Author Topic: What is truth? Who can know?  (Read 536 times)

Shivam

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2017, 08:57:59 PM »
Thank you friends for your responses. You all are much wiser, i do understand the import of all that you all have conveyed, its not that i am new too, i have also spent quite some years in introspection and practices. I do continue to do so, i have few more years to to go before my retirement and as everybody i have also experienced some bit of life as well! I see myself tired of all these and happen to see that what remains is just the ordinary life as it is, inspite of any truth 'lens' we may want to see with! I felt spirituality has been just a need for the mind, like food to sustain our body, we will continue to do so. We all need a God, Guru, just as we need somebody untill we live, as we want some meaning for our lives, that keeps eluding us  :) the only real meaning i have found is to strive to live well here in alltill we are here!

But yes, atleast i believe, my journey in ordinary life and spiritual quests has made me wiser and grounded to the ordinary truths of life here where we are! I dont intend to offend anybody's beliefs and sensibilities, i happened to see that members here are familiar with philosophies and do exchange words of wisdom that are of some value. I too just pen my thoughts. I don't get a lot of time to actively participate but whenever i may get time, i hope to read and share my thoughts as well.

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 07:31:34 AM »
Shivam/friends,
You have voiced your diffidence and disillusionment with spiritual pursuit as an 'ideal' that is elusive and far removed from the everyday living of 'cradle to Grave' existence...There may be many others who may be in a similiar predicament in that they are neither in a position to pursue the spiritual verity  nor in a position to take charge of everyday living sans the 'ideal'...to grin and bear  sorrow and despair as an inevitable fact of life has become the way of living that is deemed 'practical' - all striving is to squeeze out any drop of 'joy and happiness' that may come one's way in the course of interacting with the 'world'...and this sets the tone and tenor of the Job of Living....Yes,Living then becomes a 'laboured' activity , a job to be done as a bonded and unwilling labourer!...Many others do not voice their dismay as openly as you have done...This post may be of some use to anyone of this class...but it will be useful only if they wish to help themselves in all earnestness!...The onus is always on oneself to pull oneself out of the slough of despondency and nobody else can do it for us.

I am posting this excerpt of a conversation from the wonderful book 'Dialogues with the Guru'(Conversations with The Sankaracharya of Sringeri ,Sri Chandrasekara Bharati mahaswamiji)...It is very very rare to come across someone who can employ the intellect in an empathetic way!...This is the beauty of this great sage- that he totally empathises with the difficulty and insufficiency of the disciple and yet shows him the way out of his difficulty and ensures that he is on the same page!...This may need some time to go through but not more than 5 minutes...one may get to the essence in the very first reading...others may do well to go over it a couple of times and reflect on it...and it will certainly help such of those.

continued...
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:40:42 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 07:40:19 AM »
The Utility of God
A young man, a typical product of the modern system of education, was somehow attracted to the presence of His Holiness and was duly introduced to him. In the course of the conversation which ensued, His Holiness asked him-
His Holiness: I see that you have a lot of leisure. May I know how you utilise it?
Devotee: I cannot say that I utilise it; it spends itself.
HH: Evidently you are not one of those leisured people who complain that time does not pass.
D: No.
HH: I am very glad to hear it. In fact, knowing how precious every moment of our lives is, we must really complain that time does pass very quickly.
D: I do not complain about the passing of time either.
HH: It is only those who waste time that complain of the passing of time. Those who feel that their time is well spent,never have that complaint. Obviously you belong to that class.
D: I do not think I do. I only know that time has to be spent. Whether it is well spent or ill spent does not affect the inevitable passing of time. And, there are no absolute standards from which we can say that it has been well spent or ill spent.
HH: Certainly. But if time is spent in some manner which does not in any way disturb your equilibrium or anybody else's, it gives you some mental repose.
D: Such a repose is found only in sleep.
HH: Quite so. But we cannot sleep always. We seek such mental repose even while awake. It is not possible for us to sit vacant minded. Our mind has to be given some work. The least harmful work that we can give to it is to think, not of the exciting things which disturb our equilibrium, nor of concrete things which may have a personal relationship to ourselves and may therefore tend to excite our passions, but to think of abstract things, say about the origin of the world and such other things.
D: That will be giving way to mere speculation.
HH: What if it is so? You hurt nobody by it and you give your mind some innocent work. And there are some of us who think that you will be benefiting yourself thereby. Whether we are right or not, it does not matter. You cannot say that there is any harm in such speculation.
D: But what is the use of it?
HH: It helps you to spend time. What more use do you want? If there is some use, as we say, well and good. If there is none, you do not lose anything. Why not therefore you spend some of your time in studying philosophy and allied subjects, if only to pass the time?

