Even though I have searched for one moral principle that could guide me through all tough situations of life, I have come to accept that there exists none. I cannot distill my thoughts to come up with my own holistic philosophy. All I can do is to express my own convictions in certain philosophical theories which I shall do here. I shall not explore what philosophical ideas I do-not believe in – I simply find my own understanding of any philosophical area to be too shallow to attempt something as profound as a rejection.
I do not know if Karma plays out in every person’s life. But I strongly believe in Karma in my own life’s context. It’s a personal philosophical belief applicable to my own life as I have come to understand it. There have been numerous occasions where I have stirred myself into action and the fruits have been sweet beyond my expectations. And vice versa. But most importantly - with all the wonderful upbringing and comforts that have come to me in my life I feel it would be irresponsible of me to not to take ownership of my conduct and not believe in Karma.
No matter how bad my karmas, I believe there is a divinity in me which is inextinguishable. And that divinity can manifest itself if I can discipline myself. This leads to my deep belief in Advaita. My belief in Advaita also stems from the fact that I was born into this family with an Advaitic heritage and that probably was for a reason. Though I cannot contest the opposite philosophical thoughts due to my lack of reading and understanding, I somehow feel I am destined to find a certain truth if I follow the path of my forefathers. So my belief in Advaita too is very personal and something that is applicable unto my own life.
Despite the godly element embedded in me, I cannot disagree that the material life is not without suffering. And I somehow, inexplicably, cannot accept that my soul did not exist prior to my body and that it shall just perish after my death. My soul is something very real. And that reality cannot simply disappear. If there can be a law of conservation of energy and matter, then there has to be a law of conservation of something as real as my soul as well – this is my belief. This however raises the question of - where was I before my birth and where am I destined after my death? And with the increasing population of the world where are so many souls coming from? I simply dont know what to say to these. However, I cannot reconcile with the idea of karma across births. But importantly than that, in the context of a life of immense suffering that many people undergo, Moksha is a very real and aspirational belief for oneself for good conduct.
I believe there is more to my life than the external pursuits. I cannot believe that I emerged for no apparent reason. That life and death are merely an accident – I cannot accept. And having heard the stories of many yogi’s who have attained enlightenment, I do not believe that those people and stories are entirely untrue. However with my limited understanding, I believe that enlightenment stands for a certain deep understanding of oneself that emerges after rigor and is basically a knowledge of owns own purpose and goal in the life that lays ahead. Tapasya and meditation are nothing but probing within oneself and hence the enlightenment that comes through them also has to be about one’s own destiny.
I am married to a very intelligent lady. Before marriage I carried a certain conviction that analysis and articulation are enough to convince. She is very intelligent to come up with better counter arguments on many aspects and the arguments just rage. This experience has propelled me towards a belief that reading, understanding, analysis, arguments and thinking in itself is bounded. There is something beyond all this. Something that is pure experience. Meditation and yoga are acclaimed to expand intellect. So if intellect can be expanded there has to be boundary and something beyond it. I have come to accept that that there is something outside that is vast and cannot be fathomed through mere higher learning. That’s where my belief in Bhakti comes in. Bhakti is certainly beyond thinking and understanding. Bhakti certainly lies outside the boundaries of cognitive intelligence. But Bhakti is just one of the things that lies outside. There is more to that ‘experience’ that cannot be described. Sometimes listening to hymns or great lectures has taken me outside the realm of thought into a state of thoughtlessness and pure bliss. But it is generally faint. I thus believe that there is a world beyond human intellectual grasp and it can only be experienced.