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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Two Viewpoints of this Manifested World

August 13, 2004

First time when I heard that our sympathetic nervous system fights with the enemies on our body I felt uncomfortable. I felt like they are army. I was wondering why should you call the functioning of eyes as seeing, ears hearing, tongue tasting, and stomach digesting, etc why should we call sympathetic nervous system as fighting while we use fighting as a bad thing in outside world. Parasympathetic nervous system now fights with the sympathetic system.
I am not a student of medicine- do not even have a basic knowledge of anatomy or physiology. But I try to feel from my heart what I come to know.
Similarly when I was hearing about the theory called survival of fittest of Darwin I had similar feeling of non-acceptability because I always feel nature works in harmony. Nature does not work with an agenda if something is weak, so it should be eliminated because there is no ‘utility of it by its survival’. As if utility is the basis of creation!
I would like to share some of the ideas in this regard. Not that I am very clear with the entire picture but this appears to be due to the influence of some notions which may be baseless on the theories man creates. The nature has its own way of functioning. We only label it so that we can be guided by our understanding. That influences further our thinking process.
There are as I see basically two world views. One is that the world is bad and the journey in this world is full of hurdles and we need to be very careful and keep fighting all the time. We need to have this awareness and caution in order to fight and succeed, without which you are no more. We need to struggle all the time. Life is a battle field.
The second view is that the creation is basically good and is from god and it is his freedom and his choice of ‘one to become many’ that He has become many in the form of various animals and birds trees and rivers sky and the beautiful clouds and all. The manifestation is a beautiful song and the living is a festivity. Every breath you take is a celebration every step you take in walking is a dance. And finally the basis of the creation the divinity hidden in the creation is the harmony which keeps the creation intact.
I am comfortable with and I feel our scriptures have always taken the later view as spiritual view and that is why we have such prayers samno mitrah sam varunah etc. or saha na vavatu etc. and I was trying to find out what could be the origin of the second view of the nature namely fight is the essence of existence.
When I think I feel the origin for the first way of thinking has been developed as follows.
In certain parts of the world, mainly in the west, man had to constantly fight for his survival. He had to fight the nature’s vagaries such as extreme cold conditions and extreme hot conditions when he did not have the facility like what man has today or he did not have the defense system like animals have. But he is having intelligence so that he could develop his skills and technology for his safety. This same argument he brought in all his activities and in explaining every thing he came across in the creation. In order to fight he has to first of all convince himself that it is enemy and it is bad, and given a freedom or if he slackens the whole creation, particularly the animals are there to destroy his very existence.
But the reality is that the animals do not attack unless they are hungry and they find food in front of them; unless they find that their life is threatened they don’t attack. May be they sense that man is much more capable than them in terms of their intelligence so it looks like they are afraid of man much more than they are for any other creatures. Actually these days so much of research is done in the area of animal behavior. They even say that the animals are not violent just like that. They may just be playful some times.
I was watching an animal channel. A tiger was lying after having a meal. A deer was grazing at a couple of feet away not noticing the tiger. The tiger just opens his eyes yarns and goes back to sleep. The commentator says that the tigers are not violent. They eat their food.
Even though such kind of research shows that animals are not basically violent, we have not yet revised our opinion regarding human being who is supposed to have evolved from animal and the human being continues to be violent. Violence is not his basic nature because even the primary assumption that animals are violent appears to be wrong.
First of all it is assumed that the fighting is or aggression is the essence of creation, and several aspects of creation are explained based on this aspect of aggression. Recently my friend in Germany said that they are taught from the childhood this concept, ‘Homino homini lupus’ which basically means, he explained, man is a wolf for another man. It means man is always waiting for an opportunity how to cheat how to deceive and how to destroy another human being. Wolf is believed to be an animal not only just kills but it is very violent and destroys its pray. In other words man is a pray for another man. This means man is there to destroy the success or existence of the other man. This is mirroring the idea that animals are violent and so is man. Now when you look at how all the other ideas emerge out of it. When you question why man is like a wolf, the answer arbitrarily given I think is, because man is originally a sinner. Therefore the concept that man is a sinner is to justify the original idea that man is wolf of another man. So a strong man subdues a weak man!
The same theory has been applied to all other creatures as follows. It is not only man but the whole creation is like this. That is why it is hypothesized that a strong animal tries to destroy the survival of the weak animal so the law of creation is ‘survival of the fittest’. To what extent the fight is going on or when it is going on? The answer is it is going on in the creation all the time. Taking the same clue the activity going on in our body is also explained in the same way. In our body we are fighting all the time in the form of the sympathetic nervous system fighting the external aggression. Fighting is a way of life.