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 07:52:49 AM »
The Utility of God continued...

D: I have read a few books, but I have found them to be mere words.
HH: What more can you expect in a book? You must supplement it by your own thinking. Since you have read some books on the subject, you must have formed some idea about such things as the evolution of the universe and the existence of God.
D: Books do not give us any definite ideas. Each author adopts his own line of speculation and wants to make out that it is superior to every other Further, in the very nature of things, it is not possible to form any definite idea about such subjects. A writer may present an idea in as definite a form as possible, still there can be no finality about it for somebody cleverer than him can prove it to be baseless.(Shivam-This is your view as well...you have also expressed this-Ravi)
HH: That is inevitable in all intellectual processes. Apart from minor differences, are the modern thinkers agreed at least on this point that, if the world had a beginning, it had a single undifferentiated cause from which it took its birth?
D: I think they are, though they postulate the exact nature of that cause variously. Some think that there was at the beginning a nebulous mass of atoms.
HH: So do our tarkikas. Were those atoms at rest or were they active in the pre-creation stage?
D: The scientists now tell us that the atoms are never at rest but are incessantly active and ever stored with energy.
HH: Are these primary atoms conceived of as particles of gross matter which are kept in motion by a force outside them or are they conceived of otherwise?
D: The latest theory is that the atom is itself a gross form of the infinite energy which is inherent in it.
HH: Whatever it be, scientists realise that it is energy or force which gives substance or existence to the atom or which rules its activities.
D: Yes.
HH: They will also have to grant that that energy is common to all atoms, is homogeneous and is infinite.
D: Yes.
HH: As energy can be transmuted, there is no reason to suppose that the primal energy in one atom is of a different sort from that in another.
D: Of course, not.
HH: Our hypothesis will therefore be very much simplified if we postulate the existence of a single energy or force which is infinite in capacity and takes on the form of atoms under certain conditions.
D: The Western scientists also are now approximating to that idea.
HH: They will have to, if they are logical. This infinite force then may be taken to be the prime causal material of the universe?
D: Yes.
HH: But the universe is not mere matter which we can trace to atoms. You and I exist. Apart from our physical bodies which are, of course, matter, there is the spark of intelligent consciousness in us which cannot come under the category of matter; and that also has to be explained if a complete explanation of the universe is attempted. How do the scientists see to explain it?
D: The scientists proper concern themselves only with the material universe.
HH: But there must have been thinkers who have considered the other aspect also.
D: Yes, there are some such thinkers, but I do not think that they have postulated a prime cause for the intelligent principle in us. They have answered either that such principles do not exist independent of our bodies or that they are eternal and cannot be traced to another cause.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2017, 08:02:57 AM »
The Utility of God continued...

HH: Why did they not consistently assume that the world had no beginning and cannot therefore be traced to a cause?
D: The variedness of the world requires some explanation.
HH: So does the variedness of our souls.
D: Bereft of extraneous things, there is no reason for our assuming that one soul is different from another.
HH: It is equally so in matter. Bereft of extraneous things, there is no reason for our assuming that one atom of matter is different from another. In fact, you traced all atoms to a primary causal force where there was no variedness.
D: Yes.
HH: My only point is, why don't you consistently and for the same reasons postulate the existence of a primary causal intelligence responsible for the world of infinite souls?
D: We may do so.
HH: Then, adopting the method of scientists, we may arrive at the conclusion that there is a primary causal force responsible for the universe of matter and also there is a primary causal intelligence responsible for the universe of souls. We must also grant that each of such primary causes has infinite power of expression.
D: Yes, no doubt so.
HH: Our hypothesis will be much more simplified if, instead of assuming two primary causes, we assume only one and characterise it as force endowed with intelligence or as intelligence invested with force.
D: Certainly.
HH: That is exactly what we do in our philosophy. When we conceive of the root cause as force endowed with intelligence, we call it sakti; when we conceive of it as intelligence endowed with force, we call it Chit.
D: I see.
HH: But even in this hypothesis we have the two independent conceptions of force and intelligence subsisting together, though in intimate correlation.
D: It is so.
HH: We can still further simplify our hypothesis if we can attribute to that root cause a single characteristic which is common to both force and intelligence and which can take on the form of force or intelligence according as we view it from the standpoint of the universe of matter or from that of the souls. In other words, we may postulate that root cause as undifferentiated intelligence force (Chit-sakti). We call that Brahman. As intelligence and force are but aspects of the same entity, we can characterise it only by saying that it is; and we therefore sometimes give it the simpler name of Sat, Being.
D: But all this is only speculation.
HH: It is, if we ignore the stable authority of the Vedas, which enunciate and proclaim such a fact. Apart from this, what does it mater if it is only speculation? As I have already mentioned, it hurts nobody.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2017, 08:11:29 AM »
The Utility of God continued...


