Non-dual philosophy is the highest attainment!
Thus spake Dalai Lama!
From childhood starts 'selfishness'!
One single cell divides itself into two and in this process, cells proliferate in endless numbers! This is how a single cell grows into a baby in various stages and on completion of ten months, a fully grown up baby is born in the world! Is it not a wonder of creation? In a similar manner, the ONE (Brahman) alone has become all this, the creation and cosmos! For our perception, we look at the many in the creation, while it was only ONE! Every visible thing came from that ONE alone and hence they are not different from the ONE! This is the fundamental thought behind Monism or Adwaita philosophy conceived by many sages in India and practiced by them! Yes, even in the present century, there were many stalwarts of spirituality who lived in the SELF alone! ONE ALONE IS, ALL ELSE IS MERE ILLUSION! If we believe in this truth and hold it with single focus, we will march on the royal path of spiritual wisdom! But this highest wisdom could be realized only by a handful throughout the world. For ordinary worldly people, this concept is beyond the ken of their mind. Hence the first step in spirituality is Divine faith and worship through rituals and forms. The devotee chooses a form dear to him among the various forms of godhead. God is one, without any form but for the sake of beginners, god is conceived with a form and attributes. It is easy to follow and practice! In the visible universe perceived by the sense organs, everything seems to be real and true since each individual identifies himself with a form or body with a name as label. Of course, none has come in this world with a name. It is only a baby. Later during naming ceremony according to each custom, a name is given to the baby for identification!
The baby looks around and perceives many things but it seeks the caress of its mother. The mother too loves the baby like her life and protects it as eyelids protect the eye. This is how god has instilled affection in mother and child. This is the highest form of love and it is selfless! All other relationships exist in the principle of ‘give and take’ and hence they are comparatively inferior. Next to the pure love of god towards the creation comes the mother’s love for her baby!
Light through darkness!
Body identification leads to grief and pain!
From its childhood, the baby learns to identify itself with its body. Hence the child starts crying when it is hungry and giggles when it is full of joy. As the child grows into a boy or girl, slowly it develops ‘selfishness’ by imitating the elders and others. Desires sprout in the mind of children for various colorful toys. Thus the journey of “I” and “mine” commences. This is the basic tendency of anyone in the world. Endless desires and endless seeking makes one full of agitations and grief. Yes, we don’t get all we seek and hence there is torment and pain caused by the mind. What man seeks everywhere? It is happiness, unadulterated but it is a futile attempt by human beings. No condition or material acquisition could grant perennial joy in human beings. The mind is fickle and unsteady. First it seeks joy and satisfaction in one thing. Later the mind realizes that the joy is short-lived. How long we can exult over new acquisitions? It is only for a few days. Again the mind seeks something else! This is the major quest by the seekers of permanent happiness in the world. Later, many saints and sages have understood that the external world is illusory and the joy derived from the external world is ephemeral like the flash of lightning during cloudy days. It may last only for a few seconds and heavy thunder is heard frightening us. Though the process is simultaneous, due to the various speed of light reaching the earth, we visualize the lightening first and hear the thunder later.
What Buddha realized is akin to Advaita!
All the sages and saints, Prophets and Avatars have clearly told the people that the entire phenomenon is false and it is an illusion like the mirage in the desert. We can have eternal bliss only through the spiritual wisdom treading through the path with one pointed focus! Buddha, though a Prince and enjoyed the comforts of Palace and luxuries realized the flimsiness of pleasures of the senses. His father closely guarded him from venturing out. One day, Siddhartha, the Prince sleeked out of the palace without anybody noticing him. When he was in the street, he saw three scenes which changed his outlook of life! One man was suffering from incurable disease. Siddhartha never has seen disease afflicted people so far and hence he asked the people, why this man is groaning? He was told that the man is suffering from incurable disease! Again after sometime, he was aghast to see a dead body being carried to cremation ghat. Again he asked someone why people of carrying a man? He was told that the man had died and it is normal for anyone to die who has taken birth in this world. He also saw someone begging for alms! Since he was brought up in palace, he never suffered hunger or thirst. These three scenes made a deep impact in his mind! He understood that every individual has to go through all the process like hunger, disease and death! Then alone he realized that there is no charm in palace life. He sneaked out of the palace in the dark of night leaving his young wife and son! He developed supreme detachment and begged his food during his wanderings. Later he started searching for the answers of life during his meditation. It is written that Buddha got realization under a “Bodhi tree”. He told the people, “everything is grief and everything is impermanent’!
If we contemplate deeply what Buddha realized is akin to Monastic philosophy where it is revealed that the world and creation is illusion! Hence Advaita is the ultimate reality and all else are steps towards the grand truth!