Relevance of Scriptures in Modern Life

Hindu Scriptures

by Jayaram V

For the last several decades our knowledge and awareness of the universe and life upon earth has been expanding exponentially.

We now know where we stand in the universal scheme of things and how tiny or significant we are in relation to the universe.

The more I learn about the vastness of the universe, the more respect I develop for life upon earth.

My knowledge of deep space has radically altered my views about human life and our role in the universe as heirs to a vast intelligence nurtured by Nature for billions of years.

In my spiritual journey I have reached a stage where I feel pain for hurting even a plant or a tree. In my garden when I cut a plant or a tree, I apologize and pray for the release of that soul into a higher realm. I even offer a part of my good karma for its liberation.

Some of you may laugh for my sentimental nature, but I feel that humanity must develop this sensitivity because life is precious and rare to find in the universe. You must realize in thought and deed that the life of every living being here is as precious and important as your own life.

And such an attitude will not develop because you want it, but because you reach a certain state of awareness within yourself, where compassion will be a natural or spontaneous consequence.

If you expand your awareness of the universe, you will realize the precious nature of life. Here we destroy life everyday. We must change this basic destructive human behavior by bringing the change within ourselves.

Nature may not give us many opportunities to redeem ourselves from our self-destructive tendencies. We must realize this before we endanger our own existence.

You may find billions of galaxies and trillions of planets, but you may not find many planets where life may really exist.

It is because, Nature takes a long time to manifest consciousness from matter and evolve it into intelligent consciousness that can guide itself and become a mirror of Nature itself.

With creation of life comes its vulnerability and Nature has to build necessary safeguards to protect those forms it creates from possible harm and facilitate growth, balance and order.

We are living in a wonderful age of information, where we have made rapid advances in every field of knowledge, but are you catching up with that knowledge and growing your own awareness?

It pains me to see that while some people have fixed their gaze upon distant stars and galaxies, a vast majority has fixed their gaze backwards upon the medieval and ancient mindset.

They want to roll back society and introduce a faith based way of life that has least consideration and respect for terrestrial life and existence and the knowledge we gather through scientific methods.

It pains me to see people who are still wrapped up in the biblical narratives of how life originated upon earth and stories from the Puranas about how they should live or deal with their spouses and children.

For a Hindu, transience is an integral part of life. Neither the Puranas nor the Epics are an exception. They have an entertainment value and a spiritual value. We must learn to distinguish both these aspects that are hidden in them.

Some truths may never change, but the knowledge we gain from our perceptions and learning is also never constant. The Puranas and epics are human compositions based upon the relative knowledge and empirical experience (smriti) their authors. Hence they cannot be taken literally.

From our scriptures we must learn one fundamental fact before we learn others: the world keeps changing, people change, morals change, situations change and we cannot hang on to anything here except that one little feeling inside us, "I am." Everything else falls apart. Jayaram V

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