Yet another article on Gita

Suffering is what was born, ignorance made me forlorn.
– Allen Ginseberg
I cannot write enough blog posts on this book. I will quickly whip up one to cement a theory a dear friend mentioned to me (his profile here- , so it doesn’t slip out of my mind. The much debated concept of the world as maya or illusion. Gita says at multile points that the human realm is essentially a clash of three primary modes of energies (or gunas) – Satvik, Rajisk or Tamasik. The simplest way to understand them is that they are different modes of ego consciousness.

A person is born in ignorance (although Ginsberg said he is born in suffering which leads to ignorance, I cannot get my way around it so I will let it slide). Igonrancre leads to suffering. To reduce suffering, person starts gravitating towards objects that make him happy. Thus he starts developing likes and dislikes. He likes objects which makes him happy and dislike objects which make him suffer.
Simultaneously a person also starts developing his ego. Ego is primarily shaped by the need to find security in this world. Security can come from money, power or knowledge. People who are driven by either of these things start developing very different world views. Ego and objects of attachment are interwined. A knowledge seeker is attached to books and knowledgable people. A power seeker I attached to his personal kingdom and men in power.
These objects of attachment pull people with different ego consciouness in different directions. A money driven person is pulled by the currency notes. He makes his chocies in life in the same manner. He will pick jobs with a short term mindset, that will make him a quick buck. He will make friends who are good at minting money. Perhaps the most important choice one makes is marriage. A money driven person marries a women who assures him some financial security. A power driven person marries a women, whose family has a kingdom of his own. A knowledge driven person marries a seeker. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at the partner he picked (should not be harsh on people that marry too early though, they simply were not self aware enough).
The interplay between ego consciousness and objects of attachment is often too subtle and complicated for many people to understand. When the desire for object of attachment is not fullfilled it leads to anger. When you feel that your object of attachment can be taked away it leads to fear. You want more of your object of attachment, which is another form of greed.
A knowledge seeker may feel that he is above the primal emotions like desires, anger, fear and greed. However even a thirst for knowledge, if left unquenched can lead to anger. And anger can turn into blind rage. Even an emotion as pure as love between a man and wife (rated in all religious scriputures as something which makes God happier than anything else), if unfulfilled can lead to anger and greed.
The most vivid example of the same from classical literature is the character Heathecliff from Wuthering Heights. His love for Catherine was pure. He didn’t love her for knowledge, connections or money. They connected at the soul level. It was a love so intense and passionate, that no literary character till date holds a candle to Heathecliff when it comes to making erudite women swoon over a phatansy male figure. After all every woman wants an intense handsome intelligent and passionate man, to be under her spell.
Heathecliff’s object of attachment was unfairly taken away from him. This made him angry and harsh to the point of being downright demonic. Heathecliff hated the aristocracy who he thought was proud arrogant and ostentatious. In his hatred he himself became proud, arrogant and ostentatious.
Still every reader of the classic, would feel sympathy for the demonic Heathecliff. Bhagavad Gita itself is sympathetic with the demonic nature at multiple points while warning agains the pitfalls of such a mode of operation. There is a pattern in Hindu Mythology that the metagods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are often sympatheic with the demons, while their (demonic people’s) inherent nature is to trouble other people.
A failure of a person to control his rage when his object of attachment is deplorable. After all death will consume all your objects of attachment. But it also a faiure of the world to unfairly take away objects of attachment, that make people happy. An act of suicide is failure of a person. It is also a failure of society to accommodate a human being.
– Amaresh

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