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Monday, September 19, 2016

Human Nature

Can something definite be said about human nature?  We can say from our everyday experience that people exhibit different natures - patient, irritable, decisive, dubious, compassionate, slimy, arrogant, humble, manipulative, kind, cruel, .... the writers, novelists, playwrights, sociologists and the new age self-help gurus have written a great deal about it.  At one end of the spectrum is a claim that human nature is "fixed and unchangeable", and the other end of spectrum is that human nature is "infinitely malleable".  The "fixed and unchangeable" position implies one is born with a nature and no education or external conditions and life experiences could change that.  The "infinitely malleable" position says that human child, a new born, is like a putty that could be molded in any which way through education and other societal influences.  Madhyasth Darshan has a take on this, and that's the objective of this article.

Human being is a part of existence, or is a unit in existence.  Existence is the context (sandarbh) and basis (aadhar) for the study of human nature.  Human nature cannot be studied outside of this context or without this basis.  Existence - as Matter saturated in Omnipotence (Brahman) - is destined for emergence (prakatan) of successively higher orders of nature - material order, bio order, animal order, and knowledge order.  Human being is in the knowledge order.

Entities in existence have four integral aspects - form (roop), qualities (guna), intrinsic nature (svabhav) and religion (dharma).  All entities have their own nature that is intrinsic to them, which characterizes the order (vyavastha) of their kind, it is also the range of their activities.  All material order things have the same nature - composition or decomposition.  It is intrinsic nature of all soil, metals, gems and stones to compose and then decompose.  Theirs is a mortal nature, that keeps undergoing transformation (parivartan).  This nature is fixed and unchangeable.

Bio order emerges from material order, and all bio order things - as organisms - have the same intrinsic nature, they all either abet growth (or nurture, saarak) or abet decay (maarak).  This abetting growth or decay is an "emergent nature" in bio order and it cannot be reduced to composition-decomposition of the material order, as long as it has pulse (spandan).  When an organism loses its pulse, it dies, it becomes material nature.  There is a successive refinement (parimarjan) in bio order - from single cell organism until human body.  Bio order too is of mortal nature.  Body (plant body, animal body or human body) undergoes transformation from the time of birth until death.  This nature is also fixed and unchangeable.

Animal order emerges from Bio order.  Animal order is the beginning of expression of consciousness (chetna).  Animals are conscious beings.  These are not just flesh, bones and blood.  Consciousness is not of or from body.  Jeevan - an atom with perfect configuration - is the source of consciousness.  Body is a tool (sadhan) of jeevan.  Jeevan is self.  However, in animals there is no awareness that self (I) is distinct from body.  Jeevan functions according to the design of body.   The expression of consciousness is limited to their innate want to remain alive.  Animals want to live.  Can something definite be said about nature of animal existence?  Some animals are of docile (akroor) nature, while others have aggressive (kroor) nature.  Their nature is manifested in their food habits and their bodily structure (claws, teeth, intestines etc) is in line with that.  Docility and aggressiveness is the "emergent nature" in animal order, which is not present in bio order.  Docility and aggressiveness is a conscious phenomenon of assuming (maanana).  In animal order jeevan assumes the nature of the specie whose body it controls.  In the absence of self-awareness, all animal activities are in the form of bodily indulgence (vishaya) - i.e. food, sleep, fear (fight or flight for survival), and sex.  Death means immortal jeevan's separation from the mortal body.  It is ending of one life span and beginning of another, mostly of the same specie and incidentally a different one.  Animal nature is fixed and unchangeable.  Humans domesticated animals for their use, whereby made animals exhibit behaviour that's contrary to their intrinsic nature - for example, a madari making monkey display tricks, seal jumping through a hoop in circus.  These are not their natural behaviour.  Left to themselves they would return to their original nature of docile and aggressive.

Humankind is in knowledge order, and it emerges from Animal order.  Human being is also combined expression of jeevan and body.  Human nature is according to the level of consciousness.  There are four levels of consciousness in which a human being could be found.  The four levels of consciousness are - animal consciousness, human consciousness, godly consciousness and divine consciousness.  Animal consciousness is illusion (bhram) for human being.  While human consciousness, godly consciousness and divine consciousness are in the purview of awakening (jagruti).  Having said that, it postulates that there is possibility and path for consciousness development in human being, and thereby rise from illusion to awakening.

