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In search of Truth

August 30, 2011

I have no answers to some of the basic questions. Questions like – Who am I? Where have I come from? What for am I here? 

I think it was in class VI when I first pondered over these questions. Since then, I have tried many things to understand them and find answers. The first was to read books on Vivekananda and his writings. My mother used to get many interesting books for us to read. I also remember she singing to us Kabir’s Dohas and then tell their meanings. Today I love to sing Kabir’s songs and wish to learn and sing as many as I can. In class 9th, I got hold of the book, “Autobiography of Yogi” by “Paramhansa Yogananda“. The book fueled my interest in spirituality and related questions. I remember having read the book several times. It was in class 9th, when I also fell in love with meditation. I remember enjoying sitting in lotus posture for long period of time (till my legs started to ache) and concentrating on ओंकार and silence.

The love did not last long and in class XI and XII, I was pulled into another world, a world where only words that mattered were related to engineering. The next few years went into preparing for the entrance exams and the questions that had started to grow on me took a back seat. Meditation did continue, but now for different reason – to relax, to take a break after long study hours.

Then came college, to take me further away. Here I was drawn to so many other things – new friends, events, flirting, dancing, singing etc. In the excitement of enjoying the love for freedom, my love for meditation, silence and contemplation was mercilessly squandered. I did however, without telling my friends, find time in between and go to Ramakrishna Math to sit there for sometime. But those were rare occasions, counting to less than ten times in whole five years. After college the routine followed and I took up a job and drowned myself in enjoying the hefty pay package and appreciation that followed it.

But something was not right somewhere and I started to get weary. I was not enjoying what I was doing and was losing myself. In Dec 2009, I decided to take a break. I quit the job to undertake my own journey (which initially was aimed at starting a school for under privileged children, but now has taken many twists and turns).

It has been one and a half years now. I have read many more books, the last two being –

  • Old Path and White Cloud – by Thich Naht Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) – A fabulous read on Buddha’s life, I recommend to everyone.
  • The Story of my Experiments with Truth – by Mahatma Gandhi

In relation to exploring meaning of life, I have done a 10 day course of Vippassna (teachings of Buddha in its pristine form). Have spent a month living in Deer park institute (which was once a monastery) listening to various Buddhists and Hinduism teachings. And today, I have once more come closer to my questions. Confusion has once again started to grow on me. Every new day brings me closer to my ignorance and to the way. Life once again has become difficult and exciting.

After trying out many things, I think I have found a way, a way to come closer to the truth.

A Way of Self Purification

A few weeks ago, one day it dawned on me that I do not respect myself completely, let alone the feeling of reverence. I realized that I hate so many things about my own being (thoughts, behavior). Then what hope did I have to help young children to become nice human beings, to facilitate their journey towards the truth. And what truth am I trying to find? Am I just being a hypocrite trying to do things to appease myself and others. And why should truth reveal itself to such a man? The importance of untangling and simplifying myself has become clear to me. I feel that I will come closer to truth, if I successfully get rid of my lower self, of all the defilement.

Let me share a few with you, a few things that I hate about myself –
  • I do not rejoice at other people’s success. I feel jealous, even when I am no where close in competition
  • I tend to lie, even when speaking truth would do no harm
  • I tend to do wrong things (that my morals are in conflict with) when no one is looking
  • I do not love everyone equally and have developed harmful prejudice against many
  • I wish for bad things to happen to someone I have fought with or someone who has harmed me
  • I seek appreciation at every step and have become addicted to it. I do unnecessary things to get it from everyone (in train, in public, from friends)

How can I live peacefully with so much dirt? No, the first thing required is to cleanse myself.

Since last few months, I have stopped lying. I feel much lighter and things have become simpler. I will continue the experiment and one day write about the results, this time not to seek appreciation but solely with an aim to share my experience and journey.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Ram permalink
    August 30, 2011 20:40

    Hello Amit, This is Ram from Centre for Learning , Hyderabad, I follow your blogs .. I can identify with your anguish with your weaknesses and the question that it raises about our right to teach ….

    appreciate the sincerity of your pursuit .. and hope to take some courage from it ..

    love
    ram

    Like

    • August 30, 2011 21:29

      Thank you very much for the support.. hope all is great at CFL.. wish to meet you again soon..

