The cutting edge of discrimination
The word “cutting edge” refers literally to the sharp cutting side of the blade of a knife. Figuratively, it has come to refer to the leading position in any field. While entering into an object, the cutting edge leads the rest of the knife. Similarly, while entering into the future, those at the cutting edge of a field lead everyone else in it.
To practice devotional life, we need to cut through appearances and see the spiritual underlying the material. The intellectual sharpness that enables us to cutthrough the surface of illusion and access the substance of reality is viveka or discrimination. By this metaphysical intelligence, we can see philosophical truths that lie hidden for those who have only worldly intelligence. Their intelligence is like a knife without any cutting edge. Their inability to perceive below the surface makes them mistake the surface of reality – matter – to be the whole of reality.
Just as the knife follows its cutting edge, our consciousness follows the cutting edge of discrimination. If this cutting edge is blunt, then our spiritual life remains superficial. We need the cutting edge of discrimination especially to:
· Cut through the façade of enjoyment in material life and see the imminent misery
· Look beyond the initial austerity on the spiritual path and see the dormantjoy.
Whereas the cutting edge of technology comes by innovation, the cutting edge of discrimination comes by rejuvenation. To be discriminating, we need to refresh and reinforce what we already know from scriptures. Our daily mantra meditation, regular scriptural study and other periodic devotional practices are all meant to sharpen the cutting edge of discrimination.
The Bhagavad-gita (13.35) indicates that those with such discrimination attain life’s supreme success: eternal happiness in the spiritual realm.
“Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and the knower of the body, and can also understand the process of liberation from bondage in material nature, attain to the supreme goal.”