Being Married and Being Blessed

Freedom is a great concept. It is a key constituent of peace and prosperity. A free man is a fulfilled man.

Chains of Law

Fugitives experience chains on them for limited periods of time.

Imagine a robber arrested for looting a bank. He will be bound for a few years in prison, in line with Legal Postulates and later he will be set free to return back to the world. Our legal system does not punish anyone indefinitely. There is a finite period of time for being bound by law. Afterall, prison system is called “correction facility” and not “punishment facility”.

Tied in Marriage

Being bound in Marriage is a lifelong sentence.

couple

(Image Credit: Lian Chang)

After the initial period of courting and honeymoons, many men consider their wives to be a punishment from Society and vice versa.

Why?

This results from the Man and the Woman not attempting to realise who they are, before the wedding. Our apparent sense of freedom, choice and free will are often compromised in a marriage.

Beings who understand life and then find freedom in marriage are blessed. Marriage is an opportunity to express life and celebrate union of two becoming one. Marriage relationships are very subtle in nature. Like a fine piece of satin, marriage must be treated with a lot of love and care. Else, the fine fabric of this holy relationship starts to wear and tear.

“All said and done…”

I am a Single Male at the time of writing this article (Early September 2016). You may excuse my ignorance of experiential marital affairs. I speak from what I observe in the world around me and also based on Wisdom from Chanakya Sutra (Chatper 2: Sloka 69 to 73).

The Soft and Subtle Attachment

A wife creates an attachment to the world using love, comforts and desires. It is a rather soft and pleasing form of attachment compared to the crude attachments of the manifest material world.

The Man who understands that he is being attached to the world in a soft manner has an upper hand over life, than him who is just not aware. Actions and attitudes that work in terms of transcending this attachment, will serve a married man well.

Chanakya says a wife of great qualities and purity really helps her man attain Moksha.

Such a lady can encourage her man and motivate him to do those actions that are truly beneficial for him. This focuses his activities on things and ideas that truly elevate the family. This lady will also be working on her own elevation into greater states of being. Children born to such a couple are very fortunate and blessed. They learn values by observing their parents much before exposure to Scriptures and Sciences.

Man and Wife went Wrong

A wife is considered to be half of a man’s body. If her behaviour and tendencies are bad, the man suffers its consequences as well.

The number of broken families in our society is huge. Even though, couples who understand and respect wisdom is on the rise, their proportion is tiny compared to those that don’t think about wisdom.

Competition between husband and wife, comparison of wealth, social status, beauty, influence and such puts a lot of pressure between the man and the woman. With Social Media and Private Chat applications, it is easier to get tempted with adultery and exploration of other mates as well. This presents a dangerous scenario.

We do not say that talking to other people is bad. Interaction and mingling with opposite sex is in fact a very healthy thing. That helps maintaining your vigour and keeps your happiness levels high. Nature did not create appreciation for beauty in opposite sex to be forcefully controlled. I subscribe to the western ideas of “Alpha Male” and “Alpha Female” who are sought after by people of their opposite sex. They know where to draw firm lines. In many relationships, the line is blurred or not evident. It happens due to ignorance.

A wicked wife, a stubborn friend, a servant who argues with you and a snake in a house are sure causes of death, so says Chanakya.

Observe each other. Don’t Judge

Chanakya suggests to be detached and to observe your wife.

By observing a woman closely on how she talks, how she reacts to different situations, how she handles challenges, how she fails and return to address big challenges will help us gain true and subtle knowledge.

Often we are so full of ourselves that we fail to observe the world around us closely. We only know what we want right now. The next moment, our mind goes behind a new want. Many of us do not have the capacity to observe closely. The observation of who we are and who our partner is, will yield a lot of key insights about our family life.

Marriage is afterall a beautiful concept that lasted for millennia in our culture. There should be some wisdom that guides the successful couples navigate life. Are we finding that wisdom?  

Transcendence from Body Mind Identification

The Vedas mention that the Self is not the body. When we say “My name is Shankar”, we are calling our body as Shankar. But, the True Self is not Shankar. Shankar is only a name that our family gave us. It could have been Ram, Vignesh, John or Azeez. It was only by chance that in this life, Shankar was known as Shankar. So, our name is not our true identity. It is only accidental that we got our names.

atman

We are not Our Body

It is by chance that we got our particular body. We have no control over our being born as male or female. We have no control over our race into which we are born. We could be South Asian, African, Mongoloid or European based on chance. We do not have any authority over our being born into our particular body. The Atman chose our parents and our home to manifest itself in our particular body. A true realisation that our life is a result of circumstances we are born into, will wake us up from the play of Samsara.

If the Self (“I am”) is not the body, the difficulties experienced by the body is not “Mine”. The phenomena of Birth, Growth, Old Age, Sickness and Death are body phenomena. The Self or the Atman is not born. The Atman is not prone to old age, sickness or death. The Atman does not go through any difficulties. So, why should we identify with our problems when the problems are belonging to the body alone?

When we are injured, we say “I am injured”. The wisdom to say “My body is injured” will release us from a lot of troubles that is offered by this world. The Atman is separate from the body. The experiences of the body perceived through the senses do not affect the Atman. So, the Atman is not affected by what we see, hear, taste, smell or touch. Our life experience is based on our Senses. Our efforts are focused towards experiencing the sense objects. But the True Self does not require any of these sense experiences. It is not identified with the Sensory experiences.

