The Truth Overarching : Yoga II

Much transpired in the Indian subcontinent over a very very long period of time, in terms of definitive understanding about life and its reality before accepted, peer validated thought systems were codified for the civil world to ponder, practise and know. The happenings pertain to times so long ago that it is well nigh impossible to hazard a guess as to when it took place. But the thought systems themselves are astonishingly clear even millennia after they had been in vogue, each preserved in series of pithy texts outlining the content from start to end.

Each one of the six thought systems present the second, or shall we say the reverse, flow of consciousness : from the individual to the universal, the whole. In Dr Kenneth Chandler’s words : The first flow of knowledge of the Veda is the flow from the One into the many. The eternal oneness of pure Being or pure consciousness knows itself. And in knowing itself, it breaks itself into many. The infinite One collapses into a point, and into infinitely many points. These points of consciousness are finite, separate, isolated points of individual consciousness. But they are all ultimately points of the one infinite whole of consciousness. Each is a collapsed point of the infinite whole, and in the process of returning to wholeness, the finite points of consciousness expand back into the infinite One from which they began. This is the fundamental process of creation that is expressed in the Rig Veda and in the Vedic literature.

The referred thought systems acknowledge the Vedas as their base and their nature or goal is set in its accord. Though this quote of Dr Chandler pertains to the Vedas itself, I present it in the context of what the originator and pioneers of the thought systems have shared : The Veda is expression of the knowledge the seer passes by while transcending beyond the individual consciousness formed in gross and subtle receptacles available in the mind-body complex, or during the descent from that undifferentiated sublimity. Whilst cleansing the seer’s own mental and intellectual universe of all flaws and taints, the direct experience also retains the awareness of that oneness pervading all creation. It is not localised to individual awareness, as is confirmed by several seers contemporary, before and after; it is universal. Anyone else too can gain the same transcendental experience of the infinite, unbounded silence, and confirm the truth.

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From a very broad consideration, it seems that Vedanta is the last of the thought systems to develop and also the overarching one the seers finally agreed upon : There is but one Truth, one Existence, one Being, which is perceived to be many and regarded diversely in accordance with the nature of the seer being.

It does seem that Vedanta rose in view through two practice verticals : action and reasoning. The action vertical rose over several centuries, perhaps millennia, along Purva Mimamsa and (Raja) Yoga practice. The former has no place for a super deity — God, believing entirely on the power of action performed and regarding the unseen immanence as the sole cause behind the certain fruits or consequence of the deed done as prescribed. Yoga does have God — the super being, compared to the individual — in its core but not as a performer of miracles or as lord of the universe. God, Yoga suggests, embodies the ultimate evolved being the individual himself is heading to be when his own practice matures and completes.

Along the other practice vertical — of reason — is Nyaya or logic and Samkhya. Buddhism is largely drwn from the Nyaya method of right knowledge to attaining moksha or nirvana. It also allied to the insistence on certitude of knowledge in respect of any real thing, as detailed in Vaisheshika school of thought, which Jainism borrows. In their ultimate consequences however, Yoga and Samkhya are almost identical, though the latter ends with dualism being the eternal reality while the former eschews such consideration and presents the Self Absolute as the supreme truth.

Vedanta proves to be the mother thought by virtue of having a place for all the other five in its fold. It is Brahman, the sole ultimate definitive and absolute reality of experience in Yoga, and Maya, the inexplicable unknown and indeterminate reality of all forms gross, subtle and causal. The One is immutable, our Self; the other is illusory except until it lasts, as reality is in our dreams.

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Journal : Giving, Atheists, The Run

The one who gives to the other instantly becomes the elder in a relationship. But who doesn’t, if we discount the occidental economics-alone value system. That is one way the oriental is so diametrically different : how it keeps the 360 degree 3-D view, suggests and exalts the skill in its heritage and tradition. It has found wide acceptance in the West, not by any ‘rational’ ground at its foundation but by how nature itself really has little value for money in its working. The child suckles at the the tangible breast-milk but it is the mother who takes the intangible ‘everything’ from the child.

I saw the movie INTERSTELLAR because the younger man wanted me to. Alongwith the MATRIX series earlier, these productions kind of shock its audience into ‘opening their eyes’ into another reality… ones other than and far removed from this material focus on tangibles : money and goods, in short. To me, they all seemed so imagined, so hyped up and crafted ! They are nowhere close to truth, the facts evident in our threefold being : material, mental and spiritual… one gross space pervaded by the subtler one, space within space, each with access limits and laws of their own. Existence is stranger than fiction, and simpler if you happen to know.