Illusion and Awakening have existential dichotomy or these two are mutually exclusive.  Awakening contradicts illusion, and this contradiction is resolved when illusion is dispelled and is replaced with Awakening.  If illusion is, awakening is not.  If awakening is, illusion is not.  No amount of rationalization can harmonize or negate the contradiction between illusion and awakening.  Awakening is higher value than illusion.  It is from the standpoint of awakening that illusion gets appraised.  Consciousness development is an irreversible transition (sankraman) from animal consciousness to human consciousness.  The existential dichotomy of illusion and awakening has parallel in the dichotomy that is there between material (jarh) and conscious (chaitanya).  If something is material then it is not conscious, and vice versa - while irreversible transition (sankraman) is possible from material to conscious, which is when an atom achieves configurational perfection (gathan poornta). 

Human beings have faculty of imagination (kalpanasheelta), which is an emergent that makes them distinct from animals.  This imagination, which emanates from self (jeevan), is there in all human beings in the same way, and it tries to reason about the world and about itself, and makes a worldview and self-awareness, albeit incomplete.  Awakening is when the reasoning is satisfied and this worldview becomes complete and comes in resonance with the way reality is.  It is upon awakening that a human being becomes able to appraise that everything prior to awakening was illusion.  Awakening is a qualitative change (gunatmak parivartan) that takes place in jeevan as a result of study (adhyayan).

Human Life in Illusion:

Illusion essentially is the state of jeevan's assuming itself to be the body that it is controlling.  It is lack of self-awareness.  In animals this fusion of identity with body is total, and in the absence of imagination there is no way for them to see things any differently or do any reasoning.  Jeevan functions mechanically in animals, responding to the sensory stimuli of incidental events according to the design of the specie and thereby evidencing bodily indulgences.  This fusion of identity with body is the condition from which a human being begins life as an infant.  The expression of imagination begins from the infant stage itself, and one begins to see that one is not just body, though this clarity is not complete.  This lack of clarity is the common human condition, and it is there with every human being anywhere in the world.  This lack of clarity at the fundamental level has remained despite huge advancements in multiple spheres of human life such as art, music, technology.

The difference between intrinsic-nature and habits



continued.

- Based on Madhyasth Darshan.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Potentiality and Individuality

All existence has inherent tendency of actualizing their potential in the form of attaining their madhyasth state, wherein lies the full glory of that being.  Growth and Decay is from the reference of madhyasth state.  This "central tendency" is clearly evident in nature around us.  Each unit of nature, in its madhyasth state, is an Order in itself and it plays its indispensable and unique part in the Universal Order.  Order is manifestation of concurrence by units to laws of their respective nature.  Aim of human life, therefore, is to actualize their potential according to laws of their nature.  Human being, however, doesn't exist "in general" - the way a plant or an animal would.  Human being actualizes his potential when he becomes liberated as an individual.  This liberation is not by severing ties with everyone and everything.  This liberation is result of understanding the constancy and dynamics of existence, whereby one becomes in harmony with all of one's relationships.  This is liberation from illusion (bhram) of under-valuation, over-valuation or un-valuation.

The way a neem seed has the potential to grow and turn into a fully grown glorious neem tree, each human being has the potential of achieving liberation. The way a seed sprouts when it finds the environment conducive for its growth, there are certain conditions conducive for human being's attaining their potential.  In one word these conditions can be called as "education".  Meaningful education results in liberation of human being from illusion and only then does he become an individual (vyakti).

Prior to achieving liberation, potentiality (pratibha) and individuality (vyaktitva) go side by side in a human being.  In this period, which is the stage of growing up, self-doubt and conflict among individualities cannot be ruled out.  The balance (santulan) in potentiality and individuality is attained upon liberation from illusion.  Individuality upon such liberation would result in successive expressions of harmony - in family, in society, and with nature at large.  This liberation is not from but in the world.  Each liberated human being, rooted in the universal understanding, would have distinct individuality (distinct from others), in the same way as finger prints, in terms of their taste of food (aahaar), lifestyle (vihaar), and expression in behavior (vyavhar).  Finger prints are of body while Individuality is a conscious phenomenon.  Individualities with universal (and therefore common) understanding will necessarily be mutually complementary.

