Don’t take it personally…

Empire State Pigeon

The struggles you go through, the injustice and inefficiencies you see around you, the inconsistencies you find in the character of people, it’s all part of the collective human evolution. Don’t take it personally, don’t be judgmental. Be kind and considerate, be hopeful… do all you can to improve things and solve issues, and sometimes when it’s required to take a strong stance, be strong… but never give in to cynicism.

(Photo by ZeroOne)

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Why fear?

Graceful Morning

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.

— Rumi

(Picture by h.koppdelaney)

Science without conscience is destruction (Bhagavad Gita 2.42 – 2.44)

Flowery speech is uttered by the unwise, who take pleasure in the eulogising words of the Vedas, O Arjuna, saying: “There is nothing else!”

Full of desires, having heaven as their goal, they utter speech which promises birth as the reward of one’s actions, and prescribe various specific actions for the attainment of pleasure and power.

For those who are much attached to pleasure and to power, whose minds are drawn away by such teaching, that determinate faculty is not manifest that is steadily bent on meditation and the state of higher consciousness.

Bhagavad Gita 2.42-44

The ancient Indian religious scripture, the Vedas, is not just about religion and philosophy, it’s a complete manual on living, fully relevant to the civilization at that point of time. In addition to some of the deepest philosophical inquires on the nature of the Self, it has a huge ritualistic portion that prescribes specific rituals to attain specific results, like health, wealth, power, a better afterlife, etc.

The ritualistic portion of religion is helpful, but Self knowledge is essential. Self knowledge and Self-realization enables a person to understand reality and experience the oneness and connectedness of all life, so it’s the real basis of peace and morality. With Self-knowledge, one can apply the rituals in a meaningful way that’s helpful to oneself, helpful to the society and the environment. But without Self-knowledge, there is selfishness and narrow-mindedness, there won’t be right perspective. Without the right perspective, and without the right kind of wisdom, the rituals could be used in a way that’s harmful to the environment, to the society and ultimately prove to be harmful to oneself. Without knowing this, the unwise become so engrossed in materialism and obsessed with the ritualistic religion, they don’t even consider the possibility of Self-realization. To them, pleasures and material achievements is all that is there to live for, at best they think about performing some rituals to attain a more pleasurable afterlife. The wise ones are careful, they give the highest priority to Self-knowledge, Self-realization and spirituality, and use the rituals whenever needed.

We can draw a parallel between this and how we use science and technology in modern era. Scientific understanding of the material world has developed exponentially in the past century and we are able to harness the power of nature in a way that makes our lives simple and easy. Communication across the world has become easy, travel has become easy, finding knowledge has become easy, washing clothes has become easy, there is a device for everything. Nothing wrong with that, such a development is entirely welcome. When used in the right way, it can be very helpful in the evolution of consciousness in a manner that’s harmonious with the environment. But not everything is going the right way. Has our understanding of the material world matched by the understanding of the self? Self-realization, which is the real basis of inner peace and morality, is lacking. Without this kind of real morality we are still a primitive race even though we polish the outside with all kinds of technological gadgets and quote all kinds of scientific theories. And when very powerful technologies go into the hands of people who are still primitive at heart, the result could be destructive. As Eckhart Tolle puts it in his Power of Now, “Humans have learned to split the atom. Instead of killing ten or twenty people with a wooden club, one person can now kill a million just by pushing a button.” He asks, “Is that real change?”

So it’s important that wisdom prevails and we get our priorities right. Self-knowledge and Self-realization is the most important thing. One has to look inside as much as one looks outside. We have to learn to connect with each other and all of life from the level of the heart as much as we connect with each other through phones and internet and Facebook. With the right kind of perspective we can use the rituals and scientific knowledge in a way that’s helpful to ourselves and all life around us.

The entire universe is yours!

Man, made in the divine image, has come on earth to play his role intelligently in the cosmic drama of destiny designed by God. This life is not man’s own show; if he becomes personally and emotionally involved in the very complicated cosmic drama, he reaps inevitable suffering for having distorted the divine “plot.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda in “God Talks with Arjuna”.

We don’t know what caused us to come here on earth, we don’t know where we go in the end, we don’t know how the universe has come into existence. We may or may not believe in God. Yet, somehow all things have perfectly come together to bring us into existence, the chemical reactions, water, the perfect temperature, the perfect gravitational force… somehow, organisms started evolving on this beautiful earth, the sunlight providing life to everything, and the perfect system to assimilate the energies and sustain life, then came the fish and the frog and the monkey and the man.

The System takes care of everything. Our existence as human beings in the universe is tiny. Yet we think that we are the doers of everything. We are anxious to take good care of ourselves (often, at the cost of others). We fight with each other for survival forgetting that in order to survive, the first thing we have to do is to stop fighting with each other. We are just a tiny part of the big plan, our life in the System is for a very very short period, we come and go in a flash. But we entertain our own selfish agendas, petty desires, and behave as if we, with this little bodies, will live forever and even outlive the System! Invariably, the result of such arrogant attitude is suffering and misery for ourselves.

Then what is the way? How to live? The way is to stop identifying ourselves exclusively with this tiny body-mind complex and recognize that we are part of the System. This tiny body-mind will perish, but the System will survive. When we learn to recognize how beautifully the System has brought us into existence and sustains us, how lovingly the System takes care of us like a mother taking care of her baby, when we recognize how harmoniously our lives are interwoven with the life of the System and dissolve our narrow, selfish plans into the big plan and correctly recognize our part in the big plan, life becomes ever so graceful, ever so harmonious, ever so beautiful! Then we are no more separate from the System, we are no more part of the system, we become the System. In fact, we are the System.

The entire universe is one whole; and, when someone drops their holding onto limited boundaries, then what they gain is the entire universe.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar