Inner Education

Bibekanand Kumar ‘Agyat’

“The darkness of life can’t be dispelled without inner education and self-knowledge.”

Simply put, inner education means knowing “Who am I?” It may sound ridiculous, simple, perplexing, nonsensical, or crazy to many, but it is pensive for those who are truly sensitive to their lives. It simply depends upon the receiver’s mind and awareness level. In other words, inner education also refers to “Self-Knowledge,” the knowledge through which we can understand ourselves by looking or seeking inside ourselves. To see and seek, we have a unique gift: consciousness. This gift of self-awareness has been bestowed only upon human beings in all of nature. It is consciousness that separates human beings from the rest of the existing species, and self-knowledge enhances this consciousness. The more one observes and knows oneself, the more conscious one becomes, and the more conscious one becomes, the finer human being one becomes.

What does it mean to ask “Who am I?” It basically means “know the doer in you.” It may seem that you yourself are the doer, but when you observe yourself profoundly and minutely, you’ll find that things are happening by themselves. Here, you can see things vividly if you remain unattached. You can see how thoughts are moving, how emotions are emerging. In the whole, you can observe how the body is functioning like a machine every moment. To know and understand these things, you must be very true and honest; you must observe each action as a witness, being unbiased and unprejudiced by any predetermined or conceptualized thoughts. This should be a pure and pious observation, like that of an innocent child who is free from any kind of doctrines and dogmas—an observation without the mix of any thought. “I call it pure self-observation.” The observer should watch each and every action: how he speaks; how he walks; how he eats; how he behaves; how he reacts; what he thinks and the sources of those thoughts; how he feels when he tells lies or speaks the truth, cheats or betrays, helps or plays tricks; how he feels when he is praised, humiliated, hurt, sympathized with, supported, deceived, awarded, or discarded; how he feels when he is lonely or in company, at parties or ceremonies; how he feels when he is busy with his phone or in the absence of it; how he feels when he sees friends and foes, or any men and women, passing by; how he feels when he witnesses different incidents around him, like the killing of animals, the poor on the street, garbage thrown here and there, tyranny and injustice being done before his eyes; how anger, happiness, sorrow, hatred, and other emotions arise, and even observing what he feels about his feelings while watching all these actions, feelings, and emotions.

The pure, clean, and unclouded observation of all these thoughts and actions is the only source to know about oneself. They must be witnessed like the sky, with an unattached eye. This process is immensely significant in the journey of understanding inner reality, and learning these things can be called inner education because the observer learns a lot through his own observation and experience.

But it’s not as easy as one may think. It’s a really tough task. It requires an honest, daring, brave, energetic, patient, concentrated, untiring, and attentive mind. A still mind does the work of observation very subtly and accurately. There are mainly two types of observation: solid observation and subtle observation. The former is a little easier to do, but the latter is factually very challenging. Observing all these things while being completely detached from them is itself a difficult task. But if it’s done with an honest mindset, it can be successfully accomplished.

To gain a better understanding of self-observation, one needs to turn to truly wise books or to individuals who have known themselves. Recently, I can recommend texts such as Krishna’s Bhagavad Gita, Buddha’s Dhammapada, or authors like Acharya Prashant, Mahavira, J. Krishnamurti, Osho, Kabir Saheb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rumi, Bertrand Russell, and George Gurdjieff. They, I believe, can help one find their own way to self-discovery, but the journey must be undertaken individually because there is no ready-made path to observe oneself. It’s a very private matter. If anyone can do it, they are the observer themselves, otherwise, no one else can do it for them. Reading purifies the eyes to observe things, and reading itself becomes a kind of amazing eye. “The path can be shown by others, but the seeker himself has to walk it.” It’s an inner journey, and no one knows it better than oneself if one is true and sincere.

When observation happens, uncountable pages of the book open and disclose the secrets of the observer. In the act of observation, the observer is observed, and everything is seen like a flowing river, where the observer seems to be watching while resting on the riverbank. This reveals the actual doer and the secret behind how any action happens. It also discloses how, without self-knowledge, we act blindly, trapped by chemical or atomic reactions—the very quality of nature.

Until we are innerly educated, every thought and action comes from a blind source, injected and implanted in us culturally, ritually, traditionally, historically, genetically, socially, emotionally, or in other ways. In such cases, what we do certainly becomes wrong or harmful to others. Thus, self-knowledge, the art of knowing “Who I am,” is quite necessary for every human being. Without it, there can’t be light on people’s acts of greed, lust, and all virtue-less actions, and unconscious living continues, leading to wars, conflicts, corruption, casteism, and more, degrading human consciousness. This degradation can result in overpopulation, fragmentation in the name of religion, caste, and creed, uncontrolled production harming the natural balance, high consumption, and an animistic life that leads to climate change on Earth, potentially causing the extinction of millions of species, including perhaps, humans themselves. So, inner education is a must. It is the only panacea that can heal human beings, enabling them to live healthily in integrity, fraternity, love, and compassion for their own species as well as for all species on Earth, considering them their own and acknowledging their rights to live on Earth together.