The mahavakyas tell us that there is no difference between THAT and each of THIS and each of us is not the bodily/egoistic “I” we identify with. ‘Seeing one in all and all in one’ is the desired ‘ONENESS’ state. The whole journey is around the realisation that ‘there can’t be any second but the source of all’. This ONENESS realisation is the proof-point that one’s spiritual journey has reached the pinnacle.
With this, the inner life reaches a new orbit. The outer life too shall be qualitatively different as one sees nothing but the ‘spark’, and hence, one can’t have insular conduct with any.
‘Life is continuous’ is the belief one has to have when one commences the spiritual journey. Else the Charvaka tenet shall prevail and ‘enjoy the moment’ becomes the sole guideline; the soul shall go missing. A similar ‘school’ was witnessed in the last century wherein ‘enlightened self-interest’ was supposed to drive the average levels of happiness to higher levels.
The underlying belief behind such a hypothesis is ‘macro’ (the world) is full of ‘micros’ (individuals) and at the micro-level, if one is better off than the previous state, then it is contributing to the collective (macro’s) betterment.
What is being forgotten here is the micro (individual’s) deep embeddedness in the macro (world). The efforts of the micro (individual) to become better than the previous state may result in other micro (individuals) possibly becoming worse off. Thus, the ‘new normal’ collective happiness levels can be lower than the original! Caution, please.
The prevailing consumerist approach to life is resulting in splash and materialism and emphasis on truer dimensions has reduced. Spending uncertain ‘future earnings’ in current times on ‘false goods’ (craved but not needed) leads to long-run disengagement and poor sustainability anchoring. Current ‘growth-based development’ models have limitations at the macro level.
Strain is already visible in the form of climate change-related challenges. Sustainable consumption alone shall lead to better outcomes for all stakeholders at the macro level, is a fact that needs to be appreciated. Spiritually filled lives with lesser ‘resource footprints’ shall alone lead to a better context and facilitate a deeper journey for individuals.
Hence, our wish for “Sukhino Bhavantu” has to be more inclusive and aimed at “Sarve Jana”.
(Dr. S. Ainavolu is a professor at VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can find more articles are at: https://www.ainavolu.in/blog)