DARSHAN (PERCEIVING)

Vedic Articles
  • God has given man a life of hundred years. He desired that man should advance the creation further. For such a task the age up to forty to fifty years would have been sufficient. Why hundred years? What should a man do for the rest of the fifty years? We get the answer to this question in purushartha, in dharma, artha, kama and moksha. In the next fifty years he should do something which may take him back to the place from where he had originally come. The facilities to acquire the abilities and powers needed for this purpose were also given to man. It is a different matter if he is not able to understand this essential truth. Then he has also to confront the cycle of eighty four lakhs of yonis (existences). The soul lives in the body. The parts of both jiva and Ishwara abide in the soul. One is the observer and the other is the enjoyer as well as the sufferer. When both become the observers, the task is accomplished. Both become one. In life darshan has this importance.

    darshan means to see. No other task can be easier than this. Scriptures say that the function of the soul is also to see. Ishwara also observes the activities of the jiva in the spirit of a witness. It is equally true that man observes whatever appears before him. The option of seeing or not seeing is not available to him. His eyes perform the function of seeing. Can eyes see? Many people cannot see even when they are equipped with eyes. They are known as sightless or blind. Eyes are merely instruments. For seeing one needs light. When the light falls on a subject through the eye, then a reflection of that subject is formed on the screen of the mind. Of the five senses of knowledge the eye is one. The mind is the lord of the senses. It observes through all the senses. The intellect follows the mind and analyses the subject. Decisions depend on desire. It arises in the mind and not in the intellect.

    In fact, the function of seeing is performed by the mind with the help of the eyes by using the light that is available. This activity goes on uninterruptedly for a complete period of a hundred years. Usually the age of the sense organs equals that of the body but in some men one or the other of sense organs stops functioning before time. It has its own causes. Many times nimittas also become the causes as the loss of eyes or of hearing in an accident.

    Each sense organ has its own department and a complete system of functioning. All the sense organs function at optimum level with the help of the mind. One can hear some sounds even when the mind is not attentive and tuned with the ear but the eyes cannot see anything without being tuned with the mind. Many times it has been observed that man is so lost in thinking that he is not able to observe as to who passed before him. The function of the eye is that it communicates to the mind whatever it observes outside. The same eye expresses externally whatever the inner eye observes or perceives. The eye doesn’t tell a lie; the mind can. The eye is the mirror of the mind and a powerful medium of communication of the feelings of the mind. It observes the gross as well as the subtle.

    The question arises is as to what is that in the act of seeing because of which darshan has been considered synonymous with life. Many kinds of philosophies have been established in the world so much so that each philosophy has become a separate discipline. And if darshan is that important, the role of seeing must also be considered separately. How to see or observe? How does one know whether he is observing correctly or incorrectly? How does one know whether what is visible is being correctly perceived or not?; whether the mode of observing is natural or it has been obtained through practice?; whether the result of observing is helpful in my moksha or an obstacle?

    Seeing means just seeing, to see a subject or an object as an object. Since one can not see without the help of the mind, one has to observe with complete mindfulness. Only then the wanderings of the mind will be stopped and the object could also be observed in depth. One may have to decide whether what is being observed is (a) a thing, (b) a subject, (c) a nimitta or a cause or (d) my own reflection. A poet has written,

    “lo shama-e-haquiquat hai apni jagah kayam,

    fanus ki gardish men kya-kya nazar ata hai?”

    How anything will appear to anyone depends on many causes. Is his eye completely healthy? Is the light in his eye fully available? Is his mind observing with neutrality or is gripped by prejudice? Is the individual trying to discover his own reflection in what he is observing?

    The light of the eyes is regulated by the pranas and is a part of our subtle body. According to the Indian system of thought the light of the right eye is regulated by the sun while that of the left eye is regulated by the moon. The quantity of light is dependent on the karmas of the previous birth. Some people are without sight. The use of light depends on the health of the eye. The eye can have a gross layer on it or it can also have a veil of the prejudice of the mind. These prejudices are associated with samskaras of the individual. These samskaras express themselves in the form of prakriti/nature. In accordance with it man’s pattern of thinking as well as his personality is formed. A form is shaped and the chemicals of endocrine glands are created and the cob-web, cataract, black pearl appear in the eye in the gross forms. The gross sight is a manifestation of the mental attitude. Accordingly, the gross world unfolds itself before him.

    Wherever the mind goes, intellect follows it. It is because the mind, the prana and the vaak are always together. The function of intellect is to break, to create an argument. To evaluate is also the function of intellect. An individual observes something. The eye observes the gross form. Intellect tries to enter it. On the basis of this evaluation the mind declares the object as good or bad. This very declaration creates prejudices in the mind and it alone becomes the veil of the mind. Generally men live by putting a mask on their faces and keep the truth hidden. In fact, they themselves do not know their real faces. It has been said:

    “har aadmi men hote hain dus bees aadmi.

    jisko bhi dekhna ho bar bar dekh.”

    Only an individual who looks at a thing with a non-aligned attitude can detect the real face behind the mask. An individual imbued with prajana will try to reach the atoms within an object with a neutral attitude. There is nothing good or bad. Whatever is there is there. Here the mind, too, would remain concentrated. This depth itself is samadhi. Here what is being observed aims at questing for the truth.

    Many questions begin to arise the moment an individual focuses his eye on the other individual. Apprehensions arise, fear can also be there and joy too. The individual here is only the nimitta. He can touch the samskaras of the mind as also prejudices. He can express an outlook on life. This is darshan in which the individual observes the other before him and also observes his own self in the mirror that the other is for him. He observes the veils covering his mind. He observes the veils of sat, raj and tam. The person present before him becomes secondary. The subject becomes secondary. He observes the way of refinement. He is then concerned with the process of refinement of the samskaras and the removal of the veils. moksha is his goal. What is remembered is ‘nestregunyo bhav Arjun!’ uttered by Lord Krishna. This is known as perceiving the self, the perception of the self by the self, the journey from the gross to the subtle.

    Looking within is also a part of the journey of darshan. To observe the thoughts, the emotions and the movement of the pranas, to observe the waves arising within if the nimitta is there, to bring out refinement through practice and refining the way of subtle interactions in a systematic way. One condition is always applicable in all the contexts of perceiving and that is neutrality, disengagement or the feeling of not being involved. No perception can be fruitful without them. The philosophy being taught in the colleges is also a methodology of seeing or perceiving, but it has become lame under the burden of intellectuals. It has not been able to transform any teacher into one oriented towards reality because in the teaching of philosophy there doesn’t exist the disinterested mind. There is only the arrogance of intellect. Vanity is the root cause of prejudices. That is the reason behind the proliferation of thousands of sects in the name of the philosophy of Vedanta. Only untruth can have thousands of forms. Truth is always one. To observe this in all its naturalness is darshan. There is joy in this kind of darshan because creation begins from here. This ananda is moksha.

    The conclusion of all such discussions is that man looks both within and without and by refining his own path he transcends death. For this he needs sufficient knowledge so that through the power of his darshan and his knowledge he may direct himself towards moksha. In this way the purpose of prakriti is served and the life of the individual also becomes successful and meaningful. That is why he needs some time after having participated in the act of creation. Probably nature has gifted the additional fifty years to man for vanprasth and sanyas for this very purpose, a hundred years of liberated life for the purpose of being liberated i.e. the ultimate liberation.