Swamiji: My concept of moksha is freedom from the sense of limitation and the sense of dependence for your security and happiness. It is not my concept. It is the concept of Vedanta.
Question: Does it means freedom from materialism?
Swamiji: Freedom from the sense of inadequacy.
Question: Inadequacy can be spelt out. My inadequacy may be that I do not have a certain social position. Some people say they do not have enough money. One may say one needs this much and I may say I need a little more.
Swamiji: It is the same. You are talking of your concept of adequacy. You are accepting inadequacy anyway. You may think that by having some more money, you will be adequate. Another man may think that with some power he will be adequate. Yet another may go for name. One may work more for scholarship, position, or whatever. But it is clear that everyone has a sense of inadequacy.
Question: Does the problem of inadequacy require metaphysics ... soul... meditation?
Swamiji: We can accept this much: there is a self-consciousness and therefore a self-judgement. The universal judgement is, “I am inadequate.” When I find myself inadequate, I cannot stand it and therefore there is a natural urge for becoming adequate. According to your concept of adequacy, a given thing may make you adequate and that varies from person to person. Logically it is impossible for you to be adequate because inadequacy plus something is still inadequate only. When you evaluate a gain, taking into account the loss involved, it turns out to be not a great gain, because in every gain there is a loss. Every gain is accompanied by a loss. You get something only when you invest something and thus you will discover that in the relative world any gain involves a certain loss. Naturally therefore the inadequacy continues to be and that is the experience of everyone.
The question that arises now is whether the urge to be adequate is natural or not. It is a natural urge; one cannot stop it also because one cannot ‘become’ adequate. I cannot stop working against inadequacy and therefore I have to find a solution. If the solution is not empirically available, necessarily then I will have to ask the question, “Am I really inadequate?” Is inadequacy merely a standpoint?
Suppose inadequacy itself is a judgement based on a standpoint and I may be taking it to be absolute. Suppose the standpoint makes me inadequate, I look at myself as inadequate, then only it is my problem; if something else is inadequate, then it is not really my problem, it is not a problem centered on ‘I’. Therefore, if there is an inadequacy centered on ‘I’, I am inadequate. Therefore I should discover myself to be adequate.
There is no way of myself discovering adequacy by myself though wealth, power or anything because anything I gain is going to be inadequate and therefore ‘I’ plus something will still be inadequate. Inadequate plus inadequate is inadequate. Finite plus finite is finite only. So through inadequacy there is no possibility of gaining adequacy for myself. My urge is natural and I cannot remain being inadequate; the sense of inadequacy is something I cannot live with happily. And therefore I should discover that perhaps I need not ‘become’ adequate. Becoming adequate is meaningless. Perhaps I ‘am’ adequate. I have to say only ‘perhaps’. Perhaps I am adequate.
Therefore the whole enquiry falls on your own lap. Now you will ask the question, ‘who am I?’ Then it becomes metaphysics.
Question: Is it not that the social structure is such that every individual feels inadequate?
Swamiji: It is an individual problem that I feel inadequate. After all when you say you are inadequate or the society is putting an inadequacy on you, it is just inadequacy. I am saying that even if there is no society, the sense of inadequacy will still remain.
I would like to know how do you look at yourself, what is the self. Suppose you say you are the physical body, definitely you are inadequate. If you say you are the mind, definitely you are inadequate. If you say, “I am knowledge that I have gathered”, definitely you are inadequate, because knowledge never comes to be adequate. Therefore in any way you look at yourself, there is going to be inadequacy. This is the basic judgement. First you judge yourself and then you look at yourself through society. You look at the other fellow and if he is recognized as more beautiful, you develop a complex. Then if some other fellow is more successful, you have another complex.
Question: Are you trying to say there is ignorance of oneself?
Swamiji : Yes. I am born with ignorance and the ignorance is two-fold. One is ignorance of myself and the other is ignorance of everything else. I have such means of knowledge as perception, inference etc to know things other than myself. But then the self-ignorance continues. You do not require self-knowledge to operate the other means of knowledge. You can be a successful scientist without self-knowledge. In this regard, there is no distinction between human beings and animals!
Om Tat Sat