Quest For Truth Is A Musk Deer's Chase

Published: 11.12.2006
Updated: 15.02.2008

With strong and determined will power, one can realise non-violence and an absence of desire leading to inner transformation

Life is both being and becoming. We exist - that is being. We desire - that is becoming. Everybody wants to be something other than what he already is; no one is fully content with his lot - he wants to rise higher in life; he does not want to stagnate in one position. Becoming involves effort - a search for new ways of living, ending of laxity and the creation of a new environment. Man wants to attain truth, longs for success, health and growth - he wants all these.

It is human nature to be preoccupied with results. It is this preoccupation with results that has given birth to a number of problems in the past as well as in the present - problems which are apparently insoluble. Humans want to achieve certain results. Their whole attention is concentrated on achievement; natural aptitude and inclinations are often ignored.

A newly appointed official was informed that the villagers had an excellent potato crop. He went to inspect and saw field after field covered with green leaves. "You have misinformed me. You said you have had an excellent crop, but here are mere leaves and no potatoes at all. What makes you tell lies to me?" he exclaimed. At this the villagers laughed and said, "Sir, potatoes grow underground; above the ground you find only leaves. Dig into the soil and you'll find potatoes everywhere."

The foliage above the ground furnishes no idea of the crop below. Our mind is so disposed that we have only a superficial view of things; we do not try to go deeper. Without going deeper we shall not know truth. The ultimate lies within. We must learn to distinguish between disposition and essential nature. The essential nature is fundamental.

The human race is moving towards destruction. Evils are growing stronger every minute. Why this retrogression? What perpetuates evil and how is it that humans cannot cope with it? What is it that we lack?

Had we seriously probed this question, we might have discovered the truth about it and resolved the issue long ago. But we seem to be concerned only with removing evil, not with understanding it. Violence is an effect, an outward manifestation and so is anger. We cannot remove evil without bringing a fundamental inner transformation.

Psychologists have analysed essential human nature. A particular nature gives rise to certain tendencies, with certain consequences. Scriptures speak not of mere outward change, but deep inner transformation. We exercise our will. We determine not to indulge in violence or sex, not to tell lies, not to steal, or not to be acquisitive.

One may resolve to remove an evil, but mere resolution won't end it. It would be wonderful if the mere utterance of a word could accomplish results. But the fact is that we have no magic wand that can instantly bring forth all that we desire. Mere determination will not do.

Religious thinkers went into the matter and have offered a way - disciplining the mind, the body and the tongue. With discipline comes fulfilment. If the mind is still, non-violence becomes fulfilment and comes into being. If the mind is pure and still, continence follows. But if the mind is restless, it wanders like a monkey; it is running after various objects, preoccupied with persons and things. Then how can there be continence?

Behaving like a monkey will not bring it forth. If it were so simple, I would urge the whole world to take to the monastic life; nobody should remain outside the fold. Just pronounce a word and the thing: Whatever it is, is done! But in reality, it is not so. And a spiritual practitioner who tries to go forward without first maturing his meditation, is often obliged to retrace his steps.


Lalit Garg, The Pioneer

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  1. Anger
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  7. Non-violence
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