We have a question from Anonymous
We have heard about sages and gurus talking about astral worlds and things beyond touch, feel and senses. How does a common man feel or realize even if it is for a bit, something that is uncommon and not present in this world of objects ? Is it even possible?
It greatly depends on how that specific subject views, understands and interacts with the world around him. It is the “Gaze” that determines what his world is.
You are probably reading this article on a computer or mobile screen. You think that it is a computer or a mobile. But your pet dog will think that you are sitting in front of an object and hitting something for fun. That animal will think you are either mad or you have a toy with which you play once in a while.
Put yourself in that pet’s shoes. Think about what he could be thinking when you sit in front of a computer. Or read a book. Or play a musical instrument.
You have definitions – that you are reading a book, playing a musical instrument, or working in front of a computer. But that dog has no such definitions. These things does not exist in his thinking dictionary. He draws the inference that you are mad, doing something completely pointless.
The dog cannot even imagine that you are using a book to entertain yourself. So there is something that exists beyond the scope of his touch, feel and senses. There are an infinite number of things that exists beyond his understanding, which you can do but he can’t.
The same is applicable to you my friend.
There are things which you can never imagine, relate or even Understand
It is because your gaze is limited. You can see but your sight is myopic. You cannot look into the vast universe, discover things and understand them. What you see is a limited view of the world around you.
The only way to see, understand and interact with the unknown is to expand the gaze.
And how do you expand the gaze? You expand the gaze through thoughts, knowledge, wisdom, experiences and meditation. You expand the gaze by making your thoughts pure. You expand the gaze by winning fundamental human weaknesses.
Now how do we attain purity of the mind? Shall we go to Himalayas and live in a cave? Will it do any good? A mind which is not under control is of no use if the body goes to live in a cave. The same mind will bring all disturbances there as well. Here, in the material world around you, you have plenty of subjects to blame – your parents, friends, boss, teacher, society, government and so on. But when you go to the cave, you can not blame any of them.
But since the mind is not pure and is not under control, it shall blame the cave, the mountains, nature and everything that it sees around it. The mind will find lots of devils in that cave itself, since the devils are all in the mind. What is the use of the exercise then? No use.
Attaining Stillness of the mind
So how do we attain purity of the mind and see things beyond the material world?
A short answer is to attain stillness of the mind. This requires discipline and years of practice – no you don’t have to go to the Himalayas, live in a cave and become an ascetic to attain stillness of the mind. You can live your life and attain stillness by controlling desires, reactions, outbursts, greed, ambition and other worldly “mayas”.
Complete Stillness of the mind is said to have been achieved when someone is able to control his fundamental weaknesses.
- “Kama” – “काम” – Desires, wish, longing for something, sexual passion, lust.
- “Krodha” – “क्रोध” – Anger, Agony, Rage, Vexation, Revenge, Fury, Outrage
- “Lobha” – “लोभ” – Greed, Avarice
- “Moha” – “मोह” – Attachments, emotional temptation, wordly desires.
- “Mada” – “अहंकार” – Pride, Arrogance, Vanity, conceit
- “Matsarya” – “मत्सर्या ” – Envy, Jealousy, bitterness.
The above six weaknesses are also called Arishadvargas. The more a person has these things in his mind and personality, the more difficult it is for him to attain stillness of the mind. This person will never be able to realize things beyond the material world since he is trapped in fundamental weaknesses.
- You are married. You love your spouse. You have a child. But you are afraid to lose your spouse and child. This is “Kaam” in action, you are bitten by the desire of having a spouse and children and feel insecured in losing them.
- You had a bad day at work and somebody told you harsh words while you were crossing the street. Now you are angry. You want to hit that man. This is “Anger”, some words were able to disturb your mind and take control of one of your senses for few moments.
- You are not getting promoted at your workplace. Suddenly, you get an offer from another company which promises a big promotion and pay raise. You are tempted to take that offer and you put down your resignation. This is “Greed”, you forget your current employer and jump to another employer to make more money.
- You have some money in your savings account. Someone comes to your door and asks for money to do medical treatment. You deny giving him any money. This is “Moha” – you are attached to the money you have in bank and do not want to donate it to a stranger.
