The “reality” of religious ideals
Everyone could realize that Life is change, but not everyone could feel that “I” am Life itself.
Therefore change is my inherent “law.”
The apparently inoffensive statement above, has deeper ramifications.
“Mahatmaji,” I said as I squatted beside him on the uncushioned mat, “please tell me your
definition of ahimsa.” (Non-violence)
“The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed.”
“Beautiful ideal! But the world will always ask: May one not kill a cobra to protect a child, or one’s
“I could not kill a cobra without violating two of my vows- fearlessness, and non-killing. I would
rather try inwardly to calm the snake by vibrations of love. I cannot possibly lower my standards
to suit my circumstances.” With his amazing candor, Gandhi added, “I must confess that I could
not carry on this conversation were I faced by a cobra!”
The above extract is from the “autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda.
The above sounds beautiful.. It sounds like a marvelous example to follow: We have a definition of “something to live by.” We have a value system such as “fearlessness” and “non-killing” and we have a “set of standards” to live by.
The “I” thrives under those circumstances. It becomes a “bigger I.” 🙂
That is the way we have been taught: To follow an ideal of a value system and to stick with it no matter what.
Then, we look at our “standards” and then we make the decision to either follow the standards (good) or to “lower” them (bad.)
Isn’t that the “normal” “spiritual” teaching?
Gandhi cannot lower “his” standards. No matter what the circumstances are.
The above is a typical “black or white” mentality.
When we live life by ideals, we tend to cheat ourselves.
How is that?
Fearlessness is not a “standard.” We are “fearless” or we are not.
This is not a question of following a standard.
To be fearless is not a question of not being afraid. Not being afraid, is repression when feeling afraid.
That would be a lie.
Fearlessness comes from non-rejection of what we are experiencing at the moment and to re-direct that energy into strength, power.
A cobra may kill a mouse to eat it. The intention is survival.
Is the Cobra “bad” because it is not practicing “ahimsa” with the rodent?
If there is a colony of roaches in our home, shall we practice “ahimsa” with them?
Everything goes back to the intention not an “ideal.”
“Vibrations of love” is not something to be “practiced” when needed, but it happens naturally when we are conscious of being that love.
It is not a solution to shoo away the Cobra, but merely a way of embracing an experience, that is our attitude, our perspective.
At the end of the road, we should know that there is no such a thing as dying, for everything recycles again; therefore, “killing” is an action with repercussions, but if non-killing is put as a value to pursue, all we are doing is increasing our ego “value” in the face of the reality of Life. As we breathe, we kill.
When pretending to be “good” is forgotten, then we could observe the reality of exactly who we are. Just like a Tiger may act in different ways according to the settings and circumstances, without a trace of cowardice. A human being does not allow himself to bend and to bow down to the circumstances in Life, but rather fights to keep “his” ideals as a wonderful thing…
When we live Life from the head and thinking, those ideals are important. We get prizes, medals and ovations. We could even be called “saints” or “great souls.”
When we live Life from the heart, all we can show at every moment is who we are. No make-up of values and ideals will be needed.
What we get is “nothing” but a good sleep. “Nothing” but enjoyment of Life. “Nothing” but the opportunity to “BE.”
Observe how Gandhi realized that one thing is to “talk beautifully” about ideals, values and what “we should do and what we shouldn’t” and another thing is to act right there, without rehearsals when the experience comes into our lives.
At that point, only what we ARE will show. Nothing else.