Monday, July 25, 2005

After the break-up

What is involved in the breaking up of a relationship? What are the kinds of pain involved in it? How does one "move on"? How does one "get over" a relationship?

Familiarity is one of the pivots of a relationship. Initially the specifics of the other person are found charming not because there is something inherently wonderful about them, but because each piece of knowledge gained about the other person strengthens the sense of familiarity, of possession and of a facile uniqueness. Each of us is different in our lifestyle and idiosyncrasies, and it is adjusting, and becoming familiar, to someone else's lifestyle which gives strength to the relationship. Such adjustments, and the exclusive attention to the other person's needs and desires, can only be made if there be hope of a continued gratification of owning him/her and of the emotional security he/she provides.

Each break-up therefore is a betrayal at some level. The tacit, though ill-thought-out, understanding at the beginning of almost every relationship is "come what may, we'll stay together; we'll be for each other in the face of this hostile world." Both invest time, effort and exclusive attention with the hope that this investment will bear the fruit of pleasure, fulfillment and security. As death, the ending of a relationship is never thought about.

In each (truly loving) relationship, the other person is of the highest value in one's life. Higher than the value of one's blood relations, higher than worries about money and career, higher than one's preferences about food, music and books, higher than one's world-view. One is willing to put all at stake for the sake of the other.

As one puts the other at the centre of one's life, to the exclusion of almost everything else, the break-up introduces an emptiness and loneliess which was not there before the relationship. As more and more adjustments are made, one's thought patterns and psychic fields become more and more entwined with the other.

And why this extreme valuation of the other person? What is the nature of the gratification obtained? Why so many adjustments, sacrifices and hopes? The answer, in one word, is the self. The self within, the illusory identity, is forever lonely and separated from everyone and everything. It needs constant affirmation, sustenance and companionship to survive and to grow. It uses all that is in the world to nourish itself. It is the parasite extraordinaire. It can consume everything and still remain hungry.


So, each break-up is a psychic calamity. All familiarity, all adjustments and sacrifices, are left blowing in the wind in an empty desert. All hopes and dreams are blown to smithereens.

Oh, what hope that one won't have to start over! What desperate tugging at the past, to recover what is lost, to again embrace that lost and familiar entity which gave me hope in this alien world (the self is forever alien to the world), which gave me meaning, which gave me strength to do things knowing that there is now a reason to do

The heart-break is an apt term for this. The identity is almost torn apart. It is as if the womb is ravaged as a baby is forcibly removed from its network of nerves, blood vessels and air and food. What is the raison d'ĂȘtre of the womb now? Oh, if only I could die, now that there is no meaning to my existence!

The psychic entity cannot survive on its own. As the hope fades away, it again picks up the pieces of the broken heart and looks again at the world for something new to sustain itself.

As the tentacles of the psychic self which were entwined around the other person start withering, there is depression and restlessness akin to the pre-menstrual syndrome. Oh, all this for nothing! Oh, again I have to start the cycle of hope and pain and sacrifice...

Moving on in these circumstances only means finding other objects to occupy one-self. If too many sacrifices have been made, and the emptiness is frighteningly huge, suicide as a possibility starts looming over the horizon. "I feel drained, I feel no zest for life anymore, my destiny is only pain and loss," ...

Why is moving on easier in modern times? Because the adjustments are not that huge. Because one keeps alive one's tastes, hobbies and preferences and doesn't "give up" one-self for the other. Not that this is any better in the long run. The self is not pre-eminently concentrated on any object now, it is distributing its needs. This is called having one's own space. But its loneliness, the tendency to boredom, its restlessness and a sense of meaningless still remain.

It requires further and more varied stimulation to sustain itself. That is why in modern times, having a lot of "fun" is suddenly so important.

"Binaa nijh roop ke jaane, nahin aaraamdaari hae,
Jatan kar aap ko jaano, tabhee chhoote beemaari hae."

(Without knowing what you are in reality, there is no lasting peace,
Find out what you are with great diligence, only then will the malaise cease.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Spiritual teachers

To each his own (spiritual teacher).