Inevitably, the discussion runs into ‘God’ ! I tire of this Christian Big Daddy in the sky the word has come to imply — another occidental export to the orient that, unfortunately, preys upon the yet unevolved who the oriental thought-system embraces and allows to ‘utilise’ whatever symbols they might prefer to aid their spiritual awakening. It doesn’t surprise that the Vatican’s conversion program is backed by billions of dollars to materially lubricate the individual come-over process !

The theist and atheist position are more simply etched, in say the way people deal with worry. The anxiety a parent has while sending his son off to faraway place is killing : very physiological, material and tangible. The theist prays and actually finds his comfort and quiet in virtually an instant. What does the atheist do ? Reason, rationalise and intellectualise ? Does it quell his anxiety ? I think, no. And, no one needs to quarrel with me over this : just try, observe in others, and watch for the effects. You will know. And we do not even need to know who or what does the theist prays to !

In this same thread, I find it strange that the celestial song — BHAGVAD GITA — is sold in streets in the West. The wonder is genuine : what and how do they make sense of the Lord’s exhort … Work to ensure success, giving your all; the result however, the consequence, the fruit so to say, is of no concern of yours, of no value to you ! There is no way to decode the suggestion without the knowledge that the two parts refer to different spaces in which our being is tri-compartmentalised. What integrates it, the fourth, is wholly another matter.

Universe, World And The Self

This essay arose of a conversation that remained incomplete, largely because of the apparent unfamiliarity my interlocutor had with the subject, which factor lent an air of abstraction to the matter despite it being so obvious and close a phenomenon to ourself. The difficulty at the core of its seeming obtruseness was two-fold : one, the meaning we carry of the terms are so very formal that they remain distant from ourself, compared to the carnal and electronic objects that readily engage the youth of our day; and two, any attempt to segregate the entities, and their phenomenal effervescence in our mind, fails to start because we ourself are too caught up in the mix to lay out the categories at play separately, sequentially and seamlessly between the universe yonder, our world at hand, and the heady couldron of vitality playing things up as feelings, emotions and thoughts in our mind.

Universe, World And The Self

The Terms

The universe is the endless expanse, the mother set, containing all the astronomical and heavenly bodies, visible and invisible, known and mysterious. It includes our world and our self within it.

The world about us reduces to “our” world for all practical purposes, with objects that actually occupy our memory and mind more or less, in some way or other. The entities come in all shape and form, state of animation and consciousness, nature and character, and value to ourself in the long and short term.

The self — our self — is the being we are, the person who decides the right and wrong for ourself, who is curious and who engages with the objects in our world, who notices the feeling and identifies with the prevailing will and emotion, happy or sad, enthused or indifferent.

The Personal Phenomena

Our individual being involves our world and our self, with all the objects and entities about us, which we live in the midst of and value, positively and negatively, often in the same single thing, person or being. There is a wider world out there, distinct from our world, that we are either not intimately aware of or to which we are indifferent because it does not touch us, that does not engage us in the least for now. But our living being is restricted to all that affects us, physically or by their presence in our memory, in the way it makes our vitality rise and ebb, outward to action or inward to feeling quickened or depressed, draws our emotion to flare with a will of its own, triggers our thought stream hither and thither, making our desire next sprout or dry, and leads our self through an experience memorable or forgettable.

Our experience of life, and indeed our life itself, is an endless train of such streaming consciousness constituted of this mix : feelings and emotions, will and thought, desire and knowledge, memory and more, with the self — the sense we have of ourself — often helpless like a ball ricocheting  from the walls upon a momentum imparted in unknown past or an oarless boat in the middle of  flowing waters. What we gather along the journey in life, through our growing up years, is knowledge and memory of the character or nature of things, person or individual beings, usually in binary terms : happy, or not. Each encounter or recall of this summary sense, as it happens, brings in its trail the emotion and will that our psychological or attitudinal behaviour, caution or enthusiasm and more extreme expressions at the juncture. And thus life continues to happen : happy or sad, or in the pall of any other shade in between.

