Author Nagesh Sonde

Goals in Life

Essence is one’s Self and Form is one’s embodied body. Essence is sourced from the Heart; Form is sourced from the seven elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space, Mind, intellect and I-sense. Samsaara, the Primordial Life is what is made of the influences sourced though senses, determined by the Mind and confirmed by the Intellect, the aggregation of conventions, customs and practices. When the undifferentiated Brahman becomes differentiated as Essence and Form, it is the Essence entering the Form remains pure and unsullied, the Form being influenced by the responses of the senses on mind and determined by the aggregation of conventions, customs and practices.

Therefore, what one feels is what one is in Essence, what one thinks is what one compromises intellectually influenced by the responses of the senses on mind and determined by the aggregation of conventions, customs and practices.. Therefore what one is in Essence internally is different than what one appears to be externally as the Form. Spiritual instinct is sourced primarily from the Heart and never from the Mind. Temporal response is sourced primarily from the Mind and rarely from the Heart.

I think that I was born with the sensitivity of my mother and pride of my father. During the last eighty years or so of my present life, my self has swung from Heart to Mind, conscious of the emotions of my heart at the same time being controlled by mind to compromise the thoughts arising from within. Though I have tried to live by the feelings of my Heart, I found that in primordial life, one is obliged to give shape to them compromising them to a large extent to suit the thoughts of the Mind.

Therefore, majority of my actions are by way of compromise to the dictates of the prevailing circumstances justifying my actions to the circumstances, rather than respond naturally to the inclinations of the heart. Therefore, while my actions may have pleased or displeased others, they have rarely justified my actions or fulfilled the feelings of my heart. What we feel is what the Heart suggests but what we perform is what the Mind dictates. When Maitri Upanishad declares – it means that Samsara is all that which our Mind thinks and shapes rather than what one feels in Heart and expresses in soundless words.

For many years I was impatient with such dichotomy in my life and struggled through unsuccessfully, giving pain and distress to myself and to the people who loved and respected me. My family had faced unexpected challenges in life which my father as one born with silver spoon in childhood and growing as ebullient youth had to face the consequences of World War II, when the entire social fabric changed. There was perceptible transformation in family fortunes and my father was not equipped to face the changing perception of the people.

My education though supported by my brother and encouraged by his wife with parental love and affection was not worth being spoken. I was mediocre student and therefore the prospects of having a well established life seemed remote. My brother and his wife though influential were not open to compromise well established with moral and ethical values. It was difficult but was not impossible to get a job though a suitable and honorable one was far to be found. Finally with some stray jobs in between I finally was settled with job, which I continued till the end. As a young adolescent I was confused seeing the loss of family fortunes and as youth questioning the problems which appeared to me. During these formative years of my life I came across many wise men and women each good and noble in their own ways. In 1955 I came across J. Krishnamurti whose speeches in Mumbai I hearad with rapt attention and read his books meticulously, In early years his personality impressed me more than his wise pronouncements. My young mind became bold enough to seek the place where he resided when in Mumbai and soon found myself one Sunday morning sitting before him, his brilliant eyes with such beatific smile hovering around the corner of his lips. He was more handsome than one can describe and more overwhelming that one could imagine. After listening to me he spoke little but what he said was more important to me. He said that I appeared to be more impressed seeing him than listening to his words. Therefore if I was to be benefitted by what he spoke than I should cease to attend his talk. I did not understand then what he meant but I agreed and since I did not attend any of his talks except once after ffifteen years or so when I took my wife to oen of his talks in Mumbai to show the person who had influenced by life.

I learnt from JK that one should listen to advise from every one reserving one’s counsel to one’s own self, ready to overlook their pompous announcements and passing errors, remaining ever eager to learn lessons which they are eager to give. But no advise has been influenced me more than the one which Socretes gave to Crito, ‘Do you be reasonable and do not mind whether the teachers of philosophy are good or bad , but think only of philosophy herelf. Try to examine her well and truly; and if she be evil seek to turn away all men from her; but if she b what I believe she is, thn follow her and serve her and be of good cheer’.

