Friday, October 27, 2006

Wet paint - don't touch

"If a scientist says that there is a planet far away in the galaxy, we believe without a second guess. However, we have to touch to believe the park bench even when the prominent sign says - wet paint. don't touch."

It is always mind boggling that more obvious the things are, more is our need to verify it for ourselves. Less obvious the things are less is our need to verify it. It is really funny.

Same thing applies to science versus divine science. We believe all great scientific theories even if have no idea about complex mathematics that goes behind those theories. But, the same ignorant us do not believe the law of karma or that any mystic ever attained nirvana. We with our limited knowledge put forward counter argument and ask the person to prove it. Why don't we ask a physicist to prove the existence of that far away planet, why don't we say e= mc squared can not be right? But, if we read that Ramana Maharshi or Sri Ramakrishna attained nirvana, we start questioning the very fundamentals of concepts such as karma, nirvana, god, self, soul and reincarnation. It's not at all bad to question. But, questioner in order to be taken seriously has to be open minded too. That's why smart people do not entertain questioners who approach with a preconceived notion. It is like "you can awaken the person who is sleeping but you can never awaken the person who is pretending to be sleeping." If a person with an open mind asks a question, we can attempt to answer to best of our knowledge. If we do a good job and if the intellect of the questioner is adequate, well and good. Otherwise, he will still look confused but his curiosity to find the answer is even more aroused. He will find the answer when the time is right and when he finds a guru.

One more thing that makes it even harder to convince people of spiritual truths is the fact that they are experiential. In the sense they have to be experienced and can not be explained or derived like mathematical equation. Of course, empirical evidence of law of karma is more than strong enough to convince any skeptic. But, it again is empirical and more like heuristic than an algorithm. "For believers no explanation is necessary. For non-believers no explanation is possible." This is the situation.

It's true that we are trained to question everything. That is a good thing. But, in over zealousness to question everything we should not become close minded. What, we as a humanity, have managed to understand in our millions of years of existence is very little of this universe. What mystics and sages are saying is simply this - there is more than what you have understood. It will take long time for each of you to understand all that individually. Some of us have understood it far more and these are the empirical proofs and it's in your best interest to believe in them rather than endlessly questioning them.

Einstein, greatest inquisitive mind, put it all this best when he said - everything that can be counted does not count. Everything that counts can not be counted.

So, next time when you see
'wet  paint' sign,  remember not to feel a strong urge to touch it to make sure that it is indeed wet paint.


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