Swadhyaya: Self Study - Believe only what you experience, have an attitude of a scientist.
Swadhyaya is the fifth aspect of the Five Fold Path of living.
If someone tells you to believe in a thing because the majority of people believe in it, say no. Majority of the people believed that the sun moved round the earth. Galileo said otherwise and he was right. If somebody asks you to believe in a thing because various religious scriptures mention it, say no. The scriptures may have been interpolated, the translations might have gone wrong, and thirdly the people who interpret them may be talking without experiencing the truth in them. Believe only what you experience. Say to yourself, "This is my experience of the Divinity. If some great prophet says similar things he must have had similar experience." This is the attitude of a scientist. This is Swadhyaya.
You like a sweet pie. You eat it and feel happy. If you have three more helpings you will cease to feel happy about it and you may even be repelled. You feel like watching TV. or playing pocket billiards. You do it and feel happy. If you do it for a few hours you would feel like going away from it. What you termed happiness a few minutes ago becomes a source of disturbance now. Find out whether happiness lies in the tongue when you eat the sweet pie. Does it lie somewhere else beyond the tongue? The search for this is Swadhyaya.
You do not ask for misery and yet misery is a constant companion in life. You wish to be happy. However, you experience a gram of happiness followed by a ton of unhappiness. Whether you like it or not there will be sunrise at fixed intervals. The cosmic objects will rotate irrespective of your opinion. You are unable to influence their movements. This shows that there is some other WILL which keeps the universe going and it is higher than your own will. Can you attune yourself to that WILL? Search for this is Swadhyaya.
You try to find happiness through various objects. You see a beautiful dog and feel like patting him on the back. Then the dog bites you and you become miserable. You try to make use of things and persons as means for your happiness, but most of the time misery is your lot. This is everyday experience. Will the search for happiness through outside objects ever land us in bliss? Pondering over this is Swadhyaya.
You see some nice flowers, pick them, and keep them in a flower pot in your room. Then they fade. What gave you pleasure a few minutes ago fades out and you cannot keep it any longer. You have to throw it away. Is there anything which will always make you happy? Yes. It is the Light that shines within you and it is not dependent on anything outside. Search for this Light is the Divinity. This is Swadhyaya.
What is Karma (good action)? What is Akarma (bad action)? What is Vikarma (the specific allotted task of a person)? To know this is Swadhyaya.
To stick any formal religious label on yourself is not the goal of life. To become the devotee or disciple of any particular Guru is not the goal of life. Unfoldment of the Kingdom of Light within you is the goal of life. That Light is eternal Truth and "Truth shall make you free." This is the Divinity. This is Swadhyaya.
Eye is the organ of sight, ear the organ of hearing, and so on. The constitution of man is taken to be body, mind and intellect. Is there anything beyond this or pervading this? The physical sense organs bring their temptations. The psychic sight brings the occult temptations. Is there anything beyond this? This is Swadhyaya.
Every religionist claims that his window alone throws light on the Divinity. Religion as it is seen today and Divinity are two different things. Sometimes they conflict. Those who talk about proselytizing and conflict have not seen the depth of water through their window. The Fivefold Path will enable them to see the depth through their own window. The depth is Eternal Religion. When they get a glimpse of the depth view there is no conflict. It is TOTAL LOVE. True religion is the science of all sciences. Science is knowledge. "Knowing which nothing remains to be known" is true knowledge. "As in microcosm so in macrocosm." THAT "whose center is everywhere and
circumference nowhere" is Swadhyaya.
Sorrow and misery are concomitant to all life. Everyone feels the urge to get rid of that state of mind and enter into a state of bliss. When the urge is consolidated it is second birth in the physical body. This is the beginning of the pilgrimage on the Divinity, Path of Light. Complete cessation of misery while living in this world then becomes the ideal of life. This leads us to the examination of the attitudes of the mind. Then begins the mind training program, the program of "renewing" the mind and becoming transformed. The program offered in this book is the Fivefold Path. It is the essence
of all Divine teachings that have been offered to humankind. The Fivefold Path is the oldest program for transformation by the renewal of the mind. It comes from the Vedas which literally means knowledge. The Fivefold Path is not a religion as Divinity is not a religion. To study the various "mind renewal" programs offered by prophets and scientists is Swadhyaya.
