Radhanath Swami on ‘Dissipating the fog of ignorance’

Radhanath Swami on fog of ignorance

“In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that when one is enlightened by true knowledge, all the fog of nescience is dispelled, just as when the sun rises very brightly, all darkness and fog disappears.” – Radhanath Swami.

Radhanath Swami explains the analogy of the fog

What is this analogy of fog? Fog disrupts so many of the plans of humanity because it obscures us from seeing things as they are. In New Delhi, at the Indira Gandhi Airport, usually when there is fog, airplanes are delayed, sometimes for hours and hours and hours. And even if you are a billionaire with a private jet that costs fifty million dollars, when the fog is there, you cannot take off and you cannot land.

“We think that we are the controllers, but ultimately, there are powers that are beyond ourselves, whoever we are, however much knowledge we have.”- Radhanath Swami

Whether we are BAs, MAs, PhDs, whether we don’t know how to write or read, whether we are multi-multi-billionaires, whether we are just lying on the side of the road, whether we have very good, powerful health, or whether we are sickly and old, whatever the situation, the nature of this world is, there are powers beyond our own.

Prahlad Maharaj also echoed this truth in Srimad Bhagavatam. “In this fog of nescience, whatever solutions we create to solve problems, those solutions usually end up in a bigger problem than the original problem.”

“That is the nature of living in fog. We can’t see what is real and what is what.” – Radhanath Swami

In one sense, a definition of Maya is ‘fog’. Srila Prabhupada and the great acharyas, they define Maya as ‘that which is not’. That means we can’t see things as it is. So in the fog we really can’t see where we are going: very difficult to drive, very difficult to walk.

There is a documentary made in America called ‘The fog of war’. It’s about wars – where hundreds and thousands of people were killed, millions suffered – that were just based on miscommunication, not understanding facts truly. America and Vietnam, during the Vietnam War, they had different conceptions of what was true. They did not understand each other. They had so much distrust that for over a decade they were killing each other, bombing each other. And when the fog cleared, they realized, “We were fighting you for something you never did! And you were fighting us for something we never did!” It was all an illusion! This is fog. And this is very much the story of the material world.

Radhanath Swami explains the sun of knowledge that dissipates the fog

According to the Gita, what is this sun that arises that allows us to actually see? It’s the sun of knowledge. Krishna tells what this knowledge is. It is to understand who we truly are. The atma, the soul, is part and parcel of the supreme soul Krishna, or God.

When the atma is in this mass-fog of misconception, the misconception of forgetting who it is, we are thinking that we are this body, that we are American or Indian or Russian or Pakistani or Israeli, that we are black or white or red or yellow or brown, that we are male or female; we think that those things in relation to this body are ours: wealth, intelligence, abilities. And as soon as we start thinking in this way, we separate ourselves from our relationship with all others. Because we don’t see what we really have in common, there is a separation. And what is the result of that separation? Either we are arrogant thinking we are better, or we are envious because they are gaining more than we can gain. It’s all fog; it’s only because of the fog.

“But when the sun of knowledge dissipates the fog of all of these misconceptions, we see that we are all intimately loving and related.” – Radhanath Swami

Whether one religion or another religion, whether one is a human, cow, elephant, dog or cat, wherever there is life, there is a sacred part of God. Lord Krishna tells, “I am the father, mother of all living beings.” If the fog is lifted, we understand who we are, and what our relationship with Krishna, with God, is. Then we see everyone in relationship to ourselves.