Every moment he finds himself in a fix. He ceaselessly dies to himself in time, and seems to recover new sense just then and there. His whole life is a flux of states—now destroyed, now renewed.
He has no idea of anything besides himself, anything that is vaster and truer. He is imprisoned within his fragile body, within his whimsical mind, within his childish intellect, within his conceited individuality.
A shower of superphysical knowledge upon him seems to be music played before the deaf. He thinks too highly about himself and, with canine avidity, licks the pricking bone even with his torn tongue.
The Upanishads are not unaware of the futile attempts of man to grasp the Limitless Being, and they warn him that it is not to be comprehended through logic, but to be heard from the wise one (Katha Up., II. 8, 9).
Reason is meant to strengthen belief in what is heard from reliable sources, and not to walk unaided. It is an empty pride to think that one can depend totally on oneself and reach the Eternal. Reason and faith should go hand in hand if the desired fruit is to be reaped.
That which is agreeable at present does not remain so the next moment, nor does the disagreeable appear so forever. The immutable Reality is unperceived and unfelt, and the apparition seems to give us life, light and joy.
The sole purpose of the Upanishad teaching is to disentangle man from the chain of samsara, to show him the way to the Glorious Light that shines within himself. Man is not a sinful mortal creature in truth; the Upanishad calls him “son of the Immortal”— amritasya putra (Svet. Up., II. 5).
But he can know himself only through sacrificing himself. The highest sacrifice is the offering of the self to the Absolute.
The greatest yoga is the sinking of the self into unity with the Absolute, by denying the separate, and asserting the One.
To be continued ...