      Like

  2. August 30, 2011 21:28

    A very honest post.I am doing my bit by teaching few underprivileged and a free library.

    Like

  3. robinb333 permalink
    August 31, 2011 01:56

    Hi Amit, I would like to invite you to my website Christian CoffeeShop. I believe you may find answers to what you’ve been looking for.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post. Robin

    Like

  4. Rihana permalink
    August 31, 2011 07:48

    very beautiful and very honest. loved every bit of it, especially the beginning of your journey when you were just in class 6. I am sure everyone reading it would relate to it or will learn from it in someway or another.

    All the best

    Like

  5. August 31, 2011 09:17

    I am sure you would also have read about Ramana Maharishi. I found his teachings to be blessing for me. Would love to read more from you, about your journey.

    Like

  6. August 31, 2011 09:31

    @ Rihana – thnks
    @ Wanderer – Not much. would love to read though. keep googling 🙂

    Like

  7. Cheeto permalink
    August 31, 2011 10:38

    A very honest and heartfelt post.. Hope you come out successful in your journey and my support will be with you throughout..

    With all the sincere effort that you are putting into it, am sure the kids who’ll be taught by you, will have the best ‘guru’

    Like

  8. Mahe permalink
    August 31, 2011 16:56

    dost maza aa gaya padhkar…all my best wishes for your journey

    Like

  9. August 31, 2011 21:18

    Realization is the first step towards improvisation. I cannot help but remember a conversation we had in Ahd. after you had lied to Uncle, and I asked you not to do that. For which you asked me what is wrong in harmless lying and gave me example of Krishna? 😛 anyway its good that you see the point now. But the unfortunate part is I feel that I have not been so honest lately. I was honest with my manager and did not get the leave I wanted 😦
    The other thing is I hate myself when I feel something is wrong but can not change it. Mostly I dont feel jealous about others, but I do crave for recognition, which I know is bad. As when others praise makes you feel good then it is very obvious that others’ criticizing you will make you feel bad. One should not be affected by that.
    I dont see bad things happening to anyone, but i do dream of all the good hsppening to me:)
    I now try not to be the best friend of anyone, or be favorite or have any favorites. Whether I have prejudice or not is something I need to observe more seriously. I try to be objective but at what level i need to know. As I see it hate comes only when there is love.
    कौन हूँ आया कहाँ से, है कहाँ जाना यहाँ से ..these are the simplest and the best lines i have ever heard. When I heard them in a song, I was so moved. I felt so small, so humble in this world.

    Like

    • August 31, 2011 22:05

      Well there are many things that I had learnt from you only.. Yeah i also remember the conversation.. but you were not able to convince me then 😉 I was in Dharamsala and had met Mr. Karma (Director, Tibetan govt schools, a very nice and humble person). We were talking and I asked him if one should completely avoid lying or not (even when lying would do no harm to anyone). He asked to try not lying at all for sometime and see the results. Thus the experiment began..

      I have not heard this song.. can you mail it to me?

      Like

      • September 6, 2011 18:36

        एक बार अकबर ने बीरबल से पुछा तुमने इतनी अक्कल कहा से पायी | बीरबल ने कहा मूर्खों से | अकबर चकित, बोले “कैसे” तोह बीरबल ने फ़रमाया “मैंने अपने जीवन में एक निर्णय लिया, जो सरे काम मुर्ख करते हैं, वोह सब मैंने छोड़ दिए और मैं अकल्मन्द हो गया 😛
        About that conversation, I was myself not convinced. I used to admire you and when i saw you being so good with people and with those innocent lies, I used to think that is what sense of humour is about. One need to have that as well. That was one of the reasons, I once told you that I dont want to be an entrepreneur coz I felt I was not good with people.
        Anyway, even this guy mr. Karma did not explain you logically. What he told you was to do an experiment which given our rational mind will not make any sense. You listened to him coz you admire him 🙂

        Like

        • September 6, 2011 19:30

          Firstly, you “used” to admire me? now you don’t 🙂 Anyways, to work with people you need to honest and true to them..you need to respect them and give them their space. If you do all that then you are being good to them. The charm of humor withers away slowly if you are not being true to them..

