Sunday, April 17, 2005

Is this another passing fad…?

Last week has been an important one for me. Ramasamy and I decided to attend an initiation workshop by Sadhguru Jaggi of the Isha Foundation. I decided for this one solely based on the fact that our friend Bhoopesh strongly suggested that we go for it.
Sometime ago while setting up my homepage, I wrote this piece on religion and spirituality. In lots of ways, I feel very proud that I wrote it. This is not because I feel I have realized the loftiest position in spirituality but because I feel that the article perfectly describes the mindset and attitude that was hovering over my mind. I had somehow transliterated my thoughts and confusion to words. Somehow whenever I reread those sentences, I feel “This is me. Uncensored”. Though I feel proud about my principles, the fact is that I still feel that life was one hi-speed highway for an unknown destination. Though this had bothered me for a while, the rat race had got me into some sort of a reverie where I unconsciously blinded my senses so that the confusion is subdued for sometime. (You must see my waist line these days.. ;-)) I had the privilege of having someone who shares my confusion in the same place as I live in and who works in the same place as I work. It was with this mindset that I went to the workshop. To be really candid, I went to the workshop with a mind of a pure skeptic.
Though I never try to make an overwhelming effort to conform to a sect, this guy Jaggi has done something over me. Most of what he had said in those days somehow appeared to be natural to me. I know I risk appearing stupid but still I must say that most of what he said I already believed. It is just that I had unconsciously ignored those mild spiritual urges. The whole workshop essentially reduced to a simple exercise and a series of question-answers. These are my favourite stuff from Jaggi. (I must say this guy has an awesome gift of eloquence.)
This was something which I wanted to ask him. I had the privilege to ask him the following question face-to-face: (Please note that what i mention in the following words are my interpretation of what Jaggi said. I don't claim that this is what he had intended.)
Why there is something called morality? Is there any fundamentality in morality? Is there a minimal set of moral principles which every human (irrespective of his religion) is bound to? Or is morality just whims and fancies of each culture?To this Jaggi replied: Morality is an invention of the society to have social order. There is nothing like fundamental moral principles. What is moral in one culture is immoral in another. In Jaggi’s terms, morality means the act of doing everything each of whose consequences you are able to face with joy. It is just disguised self-interest. (Ayn Rand’s followers rejoice! Though you must clarify what self means in the subsequent paragraphs. ;-)). Jaggi previously said that a guru ethymyologically means “someone who dispels darkness of the mind”. I realized that Jaggi was indeed a Guru. A great one at that.
Jaggi also asked each one of us to cultivate the mantra of limitless responsibility. That is one must identify himself with every other person in the world. Though I feel this is such an intuitive thing, I am still trying to be limitlessly responsible… (Ah…Implementation always sucks!)
One more thing that we explicitly asked Jaggi was the purpose in our lives. To this Jaggi gave us a slightly veiled answer. He told us that when we are mature enough, we will one day realize that life onto itself is a compelling purpose. The significance of the above sentence still evades me. But I am striving….
What awed us thoroughly was how well this guy carried himself with so much poise and elegant humour. There were a lot of people who wanted supernatural powers, clairvoyance ad nauseam. And of course there were those people who simply wanted to look enigmatic and complicated. Jaggi gave each person a subtle snub, some of which had us rolling with laughter. I will end this article with an irony: When the workshop had just started Jaggi asked each one of us to introduce ourselves, this is what I said: “This is Anto. I work for a software company (Thank god I did not say the name of the company. The machine which was used to project a movie crashed a couple of time. The machine was inevitably running on Windows. :-(). Contemporary religion did not appeal to me. I like writing. God has blessed me with a good body so I did not come for anything physical”. And at the end of the workshop the one thing that I felt with so much painful obviousness was that my body, the way it has become, has a long way to go before it can lodge a blissful sprit.
That was one awesome weekend. What a leap from indulgence…..

12 comments:

Fathima said...

I don't read much books on heavier stuff (philosophy, religion,etc.). But this blog made me think what is my take on life, religion and similar topics.
I sometimes, wonder myself, when I raise questions on subject and everyday happenings(practical ones), I never ask questions related to the spirituality, morality,etc.(Or whether I think those r unquestionable. Well, I have no idea, y I don't).
I hardly ask questions like "Why am I born?", "What is the purpose of life?",etc.
Instead I c asking myself, "What can I do next in my life?", "What will make my life better?", etc. This might look a bit selfish and materialistic. But I consider it to b practical - the "What Next" approach - the approach of flowing through the river of life after deciding on the next destination, rather than stopping and thinking why and how the flow started.

Arvind Sharma said...

Happy that you have started off on your spiritual journey to discover meanings of things that we take for granted (life for instance;)...Hope you go far and add some value to the mundane existence which seems to me nowadays to be limited to work and sleep...

A.J.Anto said...

I appreciate your opinion. In fact this perfectly describes the attitude of my mother. But the bottomline is that I cannot agree with you. I cannot think of the next step unless i know the destination which this next step takes me to. The thing is most of our destinations are in this realm. I want to become a engineer, i want to join this company, i want to marry that person etc. Eventhough i have all these ambitions, they somehow don't appeal to me as they are all wavering things. I find that after achieving one milestone in life another one immedialtely raises its ugly head. This cannot go on for a lifetime. At least my lifetime. These ambitions somehow inevitably relate to the external world. It is almost that if you define your happiness over these external things, then you are also making your happiness, bliss and peace of mind to the mercy of these external elements. I believe my contentment should depend on (and only on) myself. Though i cannot claim that i have reached this state, I am striving.

A.J.Anto said...

Oops my comment was an answer to Fathima's comment and not to Arvind's.

Fathima said...

yeah, thatz what I said, "Flowing after deciding the destination". But I am happy that my mind becomes happy with small things.
And I don't think milestones have ugly heads. They r beautiful.
And as far as abt the external world and external things u have told, that will give u happiness, I will think abt that when I become really old(physically and mentally):-))

Anonymous said...

It is great that u blogged that weekend...baskar's dinner was probably not in ur to-be-written-list considering the "side-effects" it got to do(with our hips, of course;-))

Indeed, Jaggi's forte is to explain complicated things in absolute simplicity and that too, as he claimed, trying to give a logical perception of what is beyond the capabilities of logic. I definitely see changes, though not mighty, in the way I percieve life now.
Hope we learn more from the enlightened mystic.

In remembrance of Prabu,
Rams.

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