- Based on Madhyasth Darshan

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Minimum Beautiful


Shree A. Nagraj (1920-2016), who we used to affectionately call “Baba”, breathed his last on the morning of March 5th 2016 at his home in Amarkantak, surrounded by his disciples and family members. 

I still get lump in throat when I recount my first meeting with Baba ji at Amarkantak in November 2004.  He was resting on the divan in that quaint little dharmashala opposite Narmada Temple.  I mumbled my introduction, adding how happy I was seeing him in person.  He said – “Human beings have been trying to find Trust ever since they occurred on this Earth.  I discovered something through sadhana by which I have become rooted in Trust, and I can teach you that.”  Something shattered inside me on hearing this, and I wept silently, while he continued with his narration...  I had found my teacher.  I surrendered to his purpose, his vision, and his program even without understanding a word of what he was saying that day.  There was no point of my shedding tears over shattered ego any more, I decided.  Rest of my story is about my trials of grasping what he had to teach. 

There is no mystery in existence, he would say.  Existence is orderly and harmonious as coexistence, and it can be studied, understood, realized, and it is upon realization that human being can produce evidences of knowledge (gyan) in their living.  Knowledge (gyan) is the “calling” of every human being.  Every human being has thirst of knowledge, which can only be quenched through meaningful education.  He presented himself as living evidence (praman), and that was his authenticity (pramanikta).  He taught about the order (vyavastha) and purpose (prayojan) in existence with this authenticity.  He gave logical reasoning to explain his realization (anubhav).  He said, Realization (anubhav) can be described in words.  Going on to say that realization (anubhav) is the only thing that is worth describing.  It soon became clear that logic was not enough to grasp what he had to say.  Then what?  What do I have that can grasp what he is saying, to which I feel so profoundly attracted?  “Use your imagination (kalpanasheelta)” – pat came the answer!  Imagination is what distinguishes us humans from animals.  Imagination is the prior form of knowledge.  Imagination can expand and tune itself to reality, which results in its own fulfillment, its own transformation.  Thus far in human history, humans used imagination only for materializing ideas.  Now use imagination for its own fulfillment.  There is no need of stilling the imagination – through some meditation or chanting.  Nor is there any point in letting it lose for fancies.  Imagination can be guided by use of definitions (paribhasha).  Definition is the set of words that indicate a reality in existence.  One who has realization (or the teacher) defines the realities and guides imagination of seeker (or the student) – triggering a progression (kram) towards awakening (jagruti).  Language is from tradition, but definitions are mine!  - He would claim.  Each human being has the potential of awakening the latent faculties of their consciousness, by way of education (shiksha) or study (adhyayan).  It is simplicity itself.

This simplicity can be deceptive!  For it’s not that you listen to the definitions once and become awakened the same instant!  Why not!?  The reason is, he said, this proposal is alternative (vikalp) of whatever has been thought and done in human history thus far.  Humankind has thought and done only on the lines of Idealism (adarshvad) and Materialism (bhautikvad).  His presentation is a new reference for human thinking.  He remained firm on this stand until his last breath.  You don’t understand it until you suspend your prior notions and pay full attention to what is being said here.  You need to pay attention for study, the teacher commanded!  Upon realization, attentiveness becomes natural.  But how does one let go of one’s prior notions or hang-ups?  If my prior notions are whatever has been thought and done in human history until now, then isn’t that all who I am?  He would counter – “No.. There is more to human being than these incorrect and incomplete notions, which are nothing but illusion (bhram).  Human being has natural expectation for order and harmony, which is their thirst for knowledge.  Study (adhyayan) and Practice (abhyas) in the form of emulating (anukaran) the Teacher instills understanding which results in one’s getting over those incorrect notions.”  Study is not a lonely pursuit.  It is an alive process, it is an affirmative process, with active involvement of teacher and student, which results in student’s accomplishing integrity in thought, word and deed – like the teacher.  The process of Study results in building an integral view (avdharana) of existence as an order (vyavastha) in student – thereupon Realization (anubhav) becomes imperative, which forms the basis of living with Authenticity (pramanikta), as Humaneness (manviyata).  In this way he defined what it is to be a human - taking a position that there is nothing higher and nothing more dignified than human existence - as human centric contemplation based on his realization in existence, and thereby he postulated and demonstrated manviyata poorna acharan (humanistic conduct) - comprising of mulya (values), charitra (character) and naitikta (ethics) - calling it "Madhyasth Darshan".

