OPIUM AND THE PEACOCK

 

“    “ A man formerly fed a peacock with a lozenge of opium at four o’clock in the autumn. The coming day, exactly at that time, the peacock came back. It had felt the intoxication of the medicine and returned just in time to have another cure. ”    — Sri Ramakrishna( Gospel,p. 90)    When we like commodity, we want further of it. Mahendra Nath Gupta discovered life- transubstantiating wisdom in his veritably first visit to Sri Ramakrishna. He was so captivated that he went there a alternate time, and also a third time. When he came again for his fourth visit, Sri Ramakrishna ate him with, “ There! He has come again. ” also he recited the story of the peacock, transferring everyone into clangs of horselaugh.      Mahendra enjoyed the analogy. He latterly wrote in his journal that “ indeed at home he'd been unfit to banish the study of Sri Ramakrishna for a moment. His mind was constantly at Dakshineswar and he'd counted the twinkles until he should go again ”( Gospel,p. 90). M, as Mahendra came more known, continued his visits until, and beyond, Sri Ramakrishna’s mahāsamādhi( 1886), lifelessly took notes of everything he heard, and meditated for hours,re-living his moments with Sri Ramakrishna.       M turned to Ramakrishna, it converted his life and, times latterly, also the lives of the compendiums of his journal, which took the form of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. A question for you and me is what are the kind of effects to which we turn again and again? Like the opium did to the peacock, what's it that we're drawn to? What takes the place of opium for us?      It's delicate to speak of opium these days and not suppose of what's now known as “ the opioid extremity, ” which has claimed thousands of American lives and has several millions suffering from opioid use diseases. The extremity began in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that opioid pain relievers weren't addicting and healthcare providers began to define them at lesser rates. The result was an dependence epidemic. It's still raging but not being talked about important, because the covid epidemic has been drawing all the attention in the once many months.       The verity is that everything, not just opioids, can be addicting. Some dependences destroy physical health and may lead to indeed death. Other dependences can affect the mind in manifold ways. Dependences are lowered upon only when their goods come palpable and are set up to be destructive in some way. numerous dependences work quietly, under cover, and it may be months or times before their goods come conspicuous. We may not indeed fete these as dependences .      There's nothing terribly awful in having a mug of coffee every morning. In fact, it seems just the perfect thing to do! Or reading the New York Times. Or harkening to NPR or BBC every now and also. Or following a favorite platoon’s games. Or probing the net. Or shopping. Or checking the social media( maybe too) frequently. Or enjoying succulent food a bit too much. Or doing the crossword. Or being a movie buff. All supposedly inoffensive conditioning — until we realize the investment we're making in them in terms of time and energy. At some point, hopefully not too late, we may have to ask, is it really worth it?       When I depend on anything outside of myself, I am whether I like it or not, whether I know it or not — compromising my freedom in someway.However, there's always the possibility that I'll be separated from it sooner or latterly, If the source of my happiness is outdoors. Whatever I consider to be “ mine ” can be taken down from me. That's the law of life what comes, also goes. effects come together only to be separated. When separation occurs, misery is the result. Ask longtime smokers what happens when they run out of their stock of cigarettes — or worse, when they're told by their croaker   that they should quit.      Not every disappointment at separation from what we depend on is huge, but since we depend on numerous effects, all these minor bummers, regrets, annoyances, and sorrows ultimately add up. We may try to overcome them or ignore them by constantly hunting for ways to distract us and to keep us happy. But it’s a losing battle. ultimately utmost people give up and totter through life helplessly, pretending to be happy, but living with little to hope for and important to lament.       Since we can not but get attached to effects that make us happy and generally get addicted to them, why not at least try to acquire good dependences ? A “ good dependence ” may feel like an oxymoron, but may be it's not. Some dependences can, in fact, be good for me the kind of dependences that will exclude other dependences and — this is important — exclude themselves as well when the time comes.      Consider the dependence to spiritual life.( You knew this was coming, did n’t you?) Reading about or seeing the joy endured by spiritual campaigners especially by those we fete as saints and mystics it is natural to aspire for that kind of joy for oneself. To get that joy I ’ll need both study and practice. My attachment to scriptural study, prayer, deification, contemplation, and selfless service will involve investing my time and energy in them. This would mean lower time and energy available to give to my present dependences . When I begin to witness real joy in my spiritual practice, I ’ll naturally invest indeed further time and energy into it, getting “ addicted ” to spiritual life. In a natural kind of way, my other dependences will suffocate and vanish.       The deepening of spiritual life is a canted process of discovering that God is no longer as distant a figure as was formerly imagined. The deeper my spiritual life becomes, the near God and I get — until at last we can not get any near without the “ we ”vanishing.However, I ’ll aspire to find my true tone, If my approach to spiritual life is primarily private. In that case, spiritual life for me will mean my present pride- centered tone searching for my true tone( ātman), the two ultimately coming so perilously close that they can no longer be “ two. ”      What remains when the “ we ” or the “ two ” disappears? It's insolvable to express it in words. At that stage, says the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad(2.4.14)       यत्र वा अस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्तत्केन कं जिघ्रेत्, तत्केन कं पश्येत्, तत्केन कं श्रुणुयात्, तत्केन कमभिवदेत्, तत्केन कं मन्वीत, तत्केन कं विजानीयात्?      Yatra vā asya sarvam ātmaiva abhūt tat kena kaṁ jighret, tat kena kaṁ paśyet, tat kena kaṁ śruṇuyāt, tat kena kaṁ abhivadet, tat kena kaṁ manvīta, tat kena kaṁ vijānīyāt?       But when to him( the knower of Brahman) everything has come the tone, also what should one smell and through what, what should one see and through what, what should one hear and through what, what should one speak and through what, what should one suppose and through what, what should one know and through what?      When only the bone   remains, it matters little whether the bone   is called God or the tone. There's nothing to smell, nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to speak, nothing to suppose, and nothing to know, and most importantly, there's no need to do any of these effects because I am yes, I'm the bone   ! — immersed in indefinable bliss and horizonless freedom. In that state, there's neither any reason nor any possibility to be addicted. There's no longer any “ opium ” and the peacock is no longer the peacock. Its form( rūpa) and name( nāma) vanish, leaving before only horizonless being( sat), consciousnesss( cit), and bliss( ānanda).       At present, however, we're in the realm of the “ we ” and the “ two ” — and there are effects around to smell, to see, to hear, to speak, to suppose, and to know. Whatever and whoever bring me happiness, I'm going to get attached to them and, no matter how hard I try, I'm going to get addicted to them. It's possible, of course, to not get addicted at each, but that's superdifficult. Unknown to us some dependences will creep in subtly indeed if we're suitable to keep numerous other dependences at bay.      What we can do is examine our present dependences , assess how important time and energy they consume, and ask if they're worth the trouble — while flashing back that every day we move a day closer to death. The timepiece is ticking, we're growing, and the timepiece can( and will) stop suddenly without warning. Wisdom consists in diverting as important time and energy as possible to commodity that has no strike and is guaranteed to bring both freedom and happiness — in other words, a robust spiritual life. That’s the “ opium ” we need.

