|14 Feb 2002 @ 01:45, by Mahendra Bardiya|
Rene Descartes, the famous French philosopher said, "I think, therefore I am. That 'I Think' proves that 'I exist' - I exist because I think."
If I were to put it in dialectical terms, I would say, "I exist, and since I possess I developed brain, therefore I think."
Thinking does not characterise the brain; it is only a function and hence cannot be a characteristic feature. Our existence and our consciousness transcend thought. Thinking is merely is a spark of light, not the entire flame. Freedom from thought is total illumination.
Through the practices of meditation (dhyana) we attain a higher level of consciousness which transcends thought and were the direct experience begins. In the presence of direct experience, thoughts loses its raison d'etre and spontaneously comes to an end. Every thinking then become crystal clear because there is direct cognition. We see things as they are. There is no necessity for thoughts whatsoever. Where their is direct cognition, their is no thinking intrudes, there can be no perception.
There are three way of experiencing - to know, to see and to think. Someone asked:
"Has your servant perform the task entrusted to him?" The master said "I don't know. I shall find out and let you know." Thinking is irrelevant when an event concerns another person.
To another query, "Have you got such and such article in your house?", the master said, "I don't know. I'll see if its is there." Here too there is no room for thought. The first question elicited the answer. "I'll find out", the second drew forth, "I'll see." To know (to find out) and to see require no thinking. The necessity for thinking arises only when 'knowing' and 'seeing' are possible. What ever is hidden, not evident, about which is not possible to say anything with certainty, necessitates thought.
Thinking is a function of cerebral consciousness. It is thus a mere ray of light, not total illumination. When, in the clarity of perception, one attains a direct vision, all thought stands transcended.
The objective of dhyana-sadhna (training in meditation) is to help the sadhak (spiritual practitioner) achieve direct experience. When there is direct experience, thinking comes to an end and knowledge in its wholeness is born. However, as long as the individual is bound to his body, as long as his is tried to cerebral consciousness which preoccupies him wholly, and until transcend-dental consciousness is awakened in him, thoughts has its utility, and it is not possible to do away with it altogether.
Two kinds of people are free from thinking. One who attain direct perception, dose not have to think because he clearly perceives what is. The idiot or the foolish person dose not know how to think; he s simply incapable of thought.
The master said to the servant, "Here are two tins of vegetable oil. Hide this oil some where in the garden." The servant took away the tins and returned after some time to say, "Master, I have hidden the oil in the garden; now where shall I keep the empty tins?" The master explained , "what are you talking about? How and where did you hid the oil?" "Master! said the servant, I dig a pit near the tree and poured the oil into the pit and cover it with the earth. It is perfectly concealed; no stranger would be able to discover it. Now, what am I to do with the tins?"
The man who dose not know how to think, one who is totally devoid of the faculty of thought, is a perfect idiot - he can pour the oil into the pit, but he can never utilize it. He can hide the oil but not know where to hide the tins.
Thus two kinds of person enjoy the freedom from thinking - the enlightened one and the ignoramus. What a juxtaposition! And yet some juxtaposition do occur. Only two kind of persons are remain unmoved by honor or disgrace; the entirely wise (who has freed himself from all passions) and the perfectly foolish. One wonders how the two can have anything in common. In a person freed from all passions, all disparities crease; his whole disposition undergoes a transformation. On the, other hand the idiot has no capacity to discriminate between honor and disgrace; he just cannot distinguish between these two. Therefore he likes the wise one but for a different reason, remains unaffected. What an irony! what a remarkable coincidence!
Thinking is an important factor of life. On the other hand we recognize the importance of thought; on the other we practices meditation for the attainment of a condition which is free from thoughts. Are we thus not caught in a paradox, an illogicality? Howe ever, we must not lose the sight of the fact that though our ultimate objective is to achieve complete freedom from thought, such an achievement is not possible at the moment. It is a great illusion to think that a man can enter the transcendental state beyond thought the moment he start picnicking meditation. If anything, during meditation the flow of thoughts becomes all the more powerful. Even thought ordinarily never enter in the mind, surface up during meditation. The moment the person assumes the posture of meditation or that of Kayotsarg (relaxation with self-awareness), remote thoughts that never troubled him before flock of mind. At that time the memory of thinking long forgotten comes to the fore and the spiritual practitioner finds himself assailed by all kinds of thoughts which beveled him to such an extent that he even consider abandoning meditation altogether. However the increased flow of thoughts is inevitable at that time, because the state of meditation furnishes an excellent opportunity for them to arise. When a man is in a state of tension, everyone is loath of approach him, thoughts beings no exception. But a man is in the state of Kayotsarg, when he sits relaxed, when all tension dissolve, thoughts say to themselves, "Now, here is a wonderful opportunity. There is no danger." So they unhesitatingly enter the mind. As long as the state of relaxation continues, they come without fear.
Meditation is the process which brings about the general loosening up of person's attachments. There is a equal scope of ingress as well as egress. A spiritual practitioner welcomes all, the comers and the goers. Those not well versed in meditation bind themselves to certain notions which they can never let go as long as they live. Such attachments results much pain.
