In the previous chapters we learnt that
Yajna is the process to repeat the actions such that we can improve the efficiency of practice. We reorganize the actions, we iterate over what is the best way to perform a routine. In a way we are creating a network of threads to hold the knowledge such that it starts making sense to us. The process is iterative. The thing that drives this reconfiguration of the apparatus is called
Budhi - The intelligence.
Let us go back to the jigsaw puzzle to make it little more clear. Every iteration on the puzzle is nothing but review what you have already built, then see the ports that are available to add the pieces and then try out different pieces to fit in to say one single port. In the beginning, you may need to try every single piece out there to fit into that one single port but soon you realize that you are looking for part of the picture. If the piece is building the nose, you can quickly discard all other body parts. You simply try the pieces that kinda look like the nose. Gradually you become more and more "INTELLIGENT" at pattern recognition. In a way practice drives your intelligence and intelligence drives your practice. The picture you are thus creating is a manifestation. The knowledge - unique to you, is the skill you have gathered to quickly choose the piece. And Intelligence is the physical structure that holds the knowledge - in this case the "mesh" of neurons in your brain that coordinates your eyes to seek the right piece, and moves your hands to pick the right piece.
You might have seen people solving a Rubik's cube in matter of seconds. Pre-requisite to solving a Rubik's cube or the jigsaw puzzle is your
Mana needs to be stable. You can't afford distractions. Once
Mana is stable,
Chitta - the faculty of conscious agent that drives intelligence - starts it's play. "Seeking" instigates you to get into
Practice . Regular practice decrypts a block of knowledge that fits into a set of neurons - Just like the jigsaw puzzle on the dining table - there is a constant jigsaw being made in your mind through seeking , practice and intelligence.
What decides how much knowledge to be kept in how many neurons ? What is the shape of the mesh ?
The best metaphor that is available to me is that of block chain mining . It is bit involved but if you pay attention it will nicely decipher intelligence, knowledge and manifestation while you might pick up something new about crypto mining too - a bonus! If you hate computers and tech talk - feel free to skip this next passage though I promise , I will keep it simple :-).
If you are not living in a cave, you probably know a bitcoin is worth 60 K US Dollars. That is a lot of money. If you do, I am sure you have wondered how a bit "BTC" is manifested ? Yes it is manifested !
Thanks to media hype, I guess everyone knows that a block is a set of transactions distributed across millions of computers. For the naive - a transaction is a simple text statement that I gave you fifty dollars. You in turn gave 25 out of that to say Krishna and rest you kept safe for Arjuna :-) . A sequence of blocks thus is a ledger and it is called "universal ledger" because it is distributed globally. Let us not worry about the mechanisms to test the authenticity of transactions. We are NOT learning the bit coin technology here. It is just the very basics to drive home a metaphor - at a risk that metaphor might become more complex than the theory itself :-) ..nothing wrong in trying though ..
A miner is a person with bunch of computers that keeps a copy of all the blocks that are there from the beginning of the universe - Yes, each block chain is a universe. And there is not one miner. There are thousands of them. You can start mining bitcoins if you want instead of reading Gita :-) . I bet you will make loads of money.
Since there are many many miners, they must have a mechanism to ascertain that each of them have a true copy of the entire chain. This is done through a simple cryptographic function say SHA 256 (there are many other algorithms, SHA 256 is among the most popular ones) . The way SHA 256 is designed is it gives you a 256 characters long gibberish for any text that you feed into it. You can give it a simple one liner say "Pray the lord" or entire national library - it will always give you a unique 256 character long code - commonly called a "hash".
The beauty of this "hash" is that it would always be same for a given input. But it will change randomly if you made even a tiny change. So if every block has a SHA 256 code , all the miners need to do is match the hashes of the chain without having to go through the transactions. If all the hashes in an entire chain on my machine match with that of yours, that means we have a true copy - simple.
Let us say there are a million miners, all of them agree on the chain but one. The system will adopt the chain that has most consensus. Means the one with a different hash (SHA 256 code) would be forced to agree with the rest.
The system ensures that older the hash (of a block) , more difficult it is to change because if an older hash is changed, that means all the succeeding hashes need to changed on the computers of a million miners. Which is quite impossible. It does so through a simple trick, when you are finding the hash for a set of transactions in a block, you are also asked to add the hash of previous block into the input. This means if I change the transactions in a block mined say a week back, all the succeeding hashes will become different on the chain on my computer. When other million miners will see my one off chain , they will force me to adopt the "one truth".
In a way, consensus is the truth , and thus it drives the history. Just one true history. If all of us agree that Trump was first president of the USA then yes , he was the first president of USA. Consensus rules but it is almost impossible to have Mr Trump as first POTUS because Mr Washington is too old. Too many history books have been written. It is all over the web. Probably alien civilizations too received the messages by now ... Older the history books , harder they are to change. One reason - change is always NEW. But we digressed.. let us get back to our first metaphor - I hate metaphors with in metaphors :-) Nested metaphors !
