Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How come different Saints have different realizations?


if realisation is the answer to all, then how come different saints have different opinions. For example Shri Ramakrishna in his enlightenment used to visualise Goddess Kali, Gautam Buddha got the enlightenment concluded that there is no God and all things are subject to change. Jesus Christ preached love to God. Mahavir Jain mediated only to find there is no God but souls are present!! I mean different saints concluded different truths(existence of God,soul, no God, love to God,creator God, incarnated God and so on). If they all got the wisdom how their conclusions of realisation/enlightenment are different? There should be only one truth after realisation. May be the oath/approches be different but the truth should be one only na?

My Reply

>>> if realisation is the answer to all

Realization is not the answer to all the questions of everyone. It is just to the questions of the person who realized. The others are still bound to have questions. If I have a meal, it will be my hunger, not yours that will be satisfied; even if I give you a lengthy theoretical description of how each dish tastes. They may water your mouth and encourage you to satisfy your hunger. But there it ends.

>>> then how come different saints have different opinions.

Yes coming to the actual question- how come they “differ”. Whenever, wherever, whoever finds truth, it will be same because... because it IS truth. How can we then account this disparity?

What a rudimentary follower will do is to cry foul about the integrity of the other. A Christian to account for the difference in what the earlier messengers said and what Christ said will say that Jews corrupted the earlier messages. Muslims will say that Christians corrupted the Christ’s message hence the difference in the teachings of Christ and Prophet. Some Hindus will say that Vedas became corrupted by Upanishads. Some will say that Upanishads are corrupted by Puranas. Some will claim that Puranas are corrupted by some other things. Some will claim that Sankara was corrupted by Buddhism. Some will claim that Madhva was corrupted by Islam. etc etc etc etc. These type of things go on and on.

There may be an element of truth in the factor that teachings got altered in the course of time. But that it itself will not answer all the questions. Followers of Saint-A may accuse that Saint-B was wrong and confused or much worse say that he is a fake and imposter. But the same logic also holds good in reverse as well. Hence let’s keep aside this “they got corrupted” reason.

There may be many imposters in the world and many more in the religious world; but there are also some personalities like a Buddha, a Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a Christ, a Sankara, a Mahavir, a Ramanuja etc on whose personal character and integrity we cannot raise a finger.

If we look at the physical level, then all the various teachings of different religions makes it impossible to accommodate each other. But if you look at what is the idea behind all these that they are trying to express, it is the idea of man trying to go beyond the limitations of the nature.

If science can be called the struggle of man to conquer external nature, religion can be termed as the struggle of man to conquer internal nature. But he may not be equipped with a complex language to express his idea clearly.

If there is difference between a man and a child, it is not in what they want to express, but in the clarity with which they can express their idea.

The early man seeing the apple fall thought there was a demon there, invisible, which is trying to pull the apple down. He did not have the mathematics to explain it clearly like newton. But it is the same idea of gravity that he was trying to express, but only in a crude manner.

Thus formed various ideas in various societies and each, man trying to express a idea in various form, sometimes sophisticated, sometimes crude.

Am I then saying that the differences are coz the Saints goofed up on putting their ideas into words? Not exactly. The trouble is more with the very language.

Lets take a silly example to drive home the point: lets say you have tasted a mint chocolate and want to convey to the other how it tastes. How will we do it? It depends on the target audience. If you are in a place where they know the taste of “sugar”, then you will take that as the starting point and try to explain that the mint is also sweet like a sugar etc etc.

Now lets imagine you are in a different place where people don’t know what is sugar, but know of ice. Then to them you start explaining that mint feels “cool” like ice etc etc.

Your idea was same, so was what you were trying to convey. But when it comes to conveying it, the perceptions of people come into picture. If that is the case with a simple eatable, imagine the difficulty involved with the case of Absolute, which is beyond even the realm of mind.

Christ might have comprehended the reality, but when he was trying to teach it to the people from Judaic background, he will start with the identification of that with the 'father in heaven'. This 'father in heaven' was no longer an angry, jealous god of the old testament, but a Loving god. But he was still the “father in heaven” they know nevertheless.

If a Saint goes to the devotee of Krishna, then he will not start off with saying “here stop calling the reality in that name, and adopt this name”. He will instead fine tune the understanding of that devotee that Krishna will be with such and such qualities.

Let me give you one example of such a phenomenon from your post itself. You said “For example Shri Ramakrishna in his enlightenment used to visualise Goddess Kali”.

