Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
We are now undertaking basic technical discourse on Vedanta. The text forming the basis of these posts is 'Kindle Life', last week we came to chapter 24 which is the 'keynote' chapter. For this, the actual chapter is given per the publication. It is lengthy and so was split; part two follows…
"It may reasonably be asked 'why should a man hunt after the knowledge of a greater reality, of a greater power behind the obvious, the perceived, the experienced world of the senses?' In fact, we find there is no institution called religion among the animals. The necessity for religion, the urge for spiritual freedom, the call from the depths within ourselves, is experienced only by man and even then it is not felt by all men. In every generation it is inevitable that a significant minority should feel a thirst for enquiring into the Great Reality. Why a glorious minority alone comes to feel the urge to face this vital problem has been exhaustively dealt with in our old texts and has been vaguely hinted at by Darwin in his theory of evolution. He seems to explain to us that life, though it started as an accident, went on multiplying and developing into the various levels of evolution to reach its cumulative achievement in the 'thinking being' called man. Therefore, Darwin suddenly rockets up all his readers into a utopian joy with this optimistic promise that evolution will still continue to accomplish itself in a generation of 'supermen'.
If this biologist prophet were true in his conclusions, we have to accept that the ape or ape-man somehow lost his tail and started daily shaving to become the man of today. Thus, from the animal kingdom, evolution extended itself to flourish in the achievements of a full-grown man. However, here again has obviously been a period of transition wherein we find beings of animalistic instinct in the form of men behaving and acting as though they were not better than mere animals. For these beings, which live through the equipment of the animal, though men in shape and form, it is hardly possible to rise above the values entertained by the animal kingdom. To them, religion cannot have direct or immediate appeal at all.
To those who have long since passed this stage and have grown through the vicissitudes of life into beings better-developed mentally and intellectually, challenging questions begin to pose themselves: 'from where did all these things come? Where do they go and why? Is there a mission and purpose in life or is life a mere accident?'
To these developed beings, religion has a meaning and a purpose and shows the path and the goal. No religion is possible in the world without a Philosophy and Philosophy always tries to explain to us the world in which we live and the causes for the same. Here indeed is a fundamental difference between the concepts of philosophy entertained in the East and in the West. Extrovert by nature, Philosophy to the Westerner is, to a great extent, an objectified science. To them it points out a view of life. The 'ideal' may (and does often) change, with the result that we have a new 'ideal' in the West almost every decade.
In the East, Philosophy is more than to show a view of life. The demand was and is that the ideas and ideals preached by the philosopher should be capable of being practiced and thus, every philosopher was compelled not only to paint a glorious picture of the ideal world but also to give the topography and the route to it in all detail. So it is that in the East, Philosophy is not a mere view, but also a way of life.
The Philosophy pointing out the view can certainly be scientific but it would lack technique; and science without technique is a mere fable. With this in mind, when we try to investigate into the religions of the world, we find that of all the existing religions, Hinduism through its Vedantic Philosophy supplies us with not only an enumeration of the enduring foundations upon which a peaceful world of progressive living can be organized, but also an eminently satisfactory line of argument to establish why those values are absolute and fundamental."
Gurudev is certainly emphatic. It boils down to this. If a person has reached the point of wishing to research the meaning of life beyond mere daily survival, they will turn to philosophical/spiritual pursuit. Some will be happy simply with accepting the answers put forward by those who have done some thinking on their behalf. Others will wish to do the thinking for themselves and for this there needs to be a clear 'map', a system which has been tried and proven to help reveal for each seeker the answers to their questions. There are levels of philosophy to suit all levels of intellect. The important note here is that Life offers more than eat, sleep, acquire, reproduce, die… to kindle the full purpose of life, some level of philosophical/ spiritual pursuit is imperative.
Life is yours, are you ready to kindle it?!