August 4, 2012

Things I Believe In

things i believe in

November 2011:  I’ve struggled with and continue to struggle with – what to believe in, what I actually believe in and where I should be headed. Inspired by a TED lecture, I’ve jotted a list of things that I believe in, or to put it in another way, the way I look at things. Writing is not just therapeutic. It forces one to continuously examine the meaning of statements. I’d recommend this exercise to everyone. It will help understand the source of our deepest desires and fears – both of which are connected to each other, and in the process, I hope, will bring lasting joy. naturally, below ‘list’ is work in progress.

1.  Everything is connected. There is an omnipresent, all pervasive spirit that binds the destiny of things, in this universe and any other universes that may exist. I call this spirit Para Brahman

2.  My existence is a manifestation of a larger purpose that is being fulfilled, both with and without my consent and knowledge. My life is a piece of a bigger picture, which I am unable to see in its fullness at the moment. The purpose of my life is to remove that which is unnecessary so as to be able to get a direct glimpse of this richness. I call that which is unnecessary as Maya.

3.  Everything – animate and inanimate – possesses a singular ability to sense the connection to the larger picture. This springs from an indestructible essence of its being, that which I call the atman or the Soul

4.  I believe in the continuous exercise and introspection of the mind and its free will – so I can rid myself of both of them. I value opinions the way I value tents on a cold wintry night on a mountainside. They provide us protection against the elements so we can stay warm for a little while and get blood coursing through our veins. But, we should dare to and inevitably must venture out into the snowstorms so we can scale the peaks. I believe in accumulating wings and legs and that which will help me move in any way, but not in setting up camps and staying rooted inside tents.

5.  I have affinity for neither good nor bad, neither gods created by men nor men, neither virtuous nor evil, neither mine nor another, neither attachment nor detachment, or for any quality that has an opposite. Everything is relative, and I will do my best to be good or bad, virtuous or evil, attached or detached and behave in ways – depending on what the situation calls for. I would like to practice disinterested observation in such matters for the purpose for comprehending what is not necessary, and for sensing the connection to the things around me. This practice I call Yoga.

6.  I have no expectations. Anything I or others do or anything that happens to me or other things keeps me moving, forward or backward or sideways, in the quest. I call this ‘anything I or others do or anything that happens to me or other things’ as Karma. It is the way of things. I accept it to be true.

7.  I do not desire ‘understanding’ or answers. Understanding gets in the way of experience. I am in search of experience and am willing to be led by questions, and will remain open to letting ‘understanding’ settle where it might.

8.  I have a yearning to see ‘the bigger picture’ in all its richness and glory. I can sense its presence behind the curtain. I know that I will see it. Only I do not know when. I believe that – as long as I have the yearning – I will not see it. But this yearning is what fuels my journey. I do not know how to resolve this conundrum. Perhaps I need to give up my quest in order to fulfill it.

9.  There is no life. There is no death. There is no time, nor will it run out. There is no race. There are no winners. There are no losers. There is no cause. There is no effect. There is only Karma – the continuous flow of energy. Everything changes from time to time as a result of Karma. Indeed, time is an illusion created by Karma. If there was no change, there would be no need to keep track of and measure ‘time’. At the ‘end’ when all Karma has ceased, we will all find ourselves united in the same place, whatever you may call it – heaven, hell or nothingness. And, things will start all over again. That is the only destiny that I believe to be true, inevitable and unavoidable and one that fills me with wonder and awe. In this belief lies the true source of happiness for all things or sat-chit-ananda.

10.  I believe in the universal well being of all things, and will do what I can towards that end. I cannot change the world because I don’t know much about it. I don’t believe in moral absolutes which can be consumed by space and time. While I will profess sympathy, my goal is empathy and to be able to look at the things around us from another’s perspective. I do not wish for powers to change another’s life or this world. I wish to divest myself of all powers, prejudices and agendas, so I can remove the curtain and see. To this end, I will construct and destroy my own situation-al moral compasses as I move along. I will neither judge nor foist my morphing and ephemeral moral standards on another.

11.  I do not have material evidence, the powers of persuasion, the intensity of purpose and the desire to convince another of my beliefs.  I am open to the possibility that all or some of my beliefs are wrong, and will remain open to influence.  I will do my utmost to exercise reason and intuition so I can sense the difference between what is expansive, profound and unknowable and that which is merely sophisticated, confining and complex. I call this sense my ‘consciousness’ or my ‘spiritual conscience’. This is the way I can deal with conflicts created in the mind.