Is man merely a puppet in the hands of destiny? What is destiny? What is free will? How to develop the capacity to execute this free will to choose between good and bad Karma? The law of cause and effect in the physical realm when transposed to super physical realm becomes the law of Karma, the law of reap as you SOW. Intense Karma, good or bad, fructifies within a short time. Repentance is intense good Karma. Do Karma without attachment to the fruit thereof. Manifestation of Grace is also an aspect of the law of Karma. There is no such thing as fatalism. It is only Karma Yoga, that is Yoga of Action. You make your own destiny. It is not given unto you what to see. However, it is given unto you how to see. This is Swadhyaya.
What is knowledge? What is wisdom? Wisdom shows the relationship between various facts gathered by the intellect. Without this relationship the facts may not be of much use in the journey towards the Divinity. Purity of mind ushers in wisdom. Agnihotra reduces your effort in this task as a "push" is given to subtler matter called mind. To know and experience it is Swadhyaya. Swadhyaya clarifies our perception of the universe. Better perception leads to better evaluation of the sensory data that goes in the computer of the brain. This culminates into right action. To understand this is Swadhyaya.
We have a desire. It becomes manifest as an attitude. By brooding over it, it gets stronger and becomes a propensity. A signal goes to the intellect to find out means for the gratification of the desire. Intellect searches for the means, wise or otherwise. This leads to action and momentary happiness. A person attributes this happiness to gratification of the desire and not the eradication of the desire. The desire is eradicated and puts no more burden on the mind. To know how the un-manifest desire culminates into visible action, to learn about the points where it could be
checked is Swadhyaya. If you are unable to check it, at least learn to observe the mind when you follow the flow of desire and smile at yourself. This is also Swadhyaya.
"Keep the lamp of knowledge on the threshold of the tongue." Take care what goes in, that is food. Take care what goes out, that is speech. How does the food affect the mind? What are the factors involved? The journey of the seed that a farmer plants in his field ends up in your stomach. Being a living seed it is affected by the atmosphere and the thought patterns impinged on the atmosphere. This affects its qualitative value. Food builds up your body and the mind. Interplay of subtle energies becomes a part of it.
Similarly, every time you utter a word you have to breathe out through the mouth. Breathing out through the mouth exacts a heavy toll of mind energy. Hence, speech is called a sacred gift. Sometimes we hear it said, "Speech is silver, silence is golden." Anything that you utter affects the atmosphere. The intensity and potency of the utterance decide the cumulative effect. To know this is Swadhyaya.
You may live for a while without food but not without the air you breathe. The atmosphere is polluted in all ways. Noise pollution, factory pollution, water pollution, nuclear radiation, pollution due to thought patterns impinged on the atmosphere as a result of hatred, greed, scheming for destruction, all these affect the atmosphere. Purify the atmosphere to purify the mind. Purified mind creates its own blissful thought patterns. This is the science of Agnihotra, the smallest form of Yajnya that is purification of the atmosphere through the agency of fire leading to purification of
mind. We are trapped in the jaws of atmospheric pollution leading to more psychiatry, mental syndromes and the like. All this takes us away from LOVE.
The Divinity basically states, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Love is the be-all and end-all of our effort. On the Path of Light that is the Fivefold Path given through the Vedas, LOVE is the passport. Study of the science of Yagnya, its effect on Prana, its effect on the mind, on pathogenic bacteria, on the absorption of sun's rays by the water resources, the resultant nutrition to plant life due to the creation of some new substance in the atmosphere, all this forms part of Swadhyaya.
Happiness will elude you until the capering frolic of the mind is reduced. This leads to concentration, contemplation and meditation. Practice of meditation purifies the mind. Your will becomes a fitter instrument of the Omniscient higher Will. This is unfoldment of the Light within you. To practice this is Swadhyaya.