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Religion: Blessing or a Curse
The Unquestioned Answer
Quintessence of Life


Quintessence of Life

It is a matter of common observation to realize that each one of exists as a combination of body and soul. A human body continuously changes from birth to death. The old cells die and the new cells are born. In fact, scientists say that after every seven years, the whole body is renewed. Still, a person continues to have an unchanged feeling of “amness” throughout the span of his lifetime, which is considered as soul. When it departs, body simply changes into dust. A sensitive person by observing this play of life and death definitely questions his existence, his origin, his relationship with the universe, death etc. Such people who probe these enquiries wholeheartedly and not as a verbal or a logical exercise emerge as Sufis, Yogis etc. However, especially the Sufis who idealize the lifestyle of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) study, work and earn their livelihood through proper means. They do not negate life rather live in the world in an ordinary way. It is a misconception to consider them antagonistic towards reasoning, science and modern education. They do however realize the limitations of logical reasoning because this process is an outcome of physical senses.

A blind professor arrived at a village and started arguing about the presence of light. He tried to convince those villagers about the non - existence of light by questioning that if light exists, then bring it, let me touch it, smell it, taste it, listen to it. The villagers could not argue with the philosopher as he was well equipped with the tools of logic and reasoning.

What to say of spiritual people, even modern day scientists realize this fact. A modern day physicist David Bohm has made experiments with ink drops placed in glycerine. When they are rolled between two cylinders, they disappear; one cannot see them anymore. Bohm calls this implicate state. If one rolls them back again, all of a sudden they reappear in the opposite order in which they were placed in the glycerine. This is the explicate state. Bohm says that all physical reality is like that aspect or condition of reality that has transpired or emerged as the droplets - the explicate state - but there is a whole realm of reality that one does not normally experiences, which is in the implicate state and thus beyond the grasp of our senses. The lens like nature of our senses can apprehend only a certain fraction or perspective of reality.

A famous psychologist William James says, “our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.”

With this realization, a person on the spiritual path does not go against reason, logic, scientific developments etc., but his outlook towards life changes. He uses the tools of logic and reasoning to deal with the material world as he also has a material presence, but he does not lose sight of his spiritual dimension. He maintains a balance between the two. It is evident from our history that a complete material approach gives rise to enmity and wars. The pure materialism divides and this feeling of distance from others gives rise to all sorts of hells. Love takes form of possession; trust loses its meaning and overcome by greed and fear. To put it in a nutshell, all the higher values of human beings come down to a point of ugliness. The balance between the material and spiritual is possible only through meditation, where one changes focus of his life from outside to inside. To elaborate it further, one starts seeing oneself beyond his body. He gets awake from his daily sleep like activities, where he keeps on reacting automatically on given situations like a robot. The Seers of all religions have devised meditation methods to get into that stage of human awakening where one is able to experience the realm beyond the physical existence.

It is again a wrong understanding that meditation is an escape from the world. Usually, an impression of a meditator is formed in such a way that he lives a solitary life, sitting in a lotus posture if he is a yogi or just shouting ‘HU’ if he is a Sufi. This attitude towards meditation shows a lack of understanding. It is a known fact that to prepare for anything, one has to make an effort. A student while preparing for his examination has to leave behind social life, leisure activities etc. for a time period in order to get better results. A scientist has to sacrifice a lot to develop a single theory. Likewise, a poet or an artist has to concentrate before coming up with a piece of art. All the result oriented activities, whether above mentioned or others require an extra effort on the part of the doer. Likewise, people on the spiritual path also get involved for a period of time to develop an understanding of the realm beyond the limitations of the physical senses. They try to figure out the real “I” beyond the ever-changing personality. Sigmund Freud has compared human consciousness with the tip of the iceberg, as only one tenth of the consciousness is visible. The other nine tenth portion which plays a major role in one’s life remains invisible to the ordinary consciousness. Through meditation, one is able to discover this hidden treasure of one’s being.

Infact, as against escape, meditation is the most courageous act and the biggest challenge to come face to face with oneself. Normally, one becomes uneasy if he is left alone for a while because he starts getting aware of all sorts of problems inside him like fear, anger, jealousy, hatred etc. However, through meditation, one is able to observe the changing emotional states of one’s being without getting involved in them. Hence, the path to self-discovery starts through the gateway of meditation.

One does not have to get entangled in spiritual theories and occultism as these do not help a bit, rather create more confusion. However, one should not give less importance to the spiritual dimension of one’s life. Everyday, one should take sometime out to contemplate on feeling of love coming in and out of him, with no particular object in mind. This may turn out to be one of the various ways to tap one’s potential.

A great psychologist Abraham Maslow has rightly said,

“We fear our highest possibilities. We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under the most perfect conditions, under conditions of greatest courage. We enjoy and even thrill to the God like possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And, yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe and fear for these very same possibilities.”