We have just discovered that who and what we are is enveloped by a veil of illusion that hides our Real Selves from ourselves. Now we are going to find our way out of this situation by becoming enlightened by knowledge.
When one is enlightened by the knowledge that expels ignorance, wisdom shines like the sun illuminating what is beyond.
We are affected by external influences until we become One with the Divine, or when we are in union (yoga) with That, even temporarily in meditation. Authentic meditation provides the opportunity to experience this oneness with God until it becomes permanent and we can say without reservation, “I and my Father One.”
“The knowledge that expels ignorance”
This knowledge refers to the learned wisdom-knowledge of the oral teachings of the sages. To obtain this knowledge, sincere and determined seekers first seek their guru, become devoted to their guru and serve their guru. Then, with sufficient time and progress, this relationship yields these teachings that expel this ignorance. (This verse is telling us that there are things we need to know that we will not come by on our own, and that can only be obtained in this manner.)
“Illuminating what is beyond”
Now we want to know what we are going to be able to see when the blinders come off. The word in Sanskrit for ‘beyond’ also means ‘on the other side of, subsequent, later, future, next’ and ‘the Highest, the Supreme Absolute’. I think we can combine all these and arrive at a proper conclusion: Once we have this wisdom-knowledge we will discover what is next, and by continuing from there, we will discover the bliss of the Supreme Absolute. The next verse explains this.
This wisdom having shaken off all evils, one who yields to That as their foundation and highest objective, goes not to return again.
‘That’ refers both to “what is beyond” the veil of ignorance, and to the wisdom-teachings of the sages who know the way (previous verse). If you yield to this wisdom-knowledge, you will get what is beyond: the Supreme Absolute. The way you do this is to yield to the Absolute: surrender to It.
“All evils having been shaken off”
In this verse, the word for ‘evil’ is different than in verse 15. In that verse it meant everything from harm and guilt, to sin and misfortune. Here, evil means things like ‘darkness’ and ‘impurity’, and ‘destroying virtuous action’. So the wisdom we are to come by is for the purpose of ridding ourselves of these obstacles.
- Darkness – Ignorance of the Truth of what really is, how things really are. (One cannot ‘see’ in the dark.)
- Impurity – Anything that isn’t where it belongs.
- Virtuous action – Placing all action on God, self-surrender to the Absolute.
“Evils having been shaken off”
The inauspicious becomes auspicious.
“Goes not to return again”
Having become enlightened by knowledge, the things that threatened to destroy our success are now gone, shaken off. Holding this knowledge as the foundation and highest objective of our practice, we will be liberated and rebirth will cease to be compulsory.
All evils having been shaken off by this knowledge, one who yields to it as their foundation and highest wisdom, is liberated from rebirth.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),