All ancient Indian philosophies and all religions that appeared in the Indian soil had three things in common. First, they all are focused on all the living beings, particularly the human beings. Second, they incorporate a willing acceptance of all such restrains by the man to avoid any harm to the universe and to the one who exercises restrains of thought, conduct and speech. Third, they all recommend willing acceptance by the man to contribute to the welfare of his surroundings according to the traditional cycles of the nature.
It is not my intention to highlight that the concept of willing acceptance was emphasized by the philosophers belonging to a particular region of the world, and, not by those from other regions; because I find that human beings, all over the world desired and endeavored to survive with minimum possible struggle depending on the physical environment and conditions they were compelled to live in. Perhaps, people of some specific regions had more opportunities to experiment with the thoughts of exercising restraint and making contributions to their surroundings, which others, from some different regions, did not have. The fact remains that philosophers from different regions evolved different philosophies of life; and there had been no philosophy that did not have something special to contribute.
Here, I want to concentrate on the two key words, ‘the willingness’ and ‘the acceptance’. The source of willingness is the mind of the person who is willing; and the acceptance of something has to be about what one has some knowledge. To clarify; if someone finds that a particular thing is good for him and gives him pleasure, and therefore, he is inclined to achieve it; it means, he has willingly accepted it. The two things that are absent in this process are; ‘lack of knowledge’ and ‘compulsion of any kind’. Knowledge may be gained by experiencing or learning from others; and willingness comes from a mind trained to go for things that are beneficial (pleasurable) for one. The latent knowledge, rather an in built perception, which must exist with the one who willingly accepts, is that only such things that are beneficial can give pleasure. For, if one does not possess that kind of a mind the concept of willing acceptance in the given context falls flat.
The scriptures relate meaning and purpose of life with the ultimate truth, that is, the existence of a supreme creator, maintainer and destroyer of all that is living or not living. Ordinarily, a human mind finds it difficult to derive or deny existence of any ultimate truth. The human experience is also not of a happiness that lasts. The man has two options. Either he accepts that the life is an unpleasant process that may, at the best, grant him some highly temporary patches of trivial happiness; or he tries to seek some knowledge that he is not much capable of obtaining about the ultimate truth in order to derive happiness that lasts, at least, till he is alive. In such circumstances there is a lack of knowledge as well as the absence of willing acceptance.
The ancient scriptures suggest that the man must be willing to know the ultimate truth, and for this he must make all-out efforts. The scriptures say that he must make all-out efforts. The efforts needed, according to the scriptures, include the realization of the falsehood and temporariness of the material aspects of life, lack of many affinities with sensory pleasures, performing one’s duties as prescribed by the traditional cycles of nature by becoming a contributor in the existence of the universe without causing any harm to what is existing in the universe, living or not living, being in the company of those who have advanced in such conduct and had been deeply contemplating over the meaning and purpose of life. The scriptures imply that if the man is willing to act as stated above and makes assiduous and persistent efforts to know the truth he may realize the ultimate truth. After realization of the ultimate truth the need for willing acceptance of the truth may be easily satisfied, rather it would automatically occur.
The willing acceptance to exercise restraint on selfish and sensory desires, which may give superficial pleasure for a temporary period, but actually is at the root of human unhappiness; dedicated efforts to serve one’s immediate surroundings (for, it is beyond a human being to serve the entire universe given his limited abilities) and deep contemplation about the meaning and purpose of life become a source of knowledge that may be willing accepted to live a contended life.
No one can say that the man has made no progress in his efforts to make him happy. But, we can definitely say that first he started moving without properly learning the science and art of restraining his thoughts and actions, and then, after moving ahead he miserably failed in reviewing his steps to ascertain and anticipate in which direction he is going. Intoxicated by his new found pleasures, he, under-felt his pains thereby failing to notice the disease he subjected himself to. The cause of the pain that is slowly but steadily intensifying is the lack of his training in restraining himself, which has made him much confused about the ultimate truth. The science of restraint in life’s affairs, perhaps, stipulates that the man has to exercise restraints in his thoughts, actions and satisfaction of his desires with the intentions of gaining the right knowledge of the ultimate truth, and then, lead a life by exercising restraints based on the willing acceptance of the ultimate truth.
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”.]