The question is how a new block is added on these million miners ? That is all I am striving here to talk about - that is actually our metaphor.
New transactions are happening all the time. You just bought a Tesla with a bitcoin :-) I guess Elon stopped accepting the BTCs (for Teslas) but I am sure he will come around. Even without major main street acceptance, thousands of transactions are happening every minute. Coin base has over 20 million subscribers. They are wasting their hard earned dollars in exchange of phony money :-)
So all these transactions are going to every miner in a memory pool. Some of them might miss few cuz of the network latency but network and its speed is pretty reliable these days ( particularly in China) where most of the mining is anyway happening. Plus missing a transaction doesn't matter because every miner can make a block with fewer transactions if they want. The remaining transactions can go in the next block. This is one of the key feature of block chain technology that makes it so much analogous to our "Practice" . You need not decrypt the entire knowledge in one shot. You can choose which song to practice today. Others can be done later as long as your goal is to learn singing. If you are working hard to get an album out, then in that case your choices may get limited.
Long story short - The goal of the miners is to find the hash of the block so that it could be added to the chain. But finding the SHA 264 hash is a split second action even for an old computer such as the one I am typing on. Then what is the big deal ?
Here is the catch - every block chain can define certain rules . It can say (for example) that I allow you to add a small text to the block such that first four characters of thus produced hash are zeros. Now this is a huge piece of computation because of the random nature of hashing algorithm. Effectively a miner is now needed to hit and try with different texts till they find a hash with first four characters individually equal to zero. As we know, the hashes are random. They change drastically with a minor change in text ; thus finding this new hash is difficult - it needs "intelligence" and "Effort".
This small permitted change in the block's input text (the transactions plus the hash of previous block) is called "Nonce". It is stored separately along with new hash - the one that starts with first four characters as zero.
Now we are talking Gita. Every miner needs to find the "nonce" such that say first four characters of the hash are zeros. The compute power they spend on finding the nonce (which means the electricity they burn) is the proof of work. As soon as a miner finds the "nonce" and the hash, they can broadcast to the rest and claim to be the first. The first one is awarded a bitcoin and a service fee based on the transactions with in the block . The service fee drives the miners to have as many transactions as possible in a block .
The most important thing is how this broadcast works. I mean how do I announce to the world that I am the first to crack the nonce and hash. Should I put it on you tube ? or tweet about it ? What is the fastest way ?
The fastest was is already baked in the design of the block chain. All I need to do is add the block to my block chain. Any new addition automatically gets distributed to all the miners. The miners check if my hashes are valid. Means they will add the nonce to the block and do a split second SHA 264 test. If the resultant hash matches with the one I am supplying - the one with first four zeros; they will accept me the winner of the game.
So what is going on here ? Why did you tell this whole story full of tech jargon ...
Here is the answer ..
The mining compute and the software is the INTELLIGENCE. The hash represent the transactions - they are the KNOWLEDGE of the block. The knowledge and the intelligence working together manifested a "BITCOIN" ..but wait , not until you provide "Proof of the work" - the "nonce"
Let us focus back on the intelligence ..
As we said there are a million miners. And mining is going on from many years. You can fairly assume that the software for mining is pretty standard now. And software is actually very simple - all you need to do is add a nonce to the block of transactions and find the hash such that first four characters are zero. Okay, there are some techniques to improve the pattern matching but since most of the software is open source, these techniques are not unique to any one ..
Then what drives the win - means who gets the bitcoin ? Simply - a person with most compute power - means more INTELLIGENCE. In our example , more compute means I can run the hash finding algos in parallel in many threads over many machines. If I start different threads with different starting value of "nonce" , I obviously stand a better chance on cracking the code.
Thus "better organised" and stable intelligence is pre requisite for a "quicker" manifestation.. That leads us into automation ..
"Better organized" is the keyword when it comes to intelligence.
Yajna is a process to create a consumable (for self and others) configuration that can hold the decrypted knowledge. When we run ritual what comes out is the code for manifestation [we will talk about the visualization in next chapter] . Intelligence is our ability to build better and better configurations to hold more and more complex decrypted knowledge as quickly as possible. The goal is to make it seem like effort less through better organization. The song that Elvis sings, the cube that you solved in less than 30 seconds. And your newly minted bitcoin - In a way "Intelligence" leads to automation.
Yajnais some sort of furnace - you burn
Budhito decrypt the knowledge into a manifestation. And then make it repeatable, and Automated.
As we saw in case of Block chain - the knowledge is in the ledger. The complete history of all the blocks - means entire set of transactions.
If you think of
Yajna as a git repository that tracks all the changes you are making ( to code and configuration) , the change log carries the history as to what changes were needed from say initiation of your Half marathon Journey, to a successful one. In essence , the commit history (along with rationale as to why you made those changes) is the "Knowledge". Think of each commit as a practice session of
Yajna wherein you ran the code and made a small change. The Readme.md with the final updated branch is the "Information". There is no way to completely document the rationale for each commit, even if you do that , reading and understanding it would be more taxing than building your own new fork to improve an aspect or do something as an add on.
