The Ultimate Awareness

The Ultimate Awareness

Awareness is a product of analysed knowledge. Innocence is bliss no doubt given the complexities of life but a brush with the reality became inevitable even for Gautam Buddha - born as Prince Siddharth - and that was enough to lead him to Nirvana, which is synonymous with a complete awareness of the limitations of human existence.

New Delhi: Awareness is a product of analysed knowledge. Innocence is bliss no doubt given the complexities of life but a brush with the reality became inevitable even for Gautam Buddha - born as Prince Siddharth - and that was enough to lead him to Nirvana, which is synonymous with a complete awareness of the limitations of human existence.

The entire body of precepts given out by the sages and lifestyle preachers alike revolve round how to take cognisance of the finiteness of life early enough and live it skillfully so as to remain free of ‘regrets’ and unfulfilled ‘ambitions’ as the journey of life comes closer to its destination.

It is singularly interesting that the profession of intelligence is attuned to this very set of lifestyle principles and is therefore likely to provide a certain satisfaction to the members of an intelligence organisation that a set of purposeful work ethics is followed. Taking decisions in exercise of professional autonomy in the interest of the nation, having an intrinsic understanding of the importance of time and by training not considering anything as an absolute failure but regarding it instead as ‘an honest effort that did not succeed’ - these are the defining features of the intelligence profession.

Translating the efforts of the individual into the expectations from a ruling dispensation that takes charge of the citizens everywhere, it can be said that the concept of a ‘welfare state’ must be enlarged to proactively offer the above-mentioned package of child’s care wherever needed - going beyond the politically motivated initiative of offering a competitive dole to ‘unemployed youth’.

The latter is important too, but the state must first be satisfied that it has done all that it could, to generate employment through the ongoing development processes, carry out sufficient mobilisation for raising defence and security forces that the country needs in this unsafe world and ensure that there is emphasis on self-dependence in every field.

Fortunately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has got the right understanding of economic development, defence and security and the strategy of involving people in the initiatives taken by the state in these spheres through the call of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ that has worked well. Planting the new values of life in every individual’s consciousness through the dictum ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ can give an enhanced meaning to life today, by creating a broader awareness about how to approach the issues of humanity at large.

Religion can be defined as the relationship of a person with his or her God while culture determines how the person is going to behave with the members of the society outside of his or her religion. It would be fair to expect that every religion will encourage display of good culture in that sense, but history has proved that people often fight in the name of religion because of the notions about a particular ‘faith’ being superior to others, and also because leaders in public life chose to inject religion into politics for electoral gains.

In the Indian context, the dividing line between secularism and minority appeasement has always been obscure and a narrative has been floated that the government of the day is moving towards ‘majoritarianism’ even though Indian democracy is run on the robust principle of ‘one man one vote’.

If the policies of the government apply to all communities in the same manner, then the fact of a country having the majority of one community should not be misused for politically ‘scaring’ the minority.

Moreover, the emphasis of the Modi government on nationalism has prompted many in the opposition to consider it as a bad word and even advocate for exemption to Muslim minority from the practice of saluting the national flag or joining in the singing of national anthem.

Advocacy of ‘supremacism’ of faith has led to politics of militancy and terrorism and created an environ of insecurity everywhere. Fortunately, India is leading the voice of sanity at world fora by warning the international community against the perils of ‘faith based’ terror and highlighting the need for global peace.

India’s response to the recent terror attack of Hamas on Israel was in line with this sound policy.

Indian cultural thought highlights the need for reaching the ultimate awareness that life is a ‘finite’ experience which calls for a search for higher values lying beyond the trap of material entanglement or ‘attachment’ that bred many ills and wayward thinking. The practical side of it is an emphasis on Karma or duty towards the family and society to be fulfilled with every bit of energy, enthusiasm and consciousness. This powerful moral prescription is meant to produce the best results in life, for everybody.

In today’s world, a sound mind is as precious as physical fitness and hence adherence to a healthy routine, conscious devotion to duty and a certain capacity to view life from a higher perspective are pivotal for maintaining sanity.

Invoking our civilisational strength can improve quality of life as it promotes collective peace, fosters the feeling that ‘no one is left alone‘ and generally steers clear of conflicts.

So long as one does one’s best for the family and the society, believes in the Indian wisdom of treating children as ‘friends’ once they become adults with freedom to decide about their course of life and pursuit of interests and realise that there is no ‘one size fit all’ in life, one would find it easy to accept the flowering of different patterns of growth as part of the complete awareness of what is life all about.

Human beings are gifted with the power of recall which is different from mere memories that many in the animal kingdom are able to retain. This is the capacity for not only going into the past in all its meticulous details but also to analyse the events in retrospect to formulate if any situation could have been handled differently.

None of the unprofitable throw back on the past should, however, be allowed to tarnish the present. Age is no bar to formulation of a positive looking ‘project’ that one can pursue for one’s inner satisfaction within the limits of one’s physical and mental wherewithal.

The broader awareness of what life is will always help bring dignity to the individual and a level of wisdom that would serve him or her well in all circumstances.

(The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are personal)

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