Another question from a youth in Hyderabad:
Hello sir. I have been following your posts since I joined this group.
The ‘hear and say’ way has been the mode of propagation for Vedas and Upanishads. One cannot question everything and say it isn’t true till you envisage it. Some things have to be taken for granted.
I am in a pursuit of enlightenment. So far I have been a stray dog chasing after every car on the road that claims enlightenment. I believe in the fact that one has to look at all roads when he doesn’t know which road takes him to his destination. So I am very receptive to the words you say.
Your response really made me laugh! The present generation is smarter than us and you are more mature than we were at your age. I am so happy that the future of our country is in the secured hands of youths like you—who believe in chasing something rather than completely giving up.
My first response would be: in our Indian tradition, we always ‘take something for granted’ in life. At the same time, we continue to probe it, not ‘granting’ that something to it. For example, though the Upanishads belong to Sruti (which are heard) and have final authority (as they are part of Veda viz., Sruti), all the great acharyas (teachers) never took them for granted and began to write commentaries on them. For example Badrayana wrote Brahma Sutra (or Vedanta Sutra) to give a systematic teaching on the various Upanishads on the Vedanta. If he ever took them for granted he would have never attempted to do so.
Similarly, other great acharyas like Sri Adi Sankara, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhava, Sri Vallabha and Sri Nimbarka (the five major Vedantian acharyas) wrote commentaries on Brahma Sutra, as they could not take it for granted. Then their successors (disciples) wrote digests (tika in Hindi) on those commentaries. And this trend continues till this day.
So this would be my initial response to your thought-provoking views. I know some modern youths are not familiar with these words and terms. But as they are part of our rich spiritual heritage, I hope some of you will take pains to learn about them.
Regarding ‘one has to look at all roads when he doesn’t know which road takes him to his destination’, I completely agree with you. But some people continue to chase after cars that don’t even offer enlightenment, but just some ‘instant bliss’ for a cost. So after some initial persuasion, when any one path gives us some hope or suits our aptitude, we should give some time to further travel on it, rather than chasing every car. Dogs often return back to their place after chasing cars for some distance and then are ready to chase another. After some time they become tired and go to sleep on the street.
The moral of this story is: search some path. Then when you are convinced that a particular path might serve your purpose, give some time to probe it deeply rather than superficially attempting to know something from everything. Particularly in spirituality, ‘sraddha’ faith/trust is the first step that will help any sadhaka (one who searches) who continues to probe till the end of the life. Otherwise we will become a ‘jack of all trades.’
I agree with you completely Swamiji. Consciousness is the foremost thing before committing to a faith else faith can easily turn to superstition. That is the beauty of Hinduism. It lets one explore while giving guidelines.