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Sunday, February 22, 2004

Is happiness to be gained ? - Part 3

We saw that:
(1) Happiness is my nature
(2) We recognize things by what we think they are, rather than by what they really are
(3) Failure to recognize the reality leads to a mistake
Let us ponder over the last two conclusions in the coming passages. When do we recognize things by what we think they are? This requires a slightly extended thinking.

Known and Unknown
Let us consider an example of a rope in dim light. When I see the rope in dim light, I can mistake that for a garland or a snake or a rope, because I do not have a clear knowledge about it. Now, if it had been completely dark, the rope would have been invisible and the thought of something being there would never have entered my mind if the first place. In other words, if the object is totally not known to me I do not think about it. A totally unknown object will never become the object of inquiry. Since I do not think about it, I cannot make a mistake about it. Thus an unknown object, can never become the locus of my mistake.
Suppose there is ample light for me to understand that it is a rope, there is NO way I can mistake the rope for a garland or snake. Thus a known object cannot be the locus of my mistake. Now read the following sentence slowly
Neither something that is completely unknown, nor something that is completely known can be mistaken for some other thing that it is not
Uff..sounds a little lengthy and profound. Let us take another look at it and break down the sentence into two statements:
(1) That I know cannot be mistaken for something else.
(2) That I do not know does not become the object of enquiry.
Thus I clearly can understand that things which are both completely known and unknown cannot be the loci of my mistakes!! But in dim light, the rope is mistaken by me for a snake. I recognize that something is there and my own projection of the rope is a snake. Thus the rope is evident enough to be mistaken for! Or in other words partial knowledge about the rope makes me mistake it for a snake! More importantly, to commit a mistake there must be something. A basis is needed to commit a mistake.
Now we are in a position to answer the question that we posed namely When do we recognize things by what we think they are? We now know:
(1) There must be something for me to commit a mistake
(2) I do not know about it clearly
(3) I recognize the things by what I think they are only when there is lack of clarity in my knowledge. (4) I recognize things as they are when there is clear knowledge.
(5) I do not recognize things which are completely unknown to me.
Applying the same reasoning to happiness, unless I have had a perception of happiness in my mind,

(1) Can I think or enquire about it?
(2) Can I mistakenly superimpose it on the external sources?
If it had not been known to me but had remained totally unknown,
(1) It will NOT become a subject of my life.
(2) I will not compare. Every time I am exposed to a situation of happiness, I also follow it up with a statement: "no..it is boring, I want something else..". "I want something else" is nothing but the seeking of happiness because I get bored.
So what is the basis? Where to stop and where to start and how to appropriately address the titular question? We clearly see that we yearn for happiness in our life since it is our nature. In my worldly chores, my whole life is totally dedicated to gain happiness as I see it. Somehow, I have got the idea that my nature is happiness and I want to be in tune with my nature. The moment I enjoy a particular situation I forget the limitations in me and feel joyous. I forget the limitation of the body, mind, senses and the objects.

Power of judgment
The recognition of things through my projections is because of the power of judgment that I am endowed with. A man can commit a mistake because of the wrong judgment. An animal on the other hand does not have the capacity to judge. It is because the man is self-conscious and an animal is not. The life of an animal is pre-programmed by the nature. The self-consciousness gives the man the ability to discriminate and choose. For e.g. the food we eat. We choose different food stuff and eat, whereas a cow eats grass without any thinking. The program of the nature in the cow is clear. If it is hungry it eats. It has the basic ability to identify some things which are not edible and it eats grass preferably. It does not choose between green grass and pale yellow grass. It eats grass indiscriminately. Thus the power to discriminate and choose is not given to an animal. A human has this power. Man is always in the grip of self-judgment. This self-judgment leads the man to take him self to be something other than what he really is. This clear understanding about my being self conscious is the prelude to succeeding passage.
I am clear that my nature is happiness to which I am occasionally exposed. Once again to re-iterate, if happiness had not been my nature, I will not be seeking to be in such a state all the time and if I had not been exposed to it, I will not be thinking about it. If it had not been experienced, I need not enquire about it (Refer to the unknown/known object argument). But the fact that I have experienced it, now leads me to the following questions:
(1) If my nature is happiness, why do I get unhappy?
(2) What takes me away from my nature?
It is understandable that answering (2) answers (1) because, when the source that takes me away from the nature is identified, I can understand the reason behind my getting unhappy. To be contd..