The realm of immortality

We all humans crave for connection. We are social beings, and need to relate to others like us. We thrive in their company. We get reduced being left out. We need connection. This fundamental need of humans has been catered to through various means and methods in society. There used to primitive races which entered in community orgies every month, to replenish that need to connect. Other institutions like marriages, family, church, etc were created to foster such bonding.

Now, one thing is very important to understand here. That is what is the fundamental basis of such bonds! If the basis is merely physical and emotional, then such bonds break fast as the emotional and physical need change. Then we need to have frequent changes in the companionship. We would always be in search of novelty, trying out newer and newer experiences and relationships. This is what most of the western societies go towards. And now, the new generation is also getting swayed. That socially accepted rituals of community orgies is not a possibility in the modern world, due to the obvious issues with such a set up in long term. So, what is the way out for the post modern mankind?

The only way out as appears to me is to explore and find the common platform of bonding from the realm of immortality between two individuals. This realm of immortality are those that never perish, and which help us to become better at the same time. Such common platforms of bonding are hobbies, studies, research, sports, games, yoga, art, religion, social service, etc. All these are examples of activities which need a big amount of expertise and skills and are difficult to do. When people engage with each other to do activities that they like and that needs enough work to develop proficiency on and are at the same time difficult to perform, people connect very well to each other and are at peace and glorious about their progress.

This set up serves mankind in the following ways –

  1. Create bonding and satisfies that primordial craving to connect and engage into social bonding with fellow human beings.
  2. Improves the skill of the person into that activity, and makes them more differentiated and unique. That enables them to more positively impact their community and create value. This sets up a continuous engine of growth and prosperity.
  3. Their sense of peace and joy is now centered and founded upon an immortal domain that never perishes away. Rather it continues to pull them into higher complexities and challenges, and there is no looking back. One can continue to enhance their expertise in an art, game, activity etc, and there is no limit to excellence. That journey is eternal and constant.
  4. They are not anymore attached to the ephemeral aspects of nature like a particular human, animal, institution, relationship etc. They are free. This sense of extreme freedom breeds immense courage and that is a starting point of creativity.
  5. One does not need loo much wealth to engage into a spontaneous activity that inspires them. Moreover int his world of internet things are more easily accessible.
  6. With age this capacity does not diminish. Brain is ever capable to recreate new abilities. This phenomenon is known as brain plasticity.
  7. There is no more emotional baggage of hatred, anger, jealousy, lust, arrogance etc which has very debilitating impact on mind body and other human abilities, and their capacity to connect to fellow human beings.
  8. Man is at ease with the mere uncertainties of life. He rather thrives in the inherent unpredictability of life.
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Being eclectic, yet compassionate

Being eclectic in one’s pursuits is probably one of the most important key to peace, creativity, productivity and potency. We are most of the times in pursuits of something or the other. The pursuits might be that of friends, companionship, materials, inspiration, peace, joy, happiness, schools to study from, subjects to pursue, books to read, authors to know, languages to learn, places to visit, clothes to wear, food to eat, etc. One needs to understand that it is essential to pursue the highest. For the quality of our pursuits define our identity.

It helps to remember the the thumb-rule – ‘Give up the small for the infinite’. One needs to continuously give up the ordinary and embrace the ideal – in anything and everything. This habit ensures that one is evolving, and confirming to one’s nature of being human. For it is in the most primordial nature of man to evolve; for that matter of any living entity. The quality of our moment to moment constant companionship determines the quality of our soul. If one mourns at the loss of petty people and things in one’s life, one squanders the possibility of investing one’s time and creative efforts in the pursuits of the ideal. At times, this ideal also would need to be painstakingly discovered from the plethora of the entities around ones own self, which one might have not even noticed, in the first place. These entities might be people, processes, things or ideas – both within and outside.

Being eclectic about our pursuits brings forth focus. At the same time it helps us to avoid distractions from the ocean of noise around. This saves time, energy and efforts. It is the foundation of “Nishtha”, “Shraddha”, Perfection and Peace. That breeds productivity, quality and potency. This drives value creation – both in one’s own life and the society one belongs to.

