Weekly Recap – 10.

Saturday was a day of a house full of ardent animal lovers who came to finalise a program of action at the initiative of my son Ranjan who is deeply involved in this activity. For the first time, I met some people whose names I had heard of but had never met. One of them was a lady that I used to see in our local park without knowing anything about her and thinking of her as being rather aloof, and it was gratifying that she was a warm caring person willing to go out of her way to see that stray animals got a humane treatment.

As though that was not enough, Ranjan’s girl friend brought home-made Modaks which sent my father into rapture and me into nostalgia for my mother’s cooking.

Sunday had me reading a remarkable book on Vedanta about which I had not heard till very recently. It is by an author who I regard highly for being enlightened and gracious and it was everything that I expected from an author of his caliber.

Monday brought great news in that my GP who had been ill for 8 weeks had resumed his clinic. I went to congratulate him and to welcome him back as well as to update him on my own problems. He perused all the reports and gave the green signal for the surgery and this was music to my father’s ears, who wanted his confirmation.

The carpenter who is to modify some furniture for my future use came over and took measurements and assured that everything would be ready by the time I returned from the hospital.

A difficult client was handled tactfully and his fresh orders booked.

Tuesday brought great news that my physician sister in law and her husband, my cousin, will be in Pune during and immediately after my surgery to keep my father comfortable. That is the best news that I could have hoped for.

My classmate in Vedanta studies and fellow spiritual traveler surprised me with a book on Vedanta, a primer as it were, which had been out of print for some time and which I very much wanted. I had given my copy away to my nephew who is just starting his own jouney and I have found it necessary to go back to basics and this book is truly a Godsend. Thank you Kusum.

Wednesday brought bad news as well as good news in that a dear friend of mine, a fellow member of the Replaced Hips Club, fell down and got seriously injured. Luckily, despite abrasions and lesions, no bones were broken and her replaced hip is intact. She needs to rest and recover and it gave me great pleasure to advise her to do that as, she has been badgering me with that advise for some time now.

Wednesday also saw my interview for a caregivers portal being published; and another friend coming to my help with a wheel chair for another friend. I am not at liberty to write about either in detail, but two people benefited by my being a mutual contact and I was able to be of help to someone badly in need.

Thursday was quiet. Very quiet. Two books on Indian mythology and civilisation that I was looking forward to reading came.

Friday, got me finally chatting with my friend who was able to let me know the latest position on her injury. She still has to undergo further tests but for now she is resting and recouping from the shock of her mishap. I was able to connect with a caregiver having a stressful time and to give some encouragement.

Nothing.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

I would like to call ‘thing’ as anything that is or may become an object of thought. Therefore, nothing would imply no thing. In other words, a void or emptiness with no thing in it. Say like the skulls of many people that I am sure all of us know, and like mine is considered to be by some very full skulls.

I started my spiritual journey in early 1978 and by 1985 was deeply into Vedanta, an Indian system of philosophy and Buddhism. I found no contradiction between the two and concluded that they were two sides of the same coin.

By this time, Fritjof Capra had already published his Tao Of Physics which was a best seller for that time and I believe continues to be in print even now, thirty years after its publication. Some little scepticism left in me was completely removed when I read that book which I repeatedly read even now.

What has that got to do with today’s LBC topic? Let me try and explain.

Science is reductionist in its approach to finding the ultimate building block. The smallest thing in nature, matter. Let us call that matter a thing. Eastern philosophy calls it Anu, the nearest equivalent in science being atom. Now, even atom has been reduced to protons, neutrons, quarks and leptrons. It still has not found the smallest. There is a problem however in that the sub atomic particles that make up the smallest particle, which is atom, appears to be some form of energy.

Mathematicians have calculated that 99.99percent of an atom is empty space, or NO THING. Since atoms make up every THING, 99.99 percent of everything including us human beings, is also empty space, or NO THING.

The appearing and disappearing nature of sub atomic particles is called ANITHYAM meaning, impermanence in the Eastern philosophical systems. In other words, since the smallest particle of matter is impermanent and the atom itself consists of such impermanent particles, even the atom is impermanent. In other words, every thing that is seen as matter appears for verification by our senses only when there is a perceiver. If there is no perceiver, there is no matter.

In Capra’s book I first understood this principle and the difference between Subject and Object. Since object is impermanent, the philosophical systems call all matter as MAYA or illusion, or NO THING.

Since our body/mind/intellect complex is also objectifiable, it cannot be the Subject. The mistake we make is in identifying the subject with the object and considering that the I is the body/mind/intellect complex, which we have seen as NO THING.

Then, what is the Subject? It is obviously the I, the perceiver. Eastern philosophical systems insist on dis-covering the real I. The method is meditation. In meditation, one can find that stillness, or the witness, which is again, NO THING.

The NO THING is called Emptiness (Shunyatha) in Buddhism and Limitlessness (Brahman) in Vedanta. This is what I meant when I said that they are two sides of the same coin. One uses a positive and the other the negative. The Yin and the Yang or the Male and Female principle.

Have I caused enough confusion? It is NOTHING but intellectual kite flying.

In other words, I am NOTHING. So are you.

Is it your dream life?

There is a wonderful blog called A Deaf Mom Shares Her World which I strongly recommend to all.

This blog is full of such amazing stories about a family of deaf people and what they do.

In the latest blog, the blogger asks the question “Are you living your dream life?
In my comment on her blog I said “I am a Vedantin from India. What you probably know as a Hindu. For Vedantins, life itself is a dream. It is unreal. What you probably know as Maya or inaccurately translated as illusion. In Eastern religions, there is no substance to this life and it is but a dream. This has now been kind of supported by modern physicists like Fritjof Capra. So, to your specific query, Yes, my life is a dream!”
A Zen Master tells his students that he had a dream in which he was flitting around like a butterfly. Since he woke up he has been unable to decide whether he is the master who dreamed about the butterfly or if he was the butterfly dreaming that he was the master with the students.
Eastern traditions, religions and philosophy are full of such amazing insights that one can get completely lost in a life long study. That is what happens to Sanyasis and Monks in the Eastern traditions.

In the Indian tradition, the training in such matters start from the time of the individual’s student days called the Brahmacharya Ashrama, continues during his householder days called the Grahasthashrama Ashrama, takes serious contours during his retirement days called the Vanaprastha Ashrama and culminates in his total withdrawl from society days called the Sanyasa Ashrama. While, from every stage one could jump into the last stage under the express approval of Rishis who satisfy themselves that the individual has no other responsibilities, normally, the individual experienced a full and rich life before the full time pursuit of matters spiritual.

Perhaps my answer to the blogger should have then been “As a Vedantin, my dream is to become a Sanyasi and I am on the path. I am now in the Grahastha Ashrama stage due to circumstances beyond my control, but I have every hope of moving to the other two Ashramas.” In all honesty, I cannot tell her that I am not living the life of a Grahastha as a Brahmachary dreams of.

Would she have understood it? Do you, dear reader?