Thomas Gray observed years back, “Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise.” Indeed, many who aspire for goodness and excellence often get frustrated watching many around them, who are oblivious to subtle and finer aspects of life.
These persons also appear happy doing nothing tangible or by hobnobbing, partying and revelling. It would almost convince that one is unfortunate to have feelings and thoughts on and aspirations to sublimity and creativity!
So, wandering thus between two worlds, “one dead and the other powerless to be born”, the ardent seeker could obtain sustenance and encouragement from many sources.
The Katha Upanishad (I, iii, 14), exhorting the aspirant to arise, awaken and approach the wise, also cautions that treading the path to ultimate liberation is like walking on a razor’s edge. One has to, as Bhagavad Gita also notes (6, 5), uplift oneself by his own self because he, ultimately, is his own best friend or worst enemy.
While certain developments, situations, shallow relationships and unfair things all over cannot be modified in this world of men and matter, one’s reaction and approach to them can. Henry Thoreau in his Walden reminds, “Things do not change; we change.”
However, a deeper understanding of Thoreau’s message would reveal that when we change, and truly change, things do change too. This is through the power of example and authenticity, which comes to those who change not just the course of history but also hearts.
The basic and tangible changes within one’s own self through observation, intelligence and practical application (karmasu koushalam) and through cleansing and strengthening of the self (atmasuddhi and atmasakthi) get mirrored to aspects without too — a process of ‘inside out’.
This is patience, perseverance and persistence in real action. This also is real sadhana, regardless of the methodology adopted, as long as it is marked by clarity and that needed penetrative insight.
This finally is the process of obtaining the needed power for one’s natural world to be born, which would, doubtless, be a delight to inhabit.
Though some souls would be hemmed by more hurdles and problems than others, eventually, it is, at least in most cases and to a large extent, up to the individual. This is because, to quote Gita again, one can actually become his own friend or his own enemy!
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