"Manasi vicharya barambaram" - this aphorism of Acharya Shankara tells us that as we egin to ponder over the important questions of life, and as we grow more and more inquisitive about it, we get more and more deeply acquainted with the verities of our life. It is through the genuineness and intensity of seeking that we become able to know ourselves, and then we are surprised at our folly: "Oh! How in the world were we continuing with such a senseless existence"! Enquiry explains to us the meaning and purpose of life; it reveals the raison d'etre of things and empowers us to discriminate between the right and the wrong, the virtuous and the vicious, the purposeful and the purposeless. In short, it makes us conscious and wakeful. This is the natural result of enquiry and may be considered as the second stage in the process of awakening.
In the state of wakefulness, we are able to cognize our strengths and potentials. Correct understanding of the state of mind and meaningful use of the available circumstances are possible in this very condition. Side by side, we can also identity and overcome the psychological and material obstacles which had hitherto prevented us from actualizing our potentials, from giving proper expression to our talents, and from experiencing the pleasure of a meaningful existence.
It is this very depth and intensity of awakening that becomes jivana bodha. Every facet of life its every nook and corner is illumined with the light of awareness; nothing remains hidden, nothing remains unseen, nothing remains unfamiliar. Every event in life, big or small, becomes a lesson. The whole life becomes a school, a continuing education, instead of being a burden. He, who lives in true awareness, utilizes the moments of happiness in the best possible manner. At the same time he also knows how to derive benefit from the times of trails and tribulations. Moments of joy are yoga for him, while moments of pain turn into tapa (disciplinary austerities). In every situation, he has full comprehension of the meaning of existence.
It is in this state that the interior begins to grow with the light of the truth that only those who are wakeful, alert and conscious can walk the path of jivana sadhana. This path is so perilous and demanding that even the slightest sluggishness and carelessness in effort will result in fall and failure; the personality will remain dull, confused and underdeveloped. To understand the different dimensions of the personality and to illuminate them is the first step on the path of jivana sadhana.