Archive for November, 2010

Defining my world of philosophy – Thinking aloud

November 27, 2010

Many have asked me why do I think and write about these topics, which are generally referred to as ‘philosophy’.

Is it not sufficient just to live this life? Isn’t action more important than thought? May be true. Or, is thoughtful action better than mere action? Honestly, I do not know. Or, rather, I don’t care.

I have asked this question to myself, many times over. Why do I keep thinking about all these? Reply was ‘it is like asking a river why does it flow?’. Well, we could attribute flow of river to force of gravity. But then, why force of gravity? May be, because of gravitational field. Then, why gravitation field? At some point, we need to accept that it is so because ‘that is how it is’.

Why does a musician compose or sing a song? Why does poet write poems? Why does a painter paint? It is an urge, an irresistible urge from within. I write, not because I have all answers; probably, not even some of them yet.

I am not knower of truth but rather a seeker of truth. Of all I have read and heard what comes closest to my heart is Karma Siddhanta, as explained in Bhagavat Gita and Ashtavakra Gita, and notion of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ of vedanta philosophy. That is, I am part of the infinite, indivisible, indestructible spirit, and I am that.

As a child I used to watch the sky above, and wonder about vastness of sky above, multitudes of stars. As I grew up, I learned about vastness of universe of which I am a very trivial existence.

In my early days of scientific quest, adventures of mankind to get smarter than his world made me believe in eventual success of man over nature. But, as man is getting closer to annihilating himself, I started looking at the world within because the actual threat to him is from within

A world that begins and ends with me, a world of emotions, perceptions and inspirations, a world illuminated by an all pervasive, all-powerful spirit. I moved from the notion that ‘world is a stage, and all of us are actors’ to ‘I am the stage where the drama is being played’.

I am the ocean in which waves of emotions, perceptions and inspirations rise, move, clash, join and fall, with the winds of change. Yet, it is an peaceful existence of quiet confidence and strength deep within, unattached and infinite

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Fear Vs Respect!

November 22, 2010

Fear and Respect, surprisingly, are words often used synonymously. For instance, have you not heard of people talking about being ‘god-fearing’ instead of being ‘god-believing’?

Fear is a negative feeling coming from a position of weakness.

It comes either out of guilt or sheer helplessness. Fear gets exploited everywhere. In the places of work, workshop, with friends and even at home.

It is often externally induced and manipulated.

Fear terrifies you of consequences and stops you from an action. Fear blocks your mind and hinders free thinking. Fear is demanded by the weak from the weak. Fear comes out of ignorance; not knowing what is in other person’s mind, what is to happen next, what if ……

Respect is a positive feeling, comes from a position of strength.

It is a natural phenomenon caused in the context of certain observed values which are appealing. It is internal to the person and not prone to external manipulations.

You respect a person when you see a person (or an entity) better in some aspect; may be knowledge, power, position, money… be it whatever, it energizes your mind and propels you into action.

Respect is commanded by the strong and respect is given by the strong. Respect comes knowledge; knowing you, knowing your choices, knowing others and knowing the world

Fear breaks; Respect mends.
Fear hurts; Respect heals.
Fear suffocates; Respect motivates.
Fear arrests; Respect enables.

For a better life, better family, better business, better world, nurture respect always and everywhere.

Eliminate fear always, everywhere

Colors of my small world!

November 21, 2010

My mind was quiet
Time stood still
I was alone in my small world
I longed for a change

I saw you, I saw me
I saw the world in me
I saw the world in prism of my mind
I longed for a rainbow

Winds of change blew
Clouds filled my sky
Thunder and lighting made my day
World shook in pain

My heart broke
Tears dropped down my eyes
I made broken heart into a kaleidoscope
I saw a rainbow

Traces of a great tradition!

November 21, 2010

I was initiated into Upanayana in early teens, as was customary for my community. It was a ritual for me for long, till I started looking behind the acts to see the actor.

