1. We’re governed by the principle of ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’: Modern societies, based on religious ‘ideology, belief’, think that this principle ceases after death; there is only one life and we’re all born equal, with a clean slate! Whereas it is obvious that we’re not born equal but with our own particular USP, mind-set, likes, dislikes, characteristics, which we call samskaras, which define who and what we’re, and in a way, we’re entrapped and enslaved by them.
The obvious fact is that with our freedom of choice, curiosity, inquisitiveness, impulses, we grow up making different choices and are today what we’re, healthy and happy, or not, based on our own choices-actions as impressed and embedded in our mind!
2. Factors that give Happiness: In all our actions right or wrong, ethical or unethical, we’re seeking ‘Happiness’ concomitant with health and longevity and according to modern thinking, the factors that give ‘Happiness’, include access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and genetics, etc.
In contrast, the most significant factor, according to our Vedic perspective, can be posited as being established and committed to our universal duties, Dharma, and respective duties, Swadharma. Dharma, is ethical, righteous conduct whereas Swadharma, is our respective duties in our various roles. Swadharma suggests that we should engage in an occupation in accordance with our inherent samskaras, because here in the mind, all knowledge, skills, experience, that we’ve acquired earlier, are already stored up; with the result that we can continuously add, innovate, master any specific field of our interest and that is how great discoveries have been made from the Vedic ages, without books, tools, instruments as crutches; by sheer purity of mind so that we can access infinite knowledge already within us!
Also, when we engage in work in accordance with our Samskaras, we not only enjoy and love our work, but can work without stress and strain and remain within our level of character and competence. Modern life style and rat race for more and more artha and kaama has led to pollution of samskaras leading to undue stress, self-centered work-culture, all of which have drastically reduced longevity and happiness and today only a small percentage of people are really happy and have a life expectancy of more than 65 years, whereas the average was 100 years in ancient times!
3. Our Problem – We’re enslaved by our Samskaras: Many a times we know what is good and right and what is not; and yet do wrong either with full awareness or just swayed by our past habit. Our problem here is that in spite of knowing, we willingly do wrong or are somehow led to do the wrong by force of habit. Why, because of our previous intentions-thoughts-actions which have created ‘samskaras’, embedded impressions, in our mind, and which influence, our present choices-actions.
Our Mind has to be cultivated to imbibe Wisdom: Words of wisdom will not fructify if they fall on stones but only if they fall on fertile soil of a mind, which has been cultivated by good intentions-choices-thoughts and continuous striving to be and to do good, etc. all of which refine our samskaras, i.e., improve the quality our mind.
Right and wrong are being constantly told and yet we continue choosing wrong; suddenly something strikes us; we become aware and decide not to do wrong anymore and this decision happens because our past samskaras are now ripe and ready to imbibe the right! And then starts conscious awareness and efforts to use our will power to do right and avoid wrong; this effort slowly and gradually refines our samskaras and we start striving to do right and avoid wrong. Thus, telling and knowing right and wrong is only a necessary aspect but not enough because only those whose samskaras are refined and so ready to imbibe, will choose and strive to do the right!
Duryodhan tells Krishna, don’t teach me right and wrong, I know it well; but my samskaras propel me to wrong. Arjuna, on the other hand has more refined samskaras and so he readily admits that he is impelled to choose wrong, i.e., run-away from battle; but requests guidance so that he is enabled to choose and do right.
4. The purpose of life is to refine, purify, our samskaras; how do we cultivate our mind so that it is fertile and ready to imbibe the power of goodness? The time-tested method is to get established, from early childhood in a daily routine of prayers, worship, meditation, discipline, righteous ethical conduct, fulfilment of our respective Swadharma, etc. In fact, Vidya is that which leads to mukti, ‘ananda’, and so education and parenting have to help us get established in righteous conduct and help build powers of mind to walk-the-talk, i.e., strive for quality and excellence in whatever we do, and have spontaneous feeling of love, care and concern for others.
5. I alone am Responsible: Striving to be virtuous, ethical, etc. is not at all a matter of IQ, Degrees, status, vocation, or belonging to this or that Religion, sect, faith, or belief in this or that God or ideology. I alone have to be convinced, undertake the inner journey to cultivate our mind by sowing seeds of righteous thoughts-actions and realize and experience the highest and best.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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