Selfless Service and the Principles of Psychoanalysis

Sri Swami Sivananda

Life: A Fundamental Neurosis - Liberation of Human Consciousness from the Trammels of all Limitations

Selfless service is essential. One should take to it. Why? In order to exhaust the potential sources of egoistic behaviour. According to the Bhagavad Gita, life is a fundamental neurosis. It is born of a desire to appropriate to oneself all that one can according to one's capacity or one's mental make-up. This appropriating tendency is the basis of all instincts and propensities. By working selflessly the push of life, lying potential, becomes exhausted. By renouncing fruit of action done, the force of appropriating tendencies is exhausted. When the limit is reached, even the will to live disappears. Interest in the objects of the senses wanes away completely. Consciousness is freed from the trammels of cognition, affection and cognation. Then it is that consciousness proves itself, and the knowledge of the Self dawns.

Birth of Psychoanalysis an Aid to the Understanding of Spiritual Truths

Until psychoanalysis was born, the thesis of the Gita could not rationally be supported. For this Lord Krishna says, 'Karmanyevadhikaraste...' and so on. Apart from the regular philosophical meaning of this Sloka there is another methodological meaning. It means you go on following the discipline or the method of Karma Yoga and other things in the Gita without trying to correlate this method with the fruits of Self-knowledge.

Do not put the question: How can knowledge of the "Thing-in-it Self" come by doing selfless service and mediation? The Lord says, 'You cannot know it at this stage. Your Adhikara lies only in the performance of action.' You can now say that it is on account of psychoanalytical reason that it so happens.

Now psychoanalysis is a subtle technical subject. It requires intellectual acumen, academic training and laboratory experience in order to understand psychoanalytical techniques and theories. Arjuna was not psychoanalyst. The battle was not the place for elaborating the principles of psychoanalysis. Hence Lord Krishna in a masterly way told Arjuna to act upon His words and not try to understand the why and how of his method in abstraction of Karma. It is from this point of view that a Guru is necessary. And it is from this point of view too that you have to go to the Guru with faith.

If, however, you become unduly curious or inquisitive, you will have to waste a lot of your precious time in the study of psychoanalysis. It is a subject for the specialist. If you want realization you follow what Guru says. But if you want to become a specialist of methodology you do not trouble Brahma-Vidya Gurus. You go to the psychoanalysts.

Pronouncements of Indian Sages on Principles of Psychoanalysis

So it is the glory of the Indian saints that they have gone beyond the mere principles of psychoanalysis and established a perfect method for the realization of the Self. The classical text book is the Bhagavad Gita. It prescribes selfless service to the extension to which you will have to go until the knowledge of the self becomes as clear to your inward and outward vision as it was to the ancient and modem Indian sages, or as the light within the electric bulb is to you. The Indian sages had made final pronouncements upon psychoanalysis. Beneath names and forms you will see that light in perfect transparency. Then you must get up early in the morning at 4 o'clock. The sages have found it to be the best time for meditation. Meditation is the process whereby you can successfully free your consciousness from the restricted movement within the limited sphere of cognition, cognation and affection. Once freed, it will range all over the plane of inner being which is above, or behind, the conscious level.

This plane is all-pervasive and immanent. You will become one with the universe, a Cosmic Individual. So let us lay the lessons of selfless service and meditation to our hearts!