There was a sense of urgency in his appeals.  He would hold human illusion as the root cause of Earth’s condition with climate change, global warming, terrorism, or fragmentation in society.  He was unsparing with his pointed critiques of both Vedic thought and Science, seeking no allegiance to rebels of these thoughts either, while very precisely acknowledging their contribution in humankind’s journey towards its awakening.  He said what he had to say, with his own definitions, and lived true to his own words. 

Study (adhyayan), he used to say, is an “un-wounding process”.  You don’t need to do any excesses or bravado, like leaving job or practice austere life of renunciation or become a nomad ascetic.  Understand first, and then do.  Take your family along.  Fulfill your obligations.  His message is about leading an integral life that is universal and therefore inclusive.  You don’t need to “build” relations.  You need to “recognize” purpose of relations in which you already are.  The world is not an illusion.  It is real. It is permanent (shashvat).  It has constancy (sthirta).  It has definitiveness (nishchayata).  Study is a natural and incremental progression to transition (sankraman) from animal consciousness (jeev chetna) to human consciousness (manav chetna).  There is no overlap between animal consciousness and human consciousness.  These are two planes of being.  All statuses of animal consciousness have path of incremental progression to awakening or human consciousness.  Much to the chagrin to many of his followers, he wouldn’t give any toe-space between the two levels of consciousness, or concede any width to this transition, or allow anyone to do any kind of alteration or adulteration to make his message more palatable to crowds!  The transition in consciousness, he would say, is irreversible.  There is no way of forgetting that which you have understood.

The next generation is always going to be ahead!   He used to say – "My model of living out this understanding (realization) is the minimum beautiful!  That which I understood through sadhana, you can understand through study.  Once you have understood, your imagination would further it and result in ever more beautiful expressions of this understanding!  Mine in only the minimum beautiful!”

It has become realistic now for humankind to become established as tradition of awakening with the advent of Madhyasth Darshan.

What next…  Should we all go home now, as the class is over and the teacher is gone?  Or complete our education by staying back.  I am staying back.  So is Priyanka, my wife.  So are many others…  What about you?

Rakesh Gupta

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mutual Fulfillment in Nature


All orders on this Earth are traditions that exhibit complementariness within their kinds and among one another.  At the fundamental level, atomic particles exhibit complementariness with one another by working in the form of atoms that exhibit definite conduct.  Complementariness itself manifests as Cyclicality, which is mutual fulfillment as well.  This becoming fulfilled from togetherness in nature indicates (inherent direction or intent for) equality in whole existence and in awakening.  The evidence of mutual fulfillment starts from the stage of atomic particles itself, wherein particles come together and become established as an order.  Thereafter atoms come together and exhibit higher order of molecules and molecular forms.  All these facts become known to one who is awakened.  Those who are not awakened, they all are desirous of awakening.  Truth is acceptable to all.  That’s the greatness of Truth.  Truth at its fundamental level is Coexistence.  Existence evidences cyclicality in the form of Order and mutual complementariness.  Nature other than humans is seen to be mutually complementary.  Nature other than humans while is complementary for humans, human awakening is still awaited for them to be complementary for rest of nature.  Human being evidences cyclicality when they are orderly in themselves and participate in universal order.  Human awakening itself is the purpose of presenting Cyclical Economics.  This purpose is intrinsic to existence therefore is natural.

- Excerpt from English Translation of Avartansheel Arthashastra (Cyclical Economics)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Earth and Science



