Success and Well-Being in the World Are Attained by the Seeker Who Purifies His Inner Being

Sri Aurobindo translates Mundaka Upanishad, Chapter 3, Section 1, Verse 10:  “Whatever world the man whose inner being is purified sheds the light of his mind upon, and whatsoever desires he cherishes, that world he takes by conquest, and those desires.  Then, let whosoever seeks for success and well-being approach with homage a self-knower.”

The Mundaka Upanishad provides a prescription for success in the world of one’s choosing and focus based on achieving the foundation of the glad, serene state that provides the seeker with the needed receptivity to become aware of his oneness with the Self of creation.  Since it is the Supreme Self that manifests all this world, the identification of the individual with that Supreme Self also aligns the focus and actions of that individual and makes them successful as expressions of the Will of the Supreme.

Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, after providing the necessary steps and practices to achieve the state of Samadhi, next provides a similar recitation of the powers that come to the seeker who practices concentration along the lines prescribed.  It seems that as  the seeker realises the Self, he gains substantial powers of action in the world as well.  This is not, essentially, an achievement of the individual separate being, but an expression of the greater divine Will in the manifestation.

What becomes obvious is that action taken to quell the surges of desire and ambition, to focus the mind, to calm the emotions and to see things from a wider viewpoint has overarching benefits for both the spiritual and the material aspects of life.  This is not intended necessarily to suggest that the spiritual focus, which is the primary intention of the Mundaka Upanishad, should be treated as a means to a material end; rather, it points more towards an integration that recognizes the primary need and reality of the spiritual realisation, while at the same time recognising that the world and its life also need to be attended to, but from a new standpoint of understanding and action brought about by that very spiritual realisation.  This new standpoint makes the individual, not a separate actor, but an expression of the deeper truth of existence.  The goal is no longer individual fulfillment of desire or ambition, but the expression of the truth of the manifestation through the individual form and being.  The desires of the seeker are now in alignment with the divine purpose.

The Mundaka Upanishad is a dialogue that takes place between a realised sage and a successful man of the world, a renowned “householder”.  The householder, now aligned to the larger significance of his existence, can carry out his dharma, his destined action, and achieve the results intended by the Divine.  The desires, in this case, are the goals set in front of the seeker as the divine Will, not the petty daily desires of a separate individual struggling to get something at the expense of anyone else.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Mundaka Upanishad, pp. 193-210

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