D: But is that any reason for wasting our brains on this matter?
HH: It is far better than wasting our brains on any other matter. Further, there is a great positive benefit also.
D: What is that?
HH: Suppose a man is too feeble to walk; does it not gladden his heart to know that he has someone who is strong and willing to support him? Another man may be very ill; will it not be some relief to him to know that there is a kind doctor near at hand to attend to him? Another still may be sorely tried by poverty; will not his trouble be alleviated by his knowing that there is a rich and kind relative close by who can place him above want?
D: Certainly.
HH: Every moment of our lives we are face to face with innumerable causes of sorrow; sometimes ill-health, sometimes poverty and so on. Will it not gladden our hearts to know and to feel that there is somebody else close at hand who can relieve us of the causes of our sorrow, and give us comfort, if only we ask for it?
D: It is certainly a consoling thought.
HH: There is no use in looking up to another sick man when you are sick or to another poor man when you are poor.
D: Certainly not.
HH: We must then think of one who is strong and healthy or who is rich.
D: Of course.
HH: But our difficulties do not end with illness or poverty?
D: No. The difficulties to which we are subject are infinite in number.
HH: In every one of our difficulties, it will be a relief to know that there exists a friend who is free from that difficulty.
D: Yes.
HH: We must therefore know as many such free persons as the number of difficulties which trouble us.
D: But that is not possible, as the number of difficulties is infinite.
HH: Quite so. It will therefore be a great relief to us if we can find one person who is free from all difficulties?
D: Certainly, but where are we to find him?
HH: Death is one of the troubles of this world?
D: Certainly.
HH: Birth is equally a trouble?
D: Undoubtedly, in fact it is the prime trouble which leads to all other troubles.
HH: It will therefore relieve us to know that there is a friend who is not subject to birth or death and can in addition cure us of both these ills.
D: Logically it is so.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2017, 08:23:21 AM »
The Utility of God continued...

HH: Ordinarily we are not content with mere freedom from troubles, for we want our desires to be satisfied; and our desires are equally infinite in number. We would therefore like to have some friend who can fulfill all our wants.Our desires are not only infinite in number, but are also unlimited in extent. No rich relative, howsoever wealthy he may be, can undertake to fulfill all our desires; even if he had the will, his wealth would be exhausted in course of time. It will therefore be well if our hypothetical friend had inexhaustible wealth. One of your friends may be very rich,
but he may not have ready cash with him when you want it; in that case he cannot give you instant relief. Our supposed friend must therefore be not only all-rich but he must be so at all times. Further, if your rich friend has to await the arrival of his cashier or has mislaid the key of his safe, he cannot be immediately helpful to you. If you have such a friend at Madura, you cannot have him at Mysore unless you take him there with you. It will certainly be more convenient if your friend could be at any place where you wanted him, without the need for your taking him there. Proceeding on the same line of reasoning, we may say that it would be a great relief to you to feel that there is a friend ever ready to help you, who can be everywhere with you; who can do anything for you, who knows everything, who is himself free from trouble of any kind whatsoever and who has the desire and the ability to satisfy all your wants and to free you from all your troubles
.
D: But such a friend is a purely hypothetical one?
HH: So what? To feel, rightly or wrongly, that such a friend exists does give us relief. From the nature of the numberless characteristics which we require in such a friend, we must postulate of him omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. With our limited intellect, it is difficult for us to conceive of such a friend and impossible to visualise him in actual life. If therefore somebody, who is deeply interested in us and in whom we place full reliance, informs us of the existence of such a friend, we shall feel very greatly relieved. In case we happen to doubt the veracity of the statement of our informant, we will not be able to prove it wrong because with our limited intellect we have no means of doing so. But in case we have complete faith in our informant, we become secure in the resultant feeling of the ever-true presence of that all-powerful friend. He who has or who acquires such intense faith can have no fear of despair, believing as he does that that friend being all-knowing and all-powerful will relieve him of all sorrow when the time comes. Even when he does not get any relief, he would console himself with the thought that perhaps in the all-wise dispensation of that friend, this sorrow is itself the best for him under the circumstances. Therefore, apart from the abstract question whether the existence of such a friend, whom we call God, can be proved or demonstrated, there can be no denying the fact that the belief in such a friend is of great practical benefit.
D: How can we believe in a person of whose existence there is no proof?
HH: Do we believe only in those things whose existence is proved? If we limit our belief to such things it will be impossible to do anything in this world. We have to have faith in the words of everyone that comes into contact with us. As a stranger standing by the road directs you, at your request, to a house you are searching for, you do not embark on an enquiry as to his honesty or as to the correctness of his knowledge; but, placing immediate and implicit reliance on him, you go as directed by him. If then you reach the wrong house, it will be time enough to find fault with him. If, however, before following his directions you want. him to prove to you that he is right, the only thing he can do is to take you by the hand and lead you to the house; even then you must
be prepared to go with him. It will not do if you refuse to move a single step and yet expect him to prove the correctness of his statement. Similarly, when you have absolutely no reason to doubt the good faith of our ancient seers who proclaim God, you must be prepared to place implicit faith in their words. If you follow their dictates and find at the end that they were wrong, it will be time enough then to blame them, but not till then
.
D: The seers were as much human beings as ourselves. How did they happen to know of God when we do not? (Shivam-you had raised a similiar doubt-ravi)

