The Mysteries Of Mind: [04.02] Transformation Of Personality - Equanimity (2)

Published: 18.04.2006
Updated: 06.10.2008

Even a slight manifestation of consciousness is a pointer to­wards man's existence. It activates his insight and brings discern­ment into operation, which pierces the ignorance surrounding con­sciousness. It is the manifestation of enlightenment, which is the characteristic of man's existence. It encourages the practitioner to go ahead. A new experience is born with the manifestation of the light of existence. The first manifestation clears the vision and the second results in the feeling of joy, which had remained, hitherto unfelt. A third manifestation of enlightenment stabilizes the feel­ing of joy, which will never be extinguished. A fourth manifesta­tion brings the practitioner face to face with the centre of con­sciousness resulting in the highest kind of joy from which the prac­titioner never likes to return to the murky world of ordinary life.

Discernment produces self-discipline; in its turn, destroys self-forgetfulness; and the disappearance of self-forgetfulness brings in complete freedom from passions. This is the orderly march to freedom. The march begins with man's consciousness of his exist­ence. Self-exertion, austerities and meditation have no meaning for man unless and until he has first become aware of this own existence. The practice of self-exertion begins after his awareness. An austere life and meditation follow it. A glimpse of his exist­ence makes man restless and impatient with his present life. It is this restlessness and impatience, which force him to concentrate his mind, and, therefore, they have their own value in sadhana. Till now the practitioner had been governed by his wanton mind. From now onwards he becomes the controller and driver of his mind. The whole field of the body is there for the operations of the mind. There is nothing wrong with the mind. Let it play as it pleases. With the advent of discernment and insight the entire orientation of the mind changes. It becomes transformed. The mind, which had earlier been our master, has now become our slave. It is dis­cernment, which makes the practitioner the master of the mind. This basic change does not make the mind inactive. It continues to be active.

The purpose of self-exertion is the transformation of person­ality. Prolonged self-exertion, austerities and meditation will be a sheer waste of time and energy, if they do not bring about a trans­formation of the practitioner's mind, nay his entire personality. Otherwise the practitioner will begin to waver and give up hope and finally become disillusioned. In such a case he will abandon sadhana.

Faith in the efficacy of meditation, austerities, and self-exer­tion can be sustained only by the dividends they pay, i.e., by the transformation of personality they bring about. Not only the prac­titioner but others also should be convinced that such a transfor­mation has taken place or does take place. At least the practitioner should be self-assured; otherwise he will lose faith in sadhana.

What is this transformation of personality? Let us be clear about it.

Human life is characterized by a succession of joys and sor­rows. We have become so much accustomed to this succession that we are not prepared to think that a different kind of life is possible. But once right perception, insight and discernment have been developed in us, the duality of joys and sorrows is broken and we become exclusively inclined towards joys only. We be­come convinced that there can be a life without sorrows also. The dual current of joys and sorrows comes to be replaced by a single current of joy. The ultimate result of the enjoyment of the pleasure of the world is sorrow. The saturation point of acridly pleasures brings in sorrow. We bear sorrows with the hope that the next round of experiences will bring joy in the same way in which the dark night is followed by the bright day. This perception under­goes a basic change once discernment produces better judgment and clears our vision. With the clarity of vision the dual process of joys-cum-sorrows changes into a single process of joy.

Human life is also characterized by the dual process of knowledge-cum-ignorance. But with the dawn of discernment ignorance disappears. Knowledge alone rules the realm of sadhana. Sadhana is not governed by the dual authority of knowledge and ignorance but by the indivisible authority of knowledge.

Human life is also characterized by the duality of strength and weakness. With the emergence of discernment, weakness also disappears and the practitioner becomes wedded to strength or en­ergy. With the disappearance of inertia man's spiritual progress gains a new momentum. In such a state there is no more doubt or misgiving. There are no alternate courses for the practitioner of spiritual exertion, but only a single and straight course.

This is the first stage of the reconstruction of the sadhaka 's personality. There can be no sadhana without the transformation of personality.

Unity of experience is the second stage of the transformation of personality. Before this transformation takes place the practitioner's experience is divided between joys and sorrows. He does not have a unified experience of joy. With the appearance of the second glow of consciousness, the flow of energy in him be­gins to gather strength and experience begins to be characterized by joy only. This is a new experience. He had never known that there can be joy even without his being associated with things other than the self like external objects, instruments and influences. When his experience becomes enlivened by consciousness, when he be­gins to exercise self-discipline and when his personality becomes reconstituted, he comes to feel and know that joy need not be asso­ciated with things other than the self and that spiritual joy is supreme.

Human beings have to suffer the consequences of their past deeds. Happiness is the consequence of good deeds done in the past and sorrows are the consequence of bad deeds. Moreover, we are happy when we get things which we like and unhappy when we are faced with things which we do not like. But once we begin to act in the light of pure consciousness or in an enlightened way, we become dispassionate and neutral with regard to both joys and sorrows. Neither joy attracts us nor does sorrow cast its shadow on us.

Bhagavan Mahavira successfully went through many an af­fliction. Other practitioners of self-discipline also did the same. It is possible to do so on the level of ordinary consciousness? Is it possible to experience such afflictions with a smiling face? Per­haps not. But with a dispassionate attitude of mind one finds him­self to be above joys and sorrows. Consciousness alloyed with feel­ing keeps us at a lower level of experience. At a higher level of consciousness man becomes a mere spectator of joys and sorrows without being affected by them. He becomes capable of bearing the greatest afflictions. From where does this tolerance come? Its source is discernment.

Discernment enables us to make distinctions. This ability reaches its highest peak in equanimity. We go on entering into the depths of experience as the chisel of discernment goes on chop­ping off the layers of evil accumulated on the mind. We are raised above sense-feelings. Freedom from dependence on the senses is called equanimity. Those who live on the level of the senses may be tolerant and may go on enduring afflictions. But equanimity is higher than mere tolerance because it is achieved by those who have raised themselves above the level of the senses.
Sources
  • The Mysteries Of Mind © by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Translated by K.L. Goswami
  • Compiled by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • 2nd Edition, 2002

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Consciousness
  3. Equanimity
  4. Mahavira
  5. Meditation
  6. Sadhaka
  7. Sadhana
  8. Tolerance
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