One of the ritual that I was initiated into was to recite mantras ‘Om pranaya swaha, Om apanaya swaha,Om vyanaya swaha, Om udaanaya swaaha, Om samanaya swaaha’ before taking food. I was told to do that, and I did. I never questioned, and thought about the rationale. As time passed, ritual lost its appeal to me, inspired by ‘scientific’ reasoning, and I dumped it.

Decades later now, as I look back, the spirit (rather than the act) is appealing to me. It appears now to me that the actual rationale behind the mantras recited before taking food was to tell myself that food being taken is for pranas, the five life-sustaining vital forces. It, in turn, means that food intake is not so much to satisfy our taste buds but rather for basic sustenance of life.

It indicates an approach of social life based inherent satisfaction of every individual rather than of a rat race, that we see now, chasing never ending dreams. It comes from a tradition in which every living being, including lives of animals (even snakes) and trees were respected, as our own. It encapsulates spirit of healthy co-existence and ecological balance into which the world is waking up, in the context of climate change.

World is coming a full circle with the realization that we are very close to annihilating ourselves from the world. It may be late but, hopefully, not too late to get back to the basics and get our acts together

A gentle human touch! A hope for a better world!!

November 20, 2010

I happened to listen to this video yesterday.

It was an enlightening experience. It shows both how bad and cruel a man can get. It also shows how, even in the face of a worst disaster in personal lives, one can be turn of around into a social cause and a unique success.

What I felt first, during the initial part of the video, was a kind of repulsion as to how bad people can be. Can a man be still called a man without being human being first? Let us not call beast either because beast is better than such people!

I felt an admiration towards the speaker, and a shame about our ‘civilized’ society of which I am part. As speaker points out, in some sense, what is worse than such crime is further victimization by ‘civilized’ society.

It is still a sensitive issue for the society at large. I think, change can happen in isolated pockets and, I hope, it does. I am not sure how best I can help the cause but I think every one of us should, in our own best possible way.

Essence of Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter XI

November 19, 2010

World around, and everything in it, as we see would change (hard to accept sometime but that is a fact; change is the only constant!) because change is its very nature. (What is perceived as) fortune and misfortunate, pleasure and pain, birth and death happens. (There is nothing, seriously, anyone can do about these. It may be hard to accept , and many have tried to sugarcoat it. Yet the fact is world around does not go by your dictates or wishes).

(When you hold on to anything, there is subjective perception and it hurts sooner or later). Do not hold on to anything. Realize that neither you are the body nor you have a body. Then, for you, everything becomes a simple experience of a pure consciousness, pure awareness.

Cosmic beauty reveals itself as a realization. Realization of God, and that God created the world and everything in it. Everything that we perceive, including God, is only a perception. The only reality is self.

There is nothing to gain or lose. There is nothing to be happy or sad, There nothing to do or not to do. (It does not mean inaction. It is, in fact, the most powerful form of action)

Note:
These reminds me of a zen story that I heard sometime back which goes as follows:
Once upon a time, a someone approached Zen master and asked him to write something for his family to keep for years to come.

Master wrote: “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.”

The man became very angry asked the master: “I wanted you to write something good for my family. Why have written something so bad?”

Master replied: “If your son die before you die, it would be very sad experience for your family. Again, if your grandson die before your son, that would also be very sad. Everyone has to die one day or other. If everyone in your family die in the order that I described, for generations after generations, then that is a natural order of life. That, in itself, is a reason for being happy. If it does not, it is unfortunate”

Essence of Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter X

November 8, 2010

You have seen, many times over, that desire leads to cycles of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Desire may appear too good to forsake but you must renounce them in totality (not selectively) including both pleasant and unpleasant, for liberation; stay indifferent to subjective experiences of both kinds.

Realise that, all that what you seek to hold onto (friends, land, money, property, etc, whatever that be) as objects of desires are transcient (What is inherent in you, you do not need to acquire and not does not it leave you. Whatever you acquire are not what is inherent in you, and that will have to leave you).