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2017, 08:26:49 AM »
The Utility of God continued...

HH: They did so because they had implicit faith in the words of their teachers and earnestly followed their instructions for the realisation of God.
D: If that is the answer, further question will arise as to how did those teachers know? And this question will have to be repeated ad infinitum without any finality.
HH: Certainly so, if we do not grant the existence of some primal person who knows the truth without the need to learn from another.
D: Who is he?
HH: Our old friend again, the Omniscient God Himself. The Vedas are His breath and the fountainhead of all right knowledge. Have faith in God, His words and His servants. You will feel before long an immense relief. The thought of His ever-living presence with you will be a great solace to you. Once you begin to feel such a presence, a joy unknown to you ever before will begin to be felt. And you will then realise that time is not something to be merely spent in some pursuit or other, but has to be intensively lived in the pursuit and enjoyment of the bliss of peace. There will no more be
any room for pessimistic thoughts nor will life seem a blank with no purpose to serve.


concluded

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2017, 08:35:22 AM »
You don't see the stars in the day-time, but that doesn't mean that the stars do not exist. There is butter in milk. But can anybody see it by merely looking at the milk? To get butter you must churn milk in a quiet and cool place. You cannot realize God by a mere wish; you must go through some mental disciplines.

Sri Ramakrishna

Shivam

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2017, 05:27:18 PM »
Dear Ravi, thank you for your post. I just began to glance the post during my lunch time thinking i may read it later when i do get some free time. But it was really funny as you have also pointed out in a couple of places as well, i did find some similarity of myself in the dialogue and so, somehow that pushed me to fully read the post in seclusion here with great interest! I do feel a sense of relief really at the end! And at the possibility of such a friend!

I was surprised that a Shankaracharya has spoken in such detail so critically and also with empathy as you have mentioned. At the end, i feel, some bit of faith restored in me, let me see where that friend has to take me.

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2017, 08:06:42 AM »
Shivam,

"I was surprised that a Shankaracharya has spoken in such detail so critically and also with empathy as you have mentioned. At the end, i feel, some bit of faith restored in me, let me see where that friend has to take me."

