Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
25th April 2016
Since prehistoric time man has been a hunter-gatherer by nature. Whatever he hunted and gathered was a treasure to him. Primitive man lived to hunt and gather because it was needed for him to survive. To hunt and gather was instinctive to primitive man because mental beliefs had not yet evolved in primitive man.
Modern man, likewise, treasures any material object that he has got because it is a treasure to him. So modern man is no different than primitive man, but he is just more evolved because instinct has evolved as intellectual, mental beliefs. Modern man also lives to get whatever he believes he can get because he believes it is needed for him to survive.
Man is happy if he gets what he believes are necessary in order to survive, which are treasures to him. It is obvious that the more man gets does not make him happy every moment of his daily life, but makes him happy only temporarily. Yet he wants to be happy always, which is the treasured belief of man.
This implies that the mental beliefs are the treasure for man rather than the actual material object. Beliefs that man likes are a treasure to him no matter how brief or lingering they may be. But the treasured beliefs eventually do change or go. This implies that mental treasures are illusory, because if they were real they would neither change nor go away.
Modern man therefore hunts and gathers treasured beliefs that are illusory and not real. Now whether the treasured beliefs have any value is to be wisely pondered because primitive man hunted and gathered instinctively. This means that primitive man was not the doer, yet he got the hunted.
Similarly, modern man should understand that everything happens to him and that he is not the doer, but he only treasures the belief that he is the doer. In addition, that he can and should do are merely treasured, illusory beliefs. Like primitive man he too gets what he has. When this understanding happens to man, he will be happy every moment of daily life with whatever it is that he has. Nor does he depend on his treasured beliefs for this to happen.
Therefore, it is not the treasured beliefs that get man what he wants, but life gifts him with whatever he is meant to have, including his treasured, illusory beliefs.
This means that man is not the doer and the treasured belief that he is the doer merely enables him to pass his day. The treasured belief as to what should not happen means that it was not meant to happen. Not to happen is not a possibility, though, because always something does happen, as it always did happen to primitive man as well.
By this understanding love, care and gratitude to life for whatever he has happens to man.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2016
In our lives we get what we want or desire. Or we do not get what we want or desire. In the former case, we are rendered happy or satisfied. In the latter case, we are rendered unhappy or frustrated. The former validates the desire and the latter usually leads to criticism or finding fault. Either way the emotional reaction is temporary and changes, only for next round of satisfaction or dissatisfaction to appear, albeit illusory. The understanding in this article refers the experience of getting or not getting to precisely what is meant to happen in life, as life’s gift. It does not validate the experience to man’s will. The rise in gratitude to life and the wise on understanding that this is so is life-changing.
Julian Capper, UK.
German Translator’s Note:
Dr. Shankar reveals in the article “Mental Treasures“: Everything which primitive as well as modern man has, comes and goes spontaneously. Everything which comes along, be it an object, a subject or even a thought or emotion, comes and goes as it is meant to come and go. This understanding makes life precious, because whatever happens, is the priceless treasure of the moment, illusory though. Thank you, Dr. Shankar for revealing the preciousness of life to humanity!
Marcus Stegmaier, Germany.