Life by Choice Anupama Garg

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KALIYUG with its opportunities..


Where vision is one year, cultivate flowers,

Where vision is ten years, cultivate trees,

Where vision is eternity, cultivate people.

According to the Hindu mythology we are living in the fourth age or Kaliyug. There are four such ages (Mahayuga)-namely, the Satyuga or golden age, the Treta yuga in which dharma decreased by one fourth, the Duapara yuga, , in which dharma decreased by one half, and the present Kaliyug, in which righteousness exists to the extent of one- fourth only. This is the age in which the prevalent chaos will lead mankind to look for solutions to overcome it .Today we are standing at a point where life is questioning us to present it with an answer to what is it to live completely .It is an age which is offering to mankind an opportunity to elevate itself to new levels of consciousness. Today all around us we see people questioning “Is this life”? If we have started questioning we will find the answer too. The material success at a young age is acting as a catalyst towards finding the answer. There are far too many young people who are now professionally successful at a young age and the taste of success also brings along with it the question “What now?” It also brings in the realization that life has to be more than this. Material success no doubt is an aspect which cannot be negated but there is also a very important aspect of spiritual growth without which life can never blossom fully. Life is inside out and what you are inside determines the quality of your overall life. After, a deep night comes the dawn with soft rays of light and a promising new day full of new possibilities and hope.

Each of the above mentioned ages has its appropriate shastra,or scripture which was designed to meet the requirements of the men of each age .The Hindu shastra’s are classed into Shruti, Smriti , Purana which were the respective shastras for Satyug, Treta and Duapar .Shruti is that  which “has been heard”.Smiriti is “that which is remembered” and the third Shastra of the Duapara yuga is contained in Puranas. They by way of myth and story convey in an exoteric manner the doctrines of the Vedas to the declining intelligence and spirituality of the men in third age .The specific shastra for the Kaliyuga is the “Tantra”.It is a way of life that denies and negates no aspect of life. It is a path which uses the present state of humanity as an opportunity to enlightenment. There is no need to struggle for abstinence but to use everything as energy to propel you forward on your path to understand life in totality. It brings about the understanding that the entire creation is an extension of the self or the self is a part of the larger picture. Tantra harmonizes Monoism and Dualism. Its purpose is to give liberation to the individual by a method through which monistic truth is reached through the dualistic world. Neither is denied its place in the scheme of this cosmic play. Shiva has therefore said “In the world some desire non-dualistic, others dualistic knowledge, but those who have known my Truth have passed beyond Dualism and Non dualism.”

Practical application of this philosophy is the need of today.

More and more people all over the world are drawn towards the ancient spiritual practices which lend a deeper meaning to life and make the suffering a step towards enlightenment. We are experiencing the heights of material development and the accompanying price also has to be paid. This is an essential process for a higher goal .Every mistake has its significance in this process. The knowledge of a living tree does mean only the knowledge of its, roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, seeds etc. A comprehensive knowledge involves and transcends this to seek and get an experience of the life which is immanent in the seed. Unless the knowledge of this truth is attained, the truth of life will never be known.

Kaliyug is a time in which all things are being cast, shredded, experimented, combined and recombined either to perish or to emerge rejuvenated and changed for a fresh existence. The future progression of humanity is in our hands. Spiritualism is emerging from the secret schools and ascetic retreats and seeking its place in the present mainstream life. It is in the process of rediscovering and reorganizing itself to enable humanity to attain its full potential. The observant can view modern times as a large conscious effort of nature to create opportunity, so that the whole mankind and no longer only the favored few are free to develop themselves to their full capacity. At present the material and economic aim may be predominant, but hidden within waits a higher impulse to be realized.

A man is born as a master of the internal and the external circumstances and not as a slave to them. He only has to realize his divinity to understand the divine play and blissfully enjoy it. However today wherever we look we are confronted by confused and dissatisfied humans.  In my workshops I very often come across individuals who behind the veil of great success are actually full of fear. Inspite of all the material growth the fact remains that there has to be something alongside which gives a sense of deeper purpose for our existence

The greater the suffering the bigger is the opportunity. VictorE.Frankl was professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School and was an inmate at Auschwitz ,Dachau and other concentration camps .He has written in his book ,Man’s search for meaning that “Inspite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp ,it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain(they were often of a delicate constitution),but the damage to their inner selves was less .They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom .Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy makeup often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of robust nature.”We see here that intensification of inner life helped the prisoner find a refuge even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.

Today we observe increasing number of people moving towards spiritualism. An apparent shift is visible with various television channels dedicated to cater to the need of society. More and more self help books are on the bestseller list. The concept that spirituality is for the old is being replaced by the concept the earlier the better. We as living organisms hold memories inherited from our ancestors. Rupert Sheldrake a former Research Fellow of Royal society and a scholar of Clare College, Cambridge explained the principle which he terms as “Morphic Resonance”. It says, things of the same form (morph) resonate with each other and exchange information. The emphasis of morphic resonance is on living organisms and was explained by the hundredth monkey phenomenon. It indicates that living organisms of the same form learn as a body. An unspecified number of monkeys were washing sweet potatoes in the sea. We assume the number was ninety nine but soon as one more monkey added to make the number hundred, by evening everyone was doing it .The addition of the hundredth monkey apparently carried the number across some threshold. The hundredth monkey phenomenon clearly shows that if an act is done collectively by a form pushing it through a kind of critical mass, it comes naturally and easily to the balance and automatically is passed on to the next generation.

Spirituality has been an integral   part of our ancient civilization and was practiced as a way of life. The history of the inner life of India has been the history of her saints and sages. There were four aspects to human life in the Hindu culture-Brahmacharya, Grahasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyas. Brahmacharya was a stage of acquiring various disciplines required for attaining the highest knowledge. Next was the householder’s life where the individual enjoyed his life of action, responsibility and procreation. It was preparation for transcending this worldly life after living it fully.Vanaprastha was a stage of spiritual discipline where the individual steadily gave up worldly connections and advanced towards total renunciation or Sanayas .Hence the entire objective of life was a process towards preparation and then realization of the self. We see that a rigorous form of penance was conducted by our saints and sadhaks making the ground absolutely fertile for us. They spent years in solitude following a rigorous form of practice to attain enlightenment. With a past like that and the prevalent conditions we are well equipped already for the final leap. With little effort enlightenment can be our state of being.