I am happy to note that you found it helpful...The Sankaracharyas are not mere pontiffs sitting in their ivory tower dishing out doctrines and thrusting it upon their followers...They are sages who are utterly humane and deeply interested in the welfare of one and all...They go around every nook and corner of the country meeting people  from various walks of life...Sri Chandrasekara Bharati Mahaswamiji was one among the illustrious line of sages that have graced this terra firma.
I am posting another illuminating dialogue from this wonderful book...It would help reinforce our faith and understanding...Human nature is ever unreliable and needs constant reinforcement and nurturing until it gets rooted in firm conviction...left to itself,it can easily fall apart and revert to its old ways of doubt and drudgery....and we ought to be vigilant and  guard against this downfall.
continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2017, 08:15:46 AM »
The Means of Happiness
In one of the quiet villages where His Holiness was camping for a few days, a party of villagers, including Brahamans, came one evening to pay their respects to him and while doing so their spokesman said:
D: Till some years back, our village was a prosperous one.During recent years, however, it has gone down very much. We pray therefore that your Holiness will be pleased to confer your blessings upon us, so that the village may once again get back to its former prosperity.
HH: Certainly the Lord will listen to your earnest prayers.But I desire to point out that an appeal to the Lord is necessary only when the remedy is not in our hands.
D: How is the remedy in our hands?
HH: You tell me that the village has gone down in prosperity during the recent years. But, if my information is not incorrect, there are more storeyed houses now than before and the houses are mostly built in stone, brick and mortar and are well lighted, well ventilated and attractive, quite unlike the mud-walled dark and dingy thatched huts in which your forefathers spent their lives.
D: It is no doubt so.
HH: You wear clothes finer and costlier than what your ancestors were content with and have very many things which they never even dreamt of.
D: Certainly.
HH: While they traveled by rickety carts along muddy roads to villages only a few miles away, you can now travel by the best of motor cars over well-paved roads to places thirty times more distant in about the same time.
D: It is true we have all this.
HH: While they had to be content with the oil lamp of local manufacture to light their houses, you get yours from across the seas; you have brilliant lights now, even if electric installations have not yet reached your village.
D: No doubt, we have.
HH: Then what is your complaint? You have in abundance all the requisites of comfort and happiness, far more than your ancestors had. What more do you want?
D: It is true that we have all these things, but the fact remains that we are not as comfortable and happy as our forefathers.
HH: How can that be? If the means of happiness have, as you admit, increased, happiness also must have increased. It cannot possibly be reduced in any case.
D: It is however reduced and we desire to know how we can regain the old happy state.
HH: Then we must enquire into the matter a little deeper. There must be something wrong somewhere. If, as you admit, the means of happiness have increased, the only possible logical conclusion is, either that we are wrong in the assumption of the real means of happiness, assuming that they are real means. We shall first consider whether the modern improvements that you now enjoy are really the means of happiness. Ordinarily, we deduce the relationship of cause and effect between two things if one of them invariably precedes the other. This method is positive and is known as the anvaya method. The negative method is known as vyatireka, that is, when we deduce the relationship of cause and effect between two things by noticing that the absence of the one invariably precedes the absence of the other. We note that the existence of wet clay invariably precedes the making of a clay pot. We note also that if no wet clay is available no clay pot can be made. We infer from these two parallel and corroborating facts that wet clay is the cause and the pot is the effect. Similarly, if we want to verify the statement that the modern advantages are the cause of happiness, we must adopt these two methods. Now you find that you enjoy these modern amenities and yet have no happiness?
D: It is so.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2017, 09:08:57 AM »
The Means of Happiness continued...

HH: That means that the reasoning by the anvaya method does not lead you to the conclusion that they are related as cause and effect.
D: It seems so.
HH: You further admit that your forefathers did not have these modern amenities and yet were happy.
D: They were.
HH: This again means that the reasoning by the vyatireka method also does not establish such a relationship.
D: It is so.
HH: It follows therefore that the modern amenities are not the real means of happiness.
D: Logically it does.
HH: But we do want happiness?
D: Certainly.
HH: We must not therefore stop with merely throwing overboard the advantages that we have, but must seek to know what are the real means of happiness and try to obtain them.
D: No doubt, but what are those means?
HH: That is exactly the question to be considered now. Adopting the same line of reasoning, we must ascertain what means were present when our ancestors were happy and what is absent in us now when we are not happy.
D: Certainly, but what is that?
HH: Think for a while yourself- they performed their daily Vedic rites and attended punctiliously to the dictates of the Dharma sastras. Did they not?
D: Certainly they did.
HH: Now, you neglect them, don't you?
D: I fear, we do.
HH: They had achara or right conduct and had great regard for virtues like truth. You cannot say that you have such a conduct or such a regard.
D: I must confess, we have not.
HH: Why did they perform their religious duties so well and why do you neglect them?
D: I suppose the times are responsible for it.
HH: That is a lame excuse and explains nothing. The truth is that you are wanting in the faith that your ancestors had.
D: That is true.
HH: It seems, therefore, that people were happy when they had faith and acted according to it and that people are not happy when they are wanting in faith and neglect their duties.
D: Yes.
HH: Sraddha or faith and Dharma or right action are thus invariably present where happiness is found and are invariably absent where happiness is not found. They are therefore the cause of happiness. Get them back and you will get back your happiness.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2017, 09:17:39 AM »
The Means of Happiness continued...

