Friday, September 4, 2015

Individuality to Universality

by Sri P.C. Lahiri

We have regularly heard Prajnanpurush Sri Sri Babathakur (the Master) making us aware of the outer, inner, universal and transcendental nature within our own being. We have gotten so accustomed to the outer nature and thereby become so engrossed in its captivating gross objects and mesmerizing activities, that we have no time to even think about our inner nature, let alone the universal and transcendental nature.  We’re completely oblivious to the fact that this lack of awareness negatively impacts each moment of our day-to-day behavior by being a stumbling block to the refinement process. Unknowingly we react, act and behave in a fashion which is not conducive to overall growth, peace and bliss. Consequently we suffer in almost every stage of life, albeit perhaps in varying degrees.  To permanently overcome the pain associated with the trials and tribulations of the outer nature, our inner nature (mind, swabhava) has to be schooled to look within towards the universal or central nature. The very word ‘universal’ gives us an idea of its meaning a nature or a state of mind which covers all, without discrimination.  The width and spread of such a mind has negligible divisions, demarcations and distinctions.  Thus, it can easily assimilate within itself all that is painful and dreadful to the individual mind engrossed in outer nature. The dread and pain becomes a playful activity for such a mind.  Master termed it as ‘no-mind’.
For easier understanding and step-by-step accomplishment of individual refinement, we can perhaps create a stage in between the individual mind and the universal mind that of a collective mind. Individual mind in its common state is centered in and around the individual, a mind with the lowest width and depth. Universal mind is God/Ishwara, and encompasses the universe and all that is manifested of whatever nature and quality.  This is why actions of the universal mind-incarnate are termed as divine play; it is only for the universal creation, its preservation and final assimilation happening within the universal Being Himself.  There is no individual motive or design involved in those actions.  The world play is a ‘sportful dramatic sameside game’ for such a mind.  A collective mind shall be that which thinks, acts and implements for and on behalf of a group in a larger than normal area for their success, welfare and peace. Thus a collective mind has to be wider and more refined than an individual mind, but perhaps not to the extent of the universal mind.  To move further on this, an event is narrated below:
A group, consisting of about three hundred people, was listening to a lecture. Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity.  He gave each person a balloon.  Each person was then asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen.  Next, all the balloons were collected and put in another large room.   The attendees were then let into that room and asked to find the balloon that had their name written on it in 5 minutes. Everyone started to frantically search the baloon that bore his/her name.  It created total chaos within the room.  Individuals were colliding with each other, pushing each other around, resulting in frayed tempers. The atmosphere became heated and chaos increased with each passing minute.  At the end of five minutes only two persons could find their balloons. They were called to the dais.  The proud collectors were asked to narrate their experience and how they were able to achieve the task against such heavy odds. Both of them narrated their experiences.  The common factor in their narration was the description of skills that they employed to achieve their goals, each in their own way.  The speaker, a highly experienced and deep rooted person listened quietly and without any comments, requested those two to take their seats along with the rest of the gathering in the adjoining lecture room.
The speaker put the balloons back in the large room. Now the gathering was asked to go back into the large room again and randomly collect any balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker then began, “This is exactly what is happening in our own lives.  Everyone is frantically looking for personal happiness all around, not knowing where it is. Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people.  Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. This is the purpose of human life pursuit of happiness.”
Well said.  It is a fact that as soon as we are faced with a situation in life where something is to be done or accomplished or proven, or else there is a threat of whatever intensity - our self-defense or self-preservation instincts come to the fore and all other rational and balanced senses take a back seat.  Friends become enemies within minutes.  Animal nature takes over. More often than not, this happens unknowingly, our actions governed only by impulse and instincts, and devoid of rationality.  We humans have graduated in the evolutionary movement of world drama from the animal state.  Animals live on only impulse and instincts, minus rationality. As a being moves up in the animal world to its higher echelons, the impulses and instincts become sharper and wider, just as they happen in humans with rationality. This explains why the higher and better animal breeds are capable of doing certain greater and special things.  We often hear comments that this pet 'understands' just like a human; it is unfortunate that it cannot speak or explain itself.  This is why impulses and instincts are very much present in all humans.  Depending on the individual’s mental training, those impulses and instincts get expressed.
I am reminded of an incident that I heard of in my young days from one of the best, fearless and highly respected Commander and trainer of Indian Airlines. The son of an extremely influential and powerful person in the country, after having acquired the required qualification, requested to be trained under this Commander for his pilot’s license. The Commander rejected the request twice because he felt that such a boy cannot be trusted with the lives of so many people. The boy could have gone to any other Commander and got his license without a problem; however he begged and pleaded with this Commander.  His request was finally accepted when made a third time - with the provision that he would need to be ‘tested’ first.  The boy agreed.  The Commander administered the test to the boy well past midnight (when fatigue sets in), and on a flight with just the two of them in it.  After testing the boy, the Commander felt that the boy was a born pilot because his impulse, instincts and reflexes were that of a born flier. The impulse and instincts of a bright human gets expressed for the welfare of all or for the collective good and peace.  Untrained human mind will show impulse and instinct which will not only be self-centered, but also detrimental to others.
Coming back to the event being discussed - as soon as a rational and comprehensive approach was employed, the job of finding individual name-tagged balloons became a breeze. This kind of rational approach easily comes to a mind which is at least collective, if not higher. With its area of thinking and operation being wider than that of the individual mind, such a mind can easily devise an action plan that takes care of the needs and well being of a larger group.  The focus on individuality is minimal and that on collectivity, maximum.  The speaker went a step further when he said that an individual’s happiness is in the happiness of other people.  The very approach of picking any balloon at random and handing it over to the real claimant brings in its train, success, camaraderie and joy to one and all irrespective of any constraint whatsoever.  The beauty of it is that it accomplishes the task of all, including the collective mind, in an easy, playful and joyful way.  As such a mind moves on in life, training and refinement follow suit, provided he/she works devotedly towards common good and the happiness of all.  It will gradually reach the stage of a Vinobha Bhave, Anna Hazare, Mahatma Gandhi or such like refined souls. If lucky, he/she may get a perfect Realizer as Guru to become a Realizer himself/herself like Swami Vivekananda. The process of evolution ends there, when the universal nature reveals Itself in Its full glory and beauty.
Hail the Sadguru, the Master Salutations to the all-Divine Master.

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