There are spiritual teachers who are genuinely deluded (i.e. who are enlightened) and there are those who wear a mask of wisdom.

In the first category come the great sages like the Buddha, Nanak, Christ, and (more recently) Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharishi, Krishnamurti and Osho.

They are not after building a following, or for amassing wealth.
They genuinely believe that they have a message for the benighted humanity and spend their whole lives in guiding seekers to the illusory kingdom of heaven.

In the second category there is a multitude: all the priests and preachers, money-minded saints and the fraudsters, tricksters, molesters and the political saints. Some of these are very suave and intelligent.

Current examples: Sai Baba, Asaram Bapu, Sudhanshu ji Maharaj, Maa Amritananda Mayi, Deepak Chopra, Benny Hinn, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Kanchi Sankaracharya, the Pope, and so on...

There is a third category: of deluded egoist folks who think they are quite evolved and many people indeed take them to be enlightened but they fall short of the highest standards in this sphere.

Examples are Swami Vivekananda, UG Krishnamurti, John de Ruiter, Adi da Samraj, Srila Prabhupada, S N Goenka etc.

Most non-serious seekers fall into the trap of the tricksters. Most serious seekers get stuck in the third category. The lucky few find a first category teacher.

It is comparatively easy to break free of a second or third category teacher, one can find the truth about them soon enough and get tired of them, but it is extremely difficult to break free of a first category teacher because he truly believes himself to be God (or a messenger of God).

The first category teachers inspire generations of seekers to give up everything in their search for truth.

As people get disenchanted with the material pursuits and the associated stresses, spiritual salvation seems the only alternative. It takes many years for one to traverse the terrain. The rare few who become enlightened or think they have evolved enough become evangelists or teachers themselves.

The others, who cannot break through, either become bitter or resigned to their lot. Some of them think that maybe in the next life they will achieve the breakthrough.

It takes a lot of energy to go on a quest about life. Repeated failures drain one's energy. But one must not give up. Even if it means dumping spirituality as a whole into the dustbin and starting afresh.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Psychic relationships are the most potent illusions.

Love, affection, compassion, friendship, forgiveness, kinship, filial
piety, romance, attraction, infatuation, lust, nurture, enemity, hate,
resentment, grudge, ...

All these, and more, originate from the identity within and are
directed at another identity. Hence, whether they be classified as
"good" or "bad", they help in the persistence of the identity, both in
this body and in the body with which the relationship is happening.

The advice that is given in case one is failing in relationships
is to modify the power structure a little bit, to give more, to adjust
a little bit, to be more loving and accepting, to be less demanding,
to not have too many expectations, to forgive and forget, to move on,
to become occupied in one's work, to not brood over it, to try to find
someone else, ...

Never, never, never is one told to identify the root cause of this
failing. Because such advice would be considered unkind.

The root cause of all the mayhem in human relationships is because of
the illusion of a psychic self which needs to be sustained. An
unstable, tense, equilibrium is maintained when things are going ok.
Resentment, hurt, jealousy, posessiveness are the clouds which always
loom at the horizon in a normal relationship.

The celebration of birthdays, of anniversaries; congratulations
and consolations; gratitude and repentance, all these are devices to
sustain the self.

Naturally, a human being who does not indulge, or care to indulge,
in such relationships or rituals is considered inhuman, an un-feeling

Believing in one's destiny, living from the heart, following one's
true nature, trusting one's intuition, having faith in God and in the
essential goodness of man, loving unconditionally, all are solutions
which only renounce rational thinking, and enhance the feeling aspect
of oneself. As long as the illusion of self, or a soul or a being, is
present, both rational thinking and heartfelt emotions can only lead
to misery, malice and sorrow, as the vested interest is always the
preservation of one's self.

Sharing of one's time with another human being is a privilege which
is poisoned by the identity-fed feelings, both positive and negative.
Sharing as a need is essentially a symptom of loneliness, and as only
the psychical self suffers from loneliness, sharing is but a
covering-up of one's essential separate nature.

Can there be living together without being related as identities?
This is the foremost challenge in human interaction.