Ethical Living Spirituality

Be Religious But Don’t Be a Hypocrite

Unlearning or deconditioning is how J Krishnamurti defined his initiation on the path of spirituality in the true sense. As much of our learning is the result of our conditioning which has already taken us away from our true Self, this is what most of us need to do. This calls for deep thinking to avoid colossal waste of time and energy in first learning and then unlearning what has been learnt. As the source of much of our spiritual learning is our scriptures which are authentic, special attention therefore has to be paid to the process of its assimilation and its application in our daily life. In the past, in the imparting of knowledge orally through guru parampara, attempt had been made to avoid distortion or contamination to some extent. But even this could not have been foolproof. For there is a already a great deal that comes in the way of your receiving ‘it’ as it is because of your past impressions, biases and prejudices.These can be overcome to some extent by trying to free the mind from any ‘carried forward’ burden and effecting total awareness all through the process of acquiring knowledge. Deep contemplation is one way. Here’s a story to illustrate this: Yudhishtara has taken an unduly longer time than his brothers to learn the simple lesson: “Control your anger” and rightly so. Not to learn it only by rote is true learning. Even mantras received orally have to be contemplated on or else these will also be of not much use. We have it in Sri Ram Gita that Ravna had the knowledge of sixty four vidyas in comparison to that of Sri Rama’s thirty two but had to be killed by the latter for not having used his knowledge for his own and for society’s welfare.

The improper application of unassimilated knowledge instead of being advantageous can be very harmful for the individual as also for society’s growth. The incomplete individual is not an asset but a danger to society. Shakespeare gave us the message, “Ripeness is all.” And ripeness comes with deep contemplation of acquired knowledge and its judicious application in life’s varied situations. This brings us to the creative level wherein by our creativity we can contribute to common welfare.

As against this we have people who are ever at the level of subsistence in making a show of their wealth by flaunting their wine bottles or jewels they wear. As it is with these persons so it is with those who have plenty of unassimilated knowledge. What is the use of their knowing that they are not the body but the soul if in real life if they do not act basing their actions on this very knowledge? Ravana, we are told, had all the knowledge a person could possibly think of and yet his attempt to make a golden palace for Shiva had made the latter say: ‘Even while at Kailash, Ravana has not understood its essence.

As desire for recognition, like that of sleep and food, is innate in a person, hypocrisy is likely to be his characteristic feature. And in a decadent society constituted of hypocrites we have people of little pith and substance. We have them doing things which they do not mean—loving and yet not loving, observing rituals but without attaching any of their ‘bhav’ or emotions to them…. It is the kind of society Krishna revealed to the Pandava brothers by creating before them the vision of vultures that had vedic injunctions carved on their feathers.

~ Vijay M Sethi