Faith & Doubt

A translated excerpt from Acharya Mahapragya’s book, kaise soche

Today, people do not find perfectly believable facts as believable. Nobody trusts each other. Today, the word, ‘trust’ not exist in the dictionary. Doubts exist everywhere. Doubt is a flaw of the mind. A thought cannot be called flawless, if it has been formed on the basis of a doubt. It cannot be called a balanced point of view.

Faith holds a high pedestal in life. A life that lacks faith, is a baseless life- a life with no support. It cannot be a successful life.

There are three pillars of faith :
-knowledge of and faith in the universal laws, which includes the law of change and law of death
-faith in your ability to do a particular work
– faith that you have immense potential.

You don’t have to trust someone else to have faith. Rather you must have faith in yourself. And faith in the above pillars constitute a strong faith in oneself.

Doubt

The meaning of doubt is denying possibilities. A doubtful person remains closed to possibilities. We must understand when do our thoughts become flawed with doubt. When one encounters a new idea, he is immediately inclined towards rejecting its possibility.

Today, aeroplanes fly at great heights. However, there was a time when people denied the possibility of such an invention.

Rejecting possibilities is a big flaw. Establishing faith means- accepting possibilities. When we accept possibilities, we gain samyak chintan or to say, an equanimous mind. Duality ceases to exist, then.

 

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The Art Of Thinking

The following post is a translated part of  Acharya shree’s book kaise soche

Thinking is an art. And not everybody is accomplished in it. Only a few are. Those who do know the art, they are blessed with a clear path.

A saint during a discussion exclaimed that he has learnt something from everyone. Somebody asked “What have you learnt from a thief?” To this he replied “Once I had stayed with a thief. He’d go everyday to steal and come empty-handed.” And everyday he’d say that he might get something tomorrow. The thief had immense patience.

Human nature is complex. A person doing good work is saddened easily and a person doing bad work isn’t.

This is a fact. People have a deper faith in evil than in goodness. Establishing faith in goodness requires a lot more practice of sadhna.

Now, someone with a negative viewpoint is also likely to reject every truth. Whereas someone with a positive viewpoint comes closer to the truth and is able to solve many problems.

The outcomes of thinking with a negative viepoint are sorrow, aggression, non-enthusiasm, and abstinence from work. So in one word, the result is – failure in life.

The most important principle of a successful life is a positive viewpoint. There are a few tests for a positive and negative viewpoint.

The first test is – thinking with integrity or thinking with anxiety or agitation. Someone thinking with integrity or totality in mind is one with a positive direction in thinking. And the one thinking with anxiety gets stuck at an argument making his contemplation distorted.

When one is not aware of an event or a thing’s full picture, the thinkers draws an inappropriate or incomplete conclusion. The conclusion drawn cannot be correct. To have a balanced thought process, one needs to be aware of the complete information and then think.

Once, soldiers were being recruited on a basis of compulsion. A man approached Maotsay Tung and said – your leg is broken. Good for you. You’ve been saved from the soldier life. Maotsay replied – you can say that it’s a good thing. I can’t because I don’t have the complete picture in front of me. I cannot say whether a good thing has happened or a bad thing.

When a man or a woman takes a decision on the basis of incomplete thoughts or feelings, then stuggle arises. That is why it is necessary to think with totality.

 

 

Living With Peace: Living With Happiness

 

 

Whoever breathes, lives. One has to live by breathing, eating and drinking; but living like this has no great value. Living a quality life is valuable. And whoever has peace and strength lives a life of quality. Lack of either of the two leads to a stressful mind, which further diminishes life’s quality.

Once, a sister asked me for the solution, for her distressful state of mind. Upon being asked for the reason for distress, she elaborated, “two sons have passed away. There is one daughter-in-law. People talk a lot of nonsesnse.” I said “if you live on the basis of what people say, then you can never live with peace. In this world, there exists different kinds of people with different beliefs, imaginations and thought processes. So, if we start living on the basis of these diverse set of notions, we cannot even think about living in peace.”

Self-Confidence
The first principle of living with strength and peace is self-confidence. We must have faith in ourselves. The problem is that we have more faith on others. Maybe that’s  why people are fed information about what others speak of them. What the other says, says. The important question is: what do you say to your own self?

Others talking about you is their desire. It is possible that what you do, is not liked by someone. Everybody has a unique thought process. There is so much diversity and freedom in terms of thinking, that nobody can be bound. If we see ourselves on the basis of other’s mindsets, then we can never live with peace.

