by Jayaram V
If we look at the manifest world, as far as our eyes go,
thoughts go and science goes, we seem to be all alone on a small
and insignificant planet, surrounded by vast spaces, immense celestial
objects and frightening cosmic phenomena. We may perhaps never get
a full picture of the universe, its multiple dimensions, what it
consists of and how much intelligent life it actually holds.
Questions about life that cannot be answered easily
We are not sure why we exist here or what purpose we serve. Are
we all alone? Do we have a destiny to fulfill? Do the gods or the
highest Supreme Being, in whom more than half of the humanity repose
faith, really care about our existence? Do they exist at all? Do
they listen to our requests, prayers and aspirations?
If Truth is one and indivisible, why so many religions, prophets,
scriptures and paths to salvation? And why none of the religions
and the teachings of the prophets and incarnations have guaranteed
peace or happiness so far in our world on a universal and permanent
Most intriguingly, why do religions, meant to ennoble and refine
us, cause so much strife, division, bloodshed and suffering among
people? Despite all our learning, our knowledge and accumulated
wisdom of thousands of years, why we permit so much of destruction,
cruelty and immorality amidst us, in the name of religion, caste,
tribe, race, nation or region? These and many more questions baffle
us and elude a convincing answer.
Our religions and scriptures declare that God is in charge of
the affairs of the world and in the end He will set everything
right. But when we get into the details of how He does it, each
religion comes out with its own set of theories, beliefs and practices
that have little in common with one another. We are not either
sure whether the fault lies with the teachings of our religions
and beliefs or with ourselves.
Chaos and order, the dual nature of existence
Strange but true, the world offers us many conflicting pictures
of harmony, disharmony, chaos and order. On the one hand it presents
a picture of confusion and uncertainty, where no one seems to be
in true control, events seem to happen by chance or accident and
nothing seem to be permanent or dependable. It is as if we are caught
in the hive of a meaningless life and activity with no particular
aim or reason and as if the world is a blind and mechanical automaton
that would run its course like any other celestial phenomena for
sometime in the chronicles of the universe and eventually disappear
From this perspective it makes no sense why we need to live orderly
lives or ever care for the higher aims in our lives. The approach
of the lokayatas of ancient India who believed in the physical existence
of life or the existentialists of the modern times makes sense.
However, on the other side, if we look at the world more reflectively
and penetratingly, hidden beneath all the turmoil and confusion,
we cannot fail to notice the intelligent blue print of the universe,
manifesting itself in various ways as intelligent forms, patterns,
shapes, aspects, energies, dimensions, objects and rhythmic movements
of the universe.
We can see a similar dichotomy within ourselves. For examples
our bodies have definite shape and distinct parts. We can measure
their strength and abilities and predict their movements. We can
touch them feel them and perceive them through our senses. On other
hand, the mind does not have specific form. We cannot perceive it
with our senses. We cannot easily measure its abilities or
reach. We cannot define its boundaries. Nor can we predict its movements.
It is strange but true between our minds and bodies we share two
vastly different fields of experience. Our minds can travel to the
far corners of the universe, while our bodies are glued to the surface
of the earth.
Order and regularity of the world and creation
The Hindus call it Rta or more generically as dharma, which they
consider to be an integral part of our existence, inseparable and
inviolable. The Rta or the universal rhythm is considered to be
the functional aspect of God. It is the very law of God inseparable
from Him which ensures the unity and integrity of the universe and
imparts to it certain degree of orderliness and predictability,
thereby rendering the world into a meaningful, living and holistic
system so that it can respond intelligently and appropriately to
the events and actions that impact it from within and without.
In a broader and secular sense, dharma is a set of invisible
forces, intelligent laws and inviolable principles that hold the
entire fabric of creation together as one unit, acting like an invisible
celestial glue and protecting it from the excesses of conflicting
interests, disparate wills and clashing egos.