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  • R P Shanthakumar

    Hi Srini
    I read your book 3 lives. My expectations while buying the book wer very different. Though I read a few reviews on Flip Cart, i avoided reading more so that my thoughts are not influenced by others' review. I After reading the book, I realised that I have a similar/ substantially similar thoughts. I was also curious to find out whether the book manifests your thinking and beliefs or whether it is just a fiction. This led me to look in to your blog, where i read your "Things I believe in".

    I notice that my personal beliefs seem to be very similar to that of yours which are beautifully expressed in words.

    On the book, I like it, belived in its message but feel that not everyone will be able to appreciate this. The world believes in Maya, you have to package it as a story to pass the message.


    • whatho

      Thank you, Mr. Shanthakumar, for reading 3 Lives, and for your words. It's great to know kindred souls like you are there.

      I agree that 3 Lives is not the usual fare. It may not be for everyone. But having said that, I have been surprised at and thankful for the (quite a large) number of people who have read it and expressed their appreciation.

      I wrote the book believing in it, and yet at the same time do not want to give the impression of 'knowing it all'. We are all fellow travelers and I shared my thoughts through the book in the hope it would be useful to sparking a line of thought in others. Am really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks again.

  • R P Shanthakumar

    Dear Srini,
    Thanks for your response.
    I was invited by ICICI Bank for a business leadership lecture by thier Chairman Emiretus Mr.Vaghul. I attended the same with a reluctance expecting the management language. I was in for a surprise. He talked no business but talked about his interest in NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE. Talk was fascinating and coming from such a learned man I visited the website NDERF.

    Though I looked at it cynically, some of the stories in the website strengthen some of my beliefs which you also seem to share. Please have look

    • What Ho!

      Thanks. Will check it out. Cheers.

  • Kshitij Srivastava

    Hello Sir
    I have been a big admirer of your satirical posts and the twisted humor that you portray in your pitch-perfect words.
    I just read the above post. A sudden ecstatic realization dawned upon me that the beliefs and wisdom , I have fostered over 22 years of my life resonates so well with that of such an experienced and learned man. I feel that my beliefs and conscience , although still in nascent stage, are building up quite well.
    Though a lot of soul searching and experience still evades me. I completely agree with the belief that understanding comes in the way of experience and that one shouldn’t be too rigid about their moral structure.Everything is fluid and will change in due course of time and that we should embrace the change even if it turns our consciousness and morals upside down.That the concept of a destination is confusing because life lies in the process and pursuance.
    This one resonated too well.
    I could not comprehend the concept of karma and sat-chit-ananda. Though I am sure that with more experience I will realize their meaning and importance in later years of my Life.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • What Ho!

      Thanks Kshitij! Appreciate your kind words. Really happy to hear that this resonated with you, especially one so young. God bless you. I wish you my kind of success in life! :) Thanks again.

  • http://ThingsIBelieveIn R.Sankaran

    Dear Srini,

    Your definition of Maya is really good.To get a glimpse of riches one should

    remove the unnecessary –Maya.Thought provoking one. Please keep writing.

    It makes people (if not all,atleast some) to think sometime about themselves.

    And about Karma- at the end when all Karma has ceased we all find united

    in one place whatever you call it and things will start all over again-Cycle.

    It is very good to read.

    • What Ho!

      Thank you, Mr. Sankaran, for your thoughts. Really appreciate it.

  • lakshmi menon

    just wanted to say that I like your blog,and especially this article.It strikes a chord. I have been so lucky that I met great teachers who have deepened my heart, quietened my mind,and unravelled so many knots I thought I would never be able to let go!
    Will definitely read your book.

  • chiguru

    I really appreciate the way you have codified your beliefs. It seems very solid and seems like you will adapt to all conditions and will never be directionless. Anyway I want to ask a question. You said:

    “I have affinity for neither good nor bad, neither gods created by men nor men, neither virtuous nor evil, neither mine nor another, neither attachment nor detachment, or for any quality that has an opposite.”

    Please watch some beheading videos of innocents by ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq. See how brutal they are. If you were in Iraq will you hold on to the aforementioned principle or will you pick a side? I too thought before that I can view good and bad neutrally — dispassionately. But when I asked this question to myself I had only one answer. ISIS is bad, innocent people are good; I am against ISIS and I am for the innocent people. When you come to know of all the slavery, wars, greed and filth in this world on the one hand, and on the other blissfully sleeping children, can you still be neutral? I wonder.