In my previous article, Yogi and Worldly Affairs, I had tried addressing some of the misgivings that most of us have about the Yogis or Saints or Monks, in regards to their knowledge of the worldly affairs and the practicality of their advise. Hopefully that was helpful.
In this session, I would like to address, how some of the spiritual leaders, in whom, hundreds and thousands of people put their trust and faith in, suddenly are found in the middle of a major scandal or controversy. Currently, in the news is the self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, and many years back, OSHO was in the news, and then few years back it was Satya Sai Baba. I am not here to make judgements about these men as I know very little of them, and I don’t think I am qualified to make any judgements.
The point I would like to focus on is, let us for a moment accept that these men were spiritually more evolved people, then the question is how can they commit such acts? An extension to this question is, if such evolved people can still get into such issues, then what about us who are in total ignorance of the self. Extending this argument further, Christ was stoned and crucified, there were all kinds of allegations framed against Buddha. Why? Why were they targeted, and yet their teachings have stood the test of times.
Again, I would like to reiterate, I am not making any judgements, I am not trying to draw any comparisons, but in and through these questions, I am wanting us to ask ourselves – Do I know myself? Do I judge people based on the sound bytes? Put in the same situation and circumstances, do we have a strong intellect that can discriminate and have control over our mind? Is there something our scriptures teach us?
Absolutely, the Bhagavad Gita very categorically says, ‘desires’ or ‘samskaras’ don’t go away. Verse 2.60 of the Gita says, ‘….even the wise man, devoted in self-control, may sometimes be swept away by the turbulent senses’. It should not be misconstrued that the Gita approves this as something normal. The Gita is cautioning about the senses, and how even a highly learned individual can also become the victim of the senses. In verse 2.61, Gita stresses the need to gain mastery over the senses. The Gita does not stop there, it then provides a road-map on how to develop a strong internal core.
Edwin Bryant, in his book ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ says, ‘as a gardener knows, maintaining a garden takes devotion and uninterrupted weeding and pest control for a prolonged period of time. In fact, these processes can never be interrupted, since within a remarkably short period of time, even the most devotedly cultivated garden, becomes overwhelmed by weeds and pests; if left unattended, all one’s hard work is easily undone. Likewise the minute a yogi relaxes his or her practices and vigilance, the weeds (dormant desires, samskaras) grow back. Like weeds, samskaras, are never actually eliminated or destroyed, they remain in a latent subconscious state and thus can become activated at any moment, unless constantly curtailed.’