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.

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