The phenomenal world or the world seen by our senses is the world of effects. The causes of these effects are not normally evident. With regards to time and space, the cause is always at a different or rather a higher level than the effect. Simplistically, we can say that a thought is the cause and the action arising out of that thought is its effect. The action is apparent to both, our thinking and our senses, but the thought is invisible and most often not apparent; and yet beyond the thought is the motive or the ‘why’ of the thought.
Let us exemplify this concept. Say we think of building a swimming pool; we have a concept in our mind – dimensions, shape, and so on. This very thought is the cause and the physical swimming pool, if and when built, would be the effect. Beyond the cause is the motive, the seed of the cause, and this would vary from person to person. One might want to build the swimming pool for recreation, or to impress friends, or for an entirely different purpose. This motive exists in a very subtle form, even before an unseen thought. So at the subtle and invisible level, we have the twin-combination of motive and cause. The motive penetrates the cause, and yet the cause is also the motive. In the ancient scriptures, this pair of motive and cause is depicted as the twin Gods called the Ashwinikumars.
There are three types of will – neutral, intellectual, and spiritual will. These are created in five stages. The will we currently have is the resultant will remaining after our desires neutralise one another; hence, neutral will. For instance, we have a desire to wake up early and carry out some practices, but we also have a desire to catch a late-night movie; also, we have a desire to remain light at night (by not eating) so we can practice mantra recitation before sleeping, but we also have the desire to have a delicious snack along with our late-night movie. All these desires, and more, will neutralise one another and we will only do that which persists. Thus, we carry out the desire that is most powerful and hence the one that remains. We are all full of desires, each having its own small will. This fragments our being and presence into many wills.
We shall continue our story from last week; the guru had reprimanded Upamanyu for eating the foam from the calves’ mouths. The Guru is interested in integrating will in the student, and for that purpose he creates situations where the disciple has to pass through tremendous suffering. If the disciple can make the suffering voluntary and sacrifice his desires in the fire of suffering, his will would rise from being a fragmented will to an integrated will.
When the guru asked Upamanyu not to even eat the foam from the calves’ mouths, Upamanyu, in his hunger, ate the poisonous leaves of the crown flower. The poison blinded him and he roamed the forests till he fell in a deep, abandoned well. When he did not return by sunset, the guru went looking for him. Upamanyu, from the well, returned the guru’s calls and narrated how he came to such a predicament. The guru asked him not to worry but to pray to the physicians of the gods, the Ashwinikumars, and that they would help him.
This is very symbolic and does not actually depict an exterior form of blindness. The well symbolises that Upamanyu went deep into his unconscious and his blindness suggests attainment of a state where he could paralyse the external senses while going deep into his mind. The sunset or darkness thereafter depicts that the guru is entering the same inner space where Upamanyu is. In these deeper states, help and guidance is always available; the only rule is that the student must remember to ask for it. It does not just mean that the outer guru enters the student’s unconscious mind, which is possible; more often than not, it is the student’s own divine centre which answers him in the form of the guru. The guru told Upamanyu what to do and went back leaving him in the well. This subtle gesture shows that the guru only throws light on the path; it is the student who has to walk on it.
The Mahabharata is a complete scripture; it not only reveals the supreme truth in different stories but also gives techniques and mantras to enter the deeper mysteries of life. The mantras relating to the Ashwinikumars are provided at this juncture. Upamanyu prayed to them and they appeared before him. They were pleased and gave him some cake, asking him to eat it to bring his eyesight back. Now, Upamanyu first offers the cake to his guru who tells him to have it, which brings his eyesight back. The guru then blesses him, saying that his inner light had awakened and that he could now follow his own path. The greatest joy for a guru is when a student learns to walk on his own.
By entering our unconscious and by freeing ourselves of deeply embedded patterns, we awaken our real sight, and it is with this sight that we can see the mysterious play of motive and cause, which are the forces behind everything that happens in our lives.