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A philosophical view of life



A philosophical view of life

brig-Surendra MohanBrig (Dr) SM Sharma. B.Sc. MBBS, MS, FAIS

Professor PG Department Surgery

Rohilkhand Medical College, Bareilly. 243006. UP. India.

Universe is a great and a splendid phenomenon. How did it exactly come into existence and what was the design of creator and the need for creation for this incomprehensible vastness of time and space where the essence of existence, the matter, the light, the motion and sound keeps on changing each moment without ending up in a final set up which would last till eternity or would it no longer require to begin or finish. How does it work? Who does and for what purpose. What scientists tell us that the present universe began to take shape approximately 14 billion years back after big bang which occurred in an immensely dense particle resulting in tremendous explosion? How and what caused this tremendous explosion is beyond comprehension. We see and feel the mother earth and its animate and inanimate constituents, the empty space around it, the sun, the moon, the stars and the sky. Earth which is part of our planetary system is not visible at all from a distance outside the planetary system. So is also true about invisibility of our sun from further away in space and even remote galaxies with billions of suns in it are not visible from further distant spaces. There appears to be no end to boundaries of space or the universe. Therefore humans have definite limitations to understand this greatest supreme creation.

The mystery of such a wonderful creativity has drawn the attention of sages and philosophers since ancient times and has captivated humanity in awe and admiration of this creation right from its primitive origins. This panorama of existence and powerful phenomenon of nature affecting mankind has mystified human understanding of the multitude of visible inanimate and perceptible but invisible forces working around him. These ongoing events influence his survival and a few of these may not necessarily work for him exclusively alone. The world and the universe are shared by diverse mysterious attributes and dynamic events. A few ancient people and civilizations in their simplicity and truthful observations rightly attributed the source and conduct of these mechanisms to invisible designated powers, angels or gods working under or as off shoot of the Supreme power. Each deity or a power was assumed to be responsible for occurrence of a particular natural phenomenon and was accordingly given a specific native name which would be worthy of respect and reverence from time to time. To a large extent the first realization about mystery of such systematized natural activities might have been incompletely understood by earlier thought process of humanity. Primitive human observations and derivations about the genesis of these activities might not have been totally wrong and ethically and morally too stood to be fully correct and justified because of sense of deep gratitude for the bounty bestowed upon humankind by such beneficial life sustaining natural happenings. This simple and starkly innocent faith or observation was an emotional feeling of expressing indebtedness to such forces and should not be faulted by unproven divergent ideas and views. Therefore, it was natural to hold these mysterious powers in high esteem which were assumed to be in awesome high positions of authority responsible for such creativity. Keeping in view of magnificent natural events going on all around us , it was neither wrong nor irrelevant to show some kind of appreciation, adoration and respect for various natural attributes and idolize these powers with reverence by imaging and assigning them names depending upon diverse geographical, linguistic and cultural basis these were perceived in. It is utterly beyond human capacity and capability to ascertain the extent of existence of billions of galaxies spread out in this universe with its colorful display of light, motion, sound, dispersal and reformation. A game is being played endlessly and forever without human beings exactly knowing the forces or powers behind such a display, their aims, desires or objectives. Such events evoked inquisitiveness among ancient Vedic sages, philosophers and masses everywhere and many coming out with explanations based on imaginations, individual perception, wisdom and spiritual experience right or wrong.