The Exploring And Analysing Self

There are several reasons why we wake up to need of reviewing the momentum of the personal phenomena upon which we are carried, and to the burning will to intervene. Often it is the consequences, material and mental, that leave us dissatisfied, inadequate, delinquent or destitute. Or, usually in comparison with our peers or with inspiration from other people’s lives past or present, there is a sense of not doing justice to what we have and what more we could do with greater control over our phenomenal being, with empowering our psychological self at making the most of our situation, spotting opportunities and playing up to our strengths. Too, it is extremely deflating to our self-esteem to realise that we are living the animal way, to our lowest nature, or are being merely passive or reactive to our happennings. And lastly, we might discover that the unexamined knowledge we have gathered is mostly untrue, that we need to revisit each as they come and bring our conclusion up to date. Whatever the cause, we then want to put an end to our self-cipher outside-in existence and steel ourself to imposing our will inside-out, to being what and how we want ourself to be and experiencing a life by our own choices than by what fate or our world has thus far deemed it to be.

A true awakening is more a phase than a moment : outwardly langorous and dilated but hyperactive inwardly. In that state of concentrated awareness, we refuse to be moved even as we go through the motions and insist on observing and knowing the details of our personal phenomena as it occurs : the feeling caused by an object on our world, the emotion representative of our reaction to it, our will that automatically presents itself … that jucture when we can choose to react or contemplate the pros and cons of alternate courses, the thoughts at reviewing the object, the feeling and the emotion, the will we were ready to commit ourself to, and the state of our own being, the quality of our self … We hold ourself at it, intending to exhaust the fulness of one series : object, feeling, emotion to the object and to the feeling it causes, the will and the choices, the doubts, the light on ourself, and the values we hold to ourself in the shadows of our each thought and glance at the categories and their possibilities thus laid out.

Our Self And Our ValuesSelf and Values

To fast forward, we may now observe the continuous series of categories laid out before us, connecting seamlessly the universe and the self :

[ Universe ] — [ World ] — [ Our World ] — [ Objects, Entities, Plants, Trees, Animals, People, Food, Sex, Beautiful Form, Panorama, Family, Friends…] — [ Senses : Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hear ; Mind ] — [ Feeling ] — [ Emotion : Will ] — [ Thought : Doubt, Examination, Analysis, Possibility ] — [ Knowledge ] — [ Self : State, Quality, Values ]

Of  the above, we notice, animals are arrested by their emotions and accompanying will; and so are we. The only interactive behaviour that sets them to peace, and is hence both necessary and sufficient, is love. And so it with us, as far as others are involved and our interactive behaviour goes.

However, as human beings with the power to be pro-active, to change ourselves and our world about us, we need to choose our values and therefore need to know what works, which yields what and how. The knowledge and values are already indicated by our history, our myths, our texts ancient and modern, our epics, our traditions and our ways of life. It is upto each one of us to inform ourself, know and choose for ourself, and to embark upon that journey of examining and clarifying from experience that which is absolute and invariable and those that are relative and dependent upon situation and circumstance.

Some truths are universal though :

—   Feelings are nature’s means to reveal itself to us. Men do not cause feelings, our world does. We do not stop feeling except when we are literally or sort of dead.

—  Emotions are our own and arise almost always from the dark and unexamined part of our within. They are mostly wasteful except when prompted of love.

—   Our mind is a means and an instrument to feel, examine and know our world, our emotions and will, our memory and impressions from past, as also to sense the state and quality of our self and the values we associate with.

—   The values we choose and commit ourselves to provides a firm unshakeable ground to ourself; nothing else does. The self committed to values empowers the will to choose the right course of action; nothing else does.

—   There is no truth apart from our self. It is lost in the mind, in thoughts and habitual emotions, in addictive feelings, when we begin our search for our self. The process of extricating our self and living in the light of its truth is the eternal way.

Let’s walk it.

Footprints

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

VEDANTA : II

The ontological perspective of the Supreme Truth is important, nay, crucial as the rudder is to the boat we are taking across the waters. Though a truncated and adhoc aggregate, even the animalistic version in the belief of indigenous people, who are not introduced to an intellectually cultured religion, serves to raise a backdrop to comprehension of objects in our sight, of beings included in our action, of phenomenal events in our experience, apprehensions in our vitality and thought, and extrapolatory impressions that embed in our intellect.

The context for hunter-gathers and forest dwellers would have been limited to immediate issues or short-term concerns of survival, security or perpetuation… But even they would have had to bear themselves through the continuity of time, the before and after times to emotionally draining experiences or happenings requiring physically absorbing engagements. It is the background of beliefs that provide us with much needed meaning to unify ourselves with our mornings, surroundings, natural goings on, human and animal companions, contemporaries friendly and inimical, and with our selves.

