Harry Terhanian.com Wisdom from the son of Armenia.


  • Education for peace

    We can consider that there are two categories of education: career education and self realization.

    Career education is important for earning a living and acting responsibly as a member of society.

    Self realization is important to understand the purpose of life so as not to waste time on useless endeavor. Such understanding will also give one the ability to achieve real love and peace in life. Knowledge of self and one’s real position in the universe will free one from acting ignorantly and becoming more and more entangled by the laws of action and reaction in this world. Ignorance of self and ignorance of self knowledge leads to the perpetration of violence to oneself and others. A life in which unnecessary violence is avoided should be the standard for society.

    Nonviolence is not a religious principle, but it is an important quality for those seeking self realization. It is common sense
    spirituality because one is advised to do no harm to any other animal or living being because such harmful actions are equally harmful to one who does the harm.

    The preliminary steps to nonviolence require one to understand and practice humility and be free of false pride. Humility means one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. One who is self realized does not identify himself with the material body. Therefore, honor or dishonor pertaining to this material body is not of any importance. It is a material deception for which one should not hanker. One becomes proud by accumulation of wealth and prestige.

    If one dedicates his wealth and life energy to the service of God and humanity without seeking to be honored for such meritorious actions, then he may be said to be without false pride. Offering service for the satisfaction of God and humanity without expectation of profit or honor is the hallmark of a humble person.

    Unless one is humble and without false pride, one cannot be harmless and nonviolent. Beside not causing physical harm to others, the more complete concept of nonviolence is not to put others into distress. People are trapped by ignorance in the material concept of life. They suffer material pangs perpetually. Distributing real knowledge to people so that they may become enlightened and free themselves from material entanglement is real nonviolence.

    When one adjusts his life to become nonviolent, one needs to learn tolerance and simplicity of living. This is gradually achieved by learning to not neglect anyone and give proper respect to everyone especially to genuine teachers and spiritual mentors. This helps one train the senses and the mind for controlled action and frees one from unnecessary material attachments.

    The culture of respect develops from basic spiritual knowledge that is a result of honest self inspection. A quick summary of this process of self inspection which leads to the culture of respect follows.

    Step 1: Establishing an absolute certainty that one exists as a unique individual is the foundation for self knowledge. Descartes attempted to do this when he eliminated everything in his existence of which he was not sure. He arrived at the conclusion “I think, therefore I am.” This is the perception of self identification or the positive feeling that “I exist.”

    Step 2: Existence as a thinking and perceiving individual indicates that there is a difference between the perceiver (or the seer) and the perceived (the seen). For example, one sees his hand, leg and in general his body. He is the seer and his body is the seen. There is, therefore, a difference between the seer and the seen.

    Step 3: The instruments of seeing, the objects of seeing and the process of seeing are all provided to the seer by nature. One who sees things beyond himself by ordinary vision has no power to see or move independently. All our ordinary actions and perceptions depend on various forms of energy supplied by nature by different combinations.

    The five objects of the senses (of perception) are

    1. smell

    2. taste

    3. form

    4. touch

    5. sound

    The five senses of action or working senses are:

    1. hands

    2. legs

    3. speech (voice)

    4. evacuation organs

    5. reproductive organs

    The information gathering senses are:

    1. Eyes

    2. ears

    3. nose

    4. tongue

    5. skin

    The mind is the eleventh sense. Above the mind is the intelligence and the ego. The mind functions as the sixth sense in two ways: it receives information from the other senses and stores it in the memory. The intelligence is superior to the mind because it has the power to differentiate and make judgments like “this is good but that is bad.” The attribution of value and discernment makes the intelligence superior to the mind.

    The above are provided to us by various arrangements of gross and subtle forms of natural energy.

    The objects of perception of the senses are also products of the natural energy. The senses of perception and the objects of the senses are all provided to us. The individual does not have independent power of perception or motion. The seer is thus dependent on the arrangement of nature to see and perceive. The instruments of seeing, the objects of seeing and the process of seeing are all provided to the seer by nature

    Step 4: Our power of seeing or perception is limited. The senses are limited by four inherent shortcomings, which are:

    1. We make mistakes

    2. We are easily put into illusion

    3. Our senses are imperfect (I cannot see around corners or through walls, etc.)

    4. We have a tendency to cheat

    We can conclude that we are conditioned by nature’s energy. We are dependent and limited

    Step 5: The seer is fundamentally different than the seen by virtue of the fact that the seer feels dissatisfaction due to the limitations of conditioned material existence. For example, a golfer hits the golf ball toward the hole. The ball misses the hole and the golfer becomes dissatisfied. Does the golf ball express dissatisfaction? No! There is a fundamental difference between the golf ball and the golfer. The golfer is a conscious being and the gold ball is made of matter but lacks consciousness. The golfer’s body is also made of matter like the golf ball. But the golfer’s body has consciousness in it and the golf ball does not. The consciousness of the golfer expressed by his dissatisfaction indicates that consciousness is not a material substance like a golf ball or a material body. Consciousness is not a product of any material combination.

