Chapter 3: The Essence of Truth Behind the Objects of Sense
In its search of fulfilment and perfection, the mind rises stage by stage to the higher levels of consciousness, but it is only in the human level that it consciously expresses itself in its relation to a society of kindred elements. There is no consciousness of society in the plant world or even perspicuously in the animal world because there is no rational understanding. It is only in the human stage of understanding that it can be said to have developed into a consciously understood structure: we know what society is, what we expect from it, and what society expects from us.
Now, here in this sense of the mind’s affirmations as a society rather than an individual, we may say that we have made a great advance over the lower levels, but we have also committed a blunder. The good point is what generally goes by the name of humanitarianism, goodness, servicefulness, charitableness, etc.; the bad point is called samsara. While we have a good opportunity to express ourselves in society, we also have a highway constructed before us so that we may fall into the pits. Therefore, human society has a passage to freedom as well as a bondage manifestly expressed before us. We are in a state of perpetual suffering in society on account of the negative aspect of it, which we cannot easily distinguish from the positive side.
What do we mean by samsara, from which we try to rise? If the whole world, the entire human society, is a wholesale blunder, a delirium of spirit, a madness of consciousness from which we have to free ourselves wholly and solely, then there would be nothing for us to do in regard to it. We would only have to flee from it, as if from a ghost or a devil. From one side, we are told that we have to be kind and charitable, good and compassionate, serviceful and considerate to people. On the other side, we are told that it is all a mesh of bondage, that we have to run away from it. Both these things are told to us by the scriptures, by masters and saints. Consciously distinguishing between these two aspects is called viveka. When we mix both these aspects together we are in a state of aviveka or non-discrimination.
Most people are not in a position to make this distinction between the positive, diviner element in society and the negative, baser element. The mind mostly seeks fulfilment of its desires, rather than opportunities for service and self-expansion. The mind seeks self-expansion in a very literal sense, not in the spiritual sense. Literally it wants to expand itself, as a dictator would want to expand his sway over people. This is also a kind of self-expansion, but it is the negative side of the matter. The world has been created in such a way that we have to find gold together with base metal.
The eyes see the world through the instinctive mind mostly. The motive force behind the perception of the eyes is the instinctive reaction of the mind for personal desires. Usually when we look at the world, we look at it with an eye of desire. Mostly, there is no other motive force in perception. The desire for the world has a principle psychological significance, a fix: “What does the world mean to me? What does it pay?” If we are asked to do anything, generally we think: “What does it bring me? Why should I do it?” This is the great question that the mind raises whenever it perceives things of the world through the eyes: If it means something positive for me, I long for it, run after it, and try to possess it and enjoy it. If it does not have anything to do with me, I shall ignore it and have nothing to do with it. But if it is something deleterious to the fulfilment of my desires, I shall fight with it, take up cudgels against it and see that it is wiped out of existence.”
This is samsara, a beautiful Sanskrit word commonly known especially in India. “Oh, we are sunk in samsara,” they say. Many people say so, without even thinking as to what they are saying. Sometimes they even say, “I have brought my samsara,” when they have brought their wives! Samsara gets restricted to a wife. Well, they have their own reason for it. What they really mean is that they have got an appendage—something hanging round their neck, a kind of weight that they have to carry. That is why it has taken that connotation.
Samsara literally means a kind of aberration of the mind, a movement of the mind away from the centre, in which sense we can say that the dream condition of the mind is also an aberration. In dream the mind moves away from the centre of its true state into a reality constructed through its own imagination for the sake of finding satisfaction: “When I cannot find things to satisfy my desires, I shall create them with my mind. If nobody wants to look at me, I shall then create friends through my mind and have plenty of people who will like me. If the external world denies me something, I shall discover it in my internal world.” This is what the mind does in dream. It achieves in the dream state whatever it cannot achieve in waking. So from the physical outer world, the mind withdraws itself into its own created subjective world.
As this is not a fact, and as it is not true that the mind really sees existent objects, we may call it a kind of samsara of the mind. Some such thing happens when the mind moves outside into societies of persons or things. We have slowly come to the realisation that the mind is evolving stage by stage from the lower levels of matter, life, etc., into the human consciousness; but now we realise that it is meandering horizontally also, not merely rising vertically. It is like a spring of water that may jet forth from the bosom of the Earth to the surface, and then spread itself everywhere outwardly on the surface.
