Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Wisdom Reigns

Hari OM

Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.

Two festivals started our Story-day thread and next week there will be another major one to share.  In this little window between them let us think a bit more about saints and sages. This terminology is used in reference to some unheralded names in the search for meaning, all the way through to the great prophets and established religious figures. In the West, the term 'mystic' is often applied.

It has been mentioned already (and will no doubt be repeated!), that all truly great thinkers tend towards one conclusion; that of a singularity of 'origin', an essence of existence.  Including such as Einstein and Hawking. Atheism is no bar to the search for the cause and meaning of life or the gaining of wisdom.

Physicists, in some ways, make the best Vedantins, for they will keep searching, they seek the proofs and - when all available information has been gathered - will tell you that 'the answer' may never be known through the physical sciences.  Therefore, that which gives us the universe must be considered as being beyond the physical.  It does not stop the search...which is an extremely important point!  Just because something appears to be unreachable should not, of itself, prevent attempts to do the reaching.

The scientific thinking is also pertinent in Vedanta in that it brokers no dreaming, excess imagination, false result caused by contamination of the experiment.

This does not mean that all the spiritual giants were 'scientists'; indeed some would have little or no time for algebra, logarithms or Kreb's Cycle.  Many had what might best be termed as 'charismatic' experiences, defying all scientific assessment. Most were men, but, importantly, there are some significant females in the list. (...look closer, right...)

All the saints and sages are marked by their clarity of thinking and the conviction that there is something very final to be found.  To the rest of us striving simply for some continued level of tranquillity, such thinking might appear (at times anyway) as dry, unemotional, harsh - or even cruel.  Almost invariably, these thinkers live solitary lives; even if married.  One of the hazards of these incredible souls being tied to physical bodies is that they will always be perceived by the world in that context and therefore 'judged'; quite often resulting in the 'feet of clay' syndrome.

Regardless, the legacy of insight handed down by such as these is something for which we must be profoundly grateful. Wisdom is more than mere knowledge.  It is the ability to understand what is learned and to apply it in life in a manor conducive to improving the state of affairs.

Being able to process huge amounts of obscure information, to multitask and be the owner of many different skills does not equate to wisdom. Often, particularly in Western mysticism, we find polymaths, but it is not a prerequisite for the purity and clarity of philosophical thinking which raises a human being into the realms of true divinity.  Key factors are constantly found to be focus and courage.  Focus so as not to forget what is being sought and courage to overcome all obstacles, be they physical, mental or emotional; political or social; of the external world or the inner 'demons'.

Wisdom is often hard-won.  It demonstrates that lessons have been learned and will not be repeated. Thus, those who manifest wisdom are (usually) revered.

A common factor between all who are considered wise, in any and all cultures, is the idea that each and everyone of us must take responsibility for who we are and how we fit into 'the bigger picture'.  There is no skirting round this.  For this very reason, it pays to look to not only the teachings/writings of such people (if indeed they left any), but to the lives they led and how it was that they let wisdom reign their existence.

Their examples are set. It is for us to emulate them.

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Hari OM
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