A weak and fearful person gets influenced by small instances and thus, living with peace is impossible for him. Only people with a strong mind can save themselves from the impressions of events and people’s chatter. The principle of evolution is that only the strong one survives in this world. Only the one, who has faith in themselves, is the strong one. Therefore, tools, through which a strong mind can be achieved, must be found for obtaining peace.

The Truth Of Our Society
People who rely on others for their work and goals can not be strong. Relying on others for your work can never get it accomplished. No matter how close a supporter, their help can only work to benefit when you have faith in yourself.

Society has a problem- one’s capabilities, character and what he must be doing are all decided on the basis of what others have to say. Even in the context of a party, clothes which are liked by others, are worn. It is seen which designs are liked by people. One’s own likes and dislikes do not matter, a dress should just be liked by others. If somebody says something is good, it is good and if someone says something is bad, it is bad even if it is good or right as per their own perception.

I asked several people- why do you do this to yourself? They tell me – “even we know that this is not right.But what to do? If we do not act according to society’s set standards, no one will let us fit in. We won’t be able to walk with our heads held high.”

Do Not Become Puppets
This means that a person is a puppet of other’s hands- a toy that can be driven wherever they want. Becoming a puppet is playing with your own life. Only a person who is devoid of confidence can let such a thing happen to him/her. A confident person will not think what others have to say. She/he will do what (s)he has to do.

First, one must think thoroughly about the decision they have to make; think about the pros and cons of an action and decide with proper care. But after deciding thoughtfully, do what you have to do. Then, you must not stop. What others will say must be ignored.

This is my own experience. His holiness, Acharya Tulsi oversaw a lot of changes in our commune of munis. He, first, thought through and after thinking, he concluded that certain traditions must be changed as they do not hold any meaning in this day and age. If we have done something after thinking over it thoroughly, then what others say does not hold any meaning and doing something without thinking through, has no meaning in itself.

Save Yourself From Poor Thoughts
The second principle of living with strength is saving oneself from whimsical thoughts. Some people build something bad with their own imagination. There is nothing real to it. The mind only imagines and generally, such pieces of imagination are not good. Many people have this habit. Such a habit does not let life become strong.

Another problem is doubts. Some people carry a lot of doubts and come up with thoughts such as these-” Several days have passed, there has been no news. What could have happened?” This is the weakness of our own mind. The mind is so weak that it cannot stand any doubt. Lots of doubts and imaginary talk in the mind makes a man weak.

The practice of meditation is valuable because it teaches one to be in the present moment. When we learn to live in the present moment, then unnecessary imaginary ideas can be stopped. These unnecessary imaginations make one weak from the inside and the outside, both. The meaning of strength implies the strength to stop one’s flow of imagination.

Let the discriminatory power remain awake- this imagination should be developed while this should not be developed further. As soon as a bad imaginary idea appears in your mind, it must be thrown out.

Why Does A Mind Break?
Bad imaginations and fear weaken the mind. When the mind is weak with fear and imaginations, how can you talk about peace? The mind must be saved from thoughts that weaken it. If we can do that, the mind will automatically be peaceful and when the mind is at peace, it can stand any amount of difficulties and troubles. A strong new piece of cloth can withstand the impact of a stone thrown on it from above but if the cloth is of poor quality, even a little impact can tear it away. Similarly, if our mind is weak, even a small problem can make the mind very unrestful.

Thus, in reality, no incident creates sorrow. A weak mind creates sorrow. We often think along the line- such a major incident has happened, and that is why the mind has become so much at unrest. We forget that there is another incident creator in between, which is the mind. Every event is filtered through the mind. If the mind is powerful, then it can even turn a troublesome incident into a small one.

We have no control over events. But we can surely make our minds so strong that no incident steals the innate peace within us or at least an incident should not have such an effect that life becomes burdensome.

Will You Survive?
In the olden days, there was a prince who behaved with cruelty towards everyone. The public was troubled by him. In a monarchy, the king is the most powerful. Complaints of the prince’s cruelty reached the king. He was the only son. The king got in a dilemma. He thought to himself, “he won’t listen to me; let me go to our Guru. He will definitely put him on the right road.” So, the king went to the Guru and told him, “Maharaj! My son has a bad habit. He behaves very cruelly with others. Please teach him a lesson.”

The saint assured him and made a plan. The saint accompanied the king, the prince and guards to the forest, indicated to pluck a few neem leaves and, asked the prince to consume them. The prince’s tongue caught the bitter taste. The prince disliked it but since eating the leaves was his Guru’s instruction, he didn’t say anything. As per the plan, the saint, the king and the prince went to the forest, the next day too but the tree from which the prince had consumed the leaves was nowhere to be seen. The prince told everybody -“Gurudev! I had the tree cut.”On being asked for the reason, the prince replied- “this was a very bitter tree.What is the use of such bitterness? Thus, I had it cut.” On this, the saint said- “you did a good job. A bitter thing should not stay in the world. Even your behaviour is bitter. In the public’s view, even you are bitter. So, if they also think like you, will you  survive?”

