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THE SCIENCE OF LIVING AND SOCIAL LIFE

Acharya Mahapragya

 

      There are two modes of living, one individual and the other social. Both go together. None can be exclusively social or individual, for the two are mutually complementary and supplementary. People differ according to the degree of priority they give to the one of the other. On this basis most people live socially rather than individually. The latter mode is comparatively rare. Not everyone has he urge to get at the heart of truth. Both spiritualists are engaged in the quest for truth and that is why both lead an individual life to a considerable extent. Such persons become so absorbed in their quest that they turn indifferent to the physical need of the body including the food that nourishes it. This may sound strange, but once consciousness is directed in a certain direction - in this case the search for truth - even food and sleep becomes so secondary that one hardly remembers whether one had them of not.

     One who is engaged in research into truth eats so sparsely that people think he is torturing his body through starvation. The fact, however, is that the researcher loses the desire for food and one who eats just to keep living and not because of a desire for food needs very little to eat. Small quantities of food are enough to give necessary nourishment to the body. Most of what we what we eat is more out of habit than for satisfying the need for nourishment.

     People with an individual mode of life, whether they are scientists or spiritualists, have to tread a narrow path, and there are very few who do so. Not many have the requisite tolerance and strength to undergo hardship to be able to take the above path. The average man cannot but take to the social mode of living. Now it happens that even though Preksha Meditation may at some stage grow to be an individual technique, essentially it is social and not individual, because in the main it is aimed at influencing society. If people were to meditate merely for their own peace, satisfaction and happiness it would be of no use. The real objective should be to transform life.

      There is a big difference in the mentality of those who meditate and those who do not. Whether individual or collective meditation involves a quest for truth. This much is certain, for in the absence of curiosity for truth there can be no interest for meditation. It is only when there is strong desire for knowing and for changing one's destiny that a man really takes to meditation. However, if meditation does not result in change it will not be judged valuable. All actions have to be related to society. There is in this sense neither an individual, meditation effects change in society. Here it is worth noting that Preksha Meditation is a scientific process. It operates on the basis of cause - effect relationship. This is necessary too, for aetiology and teleology are inseparable if the goal is to effect change.

     Both physiologists and psychologists can follow this argument. They can understand the functions of those nerve centers in our body which are the focal points of consciousness. However, how these functions can be manipulated through meditation is beyond their comprehension. If the physiological and psychological on the one hand and the meditational or the spiritual on the other hand could be combined, the whole gamut of social life would be transformed. What we have in the present is partial and inadequate. Once the physiological and the spiritual combine a new consciousness can emerge. Our main aim is the transformation of consciousness. It is only meditation which can do so.

     Change in consciousness brings about behavioural changes. Jainism lays the greatest emphasis on non-violence and non-acquisitiveness. All other religions also stress the importance of non-violence and friendship. How is it then that the world is no nearer nonviolence now than it was before ? Why has such a strong tradition spanning many centuries has no impact on human behaviour ? The answer is not far to seek. One can become truly nonviolent and non-acquisitive only after there has been a transformation of consciousness. Let it not be forgotten that at the root of everything is consciousness. Attachment, passion, pugnacity - in fact, everything is lodged in our consciousness. And with these there what an idle thought that we can become non-violent and non-acquisitive ! From this it follows that the most crucial and seminal change is that of consciousness. And once it has come, there is a surge of self-confidence. One begins to believe in the infiniteness of one's potentialities. This, however, presupposes confidence in one's ability to realize these infinite potentialities. It is here that the preceptors of spirituality have come out with a very easy technique. If you want to do or achieve something, for the first ten minutes concentrate on the thoughts that  you have unlimited potentialities. Then for the next ten minutes say to yourself that these potentialities have really been awakened and activated. And in the final ten minutes concentrate on the thought that you have the ability to use your power and solve your problem. These are the three stages of the experiment. These thirty minutes so spent would optimize the results. The principle behind the above formulation is not difficult to understand. Just as a weak mind renders the possible impossible, so a strong mind makes the impossible possible. Here we might as well learn a lesson from the scientists whose indomitable will and interminable efforts enable them to overcome all difficulties and get the desired results. There is nothing, including their lives, which they cannot sacrifice for finding the right solution to a problem. What wonderful courage and forbearance !

     Clashes cannot be avoided if we live socially. The very act of social living makes clashing inevitable. Bring any two people together and they are bound to clash. But all this undergoes a change through spiritual practices. One who practices spirituality solves all his problems by goodwill and mutual consent. Nothing is further from his thoughts than the idea of a clash. And since he subscribes to the consciousness a feeling of goodwill, his domestic life also becomes very smooth and happy.

     One who practices meditation does not look down upon others as his slaves. His attitude towards the master-servant relationship undergoes a thorough change. He successfully overcomes the tendency to hurt the ego of another person. Behind all quarrels, whether in the family or between employers and employees or between masters and servants, is this tendency to hurt someone's ego. The tendency towards friendship and equality is its exact opposite. To consider every individual, including the same consciousness is to have perfect equanimity. Where equanimity exists all problems resolve automatically.

     Far-reaching behavioural changes results from the practise of meditation. To test one's success inpractising inpractising it one has to see how much one's anger has weakened and to what extent one has developed a strong motivation for regarding others as one's equals.

     Such inner changes of a far-reaching character are slow to come but their incidence has to be felt in the immediate present. Others may not be able to observe them, but one who is undergoing them must be conscious of them. If it goes on without interruption even others will come to notice them. In fact, some people have such a tremendous will-power as enables them to externalize their change at once and this should amply prove man's capacity for change with the possibility of its detection.

     Acharya Bhikshu stressed the very important philosophical principle of the purity of means. The ends must be pure and so should be the means. This ends-and-means controversy has been raging for over two thousand years. Frequently it has been maintained that there is no harm in resorting to impure means for achieving pure ends, particularly if it is not found possible to achieve them through pure means. Acharya Bhikshu, however, was uncompromising in this respect. For him belief in the inseparability of pure ends and means was both the outcome and the test of successful meditation. When meditation comes to fruition consciousness is purged of all dross and intuition is awakened. Its natural outcome is the resolve to get peace and happiness exclusively through pure means.

     Here is an apt lesson for today's strayed people. Peace and happiness cannot be purchased through artificial and improper means like dopes and drugs which are best capable of giving psychedelic experiences of a transient and pernicious nature. Let them kindle self-confidence and the strength to fight all temptation of evil. Let them take to meditation and the practice of the Science of Living and they will find themselves transformed into highly useful members of society. Their gain will at once be the gain of society as a whole.

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