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Discover self to gain knowledge

Most of us have blown-up egos. Not only we fail to see ourselves, we also miss the good things in others.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 14:10 IST

The tragedy with most of us is that we have blown-up egos. So, not only we fail to see and recognise ourselves, we also miss the good things in others.

The beast in us takes over and we tend to see the negative aspects of things around us. We cease to function as lively, loving and caring human beings, because of the absence of mindfulness (concentration and dedication).
History tells us that those who worked with mindfulness could achieve any target. Mindfulness gives serenity to restless minds, food for spiritual growth and leads to the overall flowering of the personality. Fearlessness and detachment become the hallmarks of one’s character.

I find in the Bhagvad Gita a big exercise in self-discovery. The Gita says clearly that knowledge is a journey as well as a destination. It gives you satisfaction, power to help and uplift the helpless and create harmony in society. In essence, you become a candle that burns happily for others. Swami Nikhilananda compares a mindful person to “the flying bird that leaves no footprints in the air and the swimming fish that leaves no track in the water.”

Zen philosophy gives it a similar dimension when it stresses on the nothingness of problems. This is at first difficult to understand but becomes simple if you think deeply about it. Zen’s credo is that problems are not there, they are only in your mind. It is only the fear in us that creates problems that leave us unsatisfied and disgruntled. We always tend to blow up a small hindrance and that scares us and we are forced to give up the task even before attempting it.

A mindful person, however, is serene and strong and nothing can really hurt him. The “obstacles and the iron gates disappear” as he surges ahead with determination. Thus, mindfulness is a powerful tool to create a world that is beautiful and strong and yet full of people without inflated egos. That is why the Buddha stresses that self-knowledge is true knowledge and the path to peace.