A well decorated delicious cake may tempt your tastebuds, but if you are told, “No, stop, don’t eat that, there is poison in it”, will you still think “let me taste and see?” Even if you doubt the statement, you will not taste the cake, as the knowledge has taken hold. You ‘know’ and have ‘internalised ‘the knowledge. Once assimilated in your understanding, you cannot do otherwise.
Then you don’t say “I have intellectually understood that this is poisonous, but can you teach me some easy way to abstain from eating it.” Nor do you say “I have understood, but it is very difficult to put this into practise.” If you still say this, then you have just not understood, the knowledge is not clear.
There was a mad person in a small town, who played with street children. Once he told them to gather at dusk near a rich landlord’s house as there would be a celebration with fireworks and sweets for all. On reaching there the children found no such thing. They felt cheated but surprisingly found the madman also standing there expectantly! “Didn’t you not know that there would be no celebration here?” they asked. “Of course, I knew. But I just thought that supposing there is one, then why should I miss it?” Swami Ram explained, that like that madman we also ‘know’ that there is no joy in objects, but keep running after them thinking, may be this time I might get some joy from them”. If knowledge is truly assimilated, its practical assimilation is automatic.
Logically our intellect confirms what we hear as true. Inference and past experience authenticate the same. Why then do we continue to salivate for some dog- morsel of joy from objects? Residual vasanas, (desires and tendencies) from the past, still enslave us.
Prarthna Saran, President Delhi Chinmaya Mission.