Strength, Peace, and Happiness
This saint’s nugget of wisdom completely changed the prince. Even if one nugget of wisdom touches you from within, life can be transformed. We must consider this seriously- that everyone wants to live with peace and happiness. Happiness comes with peace and peace comes with strength. The three are inter-related. If the mind is not peaceful, one cannot appreciate a good thing that is in front of them.

Now, since peace is related to one’s state of mind in a big way, the source of strength is one’s emotions or a control on their passions. In psychology, it is called emotional development. The chief element that destroys one’s strength is emotional disturbances. All passions, be it anger, egoism, lust or desire, ultimately destroy one’s strength. So, in order to be powerful, controlling one’s passions is very important.

 

Good Conduct v/s Miracles
There are two attractions in the world- good conduct and miracles. People like miracles even though there is nothing in them. Strength comes with good conduct. A person walking on water is a miracle. Whoever sees somebody walking on water, will be surprised but what will the sight-seers gain out of this? Nothing! If you want to gain strength, then make your conduct pure. Good conduct is powerful and miracles are just show-off activities.

The worrisome question is what does a common man get with such miracles? Babas performing such miracles do get benefitted as they are worshiped. In the midst of their miracle shows, they take advantage of people’s faith and in the process, obtain monetary benefits.

But if good conduct comes in life, strength comes. Even if one learns to focus the mind for five minutes, the mind’s willpower and strength will increase. If we spend our life by witnessing miracles, nothing will really come in our hands. These are two roads.Which road do we want to take is in our own hands. To make the mind strong and powerful, we must choose the road of good conduct. The question is: how can we make our conduct better? For this, we must develop pure emotions, continuously. Pure emotions create good conduct in one’s mind and thus, create strength.

The Solution is Within
To become sufficiently strong, an important thing is to find the solution to your problem, yourself. Problems come in everyone’s life. Nobody can assume that no problems will ever come in their life. There has been no person on this Earth, who has not faced any problems. It’s a principle of this world that a person has to face some or the other difficulty. The question is what can be done? Spirituality commands that one must find the solution to their problems, themselves.

There is a famous sutra which says it succinctly- अप्पणासच्चमेसेज्जा।

This means- find your own truth. The truth found by others cannot be much useful to the other person. I myself think that whatever I am telling you, is not directly useful to you. Unless you do not have your own experiences and put in your own efforts, how will my saying anything will help? If you make my truth, your own, then you will see results. Otherwise, this knowledge will be like a loan, which you will have to return someday.

Unless we do not have the mindset of finding solutions to problems, ourselves, no power in this world can solve our problem. For instance, somebody, who is suffering from the problem of obesity, can thin down only after their own self-efforts. The person will have to change their diet, keep a control on their diet and exercise, themselves. Nobody else can do it for them. If a problem could be solved on rent, rich people would never have to face any problems.

Solution to a problem is not anywhere outside but is within us- the day, we firmly place our faith on this belief, we will be accomplished with strength and peace, which will remain with us throughout our lives.

The Question of Peace

The following post is based on Acharya Shree’s book  shanti ka prashn

Peace is not somewhere in the sky. What is found in the graveyard, that is not considered as auspicious. There is no special meaning to it. Though peace in society,in the hearts and minds of people do have a value. Peace in a community is dependent on the interpersonal behaviour of its people. Peace procession and events of this nature, have a certain value and sequence of such events keep happening.The truth is that society is always in favour of peace.The ones wanting violence, are very few. The ones seeking power, sometimes, directly or indirectly create violence because of their desire to expand.People who want to impose their opinions on others also become mediums of violence/non-peace. In fact, today, the biggest disease is broadcasting one’s opinions.

The ones who believe in democracy, their efforts go in spreading democracy while the ones who believe in communism, their efforts go into spreading their belief.This way, everybody is divided into certain isms.

The ones creating violence are few in number while peace is a need of a majority of mankind.Power is in a few hands. America, Russia, and a few countries posses atomic power, hydrogen, and nitrogen bomb. Only a few people have ownership of these weapons. The problem is, that the ones who possess power do not understand the value of peace. Look at the war in Vietnam. Here, the war was employed for establishing peace.The firm belief of people in the balance of power has led to the belief that peace cannot exist without a balance of power.Teachers of war define peace as the preparation period between two wars. Thus, today, the word, peace sees a lot of deluded beliefs which have caused many problems.The root point is that unless humanity doesn’t evolve,the point of peace becomes clouded.According to me, humanity and peace are not two.

