Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Aspire, Manifest, Reflect and Renounce

We are eating from the Tree of Knowledge again. We were little children when we took our first bite many thousand years ago and were afraid of the responsibility to choose between good and evil. In the meantime we have grown up and the next step in our evolution is to move beyond good and evil. Express yourself and play your part in the divine play.

There is a tao of life that shines before you. Right or wrong very much depends on your personal path. As Lord Krishna told Arjun that it was his duty to kill people he cared for in the battlefield, who knows what is in store for you - only you can be the judge. The brother you may meet today may have a sign around his neck -  of course invisible to himself - "brother, please teach me a precious lesson".

The question of course is how to separate the egotistic I demands from the longings of your soul. That's what Jnana Yoga is all about, i.e. the path of wisdom. No authority, no guru or holy book can help you with these decisions. You only have your intuition, and the little signs life throws at you. Aspire to realize your dreams, manifest them as best as you can, but be prepared to drop them if life tells you to. Aspire, manifest, reflect and renounce - that's what Jnana Yoga is all about. Yes this, but not that!

Eckhart Tolle writes that women are ahead of men on the spiritual journey. This resonated with me. Women are more closely connected with their hearts and "feel" themselves from decision to decision. For somebody like me who has a stronger intellectual connection, all I can do is to look out for the signs that life has to offer as I make my choices. No matter what you do, there is always a quite voice in the background that begs to be heard.

Take the fairy tale of the fisher and his wife as an example. The fisher finds a golden fish one day and declines his offer for a boon as he feels he already has everything his heart desires. His wife thought differently  and makes the fisher go back and ask the fish first for a bigger house, then a castle, a kingdom and eventually to become God. One wish after the other gets fulfilled, but progressively the sea gets darker, the weather worse and the fisher has to wait longer and longer before the golden fish shows up. Eventually, when the wife wants to become God, the golden fish tells the fisher that his wife has lost everything and is back in their old filthy shack.

So what exactly is the moral of the story? It is not that we shouldn't aspire to express ourselves. It is knowing what desires to manifest and what desires to renounce. The fisher's wife could never see the signs of discouragement to go further as her submissive husband was unable to communicate them to her. I don't know what her dharma (destiny) was, but she certainly aimed for stars that were out of her reach. Know your dharma and  fulfill it and you don't have to worry about good and evil any longer.

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