My diaries on introspection 25/10/2008

The journey from bachelorhood to family has been very smooth for me. I keep hearing comments from either side talking about advantages and disadvantages. As usual, I have a different spin to share.

In my scheme of things or rather the way I understand different states in the life of a man or a woman is that of a Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. Though a lot of people interpret it literally, I think they are way off the mark in understanding it and more importantly in applying themselves and making it relevant for our present. 

The way the mind functions when one is born is that of innocent selfishness and the child can only think of itself and nothing else. The most important priorities for a child is oral and anal gratification. They are either hungry/ thirsty and need oral gratification or their bladder/ rectum if full and they need to relieve themselves. So there is a development of the ego complex (or super ego-whatver you want to call it) and this continues to grow with societal influences thrown in to help it grown even further. It is my humble opinion that all action that one undertakes in life is built upon this superstructure of ego. This according to me is the explanation of brahmacharya as compared to the simplistic expression of being single.

When the same individual moves into Grihastha there is the first socially driven challenge to this ego complex when one is egged into considering the larger ramifications of his/ her actions on the interests of the spouse and ensuing children. The individual becomes suppliant to the family structure. The thinking process is changed from an selfish, self-gratifying individual to that of a ‘Grihastha’. Common interests supersed individual fancies and ambitions. There could be a lot of arguments about it’s effect on different individuals, but the moot point remains that it seems to have some well thought out intentions. Additionally it serves the purpose of perpetuation of species.

While to path thus far is clear, the path ahead is very hazy. It is difficult to define the time when one can move out of grihastha and move into vanaprastha. Typically people tend to breathe their last in grihastha. There is never any enquiry into the actual construct of the ego on the mental plane. Most people never venture any further into self-enquiry and are blissfully happy/ tortured by the frolick of the mind and most people blame it on fate. Personal progress literally stops and people breathe their last with their last few years spent in ruminating what they had done so far, why they had done it and interestingly they have very few answers.

Just to digress a bit, this is like worrying about a destination when your fuel is about to get over. Ideally one should have planned when the tank was full. Very simple, ain’t it?

A few people who plan it so, complete their social responsibilities and move into the jungle of the mind, the vanaprastha. Without going into complicated discussions about transcedental meditation, the metaphor used here-‘jungle’ can signify the fact that the person is moving away from what he/ she has been used to, to a totally new place where he is unable to predict what will happen and he alone has to figure out things. 

The knowledge that he gains in this process is what makes him a sanyasin. Sanyasin is not necessarily a destination and rather means a culmination of this process. The primitive ego gets nurtured by the society and gets challenged by the same society. The job of the society ends there and it is up to each individual to carry that process forward towards a journey of self-discovery.

Though this thought on marriage has also subsumed philosophic aspects, an interesting concept which I want to elaborate upon is that philosophy is not necessarily abstract. It has been made abstract by poor teachers. Will write about this pretty soon.


2 Responses

  1. dude, you should read this again
    “The most important priorities for a child is oral and anal gratification” !!! Please fix !

  2. @Vikram: what I thought was straightforward is the fact that children need to feed and then defecate. Hope it is clear now.

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