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PAUSING, FOR A MOMENT OF INTROSPECTION

For many years of our lives, especially during our days of youth and middle age, the multiform universe that we experience engages our attention to such a degree that as we live, study, work, and spend money, we, by and large, ignore thoughts of God, Soul, and After-life. Religion and Spirituality catch our attention mostly for a few hours on Sundays, holidays, and occasions of personal loss, accident, and funeral. We strive to be content with our mundane possessions and make the best of them, but one day, ultimately, the world ceases to occupy central attention in our minds. We soon realize that the world has only tortured us with oppositional experiences involving growth and decay, victory and defeat, gain and loss, harmony and disharmony, love and hate, joy and sorrow, and life and death. All our life we work hard and all we experience is the perishable and the changeful. In our post-middle-age years, initial wonder and curiosity about the world yield to dissatisfaction, and in such moments, we begin to cherish ideas of religious inquiry and metaphysical speculation. We then vaguely imagine, assume, and infer the presence of a Spirit higher than our spirit. Our inner urge motivates us to look for an experience of something permanent, unlimited, and perfect. We each become like a watercourse that constantly struggles to reach the ocean through straight or crooked pathways – we go to temples, listen to lectures, and associate with scholars, we read books, sing devotional songs, recite poetry, pray and meditate, and we reflect and introspect.

We realize that working, earning, spending, and taking care of family serve to fulfill our temporal needs, while religion and spirituality help fulfill our need to discover the Eternal. We examine the lives of illumined saints and sages – Raam, Seetaa, Krishna, Shankar, and Dayananda, to name a few – and we come face to face with elevated values. These Rishis and Munis declare in one voice that to seek and reach the Supreme Being is the greatest purpose of human life because this is the only way to freedom from bondage and suffering. When we read Veda and Upanishad we learn that the clarion call of the Vedic Rishi has been echoing in human hearts for centuries: Listen, O ye sons and daughters of immortal bliss! I have realized the Great Supreme Self, radiant like the sun, and beyond all darkness. Only by knowing Him can you overcome death. There is no other way to escape from the cycle of birth and death! 

Come, you can do the same! In being born in this current life span as a human being, you have a splendid opportunity to give full expression to your innermost longing for perfection, to succeed in your constant struggle for freedom, and to fulfill your aspiration for true knowledge. Not tomorrow but today – in fact, now – is the moment for you to strive to escape from the meshes that have bound you for all your life – meshes of rise and decline, triviality and finitude, fear and insecurity, and so, bondage and misery! No more will you be emotionally affected by oppositional feelings of beauty and ugliness, gain and loss, infatuation and aversion, honor and dishonor, victory and defeat! You will now see with equal vision the monarch in his mansion and the peasant in his cottage – and no more will you be agitated. With a smile, you will successfully overcome challenges of poverty and plenty, vice and sensuality, order and disorder, great and small, high and low, agreeable and disagreeable!! Come, begin to walk this Path from today, from now!!!

DR SATISH PRAKASH