This art of being eclectic arises from the ability to let go the mediocre. The ability of letting go, the mediocrity in people, vocation, activities, thoughts, speech and action sprouts in man only when he is pulled by the enchantments of the Ideal. This enchantments need to be continually fuelled. The practice to invoke the divine with the usage of the inspiring models, literature and art in the scriptures, pursuits of difficult disciplines of study, reading a good book, time spent in gym, yoga, running amidst nature, stroll by the side of the ocean etc are some means to maintain the eternal pull towards that Ideal. This constant pull makes this ability of letting go the mediocrity but natural.

This entire scheme can be depicted in this flow –

Step 1 – Engage in inspirational activity, thought, and speech

Step 2 – Maintain the pull towards the Ideal

Step 3 – Let go the small for the infinite

Step 4 – Let that sense of rejection from masses peel of naturally

Step 5 –  Automatic setting in of a self sustaining evolution towards the Ideal

Step 6 – Spontaneous setting in of the feeling of Gratitude , Peace, Glory and Joy in the self and the chosen eclectic world around

Step 7 – Productivity and potency in one’s ideas, speech and action

Step 8 – Go to Step 1

Interestingly in the shloka 5.18, Bhagavad Gita proclaims that wise is one who sees equally the learned who is endowed with knowledge and humility, cow, elephant, dog or the most crude in the darkness of ignorance! Here the sameness of these different groups have not been proclaimed. The mere fact that they are named separately, implies that they are not same. Rather the point is that the wise is able to accept all these diversity, and has the equal sense of belonging and inclusiveness for all forms of creation. It is like having a satellite view in which one is able to see the big picture, and all-inclusive perspective, where all the aspects appear part of the whole, without any obstructions of judgement which blind us from see the person, events, situation as – is!.

So, the point is not relinquish the attitude of eclecticism. Rather, it is about develop that eclectic discernment on the foundation of compassion, inclusiveness, and love. As per the shloka, the idea is not seeing cow, dog, elephant, ignorant, and the learned in the same level. Rather it is about seeing them in a detached mode from a “bird’s eye view”, with the same “bhav” or attitude of compassion, inclusiveness and love.

The shloka goes like this  –

5.18 – विद्या विनय सम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे  गवि हस्तिनि शुनि चैव श्र्वापाके च पण्डिता: समदर्शिन:

The wise sees all with the same detached attitude of compassion, love, understanding, like a ‘bird’s eye view’, no mater the entity is a learned or an ignorant. Or the entity is an elephant, dog or cow.

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Bhagavad Gita 5.15 Mind Map

Bhagavad Gita

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The World of the Virtues

Meditation, hatha yoga, writing journal helps me to connect to my own self. They are portals to know the self in me more closely. Life appears a never ending journey of friendship with the macrocosm inside me. So many entities, so many dimensions this microcosm within constitutes of! Its like being a feature matrix hung in an n dimensional space. Each moment of calm, settling stint of meditation goes to unravel and reveal each of these position vectors, with n dimensional components. n appears so large! Is it infinity?

Also one more interesting aspect to know these multiple vectors within is developing a sense of co-existence with diversity. Coexistence is also about exploring, knowing and respecting the other existence. There are so many thought quarters, personality, nature, visions, ambition, agendas all floating around – as different stories riding on the mind of varied people, institutions, events etc. Knowing them, and going beyond shutting off with shallow judgement makes so much more sense.

For example a blind fundamental leftist how easily misses the appreciation of the neutral insights of Marx in his book Capital. And a crony capitalist, how easily misses out the nuances of the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Or for that matter, a shallow uneducated nationalist, misses out the wonder of the rich culture of other worlds.

Hatred, conflicts and strains appear in relationship many a times due to this laziness of a self proclaimed end to continue the journey of exploration, learning and listening.