If Vedas is the entire deck of cards, Vedanta is the “joker” that consorts harmoniously with every bit of creation. It stands by every perspective : impersonal, personal, dual, non-dual, form, formless, theist, atheist, action, devotion, knowledge, experience, spirit, mind, body, temple, synagogue, wilderness, ritual, prayer, reason, irrational … All individuals of diverse persuasion and proclivity would find something or other in Vedanta that agrees with him, from where he could set himself up for the rest. Nothing contradicts Vedanta, except dogma and bigotry that also violates reason and experience. Vedanta will accept moral failures umpteen times without condoning it. It will not cease to demand ethical conduct and exhort one to go beyond the instant reference in belief and thought. And it will never offer a lie to appease us; it will instead wait with us untill we are ready, even suggesting ways we could prepare ourselves for the rendezvous.

The apparent irreconciliable dualism or reiterating cyclicity between experienced extremes is the least of the problem in Vedanta … mere symptoms it would say ! In its expanse and focus, it is capable of including any and all inconsistencies that reveal points of singularity in our knowledge of where, in and with what, do we exist, and in our understanding of who or what we are in the universal and particular frames of being, what our moments mean alongwith all that they include … and what, why and how are we to act. Vedanta is the ocean in which we can come to rest, be and perfect ourselves in truth, far beyond and without any framework even remotely akin to what we understand as ” religion.”

It is necessary to underscore that Vedanta is not thought or belief, as it occurs with us, though it is presented as one out of sheer necessity imposed by our limited means to articulate and express. English language, and every one of which that has evolved in the West, takes its spiritual scope from the man and his Bible. The next best communication alternative we have is that expressed as science – mathematics, physics and biology, which however keep the man and his book completely out from its discourse and, instead, restricts itself within the realms of physical space, matter and time.

But that is not what truth is limited to : it is, above all, to include the man – the doer, experiencer and observer. It must include his values, relationships, actions, his mind and his conscious being. And, in speaking of it, the book dilates on spiritual dimensions of our being, at the origin of which our individuated being is sprung, the call of which we maintain in our conscience and the nature of which we rediscover in our universal moral values, and our unity with which we announce through our ethical conduct. Truth must reconcile us with the consequences of our actions we experience and live through, and reflect in the conclusions we arrive at of this whole business of life, living and death, this being in world and in our mind within.

That is what Vedanta covers, without the language commensurate with its inclusive domain. The body of the being in truth is brought alive in the Vedas – Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva. The mantra or hymns of Samhitas invite us to relate one-to-one with existence, the being in it before, about and within us. The Brahmanas explain, define and specify the details of that occasion we are called upon to initiate, build up and complete in action, speech and thought. The Aranyakas or Upanishads – Vedanta, in short – zero down on the conscious self at our origin, in the witness within us, and the revelations it scribbles in our intellect. What is uttered, what we read and hear and contemplate upon is still about the being in truth before, about and within us, as it is.

That is what is Vedanta about : the universe, ourself and the universe within us, in the very way of life. Comparatively, religion as it means in the West is easy, a mere affiliation to a book of tenets, loyalty to a deified historical prophet, a place of worship to recall our faith, and human intermediaries who demand belief on their interpretations of the whole business, who insist upon obedience, almost always unquestioning. The affiliates are then covered with an identity in common with others, distinct from other religions.

This undertaking intends to expose in contemporary terms a few glimpses of key discoveries from the immense unraveling edifice of Vedas and Vedanta, which require a lifetime to master.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

VEDANTA : I

“Every drop of water would find its way to the ocean.”

I could have done without introducing Vedanta but not without acknowledging the source of the line of progression I embarked upon one day decades ago. There is nothing in life that would have prompted me to take to the reality without and within this inclusive, cosmic fulness. It peeps into man, into each manifest being inert and alive, right since it all was yet unformed and unexpressed. Religions present this simple immanence as the “other” to us and renders it fictional, as yet another something in the humdrum of diversity we are situated in, or someone above the crowded multiplicity we end up dealing with. It was Vedanta that showed to me the way to that enveloping infinetely transcendent immanence that itself projects and permeates this living, breathing, pulsating reality we are priviledged to embody, view and experience.

