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.
Continuing posts prompted by the prasaadam grantha, "Gita in Daily life" by Sw. Tejomayananda.
It was pointed out last week that we can have knowledge in abundance, but not necessarily the will or skill to put that knowledge into practical use. There can be a variety of reasons for this, but very often it is simply that we are under the control of our desires and the lure of 'happiness' from objects, despite all prevailing evidence that self-control and inner searching is the only way to contentment.
Guruji gives the example of the old madman in a town where he told the children that there was to be a fireworks display in the evening the rich landlord would then distribute sweets. All the children ran to the landlord's house in the evening, full of expectation. Of course, no fireworks, no sweets. Then they noticed the madman there. "Did you know that there was NOT going be any show???" He nodded to them and said "Yes I did know that." The puzzled children demanded "Then why are you are here too?" The madman answered "I came just in case it was true. If the landlord did start giving sweets, then I did not want to miss it!"
This is our condition. Despite even certain knowledge that an event/person/object will fail us in the satisfaction stakes, still the thought lingers that "perhaps this time…" or we live in the ever-expectant hope of change to the better for us. Know that this is the case in every one of us, it is only a matter of degree. That level is determined by just how superficial our knowledge is. If it is truly absorbed, properly 'sunk in', then application is much more likely to happen. The more we apply what we know, the less we will fall into the chasm of contradiction.
Remember that 'the knowledge' being referred to here is that of the understanding that the world of objects does not intrinsically hold happiness and that self-restraint and clear vision of this Truth provide the relief from the ups and downs of emotion when faced with the world.
The Bhagavad Gita teaches this knowledge. Contained within its 700 verses is the quintessence of Vedantic understanding, but arranged for practical application. Within those few pages we have the ultimate guide to personal relationship, material experience and ethical living. To fully understand what is taught and then to apply those lessons in our daily life is to bring about a lasting harmony, a balance from which a more genuine peace, and therefore happiness, can be derived.
We can all read the Gita (or Bible, Torah, Damapada etc); how often, though, have we thought or even said aloud, "oh yes but that is how God/Jesus would act, and we are not they, so this is impractical". This has been heard in a study class more than once! If this is the attitude, then why read the scripture? The question was asked because the student was still expressing that need mentioned earlier - the search for happiness - but had at least reached the conclusion that it was not to be found in the external world. Until the words of the scripture, however, are properly pondered upon and explored for their essential wisdom, until such time as we can put ourselves on the shoes of our Lords, the words remain simply that. Words as objects just like everything else. Just as medicine prescribed to us, if it remains in the bottle, can be of no practical use in our healing so it is with the guidance of the scripture. Pills must be taken. Guidance must be taken. Only then can the efficacy be truly tested.