Are we friends or enemies of the Supreme Brahman ? Are we Devas or Asuras in HIS creation ? वयं देवाः वा असुराः ?
Are we spiritual in our pursuits or worldly ? We spend more time in spiritual activities or worldly activities ? अस्माभिः पाञ्चभौतिकेषु कार्येषु वा आध्यात्मिककार्येषु अधिकः समयः व्यापयति ?
Are we concerned more with the upkeep and happy state of our body & mind or are we concerned more about the core of personality, our heart, our spirit, our soul ? देहस्य मनसः आनन्दं वा आत्मतृप्तिः कस्य चिन्ते निमग्नाः वयम् ?
These kind of thoughts would have disturbed us quite often. We are so concerned with ‘what we do’, ‘how much we do’, ‘how much we get done’, ‘where we do’, ‘in which sphere we do’ and so on, inorder to ‘satisfy ourselves’, inorder to ‘fulfil our selves’, inorder to ‘remove our guilt’, inorder to ‘justify our selves’and inorder ‘to live our beliefs’.
We somehow dont pay much attention to ‘why we do’, ‘for whose sake we do’ and ‘with what intent we do’.
The world of actions and its results are visible to the world around us. We are judged by the world around us. Our respect, position in society, relationships, recognitions, pride and status gets determined basis our actions and its results. Since we live in the world, we are naturally concerned of our dealings in the world.
The world of intentions and motives only and not its results whatsoever is the concern of the Divine. This although not seen or cognizable by the world around us, it is fully clear to the conscience and consciousness within each of us.
In being a friend to the world, do we become enemies of our own self? On the other hand, In being friends with our self within, we may appear to be unfit, enemies, foolish in the worlds eye.
We somehow think a lot about the Perceived Domain shift. We give a lot of importance to moving from 1st to 2nd quadrant. From being worldly to being spiritual with respect to the things we do.
My Master has repeatedly mentioned to us that we should not see divide in things that this is worldly and that is spiritual in nature. And that everything having been created by God is only Spiritual in nature.
I had always found it hard to comprehend this. No matter how much I tried, I was just unable to see everything as spiritual.
Thanks to my good fortune and blessings from the the Divine, I found my answer in the introduction to The commentary on Bhagavat Gita by Sri Adi Shankarachaarya !
स भगवान् सृष्ट्वेदं जगत् , तस्य च स्थितिं चिकीर्षुः, मरीच्यादीनग्रे सृष्ट्वा प्रजापतीन् , प्रवृत्तिलक्षणं धर्मं ग्राहयामास वेदोक्तम् । ततोऽन्यांश्च सनकसनन्दनादीनुत्पाद्य, निवृत्तिलक्षणं धर्मं ज्ञानवैराग्यलक्षणं ग्राहयामास । द्विविधो हि वेदोक्तो धर्मः, प्रवृत्तिलक्षणो निवृत्तिलक्षणश्च, जगतः स्थितिकारणम् | (Source)
Translation: After having created this world, That Supreme One was desirous of its sustenance and hence he created Marichi and others and embodied them with Pravritti-Lakshana Dharma, about which it is spoken of in the Vedas. Thereafter he gave rise to Sanaka, Sanandana and others and endowed them with Nivritti-Lakshana Dharma, which is nothing but Knowledge and Detachment. The Vedas speak of two types of Dharma, namely Pravritti and Nivritti, for the sustenance of the world (Universe) (Source: Not applicable. Translated by me)
It is so very clear from just these three lines, that both were created by the Supreme, both Pravritti Characteristics and Nivritti Characteristics. And HE did this in the interest of the sustenance of the world that HE created !
Let me now draw your attention to a very very powerful message delivered by My Master decades ago:
Wear the invisible badge of a volunteer of God at all hours and in all places. Let all the days of living be a continuous offering of Love, as an oil lamp exhausts itself in illumining the surroundings. Bend the body, mend the senses, and end the mind - that is the process of attaining the status of 'the children of immortality,' which the Upanishads have reserved for man. God is the embodiment of sweetness. Attain Him by offering unto Him, who resides in all, the sweetness that He has showered on you. Crush the cane in the mill of Seva, boil it in the cauldron of penitence; de-colorise it of all sensual itch; offer the crystallised sugar of compassionate love to Him. Man is the noblest of all animals, the final product of untold ages of progressive evolution; but, he is not consciously striving to live up to his heritage! - Divine Discourse, Jun 26, 1969. (Source)
The Supreme is concerned with our intentions and motives. Irrespective of the domain, HE is concerned with our Focus. What matters for the Supreme are quadrants 3 and 4. He doesnt not see the divide of worldly and spiritual, because everything is created my him. The act itself does not matter, but the approach, attitutude and focus matters everything to the Divine.
Once again, to explain the difference between Pravritti and Nivritti, My Master has given a very simple example, like HE always does:
This life is nothing but an ocean with the waves of union and separation. Everybody has to pass through the adversities of life. It is the nature of pravritti (outward path). There is another aspect to life, i.e. nivritti (inward path). A child goes to its mother and says, “I am hungry.” The mother who follows the outward path says, “Child, go and eat food. You hunger will be satiated.” This is the pravritti dharma. But the mother who treads the inward path does not merely say, “Go and eat food.” She would advise the child as to what type of food to eat, when and how to should eat. When you are hungry, you should not eat whatever you like without enquiring whether it is good for health. The nivritti mother advices you to eat such food which will bestow good health on you.
Even the Vedas have dealt with the principles of pravritti and nivritti. One may have desires, but they should be under limit. They should be based on truth and righteousness. Do not eat whatever you get. Do not speak whatever comes to your mind. You should speak only after proper enquiry. These are some of the lessons that the Ramayana teaches to mankind. That is why the Ramayana is compared to the Vedas. It teaches the pravritti and nivritti aspects of life in a beautiful manner. Pravritti is the swabhava (nature) of prakriti. Nivritti is the swarupa (form) of the Atma. Nivritti broadens our outlook, whereas pravritti does the opposite. Hence, we should base all our activities on nivritti. (Source)
Now that we know what is more important, we feel confident about making the desired change. But we must be aware that changing our personality traits takes effort and mere knowing is no guarantee that the change will occur.
जानामि धर्मं न च मे प्रवृत्तिः । जनामि अधर्मं न च मे निवृत्तिः ॥
The above lines are said to be uttered by Duryodhana as an answer to Draupadi’s question. What did Draupadi ask? She asked, “In spite of having many common things between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, such as, same family, same preceptor (Dronacharya), and same grandfather (Bhishma), why do Kauravas always follow the path of unrighteousness (Adharma) and Pandavas always follow the path of (Dharma)?”
Duryodhana answers, “I know what is Dharma and Adharma. (But) My nature is not Nivritti, my nature is Pravritti”.
Thus implying that there was a natural impulse in him (which is often explained to be the result of past actions and past tendencies) to follow the path of Adharma.
However, change is not impossible. This was cited only to indicate that mere knowing will guarantee a change and that conscious effort is need.
- What matters is not so much our actions, but our intentions. Meaning, good actions done with ulterior, selfish motives dont serve the purpose.
- We ought to treat everything as spiritual, given that everything has been created by HIM
- Change is possible, however conscious effort is a must and mere knowing may not guarantee
- I guess we now know how to become friends of the Divine. We must wear a volunteer badge all through our life. We are volunteering our life for the Mission of the Supreme.