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'. Please do reread previous posts to ensure grasp of flow…
Ch. 25; VEDANTA - LIFE AND ART OF LIVING, continued. The chapter now takes up ‘The Technique of Self-Development’.
Those ancient researchers, the Rsis of yore, did not stop at their discovery of the four parts of human nature (physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual). They kept at their inquiry and found that the human being will sacrifice the grosser aspects in favour of the subtler. The example given of this is that, in the event of damage to the body (physical), it is likely that we will seek help to mend or remove the damage. This may come to the point even of amputation… which is agreed to because life can be lived without the physical, but not if it is serious enough to end that very life. Therefore the more subtle aspect of our psychological need to continue living is addressed, and quite possibly the concept that life is essentially what we ‘think’ it, means that we can overcome psychological effects with our intellectual nature. When taken to the spiritual level, we enter the realm of martyrdom (not the small ego-type, but the sacrifice for a greater good). It is a fact of history that when political and intellectual demands are fired within a person, great physical suffering might be borne.
Given that, when tested, we prove that subtler satisfactions outweigh the physical, is there a methodology which might be reliably employed by all, in order that the world as a whole could raise itself continually to the subtle?
Need for integration of the personality led the Rsis to devise technical ‘scaffolds’ by which mankind could climb and transcend the ego-self. Firstly they proved the methods for themselves, as all good scientists must! The aim was to help build a society of dynamism, robust physically, cheerful psychologically, strong intellectually and firm spiritually. They did this not for any aggrandizement of themselves (proven by the fact that none of the teachings of the Rsis is appended with a name or names), but for the Love and Compassion of the species. So profoundly well-structured are these methods, they have withstood the test of aeons, the theories and practices being so universal in nature, they are applicable to all ages and to all parts of the globe.
Understanding the human being so well, these same Rsis also knew that no single, solid pattern, would serve…. There can be no ‘one size fits all’ in spiritual pursuit! There are wide differences from one person to another in their mental makeup and intellectual grasp. To enable further adaptation of the basics into structure to suit all of mankind, it is necessary to understand the classifications of the inner person.
Even the average person understands that there is a way to approach life – it can be with the ‘head’ or with the ‘heart’. The enormous variation in experience between men, the Rsis resolved, is likely due to the weighting of each within the individuals. It’s a matter of proportion.
1. There are those in whom the 'heart' (mind) predominates over the 'head' (intellect)
2. There are those in whom the 'head' predominates the 'heart'
3. There are those in whom the 'head' and the 'heart' have equal assertion
4. There are those in whom the 'head' and the 'heart' lack development.
To what extent we are labelled as ‘emotional’ or ‘rational’ is dependent on the ratios of head versus heart. Note carefully – it is the predominance which drives the basic personality. No one is purely intellect and no one is purely heart.We can see, then, that to have one ‘air tight’ method stated as being the only way to rise above samsaara would be foolhardy indeed. It is a trap of many philosophies, the attempt to push all pigeons into the one hole.
On this, let us end today’s article with a direct quote of Gurudev from the chapter;
"...existing religions of the world...[are thus] imperfect, [unable] to become a universal religion for all time and peoples. It is no fault of theirs, nor a reflection of the prophets. It is only the result of a limitation germane to a single 'immortalized mortal' who comes for a time to address his generation. The anxiety of the prophets was the redemption of their generation form the particular weakness of the age and, as such, each religion had a special justification for that particular age, since it served to solve the immediate problems of that generation. It would, therefore, be ridiculous and most absurd to insist with fanatical emphasis that the same religion should be applied in all its entirety, with ruthless bigotry, to all people and times."
...to be continued...