Samvega was what the young Prince Siddhartha felt on his first exposure to aging, illness, and death. It's a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range--at least three clusters of feelings at once:Well, once an intellect is developed enough to see the meaninglessness of life as it is normally lived, there were a few centuries when it could proceed to live abnormally, but meaningfully (hint: spiritually).
* the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; (emphasis mine)
* a chastening sense of one's own complacency and foolishness in having let oneself live so blindly; (emphasis mine)
* and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle. (emphasis mine)
That age, my friends, is passe. That comfort is no longer available to advanced brains. God was the only permanence for a while, and it has unfortunately disappeared, leaving perhaps a steady state universe in its wake.
The writer goes on:
...a cup of tea, a walk in the woods, social activism, easing another person's pain ... Never mind that these forms of happiness would still be cut short by aging, illness, and death, he would be told. ... Someone might give him a book by Thoreau or Muir, but their writings would offer him no satisfactory analysis of aging, illness, and death, and no recommendations for how to go beyond them.Talk about an "absolute" form of happiness that man should strive after, inwardly of course, and you give him a nice, self-serving narcissistic job for a lifetime.
...and open onto Deathlessness...The awareness of impermanence, when taken to an extreme, does lead to a rather horrid sense of meaninglessness. And no wonder advanced souls retreat into their own bliss after witnessing this horror.
Any seeker who is trying to find some pleasure in fleeting time, gets a kick in the butt. Osho allowed such seekers an amused smile, but that was a difference of strategy, not of the end-goal.
In fact, early Buddhism is not only confident that it can handle feelings of samvega but it's one of the few religions that actively cultivates them to a radical extent.Not only Buddhism, every religion or spirituality or radical ideologue worth his name has to condemn the normal pleasures of life in order to play the role of pied piper to the la-la land.
Instead of encouraging a reassessment of one's ambitions, they are known to have said, "It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
How can a normal human wanting to live a better life fit into society when society, and life, and its normal pursuits are so cursed and decried and condemned by these wise men?