Archive for January, 2010

From the depth of tranquility

January 30, 2010

I have been blessed with all comforts and luxuries yet my mind longed for something. Yet, all objects of comfort and luxuries has been source of pain and misery, sometime or other, as much as it has been pleasure. Pleasure and pain lingers, before acquiring, while possessing and after loosing.

Is this an experience for all, or experience for me alone, I do not know. Perhaps, that is what I am made up of. Perhaps, that is me!

Despite my initial belief and inclinations, I have tried to search for happiness in everything external. I realize that I am not as great as I was led to believe sometimes nor I am as miserable as I feel during moments of despair. I am sick and tired of continuous search, and there comes the moment of truth. Finally, I have come a full cycle to conclude it is within me. Within me, all alone, I find absolute tranquility, peace, happiness and satisfaction which I had been missing all along.

I realize the existence and observer called me, and I realize the world. I do not consider world to be Maya (an illusion). It exists as much as I exist; rather both exists independent of each other.

I contribute towards happenings of the world but show goes on irrespective of me. Yet I continue to contribute. I act due to my own urge to act, my passion to act, my conviction to act; not because someone asks me to or because I gain something due to an action.

There is no haste to achieve, there is no object to achieve, there is no compulsion to act. Only actor exists, action exists, world exists and observer exists, independent of one another. It is an existence in serene tranquility

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Bhagavat Gita vs Ashtavakra Gita

January 28, 2010

I had read Bhagavat Gita sometime in the past; read a few times but never beyond 5 or 6 chapters every time. I have been reading Ashtavakra Gita, a few chapters into it by now. Perhaps, it is too early to comment on it. Yet I am compelled to write as urge to think aloud makes me write

I am getting the same message from both, presented in two different ways. In Bhagavat Gita, advice is presented as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and prince Arjuna, in the battle ground.

Dialogue rambles on many topics such as Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and even Yoga practices. Yet finally it converges on the essential message; that is to perform action, advocating action as a duty (not as a means to an end). Performing is bound to give results. The results, however, may not necessarily the ones that you desire or expect as laws of causation are beyond your knowledge and control. Apparently rambling nature of discussion and mystic undertones renders itself to diverse interpretation though central message is discernible for a careful reader

By contrast, Ashtavakra Gita presents self as a pure consciousness and performer of action. I consider Brahman(unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality ), Ishvara (The Supreme Controller), Jiva (Living beings/the individualized soul) etc merging ito one that is referred to as observer/consciousness. That is, Lord Krishna being more like a voice within you, from a balanced state of mind, in dialogue with Arjuna (voice standing for impulsive, immediate trigger for action within us yet at times confused; the person we are familiar within ourselves in daily life). When I read in this context, I find the essential message is the same

I find that the message put across plain, straight in Ashtavakra Gita and hard while softened for consumption for a larger audience in Bhagavat Gita. Consequently, Ashtavakra Gita requires a mind which is already in an advanced stage of self-realization, as it shakes you out of familiar comfort zones but Bhagavat Gita let you stay there a while longer, till you gradually elevate yourself

Pure Consciousness!

January 27, 2010

Discussion on Google Wave “Are people basically good, evil or neutral?” got me thinking again. I am trying to see am I good, evil or neutral? If I am good, is it because I am basically good, a conscious decision to be or a choice-less situation? By extension, is it right to expect others also behave in similar fashion?.

When it comes to human behavior, both intent and action are influenced (not necessarily determined) by social environment. It is difficult to isolate as we would do in science (like separating an element from a compound or a mixture). One such occasion when we get very close to it is when one is extremely happy or absolutely lost. What does one do then? Does he/she intent to harm/help? Does she/he end up harming/helping? Perhaps that determines the person as good or evil; or how much of both shades… my gut feel is, one would be neutral (not inactive; rather unmindful) or helpful

Is that not how we used to be when we were kids? We were happy when we got something we desired, and we were sad when we did not. We observed the world without our own eyes; no distinction between rich and poor, good and bad…. no hang overs, no anticipations, no perceptions.. we were observers, we observed and reacted in our own ways but world taught us perceptions, expectations and customary reaction.

That is what made us different, and we lost our innocence. Finding our true nature is the key about being happy; nature devoid of scars from past. It is a state of pure awareness, pure consciousness. It is world full of happiness, and a world of actions

Life is a rollercoaster ride

January 27, 2010

Life is a roller coaster ride
or game of Jekkel and Hyde
It slows at times, speeds at times
It scares at times, thrills at times

Don’t close your eyes, and be lost
Don’t hang on to pangs of past
It’s gonna pain, till game last
Life goes on, and does go fast

Don’t fret and frown, Ride is short one
It is full of fun, Don’t miss any one
Laugh and ride, or cry and hide
A few moments, and it is gone

Capitalism, and Karma Sidhanta

January 26, 2010

There has been many passionate arguments in favor of, and against, capitalism by economist and social scientist. I am neither economist and social scientist to comment with an authority on the subject. But fact remains that Capitalism is the most dominant economist and social system around.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines capitalism as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Karma Siddhanta based itself on action, action inspired by purpose but with results being governed by natural laws of causation. What Karma Siddhanta drive towards is not inaction, as it is made out to be at times. Action is a duty to yourself, and to the world; not something which you abstain from. Inspired action goes well with the driving force of private ownership and natural laws of causation goes with the free market forces. How free is actually the free market? I think it is not a cause of concern as market is balancing itself to excessive control in the long run, notwithstanding apparent aberrations localized in time and space

Right and Wrong!

