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Truth Of Life: [4.5] Awakening - 27 - Change Of Direction

Published: 18.06.2008
Updated: 14.08.2008

The Art & Science Of Living

Chapter 4.



Change Of Direction

[Generally our inclination is towards illusion and not towards the truth. The change of direction means reformation in behaviour and conduct towards truth. A person who treats other women as his mother, other money as clay and all creatures as equal to himself is truly awakened and only he perceives the truth. If his inclination is towards the desires then the senses will create perversion, and if it is towards spirituality then the senses will create purity. An object in itself is neither good nor bad. Everything depends on our attitude. Practice is essential or the change in attitude. No doctrine can reform anything, we should integrate the philosophy with practice, only then we can reform ourselves.]

Everything depends upon our inclination, whether it is towards a peaceful and blissful life or whether it is towards a life full of problem and distress. When we try to find the solution then the direction of life can change, and if we complicate the problem then the complexities of life go on enhancing infinitely.

There is no question of escaping from life. Where can one go after escaping? In any case, one cannot go beyond this world. It is immaterial whether you live in this form of life or other form of life, in India or abroad, somewhere man has to seek shelter and stay. Change of direction does not mean escaping from life. It only means reforming one’s attitude.

We are inclined to hold the reflection instead of reality. Our inclination and all our activities are generally centered around reflection, not around reality. Our body, matter and all impermanent objects are the reflections of our non-dual existence, which is the truth. Whatever is viewed in a mirror is in fact reflection. It is not reality. Treating the reflection or shadow as real is the root cause of distress and agonies of life. I was sitting in a room, which had a mirror. A bird came in. it sat before the mirror and started pecking at the mirror. It was distressed and anxious. In fact, it was hitting upon the image of the other bird in order to harm that bird. It was using its full strength. Unfortunately, it was not able to understand that it was hitting its own refection in the mirror. The bird was in illusion and in this process; it injured its own break.

Like the bird but every man is sitting in front of the mirror. He is viewing his reflection and fighting with it. This has been happening since time immemorial. He has not understood the opponent with whom he is fighting so far. So man is also leading a life of reflection or illusion. Therefore Mahavira said “A percipient will use matter in a different way. A non- percipient uses the matter with attachment and a percipient uses the matter without being attached to it. A percipient lives a real life but a non- percipient lives the life of illusion.”

It was nighttime, the moon had risen. A man was walking and his shadow was falling ahead of him. He thought that someone was moving ahead of him. He ran to hold him, his reflection also moved ahead accordingly. He became more frightened and disturbed. He stopped and his reflection also stopped. He shrank, and his reflection also shrank accordingly. Man is scared of his own shadow and reflection because he is not aware that it is his own shadow and reflection.

Mahavira said “A person who has practiced awakening and learnt the art of perceiving matter is different from a non-percipient. A percipient will indulge in eating, drinking, wearing, covering, walking, sitting but he will perform all these activities irrespective of his likes and dislikes.” For illustration, a non-percipient follows his likes and dislikes so he will prefer what he likes and reject what he dislikes. A percipient uses a thing in the perspective of its utility and necessity. He will avail each and everything on the basis of its utility and requirement only, disregarding his likes and dislikes. The conduct and behaviour of a percipient and a non- percipient is entirely different.

Change of direction means reformation of conduct and behaviour. As long as one’s behaviour and conduct remain unchanged, the change of direction in life does not take place. Therefore the change of direction means change of behaviour, and change of behaviour means of change of direction.

Now the question arises, “Who is a percipient, who perceives truthfully?” The person, who considers other women as his mother, other’s money as useless and all creatures as equal to himself is truly a percipient. He only perceives truthfully and the rest do not know how to perceive. In spite of their physical eyes, they are literally blind since they are unable to perceive the real nature of things. Some people do have physical eyes but they remain non-perceptive. These have been some mediators, who were physically blind, but they become perceptive. Unfortunately, there are billions of people, who have physical eyes, but they remain blind and incapable of perceiving the truth.

The question arises” Is it possible to treat other women as one’s mother?” it may be possible for the person whose attitude towards life has changed, and it may not be possible for the person whose direction in life has not changed.

