by V. Susan Ferguson
from MetaphysicalMusing Website
In Sanskrit, the words pleasure and pain are often written as one word: sukhaduhkha.
The wisdom in equating pleasure and pain has always
struck me as an understanding that could only emerge out of an
ancient civilization with a deep, even primordial sense of history - a venerable culture that over time had repeatedly experienced all
the inevitable, ineluctable, inescapable stages of all
civilizations, the cyclical recurrences of initial purity and
cohesion, followed by consequent corrupting disarray and decay.
Why has the Creator chosen to make this plane of existence, this planet Earth so brutal?
The Kashmir Shaivite saint and scholar, Swami Lakshmanjoo has said,
What is the good, the purpose of pain, suffering, decay and so much abject brutality? One answer is simply that in a polarity universe the one extreme of purity and goodness cannot exist without the other extreme, meaning contamination and evil.
In the temporal illusory hologram, everything rots. It is simple physics, or rather metaphysics.
A more western oriented explanation of the purpose for such brutal and destructive energies is offered by the plain speaking, down-to-earth American philosopher Eric Hoffer in his classic astute and insightful book, 'The True Believer - Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements' :
From this pragmatic assessment we may approach the idea that those we consider to be the dregs of society, the losers, and the various forms of eroding contamination, chemical or ideological - are in fact the seed store of new forms.
Bacteria and viruses, which destroy weakened living cells, have been with us forever. In a cyclical universe, there must be energies that decay, dissolve, and destroy.
Often these are hidden beyond our sight, decomposing matter
under rocks, in putrid slime yucky-goo rubbish, or silently lurking
inside our human bodies.
Hoffer counts political and religious
fanatics such as Hitler, Lenin, and others among these 'true
believers' who throughout history have murdered thousands in the
name of truth.
He was self-educated and his experiences in the realm of physical labour combined with a lack of ivory tower intellectual conditioning, which so is often removed from any real life, and therefore produced an extraordinary view of the human condition.
I first read 'The True Believer' back in high school, perhaps 1962, and I admit that I did not and could not have understood it in those days - but even in my tender green teens, I realized that there was something deeply profoundly true in this book.
Because of the recent
rumors of revolution, I remembered and thus reread this classic,
which was reissued in 2010.
They are as he says the disaffected, the poor, the unemployed, the misfits, outcasts, minorities, adolescent youth, the ambitious, the obsessed, the impotent in mind or body, the inordinately selfish, the bored and sinners.
This naïve refusal to view human existence as cyclical tragedy and catastrophe is particularly American - and something I know all too well having grown up in the USA post WWII.
I was raised on optimism, on 'progress is our most important product', and the 'can do' mentality.
The work of Edward Bernays had saturated my country in Madison Avenue advertising and propaganda, a bizarre and all pervasive miasma and delusion that was designed to promote commerce.
Of course, we suspected otherwise and the atrocities in Viet Nam forced a generation's rebellion against the prevailing belief system.
Again from T.R. Fehrenbach:
Brutality is the decomposing, dissolving catalyst menacing all established forms. Life on Earth is often mass madness. One such era was the 14th Century Europe when the plagues known as the Black Death scourged thousands.
The historian Barbara W. Tuchman envisages a cyclical perspective in her book, 'A Distant Mirror - The Calamitous 14th Century' :
Did it take such a massive catastrophe to begin the erosion of the feudal system, which for centuries robbed most men of their freedom, wealth, and creativity?
We humans seem able to get used to anything and tend to resist change. This compulsion to repeated behaviors stems from what is called the GUNAS in Sanskrit metaphysical teaching.
The literal meaning of Sanskrit word gunas is 'knots' - and thus refers to modes of human behavior that form from the accumulations of our own thoughts and acts, and which bind and tie us, weaving our consciousness into the temporal illusory hologram.
We create these knots over countless lifetimes as we pass through the endless Cycles of Time.
I have explained the gunas in detail in previous articles and include the links below.
The gunas are our own creation and are the rather Borg-like modes of our inclinations, proclivities, and compulsions that form our genetic programming, our individual human nature.
Compelled as we are by our own 'natures' we are driven to repeating patterns that draw us to certain experiences, to particular groups of people, perhaps ancestral links, and even to nationalities, races, and religious affinities.
Most of us have no idea how controlled we are
by our own programming mechanisms, and thus most remain unconscious
as we wander from one life time to another.
The Sanskrit texts teach that in fact we are powerless to act against our own natures.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna in spite of his temporary reluctance to do so, Arjuna will fight, because he is a Rajasic warrior and thus fighting is his nature.
Our free will resides solely in Enlightenment, in the observation of and non-attachment to our habitual tendencies and compulsions.
Otherwise we will remain in this brutal polarity
universe, trapped in webs we weave in the bondage of illusions
within ever recurring cycles, yuga after yuga, manvantara after
manvantara, kalpa after kalpa - world without end.
It was our choice, so it must be that in our original state, this earth plane location looked like a challenging adventure, an exciting test.
Perhaps weariness with it all, especially brutality is a sign we are indeed ready to come Home!