Monday, June 11, 2012
Have we ever wondered why what is happening to us is taking place? Why is it that we meet people or come across situations or things in our lives? Why is it that what we have been looking or searching for either appears or life gives us a clue to find it? It is actually not so difficult to understand if only we stopped to consider the great concept of the grand design of the Creator. This entire Universe has been created (and is being created every minute) for the purpose of taking all of us, which includes everything that exists in this Universe, to a higher level of existence, towards a further stage of evolution. Our Universe is expanding as seers of yore have always maintained and scientists too tell us now. Life is, therefore a dynamic process. Every being, whether living or non living plays its part and complements everything else in this Universe. To comprehend this we have to be very clear that everything in this vast Universe is interconnected, and everyone or everything is in some way or the other contributing to the functioning of another. All events, circumstances or meetings are part of this process. When meeting someone , we come in contact with his thoughts, which connect us to his relatives and acquaintances and he in turn connects with ours’ in the same way. The conversations we have with each other, in some way or the other affect or contribute to our development. This way a single meeting connects us with so many people. The air we inhale has been exhaled by someone else, the air we exhale is inhaled by another being and the process goes on, the food we eat has received contributions from many quarters. My feelings affect someone else’s. It is clear that we cannot live in isolation since interdependency is the rule. Karma, or the Law of Cause and Effect, of course plays an important and unrelenting role. We believe that we take birth based on our karmas and desires. We also know that each one of us has come to this earth for a specific purpose, though, often we do not know what that purpose is, but our subconscious mind and Nature are aware of it. In order to fulfill that, Nature creates situations, circumstances, events or meetings for our upward movement. Everything that happens is a step in that direction, albeit a small one. We must also understand that every thought that originates does so from the Cosmic mind. In a way, depending upon our samskars, which decide our gunas of prakriti, (quality of Nature) whether, Sattvic, (pure/virtous) Rajasic (passion/desires) or Tamasic (inertia/pride/arrogance) and our constitution (Prakriti), the appropriate thought arises. Our prakriti, ie our natural self, is something we are born with. It is based on a lot of factors, like, the thought process of the parents at the time of conception, their doshas or psychobiological constitutions…(Vata, Pitta and Kapha)… their genetic makeup, their emotions etc. Our prakriti, therefore, is our basic software, so to speak, and does not change. It is like the blue print we come armed with to accomplish whatever we have come here to do and is unique to each one of us. Life means action, which takes place continuosly, most of the time unknown to us. Everything must remain in balance. This dynamic universe, by its incessant movement and change maintains that balance. When we remain in conformity with Nature, we progress and evolve. It keeps giving us opportunities in order to do so. These opportunities are in the form of new situations, events and meetings with different types of people because of our connection with Nature. We too are made up of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space, just like Nature is. As mentioned above, our subconscious mind knows what our purpose of life is and incessantly prodds us in the direction of our purpose and Nature responds in the form of what we know as “Maya”. Maya, though commonly accepted to be a delusion, is, simply something which, by its very nature presents to us a myriad of situations, which may attract us, bring grief, bring temporary happiness, problems…but comes with an extremely important message…that all the temptations, grief, hurts, periods of happiness, the ups and downs of life are all a part of duality which pervades the entire Universe. It is, actually an attempt to teach us (repeatedly) that happiness/unhappiness, prosperity/lack of it, success/failure, good health/illness are all part of the grand design and that every such episode will be followed by its opposite in due course of time. In no uncertain terms it tries to make us realize that in order to transcend this duality, we need to get in touch with the One, the Almighty, Brahma, God, or whatever we wish to call Him. In a way, Maya is the covering which needs to be removed to get to Parmatama, like removing the layers of an onion one after the other to get to the core, which is like a void, a void which is Omnipotent, Omniscient…the One. Let us translate this into our day to day life by means of a few examples. You plan very meticulously for a journey, but something crops up and you do not reach the airport on time, and miss your flight….you have no option but to take another one and find a seat next to a person, who “happens” to be associated with an organization dealing with the type of work you had always wanted to work for! This so- called ‘chance’ meeting sets up the stage for your appointment and subsequent business involvement with that organization. It does not stop there…you find that working in that organization enables you to do exactly what you had aspired to do in life. You thus fulfill your life’s story. Nature keeps presenting myriads of similar opportunities everyday…if only we could see through what Maya is up to! Every action or happening can have two meanings, one the “obvious’ one, the “surface” one, so to speak, which is apparent to most people and a deeper meaning which is seen or understood by one’s wisdom. The wise are never deluded. It is the deeper one which we need to understand and take heed of. This can be illustrated by a few more examples. Many years back, while working in a Hospital in Chennai as a Registrar, my older son, suddenly developed an acute attack of Asthma, and I had to hospitalize him in the hospital I was working in at the time and happened to be on duty that night. I looked after him along with all the other patients admitted in the ICU and expected to be relieved of my duties the next morning so that I could take care of him. To my surprise, however, I was called down to the Operation Room and asked to operate on a young boy who had a hole in his heart…that too in front of a few observers who had come down from Delhi. I was a little upset…being tired, having been up the the whole night…tense because of my son, and to add to that, having to operate in the presence of people who would be very critical if I made a mistake. I went ahead, however, and later realized that all this was happening for my good! My boss had purposely asked me to operate in the presence of observers as he wanted them to see my surgical prowess since they had come scouting around for a cardiac surgeon for their upcoming hospital in Delhi. Needless to say, they were impressed and I was appointed in their hospital! My boss had known all along that I had wanted that job. You are walking down the road in a depressed and a very negative mood owing to a set back you faced recently when you pass a book store and a book entitled “Be positive and be happy” catches your eye…..Nature had come to your rescue! Thus, Nature always attempts to teach us to accept everything with equanimity and to make us believe that God will never do anything which is not for our good. We, on our part, need to evaluate why things are happening, try to read the deeper meaning and to act accordingly. If we fail in an exam, instead of blaming the teacher for setting up a difficult question paper, let us understand that our preparation was, perhaps, inadequate. If we miss an appointment for being late, let us learn to be punctual….if someone does not turn up after as per prior appointment, instead of getting upset, let us understand that Nature has other plans for us….when we wrack our brains for a solution to a problem, let us just relax and calm down..Nature might either “show” us the solution or whisper the answer through our intuition. God has given us another wonderful gift, the gift of “free will’. This enables us to use our intelligence and make correct decisions. Whenever confronted with Maya, if we fail to read the message provided and do not use our free will, our progress slows down. Even when we succumb to Maya, after suffering from it, if we use our intelligence we can still comprehend the meaning behind the suffering if we wish to. Again, Maya teaches us to learn from our mistakes and progress. If we still do not understand, Maya will keep giving us more opportunities until we do. Frequent ups and downs indicate to us that we are not learning, so also repeated suffering. Sometimes thoughts of being “incomplete’, disappointments with life, depressive feelings, questions about the purpose of life, lack of enthusiasm etc are all prompting us to seek the source of perpetual happiness and bliss. We need to understand the meaning behind these thoughts…they do not come randomly but are egging us on to seek our progress. To conclude, let us trust Nature, whatever it does is for a purpose, every action, every thought, every development and every meeting is part of the grand design. Let us also understand that things will happen only when they are supposed to happen, never earlier and never latyer. We also make things happen by the nature of our thoughts and by remaining in conformity with Nature.