Monday, August 26, 2013

Universality and Individuality

by Smt. Sushmita Devi

The Universe is indifferent - indifferent to the puny selves, the miniaturization of the whole. These are apparently harsh words to read, but they are none-the-less true if seen in the perspective of the ultimate Oneness. Each individual has but a very limited vision and understanding of the world they live in, not to speak of the Universe.  In order to enlarge, expand or extend the understanding of the role of an individual in the whole, some non-physical experiences are needed... the spiritual aspect of the cohesion of a single life with the Universe needs to be perceived.

The first step is to become aware of the non-physical aspects of one’s individuality.  There are as many ways to become 'aware' as there are ways to proceed to a physical destination.  The easiest is to start with one’s own body.  How much of its functioning is done with awareness?  Very little indeed!  A lot of the bodily functions happen automatically – without any conscious thinking.  Do you think, now I need to send out some bile to help the liver to function?  Or can you tell your peristaltic movement of the bowels to hurry up? Or do you have to think - I need to blink a given number of times to keep the lenses of the eyes moist?  No, we take it for granted that the body will function independent from our conscious thoughts. Isn’t it marvelous?  When Divine plays, It plays the game of diversity so well that everything else is forgotten for some time.  Self is always the background conductor, but through individualization, it is forgotten – only forgotten that is, yet never absent!

Then, what is it that makes us individual? The individual part can to some extent be derived from genetics for form and certain qualities; that’s why arranged marriages were conceived.  Then the socio-economic and racial aspects were drawn into the equation.  As long as the modes of transport were few and slow, the system worked quite well.   With the advance of technology and faster means of transportation, the fantastic Divine Creation called Mother Earth came into view as smaller... and today, in the 21st Century, it is no longer so easy to maintain the genetic characteristics of a group of people.  Nor is it possible for any given area of land (i.e. a so-called nation) to remain aloof from the global impact.  The Oneness is bound to rapidly approach through scientific developments, although the individual minds still need the concept of time to evolve.

All the above relates to the physical world in which a plethora of countries can no more claim their ‘independence’. The Earth is an organic Whole.  Wholeness is also an integral part of spiritual teaching – be it through worship of a deity or a physical entity, or through the Path of Knowledge (the subtler and subtle-most kind) propounded by a Sage or Wise individual, a true Sadguru.

It is fortunate for any individual to be in the presence of a Sadguru, for through the words of a Saintly individual, the idea of Wholeness becomes intelligible and may be put into practice in life. India, in that respect, is the foremost recognized country where spirituality is an integral part of daily life in a variety of ways. The sages of yore, and even the present ones, have an aim to harmonize the thoughts and action of people, so that they can live in harmony and become ever more aware of the all-important, non-physical aspects of life.

The road from individuality to universality to Ultimate Oneness is beautifully expressed in a mantra dating back several thousand years. It proclaims that, that which was Whole, is Whole and will always remain Whole, and that the emanations appearing as single units have a certain limited existence, but that they, in the end, must return to the vital Wholeness.  In Sanskrit it says:

Om Poornam Adah Poornam Idam
Poornaat Poornam Udachyate
Poornasya Poornam Aadaay
Poornam Evaa Vashishyate

The aim of a human life in due course is to realize that one is part and parcel of the Wholeness from which it emanated.  Until that is achieved, let individuality play its game of diversity with joy - never however forgetting that it is temporary and that Oneness is the true nature of all.  As one of Sri Sri Babathakur's dictums go:  "It (individuality) is the sportful dramatic sameside game of Self Consciousness".  


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