When a child sucks as its mother’s breast, then there is no perversion, pollution or doubt about its attitude. Whatever it does, that happens naturally. A devotee of goddess Saraswati and Kali prays but never has any perversion in his mind. He has faith and reverence. Digamber idols and mystic remain naked. Women worship and prostrate before their feet. Does any perversion crop up in their mind? No, because in the state of reverence, faith and piety, the bodily limbs which create perversion now contribute towards the growth of piousness, tranquillity and harmony. This is truly called change of direction. In case the inclination is towards desires, passions, then the limb create perversion and if the inclination is towards prayer then the limbs help in overcoming perversion. An object by itself neither creates perversion nor destroys it. Everything depends upon on our attitude.

The right view is the prime importance and conduct is secondary. It is to be ensured that the right view is attained. If the view is right then the conduct will automatically become right.

Man, who is greedy and attached, always remains desirous and wishes to accumulate a lot of wealth in the universe. He never gets contentment anywhere. Even very wealthy persons indulge in unethical and dishonest acts in their profession. Do they have any paucity of money? No, but they keep pursuing unrighteousness because they are inclined in this direction. When this attitude is reformed then even the poorest man is not tempted towards the wealth and considers it useless.

There is a live incident. Four youngsters visited a hotel in Delhi. They had a breakfast and went off without settling the full amount. The owner of restaurant observed that they had forgotten their transistor radio in the restaurant. He ran towards the railway station to search for them. They were already seated in the compartment. The train had to leave after sometime. They were gossiping about how they had deceived the hotel owner by paying one half of the bill. The hotel owner found them and said” you had come to my hotel for breakfast and you forgot your transistor there. Please take it.” The youngsters were surprised. Honest is neither related to poverty or richness. It is solely the trait of attitude.

The third step is to develop an equanimous view. A person, whose attitude has reformed become equanimous with all. The doctrine of equanimity is splendid and illustrious, but it is difficult to practice it. Ego feels highly elated in considering others as small and petty; one feel contented that way. By merely repeating a sentence, a word, a principle, nobody can achieve the state of equanimity. It comes only when the direction of life is changed.

Prince Aristnemi was going for his marriage. On the way, he heard the bitter cries of animals. The prince asked, “From where is the sound of bitter shrieks coming? Why are so many animals gathered here?” his coach driver said” these animals have been brought here for the marriage feast.” Aristnemi enquired, “Will they be slaughtered? Are they crying due to fear of being slaughtered?” the coach driver said, “Yes, sir.” Aristnemi directed, “Turn back the chariot, I cannot go there now.” The direction of chariot was turned; the direction of Aristnemi was also changed. Initially he was going for his marriage but now he thought of renouncing the world. He became mystic.

This is called change of direction. A person whose direction is reformed gets awareness. As long as the direction of life is not reformed, evenness of temper is not possible. One cannot treat everyone as equal to himself. Aristnemi grasped the secret that those animals had the same soul as he had. Therefore, he could not tolerate that thousands of animals should be slaughtered to celebrate his marriage.

 A long as direction is not reformed, till then awakening does not transpire. A father said to his son, “A learned mystic has come to the city. You should listen to his discourse.” They went together to listen to the discourse. The mystic preached the essence of non-dualism and taught that all creatures are equal to oneself and that they have the same soul in them. Father and son listen carefully and knot (doubt) of the son got resolved and his direction of life changed. The father went home and the son sat in the shop. It was a general store stocking different types of grains. A cow came and started eating the grains. The son watched the cow silently. His father saw the behaviour of his son and got enraged. The son said’ “Father, today the mystic has preached that all creatures are equal to oneself. Then what is the difference between the soul of a cow and our soul’? The father replied, “What the mystic said is just for preaching and is not practically viable. If you continue this way, then very soon we shall be ruined. All teachings are not applicable everywhere.”

The direction of his father did not change, so he remained unaffected in spite of listening to the mystic, whereas the direction of his son changed. He got awareness.

The essence of meditation is to change the direction. The change of direction not happens automatically. It requires practice. Change of direction does not happen merely by listening to religious discourses. Change of direction is required to unburden us. Whatever you listen to, assimilate it in your life, only then will the burden not increase. Instead of listening alone, assimilate philosophy in your conduct, then there will be no burden and your conduct will also be appealing and full of fragrance.

Practice is essential for the change of direction; principle alone cannot do the needful or bear fruits. We should integrate this principle and its practice, only then can we achieve and realize the change of direction.

Edited by Muni Dulharaj
Copyright by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India ©2001
Published by Sterling Publishers Pvt.Ltd., New Delhi, India
Translated by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Delhi
  3. Digamber
  4. Equanimity
  5. Fear
  6. Mahavira
  7. Meditation
  8. Saraswati
  9. Science
  10. Science Of Living
  11. Soul
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