The highest ideal of life is the realization of God

The highest ideal of life is the realization of God, the ultimate reality, in one’s own soul. Any other thing in the world is secondary and subsidiary. This is the only goal on the attainment of which all doubts cease forever and undisturbable peace within and without is acquired. The inner eyes which see the truth are opened, and man becomes Godlike, if not God Himself.

Unless this ideal is accepted, a study of Indian philosophy has little meaning. We accept it wholly and entirely: to us it is most reasonable and logical, and it is confirmed by the experience of Shri Dada Bhagavan, Swami Mangalnath, Swami  Rama Tirtha and others.

Man is not man unless he follows the path of virtue and righteousness called dharma and devotes himself selflessly to the good of others. This fact is confirmed by modern psychology. But dharma is not enough. What is essential is that man’s true perceiving faculty called prajna should be awakened, and that he should realize the identity of his local consciousness with the absolute consciousness called Truth, Awareness and Bliss.

How can this be achieved? The heart must be stilled and purified; peace must reign within and without; all narrowness of limitations, egoistic or national, based on a particular creed or religion, must be abandoned in favour of God, the universal spirit, the one and only reality pervading all, animating all and controlling all.

A man has to cogitate on the spirit of the truth he has listened to. All possible objections are raised and resolved in the light of reason. This is the ultimate stage of the process called living the truth through contemplation under all circumstances. This is nididhyasana.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti is a series of nididhyasanas. In a calm and quiet mind rooted in faith in God, the man with a strong will to virtue reads these verses one by one and realizes their meaning in his own spirit. He dwells on them single-mindedly and lets their sense permeate the whole of his mental life.

It is not a purely logical treatise. People often ask what to meditate on, what to contemplate. Here is a treatise by the greatest of our Acharyas, Shri Bhagavadpad Shankara. It is an invaluable gift of the holy master, and anybody who practises contemplation in the spirit of these verses will have peace within and goodwill towards all living beings and finally spiritual illumination, which will break the bonds of all limitations.

Vakyavritti by Shankara Acharya Verse 1


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