One More Essay: The Urgent Need
Please do not be hasty in glorifying the past, for at no time in human history was there all round peace. If not the wars, differences of opinions, so also the economic disparities, surely disturbed peace and tranquility. However, as we are conversant only with a few major events, we feel that social upheavals must have been rare and sparse in the long period of history. Going deeper into the analysis of the causes of socio-economic and political concerns and clashes, one can discern a faint undercurrent of religiosity as the major cause for such clashes.
In his search for the permanence, man tries to manipulate the external world according to his thoughts and convictions, so that he can give concrete shape to them in his life. Even though, apparently, we see that men and women cherish diverse and multiple dreams and act accordingly in different ways, if we delve deeper we can see one idea forcing all of us to act in accordance to it: and that idea or aim is to find our real nature -the Truth about us. An unbiased and non-prejudiced view of the man in his various modes of thoughts and actions points to the necessity and compulsions of his inner search of Truth and Reality.
The man is never satisfied with prevailing conditions about his existence because the surroundings, the interrelationships, and the levels of his material growth always fall short of or lag behind his expectations that he has conjured up in his mind. Dissatisfied thus, he wages a relentless war to annihilate all that, which obstructs his progress, and tries to create that which he thinks would conform to and represent his true aspiration.
The real question and problem is: what is the true aspiration of a man? To answer this question we must look into metaphysical side for the existence of the universe. What is that impulse that prompts the insentient matter to evolve into living or sentient being? Is it just an accident of Nature, or can we subscribe any purpose to such evolutionary progress? Religious philosophy says that the history of the universe is the history of regaining the lost equilibrium. The history of man is one long search for his Real Self. The equilibrium that represents the non-fragmented totality, that finds its expression in transcendence, and rests in Absolute Bliss and Knowledge. In other words, the state of equilibrium represents the true nature and the condition of the man, and to regain it is the true purpose of human evolution. In this process of regaining the balance, in this process of going to the root, the universe comes into existence with all of its majestic phenomena of creation, existence, and dissolution. It is a cyclical phase; every such cycle brings back the knowledge of our true nature, our Divinity.
However, at no point of time is it possible that all the persons simultaneously would be able to realize this truth. It is the summation of the divine quest and impulses of millions of people, over a long period of time, which culminates into the birth or incarnation of a Prophet or a Saint or an Avatara who embodies the aspirations and the knowledge of all the people into his one being. And thus, we should acknowledge and appreciate our role or part in the birth or the descent of a Man of God. This is because every one who is fortunate enough to be endowed with the human form is also evolved to the degree or level where he or she must have, and always has, some 'goodness' of Divinity to offer and contribute in the birth of such an Avatara or a Prophet. Thus, the concept of sin is easily and beneficially replaced by the emphasis on the inherent inner divinity of each soul. No more is there any weakness or inferiority due to permanence of sin!
Consciously or unconsciously every human being thus represents his contribution to reach the original divine state, and in the process every one of us endures vehement clashes that lead to wonderful creativity in his world that has no beginning or an end. All the creative endeavors, emotional interactions, and unifying ethics are seen as desirable actions and are eulogized and worshipped, for they lead us and the humanity nearer to the Divine; and all the actions of selfish hedonism, hatred and anger, war and strife are seen as undesirable elements, for such actions preclude the person from reaching or grasping the real truth. The concepts of righteousness (Dharma) and non-righteousness (Adharma), thus evolve and as such the clash between the civilized and the cultured forces versus the cruel and the evil forces ensues.
One might say: Your philosophical discourses about 'divinity of man', and 'the quest for Self-realization' do not find its reflection in the social reality. I agree; superficially it is so. Moreover, the phenomenon of science has stayed for a bit more than needed or expected as a factor resisting the promotion or facilitation of our quest or search for higher Self. This is because, initially, the physical sciences indeed brought about the two most important changes beneficial to the growth of intellect and to rationalize the terms - religion and spirituality:
1) Science attacked, corrected, and rooted out all the dross and the deviations from the old, stagnant, and decadent religions, in the form of fossilized sectarian structures of dogma and inertia. However, during this clean-up operation, it unknowingly inflicted injury to the ethics, morality, and sanity of human existence in the name of reason and rationality.
2) Secondly, the fall out of science in the form of applied technologies added comfort and leisure to the highly overburdened humanity. The extra wealth, material values, and spare time gave human beings an opportunity to engage in creative arts, literature, paintings, and societal humanities. The resultant scenario was very encouraging, engrossing, and appealing; and thus religion was replaced by "scientific culture" as the saviour of the mankind.
However, as mentioned in the beginning of the essay, no stage in the evolution or existence of humanity can ever be perfect, for it is the outcome or resultant of imperfection of having fallen from the equilibrium! A reaction would sure to follow in case of the 'saviour science' as well. The disturbing scenario that one accepted as the natural outcome of scientific thrust; the things like i) economic disparities, ii) concentration of the power in the hands of a few privileged, and iii) insult to human dignity started baffling the world without any hope of correction or respite as envisaged in the initial days of scientific revolution. Glaring contrast in the conditions of the people of developed nations and the underdeveloped ones in all their aspects of standards of living, education, entertainment, and heath etc. left a lot more to be desired. And thus, once again the disappointed propelled a man here and a man there to ask: Whither To?
The search for higher values, the quest for the self-identify, would continue; and that would culminate in peace and bliss only when the person realizes that he or she is not the 'body and mind complex', nor is he related to the external world, but is in truth the Divine Absolute.
c s shah
One More Essay: The Urgent Need