I’ve said on other occasions that three divine qualities have special importance on our spiritual journey: discrimination, detachment and devotion. The basic spiritual movement can be described as discriminating between the Real and the unreal, detaching from the unreal and devoting ourselves to the Real.
It isn’t that we detach ourselves from all things. We don’t detach ourselves from God or the divine qualities. God is the one thing we can attach ourselves to that, far from harming us, delivers us from the lower dimensions and carries us through the totality of the journey, as Sri Krishna reminds us:
I’d like to briefly look at discrimination.
The Divine Mother recently called it “clarity.” She said:
“When there is clarity [Discrimination], there is love….
“With clarity comes the knowing of peace, the elimination of chaos and confusion and turmoil, because there is the realization not only that it is an illusion but that it is a choice. And it is a choice that none of you, truly, wish to make. It is so simple and so straightforward.” (2)
Is discrimination important because it tells us when we face fraud or danger? Well, yes, but that isn’t its most important use.
Its most important use is that it allows us to fulfill the purpose of life, which is to know ourselves as God. We help ourselves on that journey by developing the ability to discriminate between the Real and the unreal. Shankara explains the work it does: “Brahman is real; the universe is unreal. A firm conviction that this is so is called discrimination between the eternal and non-eternal.” (3)
Sri Ramakrishna agrees that this is the meaning and usefulness of discrimination: “Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal.” (4) And developing this discrimination is the reason why we incarnate, Sri Krishna reminds us: “Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.” (5)
Extreme subtlety of intellect (buddhi) is needed to realize God. Zarathustra explains that “by an undecayed mind, a fervent intellect, and decisive wisdom it is possible to understand (and realize) the Holy One.” (6)
There is no work done here that is greater than realizing the Holy One: “To reach [Brahman or God] is said to be the greatest of all achievements,” Sri Krishna tells us. (7) And lacking discrimination, we cannot reach that goal, the Upanishads tell us:
“He who lacks discrimination, whose mind is unsteady and whose heart is impure, never reaches the goal, but is born again and again. But he who has discrimination, whose mind is steady and whose heart is pure, reaches the goal, and having reached it is born no more.” (8)
Discerning the Real from the unreal takes us into waters that cannot be fathomed by ordinary means of knowledge like our senses and minds. Sri Krishna hints at the imponderable nature of the divine mystery.
“This entire universe is pervaded by me, in that eternal form of mine which is not manifest to the senses. Although I am not within any creature, all creatures exist within me. I do not mean that they exist within me physically. That is my divine mystery. You must try to understand its nature. My Being sustains all creatures and brings them to birth, but has no physical contact with them.” (9)
We who are born into a physical world use physical senses and physical metaphors to understand what cannot be understood in that way. The Buddha cautions us that “Highest Reality … is not a state of word-discrimination and it cannot be entered into by mere statements concerning it.” (10) The mind cannot penetrate that mystery. It is supra-physical and supra-sensory; knowing it requires us to ascend into unknowing.
To solve this mystery, know God, and know ourselves in the process takes a purified mind, a fervent intellect and decisive wisdom. Developing these capacities is what nurturing discrimination leads to, which is why the development of discrimination can be said to be what physical incarnation is all about.
(2) “The Divine Mother and Archangel Michael: Work with and Expand This Energy of Clarity,” Oct. 15, 2013, at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2013/10/the-divine-mother-and-archangel-michael-work-with-and-expand-this-energy-of-clarity/.
(3) Shankara in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher lsherwood, Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1975; c1947, 35.
(4) Sri Krishna in BG, 42. See also “Developing Discrimination is the Reason for Physical Life” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/16244-2/developing-discrimination-is-the-reason-for-physical-life/.
(5) Zarathustra in Duncan Greenlees, trans. The Gospel of Zarathushtra. Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978, 170.
(6) Sri Krishna in BG, 77.
(7) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 179.
(8) Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 19.
(9) Sri Krishna in BG, 80.
(10) The Buddha in Dwight Goddard, A Buddhist Bible. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966; c1938, 287.