More i read, more i reflect, more i think, it appears to me that the archetypes and human ideals like love, courage, sincerity, commitment, perseverance, aspiration, veneration, respect, sacrifice etc has nothing to do with nationality, region, or for that matter humans themselves! Humans might be at max considered as a temporary basin to hold these virtues. These virtues have their own independent existence in the realm of not man, but his inspiring creations! These virtues belong to an immortal world. Men, countries, societies, institutions are all temporary place holders. They belong to the ephemeral world of temporality.

Its like motherhood is beyond a mother, brotherhood is beyond a brother, sisterhood is beyond a sister, love is beyond a lover. These are virtues from the immortal realm. Mortal entities just wear those garbs.

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Adi Shankaracharya and Institution building to keep Guru Prampara and Advaith Vedanta alive.

Adi ShankaraAdi Shankara (pronounced [aːd̪i ʃəŋkəɾə]; early 8th century CE[2][note 1]) was a philosopher and theologian[5] from India who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.[1] He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.

His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”.[9] He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.[10] His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara’s publications criticised the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism.[11] He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Atman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”

8th – 12th century AD marked the cultural renaissance in Kashmir .In a period spanning four hundred years Kashmir produced some of the greatest scholars, who were instrumental in shaping Indian thought and Philosophy. It was in this time that we see the resurgence of Agama and Tantra in Kashmir. The revelation of Siva Sutras could be termed as a milestone in the re-establishment of the Shaivate philosophy.

Adi Shankara travelled all the way from Kerala to Sharada Peetham(a shakti Peetham in Kashmir) in the second decade of 9th century . There he consolidated and established his ideas on Advaith philosphy. Then he travelled down south to Shringeri, Karnataka (near Chikamangalur), and set up the first Matha on Advaith Philosophy, and established the Sharada Temple Peetham in the Matha. This came to be known as Shringeri Sharada Peetham. After that, he established 3 more such peetham in the remaining 3 corners of India. This gave India the 4 seats of scholars and masters who were engaged in maintaining the eternal Sanatana Dharma, from the view point of the Advatya Vedanta Philosophy.Shankaracharya Mathas

The ancient Sharada Shakti Peetham in Kashmir was the seed of the Shakta and Agamas.  This influence is so very well seen in the works of Adi Shankara. He wrote a collection of 6 shlokas known as Atmana Shatakam or Nirvana Shatakam. This is provided below  with translation –

The same influence of Kshmiri Shaivism and Kashmir’s Sharada Peetham is visible in his first matha in Shringeri, Karnataka. Shringeri Sharada Peetham is the first Matha created by Adi Shankara after his inspiration from the Kashmir’s ancient Sharada Peetham.

Later he established his eastern pheetham – Govardhana Pitham which houses the famous Jagannatha Temple. Lord Jagannatha is considered to be the 9th incarnation of Vishnu. But also he is worshipped as Bhairav (the fierce incarnation of Shiva) in the same temple. There are many tantrics who perform their rituals in this temple precincts.

He continued to travel the length and breath of India, and established 2 more pethams – one in Dwarka and the other at Badrinath. Following are the maths Adi Shankaracharya set up.

PEETHAM TEMPLE DEITY
Sharada Srigeri Peetham Shrigeri Sharadamba Temple (Shringeri, Karnataka) Sharada/Saraswati/Shakti
Govardhan Peetham Lord Jagannath Temple (Puri, Odhisa) Lord Jagannath/Bhairava (Vishnu/Shiva)
Jyorthimatha Pitham Badrinath Temple (Badrinath town, Uttarakhand) Badrinath/Badrinarayana (Vishnu)
Dwarka Peetham Dwarkadheesh Temple (Dwarka town, Gujarat) Dwarakadheesh (Vishnu)

Setting up of these mathas were important. They were building of institutions that would continue the Guru Parampara continuously from 900 AD till date, ranging across a huge period of 1,117 years till date! This was a strategic move to enable the wisdom to be created and maintained across generations, going beyond the intellectual prowess of a single person.

Another important thing that Sankara did was that he made the 4 mathas specialize in different Vedas. This enabled deep dive into different Vedas by people who were more inclined to one of them. Following are the different themes of the Vedas, which are totally different from each other, and people would need to really spend enough time and efforts to know, apply and practice the wisdom in them. Hence it made pure sense to set up 4 universities to specialize in the 4 Vedas.

