Prehistoric man had a mind, but it was non-functional. When the first ‘Label’ appeared within the mind of pre-historic man, it became functional. The quantity of labels in the mind increased as life sophisticated itself. Slowly, steadily and surely labels were increasing within the mind of evolving man, and this increase was reflected as the ‘Known’ or knowledge. The growth in knowledge and its meaning consequentially produced ‘Ideas’ and when these ideas began to be related to each other in a meaningful way, they gave birth to rudimentary ‘Logic.
As man evolved, logic kick-started the ‘Thinking’ process within the mind of man for the first time. When logic became critical and sharp, the thinking process was understood to be ‘False’ by a few men, who came to be known as ‘Sages’. When they understood that the mind was false, they declared that man is ‘Dreaming’ in the waking state. Dreaming was found to be nothing but ‘Madness’, but in a nice way.
The sages declared that the dreaming or madness of the mind is ‘Illusory’ and not real. Since the labels, the known, ideas, logic, dreaming and madness were illusory, the mind was understood to be ‘Absent’ by the sages! The chronological arrangement of the chapters in this volume of Kaivalya Gita provides a systematic and clear understanding of this mental process. In the first chapter, it is spelt out with unerring precision that the crux of each person's life is labels. The utter supremacy of the mind and the fallacies of labels are analyzed, and the clarity of the present reality emerges like a star. The predicament, in which man finds himself, eventually, while dwelling in labels, is conveyed with the precision of a surgical knife!
The chapter ‘Known’ reveals that the intelligence of the power of the known – all illusory though - is such that we have become convinced that what is concrete is insubstantial and imaginary, and what is insubstantial and imaginary is concrete. The senses and the proofs used by man constantly avow this to be the case, and yet that same power enlightens us, showing that it is not really so. Since the days of the Romans, who are accredited with having ‘invented’ concrete, we have been convinced of its solidity and indestructibility! The elucidation in this chapter of that which is ‘one’ by itself and ‘eternal’, and that which is a ‘combination’ of more than one element, and is illusory and temporary, is a revelation. Nothing known, however profound, is real, for the fact of its being known makes it a combination and therefore destructible, whilst that which is one has no other beside it to know it, deny it or even affirm it – it is, therefore, indestructible and eternal. While it is true that our life, because of ideas, is vibrant and hopeful,it nevertheless carries with ituncertainty; therefore, its strength and capacity as a saviour is far from clear. This gives rise to unrest, stimulated by an idea of success or failure and its consequence, which of course cannot be known. But 'consequence' is based on another idea - cause and effect! So let life be lived - it certainly cannot be thought out - for life is mysterious. There seems to be no 'plan' of action, which bears any resemblance to what actually happens, and yet the vast world of commerce, politics and success believes that forethought is a sine qua non of its existence. 'Once a man succumbs to ideas he will never find happiness': this is one of the most powerful indicators of man's plight that could be expressed by life.
A person reading the chapter on ‘Ideas’ will inevitably meet ideas about its content and about himself as he reads it. His opportunity for understanding lies in his awareness of the ideas arising, many of which will object to what is read and will erect barriers. To remain steady and alert to what is happening is to begin to penetrate the wisdom behind these words. That ideas strengthen the man as an individual and keep him shut in and out of touch with reality, cocooning him in a web of illusion, becomes crystal clear. To be at the point of happening is where man actually is - this needs to be understood. This chapter reaches the heart of reality.
Logic-chopping is a well-known expression in English. Until this chapter was presented, and with such detailed care and insight, the meaning of logic-chopping was not understood. It literally chops into two that which cannot be divided. Unless it is understood, its efficacy in reducing reality to a matter of opinion, with the more experienced logic-chopper gaining the upper hand, is unassailable. It has long since been a highly respected mark of an intelligent person! It is rather the mark of a coward, who uses it as a battering ram to ward off that which is mysterious - life itself! 'Great' thinkers throughout the centuries have retreated into logic's limited arena and left this world none the wiser. However, logic, as has become so clear in this chapter, is no mistaken quirk of the mind. To live both the mystery and the illusion that logic constructs in the mind is the mark of an adventurous spirit - such a spirit is manifested through the author of this book, for only then could it be written.
Thinking has become an imperative for living an organized and 'safe' life, but it is entirely focused on what is going to happen or what has happened. Witnessing what is happening as it happens is thwarted, apparently, by the fear that 'we may miss something'! The chapter on ‘thinking’ shows that we are trying to shape the future - this is an absurd and wretched waste of energy and loss of life.There is so much depth in this chapter.
The source, life, is a mystery; what emerges from it, the whole world of the known, is a dream. We cling desperately to the known, not understanding that it has no reality. We misunderstand the signals life gives us, and urgently look for solutions in the dream. It is very hard to come out of this: it needs courage to make this journey, for it is unknown and unknowable. Through the chapter entitled ‘Dreaming’, life illuminates and examines with precision and clear understanding that which is considered to be real and shows it to be a dream, using man as a means: this is remarkable. It shows, beyond peradventure, our basic assumptions concerning the states of sleep and wakefulness that keep us so profoundly deceived as to what is real and what is unreal.
This examination leaves not one iota of space for doubt as to its authenticity - it does not and could not arise from mind - it also destroys all prior discourses and theories on enlightenment. Such is the power and intensity of its light and intelligence.
Once it is realized that we are not the doer, the speaker or the thinker, the dream is revealed and falls way. This realization permeates this chapter.
That man has opted for the mind rather than for life itself to be his guide and reckoner is very clearly revealed in the chapter ‘Madness’. Life has presented man with that option as a substitute to discover that reality has no touch of thought or condition or expectation. So clear too is the revelation that we do indeed depend on continuity with the past to get our bearings in life, while life is there as a guide every step of the way - when eventually we come to understand.
The desire of the illusory mind to control life in every conceivable point of its manifestation is unchecked and uncheckable. There can be no stop to this save in sleep, where mind has no place. This has been described with deep insight in the chapter aptly entitled ‘Illusions’. However, little by little, by the grace of God, this penetrating examination of mind by one who has passed beyond bestows a platform from which to witness and in which to settle. While man relies on what his mind, the slave to his senses, declares, he will remain deluded.
Illusion clarifies illusion; written words are gifted with power to dispel the dream, or at least to lift its mesmerizing veil. The mental tool, so long picked up to 'do the job', is inadequate, not to mention unavailable. Man, as he or she is always imagined to be, is yet to understand that wisdom cannot be achieved by trying because, in urging the ‘Absent mind’ to achieve, wisdom would be part of the illusion. The wisdom in this chapter puts liveliness back into life in a most delightful way. The result of categorizing so many things and activities in life is that the 'mind' has succeeded in limiting the enjoyment of what life is creating to just a few things and just a few activities, leaving us bored and forever looking for 'highs'. 'It's boring' is the common cry, even from the mouths of young children. In reality, it is not like that at all: it is like what has never been known nor can ever be known. The nature of the illusion of the life that we think we are leading gradually reveals itself, as the pages of this book are turned and understood. It is the life that is not really there at all, nor can possibly be there!
Peter Julian Capper
MA (Cantab) UK