Yearly Archives: 2016

12Feb/16

Beyond Goodwill

(Towards compassionate understanding)

But she was quite a wonderful person! In the beginning she had taken an attitude of benevolence and goodwill towards everything and everybody, even the worst scamp; she saw only the good side. Then as she stayed on, her consciousness developed; after a time, she began to see people as they were. So, one day she told me: “Formerly, when I was unconscious, I thought that everybody was good, people seemed to be so nice! Why did you make me conscious?” I answered her: “Do not stop on the way. Go a little further.”

Once one has begun Yoga, it is better to go to the end.

The Mother, CWM, Vol. 5, pp. 3–4

To see the goodness in all and to have goodwill for all is a well-known teaching of saints and sages. But as the passage of the Mother given above indicates, goodwill is only a stage in the path of our higher evolution. But to progress further, the seeker in the path has to rise beyond goodwill.

How to take this next step? We have to shift the predominant focus of our aspiration from sentimental sympathy and goodwill to truth and understanding. We must aspire not only for goodness but to know, see and feel the veracity of things and progressively reach the complete truth. As we become more and more conscious, we become aware of the hidden truth of our own self but also of people around us. We will find those appeared to be all good are not so good and others who seemed to be so bad are not that bad. Whenever we face such a situation, we should not react with the habitual reactions of our lower nature, such as with anger, shock or resentment. For example, if I perceive a hidden darkness, hypocrisy or falsehood in a person for whom I felt deep affection, thought to be very good or admired as my role model, I should not react as if I am an angel of immaculate purity and other person has suddenly become the devil. If I am growing in self-awareness through constant self-observation, have a straightforward look at all the defects and weaknesses within me and find that I am not as good as I thought myself to be, then the sudden perception of hidden defects in the other person will not cause any negative reaction but only sympathy and understanding.

I accept the person as he is and keep the same goodwill for him, unless what I see is something very wicked or harmful. But as the Mother reveals in a conversion, such incurably wicked people are rare. Most of us are a mixed bag of good and bad and there is no need for any great indignation when we see another mixed bag like us.

When we arrive at this stage and take this attitude, we will see that the quality of our relationship with others has risen to a higher level of truth and understanding. It is no longer a mere superficial goodwill but based on a deeper understanding, acceptance, tolerance and equanimity. Our goodwill no longer depends in seeing the goodness in the other person. We can see both the good and the bad in him and still keep the same goodwill and affection.

But even this is only a stage. As we enter deep within us, become conscious of our subliminal being and live with it, we come into contact with the subliminal self in the other person and its greater potentialities.

One of the qualities of a great leader is the ability to intuitively see and feel these subliminal potentialities of a person, which may not be visible at the surface being of the person. As we progress still deeper and further, we become conscious of our psychic being, which is the evolving divinity in us, and the source of true and pure love that flows from a deep unity with all being at the spiritual level.

An enlightened and self-realized soul who lives in his divine self can see the complete spirit or entire truth of a person. He can see very clearly the positive and negative elements in the surface nature of the person. He can see the dubious motives of ego, ambition, self-seeking, lurking behind a pleasant appearance. He can also see the unmanifest potentialities of his subliminal being and the unalloyed divinity of his soul. But when such an enlightened soul sees the negativities in a person, he doesn’t react in the same way as the average man. When he sometimes talks about it, it is not like the criticism of the ordinary mind; it is something scientific, objective and impersonal. For example, when a botanist says that a plant, leaf or fruit is poisonous, it is not a condemnation but an objective statement based on a scientific understanding of the nature of the plant. He has no personal negative feelings for the plant because it is poisonous. In an illumined soul, along with this scientific objectivity there is a compassion which comes from deep understanding of the root cause of the negativity of the person. When we know the entire complex of forces acting on a person and driving him,—material, psychological, evolutionary, karmic, spiritual—we will never or condemn or judge a person. We can only say with a deep understanding and compassion “He is what he is!”

Most of us are very far from this state of enlightenment. However, we can hold it in our mind as an ideal, and slowly march toward it, by progressively moulding our mind and heart in the image of the ideal.

M. S. Srinivasan

 

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13Jan/16

Two Futuristic Innovations

When Wright brothers invented the aeroplane and flew it for the first time, Thomas Alva Edison, the great scientist and inventor, was reported to have said that as long as it needs a runway it cannot be commercialised and would not become a mass-transport vehicle. Even someone like Edison was unable to gauge the potentialities of a great innovation and underestimated the innovative capabilities of the human mind to adapt itself to changing needs and situations. Many great innovations, when they are presented to the public for the first time, appear like a technical marvel or something from a sci-fi movie,out-of-tune with the present condition or commercially unviable. But look at it after a few decades; it becomes part of our life!