PEETHAM VEDA SPECIALIZATION THEME OF VEDA DETAILS
Govardhan Peetham, Jagannath Puri, Odhissa Rig Ved Principles of existence It has 10 Books known as Mandalas. These contain 10,552 mantras. These mantras are known as riks, which is chanted in various meters such as Gayatri,
Anushtup, Trishtup. The meter is determined by the number syllables ending wiht a vowel. A mantrain Gayatri meter should have 24 such syllables.
Sharada Peetham, Shringeri, Karnataka Yajur Ved Applications of the knowledge. It is divided into two books – Shukla Yajurveda and Krishna Yajur Veda. This contains a combination of rik mantras and yajus mantras. Unlike rik mantras yajus mantras are short and rhythmic phrases, such as, ‘namah shivaya’.
Dwaraka Peetham, Dwaraka, Gujarat Sama Ved It is a subset of Rig Veda, and the same mantras are sung in rhythms Every mantra has a number mentioned to the left of the text. It runs from 1 to 1,875.
Jyotirmath Peetham, Badrinath, Uttarakhand Atharva Ved Impact on the world. Sustenance. Sociology, politics, battles, education, healing, longevity, Ecology. Many popular Shanti mantras from the Upnaishads are found here. This Veda contains the “Bhu Suktam” – An Ode to Earth. THe only one in teh entire ancient literature of the world. It begins with the idea that earth is not a mere physical structure, but an organism.

Such was the constructive and organisational aptitude of Adi Sankara. Due to his systematic approach of building institutions in the right manner, he revived the Santan Dharma, when it was increasingly losing popularity due to the increasing appeal of Buddhism and Jainism.

His philosophy of Advaith Vedanta is inspiring, and enables us to reflect on the non-dual aspect of your unchanging experience that is a silent observer amidst the changing ephemeral dram of the mind and the world of the physical.

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It’s all in the Narrative!

In today’s post modern world, it appears that humanity is more and more vexed with means of production. Any conversation that is not directly or indirectly related to means of production, is generally considered unnecessary and superfluous. Most of the  intentions, ideas, thought, and actions are immediately judged with the yardstick of their ability to prove themselves in concrete terms – either an increase in productivity, efficiency, or monetary value. If not these, for the most liberals, at-least the “objectivity” of the idea and its so called “validity” in terms of being able to see and prove it “scientifically” is the minimum litmus test that the conversation must pass through. It is about believing and articulating an idea only when it is proved and is repeatable by a deterministic sets of well defined steps. This vexation with the so called scientific and rational discipline of judgement has its own very important place. Most of the scientific discoveries (ofcourse except those of Einstein’s theory of relativity) are based out of the foundation of such empirical rigour of empirical experimentation before they were postulated.

Given the importance of this rigour of ‘seeing is believing’, one must also acknowledge the other end of the spectrum – ‘believing is seeing’. It is a powerful narrative that sets the ground for being able to establish something ground breaking and novel, before that has already happened in concrete terms. The bias towards the former in most of the world communities appears to be the biggest detrimental force impeding a contended, fearless, joyous and creative existence of mankind. This article is an attempt to present that it is a powerful narrative – out of purely internal inspiration – that creates the ground and foundation for manifestation of an external achievement, that can be measured and judged via scientific yardstick.

In the means and ways of scientific pursuits of Einstein, this idea was most powerfully demonstrated. He approached Physics from the standpoint of imagination, and kept nurturing his childhood dream of being able to ride by the side of a travelling beam of light throughout his life. His rich imaginative mind had developed an intuition on nature of gravitation, space and time. And throughout his life, he continued to reverse engineer that hunch using mathematical means to prove the same. There were theories of his that got empirically proven after 100 years after their pronouncement. This nature of things is not limited the life of a Genius like Einstein. Rather the role of narrative is the most prevalent value in an Indian social context. One note of caution is that the mention of ‘narrative’ here is not a wishy-washy superficial whim of a shallow dreamer. Rather it means a strong but aesthetically inspiring articulation of a committed reality, before that reality is physically observable in concrete terms. However, the narrative leads one to that physical experience in concrete terms. Only that it it is the second step. The first step is coming up with that narrative in the first place, and ofcourse having that set of skills and abilities to come with such a narrative. Like for example, Einstein’s narrative would not have much value, if he was not already a master of traditional Newtonian physics and advanced Mathematics.

