The Natural Urge to Know One self ( 2 )

14/12/2011 History of Lord Ayyappa

One of the basic urges in man is to seek the meaning of his own existence and that of the universe. He wants to know whether he and the universe are involved in far greater dimensions than he perceives, and in which he can find a deeper meaning in life and experience a greater freedom, transcending the moods of the world, apparently restricted by time and space. This urge to know the basic facts is a natural consequence of man”s evolutionary status. Behind all fields of human inquiry there is the prompting of this natural urge. The philosophical and religious disposition of man is a dominant expression of this basic urge to know about his own greater dimensions.

But this natural urge often gets misguided by restrictions imposed on the free play of thought and inquiry. This results in religious dogmatism and intolerance. Ayyappa worship reveals itself as a well-designed system, which denies any scope for such mind-narrowing restrictions, and offers a set of practical disciplines to activate the divine energies to reinforce life with a deeper perception and broader outlook.

The Two-fold Inquiry

Spiritual thought and faith in Supreme Reality were evolved in India through free inquiry and deep meditation by the seers of Truth. They discovered facts that transcend the ordinary levels of knowledge. Their knowledge and experience were based on the natural development of the basic urge to know the higher facts of life. The two major paths they evolved for their exploration were devotion and rational Self-inquiry. But these paths are not water-tight compartments.

A devout worshipper who does not restrict himself by a dogmatic approach but maintains a universal outlook, is creatively developing that natural urge. While enjoying the sweetness of his increasing identification with the object of his worship, the awareness dawns in him that he and the worshipped are one and the same Supreme Reality – Brahman.

The other way is that of rational Self-inquiry – “who am I?”. As the inquirer explores deeper, he discovers that both he and the world outside him are the manifestations of the same Truth – Brahman. Through both the paths, the inquirer transcends the borders of his limited individuality and acquires the universality and freedom of Supreme Consciousness. Enriching devotion with Self-inquiry, and enlivening Self-inquiry with devotion would impart sweetness and broadness to both the paths.

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