This capacity of self–awareness and the capacity of withdrawing from itself is made use of by the Agni in us, by our inner soul. It is Agni which is evolving gradually and leading the whole movement from inconscient upwards. When there was complete darkness, then Agni was injected into the darkness and from that time onwards, Agni has been growing upwards; first matter was brought out, then life was brought out and then mind was brought out. When mind is brought out, Agni becomes much more capable of handling the material because mind is a greater helper than the body or life. At this level error becomes possible. Whenever mind moves upwards, it moves upwards in search of knowledge. It has this power of seeking knowledge apart from its self–consciousness and self–withdrawal. When it seeks knowledge, it has a special kind of movement, which is called groping. The mind gropes towards knowledge. It does not know its goal. It does not know the method of reaching the goal but somehow there is a feeling that there is something to be pursued and it pursues it by the method of groping. If the mind knew exactly what it was looking for, if the mind knew the right method of looking, then there would be no mistakes. In committing mistakes there is a further movement by which it becomes complicated and that is insistence on the error. There is a tendency in the mind to justify the error, to stick to the error, to insist on it and to claim that it is the right thing. It is this insistence which causes falsehood.
The distinction between error and falsehood is that whereas error is the pathfinder or truth finder, falsehood is insistence on the error itself and insistence that it is the truth. When the tendency arises to insist upon the error, to justify it, then falsehood and sin – evil, devious methods of working – crooked methods, which the Veda calls duritani arise. Duritani means crooked methods as opposed to rijutani which is straight methods. All crookedness arises out of this insistence on error. The question is whether we can come out of this tangle of insistence on error resulting in falsehood and evil and if so, how.
The entire human life is located at this point. Animal life is located at the level of impulses, instincts; it is only concerned with the body and desires. It has no mind or a very rudimentary mind. Therefore, animals do not have this problem. They do not insist upon errors; therefore, you cannot say that a tiger commits an error when it attacks its victim. It does so out of its own nature.
O god Agni, knowing all things that are manifested, lead us by the good path to the felicity; remove from us the devious attraction of sin. To thee the most complete speech of submission we would dispose. −18
The element of falsehood, sin, evil etc. is not present at the lower levels of consciousness. They are precisely at the level of the human being because of the powers of the mind. The human being is a knot and this knot consists of several tendencies – one is the tendency to grope for knowledge; another is to become self–conscious; the third is to be able to withdraw from the movement; the fourth is to insist upon the confinement to error; as a result the mind goes on moving in a circle of these tendencies. This stage is called the stage of ignorance in Vedantic terminology. The level of the mind where there is the groping consciousness, committing error, insisting upon error and attraction to remain within the error – juhurānam enah –– is the sin and juhurānam – is the attraction. There is an attraction to remain confined within that area.
Why is there this tendency to remain confined? This is because of the tendency of exclusive concentration of consciousness. There are various kinds of concentration – there is integral concentration of consciousness, multiple concentration of consciousness and exclusive concentration of consciousness