The mind at the stage of the human being has not only reached a vertical ascent, but also finds an opportunity to move horizontally in search of pleasures. It deliberately becomes conscious of the existence of things which can satisfy its desires, and of persons who are akin to its nature. You may say that the animal also sees it, but it has a lesser understanding, while man has a more rarefied understanding. The pleasure centres are before the eyes of humans and animals, but the animal is cruder in its way of thinking; hence, it is satisfied with merely a reaction to a stimulus. It is the human being who tries to take the fullest advantage of the environment in which he is placed—fullest advantage in the sense of exploiting the situation and making use of, utilising or harnessing for his own purposes every blessed thing in the world—men, or animals, or even things. “The world should be mine,” is the desire of every person.
The tendency to rule, to exercise authority and to wield power is the instinct of the human mind, rationalised at the human level. This is the great stigma on human reason. While it is supposed to investigate into the nature of Truth hidden in human experience, it ramifies itself into channels of sensory satisfaction, becomes a handmaid in the functions of the ego, and utilises its powers not for a further ascent as it ought to, but for a horizontal movement for the sake of external satisfaction through the senses. “Why does it seek satisfaction?” is a pertinent question. “Why should there be seeking for pleasure at all? Why not go without it? How is it that everyone seems to be running after it?”
The reason is the great reason of creation itself. It is not pleasure that we seek, to clinch the whole matter with which I concluded the previous discourse; it is freedom that we are seeking. It is not things of pleasure that we seek, but freedom and happiness, and now it looks that happiness is only a form of freedom. Ultimately, it is only freedom that we are seeking. In our movements through the objects of sense, what we seek is a kind of freedom. We do not want the objects. As a matter of fact, when we have done with them we throw them away like tools that we have no further use for. Persons and things from whom we have extracted enough, who have done us enough service, are no more wanted because it is not the persons or things that we want. We wanted something through them and that we have got, and so we do not want the instruments any more. After we have climbed up to the terrace, we no longer want the ladder.
The search for pleasure is a search for freedom. The Spirit asks for further expansion. “I have become more free at the human level, more free than I was in the plant and animal levels, and I want to be even more free,” is the Spirit’s asking. The Spirit is our innermost consciousness, and anything connected with our Spirit is called spiritual. What we call a spiritual life is nothing but a life which is in consonance with the nature of the Spirit. So the Spirit within us which is deep, so deep that we cannot fathom it through the mind and the senses, asks for a further expansion: “I want my freedom, and I shall not be satisfied with anything less.” The Spirit asks for a further ascent.
But there is a mistake committed by the mind at this level in not knowing that freedom is in an ascent, and falsely thinking that freedom consists in the possession of objects. Here aviveka creeps in. Man alone can be avivekan—non-discriminating. Instead of pursuing the right path, we pursue the wrong path. It is man alone who can rise and fall at the same time. Man has the power to stand on his own legs, and at the same time has the power to fall down and break his legs. He has the power to go upwards or to fall downwards. He has freedom, and no one else has it.
This freedom is like a double-edged sword; it can cut both ways. We are free to pursue the right course, and also the wrong course. This is the beauty of our freedom—most fortunate and also unfortunate.
But the reason of the human being plays second fiddle to the senses and works in accordance with them, which is nothing but the instinctive mind working. The reason works for what the senses report, rather than what it should independently do. The judge in a court, for example, has to take knowledge from the evidence given to him. He cannot depend entirely on the evidence alone; he has to use his reason also. He has to sift the evidence, take the cream out of it, judge it properly, and then pass a resolution of his own. But if he merely hears everything that people say, contradictory though the reports may be, he would not be able to pass any judgement. He will only be in a state of quandary and confusion. If we would like to listen to many people and would like to fulfil the advice of all, then there would be no conclusion at all, no judgement made. We have to take the advice of many, but will have to pass our own judgement on the basis of our understanding.
This is what the reason is supposed to do after it receives the report of the senses. But what does it do? It merely receives these reports and wants to follow the course of these reports, never wanting to pass any independent judgement of its own upon them. The reason becomes a failure when it becomes a tool in the hands of the senses. We live in a sense world, not in a reasonable or rational world. Philosophically we may be living in a rational world, but practically we are in a sense world, bound to the core.
