Spirituality

Genesis of Conflict and the Spiritual Journey

The Vedas contain four "mahavakyas" – or the four great statements. They follow the evolution of spiritual thought:

  1. Prajanam Brahma: Consciousness is Infinity, the absolute, the highest truth
  2. Aham Brahmasmi: I am the Infinite
  3. Tat Tvam Asi: Thou art That
  4. Ayam Atma Brahma: The Self is the Infinite

The last Mahavakya abandoned all references to I or You. It instead took a third person reference. A detached view.

Parokshanubhuti – is the term used in the Vedas for Objective Experience. Paroksh means objective or obvious. Anubhuti is experience , where "Bhuti" in Anubhuti means "from the past"!

Experience, Krishnamurthi therefore rightly says, is the response to a challenge – based on a past baggage. When you see something, and you use your prior knowledge to "feel" or "meet" it, then it becomes an experience. For, if you had never known me and saw me, would you experience our meeting? Do you "meet" (or have Anubhuti of) all of the thousands when you descend on the Grand Central station in NY or the Rajiv Chowk Metro station in New Delhi?

Experience would, then, only occur when you "knew" the experienced! That is why, according to Krishnamurthi, the basis of experience lies in past knowledge. So, can experience bring anything new? In other words, can you experience Truth? If you knew it already and are still searching, then how can it be the Truth? Put another way, how would you "know" the Truth if you "met" it?

Many get onto the journey of Spirituality seeking Truth with a passion befitting a craving. The stronger the attachment to "experience" God, the better disciple one sees himself as! This attachment has an ego, which leads to various emotions like anger, unhappiness, pride, dejection, and sorrow or momentary happiness. On the other hand, another person goes in search of enjoyment driven by lust and is also met with the same emotions. Then how is the journey of a spiritual seeker any different from one who is a seeker of lust?

Says a Tamil verse:

Asai Arumin… Asai Arumin
Isanodayinum Asai Arumin

Cut down all these cravings. Even the Craving to be One with God, Cut it down

Now, we need to understand as to why we would crave for an experience of "God". Ostensibly, we are told – and hope – that it will make us give us happiness beyond imagination. But what is the instinct to look for happiness? It is nothing more than the instinct to escape sorrow and conflict.

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But how is that endeavour any different from a person who wants to experience happiness from sex with a new woman every day? He wants to escape sorrow or conflict too!

It is after all about me. How does the "me" get to be in a better state, isnt it?

Does moving to emotion B give one the freedom from emotion A? Or would it come from freedom from all emotions? But emotions are a direct consequence of conflict and relationship.

If we look at the larger wars of the world, they can clearly be traced to some conflict of ideology and identity. The "battles" at the micro level, however, are difficult to pin to a conflict. Least of all to the issue of identity.

Suppose you were to go to a deep forest and meet someone who had never seen anyone else. What would you ask that person? "Who are you" Isnt it?

That question is the seed of conflict! You have established an identity for yourself – a constant – and based on that, are now trying to place another person. It is like arbitrarily creating a line on water and then trying to draw another line to know the distance between the two imaginary lines.

Implicit in the above question is the assertion that "me" is known! This assertion is nothing but a belief! A belief just as the belief about Ram or Jesus or Mohammad. It is an imaginary constant that we create and measure the world with respect to that artificial creation. The conflict arises not from the reply to the question of "Who are you?" but from the genesis of that question itself! How I perceive myself decides my reaction to the other. If I had no perception or belief of myself, there would be no conflict.

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How is this journey to freedom best handled?

The Vedas describe three types of disciples:

Uttamadhikari: (best disciple) – they are to be instructed, it is said, in silence with very few words that can set them free of all remaining cravings.

Madhyamadhikari (Mediocre disciple) – They are given elaborate instruction on how to get rid of the cravings of mind.

Adhamadhikari (Dull disciple) – these types of disciples are given an elaborate set of rituals and rites and instructed through easy to understand stories that provide illustration from everyday life.

Now, look around at all the religious instruction and the so-called Gurus. It is interesting that the entire religious establishment of the world has assumed all followers to be the lowest form of disciples who are best instructed through rituals and stories!

… and the followers do not disappoint either!

Interestingly, Vedanta is often defined as the "End of Knowledge" – often meant as there is no more knowledge beyond what is said in Vedas. But knowledge is at best an estimation of the truth.. for it is the reaction of the observer to the observed. Knowledge, therefore, has an inherent element of ego of the observer embedded. For, if there is no observer, there is no observed.. and nothing to "know"! So, what will knowledge do for one.. even if it is the ENTIRE "possible" knowledge that can be written or told? Create an attachment to the observed based on YOUR version of "truth"!

Is Vedanta, therefore, the End of All Acquirable Knowledge or the End of the Acquisition of All Knowledge?

And really speaking …. the Freedom from All Knowledge!

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh – the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and “drishtikone”.

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