What is knowledge to
Karmyoga, intelligence is to
Chintan. It is the process to use intelligence (with stable curiosity- seeking) to decide the scope, structure and shape of manifestation of your
Yajna. It is to break down your practice sessions into digestible modules and then review them to implement improvements.
Manan and Chintan are the essential parts of
Long before you get ready for
Yajna , your curiosity scans all the manifestations. It consumes information for pleasure and survival. In fact survival itself is pleasure. Fickle curiosity stays consumed in sensory pleasures . It goes through cycles of pleasures and pains till the you resolve that pain is far greater probability than happiness. Then you invoke your "Intelligence" to initiate your
Yajna and seek knowledge - to embrace everlasting peace.
At this stage
Mana takes over the senses and seeks the manifestations that can inspire it to get into
Yajna. Its own manifestation. The scanning process of this consumption is called
Manan - Basically you are curiously seeking the best template to initiate your action - Is it Music , is it coding , or can you do something that no one has done before ?
Once you see the template that excites you - you start tracking information. From a single git repo or from multiple. You start some action but soon you realize that you need a better design. Nothing works the way you had envisaged. Knowledge lacks.
You use your intelligence to plan a change - in code , in configuration , the way you are singing , the way you are hitting the ball .. This review of failure of last run and effort to increase success in the next is again consumption of information. This new information will change the mesh. You are now ready to run again till you decipher the first block of knowledge. A nice fit - tight and snug. But this new piece of knowledge can change the previous structure. It can alter the entire plan.
The cycle continues till your intelligence has created just the right synapses in the brain ..Or made a new commit in your code such that many pieces of knowledge have come together to form a stable mesh. A module has formed. New pieces of knowledge , again have the potential to throw everything under the bus. That is the reason ,
Yajna is iterative.
Dhyana is part of
Yajna. Gradually the
Manan keeps reducing. Actions get better and better automated .
Chintan becomes more and more elaborate. So much so that the damn thing doesn't fit in your brain anymore .. You wish you never started writing the book. A small post is so much better covering a smaller experiment. Why take up the scope of book. Book anyway is because a long post couldn't fit everything that you want to say. In fact long post happened because each paragraph must have a unique piece of your knowledge but you needed to say lot more. You wanted to build a better design for others to fill in their knowledge as well.
At some point
Chintanbecomes too taxing for intelligence. You are spending more time in design than in the coding itself. Yajna stalls. At this point Intelligence splits the mesh - It could be a new para in a long post or a new chapter in the book.
Intelligence wants to make sure it creates the best possible structure for knowledge to fill in. Better the structure - better automated is the skill.
It might sound reasonable to imagine that if you are striving for
Nishkam Yajna - No focus on outcomes; then you probably don't need intelligence. Nothing can be farther from the truth . Chintan and
Nishkam Yajna go hand in hand. Both are complimentary NOT competitors. Krishna spells this very eloquently defining the different stages of intelligence -
Krishna says, when we are under the influence of sensory consumption with the fickle mind
Chanchal Mana calling the shots ; we have no intelligence. Such a being is called
As you start understanding the difference between peace and pleasures and are able to compute that pains have far greater probability, you first indulge in
Sakaam Yajna - Ritual of actions targeted to a specific outcome. Such intelligence is called
Vyvsayatmika Budhi. This is Is a stage where your you want to avail peace but you are opportunist. You compute the cost benefit.
Finally , you reach a stage where action and peace is all that matters. You are beyond the cycles of happiness and pains. Every aspect of your life is a
Yajna done for the sake of actions. Such a person is called
Sthit Prajna - means whose intelligence is stable.
What if you don't want any manifestation. You can shut off all your senses. Start observing the consistent rhythmic actions your [protected] knowledge is driving - eg breathing, heart pumping . You are just observing. Not practicing. Or you are practicing only observation. It might appear to an untrained eye that such a state is total lack of actions - ie no peace , but when such actions are taken up by a
Sthit Prajna - person with stable
Mana and stable
Chitta , such an act is a timeless nothingness. This is a state of consummated rest where happiness , pain and even peace is secondary. It is called
samadhi. It is cycles of
Chintan without any actions. A play of stable seeking and stable intelligence. In a way, actions - through everlasting peace on account of knowledge - help your intelligence and curiosity to get stable. A point comes when both are so balanced that you don't need actions any more.
Samadhi is the final or near final stage of
Continuing the conversation from last section -
Krishna had said that Senses can be controlled with
Mana can be put on a path with
Budhi. How then we control the intelligence ? Asked Arjuna
Krishna said - Only knowledge (Atma) controls the intelligence.
Let us see how knowledge and intelligence interplay .