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Selection from Vachanamrut

Vachanamrut Gadhada I-20
Of the Ignorant; On Seeing One's Own Self

On Posh sud 2, 1876 VS (19 December 1819 CE), Lord Swaminarayan was seated on a gadi with a takyo, in the verandah of the east-facing rooms in Dada Khachar's darbar in Gadhada. He had tied a white pagh around His head. A string of yellow flowers adorned His pagh, a garland of yellow flowers adorned His neck, and nosegays of white and yellow flowers adorned His ears. He had wrapped Himself with a white chofăl and was wearing a black-bordered khes. At that time, while Lord Swaminarayan was having a scripture read, paramhansas and devotees from places far and wide, were seated before Him.

Then Lord Swaminarayan said,
"Please listen. I ask all of you a question."
Whereupon all the devotees said with folded hands,
"Please do ask."

Lord Swaminarayan asked,
"Who is the most ignorant of the ignorant?"
Everyone pondered over the question, but no one was able to answer. So Lord Swaminarayan said, "Here, let Me answer it Myself."
Everyone was pleased and added, "Maharaj, only You will be able to answer it perfectly; so please tell us."

Lord Swaminarayan then explained, "The Jiva, which resides within the body, observes both the attractive and the unattractive. He also witnesses childhood, youth and old age, as well as countless other objects. However, the observer fails to observe himself. He constantly sees things external by looking outwards, but does not look inwards and see himself. Therefore, he is the most ignorant of the ignorant.

"Furthermore, just as the Jiva relishes countless forms of beauty with his eyes, he similarly enjoys and knows other sense-pleasures with his ears, skin, tongue and nose, yet he does not enjoy his own happiness; nor does he know his own Self. And therefore, he is the most ignorant of the ignorant, the most senseless of the senseless, the most foolish of all fools, and the vilest of the vile."

At that point, Shukmuni raised a doubt,
"Is it truly in one's own hands to see one's own Self? If it is, then why would the Jiva remain so ignorant?"

Lord Swaminarayan replied, "He who has joined the Satsang, for him the vision of his Self lies in his own hands. And when has he tried to see his own Jivatman and failed? Dependent upon and overcome by the ignorance of Maya, the Jiva helplessly enters the states of dream and deep-sleep by withdrawing within; but never does he introspect with knowledge to see his own Self. On the other hand, he who introspects while contemplating upon the glory of God, sees his own Self as extremely pure and resplendent. And in the midst of that brilliant light, he beholds the form of the Supreme God as seen before his eyes, and experiences the happiness enjoyed by Narad and Sanak rishis. Therefore, whatever deficiency that remains in a devotee is due to his own laziness."

Vachanamrut Gadhada I-20

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith