Friday, January 29, 2010

Ancient Wisdom

The scriptures of any culture are the treasure of history of that culture. They give great insight into the nature of that culture in ancient times. They are the treasure of ancient wisdom of that culture. They could be the stepping stone for our own inner evolution, if we understand and see the purpose of those scriptures. Most of these scriptures poetically elaborate the inward movement of that culture. If we like to use and benefit from those scriptures, we must understand the structure of them. We must also understand our current level of inner movement and at what level the scriptures fit into our inner movement. Unless we understand these basic things and apply them appropriately, those scriptures will be like any other story or myth.

Unfortunately in these days, probably starting from last few hundred years, an undue sacredness is attached to these scriptures. Of course, they are sacred texts if we know its position in our inward movement. If not, for sure, they are just like any other mythical texts. These texts just reserve the importance and respect of any tool used for certain purpose. When the purpose is achieved there is no need for the tool and the tool will be a burden for further journey. If we don’t understand this and start giving far more importance to the tool than the purpose, we can never reach the purpose instead we will compromise on purpose due to our urge to protect the tool.

Those who established themselves firmly in their inward journey must already know this for sure. But for those who are just starting their inward journey may divert from their path due to the noise created and spread across by illusionary and distracted minds about the sacredness of these scriptures and their conditioned ideas about the need to protect these scriptures from invaders. Due to high decibel noise of media on these days and their urge on commerialisation of anything saleable, these loud noises are easily reaching every one and invoking the sentiments of beginners of inner journey. Unless these types of sentiments are not transcended they can not continue the real inward journey.

In this Indian culture, so much of wisdom spread across the length and breadth, but we are unable to take it in the right context and we are not able to capitalize the great opportunity available for us to evolve further. The fact is that we should have our own wisdom to discriminate and get the scriptures which can supplement our inward journey with respect to our current positioning in inward journey.

Another aspect of this ancient wisdom is that almost all of them are poetic in nature. With respect to Indian culture, most of the scriptures are in Sanskrit, which is supposed to be a subtle language. As a common person or beginner of inward journey, we may not be able to understand the subtle meaning of these scriptures. Here is where we encounter real problem. We need to rely entirely on the commentators of these scriptures. It is the only option almost all the beginners of inward journey are having.

The scriptures must be expressed by saints who experienced the truth. As the experience of truth must be much beyond regular life experiences, there can not be any words in any languages to express the truth. Hence the truth can be expressed by poetic expression only. By definition, poetry is one which allows the listener to enter into a world of his own imagination by providing some leads on the subject, keeping remaining part as subtle and leaving for the imagination of reader/listener. The reader/listener of poetry has to imagine the expression of poetry based on limitation of imaginative power of individuals on the subject of that poetry. It never expresses the subject in a straight forward way. And the truth can not be expressed in straight forward manner as it is not like the regular worldly experiences and hence words are not available in any languages to express it in a straight forward manner.

Like poetry, our scriptures also have to be interpreted to get the subtle meaning. Here is the problem. We do not understand the language in which the scriptures are expressed. Hence we can not use our imagination power to understand the experience of what is expressed in scriptures and have to depend on commentators of those scriptures. Who ever interpreted the scriptures expressed it based on their worldly experience and related imagination power. Hence we do not know, what is expressed by the commentator is same as the subtle meaning imposed on that original scripture. This is where we need to have our own wisdom.

For example, recently I came across the Sanskrit word “Aagama”. In general, the meaning of this word in the context used there is expressed as knowledge gained from ancient scriptures, teachers and learned people. This is the meaning we hear in general for this word. Another meaning stated by another commentator was that it is the knowledge we have when we born, which is the knowledge we inherited at our birth. Our brain already has the knowledge of past within it, when we born. Now which one I consider as the real meaning of the word “Aagama”. If I never encountered the second meaning expressed above, I have to accept the widely propagated first meaning and hence have to handle the conflicts arises within me due to the illogicality of this meaning within the context of few other verses and hence the conflict between this verses of scripture and other verses.

The point here is that not that the first meaning is wrong and second one is correct or vice versa. But it is based on the imagination and the expression of that commentator only we are getting the explanation of that scripture. Unless we understand this constraint and then try to understand the scripture, the possibility is that we never ever learn the scriptures in its true sense, but live in an illusionary pride that we have learned the scriptures. This pride itself is sufficient to completely wipe away us from the path of inward travel.

Another example is that there are innumerable commentaries available for Baghavad Gita. If we read few of them, the chances are that 50% of them are expressed with dualistic concept and 50% of them are expressed in non-dualistic concept. Hence, if a reader of these commentaries is not using his/her wisdom, he/she can never understand the meaning of real Baghavad Gita. Instead only the conditioning or belief system or idea of the commentator alone can be understood and which will be taken as the conten of Baghavad Gita.

The point is that we have to approach the treasure of our ancient wisdom only with a sense of openness, non-identification with that wisdom and with the capacity to leave them behind and move forward when we are ready to do so. In this case, they are truly ancient wisdom. If not they are also like any other junk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Self Identity

For some reason, we tend to strive for self identification. This may be to fill the emptiness which we are unable to live with due to many self-developed reasons. Most of these identifications are with the qualities we believe as we are having. It may be like I am a kind person, I am an angry person, I am a person of integrity, and so on. We also start identifying with objects and persons, which we believe as we are possessing. I am the owner of this house, I am the leader/member of this team, I am this nationality, I belong to this community, I belong to this culture, and so on.

The sense of pride is the driving force for these identifications. In cases, when we are unable to get identifications which cannot provide any sense of pride, we may tend to identify ourselves with some negative aspects thru’ which we may try to establish an image of some sort of self importance.

Once we establish some identity, we have the urge to sustain that identity. Here the conflicts start arising – Another way for building conflicts within us. In some cases, the very identity itself brings in conflicts with it. If we can understand the mechanism of self identity we may probably understand the worth/worthlessness of self identity. If we find it is worthlessness, probably we may be able to live without having any urge for self identity and the struggle for sustaining it. If we find it is worthy, possibly we can find a method to have self identity, yet untouched by the conflicts.

Possibly our urge for self identification is genetically transferred to us; for our basic survival some sort of self identification may be required – for example to identify the needs and dangers we may need some identification about ourselves. The food we earned the shelter we earned, the money we earned, the job we do, and so on. But when it enters into the psychological level it starts giving problems – it has already entered into psychological level.

Pride and feeling of security must be the factors fueling the desire for self identification. I want to be this and I want to be that are probably due to desire of pride and I need to be this and I need to be that are due to the desire of security.

In one aspect, while we identify ourselves with something, we generally consider just the positive aspect of that thing which we identify ourselves with. This is one of the serious reasons for the conflicts arising due to identifications. For example, when we identify ourselves with certain culture, we generally quote the positive aspects of that culture only. We break the object of identification into pieces and pick up few of those pieces which are suitable for the pride to be obtained from that identification. We just ignore all other pieces of that subject of identification. In our desire for the feeling of pride with the identification, we forget that the identification is complete only when we identify ourselves with the subject as a whole. In any culture there were many scholars and sages at the same time there were many, many ignorant ones. In any culture, there were admirable quality and at the same time there were distrusted qualities as we witness today. When we identify ourselves with the culture, invariably we select the fragment which has only the scholars and sages and consider them as our ancestors. But we fail to recognize the ignorant people of those times in that culture are also our ancestors.

Here is the source of conflict. We tend to believe that the culture we belong was full of scholars and sages and it is we who are ignorant. But the fact remains that there were ignorant people in those days as the culture has it today. Also the culture has scholars and sages today as it had in the past. Due to this basic problem in understanding the reality, we compare the ignorant of today with the sages of those days. With this unmatched comparison, there is no possibility to avoid conflicts with respect to such identification. Probably we are indifferent to such conflicts due to the “thick skin” we got due to our lifestyle.

The problem of identification is almost same as explained above. All our identification limits with only the positive aspect of the subject with which we are identifying ourselves. This is due to the fact that we have immense urge to identify ourselves with something to keep ourselves psychologically alive.

If we identify ourselves with the whole being of the subject of identification, that will be entirely different from the fragmented identification explained above. Such an identification may carry us to a different dimension of perception altogether. At such level of identification, there cannot be any sense of pride. Such identification cannot be due to our desire to be pride or secured. This is because we are identifying ourselves with the whole being of that subject, including the positive, negative, good, and bad qualities of the subject of identification. Under such identification, there cannot be the sense of either proud or shame. At such level of identification, there will not be any conflicts with in us and hence all our actions will be free from conflicts. It will be pure action.

With a fragmented identification, such a level of pure action will be just in our imagination. We may follow any idea, any guru, and any religion, perform any rituals – But the fact remains that we are identified with the fragments of what we are following. For example, when we are follower of a Guru and if some one talks bad about that Guru, the most probable reaction may be loosing our temper. This is the same with our ideas, our religion, and our rituals with which we are identified ourselves. The reason is that we fragment those ideas and then identify ourselves with that idea which is more suitable for our self identification and sustaining that identification. We never try to see the truth or the wholeness of the thing which we identify ourselves. When we completely identify ourselves completely with the subject, we know the truth of it, wholeness of it. At that level of understanding there will not be any reaction with in us. There will be only pure action.

And if we can be away from any sort of identification, that may take us to another dimension of perception. When we have no urge to be identified with anything, a vast amount of our energy is saved. This is because there is no struggle with in us to feel proud, to sustain the feeling of proud. Hence naturally there will not be any conflicts within us and as a result all our energy available for useful purpose than solving our conflicts.

Friday, January 15, 2010


For most of us, the life has become ritualistic. We perform many rituals; without even knowing the purpose and meaning of those rituals, but pretend as we know them. We create some opinion within us about rituals and then think that opinion as our knowledge about rituals. We fail to recognize that such knowledge is illusionary and hence there is no meaning for those rituals we are performing, what so ever it be.

And for many of us, spirituality means performing some rituals. Most of those rituals are handed over to us from our parents and few of them we developed ourselves and few of them we modified for our convenience.

Have we ever thought about for what are we doing these rituals? This question is not to provide answer for anybody else, but for ourselves. If we ever asked this question ourselves, for sure we might have at least started to find out the answer, if not already found the answer. If we really have the urge to find an answer for this question, we must set aside the beliefs, opinions, knowledge handed over by somebody else etc. If we are not setting aside these things away from us, we will find an immediate answer for this question, which is already in our memory and for sure that answer will definitely sustain our action, in this case, support our rituals.

Are we doing the rituals for mere satisfaction or self gratification? If so, is it not a mere illusionary satisfaction? Why do we need such illusionary satisfaction? Is it because, we are afraid of facing reality? Whether we are afraid or not we have to face the reality. When it is so, why do we face the reality with a fear and hiding the fear behind the rituals? If these are not the reasons for our rituals, are we expressing our thanks to the Supreme Being by way of rituals? Why should we express our thanks to the Supreme Being? Any way we are expressing our thanks to the Supreme Being, if such thing is there, by way of living our life…. By way of supporting other life forms in this earth… the other life forms created by the same Supreme Being. why should we express our thanks by means of rituals, where we fail to live our life given by the supreme being… destroying the other life forms and destroying the anchor for sustaining our life and other life forms…., who is going to accept our expression of thanks by way of rituals, when we are trying to defeat the very source of existence? Are we able to perceive the rituals and its effects – not the illusionary effect, in our living? If not- that is the most probable answer, for what other purpose are we performing those rituals?

Please be understand that the above questions are not asked against rituals and supporting the argument against rituals. It is just to understand the need for being with the rituals, if at all we are performing any rituals. If we are being with what we are doing, they are no more rituals. In such case they are our way of life, meaning we are having complete integrity with our actions and our perceptions. When such thing happens, it is no more ritualistic action. It becomes our life. But are we in such a state. If we are performing the rituals for thanks giving, all our actions should be in that direction. We will not be wasting any thing which is in this earth for the support of something else. We use anything to the extent we need it and leave the rest for others to use. The same way we readily offer ourselves to use for the need of something else or somebody else (Does not mean anybody can use us for any purpose. It is a subtle statement). Such a state is possible only when one is with pure Love.

Are we having such a state of Love or are we having any intention to have such a state of Love? If not, all our rituals are just rituals and not our life. We are not having the perception of such rituals and hence they are meaningless. For majority of the population, the rituals are for pure self interest, probably with the warping of God or Spirituality over it. Hence, there is no use out of that except an illusionary satisfaction, an illusionary psychological security.

Probably, the Indian culture may say the rituals are based on Vedas, the scriptures of Indian culture. If we see the evolution of Vedas, only the earlier parts of Vedas are talking about rituals. The Vedas in the later part of time line moved from rituals to freedom. When the fact itself is that Vedas evolved gradually from rituals to complete freedom, why should we still be bonded with the ritualistic part of Vedas. Why don’t we move to the evolved part of Vedas? And the Vedas are aged more than seven thousands years. If we consider 40 years as one generation, we are 175 generations ahead of the age of Vedas. With such a long generation gap, we should have been evolved much, much deeper level and in fact Vedas must be very preliminary scriptures for us. Indeed it happened until about few hundred years ago. Our culture supported the evolution of so many philosophies, which support the entity of God as well as rejecting the entity of God. All of them were taking the humanity closer to reality in different angles. But, now we are dragged to nowhere and we have lost the advantage of evolution of 175 generations.

Why is it so? If we really enquire it into it we may be able to find out an answer. Probably we will be able to get back to the right track in the evolution journey. In that journey, the rituals of today may become a part - not as rituals but as our life, the way of living. What we need is just the urge to find out! And the urge to have a life of integrity!