Options – A Perspective

We often hear statements like – It’s great to have options – I’ll keep my options open etc. However, on analysis I find options are silly. According to me the only place options are meaningful is in commerce and trading!

Having options means there is confusion and lack of clarity. Take for instance a case of  eating food in a restaurant. For a guy who is ignorant about nutritious food, the options are great. The moment you know what is nutrition, junk food isn’t an option. If you are clear about what you want in life, there is no question of creating options. It’s only a confused mind that needs options.  consider an experience of mine. Last year, during Diwali time I was alone and simply wanted to get away from Bombay to some secluded place to relax. But then thinking of going to ‘some place’ doesn’t mean anything. It’s only a symptom of a confused mind. Then I did what a confused mind is likely to do – browse the web sites of several places. I went through several websites – great holiday destinations, hill resorts, sea resorts, Ashrams etc. Soon I realized this is just being a wanderlust chasing experiences. A guy who chases experiences will keep doing that  for ever since experiences are of infinite variety in the world and one can never exhaust them all in one’s life. One will end up dissatisfied at the end looking for more experiences. Then I questioned myself: Is it possible to have an experience that will put an end to the urge to chase experiences? That was a mere academic question at that time, though.

Then it occurred to me why not spend a week in an Ashram? Then the hunt for an Ashram appropriate to my temperament began. Here again one has options!(read confusion!). I went through the web sites of Vedanta Academy of Swamy Parthasaradhi in Pune, Jaggi Vasudev’s Ashram in Coimbatore and Swami Dayananda Saraswatiji’s Ashram in Coimbatore. I wrote to all of them seeking accommodation for one week. All replied promptly welcoming me to stay. However, of the three, 2 of them somehow sounded more commercial than spiritual. Swami Dayanandaji’s ashram didn’t say a word about payment. They leave it entirely to the guests to decide whether to pay or not. This sounded like a great place for a get-away. And since I was already exposed to Swamiji’s discourses, my decision was made instantly. I spent a week in the great ambience of the Ashram located in a forest where I was provided an exclusive cottage. The Ashram also provides simple food to the guests free of charge. I could spend a week in the company of Swamiji and other spiritual seekers. I made a voluntary donation and returned to Bombay.

Clearly, in the beginning I had great options to choose from as I was confused. As clarity emerged, there was just one place to go and that was Swami Dayanadaji’s Ashram in Coimbattore. Was it an experience that will end the need for chasing new experiences? Time only will tell!

Here is another example to illustrate this insight about options. Hinduism offers different paths to choose from, namely, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana and Dhyana (Devotion, Action, Knowledge, and Meditation based paths). It’s often debated as to which path is the best for a spiritual seeker. Generally a compromise formula is suggested saying that one can choose any path suited to one’s temperament. Is it really so? I’m afraid not. Let us examine this with an example. Proponents of this viewpoint give the following example: Let us say there is a temple on top of a hill. To reach the temple, one can either go by walk, take a car or bike or simply land by a flight. Therefore, the argument goes that any path will take you there to the temple! Now the guy who is opposed to this point of view says: You may take any path to reach the temple. However, there is only one gate through which you can enter the temple!

The point here is that there can be no compromise or options in matters of Truth. If one is desirous of attaining Moksha(which is merely another word for complete freedom from Bondage), Knowledge or Jnana is the only path. All other paths like Bhakti etc will prepare one’s mind and make one mature for attaining Moksha.

So, folks, if you are ever confronted by ‘great’ options to choose from, think again. It could be a sign of a confused mind demanding clarity!

 

 

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Published in: on October 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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