Vedanta called aloud to me, “It is there, here and everywhere.” And that, it was attainable through this being expressed as us, the I – handle in our psyche at its source, the self I was never without. I remember that resonance when its meaning reverberated within me, filling me with an assurance my spirit was starved of and a trust to authenticity and harmony that was then singularly absent. The call itself was the culmination of humanity’s progressive rise into the truth millennia ago. And as effectively did I, over a period of about 12 years, when I allowed myself to be drawn by its rarefied reach.

The truth perspective of Vedanta is outlined and detailed in the Aranyakas, which include the more familiar Upanishads, the body of thought meant for reclusive and retired forest dwellers given over entirely to spiritual pursuit. It is what the Vedas ultimately lead us up to, after the Samhitas and the Brahmanas exhaust the revelations and purifying rituals to go along with them. The Bhagwad Gita and Brahma Sutras are different treatment and presentation of the same body of truth exposed in the Upanishads, and are hence considered authoritative Vedanta texts : the Gita being more pleibian and the Sutras more scholarly in their respective structure, context and content. These works have spawned a series of commentaries and clarificatory texts over time, right upto modern times, either to refresh that pinnacle of profundity where there is no more subtlety to unravel or to offer perspectival interpretations to suit different natural orientations in human subjectivity – devotion and reverential oneness, friendly and empathetic unity, or the formless undifferentiated being-witness infinite.

Vedanta concerns itself with truths that are superceded, not negated, by ones of higher or more subtle order. In contrast, a whole body of scientific facts have validity only until they are displaced by discovery of more ‘factual’ ones of the same material order. Truths are more subjectively intimate perceptions occasioned by a holistic integration of our multi-layered experience. That dimensional direction towards our within is important in the context of truth. Science, on the other hand, must point outward and insist on objectivity involving rational reductions, physical instruments and measures, and peer group validation of its repeatability and falsifiability. String theory speculations are less “scientific” in comparision.

Too, Vedanta is not a philosophy, which is largely a body of thought, speculative in nature and scope. We have, in any case, not had a philosopher proper in our midst since a couple of centuries now, while humanity has chosen to lay more and more of its lot with science that, in turn, is increasingly focused on areas having application in commerce and technology, with a promise of return on investment. Historically, it does seem that the natural philosophies and principia of yore morphed into the starker, more hard core, scientific treatises of modern times. Today, the only notable ‘ philosophers ‘ we still find occasionally on the horizon are all men of science !

The degree of truth is measured in terms of unmanifest cosmic drives it signifies and the manifest effects it engenders. Its hierarchy orients in the inverse, from the expressed to the subtle, and corresponds to the extent of its real equivalence and conceptual validity. A truth valid over the longer scale is superior to one that holds true for mere minutes, a particular environment or just one species. In simplistic terms, the one which holds good over the entire time scale, the whole of space and all of being, is termed the Supreme Truth.

Whilst Vedanta mentions truths of various kinds in passing, it lays at the very outset its primary focus : the Supreme Truth, its nature and facts, its meaning to man, especially the means and ways for an individual to realise and attain it. It would be clarifying to remember that the truth spoken of in the context of Vedanta is not the opposite of ‘ lie.’ A lie is a dream-like human construct, a creative representation of truth, a fact of the moment that gets contradicted in time. Conversely all truths, other than the Supreme, are illusory in comparison. Higher the truth, the more inclusive it is; and everything it includes are its expression, even if they are in apparent conflict with each other.

Truth is existence and the Supreme Truth is existence infinite. Humans sense the consciousness in their own very existence, and universally in all living and semi-living beings. The same consciousness is sensed or observed to configure itself to different forms of knowledge, identities, ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings, organs and bodies. The difference among these forms lies in their capacity to reflect upon itself and animate the body with their will. In other words, the ‘formed’ knowledge could be fixed or programmed, instinctual but aware, or reflective and with a measure of control over its adjuncts, depending upon the intellectual and mental-vital endowment of the being. Besides, it is sensed that every form of being, animate and inanimate, comes to be on account of convergence of several pre-existing inputs and much energised cooperation at very specific actuated processes respective to manifestation of each form of being. The science we glean of it is the knowledge that pre-exists its discovery.

