Unsafe Rafts

Some thoughts on piety and sin

“The rituals and the sacrifices described
In the Vedas deal with lower knowledge.
The sages ignored these rituals
And went in search of higher knowledge. …

Such rituals are unsafe rafts for crossing
The sea of samsara, of birth and death.
Doomed to shipwreck are those who try to cross
The sea of samsara on these poor rafts.
Ignorant of their own ignorance, yet wise
In their own esteem, these deluded men
Proud of their vain learning go round and round
Like the blind led by the blind.”

-Mundaka Upanishad

“The fool practices concentration
And control of the mind.

But the master is like a man asleep.
He rests in himself
And finds nothing more to do.”

-Ashtavakra Gita 18:33

Seems like the path of piety is the most dangerous path of all. Better to be a sinner and know it than to believe that one’s own religious and ritual spiritual observances somehow cleanse one’s inner state. It is one thing to be ignorant and blind, but to be ignorant and blind to one’s own ignorance and blindness seems most perilous indeed.

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