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.
The next little prasaada-pushtaka (gift-book) we are studying is Sw. Tejoymayananda's "Take Charge of Your Life". Guru-ji is a wonderfully pragmatic personality and has a strongly down-to-earth approach to life and application of Vedanta. These are going to be short, sharp bursts
of applied 'shreyas-preyas' decision making!
LIVE BY YOUR CONVICTIONS.
The next important lesson is that we cannot live by another's knowledge. We see high ideals and strong values in others, so we do what we can to emulate those things. Without having inculcated the ideals and values and made them our own, we will often fail and be proven only to have paid 'lip service' to them. Simply by repeating scriptural doctrine does not mean we have a true knowledge or understanding of them; it just means we can read and memorise! At these early stages of Vedantic study, we hear and/or read that "the seer of the pot is different from the pot, the seer of the body is different from the body, therefore "I", the seer, am not the body" - a simple logic, but do we really understand the full implication of the statement? Students will go around voicing the facts as stated but they have yet to make the understanding, the actual knowledge, their own. This takes time and experience.
It is often heard that 'we know, but we cannot live by it'. Having the information is not being transformed into experiential knowledge. This is in part due to the spirit being embodied in animal form. The material part of us, the BMI, will follow its nature. If we are born with a nature which is lazy, uninterested, restless, greedy and so on, combatting those things takes an effort which we may not be able to fund. Even simple habits such as coffee drinking or smoking prove to be very difficult to overcome. The body craves and the mind succumbs.
This does not mean that knowledge is useless or that it cannot change our nature. Knowledge does change us, provided that we make it our own.
Our samskaaras and vaasanas are so deep that they do not change quickly or easily. We do feel guilt deep inside, so to cope, we camouflage it. Carnivores do not say they are eating goat or beef or chicken - they simply call it 'meat'; then in restaurants now it is called as 'non-veg' - sounds so much better eh?! Someone once said 'there is no corruption, only cooperation' - money is given, return is expected; in America they call it political contribution. You can call it what you like and it may even be legal, but minute one accepts a 'contribution' one becomes obliged by it. The words may change, but the facts remain. All sorts of laws may be created, investigations made, but there is an inherent defect… the people manning the posts are but human and subject to their own weaknesses. The problem is man himself.
Until the individual takes full responsibility, there will always be loopholes in any system. Each individual must fund a set of higher values and choose firmly to live by those convictions.