Philosophy Of Synthesis

Posted: 04.12.2006
Updated on: 15.02.2008

The material world does not overwhelm a person who has the faculty of discretion and is not swayed by the lure of possessions

Why is there any need for sadhana (spiritual practice)? Our sense organs are healthy, our mental faculty and intellect are functioning well. Our home is equipped with all comforts, why, then, is there a need to do sadhana? We need to ponder deeply to get the answer to this question.

Life is a battle. A person struggles to live. This struggle sometimes takes place in the external world, but it goes on continuously, day and night in the inner world. There are two fundamental entities in the world - sentient and non-sentient.

One is the soul and the other is the matter or pudgal. There is a constant struggle between soul and pudgal. The soul wishes to retain its form but the material world does not allow it to do so. pudgal has been so built that it pulls the soul towards itself. Acharya Pujapada wrote: pudgal is satisfied with pudgal (matter).

The physical body is made up of pudgal. So it is appeased with just pudgal. It needs food, water and other things besides these. The body is a cause of discomfort when its expectations and desires are not fulfilled. pudgal attracts consciousness but consciousness wants to stay away from it. The struggle between consciousness and pudgal takes place constantly.

In this struggle, the person who ignores or neglects the demands of pudgal wins. It is thus a question of losing and winning. A person, who fulfils the demands of matter, loses. The person who does no fulfil the demands of matter but goes against the tide emerges as a winner.

One who believes in the soul and parmatma (liberated Soul) is called a theist. A person who does not believe in the doctrines of soul, parmatma and rebirth is called an atheist. An atheist does not need to do anything, but theists have to face many difficulties because the soul is incorporeal, invisible and difficult to reach. It is difficult to prove the existence of an incorporeal element.

The struggle is not between the doctrine of atheism and theism, but is in the realm of philosophy, too. Struggle is thus intrinsic to every human being.

One who wants to be a victor practices sadhana! The loser does not need to put in any effort to practice sadhana. He can merrily enjoy life by eating, drinking, sleeping, having fun and finally ending this play of life. He does not need to put in so much effort. One who wants to be a winner in the struggle must be self-aware and practice austerities, meditation and self-introspection, etc.

Many years ago, I had written an article that was published in the magazine and provoked discussion. I wrote: "Hunger is natural but fasting is not; Anger is natural but not forgiveness, sexual desire is natural but not celibacy." It became a big issue. But can we ponder whether these are not natural for living beings in the gross world of pudgal?

Eating, drinking, sleeping and having sex are all natural instincts. To get angry is also natural. An administrator once said, "If we don't get angry, our administration will not run." Anger is considered to be a natural instinct. Forgiveness needs to be cultivated. No one advises you to get angry but for the development of forgiveness, many camps and workshop have been held everywhere.

We have never heard about any camps or workshops that teach us how to get angry. Yet every one gets angry. Even a small child knows how to get angry. This is a tricky issue - we want to give up which is natural, and we want to cultivate that is un-natural. This is precisely where the struggle lies. If we accept what is natural, then there is no conflict at all. There is no need for any practice.

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