Vedic ancients hence appended their understanding of the Supreme Truth and described it as ” existence – consciousness – infinite ” or ” existence – knowledge – infinite.” They address the more universal and particular forms of beings anthropologically, but never without the sense of the infinite behind them. Further, in the phenomenal realm, a universal desire and pursuit for happiness, that is, for freedom from need, pain and want is seen to characterise all animals, including man. The same desire was projected and is now proven in plants All human motives, drives and actions are aimed at having happiness in some form or another – satisfaction, pleasure, joy, delight, fulfillment, contentment or peace. The descriptor for the Supreme Truth was thus modified to include this manifest aspect innate in existence; hence : Existence – Consciousness – Bliss – Infinite.

Vedanta suggests that whilst phenomenal truths, finite in their extention, having qualities but limited validity or lifetime, can be observed, studied and contemplated upon objectively and known, obtained or attained, the Supreme Truth is not an object accessible to our senses and mind. If it helps, we may go back to the facts at the origin : one, all truths are superceded in time; and, two, the Supreme Truth alone remains beyond the limits of form and space, and is transcendent of the of time and its effects. In other words, if we were to negate all forms in our vision, all emotions in our experience, all thoughts in our mind, all finite knowledge in our intellect including that of our own self… our own very consciousness would be subsumed in the Supreme Truth, since that alone is not superceded.

Traditions since antiquity admit of all manner of ways of ” uniting ” with the Supreme Truth. Very broadly, it spells the perspective to human needs, goals and endeavour within which such an exercise could be pursued : ethics and moral strength, livelihood and material abundance, sexual and sensory fulfillment, and liberation from all past impressions, present desires and future wants… which “liberation” subsumes in union with the Supreme Truth, the summum bonum. It allows for exceptions from the order or hierarchy of the nature of purposeful exertion, depending upon one’s moral excellence, freedom from sensory desire and focused drive to wipe the inner universe clean in order to maximise conditions for ultimate subsumption.

Journal : Thoughts In Homage …

This day completes 150th year of Swami Vivekananda‘s advent – the Vedanta incarnate.

There isn’t much I have to say that isn’t already available online. I feel less of fervour than the light I merged in through following it from long afar, though I retain the simple verve he himself lived in his last days … of cooking for the poor who came to labour at the Belur Math project site, offering to them a glass of water and feeling blessed, sitting with them and shedding tears flowing in empathy from his universe-wide heart.

But I will recall a couple of his summarising thought …

He was an advocate of religion, for the universal human values it provides to us through our growing up years, when we are not yet capable of raising a values-perspective of our own, when our morals are yet unformed and we have yet not instituted a light bright enough within ourselves to guide our ethical conduct.

But his advocacy of religion was far from being absolute. In fact, he suggested that it was better we remained atheists than accept anything, any thought, without our questioning, without subjecting it to our reason. And, most famously, he declared : It was good to be born in religion but terrible, terrible ti die in one.

Again, he would advise our young to grow strong in body and mind than give themselves to studying religious texts. Football was a favoured sport. To all, he would exhort them to attend to their call of duty, to family and society, but even that was tempered with an opposite : ” Fools burn in the scortching sun of duty …” The value of introspective leisure was always paramount.

Lastly, ever so softly but glowing brilliantly, he says : ” If you are untouched by selfish ways, in thought and conduct, you need not read a word of the what the world of religious texts have to offer.”

Mother of all poisons negating the best of human endeavours… is selfishness. So said #Vivekananda. Capitalism relegates it to the church. In response, my best of online friend, Basudeb Sen, says, ” Socialism and Communisism do not delegate but internalises selfishness among the rulers who enjoy all the powers of the State / society. Democracy camouflages selfishness in numbers. No one knows how to use the poison of selfishness into a potion of love, care and non-interfering liberty.”

To which, I wrote :

The Sanatan Dharma … had found a way, and it is clear that a vast unselfish population including teachers, sadhus, recluses, judges, socio-political governing institutions, householders, govt and business advisors, and students … co-existed with the selfish verticals, keeping the latter in check.

The unselfish values are still publicly espoused values in society and politics … but largely in words, not lived in character. We still speak of the “good.” Our morals and ethics are still formally defined in unselfish terms. We still win elections through raising slogans of public good … but informally, in practice, as we think and live, we have legalised the selfish ways, instituted our business and economy in unbridled selfishness of our lowest common denominating standards, and actually teach and advise how to profit ourselves through making use of such social, political, legal and economic laxities.

Untill now, we find ourselves in such polluted and poisonous waste that we do not know how to extricate ourselves ourselves out of it, pull ourselves back to honest living, sustainable ways, empathetic hearts, reasonable intellects and happy relationships.