We have even gone to the extent of the rationalisation of sense experience. It is this rationalisation of sense experience that today goes by the name of scepticism, agnosticism, materialism, and so on. It is finding bad reasons for what we believe through instinct, as a philosopher said. We try to find bad reasons to support what we instinctively believe in, and this is our philosophy. But philosophy cannot be this. It should be independently thorough. It is the work of the pure reason, unadulterated by the reports of the senses. All people cannot be philosophical, therefore, because they cannot but think in terms of the senses. When we think, we think in terms those things which the eyes have seen or the ears have heard. We cannot think independently of these. We may take the evidence of the senses, as I mentioned in the analogy, as a judge may take evidence from people. It is good and it must be done; but what is the conclusion? The reason, when it takes the reports of the senses, obtains some knowledge of the world, as a judge obtains some knowledge of a case before him, but what is the knowledge that we obtain? What is the sort of situation that we are in? What is this case before us?
The case is this: the senses tell us that all things are transitory. They do not say to run after the objects, possess them and enjoy them. This is not the advice of the senses. Like messengers, they come with reports of the phenomenality of things. When we open our eyes, what do we see? We see destruction, change, impermanence, and one thing transforming itself into another. We see, even with a telescope or a microscope, nothing but the transformation of things—oceans drying up and becoming deserts, deserts becoming oceans, today’s millionaire becoming tomorrow’s pauper, a young man dying instantaneously without any apparent cause, sudden upheavals of nature, sudden outbursts, revolutions and evolutions. What else do we see in this world? This is what the eyes tell us, but they also bring with them another kind of subtle report which is misleading. Together with the knowledge of the transitoriness of things which is obtained scientifically by perception, we seem to be subtly, through our reason, perceiving something which the reason longs for.
In the Puranas there is a story to explain our condition. When Garuda ran away from the heavens with the pot of nectar, he kept it in different places, and finally in a forest of dharba grass—a grass which is sharp and cutting. It is considered very sacred and is used by Hindus in all ceremonies even today, because it has been purified by its contact with Garuda’s nectar pot. The snakes went after the nectar, thinking that it had been spilt on the dharba grass, and started licking the grass, cutting their tongues. The Puranas say that snakes have a split tongue due to licking the dharba grass. They did not get the nectar. They were suffering, and no nectar was found. This applies to our minds. Like a snake running after the nectar placed on the dharba grass, the mind runs after the objects on which the pot of the nectar is kept. Well, it is true that the pot is kept there, but we will not find the nectar, only the empty pot.
There is something which attracts us, just as the snakes were attracted by something which they thought was there. There is some Truth in the mind running after the senses, but it is mistaken in seeking what it wants. The pot of nectar which the mind instinctively sees behind the objects of sense is the essence of Truth manifest in all things. It is the beauty that stares at our face. In all the manifestations of the world, God’s face shines through, it is true. This face of God that beautifully shines and smiles through the objects is the pot of nectar. It is in contact with the objects, in the same way as the pot was in contact with the grass. The instinctive mind cannot make this distinction. What is it that it sees there? And why is it that it will not get it, even if it sees something there? This is the way the mind sees objects and gets entangled in them. It seeks a perfection which is not there, yet which promises satisfaction, perfection and beauty.
When we see our own face in the mirror, can we grasp it? No, we cannot, because it is really not there. So it is possible to see certain things that are not there. Philosophers, saints and sages have given analogies and examples of various kinds to explain this situation. Some say the mind’s seeing pleasure in the objects is something like a person running after his own image in a mirror; some say it is a thorough misconception, like seeing a snake in a winding rope; some say it is like seeing water in a mirage; some say it is like seeing silver in mother-of-pearl. All these analogies convey a single purpose, that while we see something, it is not really there. And yet we run after it because we see something. It is not necessary that the things should be there. It is enough if we see it. What we want is perception, not substantiality.
Why does the mind in dream run after the pleasure centres? Don’t you have a good dinner in dream and quench your dream thirst with dream water? Are you not satisfied with a bandara in dream? Don’t you feel happy if you become a dream emperor? Why should non-existent things not satisfy you? Satisfaction can be had even if the counterpart is not there, if only the mind can imagine that the thing is there. The mind is the creator of freedom as well as bondage. Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha-mokshayoh: The mind can free you and bind you. It can do both.
