Reflections on ‘Truthful Living’

Reflections on ‘Truthful Living’

In the book I’m currently reading (these days for me reading means opening to random places as I feel inspired to!), Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy by Osho, Osho discusses the issues of living the Truth in the world, using the example of Krishna who is accused of playing many underhanded tricks to win the Mahabharata war. Perhaps nothing quite highlights the predicaments of living than Krishna’s life. An avataar who engaged in the entire spectrum of life completely – from love to war. Osho gives a wonderful analogy of a wooden rod being put into the water and appearing slightly crooked on doing so.

“There is no way to keep the rod straight in the water. Not that the rod actually becomes crooked in the water, it just appears so. The medium of water makes the rod crooked to look at. It is straight again when you take it out of the water.
In this vast world of relativity, everything is slightly crooked; it is in the very nature of things. So it is not a question of being straight and simple, it is just a question of being crooked and complex as little as possible.”

What he says helps to take the pressure off our strive for perfection. When we’re at school, we want to be the best, when we’re in a career, we want to be at the top and when we become spiritual seekers, we want to attain new heights of god-hood.

I personally think that in this internet age, with spiritual teachings like Advaita being so easily available, we will also see many downsides to this where people who may not be fully ready or not receive correct or adequate guidance, will go through some suffering or spread imperfectly understood teachings. Spiritual teachings, especially those of non-duality or Advaita were only very discretely shared in ancient times and even then, only when the guru sensed that a particular student was ready. The student usually put in several years of service and spiritual practice before he was even a candidate for these teachings. Intensive yoga, meditation practices, seva or devotional practices were considered very important for preparedness.

This tradition was in place because for most people, the teachings of Advaita are hugely disorienting and disruptive to their daily lives. The transformations that occur can throw your entire life off balance including huge changes to your body and mind. All this meant that transmissions were always done in highly controlled environments.

The wide dissemination of teachings through the internet has been a boon for those who were ready to hear them but would not have otherwise found their way to them. On the other hand, when the teachings fall on unprepared ears or are shared by inadequately prepared teachers, they can have all kinds of effects, many negative.

The point of saying all this is that if we’re not careful in our own spiritual path, there can be much room for misunderstandings to enter. One of the most common ones is trying to attain perfection in our outer expressions or on the other hand going about as if behaviour is not important and failing to tune into the natural flow and the understanding of the Divine will. A guru in ancient times stayed close to the disciple for several years because it was understood that it is not just a teaching that needs to be imparted, but entire ways of viewing life that need to undergo a change.

Most crucial and subtle is the understanding that lived surrender means tuning finely to your inner guidance. How events in life play out from there is not in your hands. Krishna said in the Gita to leave the fruits of actions to Him. He was not making a call to selfless service as we sometimes misunderstand. Rather, he was trying to make us understand that we cannot really know how things are going to turn out. An action we do thinking we’re achieving one thing, may actually be helping to achieve quite another. Krishna’s call was to stop using our limited mental faculties to navigate life but to connect to the vast Intelligence beyond the mind.

Once in touch with that intelligence, we may upset some apple carts along the way but that is like the rod looking crooked in the water. We cannot play in duality and be perfect. No human being, no matter how holy, was ever loved by everyone universally- not even Krishna. The greatest avatar of Love, He too had people who hated him! Such is the way of living in the world. Yet this cannot be an excuse to say that our behaviour should be disregarded. Overlooking the mind’s ideas of perfection and moving instead in the flow of a deeper harmony is the real challenge of life. If we find a teacher or guru whose example demonstrates how to move in life with Grace and beauty and who can guide our own expression, then we’re fortunate indeed. Because in the end it is that that counts the most as a life ‘truly’ lived or lived in and from Truth.
Looking back and forward at the same time
The year 2021 was a highly disruptive one globally and for many of us, also personally. Many of us have lost loved ones in the last couple of years and witnessed many changes to our lifestyles and mindsets as we collectively re-prioritise our lives and take more time for reflection. 

Through the LivingWise Project blog, I’ve attempted to always share inspired writings from my own inner journey in an as authentic way as possible. I’m surprised that the email list is close to 700 subscribers not only because of the esoteric nature of the content but also because of my deliberate intention to keep it low profile and not post too much on social media. 

I hope to be writing more regularly in the coming year through the newly titled ‘Inner Flowering’ newsletters and would love to hear from you about topics/questions you might like to read or hear about or any suggestions or feedback you may have. I’m always happy to hear from you and thank those of you who have written in to me to ask questions and shared some of your life and spiritual journeys with me over the last few years.

This year I also released my first collection of bhakti and mystic poetry, HeartWords: mystic poems. The link to this book as well as my debut novel From Dior to Dharma are below. The holiday period is the perfect time to get yourself a copy and gift one to others 😊
And finally, we now have a Patreon page for LivingWise Project so if you feel to make a monthly donation to support these writings and other work, then please visit this page and join the community.

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Picks of 2021 from the blog:

Ganga, The Mother (video essay)
Ganesha: Being Intelligent with Life
 To Whom Should I Pray? (Meditation and Devotion – Yoga Vasishtha)
Saraswati: Waters & Wisdom 

The Yoga of Words 

The Bhagavad Gita: Krishna’s exhale
 Shakti: a poetic tribute

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