On Principles

The little girl was always smiling confidently. Her bright eyes were full of curiosity that is uncontaminated by worldly worries like trying to be acceptable in a society. Therefore, she was unafraid to loudly ask `What are you doing uncle?’ when she saw me up the Yellow Champa tree from the window of her house. Upon getting to know the possibility of having beautiful flowers, she unhesitatingly agreed and came out of the house to take them home. How children behave in public reveals a lot about their parents . The girls’ mother also wears an easy smile of a person who knows that they have spent their lives in good cause. May be its sacrifice for the husband or family. May be it’s giving up of one’s own ambitions for the sake of others. Whenever we willingly do sacrifices consistently over a period of time, a certain unexplainable happiness comes to us. Especially if the person or cause for whom one has sacrificed a lot is grateful or thriving because of your efforts, the glow on our face is distinctly tangible.

Is it not enough to live for a principle? After all, isn’t spirituality also an expression towards this goal? Aren’t you live for what you call God or Truth? Then in what way is the person who is sacrificing his or her all for the benefit of the family or certain cause inferior?

Of course, the questioner is well aware that even amongst principles, there are some `good’ principles and some `bad’ principles and he is not equating spiritual person with some badly principled (like the one whose principle is to cheat others for personal gains) person. So the correct way of asking this question should be: If spirituality is to live life in search of Truth or God, then is there any other principle that is equally good? For example, giving up personal ambition for the benefit of a larger class of people like one’s family or science or religion?

The very simple answer to it is NO. There is nothing that comes even close to the principle of living one’s life with full awareness of Truth.

There are many reasons for this assertions. The first and foremost reason is that whether one wants it or not, likes it or not, the truth is always with us. What is true does not get legalised by putting upon on it our stamp of belief. Even our awareness of it is not required for it to exist. On the other hand, any other principle of ours depends on selector’s social and moral background. For example, for each one willing to sacrifice his or her existence for the family, there are many others who use their family towards achieving personal goals. Their principle is the negation of the first principle. Therefore, all other principles depend upon who we are at the present time and thus are completely arbitrary, however great they may sound. This lack of solidity keeps them in a different league all together than the main principle of spirituality.

Obviously, spirituality is practiced only by those who are willing to live their life according to some principles. But just that readiness to make continuous sacrifices for some intangible goal is not enough. One also has to choose very carefully what it is that one is ready to lay his or her life down for. And, the choice is already made when you first open your eyes and take the first breath out of your mother’s womb. If only we do not run away from our natural instinct!!

It is our natural instinct to be happy whenever the basic needs of our body are met. The question of `my’ natural instinct and `your’ natural instinct does not really make sense as the petty personalities with which we distinguish ourselves are not natural but borne out of our conditioning. All of our present set of desires and their associated worries pertain to our outer layer of existence. This outer existence is our so called personality whose definition lies in our current set of desires and achieved goals.

When we let go of this personality of ours partially, we see a glimpse of happiness that is the true nature of our existence and it is only after getting rid of this set of conditioned existence completely that we can hope to be in touch with our true self. The natural, naked existence of ours which, for the lack of any better word, consists in the happiness. It was precisely that unalloyed happiness that was reflected in that little girl’s eyes when she continued to talk with me after receiving flowers.

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