Now this is the description of his first vision of Goddess Kali in Sri Ramakrishna’s own words “I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation from Her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple. I determined to put an end to my life. When I jumped up like a madman and seized it, suddenly the blessed Mother revealed Herself.

The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up! I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.

That was his vision of Kali in his own words. When we hear vision of Kali, we start imagining that the Kali with four hands, a sword, etc etc came appeared in front. But in his own words it is “a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness”. We may term it with words it in english, but that Ocean of Consciousness itself was Kali for him. Hence he will say “vision of Kali”. But either the teacher may present it in the perspective of the seeker or the seeker may understand the same from his perspective and hence the differences.


Blogger Sandeep said...

But the two descriptions regarding mint chocolate shouldn't contradict each other right? Granted, to say there is contradiction the onus is on the other guy to furnish explicit statements that give the contradiction. For instance did Buddha ever say that there was no God? I would doubt that.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Surya S said...

But the two descriptions regarding mint chocolate shouldn't contradict each other right?

True they cannot. Thats why in the beginning I stated "Whenever, wherever, whoever finds truth, it will be same because... because it IS truth".

My basic premise is that the account is honest and correct. For example Swamiji says though prophet did have some true visions, he later misunderstood most of them. My post does not extend to such cases as my basic premise is violated.

That being said, majority of the contradiction cases are not actually so. For example, examine these three statements:

1. light and darkness always co-exist. You never understand light without darkness and darkness without light.
2. Where there is light, there is no darkness; where there is darkness, there is no light.
3. There is nothing called darkness, it is just absence of light.

Now we can either understand each word in a rigid manner and conclude:

1. A and B always co-exist
2. A and B never co-exist
3. Only A is there, B does not even exist.

Similar is the case with most "contradictions" we see. Of course it does not mean that every contradiction is only due to difference in perceptions. There may be some contradictions just coz one is wrong.

But when you see a contradiction in two honest and truthful accounts, then know that the culprit is the perceptions (or your maths language you can say that the difference is in the way they defined their universe set)

2:43 AM  
Blogger Multisubj Yb TruthSeeker said...

Swami Brahmananda, a disciple Senior to Vivekananda and successor to Vivekananda, in Ramakrishna hierarchy himself seems to have raised a doubt that Ramakrishna was a sham. On 4.10.1895 Vivekananda wrote to Rakhal as under:

"...Sir, granted that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a sham, granted that it has been a very serious mistake, indeed, to take refuge in him, but what is the way out now? What if one life is spent in vain, but shall a man eat his own words? Can there be such a thing as having a dozen husbands? Any of you may join any party you like, I have no objection, no, not in the least,...". Here Vivekananda is not denying that Ramakrishna was a sham, but he is raising a question "Shall have a dozen husbands?". It appears that SV has created the whole hallow around Ramakrishna by weaving stories with the help of Shri M (Mahendranath Datta). The title of Paramahamsa to Shri Ramakrishna seems to have been given by Vivekananda and not by the Guru of Shri Ramakrishna which appears to be the custom. Vivekananda also seems to have attached the title to Paramahamsa to himself. Since you have written that nobody can raise a finger against Shri Ramakrishna, I am writing these things.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Surya S said...

@Multisubj Yb TruthSeeker
You seem to be victim of the tendency that thinks finding a "loophole/failure" in everything is equivalent to seeking truth. Else I could not otherwise explain the revalence of your post and then ending it with "Since you.... I am writing these things."

8:35 PM  
Blogger Prasangam said...

Buddha searched for Guru for 6 years.

Realisations are found, but without true Guru one dosnet reach the one truth you told about.

There are perception differences from disciple and teacher point of view like you gave example of mint.

But even if that is there, atleast one place a teacher must have mentioned the truth. If not, how you will know that what was truth for him and even from a persopective is realy truth as you cant be that perspective for whom truth was meant.

6 main things in teacher who can make us reach God is
nonlust, non-taste, non-ego, non-attachment, - non-greed, 6th devotion for God for all the time and even forgetting self in this devotion.

I have found such Guru.

You feel convinced of truth. Many earlier have reached near truth...but even if they reached truth, true understanding of how reached and what is truth cannot be realised with true Guru.

That Guru can't be in past. It has to present on earth or else again logic and mind game enters in.

One can't quench thirst by just saying about water.

Without manifest reality of God in Guru, one can't understand anything, however much one tries. so pray for Guru.


Happy Diwali and Happy New Year.
May God bless you.

11:03 AM  

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