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Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra – The Journey Within

While treading on the spiritual path, a seeker’s mind may get clouded by doubts and misunderstandings. Pujya Gurudevshri demystifies the path to liberation by throwing light on four reasons why a seeker hesitates to take inward journey

Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra is not only a poetic or literary creation. For the one desirous of freedom from attachments-aversions, having inclination and earnestness to attain the absolute pure state of the soul, Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra illumines the path of liberation, serves as a beacon for the journey within.

The inward journey is absolutely necessary to end all suffering. However, even after having this understanding why does one become apathetic to taking this journey, or lose enthusiasm on the way? Out of many, there are four major causes – (1) difficulty due to adverse times; (2) the Self being unknown, love for it does not arise; (3) fear of getting awakened, (4) ignorance regarding the process of becoming free from the mind.

Difficulty Due to Adverse Times

Blaming time for failure in taking up the inner journey or quoting the Jain or Hindu scriptures that the present time is adverse, only shows that one has not grasped the real intent of the texts and so the spiritual pursuit has lost its vitality. Spiritual accomplishment depends on self-effort and not time. Self-effort depends on right understanding and not time. Hence it is important to receive right understanding of the correct viewpoint.

Time and soul are two different substances. There is no cause and effect relationship between the two. When the scriptures propound that the fifth era or Kaliyug are difficult, the intent is to caution the seekers that the circumstances may not be as favourable as those at other times. But the soul is free to put forth efforts even in the midst of such circumstances. There have been so many instances when earnest seekers have achieved their spiritual goals in spite of unfavourable happenings around them. If anyone at any time of the era has reached the zenith of spirituality, it is only due to his earnest self-effort. Those who wait for a better time, will keep waiting.

Love for the Unknown

How can love or devotion for the unknown arise? Mind feels that I should first know before I can love. The mistake lies in the belief that love arises because of the beloved. Does thirst arise because there is water in front of you? No, first comes thirst, then begins the search for that which quenches the thirst – water. A new-born cries due to hunger; he doesn’t even know what milk is or tastes like. Hunger is enough; it will bring the milk.

Thirst comes first, water comes later. Love arises first, God comes after. The seeker just cries, the devotee pines. He has no clear idea of what he wants or who he is calling. There is a calling within, a thirst, a hunger that is not satisfied by any material object. So, he turns towards the formless, the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unseen.

Seeking eternal happiness in material objects is like expecting milk from the thumb. Having realised that true happiness lies in the Self, not in the world, that inner poverty cannot be removed by increasing wealth, power or family, the seeker yearns to turn within. This thirst opens the doors of inwardness. Though the Self is yet unknown, the love for the Self gets kindled.

Fear of Getting Awakened

The fear of awakening or of opening the eyes of wisdom is natural for the one who is in love with his dreams or his illusions. Waking up for him is to let go of his long-cherished and promising dreams. Dreams are conducive to delusion, so dreams seem sweet to the deluded. Truth is not conducive to delusion, so truth feels bitter to him. Though dream is just an appearance, the ignorant likes it. Dream is comfortable because it is in accordance with his inclination. Truth isn’t interesting because it does not match with his inclination. To awaken he has to align with the truth and transform his inclination. If he isn’t ready for this change, he feels no enthusiasm. Rather, he fears waking up from this deep metaphysical slumber.

Awakening is a type of austerity. You will have to cut and throw away many of the unessential parts that you had nurtured and protected thinking they were meaningful, useful and precious. You have identified with so much from the dream that you have created an absolutely new identity for yourself, completely opposite from reality. On awakening, this identity gets broken. A lot gets chiselled away in the process.

Like the moth who is ready to get burnt to ashes for its love for the flame of light, the seeker of truth must have the courage to dissolve the false identity, the ego. Like a gambler who puts all his possessions at stake, he should be ready to put everything at stake for this inner pursuit. In short, he should feel happy and not fear the awakening. On awakening, there will be showers of bliss. None has ever been able to find real happiness from anything other than the truth, nor will it be found in the future.

Ignorant about the Process

In the absence of correct understanding of the process, right ways are not practised and when desirable results are not achieved, enthusiasm dampens, and one may feel hopeless. Understand from the Master the right method and then practise it correctly with zeal. You will need the jubilant spirit of a sportsman, not that of a defeatist. Without enthusiasm, failure is certain. Right inclination, interest and unfailing zeal alone can bring success. To check whether you are doing it right, match your experiences with the wisdom imparted to you by your Master. Mere memorising of the principles of philosophy will not benefit you. You will feel scared, the mind will seem powerful, and success will appear impossible.

Man has three components – body, mind and soul. Some limit their efforts to the physical body. Their focus does not go beyond the body and they get stuck in food, sleep etc. Some who perform rituals like fasting, going on pilgrimages etc. are considered religious. Their vows bring outer discipline, but within there is an inferno of passions.

Some move ahead from the body, but get trapped in the mind. They study scriptures, reflect on them and even fight against thoughts arising in the mind. They are at war with the passions in their meditation sittings.

The soul, the supreme Self is very subtle. You cannot realise the pure Self or achieve meditativeness by waging wars. It should be done skilfully, not with power. Saints say – don’t fight with the thoughts, be a witness to them. The remedy is to just know that you are separate from them. This awareness is the true method. Fighting with thoughts leads to a sure defeat. Witnessing is the way to become easily and quickly free from the mind.

May all, taking the help of Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra, embark on the journey within, and abide in the blissful pure Self.


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