These attachment (both likes and dislikes) indicate desires which is nothing but samsara. True liberation is getting rid of these desires, and the only way to attain liberation is by realizing that you are not the subjective experience but rather pure conscious and awareness, without even a desire to comprehend.

Note:
Many take to philosophical considerations, spirituality and renouncement faced by complexities and challenges of life.

Philosophy, spirituality and renouncement are not a matter of being weak, it is not defeatism, it is not an escapist route. It is a case being strong enough not to be influenced by anything external, irrespective of how upsetting or alarming it may appear

Many of us live assuming purpose or intention of the whole world is to make our lives better (or, worse). It is not made for us alone, nor it is made against us. There are other people in the world, and other beings, as well. They have as much power and privilege as we all have. There is a way to live together happily. World exists as it is, and it is for us to make our lives (and that of others) better or worse.

Often, people are hooked, holding to pleasant experience taking it for granted but would like to run away when experiences turn hard. Day and night, summer and winter, pleasant and unpleasant, success and failure, etc are part of the same package. You cannot take one and reject the other. It is not what we experience, but rather we make out of it, that makes the difference. Getting rid of desire is about being indifferent to, and being dispassionate about, all attachments irrespective of whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, favourable or unfavourable, etc in subjective perceptions

Essence of Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter IX

November 7, 2010

It is mind that holds on, it is mind that forms perception, it is mind that defines what is good and what is not, it is mind that creates feelings of happiness and grief, it is mind that desires and hates.

Mind always worked with such dualism, and it leads to subjective perception, leading further to bondage and pains. It is these desires of mind that are called ‘samsara’

Perceptions are formed by the mind, in the mind. Perceptions of happiness, grief etc formed in mind related to acquisitions and possessions of objects of desire, including knowledge, are truly transient. No objects, acts, or events external can have any significant influence on you unless you let it.

World of subjective perceptions formed by mind is the great illusion ‘Maya’, not the world, outside of you. What is outside of you does not truly affect you unless you let it.

True renunciation is renunciation of these desires and subjective perceptions. When you realize this, when your mind withdraws from these desires and subjective perceptions, you are beyond renunciation and you are liberated from the illusion.

After that, one can remain where one is, continue to do whatever one does, with no bindings of desire

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion – Albert Einstein

Essence of Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter VIII

November 6, 2010

King Janaka’s thoughts now indicate a definite balance and clarity, the sage Ashtavakra replies clarifying and reassuring as follows: 

Bondage is in external objects, events or acts but rather in the mind. Bondage  is when mind longs for something, when mind grieves about something, when mind holds on to something or rejects.  Liberation is when the mind does not long for anything, grieve about anything, reject anything,  hold on to anything.  Bondage is when mind is entangled in one or more   senses, and liberation is when the mind is not.

One feels grief, longing, etc in subjective context of self. That indicate bondage, and as a converse, when there is strong notion of self, there is bondage. Liberation is when there is no “me” and subjective perceptions

Essence of Ashtavakra Gita – Chapter VII

November 5, 2010

King Janaka reflects on caution and clarification in the words of Sage Ashtavakra, and replies as below:

My mind is like a vast ocean. Waves (of thoughts and emotions)  rise, clash, move and fall in mind, just as in the ocean.

World itself is a creation of mind. It floats and drifts in my mind, like boat caught in the wind.

I, myself, just as the infinite ocean, am not affected by rise and fall of waves or drifting of boat. (It affects me when I am concerned about it; only such subjective context)

I am not within boat, or any object for that matter. I am  neither attached to any of these, nor I truly have any desire for these.

That is, when my mind is attached to these, all these had influence on me in the context. Devoid of attachment now, these  holds no significance for me any longer.

What is  there for me  to accept or reject, as  pure consciousness?