We have travelled the wrong path


Societies have traditionally tried to coexist with nature, harnessing the huge benefits, and coping with the hazards. Simultaneously it has also tried to look at the problems of life and devise a way of living that ensures the best. Accordingly it has gifted the knowledge to the next generation whose task is to probe even deeper and come out with better viewpoints. The process of acquiring and refining knowledge about the goal and purpose of life has fascinated civilizations.

Mankind is dependent upon the basic necessities of life. These are needed but they are not the goal. Therefore material possessions have not been the focal point. Rather the sharing of resources was emphasized. Nature has plenty to give and knows how to replenish itself. Man has only to understand and facilitate the process.

Civilizations have been fascinated by the question, "What is the goal of life?". India proposed the answer, "The goal of life is tearing asunder the veil of illusion and realizing ones true nature as the one consciousness behind everything that appears to be manifest." Indian philosophy and thought has centered around this and the probing mind has defined all the steps from the origin of the illusion, its continuity, the cycle of life and death, the right process to adopt to live to the full, and the exit strategy. Life is indeed an illusion but it cannot be negated and it is the instrument to make the most of.

Knowledge is ever present. It needs a process to access. The right knowledge is reflected in the trained pure mind. The mind has therefore a very important role to play. It reflects the world as per its properties. It precedes action. It has the ability to ensure fulfilment and again it is the only cause of anxiety and suffering. The world is imaginary. It is as the mind imagines it to be.

If we want to disturb the world and create suffering all that we need to do is to disturb the mind. If we want stability we need to know how the mind can be trained to become stable even in the midst of the appearance of disturbing images.

The knowledge that the physical existence is temporary and the real existence is the epitome of stability and peace leads to the state where the mind is free from worries and steady. Such a mind is the most prized possession that has the intent and ability to see through the illusion.

Whatever happens cannot affect the real presence. The theater appears real but after the show is over people return home and resume their normal lives. People experience nightmares but then wake up to find they are safe and cared for.

The present world is the exact opposite of what Indian philosophy has proposed. It provides entertainment and instant gratification that disturbs mind the most. It seeks to destroy and modify nature to cater to its intense greed. It feels that the goal of life is to have the maximum of money and physical possessions and that every rule can be broken to achieve it. In the process it destroys the very fabric of life.

The present disturbances we see in the world is an indication of the effects of such thinking. While wealth has accumulated the mind is at its lowest ebb. We should wonder whether we should be proud of our achievements or seek the path that has been ours till the madness took over.