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Screened!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by rgsrinivasan, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    As I took that sweet orb from my colleague's desk and tasted it, my mind played one of the earlier memories back. I was about 7 or so then when my mom gave me that sweet just the day before Diwali . It initially tested the strength of my teeth a bit, but as it got soaked in the saliva, it started to disintegrate. Or melt, if you ask me. I could sense at least two different kinds of flour, jaggery, powdered cardamom and something else that was so delicately aromatic. It was quite an experience and I asked for more then. "How is it?", she asked though she knew the answer. "What is this?", I asked. Lets say that it is the "indecipherable orb", she said and smiled. I pestered her that day and next and stopped after finally getting a reply - "You won't understand it now".

    Well! I am sure all of us have had a number of occasions where we didn't fully understand, [some we never do no matter how much we grow up]. As we grow up, the mystery of some of these get gradually unraveled. But then we tend to focus on other "unknowns" then. Just wanted to point out this - The kind of joy that we get even as we get to understand the first little part of it - its priceless and stays somewhere in memory. I did enroll for a sanskrit class long back and went only for one session. It was my earliest recollection of hearing Lalitha Sahasranamam and some words sounded familiar, yet out of reach for a fuller meaning. It appeared as though they just stood behind a semi transparent screen and all I had to do was to just push that screen aside. After that episode, I was more attentive to the words in any sloka that I heard to see if I had that same feeling. While I could get the meaning of a few, I did not try seriously for many and just took them as such and moved on, but started showing off as though I knew most of it. I also had that konwledge of not going too far in the presence of really well learned people who could find me out easily.

    In my opinion, this very act of taking things for granted and not questioning / searching to get deeper meaning is what limits us, to a large extent, building many thick screens. As kids we questioned a lot, were as open as the grasslands to the sun and were adamant at times. As we grew up, we understood a bit of our limitations, and while pursuing our goals, we narrowed ourselves to win and reached a state where we cannot consider ourselves as experts even in the path we had chosen. With our blinkers most of us went far, but not deep in anything that we did. And then we tend to see our own reflection as we age and start bragging about ourselves, being fully blind. Of course life has its own path driven by that unknown destiny and humbles us every now and then. What do we do then? We just lament about our bad time or bad luck and about how the people whom we expected us to be bailed out turned the other way or humiliated us even more. This builds up after we come out of our turmoil as we brag about how, without anybody's help we came back. Taking credits for our own success is fine, but we ought not know the limits. Each of these add up to that screen and in the end we are irrelevant even to ourselves.

    But if we start questioning ourselves about our very own acts and thoughts, perhaps we would progress a bit in making that screen a bit thinner. It may take a lot of guts, honesty and years to say that "I know for sure that I don't know anything!". At some point of time we realize that unlearning is essential for any further progress. Some of us would have tried practising meditation and most of us among that set would have felt that euphoria in the beginning, where we realize that we can actively listen to our mind and control our thoughts to some extent. Soon, we might have resorted to our other "important" activities and only remember the meditation episode vaguely after years. Well, the intent of this post is not just to show my shortcoming just. Starting right from the well intended and researched theories, matters very much needed for everyone, building good relationships and nurturing good things within self and in others in a subtle way, knowing and accommodating others as they are, without judging them by my own "screened" vision and what not? Whatever action of mine that I may regret years later, will surely find its place in this list. Problem is, when will this list end? Perhaps God lies beyond all such screens that we meticulously keep building as long as we can. With Him, are staying our dear ones whose presence we feel, yet cannot see! One day we may get to understand more if only we humble ourselves.

    The densest screen of all however, is our own assumption that comes from our limited knowledge that we know it all!
     
    Yumna, periamma, hermitcrab and 4 others like this.
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  2. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    This reminds me of the famous Socretes quote. When asked why the Oracle at Delphi had declared him the wisest man in Athens he said " I am the only man in Athens who knows that he knows nothing". The tragedy with majority of people is they THINK they know. Bertrand Russel in this respect gives the example of Aristotle who believed women had fewer teeth than men. As Russel says, all Aristotle had to do was to ask Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open and count her teeth and he would hav known he was wrong. Because he THOUGHT he knew. This inability to distinguish between knowing and thinking that one knows is the biggest curse of mankind and can have dangerous consequences. Just look at world leaders who THINK that they know that there is no global warming.
     
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  3. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Hi!
    Quite true indeed.
    2. When I THINK I am thinking I am not thinking!
    Regards.
     
  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    I agree in toto.
    2. At different stages of life, reading or say studying the Bhagavat Gita, one would find the level of understanding in depth meaning & interpretation of Slokhas/Intellect.
    Kudos to you - Quite a nice analysis of knowledge vs think or thoughts.
    Thanks and Regards.
     
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  5. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear RGS,
    A wonderful take on'screened'.
    You have started with 'Porul vilangaa urundai 'and gradually proceeded to the veil of lack of knowledge.
    On many occasions we say'Ignorance' is bliss .It is better not to know about too many ailments lest it may result in Hypochondria.
    It is better not to know rather than consulting Google Guru and get confusion confounded.
    Children are happy even when a crisis takes place because they are ignorant of the situation.
    Too much knowledge about anything may lead to unnecessary imagination of very critical things that may never happen at all.
    Understanding of certain initial symptoms will definitely help in taking advance precautions and avoid further progress in the disease.
    I am reminded of a horseman's story.
    He took an upanyasak by his cart to the temple.As there was heavy rain, no one turned up.The pundit was upset.
    He asked the horse man who said,"I am uneducated.But
    I know one thing. If I go to a stable of 30 horses, and when I go if 29 horses are not there ,I will not return without feeding that one horse."
    Guru became happy.He took the hint and started lecturing about Tharkam, nyayam, vyakaranam and what not for one hour.

