Words, the base of our existence

0. Everything  in our life is based on words. Everything. Just like a physicist says that the whole world is made out of quarks, the knower of truth says that the whole creation is nothing but sound. Imagine that you see a beautiful butterfly. The optical nerve sends a picture of that creature to your brain and and a word emerges `butterfly’. Unless you get to that word, what you have seen has no meaning to you. For example, lots of things come in front of you when you are driving on a crowded street. Nothing makes an impression. If your passenger tells you that just now a beautiful butterfly went across your windshield, you would say `is it so?’ because your attention was on the motorcyclist who has suddenly appeared in front of you in an apparently suicidal mood. Since the word butterfly has not flashed in your brain, it didn’t exist for you even if it has gone past your vision. Similarly, your passenger hasn’t really seen that mobile trotting motorcyclist. So the point is: unless we associate a word to an event or a sight, we can not grasp its existence. This is the sense in which a spiritualist say that `in the beginning, there was sound. the sound of AUM and the whole universe is created out of sound.’ Truly speaking, we comprehend an event by breaking down into small things and then giving names to those small units and then rebuilding the event in our mind. This is how we spend our entire life.

1. If words are the basic unit of understanding for all of us, then it is absolutely clear that we all have our own world to live in. How is it so? you may ask. You see, the words are just strings of alphabets. Their meaning that lies within us is completely relative. For example, if someones parents had been very disciplinarian to him in his childhood, his meaning of parenting is being strict. On the other hand had he been brought up in a very friendly manner in a democratic family, his understanding of being a parent would have been different. If we forget the physical world for the time being and concentrate at the psychological level of our existence, then this relativity of the word is even more visible. Words like happiness has totally different meanings to hungry man and a person who never have to worry about meals. The ultimate aim of all serious spiritual quests is to understand the subtle. It is not the gross level of existence that is the subject matter of investigation of saints but the cause behind the gross existence. This cause lies even deeper than the psychological domain of our existence. Since, they see the gross world with this point of view, saints have proclaimed that what we see, feel and hear is all an illusion. The word that comes to our mind in comprehending this sentence is `MAYA’. Everything is maya, an illusion is what a realised soul says. There is no exception to this proclamation. This announcement cuts across different religions. If you hear a Sufi saint’s introspective song or listen to what Lord Krishna is saying to confused Arjuna you will hear the same thing said in different words. Hence, words are the building blocks of our life and each one is living his/her own life that is totally different than others. If you see something in common between your life and your spouse’s life or your brother’s life or your parents’ life, the things that are common are exceptions which contribute their bit towards proving this rule!

2. Now, it goes without saying that to make our life richer and fuller, we have to learn how to listen. Listen the words that emanate from the depths of our heart when we interact with physical world. The better attuned one is to do this act of listening without passing any judgement on what has been heard, the more advanced one is on the path of spirituality. The effectiveness of our sadhana lies in developing this total stillness of intellect (which acts as a self-appointed judge of what is being heard) and being able to keep on listening the eternal stream of words that is flowing in our mind ceaselessly. If you have achieved this faculty of listening to your thoughts without classifying, then you have more or less reached the goal of all sadhana. That is why Saint Dnyaneshwar Maharaj say that `without trying to control the mind, without inflicting severe restrictions on our sensory existence, the Moksha, the end of all spiritual quest is available by the mere act of listening (Verse 224, Chaper 4, Dnyaneshwari).

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