In ancient times, the question of who is a shastra (scripture) literate person, arose.The answer to this question came out to be that the one whose mind is at peace, is a shastra literate person. Scriptures have been created for the purpose of peace. A peaceful and balanced mind has been given a lot of importance. This is the reason why yoga and spiritual practices have been given due significance in India. Till the time the mind is at unrest, it will continue to be a cause of unrest to others as well. Therefore, every person must become a yogi, and thus, possess a stable mind. The medium to achieve this stability is dharma. That which makes one’s mind and sense organs at peace is dharma while doing that which disturbs the mind and senses,  is not dharma.

Look at the situation in the world, today. The ones who are rich, their minds do not have an iota of peace. In fact, they have more of inertia and absence of awareness. What can be the reason? As far as I see, the point of view, that instills a feeling of oneness with humanity, has not been developed.

The Anuvrat movement has thought on this subject. I cannot say that a lot of effort has been put in this direction but a small effort has been put. A lot of small efforts together become a big unit of effort. The basis of anuvrat is- oneness with humanity and co-existence.A person who does not believe in human unity, coexistence and equality, that person cannot be an Anuvrati.

When the definition of Anuvrati was being decided upon, a question arose whether a person disbelieving in the existence of soul and life after death, can become an anuvrati?Acharya Shree Tulsi answered with a why not? Whether a upholder of human values, performs any worshipping rituals or not, he will be called an Anuvrati since the basis of the Anuvrat movement is a firm belief in humanity. Only he/she can be rightly called as a peace representative. People practicing colour and caste discrimination, are not believers of humanity. A particular belief system can also be a cause of violence. A rich man may think that since it is his karma, he is enjoying his riches and a poor man is suffering because of his karma. These concepts circumvent caste discrimination as well. This is the biggest root of violence and unrest. The Anuvrat movement has put in efforts to fight such discriminatory practices. This does not mean that I do not believe in karma. Karma and fate have their own place. But so has self-effort.

Where hatred disappears, the beliefs of karma and fate also shake.If foundations of such beliefs can shake like that, then they cannot exist for real.But casteism was originally based on a person’s potential and skillset.Until today, we have not been able to see sameness of people in terms of potential and skills.

There exist differences in intellects, thought processes, skills and bodies. These cannot be made same in all individuals. But can we not change external systems built by humans?

Even Tarkshastra holds this rule: whatever is a cause of karma or action can never be permanent. Only that, which is not a result of an action performed by humans, is permanent. Thus, all rituals, concepts, and beliefs are impermanent due to the fact that all of these are man-made.

Some people consider vedas as permanent.But vedas and other spiritual and religious texts can be spoken and expressed by us, then how can they be permanent?

We need a clear point of view. Clearer our point of view, clearer would be our road to peace. We face difficulties with an unclear viewpoint. For instance, we need to be clear about the fact that all sorts of discrimination among mankind, have had a basis of selfishness. It would be interesting to know that around a thousand years ago,  Acharya Jinsen in Karnataka, declared that all humanity is one. There are only differences in conduct and behaviour. If these sentiments were internalised in the people of the past century, no war could have taken place. Violence is not born in a war field. A war is its final expression.

A family which sees fights among its members on a daily basis, can such a family contribute towards peace? A similar question can be raised on a shopkeeper or a businessman who behaves with cruelty towards his employees. A person harassing others does so because of his lack of sensitivity towards them. All his energy and efforts are towards the fulfilment of his selfish motives. I think if we ponder over solutions of personal peace, then a huge contribution towards world peace can be made.

In ancient times, small fights would take place, without affecting the lifestyles of people situated in a distant place. A problem in the South did not create any disturbing effect in the North.But today, the situation is different. Today, the whole world is like a family. A war in Vietnam can have an effect in distant countries. On the external, humans have never been as close to each other as they are today. This closeness has prompted people to ponder over the need for peace. Another point is the trend of production of weapons of mass destruction.This has created a fearful environment. Such an environment has naturally created a demand for peace among people.

If the few people possessing powers of destruction become obsessed with a desire to fight and win wars, then there will be no delay for the Earth’s doomsday. Thus, nobody can ignore the question of safety in today’s world.

Peace of individuals together creates world peace. The basis of such a phenomenon is individuals feeling oneness with the whole of humanity. Development of such a feeling would be the right step towards world peace.