Verse 2: What kind of inquiry can address suffering?

dṛṣṭavat-ānu-śravikaḥ saḥ hi-aviśuddhi-kṣayā-atiśaya-yuktaḥ |
tat-viparītaḥ śreyān vyaktāḥ avyakta-jña-vijñānāt ||

vyakta – manifest
avyakta – unmanifest
jña – knower
vijñāna – special knowing

An inquiry that discerns between the Manifest, Unmanifest & Knower.

  1. Even the most established rituals (be they religion, science, myth …) are not sufficient. They are impure, temporary, and tend to excess.
    1. Impurity comes from unintended consequences. Sacrificing an animal in a ritual dedicated to purity requires an impure act of killing.
    2. Even something like “getting into heaven” is a temporary outcome because, according to karmic theory, the actions that “get me into heaven” ultimately “get me kicked out” and “back into life”.
    3. The things I accumulate in my efforts to ease suffering (relationships, objects, wealth, etc.) lead to attachment, fear, and eventually to loss. This attachment also leads to feelings of superiority towards some and inferiority towards others … to an experience of inequality … to a feeling of “this is not fair.”
  2. These efforts to “remove suffering” are therefore inherently limited.
  3. Which brings me to ask: what else can I do? The question becomes an inquiry.
  4. That inquiry leads to discernment between the manifest, unmanifest, and the knower.
    1. The manifest is that which is directly available to my senses and it is where this discerning inquiry begins.
    2. The inquiry into the manifest leads to asking: “where does this all come from?” which awakens an inquiry into causality.
    3. The inquiry into causality leads to the unmanifest as that which causes the manifest.
    4. The relationship of causality between the manifest and unmanifest can go in two directions: infinite regression or some kind of origin.
    5. Infinite regression assumes that causality can go on forever. For example, this table I am sitting at, is made of wood, the wood is made of fibers, the fibers are made of cells, the cells are made of …. and … well … does this go on forever?
    6. Or is there an origin, a beginning, a source? Is there a god? Was there a “big bang”?
    7. This inquiry ultimately leads me to recognize the place from which these questions arise: the Knower (which is neither manifest nor unmanifest – it neither causes nor is caused).