“Who are you?”

“I am the one who smells the perfume. I am the one who sees my family. I am the one who feels the touch of my beloved. I am the one who hears the News. I am the one who tastes my lunch.”

This is our everyday life. But, a deeper understanding of the scriptures reveals the shortsightedness of such a perception. The Self or Atman is the very object that livens lifeless objects. The Self is Life itself. Without the power of Self, we are dead. Death is that process which happens when Self or the Atman leaves the body. We do not call a dead body his name. We call it the “body”. The dead one is no longer the “person”. Self or the Atman is that which makes a body a person.  

We are not our Mind

Mind is the flow of thoughts that occur within us. It is an ever changing entity based upon the change of nature and content of our thoughts. A man with no thoughts cannot remain human. “Humanness” is a result of the presence of thoughts along with our bodies. Without thoughts, we are no different from animals.

Now the question arises, if we are our mind. We have a mind. We are not our mind. The mind belongs to us. We are not mind itself. Mind is an ever changing thing, whereas the Atman or the Self (or the “I am”) is a constant thing. The object that we experience as our mind is our creation. We experience mind as a flow of thoughts. These thoughts appeared as a result of our desires, which happens due to our interaction with the world.

The Mind gets its power to think from the Atman. The Atman is separate from the Mind. With the realisation that the Atman is separate from the Mind, we are no longer affected by the troubles of the mind such as Fear and Sadness.

Self is the ultimate truth that we can realise. The acceptance to move beyond our identification with the Body and Mind bestows a lot of power on us.

To think or not to think? A debate between East and West

 

Ramana Maharishi

When there are thoughts, it is distraction: when there are no thoughts, it is meditation.

– Ramana Maharshi

India has studied Human Thought in detail. Gurus have talked about the state of no thought as a very powerful state. The goal of meditation and religious practices is to move beyond the noise and confusion to absolute stillness of mind.

How do you reach a state of no thought?

Human beings consider language as a tool for thought. Except in deep sleep, thoughts appear constantly in mind as words and images. Though there is no physical concept of mind as an organ like the brain, we do experience mind as consciousness. But, how many of us have the luxury of a still mind, so clear like the surface of a still pond?

Consider you are travelling on a highway and see a hoarding of a popular movie star. This reminds you of a scene that touched you a lot, which again reminds you of an incident in your past. Maybe that incident connects you to a friend, which takes your mind to a personal loss. That loss could make you sad and feel how unpredictable life is. This shows the journey of an uncontrolled mind. All of this started from one image on the street.

Saints like Ramana Maharishi told us to look at the place from where the thought arises. Is it memory? Is it feelings? Is it mind? Then look beyond it. Where does this memory come from? What is the cause of this memory? This is called “Self Enquiry”. It is through a very clear inspection of our self that we reach that place where we transcend thought itself. This is a meditative experience. After consciously practicing meditation for a while, there is no need of a physical process of sitting in a silent room with closed eyes. The very mind becomes meditative in nature with no thought, but just an awareness about the task at hand.

But, I think therefore I am. What about that?

The western thought has taught us to constantly indulge in thoughts. The very definition of Self is considered to be the presence of our thoughts about who we are, what we are and where we are going to. There is a lot of action and speed about such a perception about Self. This thought process has lead our consciousness to great confusion. The process of not thinking is almost considered failure. The thinking process is often compared to “mental gymnastics” of sorts that people are not even able to sleep peacefully.

So, to think or not to think. That is the question really.   

A Question on Avatars

Indian Religious thought can be divided roughly into two eras – The Vedic Era and the Aryan Era. In the Vedic Era, idol worship was virtually non existent and religious thought was guided by the Puranas, Vedas, Upanishads and such. It was a period of appreciation of pure logic and enquiry into the nature of man and the universe he belongs to. Aryan Era brought in the Gods and the cults. The core of both the eras is the same. The colour and texture of Consciousness seems to differ – that is all.

The Avatars of Vishnu showcases the periods that the planet went through. The time of the floods and the Maha Pralaya had the Matsya Avatar. Soon the water started receding resulting in the onset of Amphibian life and so the Koorma Avatar was manifested. Drylands started coming up and that resulted in Varaha Avatar. So, the scientific evolution and the way in which Avatars came up is really showcased beautifully. The initial Avatars were so bound to nature and life itself. Later on, the shape of Avatars changed to challenge and suit the Human Spiritual Evolution.

With human population growing exponentially during the last 6000 or so years, man became more competitive and greedy rather than moral and virtuous. This is a natural way of life. When the resources are the same and there are many hands looking for the same goals, being virtuous does not always help. It is Economics at play here. Mahabharata is a time when this way of life was very prevalent. The materialistic outlook of life by Kauravas and Pandavas needed to be resolved by none less than a diplomat, a strategician, a leader. A Vamana, Sri Rama or Parasurama could not have resolve this. Here, we needed a Krishna. That is how Swami Chinmayananda justifies the manifestation of Krishna Avatar.

If we look at the situation now and the rise of Adharma in the 21st century, many souls are crying out for an Avatar. But, Eastern Wisdom repeatedly say to look within ourselves for solutions and not to rely on outside situations to combat our problems. The idea that the entire universe is within ourselves and we can adapt, evolve and strengthen our lives to the situations around us is really powerful.

A Krishna was relevant 5000 years ago. Who will be relevant now?