Yesterday we did a small ‘homa’ at our home. The pandit was a Yajur Veda expert. During the entire 2 hours ritual, the pandit, did some chanting with a polished small round black stone (Salligram), a copper pot, inside which was the water from kitchen tap. On the top of the pot there was a 5 leaves from the mango tree, a coconut, decorated with flowers, vermilion, turmeric, coloured rice grains etc. All these were established on an ‘asana’ on a raised platform. For a rationalist all these certainly is wastage of time and a child’s play, coming from a deep seated superstition. But then, if one goes a little deeper into this so called drama, the real significance of all this alights in the one’s comprehension. The secret of all the understanding is the ‘Narrative’. The pandit, while doing all those trivial rituals with mundane objects all around him, was not quietly sitting. He was chanting Vedic mantras that were intended to convey something. Mantras are short poems that were revealed to ancient Vedic Rishis several thousands of year ago. Their exact origin are not known. The most inspiring aspect of these mantras are two things – the unique meter(chhandas) in which these mantras are chanted, and the meaning of these mantras. The frequency of sound that is generated while chanting these mantras has its own healing nature. But that is just the starting point. When one is able to go deep into these mantras, and is able to understand, reflect and apply their meanings, it is then when one is able to really leverage their immense power.

One needs to understand that, at the source of anything concrete there is a realm of inspiration, idea and intent. That realm is invisible, and is at source of conception of the idea as well as sustenance of the idea in long term. We have umpteen examples of people taking up something and then unable to continue that in long run. Projects, relationships, institutions, families, societies, countries have see eventual dissipation and weathering-away, due to entropy that sets in them in long run, in the absence of an opposing creative force, to nurture them and strengthen them. For example, we all know that exercise is good for our body, and we have scientific evidence that a regular regime of stretching and exercise is good for our health. But our daily experience shows how very small proportion of people are really regular with this daily regime. Same is true for learning new domain, reading, re-skilling oneself in something new and difficult, or taking up a difficult hobby, or for that matter continue to maintain love, respect, dignity and harmony in our relationships both inside our homes and offices and outside in the general public places.

But, once these rituals and impregnated with a narrative, the probability of their continuance and eventual blossoming increases. So, a set of exercises that is done in the yoga tradition was named as “Surya Namaskaar”. The name literally means bowing down in respect, love and wonder to the Sun. There is a detailed literature and a very strong narrative present in the Vedas and Puranas on Surya. That narrative goes a long way in establishing an emotional bond with the cosmic force, and then man gets pulled to this ritual daily to experience that love he has with this power. As he continues the ritual on daily basis, that love strengthens and holds him more established in the path. Just observe the difference in quality of the experience of doing a dry rounds of exercise in a gym, and doing a daily action of love to experience the bond, and closeness with a divine being! The former is focused on result – either producing abs, or a rounder but, or broader chest, or for the most unambitious, a healthy body. But the latter is an act of rendezvous with one’s own beloved. It is about a conversation with the beloved. And mind it the beloved is not a normal mortal, rather an immortal and endless cosmic power, which has His reflection deep in human psyche too. We humans are emotional and social beings, and such congenial narrative helps to re-enforce a beneficial practice with lots of purpose and meaning. We need to see a purpose and meaning to what we do. Otherwise, we lose the commitment, and the action loses its sheen and rigour.

It is this invisible domain of inspiration, purpose, meaning and love that was topic of interest of the ancient Vedic Rishis. They took each and every such creative and constructive aspects of human psyche and nature, meditated on them, and by some complex neural process, these mantras were revealed to them, which in poetic forms attempted to echo that hidden inspiration. That created a powerful narrative aimed at damping away the destructive forces of entropy inherent in any physical systems. You name an inspiration, there is a detailed narrative for the same. Following are some keys to these narratives. Keys are the proper nouns that are used to index all the inspirations of the similar nature together. They are also known as Devas. Some indicative examples are given below for the reader to get an idea. There are several other equally powerful narrative spread all across the Vedas.