What we are trying to analyse is the mental situation at the human level: what the good points and disadvantages of human life are. The good point is that we can think better than animals, so we can free ourselves; the bad point is that we can bind ourselves through the very same knowledge. Our rope can be used to tie our cow so that it may not go astray, or we can hang ourselves with the very same rope. We can use it for both purposes.
The mind at the human level is a boon and a gift of God, which has been the point emphasised in many of the scriptures: rare is human birth, and difficult is it to get this. Even Devas are supposed to come down to the mortal level to free themselves. So much praise is offered about human life, but together with this beauty of human consciousness, it is also most unfortunate that it is only at the human level that we can slip and fall down—not at other levels. Just imagine where we are standing and how cautious we have to be, how carefully we have to walk through life, though we should be happy that we have been blessed with a human life.
While we have been well armed, yet we move in the thick of enemies. Very cautiously we have to move in this world. The human consciousness psychologically analysed is this complex structure of thinking, part of it being rational and part being irrational or instinctive. The instinctive part of the mind asks for the forms of perceptions, while the rational part of the mind seeks the spirit behind the perception. In most of the activities of the day we run after the forms of perception rather than the spirit hidden behind the perception. We cannot see the spirit; we see only the forms. All our experiences are good educators; they teach us a good lesson of life, but we do not learn the lesson because we do not see the spirit behind the lesson. When we are given a slap on the face, we feel only the pain of the slap, and not the meaning behind it.
The child cries when the mother gives a spanking. It does not know the reason or rationality behind it; it sees only the pain. So is the mind’s reaction to things. Nature teaches us a lesson by the very process of the evolution of things, and in this process, we are given the positive and the negative types of experiences, the pleasurable and the miserable, but we forget the lesson behind it. The intention of nature is not to give us pleasure or pain. It is to educate us, train us and make us ascend further, but if we forget the spirit of the teaching and emphasise only the pleasure or the pain of it, then we are in samsara. The world is samsara when we take only the form of it into consideration, but it is a field of education and an occasion for a higher experience if we receive it as a teaching.
Before a spiritual seeker approaches a Master or a Guru for initiation into the mysteries of spirituality, he is supposed to be equipped with certain other fundamentals, one of them being viveka, or right understanding. And, what this right understanding is, I am trying to explain in these few words. The understanding called for is the capacity to distinguish between the spirit of experience and the form of it. The objects of sense are the form, but there is a meaning in perception. The meaning is the lesson.
I shall give one concrete instance of what the spirit is, as distinguished from a form. In perception of an object, the form is that we are cognising something in front of us. Is it good or bad? It is mine or not mine? Should I run after it or run away from it? This is the form of experience, and this is samsara. If we look at an object only in this spirit, we are in samsara. What do I see? I see a person. What kind of person? Is he a person to whom I shall move, or is he a person from whom I shall move away? Can I get something from him or would he harm me? What is this thing? Shall I get it or shall I throw it away? These considerations in regard to an object of perception constitute the form of perception. The external circumstances in which the mind is entangled in relation to the objects constitute the form of perception. This is samsara.
But there is a spirit behind the perception. The spirit is that we are conscious of the object. This is the lesson that is given to us. The lesson behind the perception is not the object or its relationship to us, for or against. The spirit of the lesson is not whether the object is ours or not ours, good or bad, this way or that way; the spirit of the teaching is that we are conscious of the object. That consciousness is present in perception. Without consciousness we would have not perceived the object. The consciousness is in us and, therefore, we are conscious of the object. The consciousness is also between us and the object; therefore, there is a link between us and the object. The consciousness is also immanent or hidden in the object; therefore it is that there is a kinship of two objects, ourselves and the other, and this is what we call perception. So this is the lesson that nature tries to give us in perception—that the spirit is present equally in the subject and the object and also in the process of perception.
In all experiences, sensory or rational, we are taught the universality of consciousness, but this spirit of the teaching is missed every time. We only run after the form. Nama-rupa attracts us, not Satchidananda. The scriptures tell us that every object has five elements: asthi, bhati, priyam, rupam, namachit, amsapanchakam. Asthi, bhati, priyam, rupa and namachit are the five elements or principles present in every object. It has a name and a form, a characteristic, a feature, a relationship; but apart from that, it exists. It is capable of being made an object of our consciousness, bhati. Asthi is existence, bhati is the shining capability of being made a constituent of our consciousness. It can also give us priya, pleasure; it is also dear, we long for it, we want it. We ask for it, and want to enjoy it.