The moment a man start practicing meditation, he find himself assailed by various thoughts. Let not the spiritual practitioner be disturbed by this thought-flow. Let him instead watch it and know it, i.e., let him observer the in coming thoughts without any interference. As his perception matures., the flow of thoughts would be weakened by itself. Similarly, with the awakening of consciousness, his capacity of direct experience would repine and the thought-flow would grow more and more feeble. To expect thought to suddenly come to an end, to cease altogether on the very first day, would be unrealistic. It is, therefore, imperative that every spiritual practitioner should learn how to think rightly. He who, adopting the thorny path of spiritual practice, is yet desirous of leading his life without the least function, without being embroiled with or in any way bruised by the prickly thorns, must learn how to think properly. He must at all costs master this art.
The vital question is, how does a man think?
Thinking is an art. Rarely one comes across a true thinker. But a man who knows how to think, find his way greatly smoothened.
A mendicant, in the course of discussion, said, "I've certainly learn something from every kind of person." Someone asked, "What have you learn from thief. At night, the thief go out for stealing. On his return I would ask, could you get any thing? He would say, nothing. I've come back empty handed. But tomorrow might be fruitful. On the second day and again on the third day, I put the same question and he return the same answer, 'I could get nothing today, I've come back empty handed, but I hope I get something tomorrow. Thus a whole month passed. For the entire month, the thief could procure nothing. I said to myself, the thief go out for work every night. He spend 7 to 8 hour on it. He loses his sweet sleep, and yet get nothing for his pains. For a whole month, he has not been able to procure anything. And yet, he has not lost hope. He always says, 'If not today, I'll get something from tomorrow'. I said to myself, 'The thief is displayed exemplary patience. Even on returning home empty handed, he never gave way to despair.' So from the thief, I learnt never to despair in the way of devotion. While engaged in a good work, one must never abandon hope."
But how strange and incomprehensible is man's disposition. A person engaged in a good work he is soon disappointed, while the even-door never abandon hope. The thieves, the plunderers and the dacoits never despair.
This is a fact after a great deal of thoughts I have at the conclusion that the evil commands faith much more than the good. To have faith on goodness, one must have greater devotion. It is the absence of faith that spells despair. Faith an devil seem so bound together that a man tasks to evil and his faith there in is strengthened by itself. Not much support is required in that direction. But for the strengthened of faith in the path of goodness, a tremendous effort is called for.
What is the right thinking and how are we to think rightly? It is essential to know this because a man with a negative approach would reject even the factual truth, while a man endowed with positive thinking accedes to truth and is thereby find the solution of his problems.
There are two ways of thinking - negative and positive. Much too often a man indulges in negative thinking; he does not think positively. The negative approach invariably results in despair, loss of enthusiasm, sentimentality, disdain of action and deviation from duty. In short negative thinking means the beginning of failure in life.
The key to success lies in constructive, positive thinking. And only that man is capable of constructive thinking, who has understood the significance of mediation, who has learn how to keep his heart pure, whose mind is capable of concentration and who is free from attachment.
Both constructive and negative thinking have certain criteria by which we know them.
We must first of all determine whether one's vision is partial or whole, whether it is integrated or distorted, because a man endowed with a holistic, comprehensive vision can think constructively, but the thinking of a man afflicted with a partial vision is ever distorted.
In the absence of a total view of any given situation or incident, thinking base upon the partial view remains partial and therefore inadequate. A holistic vision is a must for a right and balanced thinking. Confronted with a positive or a comprehensive viewpoint, many a conflict is resolved, whereas a perplexed vision gives rise to prejudice and many unnecessary problems come to the fore.
Some travelers halted for rest under the cool shade of a mango tree. They eel to talking. One of them. "As I came along, I saw a red lizard on a tree." Immediately another countered, "you seem to be laboring under some illusion, because I too saw a lizard ; its colour was green." The first wayfarer said, "You must have seen some other creature on other tree. For I saw it with my own eyes and I can vouch for it that it was a red lizard." The other protested "I'm telling a lie. It is you are mistaken. It was a green creature that nestled on the tree." Accusation and counter-accusation went on till, gradually, they work themselves up to a high pitch to excitement and came to blows An intelligent companion intervened, "Why are you quarrelling for nothing? I too have followed the same route after you. Both of you are right. That creature on the tree was red as well as green. A total view involves no contradiction. It is only a partial, one-sided, perverted approach that spells mischief. That creature you saw was a chameleon. When the first traveler passed, it had assumed a red hue; when the second passed, it changed into green. You know the chameleon is continually changing its colour. Both of you reported right."