    He asked the horseman" How was my lecture?"The horse man said,Swami,I am uneducated.But I know one thing.When I go to the stable with one horse, I will just feed that one horse and I won't give that horse all the food intended for 30 horses.
    There is a lesson not only to Guru but all of us.
    Too much dumping with information is worse than ignorance.
    Niti shatakam says
    ' Agnaha Sukam aaraadyaha;
    sukatharam aaraadyathe viseshagnaha;
    gnaana lava durvidhagdham naram
    brahmmaapi na ranjayathi'
    The ignorant ones and the most knowledgible ones can be satisfied;but the persons who know very little but think too much of themselves cannot be satisfied even by Brahma.
    Therefore even knowledge in excess is like poison.The thicker screen of unnecessary knowledge cannot be dismantled easily.
    Thinner the veil, it is easy to tear and replace it by new one.
    Unless we are going to write commentary, it is better to know the shlokas intended for chanting;If we dwell too deep into the meaning of Lalitha Sahasranamam ,Soundarya lahari etc,it shakes the foundation of'faith' and may result in 'ego inflation.

    Our brain itself is provided with software mechanism acting like a sieve , with the help of which many contents of knowledge are periodically deleted to give place to fresh information.To make the nature made software function properly, we should have just required information/knowledge on any subject.
    'Kalavum Katru Mara'( learn even about theft and then forget -is the mistaken version of Tamil proverb.

    It is actually" kaLavum, kaththu mara".
    kaththu means evil plot or soozhchchi.You forget everything about theft, evil plot etc"
    Alavukku minjinaal amrithamun nanju' applies equally to acquiring of knowledge also.
    jayasala 42
     
  6. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for your feedback @Balajee. You are right. We never know how and why we come to some conclusion and start to believe that firmly. This happens to all, including scientists like Isaac Newton had their "findings" redefined. All it is required is to accept when proved wrong and seek what is right. Regarding global warming - there are a number of theories that are for and against it. But the denial of it altogether seems to be for a different reason altogether. Its convenient to blame the pollution caused by others after being the first to do the worst actually. -rgs
     
  7. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks @Thyagarajan for your feedback and appreciation. I do agree about our understanding getting refined as we grow up. But then there also is this "firm" belief that we mostly tend to have on few things without verifying. We also tend to be authoritative about that and refuse to even hear out other views . I intended to bring that too. -rgs
     
  8. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a lot @jayasala42 madam for your nice feedback. Interestingly, we humans have a thirst for learning, assimilating and going for more, before diverging to another thing. We might acquire enough knowledge and even a bit of an expertise to be recognized, which is great. Then, as we grow old, we tend to forget things, rest on our laurels yet feeling inadequate and finally leave when it is time. Perhaps our own limiting of self at various times in our life, gets us results that we desire, but also blocks us from what we need to know at times. Ignorance is bliss, yes I agree. At the least you are not even aware of things that may bring you down. But then, one cannot be ignorant for ever. If he / she is, then there will be one in the near and dear circle of that person who would have taken care of them.

    It is interesting to know that I have written a snippet 4 years earlier titled "Screened!" as well, where I talked about the screens that we use before different people we see each day. I have touched about screening self in that thread too. And I did receive an excellent feedback from you [Can it be any bit lesser?] then, like now.

    Thanks for enriching this thread too, madam. -rgs
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear RGS,

    Excellent depiction of what human beings go through in their daily lives. When the facade I build is larger than what I know (the foundation), I am constrained to carry the weight of the facade unnecessarily without proportionate knowledge. The ego that I know a lot, takes over the control of my mind.

    You brought up a very good point about unlearning. Unlearning is an important part of life that is built on learning new things. When we renovate the mind, some of the old architecture need to go. When we cross beyond the mind is when we realize our true potential.

    We tend to respect the words of wisdom of people without making an appropriate inquiry. Our knowledge becomes complete only when we have inquired further instead of blindly listening to the words of wisdom. One needs to experience the knowledge in order to embed that knowledge.

    The true blissful state is the state of consciousness, all knowing and formless and therefore, ignorance can't be blissful. The society and the people around us say so many things to normalize human understanding at the mind level. We have to break that barrier in order to get to the blissful state.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  10. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for your appreciation and a crisp feedback @Viswamitra.
    I agree with what all you say but just want to highlight that devotion and hence total surrender is also a way to reach that state where one may still be ignorant. Perhaps the path of gnana is the most difficult one aspired only by those who don't give up at all.

    In general, we tend to forget / lose ourselves in joy and soak ourselves in sorrow. But getting closer to that state perhaps makes us to stay unaffected by either. Unlearning is painful and we have to force ourselves at times to do that, as we feel insecure to leave what we have and start all over again. But we need to go for it as it is required. Knowing about ourselves is the most difficult thing I feel. -rgs
     
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