India did not need religion to sustain itself. Our ancestors believed that the man had an existence beyond his physical existence. They believed that if the man attached necessary importance to non-physical aspects of his life, he would be able to experience the absolute oneness to which he actually belongs. Such sense of belonging would help him recognize his true nature that would bind him with a sacred bond of dutiful interdependence with others. They were sure that the above referred sacred bond would be willingly accepted by the mankind as almost indelible code of human conduct giving a purpose to human life.
The belief (awareness) of absolute oneness gave meaning to the life. The sacred bond of dutiful interdependence attached a purpose to it. The thought of absolute Oneness helped the man to depend on the infinite source of energy; and the dutiful bond of absolute interdependence with others gave the man every opportunity to use his body-mind complex for his own welfare. Ancient India philosophy, perhaps, never told the man ‘what he must look at’; instead he was told how to view the truth of the things. He, the man, was never instructed by ancient Indian philosophers ‘what he must think about and how must he conduct himself’; instead he was told ‘how to think rightly and how to conduct righteously’.
It is not possible to comment on how the man of today views the traditional ways of thinking about life and moulding his conduct accordingly. It appears that historical realities pushed the man away from the traditional ways of thinking about the truth and realities of life. Many would not like me saying that traditional ways of thinking and conducting, perhaps, did not help the man in dealing with his historical realities. I feel it is not enough to know how the man thinks and conducts traditionally; perhaps, it is equally important to know whether the man has a tradition of making appropriate use of his body, mind, emotions, intellect and egoistic compulsions. We need to know as to what is the appropriate use of the tools of thinking, experiencing, feeling, conducting and communicating, possessed by the man. Further, once we know it, we need to know how to deal with changing times and circumstances. One way that has been suggested traditionally is, being in the company of the people who give importance to what is right and righteous, and maintaining constant interactions with them. This is called Satsang (the company of the truth and the followers of the truth). What if such company is not easily available?
It will be incorrect to say that truth has all disappeared in modern times. We can only say that the truth is sparingly available; and, if and when it is found, it is found much entwined with the untruth. In such a situation, it becomes necessary that people with a strong urge to explore the practical truths in modern times and circumstances, develop calmness and equanimity of mind. If any Satsang is needed, it is more needed for developing urge for exploration of truth and developing equanimity of mind, not as much for attaining internal peace, as for exploring the truth for the benefit of many. The tradition of creating the knowledge of truth having been forgotten, the revival of the old tradition of creating truth for the welfare of the mankind, or creating and establishing a new tradition of re-identification or reaffirmation of truth for the benefit of many has become necessary.
PROMOD KUMAR SHARMA
[The writer of this blog is also the author of “Mahatma A Scientist of the Intuitively Obvious” and “In Search of Our Wonderful Words”.]