*  *  *

Abundant responses to my call of SOCIAL MEDIA CITIZEN INITIATIVE

have been personal, quite as its origin was : in my personal desire to meet people, my contemporaries, who I value. They all have refrained from going public … on the Google-doc I had published.

We will work on how best we would coordinate for an evening of warmth in the days ahead, at a suitable venue in Delhi.

Keep in touch, my friends !

Wishing you the best …

vamadevananda –

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

IV             Whom The Way Calls

In common with every other perception, experience and knowledge, the way to truth surfaces within ourself. The witness in object–subject relatedness is forever between the fact in our eye, the meaning in our perception and the knowledge with ourself, including of our own self at the foundation of our subjectivity. 

In setting ourselves up on the way to truth, we shall have to exclude much, nearly everything, and all ultimately. This work therefore does away with jargons common in religious texts, and most certainly their fervour and calls on faith, though not the values or knowledge they signify in a philosophical or spiritual discourse. This work is about us, our being as we are and as it resonates with us. If we are a creation, and only the vain or absolutely knowledgeable amongst us will aver that we are not, there is an urgent need to discover its universal matters of fact.

Each one of us is in a material environment, with a body that is wondrously formed – a marvelously organised physiological system. It works excellently without our intervention, very predictably if watered and fuelled timely, adequately and appropriately. It signals for its needs from time to time, for particular cares necessary on account of environmental factors, and warns us of its misuse, activating alarms when stretched too far and even scaring us into mending our abusive ways. And if we let it be, not deny it of rest and sleep, it diagnoses its problems to correct, undo, regrow and recover by itself.

But however dire, immediate and wholly intimate it feels, our body is only as it serves us to mutually survive and a mere means for adults to use it as they choose. Sure, we deliberately dress it up to impress or time its presence to surprise others, who look upon it as we are in their perception, what we mean and how they deem. All men and, as I hear, some women too, know how beautiful the fairer gender can seem. We all have a story or two to tell about the powerful impact of their inviting curves, mesmerising countenance or awesome proportion. But mostly it soon clarifies and we begin to look beyond the body before us, at the person behind or within it… at the one who is thinking and opining, emoting or touching, setting the deal or laying the trap for us ! 

Not everyone is a human soul; not yet, though every person has a line to one. Most of us are animals without their nakedness, which is both an advance and the first lie we tell ourselves, and project to others. The religion we subscribe to is for afterwards – to confess and feel awashed for a new day of lust and greed, apathy and lies. In Islam, the communal faith confers celestial merit and heavenly rewards for what, in the eyes of you and I, is inhuman behaviour and subhuman conduct. We are informed that it is growing the fastest ! Clearly, being with a normal human body, most of us are not wanting in intelligence; but it is through developing the intellect, equipping it with universal human values, that we characterise ourselves with humanity. Fostered in an environment of entrenched feudal power structures, equally common in rigorously instituted religious societies and in those with extreme Gini index, it is our intellectual blindness that arrests our spiritual evolution to universal values, individual liberty and creative freedom.

I really am not sure how far the truths laid out in these pages would resonate with the beast within us. But there are many who are prone to be content and happy, even if disadvantaged or less fortunate than those around. They might be hounded into moral fatigue or failure on occasions but, by nature, are courageous enough to follow their calls of conscience in utter honesty and truth. Their ethics is their life and covetousness has no place in it, though they might not be entirely free of envy. It is these individuals, I trust, who would have the patience, love and the pure drive for the quest of truth. Likely, I believe, they would have the richness of experience that living against our animal propensities invariably fetch us, and the internal instrument to intuit the facts of spirit, as opposed to those of matter. They would sense the sinister in propaganda, however socially acceptable, and self – promotion would be beyond the pale of their own instinctual priority. Though not ashamed, they would be aware of unhappy consequences of unchecked lustful impulses, and of those easy inner processes which lead us to greed. They would value facts, liberty and truth, and constantly initiate to add, examine, change or modify their own views and perspective. They would be happiest leading clean, honest lives, being monogamous in their affection, nurturing moral and ethical values in their progeny, extending their love to beings and having a ready regard for life everywhere.

It is for them that I have the pleasure of writing these essays. But that is only to give me a start. There is no one who cannot arise, raise himself here and now, and step up to gain from these truths I have availed from my glimpses of Vedanta.