D: But we see even now that there are a large number of people who have sraddha and stick to their Dharma, but are no more happy than ourselves.
HH: That is not correct. It may be that they are not in as affluent circumstances as others but, as I have pointed out, that is no criterion of their happiness. Happiness is a state of mind and cannot be gauged by the quality or quantity of external possessions. A person may be the lord of all the three worlds and yet be unhappy another may be the poorest of beggars and yet
be the happiest man in the world
.
D: I quite see it. On what then does happiness depend?
HH: Ordinarily speaking, we say that we are happy when we get the thing we are longing for.
D: Yes.
HH: At the time when we are longing for a thing, our mind is in a state of unrest; but when we get that thing, the state of unrest is replaced by a sense of rest or peace.
D: Yes.
HH: We say, again, that we are happy when we get rid of a thing which we were loathing.
D: Yes.
HH: At the time when we are loathing a thing, our mind is in a state of unrest; but when we get rid of that thing, the state of unrest is replaced by a sense of rest or peace.
D: Yes.
HH: In either case, therefore, it would seem that happiness is practically identical with the feeling of rest or peace. It does not matter what exactly is the immediate occasion for it, whether it be the obtaining of a desirable object or the getting rid of an undesirable object. Happiness follows when a preceding state of unrest is ended.
D: It is so.
HH: It cannot matter also how that preceding state of unrest is ended. Obtaining a thing or getting rid of another is the ordinary method of stopping the unrest. But, if there is some other method by which it can be stopped, even then happiness is bound to follow.
D: Certainly.
HH: The number of things in the world that can awaken desire is infinite. If a man gets a particular thing, the mental unrest caused by the longing for that thing may cease, but it will only be replaced by another mental unrest caused by the longing for another thing. The process will be repeating itself ad infinitum as there is no limit to the number of things which can be desired. It is therefore practically impossible to obtain absolute mental rest by trying to satisfy our longings. Similarly, the number of things that are undesirable is also infinite.If you get rid of a particular undesirable object, no doubt you get mental peace for the moment; but the next moment you will become restless, because another thing will be troubling you. The process here also will be going on indefinitely and interminably as the things that may give us trouble in the world are countless. It is equally impossible therefore to obtain absolute mental rest by trying to get rid of or avoiding troublesome things.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: What is truth? Who can know?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2017, 09:27:15 AM »
The Means of Happiness continued...

D: But we do want mental peace.
HH: Quite so. If, therefore, we seek to allay our unrest by trying to secure the things which the mind asks for or to get rid of the things which disturb it, we must ever remain searching for peace, which never can be attained. It must also be borne in mind that it is not quite within our competence to obtain or get rid of a particular thing at our pleasure; in fact, we are slaves of circumstances, if we depend upon them for our happiness.
D: How else then are we to get peace and happiness?
HH: Is it a necessary condition of health that it must have been preceded by a state of ill-health?
D: Certainly not.
HH: A man is said to be healthy when he has no sickness. He need not have been sick before.
D: No.
HH: It will therefore, be foolish to define a healthy man as one who has suffered from a disease and is now free from it. Certainly such a man maybe called healthy but the expression 'healthy man' cannot be applied to him. Freedom from sickness is a condition of health but certainly not an antecedent sickness and a recovery from it.
D: Quite so. But I fail to see the relevancy here.
HH: Similarly, happiness can only mean a freedom from unhappiness; it cannot be a necessary condition of happiness that it should have been preceded by a state of unhappiness.A man whose mental equilibrium has been disturbed by an attraction to a particular thing or by a repulsion to another may be called happy when the equilibrium is once again restored by the thing being obtained or got rid of, as the case may be. But, it will be foolish to say that all happiness necessarily assumes a previous state of unrest.
D: It will be so.
HH: As we can conceive of health without assuming a preceding sickness, so must we be able to conceive of happiness without assuming a preceding mental unrest. In fact, the health which is not preceded by a sickness is more natural, perfect and permanent than the one which comes into being on the cessation of a sickness. Similarly, the happiness which is not preceded by a mental disturbance will be more natural, perfect and enduring than the one which follows a mental disturbance.
D: It is bound to be so. But how can we get such a happiness?Ordinarily we get it only by seeking pleasure or avoiding pain?
HH: Quite so. But, if there is a third method by which you can have happiness without undergoing the antecedent trouble of seeking pleasure or avoiding pain, you will agree with me that the happiness thus secured will be more perfect.
D: Certainly, but what is that third method?

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