Undoubtedly and visibly the inanimate matter in distant space with its dazzle and motion, moves around in a highly systematic and organized manner. How and why does this perfectly regulated ceaseless activity goes on and on at universal level with no end. Did this universe and all within it appear with some objective and design or has it come into existence without any motive spontaneously and unnecessarily. Is there any Supreme power behind the creation overseeing its continuation and taking it to its final shape and conclusion? Does any force commit itself to destroy its own creation in parts or in totality from time to time and why? Is dissolution and recreation of universe a continuous and sequential event or is it merely attributable to principles of physics. Does this Supreme power if it exists, based within this universe or outside it and if it exists within his creation so it too may be destroyed at a given time of final dissolution within this creation which he might himself has ordained and created. Is creator not supposed to be living outside his own creation if He does so then where exactly his abode is? If He too is destroyed within his creation how does he recreate a new universe again? Can He transform Himself and the universe into a newer creation out of dissolved matter he created and destroyed and does this process go on and on till the final evolutionary process is complete. Supposedly he directs the universe while remaining outside it then one has to know his abode and his where about and therefore, monitoring and managing each and every event and life and its termination and destination within and outside universe must be an impossibility for him, or else he might himself be the universe and nature all in one with everything contained in him. That means entire universe and the nature is his body and his manifestation and we all are parts of it and in it and therefore responsible and empowered for our own conduct and behavior. The mystery of him not revealing his presence and attributes means either he is what we see and perceive him in day to day life in near and distant objects or nature of all kinds or within, or is he  beyond us and our minds just like a minutest cell in our body cannot see the exterior or shape of the body in which it lives though it remains an integral and invisible part of it. This mystery has engaged the minds and thoughts of numerous enlightened sages and philosophers since time immemorial and continues to do so now too despite advancement of scientific temperament and devices which humanity itself has discovered or invented from time to time. The scientific help has brought out certain aspects of mechanics of creation which at times went contrary to established religious doctrine, faith and imagination. Scientific studies especially with the help of laws of physics may unravel the mystery of creation of structured galactic universe but it still may not be able to trace the force, cause and effect theory behind it mentioned in scriptures and also may not be able to understand the invisible and physically non-existent force behind this scene which ultimately in terms of time and space may be a circle without any perceptible point of beginning or end.

At various periods of time at different places, diverse opinions and theories have been put forward to explain and justify the vitality and youthfulness of ongoing events. Numerous songs and prayers have been formulated in praise of the creator and creation in glorious terms. The reality of existence of matter animate and inanimate is ever pervasive and manifest, but the scientific proof or evidence of cause and existence of effecter of creativity, its source and mystery of supreme creator if any, his abode, his means and origin of his authority, his source of knowledge remains obscure to us. Is there only one Supreme Being who manages the universe single handedly again and again one after the other or he depends upon numerous other lesser forces with exalted influences for supervision of this universe? Therefore this Supreme Power cannot be of or from structured biological or chemical constitution. Had it been so then this power would have certainly a beginning and an end to be born and dissolved. It is a different matter we give him an imaginary shape and image out of reverence, love and faith for connectivity with him. Reverence, devotion to him and accepting the supremacy of creator and recognizing him as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient power and seeking him through respective man made image for communication and physical attributes is  individual or community choice. Prayers and worship to him by any one in any way should be acceptable to him. This is a personal bond between  Him and the individual or with the self inside an individual which is part of Him as well. To despise, break and humiliate this bond between any individual’s personal and preferred choice and communication thereof to Him, in any form of speech and action is sin and an act against Him. To deny, ridicule or object a particular mode of belief or faith which someone follows goes against the basics of truthfulness unless it disturbs or aggrieves others. Therefore this great Supreme Power which dwells in and fills the universe and is supposed to be everywhere should appear even in an image or idol where ever and whenever somebody connects to Him through it. This great creator or the Supreme Being the God is therefore variously called and nenerated by numerous names like Paramatman, Prabhu, Parmeshwar and so on and so forth. Therefore one may try to reach out to him in a consciously intelligent and living state by any chosen vehicle which must include devotion, belief, love and gentle peaceful humanly values and virtue. It is like an individual having his preference or choice for what is good for the health and happiness of his soul derived out of historical, social, cultural, religious and geographical experience. One may be uttering the same thing in different voices at different places and  ensuring the purity of substance like the character of potable water which is called by different names at different places but remains water and essentially has the same taste and character everywhere. One can always pollute or purify the water anywhere and so also one can invite trouble or displeasure by choice of wrong words, motives and inability to change for better and good or may also earn respect for turning bad into good. What matters not is an individual’s personal belief but what counts is pristine simple good truthfulness of human conduct.