My early responses hovered between crude assumption that This is life and that Life must have some meaning and purpose. After going through many psychological than physical events in life, and constrained to compromise with one’s feelings and the demands of the Mind I even took a step to renounce and join some monastical order. But the effort did not find success.

At this stage, I came across a woman, a Mother to those who needed compassionate love, whom I explained my resolve to her. Her advise was motherly and practical. She said that human life is rare opportunity given to human beings in furthering divine Intent, as ordained by him without desiring things of which we have neither any idea not intense desire. Therefore one should live life as ordained by him, leaving Him to show the light on the Path ordained.

At that moment, I could not understand her advise but accepted it because it had come from her. Later when I took to reading upanishads, I found her advise reflected:
(Isha Up) - All this whatever there exists in the world is enveloped by God. Enjoy that in the spirit of renunciation, do not covet what has been ordained for others. Later I was influenced by what Buddha spoke about suffering as existing always with birth, decay and death as inalienable and unavoidable reality in samsaara. His statement that everything is impermanent - body, sensations, perceptions, sanskaraas, consciousness and events opened to the reality of the life, constituting a series of becoming and extinction, for which his diagnosis was craving, associated with desire for possessions and pleasures of senses, craving to become or not to become something, craving to deny, reject, renounce things.

In 1955 – 1956, I had occasion to visit Aurobindo Ashram. Sri Aurobindo had already attained Samadhi, but Mother was still alive, People would have her Dashan every day at specific hours. But on the day when we visited Aurobindo Ashram there was to be some sport activity when Mother was to bless the participants and other visitors. We all stood in queue. We were told that we should touch Mother’s feet but offer namaskara from distance. He feet were resting on a small foot stool and when my turn came I bent on my knees to offer my respects but accidentally but tortuously lost my balance and me head touched her feet. And Mother she surely was. She stretched her hands to steady me and looking down gave a beatific smile, which would robe any one’s consciousness. He eyes were as blue as the sky spreading far and wide and as deep as the fathomless ocean. I suddenly withdrew my hands aware I as to be that I have breached the restrictions. But the divine touch and the auspicious day I will never forget.

In Mumbai where I was later in service with Mafatalals, there was one occasion when we were told that Sri Anandamayi Maa was then staying in Mafatalal Residence and all those who wish to have Darshana could do during the evening Bhajan. I was not fortunate to have her Darshana in Mafatalal Residence. But I was not to be at loss. Because after few days when she was staying in Vile Parle and I was returning from Juhu beach with my wife it struck me that I should visit her and take her Darshan. But when we reached her it was late and the doors of the room where she rested were closed.

Outside her room I found another senior collegue who too had missed the Darshana. As we were talking a voice came form within asking who were waiting outside the room. Soon a person came opening the door and summoned us inside. Sri Anandamayi Maa was resting on the bed and we were told to sit by the bedside. As we sat Sri Anandamayi Maa leaned and picking two fruits handed over one to me and the other to my wofe and blessed. When we came outside, my collegue said that I was truly blessed bey her since she gave prasad to us, while he and his wife received only her Darshan. I am narrating the incident not because there was any thing unusual but for me it was fortusous blessing.

