Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't trust your mind

I once read a story of a man who, after many days of travel, came to rest under a wish fulfilling tree. The man was tired and thought "The shade and breeze here is perfect and soothing. I wish I had a bed to lie down and rest awhile." Immediately in front of him stood a sturdy bed and soft pillows.

The man was taken aback. He did not know what happened. Confused but happy, he lay down on the bed. Then he mused "I wish I had some people to massage my tired feet." Soon enough, there appeared a couple of people who began pressing his tired legs and helping him relax.

Now, the man thought "Oh, this is great. I wish I had some nice food and drinks to refresh myself." No sooner had he thought of this, there appeared before him a table laden with the choicest of food and drinks. He had his fill with great relish and soon fell asleep.

After a while, he woke up and said to himself "This place is secluded and lonely. What if a hungry man eating tiger comes here?" And that was the end of the man and the story.

Our minds are very strange and seldom in our control. It moves from one thought to another. If at all we share with others all that we think, we will all be branded as insane or lunatics. Such is the kind of fantasies that each of us imagine. Our thoughts are uncontrollably shaped by our moods, our immediate surroundings etc. Moreover, our thinking is shaped by our individual learning and experiences. What we hold as a firm view gets changed based on new learning and exposures. Yesterday, I was sure about something, but today I am not so sure.

Under such circumstances, can we really depend upon and trust our own minds? If anyone says he can trust his mind, he is either supernatural or stupid. We need to have the humility to accept that we have limited knowledge and be honest in admitting that our minds are not in our control. If we choose to go by our own instincts and thinking, we might end up in the wrong path.

We should seek people who have the wealth of real knowledge and who have mastered their minds to guide us. These are the real Gurus who serve as the light houses showing us the right path.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adam & Eve - The original story

Most of us who have exposure to modern education know of the story of Adam and Eve. How many of us know that this story is in fact an adaptation of the original story found in Hindu scriptures? I myself learnt this not very long ago and wish to share this with you. I give below the original Hindu story.

Originally, this was not a story but an illustration to teach on the fundamental philosophy of Hinduism. The illustration refers to Atma (Adam) or Universal soul and Jeeva (Eve) or life as two birds sitting on the same Peepul (Apple) or Fig tree which symbolises the body.

The Jeeva identifies itself with the body and enjoys the fruits of the tree in the form of pain or joy which are the effects of past sins or virtues. The Atma, which is as aspect of the Lord, is beyond this and hence is only an observer and not a participant.

Hindu philosophy tries to draw a distinction between the body and the soul. It tries to teach that while we dwell in the body, we are not the body. We continue to exist even if much of the body parts are lost in some accident. The question "who am I?" if taken to its logical conclusion tells us that "I" am an entity distinct and different from my body.

An enlightened person is one who realises this and does not identify with the body. She is therefore able to handle the differences like joy / pain, honour / dishonour etc. with equanimity.

This illustration is given to seekers of true knowledge in order to show them a way of living life. When one becomes aware of the difference between the body which is transient and temporary in nature and life which is eternal, one starts becoming more balanced and matured in ones approach. Ups and downs in life become easier to bear. The essential inequality among different people / beings begin to disappear and dissolve. One starts become more dispassionate, compassionate and selfless.

One becomes ready for spiritual salvation or Moksh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The perfect life-partner

One of the reasons why all of us choose life-partners (LP) is because we feel incomplete. We feel that if we have a LP our cup of joy will overflow and we will find the bliss and the peace that we seek. All of us also want a perfect LP- perfect in all senses of the world. Someone who is fun to be with, someone who is good looking, someone who shares our philosophy, someone who is healthy and has good habits, someone with whom we can be ourselves etc. etc.

We therefore choose our LP with a lot of expectations and, alas, we soon discover that our LP is not as perfect as we thought or sought. We start noticing little and subtle differences and over time these can lead to major differences. Even if one does stay together, the feeling of incompleteness remains. Some people then begin to stray or drifting apart or even start looking around.

Actually, our minds are fickle - what seems good at one moment seems poor at another moment, only because the circumstances or our expectations have changed for e.g. when it is hot and sultry, we enjoy a good downpour but we start hating the same downpour if it comes in the way of our outing.

Most of the imperfections that we see are due to our own imperfections and inability to accept reality. If we are a type who sees the negatives more than the positive, we are bound to have disappointments with our LP. Instead, we should focus on the brighter aspects of our LP and ignore everything else.

Life is a mirror. It is like an echo which returns whatever we send forth. If we smile at others they smile back. If we are the silent types, people stop making conversation with us. We should therefore focus on changing ourselves to see a positive impact on our LP.

We should realise that no one is perfect. Life is all about accepting the imperfections and adjusting with it and enjoying it.

If at all we are really seeking the perfect LP, we should choose the Lord Almighty as the LP. The very definition of the Lord is that He is perfect in all respects. In terms of physical attributes, He is the most attractive. In terms of talent or knowledge, no one can beat Him. In strength, He is all powerful. He has no ego. He has no expectations from us and accepts us as we are. Moreover, He is permanent and always with us.

Our lives would become fulfilled if we choose to have Him as our life-partner.