The question of dual and non dual nature and attribute of universal power has been debated, searched and discussed since long. Ancient Indian sages have been at variance in their approach about the elements and truth about genesis of this great universe and its nature. One of the ancient Indian sages, the great thinker philosopher Sage Ved Vyas mentions in Brahman Sutra, one Supreme Being, the Brahma is the sole creator and source of the universe and therefore, He alone is  worthy of ultimate respect, veneration and worship and nothing else beyond and besides Him can match Him or deserves the  highest devotion. Everything other than Him is not as worthy as Him.  Several centuries later Vedic philosopher Shankara from Kerala grasped the knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedas as a child, travelled all over India, met numerous religious scholars and philosophers, participated in discussions and debates and endorsed the philosophy of Advaita which believes in oneness of Supreme Brahma or God the almighty. He asserted there is no conflict between great creator Brahma the God and his manifestation. He did accept and respected varied forms of approaches to Him and modes of worship, all leading to Him in its own peculiar and natural way giving the choice to an individual to pray, worship and love Him without violation, violence and transgression. He impressed and advised one cult leader Ugra Bhairav that one may pray to Mother according to his belief but without harming anyone. God or Brahma is the creator of all inanimate and living beings including humans and animals alike, hence destroying life and killings of animals or humans as a sacrifice to please Goddess, the Supreme Mother goes against the will and creation of God. He used the words like hypocrisy, fruitlessness of such sacrifices and considered such sacrifices as sinful, baseless and Godless. Such behaviour of cruelty certainly destroys the present and future for ever including after life experience and thus  is without rewards. These are the words of great Shankara. Therefore one must see beyond the clouds the clear sky and so also must one not judge others by prism of his personal belief.

However many other past scholars of divergent Vedic and Hindu philosophy like one Mandan Mishra, contemporary of Adi Shankara propagated the correctness of dual nature of Supreme creation? He says that there is a separate existence too besides Supreme Power and one may qualify to be with Him and ultimately attain bliss and eternal salvation in this Brahma. Everyone is an actor in this world and therefore everyone gets rewarded according to his deeds or Karma. Dharma or religion is a method or code for the benefit of an individual and the society to achieve peace and goodness in this world and in another life beyond. Dharma is a way of life for disciplined behaviour and is teaching for a conduct worthy of appreciation by all without exception which hurts none not even a minutest of lives. Dharma is goodness, it is bliss and salvation. Bad performance signifies impending extinction or non-existence.  One may be perfectly right in connecting or communicating to God in any way in an easy and understandable approach according to individual’s intellect, capability and level of understanding. Every one may not be able to go into vast details and plethora of scriptures and knowledge about spirituality and Dharma. One may love and worship God in his own humble simple way of connectivity, as the Supreme Lord factually existent and all pervading  should be  capable of accepting feelings of offerings of love with or without his imagined image or without any introduction from any one or any source. Thus for example any idol or image is not God or Brahma or Parmeshwar but at the same time God is certainly there where his ardent believer trusts Him to be in and so in an idol as well as He pervades everywhere any person prays to. Therefore praying or remembering God through an object is not wrong and rather may be a better vehicle to achieve the aim  to feel his blessings and joy in heart, thus availing this opportunity for being nearer to Supreme Being through an easy connection. It implies that God is not ignorant to understand or answer the approaches being made to Him by any one at anytime and anywhere in trillions of planets. Praying before an image may carry an individual to deeper condition to be with the savior. This means getting into focused meditation to Supreme Being might place one into His aura or sphere. Destroying faith of an individual for one’s chosen mode or objecting to it by force or violence is ungodly and irreligious and gives no reward to offender in this world or the next and puts such a person or society into a state of perpetual infamy and path of turbulence. No one can exactly define the shape, intent, attribute and mystery of God. Either He is open and manifest to all or to no one. If He is manifest than it is all before us in what we see, hear and feel and derive spiritual benefit.