Since then, I have endeavored to live My Life knowing that the lives and the thoughts of others are based on their experiences, even as my life is based on my experience. I allowed the experiences and thoughts of others at best to be pointers, road-maps shaping the directions which I would take but never allowing them to direct either my experiences or thoughts and surly not my destination. I have tried to keep my self grooved to the Heart seeking to traverse from non-existence may to the Prime Existence; from obscurity to the luminous enlightenment; from death (of the mortal body) to immortality (of the self within), and praying the Eternal Sound, Earth, Space and the Heavens above so that That supreme Savita, the divine intellectual magnificence may invigorate and energise my intellect - so that Pushan having gathered the luminous rays of the Sun I may be able to see the auspicious fair face of the resplendent Sun in all its glory -and finally praying that the tri-dimensional visionary, endowed with fragrance to release me like a cucumber from its stem, from my mortal (form) but not from the immortal (essence) -
In all my life I loved reading books. Before marriage I had a long stay as bachelor and lot of time on hand since I lived along in my residence. I read in addition to the scriptures inoriginal the books written by J Krishnamurti, Dr Radhakrishnana, Aurobindo, Rajaneesha and every other book which I can lay hand on in Aiatic Society Mumbai. During this time I cam across a devotee of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and being associated as Chairman of the Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi Kendra in Mumbai I read all books about the great sage. My two visists to Ramanashrama were indeed divinely ordained because his following foundational teachings

Firstly Maharshi extra-ordinary Death Experience - “Is the body, I? The body is insentient and inert, whereas I feel the presence of my personality and the resonance of the ‘I’ too within me and without the body. Then ‘I’ should be the spirit transcending the body. The body seems to die, not the spirit, for Death cannot touch it. That means ‘I’ am the Deathless spirit” similar to the one which Nachiketa or Buddha who experienced ‘When I was (thus) liberated, there arose in me the awareness of my liberation. I knew Distinct Gross Existence is ended, holy life is being experienced, what must be done is done; there is no survival again in future for this (existence) which changed their entire life.

Second to Kavyakantha Gabapati Muni’s query : ‘All that has to be read, I have read; even Vedanta shastra I have understood; I have performed Japa to my heart’s content; yet I have not understood to this day what tapas means. Therefore, I have sought refuge at your feet. Pray enlighten me as to the nature of tapas’ Maharshi’s reply, ‘If one watches whence the notion ‘I’ arises, then the mind is absorbed in That. That is tapas. When a mantra is repeated and one watches the source from whence resonance of mantra is produced, the mind is absorbed in That. That is tapas.” Third Maharshi’s advice to his mother ‘The Ordainor controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabdhakarma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain quiet.”

Each of the savants had some thing to tell me. Therefore, I have sought meanings to their words listening with heart and intellectually reappraising, revising and rededicating, to broaden my perception without being in a hurry, without being despondent if I fail, rising up to stand even as I fell on the Path to Perfection, knowing that one step leads to another. I believe that my experiences are my responses to the resonance in my heart. They are as real to me as they were real to many others. I may often fail in relating by expressions to my experiences. But no one can deny me the right to say that I have tried and possibly failed. Can the antelope climb the trees or the leopard change its colours? I have made a tryst with my self and I am sure that I will not fail. I do think that I do what is natural to me. If some one would say that I have not succeeded enough, then they do not know, will never know how much I have tried.

I have tried to accept life as it is instead of seeking to change it. Since that time onwards, I have not denied any one giving me their advise, though out on my own reflection I have not followed all of them. I have been primarily guided that performance of actions is not one time activity but a continuous one, to be repeatedly attempted and acted upon. Even if I fail often, I believe that I have also risen up often. That is what I consider what life is all about. This enabled me to some extent to balance my actions to my feelings. Since feeling is the manifestation of the Self, I kept my feelings to myself trying to be true to my Self and compromising my actions on accepting that that was so ordained for my self. I accepted that people by and large are not evil but misguided, therefore, it in fairness I should be kind and compassionate to others than remain aloof. I was often reminded that I should not be concerned with others but with my own self. This did not appeal my heart and I continued to extend my help even when such help was misused or rejected outright.

