|10-30-2012, 08:56 PM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2012
From: dehradun, india
Towards a world of perfections!
We live in a world wherein the seeking of pleasure is common. The desire for pleasure is part of human nature. Pleasure is always permissible in a rightful manner, at the rightful time and without causing any harm to anyone.
Parents, children, relatives, friends and community seek the pleasure of each others company. Pets, hobbies, sports, music and entertainment are all praiseworthy for the joy they can bring, and essential to the all-round development of human character. Work, in itself, is also a pleasure for those who are genuinely interested. Even, prayer, acts of worship and selfless service spread happiness all around.
However, pleasure-seeking must never be allowed to become the goal of life, to cause neglect of priorities and responsibilities. Nor should the desire for pleasure become the cause of oppression and the source of evil. For the perverse in mind, oppression and torment inflicted upon the innocent can even be the cause of their brand of pleasure. So also is the case of those drunk with power and position, with ego and arrogance.
The world of being is of two basic kinds, material and spiritual. Perception of the material is through the senses, and that of the spiritual is through the intellect. Whatever we can see, hear, smell, taste or touch, is ‘sensible’ but whatever relates to the conceptions of the mind are ‘intellectual’ realities. Thus, all virtues, characteristics, ideas and even the mind in itself are intellectual realities. Pleasure can be derived from both, the sensible realities as well as the intellectual realities.
All intellectual realities are good for only perfections have a positive existence. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as an evil creation. For bad qualities or imperfections can appear only in the negative form – as the absence of the good qualities of perfections. Just as absence of light is darkness, absence of heat is cold, so also the absence of good is evil and the absence of perfection is imperfection. Light and heat, good and perfection, all these have a positive existence. Darkness and cold, evil and imperfection have a negative existence.
Hence, disease is the absence of health (mental or physical), ignorance and error are the absence of knowledge and guidance; and the devil or Satan is the manifestation of the base, lower or animal-like nature of man which is nothing but the absence of godly attributes, the lack of virtues within the individual.
These facts have been clearly and aptly illustrated in the Bahá’í teachings. The Bahá’í writings elucidate further:
“God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil: it is simply the lower state and basic product of nature.”
Consequently, the individual who is lacking in godly qualities will seek pleasure in evil actions which satisfy his ferocious, animal-like desires. Since the intellect of such a person remains untrained and unrefined, this individual will only be concerned with the ‘sensible realities’ and not with the ‘intellectual’. Such a person will then be concerned with only his own self-gratification subject to his whims and fancies, with total unconcern for the suffering of the rest of creation. Imagine the extent of tyranny if such a person were to attain power and govern over society and the nation.
Unfortunately, raw power has been worshipped by mankind since time immemorial. Today, we study in our schools about the (so called great) conquerors of the past whose only claim to greatness was the trail of death and destruction that they left behind in the name of creating an empire; and of some of the (so called holy) spiritual successors of the prophets of God (often self-appointed) who actually perpetrated evil in the name of religion. We pay scant regard to the teachings of the prophets of God and glorify instead such dastardly oppressors, sowing into impressionable minds the seeds of prejudice, division and suspicion.
Successive generations have grown up with a warped idea of what constitutes good and what is evil. All around them they perceive their elders, their teachers and their rulers indulge in deeds which are different from their words. Finally, to the confused mind, ‘having their own way’ and ‘getting away with it’ even if it causes woe to others, is identified with good! All else that is adverse to one’s own desires is considered evil. Strangely, first is ‘myself’, next is ‘my family’ then ‘society’, ‘nation’ and ‘humanity’ in that order!
Pleasure has become ‘selfish pleasure’, to backbite, insult, cause pain and demean all those whom we come into contact with has taken priority over virtues and good deeds. Disobedience, discourtesy and rejection of whatever is good for us become a habit, the consequences be damned. If laws are enforced there is resentment, anger, temper and finally slyness follows; and the moment discipline becomes slack, we slide back into our old ways. Even a simple thing like obeying traffic rules or civic cleanliness becomes a hindrance to fulfillment of our momentary desires.
Observe that if a plant is uncared for it grows into a crooked and useless tree; but if it is pruned and straightened when tender, it becomes useful to all. The Bahá’í writings explain:
“Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger and of temper. The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.
Man has the power both to do good and to do evil; if his power for good predominates and his inclinations to do wrong are conquered, then man in truth may be called a saint. But if, on the contrary, he rejects the things of God and allows his evil passions to conquer him, then he is no better than a mere animal.” Let us then arise and pledge to seek pleasure in all that is virtuous, to limit ourselves to good deeds and actions; to ensure the education of ourselves and our succeeding generations; and to protect humankind from the hand of the aggressor and the oppressor.
The task is not difficult. To make a start all we have to do is to change ourselves. Count Leo Tolstoy had once stated, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Let us make the first move and all else will follow till our vision of a world of perfections is realized.
|10-30-2012, 10:09 PM||#2|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Tropical North Queensland Australia
Thank you A good reflections & post.
The aim - To be as Abdul'Baha was
I remember reading in the writings something like this - If a person could learn and live just one of the virtues to perfection, then they would exert a power to transform many.
Must find that passage
You should write some books, you obviously have a good way of putting thoughts on to paper
|10-31-2012, 05:16 AM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2012
From: dehradun, india
You really are very encouraging Tony, thanks. Yes I'd love to getting down to writing books, but there is so much else to do as well, so many encumbrances, so much of "extra-curricular tension" as well at present; and "tension without a pension" is no fun, believe me. Yet hope transcends all so maybe some time in the future........, till then the Forum must suffice - I guess I'm really grateful for it.
Whenever you do find that passage about living at least one of the virtues to perfection, please do let me have the reference as well, I'm so glad that through you I learnt one more new teaching today - strange, isnt it, we never stop learning in our Faith so long as the eagerness to know more is there. This is how the Ruhi book discussions work too, we simply keep learning from each other. More next time, must go and attend to some of the material responsibilities of life as well, regards,