Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The myth of long life, the truth of immortality

Happy New Year 2017
Most humans aspire for a long life and wish the same for loved ones. Yet many mystics and spiritual persons have come to the realization that life is in fact immortal. The soul survives death and it is only the body that is discarded as a soul moves on to acquire yet newer bodies, just as a man discards worn out clothes and acquires a new dress.

The source of our likes and dislikes, inner habits, emotions, joys and sorrows i.e. the essence of our personality is our soul and it survives death. The mind and body are only temporary acquisitions. The soul uses the mind to store and process information in some ways similar to the manner in which a person uses a computer. While computers may work with a windows or android operating system, the mind works on a God designed operating system.

Yet not all are mystics or spiritual persons. Many are not convinced of the immortality of the soul. It is these latter who fear death and aspire for a long life. However, even spiritual persons who are aware of the immortality of a soul often ponder on the subject of what a good length of life is, how long should they wear their present suit, carry their present computer before discarding it to the recycle bin of Mother Earth and getting a new one from her.

It is a fact that neither the moment of birth or death is of one’s choosing. The universe decides both but as a person becomes more spiritual and comes closer to the Universal Spirit; they may participate in the discussion and deliberation.

When a human has young children or old parents who are dependent on him or her, it is natural to desire that they continue to live for this purpose. Children grow up and soon they are twenty or twenty one years old and would be better off to face the world on their own for better or for worse. For most this time comes before they are fifty years old and still quite able and agile. Soon after that the body begins to slow down. After sixty, these changes become pronounced, there is stiffness in joints and bones, eyesight fades and one begins to lose teeth one after another. One may run out of breath in a climb up a stairs and the legs become jittery in a climb down a hill. Daily chores become increasingly difficult as one becomes older and some may suffer serious ailments that lead to much pain or discomfort. While the precise nature and timing of these changes varies from person to person none escapes them. The longest lived cannot go beyond hundred and something years in their present bodies.

However, the time after 55 or 60, if one has retired from active work is a wonderful time for many older persons. They get some time to play and enjoy the company of their grand children perhaps, a truly lovely experience at that age or they get to indulge in some passions they had no time for in their earlier stages of life. Most important of all it leaves a person with time to reflect on life, resolve emotional dilemmas of the soul i.e. through their reflection or simply in dreams, thus discarding some of the burdens of the soul before they move on to a new life so that the next life becomes a better one. Most importantly they can contribute good to the world through their experience and wisdom acquired through the ages but refreshed through the experience of their present lives.

With all this any age between 65 to75 may be a good time for most persons to bid goodbye to the world unless they have some important things left to do. Some say even at that age that they still have more money to make, more fame to gather, wonderful new places to see and new romances to experience. These latter are not wise for when the time comes they shall not be able to carry their wealth or fame to their next lives. What is worse is in doing so, they shall compromise rather than fix the baggage of their souls that they shall carry with them and which decides their next housing. As regards new places to visit and new romances to experience, it would be far more pleasant and enjoyable in a younger body rather than their presently tottering frames.

The best a human can do is to leave the time of departure in the hands of the Lord, yet pray that the Lord recalls this model for a replacement before life becomes a tiresome chore, to protect one from pain while one is around and especially so in last moments when it is time to go.

It is far more worthwhile not to wish for a long life but for a good one where every new day is like a new life with its own special meaning, joy and magic. May such new joyous days come in your life forever in your journey through the universe to the universe.

I can hear an agnostic friend cry, what if this talk of soul and reincarnation is nonsensical. I do not believe a word of it, how do you know it is true, how can you prove it? My answer to this dear friend is, believe as you wish, but how would you matter if you are merely a blip in this infinite flow of time, there have been billions of others such, is this not true? I merely wish to consider you far more worthy than that, you are an immortal soul.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience... We are spiritual beings having a human experience. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The good serve their families, the saintly serve the world

In a companion blog, I described the story of a friend from college – Alok Sagar – who after a great education, a doctorate in Engineering from Rice University in USA and a faculty job suddenly dropped it all, to take to the forests as a hermit and began service to forest Tribals, wild life and forests of Central India. He is now known as Maharishi Alok a title of great respect for the spiritual and the educated. In the comments to that post a family friend expressed disappointment and said the family had tried to convince him not to take that road.

Good men and women of the world strive to succeed in their worldly careers and serve their families through that success while reserving a portion of their time, effort and money to serve the world, others in need, quietly, anonymously whenever possible for a deed of compassion does not emerge from a desire for worldly rewards.

However, the saintly serve the world instead. Buddha and Jesus abandoned their families (although after ensuring that they are provided for) as do many other lesser humans, still encumbered with human weaknesses, but who take to the spiritual path seeking purification. In a few cases, the wives of some spiritual persons such as Gandhi and Kabir became their companions on the spiritual path, giving up the worldly and material wealth along with them. The world needs them, for they serve many families of the world not just their own. The world needs the likes of Alok Maharishi who has helped restore some of the forests of Central India.
There are a variety of other situations, where good humans may find themselves trapped in where, despite their best intentions, they are unable to be of much service to their families. Such persons, rather than viewing this as an adversity, must view it as an opportunity to serve the world at large, for while selfish persons are born to feather their own nest and fatten their behinds before they may be pushed into the bottomless pit by circumstance and Universe, good humans are born to sing the song of a joyous universe in which all life is parts of a single whole. Through this they shall attain unto sainthood even if they did not start of as that. 