Devas (Inspiration)
————————————————————————
Agni (Will, Inspiration, Spark of intention)
Indra (Mental clarity)
Soma (Delight of existence one experience having done a difficult task that needs high degree of skills. In psychology this state is known as “FLOW”)
Varuna (Magnanimity and openness)
Saraswati (Inspiration and Knowledge)
Mitra (Friendship, love and harmony)
Rhbus (Execution excellence)
Ashwins (Wellbeing and healing)
Marut (Life forces)
Usha (Creative beginning)
Aditi (Infinity)
————————————————————————–

The narrative obviously does not end withe just the keys. Vedas have systematically arranged and indexed mantras which beautifully develops these ideas more fully and extensively.
There is a powerful inspirational effect that happens within one’s soul, when one chants these mantras, knowing their contexts and meaning.
The impact is made even more powerful by the impersonal nature of the Sanskrit and the resonating effect of the chants.

Given this huge and rich inspirational literature given to all Indians and the world as a legacy, it builds a strong case of being able to
add aesthetics and power in one’s narrative. That narrative injects life in the concrete world, and gives meaning and purpose of our existence.
The meaning, purpose and love are aspects that science will never be able to quantify and create in labs. Rather they linger over time in the soul of man,
out of his constant efforts in understanding such powerful narratives in the extant literature and scriptures. This is something that does not come from birth.
This is an aspect of the culture, that mankind has created over last thousands of years. No matter how much the post modern world underplays the importance of
narrative, culture, and that invisible aesthetics of what is known as “Divine”, the importance of it will remain. It will continue to make its presence felt
through psychological and neurological studies.

A strong narrative is a thing of art, elegance, aesthetics and inspiration. That is the first step of doing anything worthwhile.

If you are interested to know about Vedas and these powerful narratives hidden in the mantras, I strongly recommend you to read the books by Rishi Aurobindo on Vedas, and the translation of the Vedas to English by Dr. R. L. Kashyap. You can find more information on Dr. Kashyap’s work at http://www.vedah.com