          Yes, something inside me was telling me to take on the experiment. He pushed me over the tipping point.

          Like

  10. September 1, 2011 02:48

    Autobiography of a Yogi and My Experiments With Truth are two books that have directly connected with my soul. Although, during childhood, I was more fascinated with Swami Vivekananda. I know exactly what you are saying when that desire to deeply meditate regularly takes the back-seat and everything else takes the front-seat, from JEE to insti-life to job. Finally, I could start it regularly for the first time, albeit again I fail to be sincere, but the results are immediate.

    At least for me, all the answers are found serendipitously in guru Yogananda’s lessons, lectures, booklets, and Gita interpretation. And when you find an answer, the bliss of the moment and the tears in your eyes are so worth cherishing. Today, I know this for sure, that if I meditate deeply daily with love and prayer, apart from leading an honest and truthful life, everyday I get closer to the final destination.

    An interesting idea is that the opposite of dhara is Radha, flow of love from lower potential to higher potential. And Krishna, who resides in the middle of our eyebrows, cannot ignore Radha.

    I feel all of us who are curious enough, are on the right track and are taking the first step towards a long journey. And that’s something to feel good about 🙂

    Like

    • September 1, 2011 07:45

      That was really beautiful.. especially the idea of Radha coming out of Dhara 🙂 Thanks for sharing… As for sincerity, I think it will come automatically if you are completely enjoying what ever you are doing.
      My parents used to take Yogananda’s lessons (in form of booklets, that used to come every month or week). I was in class 9th then and I remember having read all, especially the wonderful stories and poems they carried. I suggest you also read “Old Path and White Cloud” 🙂

      Like

  11. Toby Simmons permalink
    September 1, 2011 05:56

    Fascinating. A joy to read. An all-round great blog, by the way.
    Let me know what you think of mine . . . http://apieceofcoffee.wordpress.com/
    Keep on posting!

    Like

  12. September 1, 2011 18:13

    I havn’t read any of the book you’ve mentioned above (to the good extent intentionally), and for whatever I am going to say now ‘dude! go read those books and then come and talk’ is a very valid answer… but here I go:

    Lying: The fundamental reason you lie starts to avoid pain. To avoid anger/beating or any sort of consequences you don’t WANT. My question is what if the consequence doesn’t matter? I am sure so many times you have heard these people who are on the road to death: by cancer or otherwise speak about ‘how does it matter?’. Answer that. How does anything in life matter if you were to know that your life will end in some days to come? Will it matter if speaking up will make you lose your job? What matters? Job/money/fame? The fundamental reason you wouldn’t have to lie (in the traditional sense) is when there is no fear of loss. That can come from several ways:
    1. as Steve Jobs puts it ‘you are already naked’, there is nothing LEFT to lose;
    2. you don’t care about the outcome. you are being truthful for the sake of being truthful. because you believe that ‘that is the right thing to do, screw the outcome’: There is nothing to lose
    3. you believe that no matter what you choose – whether to lie or not – you will still continue to go in the direction you have chosen for your life. hence the outcome doesn’t matter

    In short you don’t _need_ to lie when you are not scared about the outcome. But what is wrong to tell a dying man that you WILL fulfill his wish – though you don’t know for sure if you can? How will it matter if you are telling a dying man that his son is fine, when deep inside you know that he died in battle?

    Jealousy: When you want something for yourself, and someone else gets it, you feel jealous. Why is that I don’t know. But I tend to believe that every one of the feelings that we have – fear/courage/anger/love/hatred and even jealousy have a reason behind them. And to a large extent it has it’s roots in our survival. When standing on a railway track and a train is approaching you, it’s okay to be scared and run. That’s how you survive. But then again, certain things are counter intuitive. Why do we get so scared that we are not able to move? The same fear when it crosses a line becomes counter-productive. I tend to believe every emotion has a reason for it as long as it fulfills the reason it exists. The jealousy and drive for excellence will go hand in hand. Someone who pushes himself day in and day out for something he wishes to achieve can’t be expected to be just fine when someone else takes it away from him. The jealousy when under control, and which drives you to try harder is productive and should be there. But when you are so jealous as to freak out and not be able to handle it is completely a different story.