January 26, 2010

Google Wave Are people basically good, evil, or neutral? got me thinking on what is Right and Wrong once again, and how does that matter? Is it intention, action or experience good or bad? Act with good intention may have bad effect, or may be perceived as evil. Good action may be perceived as hostile. What is good and what is evil? What is right and what is wrong?

I am yet to meet a person who is 100% good or 100% evil, except in fairy tales. Fairy tales reflect a simplistic perspective on life. In real life, there are shades of good and evil in everyone, though there may be difference in i) degree of goodness and ii) impact on environment (eg. hard to an individual, a group or the whole population itself). It applies to an individual as much as it applies to any social grouping. Good/evil may be attributed (it is another matter whether such an attribution is actually true but I believe we tend to do if only for convenience… collective conscious and conscience) to any entity that we happen to interact with. That entity could be an individual, organization, nation or any social grouping. Value system and circumstances determine their external behavior. Largely, we consider an individual in interaction with another but there are times when we need to consider individual in interaction with collective psyche of a group. We may face it when we move from one organization to another, one nation to another where acceptable behavioral patterns have changed and almost predictable reactions no longer hold true.

I think, it is all the more important as interactions from diverse cultural background is increasing in daily life. I find it important from three perspectives, i) self check and improvement ii) quality of social life (improving social awareness), and iii) getting to know people better. My earlier question on intention/action/experience was from the third perspective. Caring at a very personal level may be welcome in one group but as intrusion to privacy in another, especially when compromise on privacy makes one vulnerable. Danger is, action with good intention is perceived as evil, and consistent suppression of action with good intention may have an adverse effect, I think it is important in emerging social scene were globe is turning out to be a cultural melting pot.Cultural fusion has taken place many times in the past but scale is different now

Knowledge vs Experience

January 21, 2010

It is said that, Sage Sankarachayra, philosopher par excellence of yore, has been going around challenging scholars of the time into debate,as was the norm, and seeking knowledge.

He had almost defeated a scholar in a debate when he was posed a question about family life. Well, he had to surrender. He surrendered because he had to talk on something he had not experienced and talking with authority about something not experienced went against rules of the game. As per the story, he experienced family life transferring his soul into body of a king who had died at that very moment, experienced that life, came back and won the debate later.

Well, point made here is no amount of contemplation can replace knowledge gained by experience. Essence of life is the experience. All great philosophers extol virtues of action, work, and experience, rather than running away into seclusion

It is not knowledge unless it is experienced

January 20, 2010

I recently came across a story about Pythagoras. Pythagoras was seeking admission to a secret esoteric school of mysticism and, interestingly, he was not allowed! It was denied because of his lack of knowledge on a particular training of fasting and breathing.

As the story goes, Pythegoras was upset and said “”I have come for knowledge, not for any sort of discipline.” School was insisted that no knowledge is knowledge unless it is lived and experienced.

Pythegoras had to concede finally and underwent the fasting as per the norms. It was a new experience for him and he is reported to have admitted “Before this training I could only understand through the intellect, through the head. Now I can feel. Now truth is not a concept to me, but life. It is not going to be a philosophy, but rather, an experience — existential.”

Naranath Branthan

January 19, 2010

There is an interesting story about Naranath Branthan, part of folklore in Kerala. Branthan means lunatic in malayalam; a case of an intellectual being perceived as a mad man.

He lived like a beggar. He used to prepare his food at any place where fire and water were available, using alms from begging, and sleep at the same place. He happened to be preparing food at cemetry at night and goddess of cemetery called ‘Chudala Bhdra Kali’ and her companions appeared. She commanded him vacate the place immediately, as it is customary for her to dance there at night. Commands had no effect on him, nor any threats of any kind. She realized this was not an average person

Pleased with him, she offered him a boon of his choice. He said he does not need any. She insisted however; having appeared before a human, she is compelled to give, as it customary for God.

Being forced to demand, Naranath Branthan asked her to extend his life by a day. She was trapped, and had to refuse as it is not within her power. Then, he asked her to reduce his life by a day. She had to refuse again, as even that is not within her power. Then, he asked her to shift a handicap from left leg to right leg, and that was granted!

What is the message for daily life? Life is to be lived, and enjoyed; no shortcuts, no miracles… happiness is a state of mind, and within you; not something anyone else can bestow on you; not something that you get additionally on some attainment

Karma and Zen

January 18, 2010

Blinded my skewed understanding of Karma Siddhantha, I spent much of my life searching for true meaning of life and ultimate happiness through Moksha. I had struggled hard to ‘liberate’ myself considering worldly action and experiences as trivia. At heart, I used to wonder if this is trivia, what is important? if this is illusion, what is real? Why do I do what I do, and why should I do?

My mind refuse to accept a world where a human is inferior, human is a sinner. My mind refuse to accept an ideology that belittle human values, human relations, human emotions and human experience.

I got to know of Zen of late. I came to know from a cassette ‘What is Zen?’ from Osho. It was a revelation. It opened a new world before me. A world of love and compassion, a world of action, a world of emotions… yet a happy world.

I realize that problem is not the world, problem is my perception. It is not world and action that unreal (are they? how does that matter?); problem is perception. As Lord Krishna has said in Bhagavat Gita, it is not possible to stay without doing anything even for a moment; at the barest minimum, one has to breath. Problem is not action or experience; it is perception.

Action is essence of life, essence of the very existence! Key is to act and experience Experience it every moment!