One need not have to be a believer of God to appreciate the orderliness
of the universe, its beautiful patterns and rhythmic movements.
Its regularity is as astounding and miraculous as the birth of a
being or the glitter of the night sky. We may not know whether it
is going to shine or rain today, but we know when the next season
is going to begin or when and where the sun will set or dawn.
Physical laws and Spiritual laws
Science admits the existence of an invisible universe that
is far more intriguing than the visible and the inviolability of
certain physical and chemical laws that are universal, predictable
and provable. However the invisible world that science speaks of
is but an extension of the physical world or an aspect of it and
its laws are very much within the realm of our sensory world.
The spiritual laws, on the other hand, belong to an ultra invisible
world. They are mostly beyond the grasp of our senses and intellect
and science, in its present form and with its present methods cannot
validate them with the same certainty.
It may reach out to the atoms and the molecules, but cannot reach
out to the subtle elements hidden with in our world or in our physical
and mental bodies or deal with the intangible truths which our senses
It may unravel the functioning of the brain or the human heart,
but cannot reach into the depths of the human heart to know how
subtle emotions and aspirations arise and impel us to act in certain
ways that defy all human logic. It may prove the existence of physical
laws with great precision and in detail, but cannot fathom the spiritual
laws that govern our lives in secretive and subtle ways.
The spiritual laws do not belong to the realm of the physical
but the mental and the spiritual. They are not easily comprehensible
with ordinary mental effort and even more difficult to establish
conclusively because unlike the physical laws, they do not confirm
to a particular pattern, mechanism or process.
Their success or failure depend upon many factors, some of which
are with in our control, some beyond, some known and the rest unknown.
They do not always happen in a predictable manner or a definite
time frame, since they are governed by several conditions and forces
which we have yet to fully understand. Hence our difficulty in establishing
their universality or inviolability.
While the physical laws of science can be proved by experimentation,
the spiritual laws that govern our lives can be validated only through
personal experience. In the spiritual world the senses play a minimal
role. Since a lot happens invisibly in the background they are also
the least reliable instruments to gauge the measure of our success
or the level of our progress.
Difficulties in validating spiritual laws that govern our lives
Just as the physical laws, such as the law of electricity or
heat or light need certain conditions, ingredients and instruments
for their successful testing in a laboratory, the spiritual laws
require certain environment, mental states, preparation and discipline
on our part to realize them successfully. Some of the constraints
in working with the spiritual laws are discussed below.
- They are not as predictable as the physical laws.
- They are not easy to demonstrate objectively.
- Their success or failure depends upon several variables,
some of which are within our control and some outside, some
are known and some are unknown. Some of the critical factors
include the mental states, levels of expectation, strength of
commitment, degree of faith and conviction and integrity of
the person who practices them.
- We have little understanding of what energies and invisible
forces are involved in their manifestation.
- Our higher mental states and subconscious mind play an important
role in their successful execution. These are not under the
control of our conscious mind.
- They often depend upon the strength of our conviction and
faith and to the degree we practice virtue and inner purity.
- They respond more to the effortless way of a stoical saint
rather than to the striving and egoistic mentality of an ambitious
The spiritual laws therefore demand a special approach, which
is one reason why we are asked to develop the virtues of equanimity,
detachment and surrender in order to realize their full significance.
Through unflinching faith in the inviolability of the spiritual
laws, involvement of higher divine forces and importance of inner
discipline built on the purity of intention and intense aspiration,
we can make possible that inner freedom and expansive vision which
are vital to our realization of the spiritual laws and our very
By becoming aware of these laws, by realizing them and by knowing
their true purpose, we can transform our consciousness and transcend
our limitations. Reference to these laws can be found in every major
religion and in all great spiritual teachings and especially in
books like the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Koran or the Bible.
It is important for each individual to become aware of them abide
by them with faith and conviction. By practicing them persistently
one can develop oneself into a higher being of light and delight.