There are three other characters in objects: existence, its relation to consciousness, and the capacity to invoke pleasure in our mind. But, it has also name and form. The name and the form may be compared to the pot of nectar. The nectar is asthi-bhati-priya. It is only the pot that is coming in contact with our mind; the nectar is inside. Asthi-bhati-priya is existence-knowledge-bliss, we may say in English. The essence of existence-knowledge-bliss in every object is the nectar. But, it is hidden, covered by the walls of a vessel, as it were, which is nama-rupa, name and form. We do not see the nectar, but we have a hint at its existence. Because of the hint at its existence, we run after the form. We are told there is something inside, but we see only the outer form. The senses are attracted by the name and the form through which the nectar shines.
Asthi-bhati-priya, the form taken by the Supreme Reality, shines through the name and form of the objects. And because of the shining character of the objects, the mind instinctively runs after them, but the mind goes and hits itself hard against the surface of the wall of the object, not finding the contents. The content is hidden within and can be contacted by a means unknown to the senses. Sensory contact is not the way of contacting Truth. This is what viveka tells us. The intention of the mind is to contact Truth—asthi-bhati-priya—for permanent existence, permanent omniscience or knowledge, and permanent joy, but the mind, when it runs through the senses to the objects, is in samsara. While the intention is good, the method employed is wrong.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Milton. What is the use of mere good intentions? The result is contrary. We have a good intention of getting perfection through the objects, but we run into the abyss of things, contrary to what we expected. People run after things of the world and entangle themselves in various kinds of social relationships, thinking that the nectar from them can be snatched and drunk. But they see no nectar; they have been only experimenting and experimenting, and finding nothing. The world seems to be deceptive. It shines, but it provides us nothing.
The shining is the attraction in the world, but it is not true that there is nothing. If there were nothing, it would not attract us. We commit a mistake in the analysis of the perception of the world. There is some element of Truth in the world, and also an element of untruth. The element of Truth attracts us, and the element of untruth repels us. While the element of truth keeps us hoping for more and more perfection in things, the element of untruth perpetually defeats our purpose. While we hope and hope till we die, we get nothing from the world.
If there is nothing in the world, why do we hope at all? How is it that we say that tomorrow shall be a better day? Though we have received so many kicks today, tomorrow shall be better, is our hope. What makes us hope? There is something tempting, but this remains only an unfilled hope. See the mystery of life. How juggling and how beautiful it is! It keeps us hoping till the last breath; we hope and yet till the last breath we are given nothing. The hope never dies; even after the death of the body, the hope continues.
Satya and asatya, truth and untruth, are both mixed up in the objects of the world. The world is samasara and moksha, both. From one point of view it is moksha, from another it is samsara. It is the moksha aspect of it that tempts us, makes us hope. It is the samsara aspect of it that defeats us, makes us weep, propels us from birth to death. This is viveka. And when this viveka dawns, there is vairagya towards the untrue elements, and aspiration for the true element alone.
That which is true in the world should be our only concern, and that which is said to be untrue should be abandoned. When we seek Truth and abandon untruth, we are in a state of viveka and vairagya. Spiritual aspirants are those who long for Truth and not for untruth, but spiritual aspirants, being human beings yet, cannot be wholly free from the chances of falling back into the old notion that the objects of the world can bring satisfaction. Again and again we are likely to revert into the old way of thinking. Though the viveka may direct us to the Truth, the senses dump the mind back to the untrue aspects of things, and they want pleasure through the objects. Truth, being universal, can never become an object of consciousness. Hence, it is futile on the part of the senses to seek Truth in objects. The way to the realisation of Truth is another way altogether.
Anyatsreya anyatu preya (Katha Up.): The path of blessedness is one; the path of bondage is another. The path of bondage is what we are usually pursuing: the path of pleasure and contact with objects. The Bhagavadgita warns us that all pleasures born of contact of senses with objects are wombs of pain. They are misery only. Do not run after the pleasures which involve contact of senses with objects. But, what are these pleasures? They are these contacts. All our pleasures are born of contacts. And the Lord speaks the Eternal Truth in the Bhagavadgita when He says they shall be only miseries for us, one day or the other.
