Amaresh Rajaratnam

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How does a man fall - Born a Hindu

Posted by Kirubashini.K on August 29, 2013 at 12:35 AM


Though an average man does know what is right and what is wrong, why does he act wrongly and suffers thereafter? He is warned of the do's and don'ts and the pitfalls of doing so by the scriptures of all the faiths. Yet he fails. Though most of the faiths do caution the man on what to do and what not to do, these injunctions are not effective as they should be. Mere enticement of reward and threat of punishment by these faiths haven’t been successful in persuading the man to follow the right path. This carrot and stick approach adapted by most faiths has its limitation in dealing with human being's tendency to err. They neither provide a logical explanation of the cause of such behavior nor do they provide any practical means of addressing the cause.

Interestingly the Hindu Scriptures go beyond this carrot and stick approach and explain what causes a man to fall and also provide the man with practical ways of addressing this cause. Bhagavad Gita declares, "When a man thinks of objects, attachment for them arises, from attachment, desire is born, from desire arises anger. From anger comes delusion, from delusion, loss of memory, From loss of memory comes the destruction of discrimination, and from the destruction of discrimination he perishes".

Here the root cause of the problem is identified by Bhagavad Gita. Man's fanciful Imagination of an object leads to attachment of that object. This attachment, when it becomes stronger, he develops a very strong desire to posses that object. When that desire is obstructed, it becomes anger directed towards the obstruction or the person who is obstructing. When a man becomes angry, his mind is filled with too many negative thoughts leading to agitation. This agitated state of mind, affects his ability to recollect the thoughts related to knowledge of what is right and wrong. Without access to this knowledge, one loses the ability to discriminate between the right and wrong. When one is not in a position to discriminate between the right and wrong decision, he ends up taking to wrong decision. Wrong decision leads sell destruction. This is referred to as ladder of fall by the commentators of Bhagavad Gita.

Swami Chinmayananda in his commentary on this verse says, "Thus an individual, through wrong channels of thinking, becomes attached to an object, the attachment grows into a burning desire to posses that object. The mental disturbance caused by the emotion deludes the intellect and makes the individual forget his sense of proportion and his sense of relationship with things and beings around him. Such a deluded Intellect forgets its dignity of culture and loses its discriminating power, its conscience. Conscience is the knowledge used to differentiate the good from evil and to warn the mind against sensuousness and animalism. Once the conscience is dulled, the human being becomes a two legged creature with little sense of proportion, and with no ears for subtler call in him. Thereby he is guaranteeing destruction for himself destruction, insofar as an impure heart cannot come to perceive or strive for the higher and nobler in life. However, the person who can go with the perfect self-control through life and its infinite number of sense objects, each trying to bind him with its charms, and who can approach them with neither love nor aversion comes to enjoy peace."

Bhagavad Gita further emphasizes by saying "It is desire, it is anger born out of all-sinful rajas. Know this as the foe here” and adds, “Enveloped, is wisdom by this constant enemy of the wise in the form of desire, which is difficult to appease as fire". From these declarations only identify the cause of the problem, but by identifying the cause, they also indicate how one can guard against the evil and avoid the fall.

Categories: Hinduism Topics

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