The other day my young friend Rajshekhar presented a book titled ‘Carving a Sky’ authored by his guide and most respected guru ‘Samaparpan’. The book is published by HarperCollins India (Harper Element) in the spirituality category.
I knew Rajshekhar’s devotion to his teacher. I was not sure that I will be able to go through the pages of the book, in view of my age related disabilities combined with some prejudices regarding spirituality. But the book surprised me; It proved to be a smooth and compelling reading. The subject matter of the book is presented in the format of a travelogue, so it is an interesting, smooth and easy reading. I was excited, I thanked Rajshekhar telephonically.
I recollect my early days. I had joined as a young lecturer; I went to see the principal of our college. He was a scholar of international repute. I introduced myself and expressed hope that I would have opportunities to learn from him. To my surprise he retorted, “I am a man of history, you are a man of Botany. How can you learn from me?”
I looked at him disbelievingly, how he can say so! He is a scholar par excellence. Does he think that I am being a sycophant? But he was my principal. I had to be polite. So I submitted, “Sir, so far as I know, every branch of knowledge searches for the same truth.” He did not speak and I felt relieved. The fallout of the encounter was that I did not attempt to meet him one to one again.
Spiritualists have several world views. One of them holds that our actual home is where God resides We are banished to earth for certain period due to our various acts of omission and commission and we are expected to lead our lives in a way that we may find our rightful place in heaven. Soul (atma) is a part of God (Paramtma) . So it strives to merge into the whole. Focus is on the life hereafter instead of on life as we know it .
On the other hand spiritualists like Rabindranath Thakur visualize life as celebration of joy. They hold that existence is diffused in the surroundings (ecosystem). Man is invited to the celebration of joy that has been organised by nature or almighty. Life is beautiful and Vidhata reveals himself through man’s life. The world is real and not illusion a propounded by the other school.
The book “Carving a Sky” is concerned with individual’s quest to be human. The author’s opening line is “To be human is to aspire for excellence. The desire to be unique, possibly the best is innate to us all”. It stimulated me. I cannot claim to have any clear and academic understanding of spiritualism. I have not read spiritual texts. Still going through the book is an opportunity to understand what and why of living in the light of illustrations from my own persona.
Samarpan does not use mystic metaphors, instead says, “Life is a conscious struggle to exist.”
He says, “The existence of every species other than humans is tied to its limited area of activity, but human beings aspire and achieve the impossible by using their existence as a platform to create a larger space through growth.”
The space is carved by adding strength to existence to attain growth and then freedom.
I began seeing my reflections. I found meanings in Exclusive and Inclusive together with Existence, Patterned and unpatterned energy and philosophy of life, in my own way. I understand that in an exclusive existence we are concerned with our own existence to the exclusion of others; ----‘I and my family’. While those with ecological conscience, who care for the biotic as well as the abiotic components of their ecosystem are inclusive.
Samarpan says ---
“If there is one value that needs to be practised all over the world today, it is the practice of respect. With it there values like truth,self-control, non-violence and honesty follow automatically". Reminded me of a line from a book on child care—“ Learn to respect the child” Since then I have been attempting to visualise the dimensions of ‘respect’. We may discover some trait in every individual that commands respect. You cannot love a person in case you do not have respect for him/her.
Respect the individual. That will enable you to understand his uniqueness. Then you may be able to help him/her to realise his/her full potential. This is opposite to fixing a role model and a goal to achieve.
“Growth depends on the mechanism that converts unpatterned energy into patterned through a constant struggle. When the struggle is conscious, it is known as effort.”
“Growth in life depends on a commitment in face of certain defeat. One cannot see things in their proper perspective because of one’s like and dislikes. It is because the mind is always coloured with attachment and aversion. It needs a thorough cleansing just to see things as they are.”
“Aspirations, ideals and values convert unpatterned energy into growth. If a person holds on to any ideal he can generate enough energy within himself and consequently grow.”
“Life is a conscious struggle to exist. The existence of every species other than humans is tied to its limited area of activity, but human beings aspire to and achieve the impossible by using their existence as a platform to create a larger space through growth.”
“The best manifestation of existence in human beings is seen in those instances when it creates a new possibility to overcome an obstacle. A person is out only when he agrees to be out, since life is the gateway to infinite possibilities which remain open all the time.”
“Life is important, but the philosophy of life is more important. One has to know what he is living for. A philosophy of life gives strength to overcome despair and pain. The great also suffer pain, but they never depair because of their philosophy of life.”
“The journey of human life begins with physical growth, passes through intellectual growth and culminates in spiritual growth, which appears in a person as wisdom.”
“A wise person is one who has understood the realities of life and hence has changed one’s outlook towards the world from craving to giving up.”
“To grow in wisdom, one has to make a conscious effort, centring on some idea, ideals or aspirations for a long time.”