Pathways to a New World|Sep 25, 2012 10:27 AM| by:

The Journey so Far

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Man is a strange creature, to say the least. A mix of demon and god, he is yet to find the right law of his being. The animal lives by sure instinct, the gods act through sure intuition. But man is given something that lies half way between instinct and intuition. He is armed with an uncertain reason that depends upon the data fed by the senses. Gathering information from the senses he tries to find what may lie behind the appearances. Thereafter he draws a schema of life, a temporary scaffolding on which he erects his world. His knowledge is a string of perceptions, his actions a blind man’s bluff. He is sure of nothing yet he wants to know everything. If there is anything that most characterizes man it is this insatiable seeking. It has been said and rightly so, that a human being without a seeking has hardly grown out of his animal past. A man satisfied merely with food, shelter and progeny is not worth the grain of man. It is this seeking that has led him to wander amidst the stars; it is his seeking that has made him measure the depths of the unfathomable ocean and drive his chariots of fire across distant space. It is his seeking that has opened for man the many paths through which he travels within and without, – outside to span the cosmos and sail in ether; inside to discover his soul and journey beyond the last outposts of form and name. Take away this seeking and we have merely a two-legged animal, a biped crawling on this globe like many other creatures. On the other hand, grant him this seeking and we have the wings that can carry man beyond known horizons into the limitless vast and the home of the Gods. If there is a key to man’s success, in whatever sphere of activity, it is this, his questing and questioning mind, discovering truths beyond truths until it touches some fundamental bedrock of Reality; his seeking intelligence probing depths behind depths to search and find the ultimate Reality, his longing heart thirsty for love and beauty; even his blind passions are a form of seeking, a chasing after delight albeit in the very body and nerves.  It is this seeking, this aspiration, this thirst that is the secret fire given to man by Prometheus the titan. It has made him restless as a titan but it has also opened in him the doors to immortality so that man may be even as the gods. Therefore is Prometheus bound and punished by Zeus, being constantly eaten and constantly renewed until the Greek hero Hercules rescues him.

And yet the paradox of being human is that while he can endlessly question and even find answers, his quest remains a never ending one. Each answer gives rise to yet another question until we reach the limits of our mind to conceive and conceptualise, the final answer always evading us. It is not because there is some fundamental inability in us that prevents us from fulfilling our deepest needs and realizing our highest aspirations. It is rather because the mind by its nature can see only a fragment of the total Reality and that too very hastily and superficially. Therefore the sense of the Unknown ever haunts us since we intuitively feel there are missing pieces of the great puzzle of life hidden in folds of darkness or folds of a light too brilliant for human eyes to stare. If we would care to get at the very bottom of things; if we would care to find the Truth that escapes and the Power that eludes us; if we would wish to discover the love that is only vaguely hinted and the bliss that we ever seek but never find – we have to find the route to get beyond the Mind into those regions where the being is made whole once again. All who have attempted this great adventure have found that such a complete, indivisible infinite Consciousness does exist but so far these have been individual cases. It is not given to anybody and everybody to take this leap; it needs a great courage and conviction in the soul. Those who did so were more like men of destiny chosen to demonstrate a possibility rather than to fulfill it for all. The majority were too busy and too happy exploring the common needs of life to try out this great adventure that may well land us into the abyss rather than the skies. It is, after all, a leap of faith into the Unknown. One may end up on the wings of glory or else sink towards interminable depths losing the common bearings of our everyday life. Can one sail into the sea and be sure of reaching the distant unseen shore. Much must be negotiated during the delightful and hazardous passage, – the storm, the attractive as well as the threatening isles, the strange creatures of the ocean, the moods that play upon its surface and what not. But those few who dare and accept the challenge and set their sails in search of the unknown are the only ones who will ever arrive at the discovery of the Promised Land and find new horizons and continents of peace and light and bliss awaiting us. The name given to this search for the Reality beyond the grasp of the senses and even beyond the grasp of the Mind is called Spirituality. The means to reach and accomplish it, the routes and pathways to ascend beyond the frontiers of our thought and conceptions, are the various paths of Yoga that mankind has known since this insatiable fire was born in him.

And yet there is a Beyond. There are paths and paths each leading to its own summit. Man in his quest for transcending Mind may arrive at different summits and not just different routes. Yet what is common to all routes is this thirst, this urge to go beyond, this hunger for the Infinite, this will to ever march forward regardless of the risks and the dangers. It is this fire that opens the gates of the Beyond for man and makes him a god among gods. To ignite this fire, to nurture it, to guard it against all that sets us into an easy life of complacency or bounds us to an endless repetitive moving in futile circles of the same round of life is the key to human ascent out of his human state. Seeking lights the fire, nearness to a source of high flame lights the fire, putting one’s mind in contact with words that set our thoughts ablaze ignites the fire, loving a heart that nourishes the Flame ignites the fire, attuning one’s will to serve those who are ever engaged in tapas (the energizing heat of intense concentration) and even serving a high and lofty ideal lights up the fire. When the fire is lit the path opens by itself. The thirst itself leads the man towards the source of water! The one condition is that we should not be satisfied with lowliness, with the ordinary and the commonplace. That is death, that is misery. To concentrate our life and our energies on something worthwhile, other than mere survival and amassing of comforts or the expansion of our vanity and hollowness is then the first condition of man’s progress beyond what he is at present. It is this evolutionary angst that we feel at the moment in a number of sections of humanity, no more confined to any fixed geographical location. Men and women, children and youth, people from different vocations or no vocation feel here and there this need for change in the scheme of things. Something within them intuitively senses this need and will for change even when they do not know what kind of change and by what means the change can be brought about.  Others ride on the winds of change trusting the storm and the giant waves that are beginning to arise in Time’s sea, now washing out a whole old order of things, now bringing new things from its depths to the shores of a new life. Still others have taken a deeper plunge, risking all they have so as to usher in the New, the Unknown and the Unexpected with faith and courage. These are the catalysts or harbingers of the change that is arising in humanity from within. .

Sometimes this angst expresses itself as revolt, at other times, it takes a more positive and restrained expression, a new construction rather than a destruction of the old. Both are needed for the moment but surely the constructive forces are always more patient and their work more difficult and painstaking. Destruction is easy and is often the first step in any New Creation. That is why according to the ancient Indian myth, the Titans, the restless energy that is ever engaged in destruction and disintegration, is the elder brother, while the gods, the forces of Light and New Creation come later. The Divine Preserver uses both who are equally needed to conquer the riches that arise from Time’s sea. But the final reward, the nectar of immortality, is granted to the gods who are willing to submit and surrender their gains to consciously work out the Divine Purpose hidden in the secret heart of things. The Titans move out of the field once they have unconsciously served the great Purpose even while they were seemingly fighting for their individual egos! This is the scenario we witness today and while the clash of the Titans is easy to recognize with its fiery breath and its fury, the gods of the future are working yet unseen, veiled by the blinding storm that is raging all over as the dance of Kali and the Tandava of Shiva. After the tandava, comes the lasya; after the dance of Kali, the rasa of Vrindavan. We have to wait with faith and courage even when nothing can be seen but the blinding storm. Or else we can participate by bringing in the Light and the cooling showers that often accompany or follow upon the thunder and the storm.

(To be continued)