With increasing regularity and frequency, I come across books which are life transforming. I am still wondering why this is happening at this stage of my life. I have a strong feeling that it has something to do with my trying to follow Koenig Ethos and practicing Yoga.
There is an uncanny co-incidence between my evolving state-of-mind and books reaching out to me. For example, when I was practicing Silence at the airport, my eyes miraculously landed on Quiet (of all books) which is a new bestseller on the subject of silence.
Though the books are new and out-of-the-blue, the ideas contained in them find resonance with my own convictions, some alive, some slumbering.
One such recent was an essay from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882).
In its essence Emerson proposes that every human has at his core a soul which is connected to every other soul and finally to what he calls the Over-Soul (God). The soul is pure, beautiful, wise, eternal, the perceiver and receiver of truth. A man as we know him is the soul plus his worldly instincts which contaminate the purity of his soul and is the reason for all his failures. Any man who can discover and follow his Soul will levitate, so to speak.
Though I have experienced the “Vociferous God”, I am increasingly of the view that we need not look outside for inspiration. If we realize that the Soul inside us, it is sufficient to propel us to an exalted existence.
I can feel the existence of the soul not in the brain but somewhere in the torso. When in difficulty, rather than crying out to the “Vociferous God” I have found great advice by directing the questions to the torso area. And mostly I have received inspiration and direction of what best to do.
I have also tried to connect to other people at the soul level. I have imagined connecting with people I know and even strangers. Invariably I feel compassion, empathy and connectedness which is overwhelming. Not just people I love, even people I am not particularly fond of seem to connect and feel lot more likable. Strangers no longer seem strangers.
Emerson says it beautifully :
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is self-sufficing and perfect in every hour.”3]
Emerson goes on to say:
A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking,counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect, but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his action, would make our knees bend. When it breathes through his intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through his will, it is virtue; when it flows through his affection, it is love. And the blindness of the intellect begins, when it would be something of itself. The weakness of the will begins, when the individual would be something of himself. All reform aims to let the soul have its way through us; in other words, to engage us to obey.
Not just Emerson, Einstein (and many other great thinkers) had similar thoughts.
“A human being is part of the whole called by us the ‘universe’. He expresses himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi is a pseudo-fiction based entirely on Indian mythology. A fictitious human named Shiva is considered God because of his blue throat, though he knows he is not God, by following his inner voice, he is able to achieve God-like results. Amish gives a new meaning to “har har mahadev” – “everyone is God”.
It is not just modesty that makes people feel that “credit for anything good that I have done goes to Him, failures are my own doing”. It is actually the truth. All good deeds are done in moments when we listen to the Soul, and misdeeds happen when we ignore our soul.
Our faith comes in moments, our vice is habitual…