The demonic on the other hand seek profit from the world without caring for the harm they may bring to others in their pursuits. The foulest of them wear the garb of hypocrisy, that they are performing a public service. They do carry out some charitable acts but they announce it to the world, shout about it from roof tops and ask the world to place them on a throne of honor, a throne broad enough to fit their generous behinds, for while compassion dwells in the upper cavities of a human, greed dwells in its lower ones. They may share the profit with their families, they often do, but in reality they only harm themselves, their families and the world. These demonic persons are born for the destruction of the world.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Little Choices, Great Destinations

Even a casual observer would not have failed to note how varied life of humans on Earth is. There are times, places and individuals for which it is utter misery or even worse while there are other times, places and persons for whom it is filled with peace, happiness and joy.

Mystics and spiritually inclined persons have pondered over the question since the beginning of civilization and arrived at the conclusion that it is our thoughts and choices we make every moment of our lives that determines our life. Those who are doing well in life often assume it is because they are so very smart and talented or hardworking while those who are having a difficult time say it is because of bad luck. Mystics say it is neither but simply a result of ones deeds emerging from one’s thoughts and choices that is showing up. Some say it is fate but then mystics say those are just past actions and the link has been forgotten. Some modern scientific persons say it is also due to random happenings that are at play here too, while the one who understood science most – Einstein says just as the mystics do that God does not play dice i.e. there is an Almighty Power that controls all happenings from the movement of stars to the doings of viruses.

What about the conditions we inherit at birth? There is no doubt this has a major impact on the way our subsequent life turns out. Here again the mystics assert that it is just a result of past actions in a previous life in our near endless journey of many lives through the universe.

Whatever position one takes, none can argue that it is our thoughts and choice that are in our control and they do play a role in the way our life turns out. Most spiritually inclined persons have also come to the conclusion that thoughts and choices that emerge from tendencies of love, truth, simplicity, gratitude and humility lead to peace and happiness while others arising from lust, greed, lies, anger and pride lead us to misery.

Some of the most important choices we have to make in life are the places we live in or the people we live with. There are some who feel they can improve their own lives by changing others or if others would do differently as per their wish. That is not only stupid it is also evil. Each human has the God given freedom to be as they like and face consequences. When even God has granted that freedom, it is evil and utterly stupid to expect that a human should change for your pleasure. Could a human be more stupid than that? It is like Hillary and Bill Clinton in the recent American election – You better fall in line behind us or you shall be toast. They have both landed up in the woods with a burnt bottom instead it seems.  Certainly one can suggest or request someone to do differently without repeating that request much so that is not bugging but one must leave the choice to that person if to comply with the request or not unless it is an infant one is dealing with and even in this last case one has to be gentle if one is to be regarded as a human soul in a human body.

All we have a right to is on our own behavior, thoughts and choices. In case we find that a certain human interaction brings misery then it is best to change that or even cut off that relationship if it cannot be toned down. The last post in this blog described the oldest living human on Earth a 117 year old bright and chirpy lady, still fully alert who said her long life is because she decided early in life to end her relationship with a spouse who was not conducive to peace in her life.

But many say, I am what I am, and led to my actions because of my habits. However habits are merely actions repeated several times until they become a part of our personality. One can always change that. Changing oneself seems such a huge task but then if one makes little changes for the better a little at a time, over a period the change would become substantial.

I was reminded of a friend who once said that he has lot of gardening space around his home that has just become dry scrub and was he to change it to a garden it would take far too much effort and time so he just ignores it. What I do is take a small corner or portion of the garden and work on it. Over the years a beautiful garden has come up all around my home. It is so within the home too. There seems so much to do to improve it at any given time. However here too if one makes a little change at a time, just one portion, a single repair or change for better, over time one ends up with  a lovely home.

Such were the thoughts that emerged in my mind today as I pushed a few flower pots, an empty paint container filled freshly with a plant, a couple of chairs and a small table to a corner of a porch that had hitherto been unused in my home. The table was moved from the living room but another unused one was found in a guest room to replace that. It has become another nice spot at home to share a glass of sherbet or tea with a visitor who might drop in. A photo of that is shared in this blog on top. The green drink on the table is a herbal sherbet we make often form herbs and flowers from the garden. Recipes for many shall be found in older posts of this blog. For the photo I pulled out a couple of China glasses gifted by my mother, now no more, some twenty years ago.

For a person who wishes to follow a plan to bring about changes in his or her life a little at a time, ending up with great results over time, a great and very simple place to begin is Entropy Yoga described in an earlier post in this blog.