Yāvataḥ kurute jantuḥ (Vishnu Purana 78), says a famous verse in the Vishnu Purana. As many are the pleasure centres of your mind in the world, so many are the thorns that are pricking your heart. Remember this; it is as though an arrow has been run into your heart when you make pleasurable contact of any object. Hṛdaye shoka shankavaḥ: Arrows of agony shall put you to suffering if your heart goes for any object of sense because the objects of sense, while they are temping and promising, cannot provide what they seek because they seek the Universal which is True Freedom, and which cannot become an object.
Viveka tells us that the Universal Truth, not being an object, cannot be contacted through the senses; therefore, all sense contact is contrary to spiritual life. The spiritual seeker abstains from sense contacts as much as possible because all sense contacts are titillating to the nerves. They pamper the ego, stimulate the senses and then make the mind revert to the old way of thinking—that there is pleasure in the objects of sense. Hence it is that the spiritual seeker is asked to live in seclusion, at least for some time in the beginning, and not in the midst of sense objects, so that he may have ample opportunities to free himself from the clutches of sense perception. In order that he may have opportunities to strengthen the mind to think independently rather than through the senses, the spiritual seeker has to learn the art of independent thinking—thinking through the pure reason alone, unadulterated by sense perception.
We should never listen to the voice of the senses or the ego, which shall speak a different voice altogether to bind the mind. Viveka and vairagya are the prerequisites of true living. True understanding of the state of things should reveal to any thinking mind that while there is an element of Reality in the world, God is immanent in all things, yet He cannot be sought through the act of perception. God is not a sense object and, therefore, we cannot see Him through the eyes. This is why in the Eleventh Chapter of the Bhagavadgita, when the Visvarupa is shown, the Lord speaks to Arjuna: “You cannot see Me with these eyes. I shall provide you with a new vision to see this wondrous form of Mine!” because this is the Universal Absolute Form, not a physical object like a mango or a cow.
“Arjuna, you cannot see the Supreme form with these fleshy eyes. I am not an object. You can see Me only with intuition, which is the integral vision, not externalised partial expression of perception,” said Lord Krishna. The Universal can become an object only of the Universal consciousness. It can become a content only of the consciousness that has achieved the state of Universality. Universal consciousness is intuition, and its content is God. This is Virat-rupa or Visva-rupa, or whatever we may call It. And towards this end it is that the viveka of ours should direct us. But the aviveka would drag us into the preyas path again and again, whispering into our ears the poisonous words, “Here is pleasure.” How difficult it is to tread the spiritual path! We may think over it and see how hard a life it is. The sixth chapter of “The Light of Asia”, which is a book written by Edwin Arnold on the life of Buddha, describes beautifully in exquisite poetry ‘the tussle of Buddha’s mind in meditation’—how he was tempted, and what difficulties presented themselves in contemplation. The realities of the world persist again and again and hammer upon our mind, “We are here, don’t leave us.” The more we run away from them, the more they will pursue us. Sometimes they try to overtake us, catch us and bring us back, and we may yield. Even Buddha was tempted, but he had a very powerful mind. He was made of a better stuff, and he knew what it was. All the things which he had abandoned appeared in front of him physically, concretely, visibly.
All this will happen to every one of us, because the mind which has its lower as well as its higher aspects is one complete, compact mass. We cannot take only half of the mind and leave the other half. Together with the instinctive mind, the rational mind also speaks. Simultaneously they speak, but it is up to us to choose only that which is good and reasonable, rather than that which is pleasing and tempting. The path of sreyas and the path of preyas—the path of the good and the path of the pleasant, are the two paths that we have in the world. We may tread any path we like. Do we want the pleasant, or do we want the good? We ask mostly for the pleasant. The good may be painful; it is a bitter medicine, but the good is to be sought.
Only the discriminating, only the dheera, as the Upanishad calls him, chooses the good rather than the pleasant. Kaś cid dhīraḥ pratyag-ātmānam aikṣad āvṛtta-cakṣur amṛtatvam icchan (Kath 2.1.1): A very rare hero alone will shun these temptations of preyas or pleasure and seek the blessedness of the good, the Supreme Good, which is the reason behind even the temptations of the world, and which summons us when we run after the things of the world. But we run after them in the wrong manner. Instead of running to the Universal, we run to the external. This is the mistake that we commit. The distinction between the Universal and the external is the distinction between viveka and aviveka.