Issue :   
November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:November' 2018

ART OF LIVING

Need for awakening

Rajesh Bhola

It was not as though I had many friends at my school. It was a lonely affair for a thirteen year old. I was in need of a friend but it was not easy to find one among a horde of rowdy, pea-shooting classmates, who carved their names on desks and stuck chewing gum on the class teacher’s chair. The moment there was no teacher in the classroom it used to be a free for all – with some shouting at each other and many others beating their desks. It was schoolboy anarchy at its best.
But, now when the memories of schooldays flood back, I realise that if our inborn nature of raw desires goes unchecked, there will be little pattern or order in our lives. For attaining such behaviour and for the restoration of some order, there has been the civilizing influence of teachers – who also provided guidance on propriety and righteousness. Someone may well ask, “If a person’s nature is ‘evil’, wherefrom would such ‘manners’ come?” The answer is that these are not produced from man’s nature.
When a potter pounds the clay and makes a vessel, it is the product of the artisan’s activity, not of his nature. The sages observed activities and gathered ideas and thoughts, and thereafter introduced principles of propriety and righteousness and instituted laws and systems. Therefore, these are the products of the activity of the sages and not the original products of every man’s nature. The eye, ear, nose, mouth, heart and body are products of man’s original nature and feelings. They react to natural stimuli, which does not require any activity. The sages transformed man’s nature and aroused him to activity.
It is difficult to comprehend the extent of the gap between our present selves and our original nature, and how this gap can be closed. Due to this great chasm, we are eternally continuing with our incomplete and unhappy lives. Man’s original nature enjoys each breath, delights in the subtlest pleasures of life and regales living close to the lap of Nature. Human nature, at its core, is like Nature around us; it is one of its more complex formations. The apostles and soldiers of the ideal, in whom service for truth and justice has become the law of life, need not despair of human nature, nor pray for a miracle to purge man of his baser elements. The sages’ lives are proof that human nature can change itself for the better; that the human species can teach itself to live by truth alone and to act for the good of all men. This spiritual side to human nature sees human life in terms of the bigger picture – of how to inject new meaning into a person’s little story, so that it begins to serve the great story of peace and compassion in the world.
The original nature of humans is constantly developing, growing and moving toward a balanced and mature way of ‘being’. Our present personality is determined by both who and what we have been and by the persons we strive to become. The goal of personal development is to learn and apply that which enables us to attain emotional wellbeing, understanding and effectiveness, and to share this knowledge with others.
Personal development is the conscious evolution of human nature. Although it is in our nature to learn and grow, we are held back by our culture, which is predominantly focused on survival needs. Each of us is in competition with others, and our spiritual inner nature is repressed. The animal in us rules. We make no room for unconditional love.
Even though the culture may have evolved, with technological advancements and administrative complexity, human nature has not moved forward as it might. We are now paying the price for human selfishness and inconsideration. Going forward, the quality of our lives on this Planet - even our survival - now depends on each of us taking responsibility for our own personal growth. The human being needs to awaken to the soul that inhabits each body, and which is our true self and source of inner knowing. Let us awaken through a process of selfdiscovery, leading to our own, self-directed spirituality.
We need to become mindfully conscious, instead of being ruled by the dictates of basic instincts, past habits and fixed beliefs. We need to throw away dogma, open our minds and reconsider. Instead of fearing about our survival and developing a competitive angst, we will then be motivated by compassionate understanding and creative love.