“ 

 “ A man formerly fed a peacock with a lozenge of opium at four o’clock in the autumn. The coming day, exactly at that time, the peacock came back. It had felt the intoxication of the medicine and returned just in time to have another cure. ” 

 — Sri Ramakrishna( Gospel,p. 90) 

 When we like commodity, we want further of it. Mahendra Nath Gupta discovered life- transubstantiating wisdom in his veritably first visit to Sri Ramakrishna. He was so captivated that he went there a alternate time, and also a third time. When he came again for his fourth visit, Sri Ramakrishna ate him with, “ There! He has come again. ” also he recited the story of the peacock, transferring everyone into clangs of horselaugh. 


 Mahendra enjoyed the analogy. He latterly wrote in his journal that “ indeed at home he'd been unfit to banish the study of Sri Ramakrishna for a moment. His mind was constantly at Dakshineswar and he'd counted the twinkles until he should go again ”( Gospel,p. 90). M, as Mahendra came more known, continued his visits until, and beyond, Sri Ramakrishna’s mahāsamādhi( 1886), lifelessly took notes of everything he heard, and meditated for hours,re-living his moments with Sri Ramakrishna. 

 

 M turned to Ramakrishna, it converted his life and, times latterly, also the lives of the compendiums of his journal, which took the form of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. A question for you and me is what are the kind of effects to which we turn again and again? Like the opium did to the peacock, what's it that we're drawn to? What takes the place of opium for us? 


 It's delicate to speak of opium these days and not suppose of what's now known as “ the opioid extremity, ” which has claimed thousands of American lives and has several millions suffering from opioid use diseases. The extremity began in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that opioid pain relievers weren't addicting and healthcare providers began to define them at lesser rates. The result was an dependence epidemic. It's still raging but not being talked about important, because the covid epidemic has been drawing all the attention in the once many months. 

 

 The verity is that everything, not just opioids, can be addicting. Some dependences destroy physical health and may lead to indeed death. Other dependences can affect the mind in manifold ways. Dependences are lowered upon only when their goods come palpable and are set up to be destructive in some way. numerous dependences work quietly, under cover, and it may be months or times before their goods come conspicuous. We may not indeed fete these as dependences . 


 There's nothing terribly awful in having a mug of coffee every morning. In fact, it seems just the perfect thing to do! Or reading the New York Times. Or harkening to NPR or BBC every now and also. Or following a favorite platoon’s games. Or probing the net. Or shopping. Or checking the social media( maybe too) frequently. Or enjoying succulent food a bit too much. Or doing the crossword. Or being a movie buff. All supposedly inoffensive conditioning — until we realize the investment we're making in them in terms of time and energy. At some point, hopefully not too late, we may have to ask, is it really worth it? 

