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How To Overcome Misunderstanding Or False Knowledge?

How to overcome misunderstanding or false knowledge? – excerpts from Vedanta Kesari editorial May 2018.

Error of perception is the very nature of life. We seem to be born conditioned to misperceive. As Sri Adi Sankaracharya points out, it is an innate human error to confuse the real and the non-real, to mistake one thing for another. The unreal appears to be real and the real appears unreal. We believe ‘something to be where there is nothing, and nothing to be where there is something.’ This confusion called Adhyasa, forces us to play the game of life almost blindfolded.

Consequently, our everyday lives are filled with misunderstandings. Misunderstanding are the easiest thing in this world. We misunderstand ourselves—our feelings and intentions, we misinterpret the words and acts of others, and we regularly misread life situations. These errors throw us into a loop of suspicion, criticism, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear and the like. And many of us even fail to recognise our errors as errors. What then is the way out? Can we come out of this automatic, instinctive misunderstanding that colours all our relationships?

At the root of this misunderstanding or false knowledge is what we call ignorance or Maya.

The important point to note is that the buddhi or intellect that we function with is conditioned by instincts, which are nothing but sense experiences repeated over a number of lives. This sense experience-instinct-buddhi cannot but misunderstand life.

Therefore, the task before us is to purify this buddhi by tapas or austerities, and simultaneously also cultivate in our heart love for the Divine Mother. This will enable us to perceive the world as it is – the Mother in a playful form. We will develop the capacity to understand and calmly bear with misunderstandings and criticisms that life regularly throws at us, and give in return forgiveness and love.