There have been endless debates in ancient India about the attribute of Brahma the Supreme and worldly nature and its character. Since everything in this universe is understood to have emanated from God and is considered to be his creation and manifestation, so it naturally means that He is the source and strength behind its preservation, its end and future as well. But if God or Supreme Being is neither the creator nor the preserving force who directs the running of this universe according to His wish and the nature is independent of him and his actions, in that case nature continues to carry on like a scientific phenomenon according to principles of physics. Then with that reasoning one may also be justified not to consider God superior or higher than the principles of nature or the nature itself. Therefore the universe and nature in itself may be a physical phenomenon manifest and effective devoid of senses and consciousness totally separate from God thus differentiating nature from Supreme Being whose authority remains unproven and appearance invisible. It is therefore certain that all living beings are the products and outcome of the components of nature and may not emanate from God and hence the origin of living beings including humans has its birth in inanimate or physically existent matter of space of which our earth is a part and hence in a technical senses our mother Earth and the Sun therefore are worthy of our gratitude and respects at the first instance even though these may be in insensitive state without a living consciousness but  are in wakeful state. The nature, its power and its effects are before us to see and feel  unquestionably. But can our prayers to nature alone modify its conduct or actions towards us for the sake of favours of salvation, blessings and ultimate bliss. May not be so unless deeds and thoughts are in conformity with laws of nature. Damaging or altering nature and its physical environment on earth will certainly prove disastrous for movable and immovable life of all sorts. Therefore one must respect and preserve nature at all costs and the human creativity as well for reverence and devotion.

Ancient Indian sages have stressed from time to time, again and again that the existence of God is reality and named him as Paramatman or Parmeshwar who exists far away and near too in and out and everywhere. They rejected the theory of supremacy of nature over oneness of Supreme Brahma or God. Nature or universe cannot evolve or take its origin without the existence of God and his word and the nature without God is impossibility. A universe or the vast nature evolving or taking its origin without the grace of God or without his sole authority or influence means this Supreme authority consequently may not be worthy of worship, signifying impossibility of his existence altogether. Even if he has an attribute and immensity of action of universal dimensions, the grace and pristine nobility of angels, divinities affecting the hearts and minds of living beings and their captivating influence upon humans cannot be written off and does not in any way erode the love and authority of God. What good and noble which ever physically existed in a loving and conscious state can neither be denied nor considered as of no consequence. That is exactly the reason that ancient civilizations put so much of faith and devotion in nature and its pleasant visibly manifest and perceptible effects upon earth and its dwellers. Love and dedication of prayers to this manifested nature therefore means prayers and offerings of emotions to God Himself as the nature emanates from Him. It means if you love and appreciate the son, you are appreciating the father and which father will not be glad to see His son being admired. Annoying the son and abusing nature and its stark presence and ridiculing pious connection between the divine and a human being means insult to God. Physical abuse of nature and preventing its bio preservation and what all it shelters takes mantle of fanatical intolerant connotations which means denial of flexible approach to worship according to individual’s desires and cravings of love for Supreme. Therefore the true prayers and respects to marvelous life giving nature and to its mentor the God are blissful too. Ancient thought says there cannot be an effect without cause and this Supreme Being can only be realized by his love, blessings, human deeds and pristine glory of thoughts irrespective of the method chosen and with or without the help of a guide or a teacher. A teacher or a master may make the approach or path easy and smooth with his knowledge, experience, simplicity and exemplary patience and peaceful nature without resorting to needless violence to prove the point. When one is hungry he or she is not expected to be fed by someone else unless one becomes helpless and requires assistance. It is interesting to note that in human terms the people living in any region or in any religious cultural group will always have good people and not so good people within its fold at the same time. One does require guidance and direction to be truly pious and gentle towards fellow living beings to receive the blessings and love of God. It is a fact that humans living in remote regions and innocently attributing nature and its presence around them as power worthy of worship and prayers are neither out of the way nor wrong but factually they too offer appropriate prayers before perceptible spirituality manifest powers before their eyes. To each goes the reward according to love, truth and compassion in his or her faith and intellect. Incidentally the crime rates like atrocities on women, stealing, rapes, murders, violence, intolerance and hatred are uncommon in those who follow and live in nature without indulging in superstitions and dogmas and are not chained to undesirable rituals involving violence and institutionalized religious conduct disturbing others.

An ancient Sanskrit prayer thus speaks about Supreme Being as follows.

Oh God! thou are my Mother and thou my Father, thou are my Brother, thou my friend.

Thou are the knowledge, thou are giver of affluence, thou are the divine of divines and angels of angels.

Dumb utter the words, lame may cross the mountains,

With your grace and blessings one achieves Supreme bliss in you.

Thus God in existence is neither male or female nor a biological or chemical entity but is a supernatural, super conscious power certainly adored by numerous ideas and ways and through numerous objects. He is also venerated through likable individual or community deity and angels for connectivity.