Recently, two such innovations were reported in leading dailies in India. These innovations have a great potential for solving our transportation problem in a sustainable manner.

First is a solar-powered aeroplane. According to some recent research, flying machines zooming in the sky were much more polluting than the machines trotting on the road. But even in poor countries like India, air travel is breaking into the bottom of the pyramid and more and more people from the lower income groups are now travelling in air. So, solar powered plane will be a great boon to our sustainable progress. Recently a fully solar powered plane driven by its pilot-innovators landed in the Ahmedabad airport in India. The pilots and innovators,Bertnand Picard and Andre Brushberg, are on a globe-trotting expedition for demonstrating the possibility of a solar-powered vehicle in the air. Regarding its commercial viability Piccard and Barshberg say:

“When the Wright brothers were flying planes, they did not have the technology to fly passengers. It happened after nearly two decades, but they had the pioneering spirit to open the door and show what is possible”

However, when I contemplate on the commercial viability of this innovation, my mind murmurs. ”Oh, even on the roads, there are only a few solar powered vehicles, which is still too far from becoming a commercially viable transport, how can a solar-powered plane become viable in the near future.” Don’t blame me for my conservative scepticism. As I mentioned earlier in the beginning of this article, I am in great company. Even Edison was sceptical about the future possibilities of the aeroplane. Let us hope that just like Edison was proved wrong, my scepticism was also overruled by a galloping progress in technology to make the solar powered plane an integral part of the transportation system of our planet.

This brings us to the question what are the main obstacles preventing rapid progress in making renewable, environmental friendly energies, like solar, commercially competitive with traditional, polluting energies like coal or oil? The central obstacle seems to be lack of a missionary, focussed attention on developing the renewable energies, which in turn may be due to the low price of oil. As the American journalist and author Milton Friedman points out that as long as oil is available cheap, there won’t be sufficient motivation among nations to focus on alternative sources of energy.

The second innovation is an automated rapid transit system, suspended in elevated magnetic tracks2. The system consists of light weight, two-person, driverless vehicles suspended above the road in magnetic tracks. Passenger can hop into a pod and dial the number of a station they want to go and zoom into his or her destination at super- fast speed. When I read the first few para of this report, my spontaneous reaction was “Oh it is too high-tech and futuristic for India.”But when the top executives of Sky Tran, makers of the system, describe the system, and how it was very relevant to India, I felt that it was not that remotely futuristic as it appear to be. Ankur Bhatnagar, Vice president of SkyTran India says:

“We expect India to be one of our biggest markets” and gives the following reasons why it is relevant to India.

  1. India is facing the most acute transportation problem with heavily congested buses and trains.
  2. It is cost-effective. In comparison with Delhi Metro, 190 km, built at a cost of Rs.40, 000 crores, Sky Tran can, with half that money canbuild a 500km network across Delhi NCR and one can travel between extreme ends in just half an hour. The cost is 6.8 per load per kilometre.
  3. It is easy to build, without any complex infrastructure;it consists of a simple metallic modular structure produced in factories and assembled on site.
  4. It is super-fast, on demand and energy efficient.

According to Bhatnagar, the main obstacle is not technological but political “it is very difficult for a new technology to break in as politicians get money from companies to keep the status quo.” However, even if the political will is not corrupt, it requires much courage to go for a new untested technology which may or may not work. Those governments or nations which display this courage may be heralding a new era in transportation. Israeli government has displayed that courage in willing to experiment with the new technology of Sky Trans.

According to Jerry Sanders, CEO and chairman Sky Tran, the first phase of the project in Telaviv in Israel will be up and running within 6-8 month, financed by Israeli government and supported by the aerospace companies in Israel for building the vehicles. The success of this project in Israel will help the company in convincing leaders of others nations to test this new form of transportation. Apart from Israel, Sky Tran is building a demonstration project in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France and also negotiating with the Government of Bihar and Kerala in India for pilot projects.

When this new technology becomes entirely operational and viable on a large scale , it will add one more tier to the transportation system of our planet, in between the aeroplanes zooming in the sky and two or four wheeling trotting on the road , a third and middle tier whizzing above the roads in elevate magnetic tracks. If all three tiers can be powered by renewable sources of energy we will be progressing safely and surely towards solving our transportation problem in a sustainable path.

References

  1. RahiGaikward, ‘Pilots to develop unmanned version of Solar Impulse 2’ , The Hindu, March 12, 2015, Pg.18
  2. NavadhaPandey, Debabradadas, ‘This elevated taxi system promises to do Noida-Gurgoan in an hour’, Business Line, February 26, 2015

M.S.Srinivasan

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