In the physiochemical world, which we can see around us, each material form exhibits tendency of deformation and deformed matter exhibits tendency of formation.  It can be hypothesized (imagined) therefore, whether this Earth also undergoes such cycles of formation and deformation.  Each celestial body including Earth is in solid or gaseous form.  Whether a celestial body is in solid form or in gaseous form, its integrality is based on its being in no-attraction status.  It is only when a celestial body (like planet) solidifies that the tendency of physiochemical activities arises there, triggering successive revelations of higher physiochemical forms.  Successive revelation of physiochemical forms has reached its highest stage on this Earth while maintaining continuity of each stage of revelation (in the form of its tradition).  Our Earth is natural evidence of this phenomenon.  There are some planets where chemical activities are not yet present.  There are planets which are not in solid form but are only gaseous.  Whatever be their state, each planet maintains its integrality because there is neither increase nor decrease in existence.  It is on the basis of constancy of existence that we can accept the integrality of planets.  It is possible for a meteor or a comet to become part of some planet, but that doesn’t mean increase or decrease in existence.  It is natural in existence for something in disorder to become a part of some order.  The events of falling meteors and comets can be described as ways of enriching planets.  It is possible that these comets and meteors resulted from nuclear explosions or atomic interference by scientists on some other planets - ejecting some material to no-attraction state in the limitless Space.  It is human being alone who interferes in the nature’s activities.  Therefore, prevalent Science could only be called as destructive knowledge.  It only generates ideas of cutting, dividing, exploding. Human being has the right (capability) of experimenting using their imagination.  Scientific experiments alone have resulted in helplessness of living in disorder for human beings in illusion.  It is well known that one in disorder tries only to create more disorder.  Therefore we can accept that human being in illusion is the root cause of disorder.  Therefore the grandeur of formation and deformation activities in material nature can be seen only when seen with their completeness.  For example, the Sun exhibits restraint (in its conduct in solar system) even though it is in gaseous state.  In the same way, many planets evidence restraint while being in gaseous state.  Some planets evidence restraint while being in solid state.  Yet there are other planets that evidence restraint while having cycles of physiochemical formation and deformation activities, one such planet is Earth where human being lives.  Therefore, if there is any unit as cause of disorder then that is human being in illusion.  Therefore, each illusioned human being needs to be awakened.
 
- Excerpt from English Translation of Avartansheel Arthashastra (Cyclical Economics)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Atom


The seer status means - human ability to see (understand) the insentient and sentient world.   It is using the same ability “seeing” of atom has become possible for human being.  The name “atom” and “atomic configuration” has already come into human imagination as hypothesis.  These ideas have become popular as well.  While retaining the hypotheses of “atom” and “atomic configuration” as it is, we now need to provide answers to questions that arise naturally after this.  Why are atoms there in the first place?  How many kinds of atoms are there?  Answers to these questions have been discovered.  There are many kinds of atoms, of which some kind of atoms with certain definite number of particles in their configuration exhibit “hunger” for imbibing more particles into their configuration. While other kind of atoms, with other definite number of particles in their configuration, exhibit their being “surfeit” and these tend to expel some particles from their configuration.  All these hungry and surfeit atoms are in “development progression”, and these are found to be active in molecules and molecular forms.  All these atoms (element types) are countable as "units" and their activity forms the basis of "Order" in nature.  Each kind of atom, with definite number of particles in its configuration, maintains its conduct eternally to fulfill its definite purpose in existence.  All atoms found in development progression keep performing “making” and “unmaking” activities by way of molecular bonding and weight bonding.  This making and unmaking is either physical or chemical.  The physical compositions are seen mainly in the form of soils, stones, gems and metals; while chemical compositions are seen as acids, alkali, water, growth and decay in all units of bio order, growth and decay of all bodies in animal order and knowledge order.

- Excerpt from English Translation of Avartansheel Arthshastra (Cyclical Economics)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Space


The basis of location (of any thing) is Space.  Space itself is the distance.  I have called it “Pervasive” because its depth, length and width are neither comprehensible nor describable in any which way - mathematical, qualitative or causal.  Space is beyond human imagination.  As it is impossible for a human being to measure or enumerate Space - the eternal grandeur of Space in existence can only be called as “Pervasive”.  Earlier we had understood that Space is transparent for whole nature.  Space permeates nature (matter).  Space is the Law for nature.  It is Law that gets understood.  Existence is understood only with its Law, which itself is the Knowledge in human being.  The evidence of permeability of Space is in the form of whole nature’s always being active. At the base of this activity of all objects of nature, from the smallest to the biggest, is matter’s being energized and forceful.  This is reality, and it is up to us what name we give it.  The energy in human being is in the form of knowledge.  Each celestial body in the universe is energized and active, maintaining definite distance from other celestial bodies evidencing restraint.  Such is the grandeur of coexistence where all of nature is always busy and always occupied for evidencing its permeation in Space and there is no barrier, no resistance and no trace of any opposition to this, instead there is continuous harmony, continuous celebration, and eternal presence of this grandeur.
- Excerpt from English Translation of Avartansheel Arthashastra (Cyclical Economics).