In doing what I was doing, I know that I have often been miserable and unhappy in temporal life. At the same time, I am conscious that if I am what I am today, fortunate to be blessed in marital companionship, filial relationship and immense spiritual satisfaction as well as materials needs, it is to a large extent due to the feelings which I had for the people at large and the blessing and love which I have received from others. Therefore, I have no reasons to regret the way I have lived

I consider that one should do what one is ordained and lead to do, whether others likes it or not, though it would be judicious to temper one’s actions with one’s feelings. Then one is not required to regret or feel hurt that his actions have not found favourable response. It would be dishonest if I say that I was disappointed when my intentions were misunderstood or when disregarded. Every time I feel sad and let down, I go within my self and reflect on action of others as well as my own. If I consider my action right, I would find no reason to change. If I find I have been wrong, I have quietly changed the course of my actions.

Now what does future hold for me? I do not know. One does not know what death really means even though one is certain that the moment one is born Death becomes his constant companion. Krishna said for one who is born death is certain and birth for one who has died. Nachiketa pointed out how it was with earlier and later ones; like corn a mortal ripens and is born again. Buddha said : “ … that there is in all, even the beloved and kind, the principle of change, of separation, of transience ? And how is it ever possible that what is born, produced, compounded, dissolvable by nature should not be dissolved?”. Ramana Maharshi had said “The body seems to die, not the spirit, for Death cannot touch it. That means ‘I’ am the Deathless spirit”.

They declare that Death worries one not because he knows what Death is, but because he knows not what Death means and what it has in store for him. When they refer Death, they do not mean death of the self but death of the body, the aggregation of the five elements of Nature and of mind, intellect and I-sense. When self identifies itself with the body which decays, deteriorates and dies, he suffers because while the five elements re-enter their sources, the self, with mind, intellect and I-sense as aggregate karmas pass on to the new body, which is again aggregation of the five elements of nature along with mind, intellect and I-sense. Men of Wisdom like Yajnavalkya recognized this and spoke of Karma as the determining agency that controls and egulates the lives of men in accordance of Rta, the cosmic law and Dharma, the perennial principles of righteousness.

It is said that in the intervening period when self departs from one body and has not yet entered another one, it has no distinct identity except as the subtle self with mind, intellect and I-sense along with the aggregate karmas, since there is no medium through which the subtle self could establish a distinct identity. The self detached from earlier consciousness is said either to rest in Yama’s abode to live among the luminous ones –, till it finds another body or hovers in a state of suspended animation as a blithe spirit, being still attached to the earlier body and dissatisfied because it is unable to establish contact with them. While self detached from earlier associations finds itself in the abode of Yama in the company of the gods and noble ancestors, those who remain in suspended animation are spurned by Mrityu, from entering his abode. Therefore, a seer prays the Mrityunjaya mantra for deliverance from the bonds of mortal body (with distinct consciousness) but not from the immortal existence -
This is a remarkable piece of reality about Death. The self in body does not know death comes to the body, nor when it departs from the body and not even aware of its departure or of its destination. When self in body confronts Death, then life, possessions and positions, relatives and associates become or should become superfluous, self having no more conscious concern of them. In life the self is embodied and is attached to the body. Moment the self departs from body, it finds itself everywhere. It is seen possible for men of Wisdom to remain unattached to the body, even while they are in embodied. For others, the self departs from the body or is delivered from its limited, mortal confines.

Thus Death seems to reveal to one his nature and not the life, which is burdened, conditioned and mesmerized by the illusory of world of empirical experiences. Death this comes as a great leveler because it opens for one who sees, the real nature of his self. When one realizes that even the bodies of luminous gods, seers and sages, saints and sinners decay, deteriorate and die and Death comes to a child as well as to adolescent, to young as well as to an old man, then he is not inordinately concerned with Death. Why then does one become concerned with Death, when it is inevitable. It is not because he is aware of what death is but because he is not aware what death means but because he is worried of the loss of his possessions and positions, relatives and associates.

For a sensitive person, Death is not a pessimistic thought but a practical proposition. If one knows what is Death, then he would not search for worthless Knowledge but would delve in deep and profound Wisdom. Rigvedic seer postulates that sons of the unenlightened the heroes, who are seekers of heaven see beyond their limited perspective,  –