Chapter Five: 18-19
|Sages look with an equal eye on a brahmana endowed
with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcaste.
Even here, birth is overcome by those whose minds rest in "sameness." Brahman is spotless indeed and "sameness." Therefore they are established in Brahman.
This doctrine of essential equality or "sameness" is difficult for the ignorance-conditioned intellect to grasp. It is not the dull and drab sameness of uniformity in which all skins will be treated to have the same color, all noses and faces will be standardized by plastic surgery, all men (and all beings) will eat the same food, wear the same clothes and will be treated in identical manner. The sage views all in the same light. He does not forget that they have different duties, places and needs - as cells in different parts of the one body of God. He recognizes that the dog and the cow are one in God, and this recognition takes the form in him of attitudes and actions as befit the different roles allotted to them. The application of this doctrine is not as simple as it sounds! For, it is the seeing of sameness that is vital, and any action that substitutes this seeing will lead us astray.
This "sameness" is the nature of God. God is faultless and spotless. We see that also in his nature, the five elements are all pure and purifying. The self is identical with God and thus free from sin. Sin is ignorance. In the dark, you see some animals moving in the backyard. You throw a stone and go to sleep satisfied that they have gone. They were but shadows! But the "stone-throwing" created an impression in your mind. In our lives such actions give rise to tendencies that lead to sin and rebirth. The enlightened soul does not get involved in delusion, sin, and therefore birth and death! Absorbed in "sameness" it realizes its eternal oneness with Brahman, the infinite.
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