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Angels and Helpers

In our daily life, we have several people, animals, plants, insects, birds, and other inanimate beings – both living and non-living that alights out of nowhere and have something unique that helps and nourishes us. They are so different and unique and so starkly different from us. But all of them have something very special that helps us in some way or the other.
As humans we have a very limited ability to recognise them and appreciate them. It needs lot of practice to go out of our shell and be able to even acknowledge their presence. On contrary we most of the times want to change them, and make them a replica of who we are. We are obsessed with judging people as within our circle and outside our circle. We tend to be appreciate all that is like us, and remove the ones unlike us as a foreign circle. At max we watch them with curiosity and a sense of weirdness as we visit a zoo, and watch different species of birds and animals.
Life is certainly beyond being a zoo. It is rather about co-existence with all those different species of men, women, animals, birds, insects, nature, wind, earth, fire, water, etc. It is like being deep inside an ocean of things, symbiotically contributing and being contributed.
There are several people at home and outside – our friends and family we meet – who are obsessive about cleaning. Every day, I see them spending hours together dusting, cleaning, and keeping petty things in order at home. For me, life is an opportunity to do things bigger than dusting. I would rather keep that thin layer of invisible and incomprehendible dust un-disturbed in the remotest corner of the windows, tables and walls, and spend that time, reading, doing mathematics, writing, or doing meditation or yoga. I used to be freaked by their stance.
This sense of disgust was suddenly transmuted to a sense of gratitude one day, as I was completing my session of meditation, when i saw the same daily chore being accomplished with lots of rigor in my study room. There was this dusting in full swing happening. It occurred to me that it was wonderful, that there are these angels who take it as the purpose of their life to remove that remotest speck of dust in that hidden corner of my book shelf and windows. Wasn’t it a magical thing? Here I was in a situation, where free of cost, my surrounding is getting cleaned with world class precision, without me doing anything. And best part is that, there is no external motivation required for this activity to be sustained in long term. These people would do this even on the day of judgement. They are so hardwired to do this dusting the first thing every morning they wake up!
Certainly from my point of view this was an utter waste of human potential. And certainly the last thing I would every do in my life the first thing, I wake up early in the morning. For me, watching the dawn, being grateful of that beautiful red hue in the eastern sky, the swaying of the trees being caressed by the cool fresh misty breeze of the early morning, and sitting in deep meditation in an acknowledgement and gratitude of all these amazing processes happening all around me is certainly more attractive than starting with a cloth dusting all around me. But then, no wonder, there is some value in dusting too!
It keeps my surrounding spic and span – shiny and ordered. It was automatically done every day and I have been taking this ordered environment of mine for granted! Only when I happen to meet other mavericks like me, who do not have that privilege of having such angels and helpers around them, I see in black and white the importance of these elemental angels around me!
So, it was a great moment of enlightenment, and a profound sense of gratitude tiding deep within my heart. I caught myself having that sense of disgust earlier for the same angels because, I was trying to change them, or trying to see them from my constricted vision of being a human. For me humanity does not have any other possibility rather than pursuing an exalted end. And that there was this deep entrenched superstition that such a goal of life is what makes it worth living. This blind belief can be easily de-constructed on face, if one reads the scriptures where Sabari attains enlightenment offering berries to Rama, or Hanuman attains the knowledge just being a helper to the whims of Rama, or for that matter Rama Krishna Paramhansa dedicating all his life offering puja to a clay idol of Kali in a temple of Dakshineshwar.
So, the idea that dawned to me was that no action, motivation, or way of being is probably higher or lower. It is that we are surrounded by different beings – angels and helpers. These beings might appear similar to us, and biology might be labelling them to be belonging to the same species as we are. But then, they are by far very different from who we are. And that their difference and that stark diversity will never appear congenial and reconciling from the narrow standpoint of our own belief systems. Going beyond the disturbances of the chatter of our small mind, when we separate us from our judgements a bit, we can see a new realm of reality. In that realm we see ourselves to be surrounded by these immensely unique and powerful angels all going on their own path, that is driven by their own swadharma, and getting along together to help us be what truly we are.
Diversity of humanity is not a subject of tolerance. It is a subject of gratitude. It is about co-existing in profound thankfulness, helping each other be more fully than what we are intrinsically. Appreciating this diversity is the first step to peace. I am fascinated by this Shanti Mantra from Taittiriya Upanishad and Katha Upanishad –

ॐ सह नाववतु |
सह नौ भुनक्तु |
सह वीर्यं करवावहै |
तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

Oṃ saha nāv avatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai
tejasvi nāv adhītam astu
mā vidviṣāvahai |
Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||

Aum! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Aum! Let there be peace in me!
Let there be peace in my environment!
Let there be peace in the forces that act on me!

This mantra so beautifully captures that idea of co-existence of all of us, together in this ecosystem, beyond our differences. For these differences are the source of our being able to be alive and evolve stronger given the ruthless and impersonal nature of creation. Earth and all its flora and fauna (humans inclusive) has been able to sustain and continue their journey of evolution only due to this inherent ability to cooperate and co-exist. More and more modernity hits our civilization, and our needs are being fulfilled by machines, that weird cancerous attitude of individuality creeps in, and man starts developing that narrow attitude of self disconnected with the larger humanity – the diverse conglomerate. That single trickle of water, once disconnected from the ocean of the larger ‘others’, will soon dry up and cease to exist.

Our families, societies, countries and the world provides innumerable structures that help us to practice this and build our muscles of co-existence. Truly what a wonderful life it would be when we acknowledge and appreciate the helpers and angels all around us – dedicating their existence for our own well being in long term. So, we are doing to their existence, being what we are. The contributions that we term as negative too are helping us be better. For what does right and wrong mean, in this relative soup of diversity!

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