 

 When I depend on anything outside of myself, I am whether I like it or not, whether I know it or not — compromising my freedom in someway.However, there's always the possibility that I'll be separated from it sooner or latterly, If the source of my happiness is outdoors. Whatever I consider to be “ mine ” can be taken down from me. That's the law of life what comes, also goes. effects come together only to be separated. When separation occurs, misery is the result. Ask longtime smokers what happens when they run out of their stock of cigarettes — or worse, when they're told by their croaker

 that they should quit. 


 Not every disappointment at separation from what we depend on is huge, but since we depend on numerous effects, all these minor bummers, regrets, annoyances, and sorrows ultimately add up. We may try to overcome them or ignore them by constantly hunting for ways to distract us and to keep us happy. But it’s a losing battle. ultimately utmost people give up and totter through life helplessly, pretending to be happy, but living with little to hope for and important to lament. 

 

 Since we can not but get attached to effects that make us happy and generally get addicted to them, why not at least try to acquire good dependences ? A “ good dependence ” may feel like an oxymoron, but may be it's not. Some dependences can, in fact, be good for me the kind of dependences that will exclude other dependences and — this is important — exclude themselves as well when the time comes. 


 Consider the dependence to spiritual life.( You knew this was coming, did n’t you?) Reading about or seeing the joy endured by spiritual campaigners especially by those we fete as saints and mystics it is natural to aspire for that kind of joy for oneself. To get that joy I ’ll need both study and practice. My attachment to scriptural study, prayer, deification, contemplation, and selfless service will involve investing my time and energy in them. This would mean lower time and energy available to give to my present dependences . When I begin to witness real joy in my spiritual practice, I ’ll naturally invest indeed further time and energy into it, getting “ addicted ” to spiritual life. In a natural kind of way, my other dependences will suffocate and vanish. 

 

 The deepening of spiritual life is a canted process of discovering that God is no longer as distant a figure as was formerly imagined. The deeper my spiritual life becomes, the near God and I get — until at last we can not get any near without the “ we ”vanishing.However, I ’ll aspire to find my true tone, If my approach to spiritual life is primarily private. In that case, spiritual life for me will mean my present pride- centered tone searching for my true tone( ātman), the two ultimately coming so perilously close that they can no longer be “ two. ” 


 What remains when the “ we ” or the “ two ” disappears? It's insolvable to express it in words. At that stage, says the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad(2.4.14) 

 

 यत्र वा अस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्तत्केन कं जिघ्रेत्, तत्केन कं पश्येत्, तत्केन कं श्रुणुयात्, तत्केन कमभिवदेत्, तत्केन कं मन्वीत, तत्केन कं विजानीयात्? 


 Yatra vā asya sarvam ātmaiva abhūt tat kena kaṁ jighret, tat kena kaṁ paśyet, tat kena kaṁ śruṇuyāt, tat kena kaṁ abhivadet, tat kena kaṁ manvīta, tat kena kaṁ vijānīyāt? 

 

 But when to him( the knower of Brahman) everything has come the tone, also what should one smell and through what, what should one see and through what, what should one hear and through what, what should one speak and through what, what should one suppose and through what, what should one know and through what? 


 When only the bone

 remains, it matters little whether the bone

 is called God or the tone. There's nothing to smell, nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to speak, nothing to suppose, and nothing to know, and most importantly, there's no need to do any of these effects because I am yes, I'm the bone

 ! — immersed in indefinable bliss and horizonless freedom. In that state, there's neither any reason nor any possibility to be addicted. There's no longer any “ opium ” and the peacock is no longer the peacock. Its form( rūpa) and name( nāma) vanish, leaving before only horizonless being( sat), consciousnesss( cit), and bliss( ānanda). 

 

 At present, however, we're in the realm of the “ we ” and the “ two ” — and there are effects around to smell, to see, to hear, to speak, to suppose, and to know. Whatever and whoever bring me happiness, I'm going to get attached to them and, no matter how hard I try, I'm going to get addicted to them. It's possible, of course, to not get addicted at each, but that's superdifficult. Unknown to us some dependences will creep in subtly indeed if we're suitable to keep numerous other dependences at bay. 


 What we can do is examine our present dependences , assess how important time and energy they consume, and ask if they're worth the trouble — while flashing back that every day we move a day closer to death. The timepiece is ticking, we're growing, and the timepiece can( and will) stop suddenly without warning. Wisdom consists in diverting as important time and energy as possible to commodity that has no strike and is guaranteed to bring both freedom and happiness — in other words, a robust spiritual life. That’s the “ opium ” we need. 


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