Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Life and Liberation



Some of the most highly revered spiritual personalities such as Buddha and Jesus have recommended in their teachings that it is better for humans to work for their liberation and eternal salvation rather than focus much on transient and temporary worldly gains such as wealth, power and fame. However they have made no bones about the fact that the journey is a long one and there are only a very small number of humans who reach that goal in any given lifetime. Why is it then that they recommend striving for that goal for all humans? Failing in that goal, would they also not miss worldly gains? This has been explained further in spiritual texts that it is not so; that when one works for liberation one has a greater chance even for worldly peace and joy in that journey.

A mark of great evolved souls is that they feel the pain of others just as much as their own pain. They feel a deep sense of compassion for all life. Gautama Buddha was so moved with the pain of other humans and even animals as a Prince that he renounced his kingdom and went into the wilderness in search of answers. After years of meditation his answer was that it is precisely the desires/attachment to worldly pleasures/things and gains that are at the root of suffering and birth into human lives in which suffering is unavoidable. He therefore recommended that it is best to work for salvation and eternal bliss instead, in order to escape all suffering.

Life has both good and bad, joy and sorrow and all these are subject to change with time. Life is a journey through time experiencing these. Even the good in life produces pain and sorrow when it goes away some day. When one is deeply attached to worldly gain, one would have a tendency to make ethical and even legal violations of a criminal nature. Such violations themselves may bring about a quicker end to all the hard earned gains as compared to their end by a natural flow of events. In the previous post, the situation of a friend from college, a class mate was described, who reached the highest possible attainment in the world in terms of fame, reputation, wealth and power but suddenly a legal violation he had made was brought to light. He is now in prison and his wealth is being taken away.Whenever a human gets overly attached to a thing of this world yet perceives it is also a heavy burden, it is worth considering that nothing of this world is permanent. it will go sooner or late in any case when the dust shall return to the dust as it was and the soul that dwells within to whence it came from.

The saints do not recommend that Humans should stop enjoying worldly peace, joy and beauty when granted by life and the Universe. What they recommend is to continue with their journey with a far greater adherence to principles of goodness - love, truth and simplicity in comparison to a worldly goal. The worldly gains that one deserves, because of one's work that come as a by product of doing one’s duty honestly and sincerely are indeed longer lasting and more joyous. At the same time, when a worldly attainment or comfort comes to an end one is able to bear the loss with greater equanimity, knowing fully well that it is just one tough patch in a journey to a place of eternal bliss.

While all this may be too formidable for many to comprehend fully what may be accepted more easily and intuitively is that all are children of the Universe, a Universe that stands on the principles of love. If they trust in that love and live by doing the right thing, the Universe shall do the right thing by them and much more as any loving parent would for a child. The hard times may be viewed as educational episodes Perhaps the Lord is harder on those He loves most from time to time, just as a teacher is on a student who has great potential while perhaps not bothering as much about those headed for failure. When the friend just described who is a person of spiritual inclinations by and large despite some errors he made, mentioned after his two year prison sentence that life is a journey, his wife remarked that she wants out of that journey, as reported in the media. It is precisely what the saints advocated, showing how to end that journey by reaching the destination.

The Lord is both a parent and a teacher.

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