating weakness. It does not mean there is no scope for improvement in the situation or the people. When we accept ourselves, our good or bad situation well, the duality, on which the resistance stands, dissolves back into the singularity of existence. And what splashes from here resonates with a pre-existing state of existence called prana—the reservoir of divine and universal love. It is not a thought that travels from here. It is a subtle vibration which runs through every form of life like a thread running through pearls in a necklace. Even in a more common parlance, it is evident that when we hurt our loved ones, or hurl derogatory words on our parents, elders, teachers, a bystander says you have killed your father, you have killed your mother, you have killed your brother, and so on. Being hurt, they feel hopeless and weak in their resolve, strength, mind and words. Indicating such derogation, scripture says, ‘fie on you, you indeed are a killer of your father, mother’2 and so on. Prāneshu was the word with which Swami Vivekananda often used to address his brother-disciples in his epistles. After the names of their near, dear and respectable, some others use words like ji and jān which again mean prana. When we strike cooperation and love, we gain and grow in divinity. It gives us the most undying love in spite of differences. With this undying love we get tied and bound together with each other. Such love and togetherness can resolve any issue and make the situation better. When we work for the missions of the saints, distanced in time, we harness prana. Prana had moved their hearts, and minds. Prana had pulsated their resolve and intellect. When we learn to manufacture love out of this prana, we are free. Our hearts are set free. The religious dictates of renunciation and love, and the ease in performing them, are unleashed here. This is the meaning of bringing consciousness to its fullest extent in our unconscious patterns of life. It is possible only when we have tapped into the underlying unity of all existence through the process of individuation and followed the second line of development. As opposed to seeking, the second line consists largely of seeing. We see the fact, we see the principle, we bring the principle in close contact with facts. These are not two different philosophies. These are two different lines of development we adopt in actualising the same philosophy.

In social context too, there is nothing to panic when we see a certain wing of society wanting to bring back unconscious patterns of caste. The other wing can always promote spiritual culture. There are organisations in our society who are solely devoted to that end. They can be supported and funded well. Devoted people in society will overcome the restrictions of caste. In every passing generation, new souls are born in every caste and community. A thousand more castes can be formed but the spirit will triumph over all such limitations. Reinforced spiritual culture can easily ensure that they will outdo the restrictions of caste. The men of love and devotion are never restricted by the limitations of caste. A new life force will course through the clogged veins of the collective heart—cutting through the creases of unconsciousness, one folded over the other. Humanity will rise on its feet again and become free to aspire, free to work and live together. Free to move on.


  1. See The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 9 vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1–8, 1989; 9, 1997), 8.300.
  2. See Sri Shankaracharya’s commentary on Chhandogya Upanishad, 7. 15. 2.