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


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Action Response

Hari Om

Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

Having completed a lot of weeks prompted by writings of Kindle Life, we will continue on Choose-day to ponder the whys and wherefores of life and how or what is it that spiritual practice can add to and improve the living of that life… in the end, let's face it, the human being is a practical kinda beast and needs to  know that something is worth the effort. The posts on this day for the next few weeks are prompted by the little prasaadam booklet by Sw. Tejomayananda (head of Chinmaya Mission) called "Gita in Daily Life".

In this pamphlet, Guruji addresses the life we are living, what the Bhagavad Gita has to say about the matter and how the words of that scripture translate into practical application.

Daily life, for the majority of people follows a very similar pattern no matter where they reside. We rise from our beds, we go through a number of morning tasks such as ablutions, breakfasting, dressing and so on. Then we will go out of our homes to take up the activity we are mostly involved in, be that school or office, or manufacture or sales. At some point we will take midday sustenance and then continue the activity. Then we will return to our homes and there will be a variety of routines we undertake before going to bed for sleep. Then it is the next day and we do it all again. That is the nutshell of it, is it not?

Image result for gita in daily lifeThe filling of the shell is the interactions each individual has with the world of things, people and situations around them. Many and varied are these! No one can avoid such interaction. Even the sage high in a mountain cave is faced with nature, climate, having to obtain sustenance. Interaction with the external is an integral component of living.

Whether we are that sage, living life at its simplest, or a high-powered executive or anything in between these extremes, everyone of us is actually experiencing life in exactly the same way - through our perceptions. Every single one of us has responses to the impact of those perceptions. No matter a situation, there will always be a response within us. It may not necessarily be expressed but we simply cannot avoid having a response. It is the condition of life. Regardless of the positive or negative nature of the time, place, event, we have to deal with our responses. Those responses are themselves many and varied; right, wrong, good, bad - all these are actually relative but certainly unavoidable. The reaction any person has in a given circumstance is not necessarily the same as the response another has to that very same circumstance. Different folk will respond to the same problem according to their experience history and mental makeup. Some will be mature and in control. Others immature and emotional. Still others may display a contemplative approach whilst others will be impulsive.

It is this very difference which makes the human race so fascinating. At the same time it is the perception of difference which can present us with problems.

Experience and knowledge, is what makes the difference; When knowledge sinks in and is really absorbed, then it automatically comes into play in our life. In a given situation, if our action is based upon the knowledge gained of what would be best in terms of response there is seen to be no gap between the knowledge and its application.  When the knowledge is comprehended as an intellectual concept but not assimilated and put into practical use, then we have a contradiction, an incongruence. "I know this or that, but know not how to apply to life."

An example. There is a glass of water or other similar refreshment on offer to you. Just before it reaches your lips, however, someone cries "wait! There is poison in it!"  What will your response be? Taste it and see?  It's a fair bet that you will not! For even if you suspect that it is a trick, the moment you hear the word 'poison' your knowledge of the inference and consequence associated with intake of poison come to the fore. Your next step in response is to put the glass away.

We see in this example that even though the sentence was a simple one the knowledge was immediate and response appropriate, safeguarding life. Our problem, though, is that our knowledge is not as clear as this in most matters of daily living. Even though philosophy and scriptures tell us that there is no happiness in the world of objects and even thought this is confirmed by our own logic and experience, we continue to feel that there may be some lurking happiness to be found out there; if not in this object/person/place, then over with that object/person/place. This is the basic drive of all living creatures and very particularly in the human creature. The desire for something more in the hope of happiness and peace.

Original art by Mahal Selvadurai

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Hari OM
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