You have an embedded Operating System
Everyone knows the internal drives – emotions, feelings, and, of course, thoughts – that keep buzzing inside one’s head and indeed drive the responses and reactions to the events in one’s life. Everyone also knows the dreams that every night brings a weird world. I am identifying this system as an Operating System – a familiar term in the modern world, known even to every mobile user, who is asked to update the Operating System (OS) every now and then.
According to the eternal religion of the Hindus (Sanatan Dharma), each living person is born with a subtle body that carries forward the impressions from one’s earlier existences. As the body grows and later, ages, this subtle body keeps updating itself – bringing to fruition what is stored as well as registering the new impressions. At the time of death, the updated subtle body leaves the gross body, which is disposed of through cremation, and assumes a new body. Let us call this subtle body as your kernel, your centre, or your axis, around which your life happens.
A lot of intellectual work has gone into our inner world over thousands of years and has created an enormous load of ideas and theories packaged as religion, traditions and culture. The burden and noise of this work is so much that it puts off a normal person from even knowing about it. Everyone ends up following a dogma. Not surprisingly, it hardly has any effect, except training one like an animal in the zoo. But that is a big sell-off. The destiny of an animal is not to live in a zoo, but in the wild. This blog makes one realize this loss of ours.
Know yourself as a part of the same infinite that is the universe outside. Don’t take this world as your reality; rather, realize that the universe in which this earth exists is like a mere speck of sand in a desert. Stare at the star-filled sky in the night, watch the sunrise every morning, or sunset, and you will know this without a doubt. Sit quietly, cut off from the world for a while, close your eyes and feel this infinite inside, starting with watching your breath going in and out and slowly sinking deeper in the body.
You will soon become aware of different sensations – itches, twists, aches, pains, burning sensations. Allow them to pass. Next to arrive would be memories, appearing on the mind’s horizon, as clouds appear in the sky. Allow them to disperse and drift away. And then, you will ‘taste’ a moment of peace. That is infinite; that is Sat-Chit-Ananda – a consciousness that is eternal, placid, and blissful. Through practice, these moments will become longer spells and you will know what is good for you thereafter.
The Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.1) declares:
द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते।
तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥
Two birds, beautiful of wing, close companions, cling to one common tree: of the two one eats the sweet fruit of the tree, the other eats not but watches his fellow. It is there, but as a witness. Not participating in your actions. But if you can access it, engage with it, wonderful things can happen.
The Indian mystic poet, Kabir (1398-1518), says:
उठो ग्यानी खेत संभारो, बिगै निसरेगा पानी।
निरत सुरत के बेल बनावो, बीजा बोवो निज धानी।
Get up, O wise farmer and mind your body (the field), else, the drama of this world (the rain) will wash it away. Live a disciplined life (make a weir around your field), regulating your vital energy (holding the water) and lead a flourishing life (your crop).
The Irish philosopher, George Berkeley (1685-1753), said very aptly, “We have first raised a dust and then complain we cannot see.” Later, the Scottish philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776), declared, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” Hume even pointed out, “Custom is the great guide of human life.”
The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), called the presence of an immortal self in our body, the watching bird, as a ‘thing-in-itself’ and “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” According to Kant, “We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” So, stop running on the ‘treadmill’ of being successful – more money, more work, name, fame…. All this speed is going to bring you to a halt sooner than later. Bring moderation to every aspect of life, especially your indulgence with the affairs of the world.
Steven Covey, in his 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, distinguishes between “one’s ability to focus on what one can do and can influence” and “focussing one’s energy on things that are beyond one’s control”. Irrespective of who wins the elections, which stock rises or crashes, irrespective of what the price of petrol and conversion rate of dollar is, mind your sleep, your bowl and above all, your mood of general happiness and ease.
Have a proper goal in your life, appropriate to your age and the conditions around you. Work on that and do not allow any other matter or issue to disturb you. The Infinite knows what can be done by you. The Infinite is aware of your subtle body and will get whatever best you can deliver, done from you. For infinite wisdom and care, for your life to be constantly sustained, all you need is to let Nature flow through you, and to be engaged in the work that you can do best without straining yourself. Too many thoughts are noise. Learn to quieten your mind.
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) popularized the answer given by the God of Death (Yama) to the child Nachiketa, mentioned in the Katha Upanishad (1.3.14), “उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत”, meaning, “Arise! Awake! Approach the great and learn.” Swami Vivekananda exhorted, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it; dream of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. That is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”
Your operating system is designed to bring out the best in you. It is not designed to change others. Your attempts to change other people are such a waste of energy. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), the Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time, lamented, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) summed up the secret of life, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
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