delicate and sharp path

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Jul 27 05:38:04 CDT 2000

Hari Om,

The question raised by Sri Subrahmanian has already been answered by Sri
Vidyashankar and Shri Jaldhar Vyaas. I would only like add some more
interpretation to it.

Delicate path : By delicate I meant "suukshma" or subtle path. The goal
is not perceivable  by the jnaanendriyaas or  sensory organs. "drishyatE
tu agryayaa budhdhyaa suukshmayaa suukshmadarshibhi.h " - katopanishad,
valli 3, which means it can be perceived only through a sharp intellect
and those who are on the look out for subtle things. We are all used to
identifying the gross worldly things thro our sensory organs like eyes,
ears etc which are always turned outwards. To turn them inwards to look
at that subtle cause responsible for their ability of perception is very
difficult. So an ordinary person is not ready to forego the sensory
pleasures inorder to realise this aatman. For him achieving the worldly
pleasures is the ultimate goal. This aatman-vaatman is very dull and
totally without glamour for him ! Though a mahaatma tells him that the
aatmaananda is thousands and million times greater than this happiness,
he is not ready to believe it.

Also "karmanaashabhayaat anta.h aatmajnaana agrahasthathaa "- Upadesha
saahasri, 5th prakarana, sh 1.
People do not try to gain the aatmajnaana as they are afraid of losing
their karnmaphalaa-s.
Those who believe in the superiority of the karmaas that are mentioned
in the shaastraas, they are scared that they may have to forego the
karmaphalaas lke swarga which they think are the highest purushaartha.
By gaining Mukti, they think they will be losing all those fruits for
which they have hitherto worked hard for ! They think that Mukti is one
which snatches them of all these phalaas. Hence they do not even turn in
this direction. They feel secure only if the fruits for their action are
well guarenteed. This sort of mentality is a weakling's mentality. He
can not tread this difficult path. " na ayam aatmaa balahiinEna labhya.h
"- this aatma is unattinable by a weakling. Only those courageous ones
who have very well realised the ephemeral nature of the worldly things
go in for such adventure. " kashchit dhiira.h pratyagaatmaanam aikshat
aavritta chakshu.h amritattwam ichchan " - kata, dwitiiya adhyaaya,
shloka 1. One who is courageous and who wishes to attain immortality,
will withdraw all his senses to look for this aatman which is present

Sharp path : The path is compared to a razor's edge. " khurasya dhaaraa
nishitaa duratyayaa durgam patha.h kavaya.h vadanti " - kata, valli 3,
shloka 14. It is not possible to walk on the razor's edge without
hurting your leg. A person who is drowned in the illusory world finds it
very painful to severe atachments that he has developed for his kith and
kin and all the material comforts that he has worked hard for and
earned. If someone says that all these are but illusion and they truly
are not there at all, he would be heart broken. For example, let us say
you possess some gold jewellery in your bank locker. The very
remembrance of it lying there in the locker gives you immense
satisfaction and a secure feeling. Tomorrow due to some exigencies you
want to pawn them and you take them to a jeweller who examines them and
declares them as fake !! Can a person with weak heart be able to with
stand this shock ?! No, he can not bear this truth. He would rather
forget what the jeweller has declared and continue to live in the
illusion that it is still gold. He can never reconcile to this new
revelation. Whereas, if the same truth was told to a  person who is
strong within, he is able to withstand this shock and he may even be
thankful to the jeweller who revealed to him the truth at least at this
stage  so that he can now try to forget that he ever possessed those
fake jewellery. He will very soon forget the incident and work hard to
earn the true gold so that it will come of use when he requires it.

I hope the above examples have made clear the meaning of the words
delicate and sharp path.

Latha Vidyaranya

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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