Our World Viewpoint
Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh
Each one of us has our own individual world viewpoint, the way we see the world. If we were born in a very rich family, we see the world in a certain way. If we were born in a very poor family, we see the world in another way. If we were born a Hindu, we have a certain world viewpoint. If we were born a Muslim, we have another one. During the cold war, if we lived in the West, we saw the world from one point of view. If we were living in Russia, from another point of view.
Unfortunately these different points of view, which usually depend upon our circumstances of birth, frequently lead to clash and to quarrel. But actually, there is less difference between those of us born in different circumstances than we would think. We all think we are individuals, we all think we are separate from other individuals and that God is somewhere else.
The real difference we actually have is with the scriptures and the saints. They are the ones that have a radically different point of view than we do. And often throughout history we have treated the saints and prophets like enemies–persecuted them and sometimes even put them to death. But even when we worship them, honour them, love them, we don’t recognise how different our viewpoint is from theirs. We see everything as separate. They see the oneness of all things.
We talk about the oneness of all things, but we don’t see it. Why don’t we see it? Because there is a tremendous force within us that doesn’t want to see it from that point of view. There is a tremendous force within us that wants to be separate, that wants what we want. We don’t want to be the same as everyone and everything else. When this is discovered, then, so to speak, the gauntlet is thrown down. We are called on to face up to what we profess. Do we really want God, do we really want the saint’s point of view or do we not?
If we do, there is a battle to be fought. Our teachers tell us that the Puranas are only about us. The battle between good and evil is not some battle outside, but it is a battle that each one of us has to fight within ourselves. And it is literally a fight to the death. That force of separation has no intention of giving up easily. Kill it one place; it appears in another. Kill it there; it appears somewhere else in another form. It is a never-ending battle and a battle that all the scriptures tell us can only be won when, one way or another, we take refuge in the Lord.
But however we view it, the real battle of life is not with those who think differently from us, the real battle of life is against our limited view of ourselves. We must fight this battle until we achieve the world viewpoint of the scriptures and the saints.