The world we live in is like a chameleon. Everything here changes from moment to moment and man is no exception. How many different faces dose a man assume in the course of a single day? It appears that man is a image of God that manifests himself in a million ways. The person one saw in the morning as the model of tranquility and dispassion shows himself by midday so excited and agitated, as if he were a ruthless monster. In a course of a day man assumes a thousand different forms. He present himself is myriad different shapes. Only once during the day and again once during the night, dose the sea display tides. But the ocean of man's thoughts display thousands of tides in a course of single day. There is a continual rise and fall. No constancy and stability; only fickleness born of perversion. The situation calls for deep research, which means an enquiry in the meaning of the past and of the present. Unless the two meaning coalesce, it will not be possible to know man fully. To know and experience reality, it is necessary to investigate the essential significance of the past and the present. This in itself constitutes a holistic approach, a detached point of view in distinction with the perverted point of view based upon the perception of a part alone. There is little room for the controversy in the holistic approach, but an impressionistic approach, based upon a one-sided view, vitiated by prejudice, inevitably gives rise to contention and conflict.
The healthy approach to thinking is the constructive, positive approach, the holistic point of view.
Emperor Shrenik's queen Chelan was sleeping. It was winter time, terribly cold. As she lay asleep, the following words escaped her lips, "I wonder what he will be doing now!" The emperor was awake. He heard these words which inflamed his whole being. He was proud of his queen' character. Now he thought, "The queen whom I put greatest trust, is muttering in sleep, 'I wonder what he will be doing now.' Who is she talking about? Has she a secrete lover? O God!" His mind was i utter turmoil. He conceived a distrust of his own queen and instantly developed an extreme hatred for her.
The morning found the emperor desolate and angry. He called his prime minister Abhay Kumar who was also his son and said, "Burn this palace without delay! I'm going out see Lord Mahavir."
Abhay Kumar was stunned at the emperor's command. He thought, "To burn the palace, to Queen Chelan to ashes without any prior intimation-what sort of command is that!" On the other hand there was his father's command. On the other hand, the most heinous crime of burning his mother own alive! He new very well what consequences his disregard of the king's order would be lead to. He found himself in a dilemma.
Emperor Shrenik reached the meeting place of Mahavir, and paid his obeisance. In his discourse, Lord Mahavir discussed the topic of 'chaste and loyal women.' Incidentally Mahavir said, "Queen Chelan is the foremost among chaste and faithful women. She is very pious and dedicated to truth." The emperor could not believe his ears. He said to Mahavir, "Respected sir, how is that? You say Queen Chelan is the most virtuous lady. But only last night these words escaped her lips in sleep, 'I wonder what he will be doing now!' Do these words symbolize her quite the contrary?"
Load Mahavir said, You know not the real meaning of these words. Queen Chelan came here yesterday to pay her obeisance. Afterwards on her way to the palace she came across a Jain ascetic who would meditating under a tree. He was without any clothes. It was terribly cold. The queen did not stop there. Making her bow, she went on her way. While she slept at night, one of her hands lay outside the blanket. Because of extreme cold, her hand was benumbed, got so inert as if there were no life in it, The Queen wanted to lift her hand, but could not. Where upon the queen exclaimed, "O, the hand was exposed to the cold for a little while, and see what has become to it! It has become almost dead, completely paralyzed. Homage to the ascetic who meditates in the open without any clothes! I wonder what he will be doing now!"
The emperor was stupefied to hear it. He immediately took his leave. He thought, "If the palace has been burnt in accordance with my orders, a great injustice has been done." He walked briskly. On the way he net Abhay Kumar and anxiously enquired, "Did you carry out my order?" "Yes, Sir. How could I be negligent about any command of yours?"
The emperor said, "Abhay Kumar a great injustice has been done."
Abhay Kumar said, "What do you mean?"
The Emperor related the whole story.
Abhay Kumar said, "Sir don't you kindly worry. I've kindled the fire, as per your command, but it would take a whole day for the fire to reach the palace."
The emperor heaved a sigh of relief.
It would be apparent from this story how, because of perverted thinking, a terrible calamity could occur and how a man could commit a great injustice. God knows how many communal, national, tribal and social conflagration arise from a perverted point of view. The wife says something. The husband dose not pay full attention. And because of misunderstanding, a crisis develops in the family, sometimes leading to dreadful consequences. The husband protest he heard it with his own ears. But his ears are not full-proof. He says he saw it with his own eyes. But his eyes is not the eyes of God. A great many of us experienced for ourselves how a man is deceived by his eyes and ears. What stupidities a man indulge in on the basis partial view? Because of importance and impulsiveness a great many injustices are perpetrated.
For correct and balanced thinking, for a constructive and positive vision, the first requirement is the development of a holistic point of view. No individual should allow himself to be swayed by a perverted vision, and he must never take a decision in any matter without first obtaining full information.
Once in China, compulsory enrolment of recruits was in progress. Someone came to MaoTse-Tung and said, "It is good that you have broken your leg. This save you from conscription." Mao Tse-Tung replied, "You have said it, but I can't say so, because I don't have before me the whole picture without which it is not possible to determine whether it is good or bad."
Only when the whole picture is before one ,one may determine whether a particular happening is good or bad. Such a conclusion cannot be reached on the basis of a partial view. When a man takes a decisions on the basis of partial view, half-baked alternatives and immature feelings, it invariably gives rise to conflict and war. A man muse therefore develop a holistic point of view.
The positive and constructive point of view needs to be expounded at length. Its first principle, however, is the development of a holistic approach. When this principle gets activated in life, the constructive point of view starts maturing itself.