    In general I believe that there are a lot of things that go hand in hand. You love someone and you want to feel the pleasure of someone’s closeness to your heart, then be prepared to feel the pain of losing that person. Be prepared for your heart to be broken. You want to enjoy the thrill of speed, then you have to be prepared to live with a higher probability of a fatal accident. You like to carry a fancy mobile, you have to be prepared for it to be stolen away. Or, choose a life of lesser expectations, choose to stay away and avoid a broken heart, choose a nokia 1100 and avoid the fear of losing it.. It’s just choice, sometimes you see and choose, sometimes you choose inherently without knowing.

    We are on a journey. We wake up and find ourselves in a bus. We don’t remember when we boarded it, we don’t remember where we boarded it, we don’t remember where the bus is taking us, and we don’t remember when we will reach where we are destined to reach. And looking around we can see that all the other faces are equally puzzled. You don’t know whether you will get down into heaven or hell. The only thing you know for sure is that you are _here_. And you can choose to make friends with co-passengers and miss them once they are gone. Or you can choose to immerse yourself in loud music and live a life of solitude. Or choose to live your life the first way for some part of your journey, and once you start feeling that the journey is about to end, relinquish all desires of flesh and start living a life of a saint. The life is yours, live it whichever way you want.

    And that brings me to the next question. The higher power, if He exists, why will He be biased towards a person with one set of choices vs. a person with other set of choices?

    Like

    • September 1, 2011 21:55

      I can talk about lying Vs speaking truth with some conviction (having tried both). You are right when you say – fundamental reason one lies is to avoid pain and to have a better outcome. I too used to lie for that sake (not to hurt anyone). As I have written in my comment above, I was logically not convinced by anyone who asked me not to lie and always speak truth till one day I thought of giving it a try. As I have said, its been 4 months now and I am overwhelmed with the results. Not worrying about short term benefit, I push myself to speak truth, even if it means people hating me, distrusting me in the beginning. I have gained trust of so many people, my life has become a lot simpler and does not get unruffled by pain and misery that often. It is the outcome that drives me to always speak truth. These are the results I have observed and so I continue to walk on the path.

      I do not agree with what you have written about jealousy being constructive when under control. I do not want to succeed or get driven by it. Nor do I feel anyone who has done great things (be it a great thinker, scientist, sportsman) owes it to jealousy. They owe it to pure love for the work. And if someone has done something great driven by jealousy then I would have lesser respect for him or her.

      Regarding love, I believe you can love in such a way that your heart never breaks.. And that is when your love is pure. You love because you love and you continue to love irrespective of outcome. Buddha has taught us how to do that. I think he did show us the path. Regarding your last paragraph, yes of course, life is yours and you have to find your own right and wrong. your own way of living it.

      I do not have any answer to your last ques.. but I feel that higher power is within us.. and we ourselves have decided what choices we get (in this life or the previous ones). So there are no biases in nature.

      Like

  13. harshita wadhya permalink
    September 5, 2011 21:39

    Thankyou for sharing your story. Thank you for being there…

    Like

    • September 5, 2011 21:47

      I am glad that you liked it.. 🙂 The last piece is the same that I had shared with you.

      Like

  14. sachin jadhav permalink
    September 8, 2011 22:25

    i liked your article in search of truth.yaar u really doing well about your search of truth i m also following same way and filling really good and light…thank u.

    Like

    • September 9, 2011 09:07

      Thank you Sachin.. I know you are. All the very best for your journey.. keep smiling 🙂

      Like

  15. Cheri Macdaniel permalink
    September 20, 2011 02:30

    Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It is been incredibly helpful. It could not have arrive at a far better time for me!

    Like

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