Extending this concept of violence to the work place the work that you do in the office is also psychologically explained as fight. That is why the work place is like a battle field. The whole market is a big company has to eat up the weak company. The big industry has to wipe away he weak industry, which in sophisticated language we call as expansion or merger. Where we can get more for less we are smart and intelligent. It is not only in our own country but in the countries where the labor is cheap go there and exploit them. That is why these days the cry called the out sourcing. Working even at the individual level is like a fight and we need the respite from this fight. That is why we need a vacation from the work. You can see the expression on the faces of the people who go to the work, which it is some thing unwanted, like.
When the society believed in the theory that every body is a wolf of other, then naturally every one is fighting with the other and every one is looking for his pound of flesh. In such a society what the man required is the simple law of mutual survival. In order to prevent or reduce the exploitation, laws are created, rights are fixed. This is your right and this is his right. Nobody should violate other’s rights. Father has a right mother has a right- child has a right adult has a right. Adults’ rights are much wider so every child wants to become an adult as early as possible. People are given rights and rulers have rights.
Things like love your neighbor, don’t steal other’s wealth etc were good enough for people to be so called spiritual. So the spiritual laws were mainly the laws of being good and doing good. Therefore the message of being good has been the core message of spirituality.
On the other hand a society and culture which is totally wedded to the idea that the creation is from god and it is his play and basically man is good and only we need to remind him, these people have a different approach in life. These people worked in trust of other and also trust about the other creatures on the earth. Aggression was not necessary in life. Being good is an ordinary thing!
The first view point namely that we need to fight and survive there is a very strong ego in it and it has to be nurtured. In order to fight we need ego and stronger the ego greater you are. The character of the ego has been only in the form of violence. It is this ego which says that the whole world is created by god for his enjoyment. He has every right to plunder with this creation!
One who has no ego can not be considered as successful. Ego is not only of the things what you have, such as beauty or wealth, intelligence or knack, smartness or aggression, these things not only we have to have it but we need to exhibit too, we need to let others know about it. To project it also is very important, to advertise becomes very important. There is not only no value for humility but it is actively condemned. Ego is the achievements of out side and it looks like we depend up on more and more outside because we have less and less inside. We have nothing realized inside so we tend to look out side.
Showing off the supremacy over other creatures has been recreation and pass time. That is the way the bull fight, WWF or similar things have significance. For a mind which does not see point in this kind of philosophy, these fights look as very barbaric and sinful. One wonders how these things can be enjoyed or why such things are not considered as crime.
We also meddle with the creation for our advantage. Keeping the chicken in closed cages and putting powerful lights day and night so that they do not sleep and in turn they give more eggs or pushing the animals mercilessly through the slaughter houses can not fit in any stretch of imagination as the leaders of creation which we claim to be!
This violence has percolated in every aspect. Even yoga is practiced as fighting with the body. All the definition of the asana given by the scriptures and all the definitions of yoga are kept aside because they do not satisfy this basic aspect of violence. So these days even yoga is practiced with no mercy on the body. Even if you have mercy on your body the teacher will not have. There are such quotes ‘no pain no gain’.
Fasting was suggested as a wonderful spiritual practice by our ancient scriptures. It is not to punish the body or to be violent with the body but essentially to develop the control over the mind which is following the vasana forces. But today even the fasting is like punishing the body and the gentleness is disappearing in the so called spiritual aspirants. Bhakti-way of looking which means looking with love and compassion and having an attitude of pardoning has been replaced by policing and fault-finding.
True Indian philosophy has nothing in the form of violence. Every thing is to enhance or manifest the harmony or divinity. Our medicine is not to fight the disease but to help health. Practice of asanas is a way of satisfying the body so that body will be peaceful. Satvic or right kind of food is that food that doesn’t leave body fighting with the food. Fasting is also to fight or punish the body. It is a way to give rest to the body or to give such training to the body that body will learn to slowly develop satisfaction with any kind of or no food. It is again and again emphasized that if you develop no aggression inside you will be able to manifest aggression outside also. What is there inside comes out from us and we manifest that quality. That is why this society is never a conqueror yet survived ten thousand years if not more and is still vibrant! It is in this culture where the lord Krishna advises Pandavas, who were extremely good yet, face all kinds of hardships that they should not invite fight or war but when war comes they should not hesitate! Here is the case where even war is used for the sake of peace! This is a culture to please fathers desire son leaves kingdom and goes to the forest, or son gives up marriage including the kingship and serves the kingdom. There are cultures where one after the other son killed his father to occupy the kingdom! That fits very clearly the concept ‘survival of the fittest’.


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