Five steps to spiritual wellbeing

The following article was published in Dignity Dialogue sometime back:

Five steps to spiritual wellbeing

It is widely recognized that mathematics, music and philosophy have inseparable links. Renowned philosophers like Bertrand Russell integrated their knowledge of philosophy and the analytical mind they possessed due their deep grounding in scientific thinking and wrote extensively to help readers develop a rational and philosophic attitude to life and derive sustainable happiness.    Here we simplify things further and try to know how five simple mathematical steps can be used with ease to understand the way to reach a state of spiritual wellbeing. The steps are add, subtract, multiply, integrate and divide.

Good friends, good books, good thoughts, good memories, good recipes, good exercise, good habits and good teachers (this list is illustrative, make yours based on your experience and needs). Identify a member in the family, a friend, a teacher, a book or a magazine who or which you think easily gets connected to each of these additions and accept him/her or that as your teacher to guide you when in doubt. You can have more than one Guru for one subject and replace a Guru when you find a better one.

Everything/everybody that is opposite to what you add, but with one rider. The rider is you do not discard or remove any of them without giving them an opportunity to change. Change for good. This opportunity, many a time, may not be within your resources to give. The moment you realize your limitation get them out of your own way to well being, for good.

Multiply the good things in your life. This would be done much easier, once you have successfully completed steps one and two. A simple method to achieve this is to use the power of observation to your advantage. Keep your eyes and ears open and from all sources receive any positive thought that would support the good thoughts, good friends and other good things you have accepted for yourself:
‘Aa no bhadrah kratavo yanthu viswatah’
Meaning, ‘let noble thoughts come to me from all sides’.

Now, you are well equipped to understand the oneness of universe and to understand the significance of Om. Here it would not be out of place to quote an upanishadic stanza which explains the imperishable nature of everything that matter:

Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaad poornamudachyate
Poornasya poornamadaya poornamevavasishyate

Om santi santi santi
Om. That (supreme Brahman) is infinite, and this (conditioned Brahman) is infinite. The infinite (conditioned Brahman) proceeds from the infinite (supreme Brahman). (Then through knowledge), taking the infinite of the infinite (conditioned Brahman), it remains as the infinite (unconditioned Brahman) alone.
Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!

From the above, we can gauge the importance given to the infinite power (or power of the infinite!) by our masters and the deep understanding they had about the power and existence in gross form. Because Om precedes and succeeds many Vedic prayers, some western scholars find similarity with the word ‘Amen’, meaning, so be it.

An in-depth attempt to know more about ‘Om’ will take one to the vast areas of India’s spiritual heritage and make one simply admire the scholarly efforts of authors of Vedas and Upanishads to condense the entire knowledge, existence and power and bring into one syllable, and meditate on that for all the needs and explain to humanity that everything, past, present or future and what is beyond the three periods of time is verily ‘Om’. Mandukeya Upanishad contains a treatise on Om explaining all these in more detail.
The Upanishad also speaks of four parts contained in Om, namely, ‘Vishwa’ (waking state), ‘Taijasa’ (dream state), ‘Prajna’ (deep sleep) and ‘Turiya’ (the unaffected, final bliss state)

From another angle, or analyzing the constituent syllables of Om differently, the sounds ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’ which converge into ‘Aum’ or ‘Om’ are respectively supposed to represent ‘Vishnu’(God of protection), ‘Siva’(God of annihilation and peace) and ‘Brahma’(God of creation).

It may not be just coincidence that the three English words, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, which define the almighty, all start with ‘Om’!

Swami Vivekananda while explaining Raja-Yoga, had this to say about Om:

“.. .. In making a sound we use the larynx and the palate as a sounding board. Is there any material sound of which all other sounds must be manifestations, one which is the most natural sound? Om (Aum) is such a sound, the basis of all sounds. The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key, pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate; M represents the last sound in the series, being produced by the closed lips, and the U rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding board of the mouth. Thus, Om represents the whole phenomena of sound[1] producing. As such it must be the natural symbol, the matrix of all the various sounds. It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made. Apart from these speculations, we see that around this word Om are centered all the different religious ideas in India; all the various religious ideas of the Vedas have gathered themselves round this word Om…..”*

No wonder, Rasul Pookuty, while accepting Oscar for sound mixing, made a special reference to Om and India.

Every time we meditate on Om, let us also look inwards and contemplate, with a view to understand more about Om.

Share your experience, knowledge and wealth with your less privileged fellow beings.

We  will find that the burden of life is much lighter than we imagine and as part of the whole existence, our job is just to be in attendance and do our duty.

My own personal view is that this aspect, we can learn with ease by  observing other species of living things (animals, plants etc). Only we, humans, complicated things by planning for the future, over-exploiting nature and hoarding things beyond our need and worst of all by inventing money.

*****   *****   *****

* The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Advaitashrama, January 1989 Edition


K S Mani Iyer said…
Beautiful meaning to arithmetic operators. Add all good, subtract all bad, multiply all happiness, divide all worries and live an integrated life. Thanks MGW.

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