- You have been promoted at work. You bought a fancy car. Now you are telling your friends that you have a fancy car and that your company is the best company to work for, and that you are an accomplished person. This is “Ahankar” – you are proud of your accomplishments and you think that you have a higher “self-worth” compared to others who have not achieved something similar.
- You worked hard on a novel. But your work was not selected by a publisher and a lesser known writer’s novel got selected. You are angry and envious, because your novel was far better reviewed by the critics. This is “Matsarya” – you are jealous of someone else’s success over yours.
So long you have these six weaknesses, you cannot see things beyond the material world. You will always have a “Limited view” of the world since the world that you see is actually the world that the mind wants to see. If the mind itself is put in chains, how can it set itself free and see things beyond the unseen?
So What do we do to get rid of these weaknesses
So what does a common man do? The common man remains a common man but tries to eliminate these weaknesses one by one.
Kama – You are not attached to your spouse or children or house or business or anything. That does not mean you abandon them. You don’t. It’s just that you do not be attached to their existence and do not be happy or sad if you lose them or win them.
If your child dies, you mourn but do not be sad. If you lose your home, you mourn but there should not be sadness, anger, resentment. There should be no happiness in getting a new job or starting a new business. There should be no grief if your wife leaves you for another man. There should be no happiness if someone from the opposite sex offers to romance with you.
Krodha – It becomes impossible to make you angry. Nothing makes you angry. There is no electricity, no problem. You still have a sound sleep on the roof. There is nothing to eat, no problem, you cook something you can and sleep. Somebody broke the glass of your car? No problem, you repair it and go about your business. Somebody broke into your house and stole the TV? No problem, you buy another one or stop watching TV altogether. Your boss thinks you are a jerk and terminates you? No problem, you just find a new job.
Lobha – You want nothing. You have a job but you don’t want a new job. You have a house, but you do not long for a better house. You have money but you do not want to make more money. You eat at a restaurant but do not want to eat at a five star hotel. You go on vacations but do not want to go on a World tour. You are happy within your means and do not aspire to do anything beyond your means. You don’t want that fancy gadget, new car, bigger house, business or something else. You are happy with whatever you have with you.
Mada – You are not proud of your accomplishments. You are not proud of your job or business. You are not proud of your identity, your house, car, spouse, race, ethnicity, religion, country and other things. You are not proud of anything. There is no vanity, arrogance or conceit. You can sleep and eat with a beggar in the street, as if you are sleeping in your prefered bedroom.
Matsarya – You are not jealous or envious on someone else’s accomplishments. You don’t want to be “someone” you are not. You accept people as they are and see everyone in the same way. You are not influenced by someone else’s success, failure, loss, gains and neither your own life situations have any effect on your basic thinking.
When you are able to win over the weaknesses, then you will achieve stillness of the mind. Then you will be able to see things beyond the unseen and discover things which can only be realized. If you attain these characteristics, the so called “normal” people will call you –
“Look, there sits a mad person. He is totally crack”
This is exactly how we react when we see a “mad” person in street or railway stations. But we fail to realize the fact that it is possible that this “mad” person has won all the above weaknesses.
Which is why he looks ugly to us, we feel he is living an “insignificant” life which is “miserable” by our definition.
It is because our “Gaze” tells us so.
And why the “Gaze” infers like that? It is because the mind still has those weaknesses inside it. The mind which hasn’t won those weaknesses will use the words “Miserable”, “Poor”, “Dirty”, “Filthy”. It is because it thinks and considers itself as the “standard” and anything below is marked as “Derogatory”.
Of what use is all the wealth, knowledge and wisdom, if the mind itself is weak? What do you want? Act like a machine for the rest of your life in pursuit of money, recognition, fame, material pleasures and remain entangled in the weaknesses, always hankering for something or the other?
Or do you want to win those weaknesses one at a time and see things beyond the obvious?
It’s your life and it’s your choices.
Most people fail to win those weaknesses and go to the grave just like that. They don’t even realize what happened to their life in pursuit of temporary things. They miss seeing the extraordinary view because they were too busy in their pursuit of Arishadvargas – Desires, Anger, Greed, Attachments, Pride and Envy.