    Some scientists argue that matter develops the power to see and move as part of a certain organic development. Such an argument is not plausible or scientific because there is no evidence that matter has at any time produced a living and conscious being. There is no evidence that matter can randomly order itself to the point of creating a conscious living being with all the complex structural and intricate processes inherent in consciousness. Idle talks about the future development of matter into a conscious moving living entity is deceptive because there has never been any proof that matter has developed either consciousness or the power of seeing or moving in any part of the world.

    By use of the discerning power of intelligence we can understand that matter and consciousness are different and that consciousness is not a result of material combination.

    Step 6: Something cannot be animate without an intelligent person behind it. Intelligence gives direction like a higher authority. A living being cannot see or move or eat or do anything without the use of intelligence. Everyone is dependent their own intelligence or that of a superior being. An example may help to understand this crucial point.

    A person buys a toy train set and constructs it. When ready, he takes control of the remote control and begins to direct the train. The train moves according to the will of the driver along a predetermined trajectory along the tracts. Sometimes the train goes forward and sometimes backward, sometimes it stops all by the will of the driver. Although a material construct, the train never moves by its own will. It did not construct itself. It was conceived and built by a superior intelligence (to matter) and it is moving by a superior intelligence (its driver).

    Intelligence is all- pervading in human civilization and in nature. An intelligent man can understand by honest examination of himself that just as his will is driving his body’s movements or that of the toy train set so there is a superior will and intelligence driving the entire universe.

    Every being has his intelligence. If one fails to take advantage of such intelligence he becomes a deranged person. For example, a person drives his car down the street. The street and all the arrangements such as red light, stop signs, speeding limit sign and all the rules for safe driving are made by the government. The driver uses his intelligence to follow the form intelligence of the government agents who have established the rules and the thoroughfares for driving. The government has also established rules for the vehicles used for driving. The car manufacturers must use their intelligence to build cars that comply with the rules made by the government. If a person the rules made by “superior intelligence” of the government people, he may drive according to his limited range of free will. If he does not follow the rules, he will be punished and is considered either less intelligent or in more chronic cases of disobedience, a deranged person.

    Every person uses his intelligence to follow the direction of a higher intelligent authority. The higher intelligent authority is like a father giving direction to his child. There are many layers of intelligent authorities and the highest authority is the Supreme Person or God. In any organization there are many layers of authorities and there is a final authority or the ultimate director. For example, in any city there is a layered hierarchy of authorities such as the mayor, his advisers, the different departments like the police, fire, sanitation, transportation, health, education, welfare, etc. There may be several thousand people necessary beginning from the mayor to manage a city. An intelligent person can understand that in the universe there are also many layers of intelligent authorities to manage the universal affairs and an ultimate intelligent authority who directs all the other intelligent persons.

    A question may be asked at this point. We understand that all our perceptions and activities are conditioned by arrangements of material nature. Yet, we feel and say, “I am perceiving “ or “I am doing.” We can conclude that the body is like a vehicle that an intelligent person drives. When we sit in the car (or the body made of senses of perception and movement) we identify with it, “This is my car or my body.” This car (or body) is ultimately guided by a superior intelligence that guides and supplies us (gasoline or food) according to our desires. As I drive my car I must continually make decisions either to follow the rules of the superior intelligence or not to follow.

    If I follow the superior intelligence, then I consistently understand that the vehicle (or my body) is actually not really under my control or ownership. I have been given the use of it as a privilege. A driver’s license is a regulated privilege given by the government to permit me to drive. I am not completely independent. I must comply with the rules established by the government or my right to drive will be revoked and my license and my car can be seized. Therefore, at any one time, I must decide either to follow the direction of the superior intelligence or reject to follow. My exercise of free will is limited to these two choices. If I follow, I have freedom. If I do not follow, my free will is gradually curtailed.

    Our limited freedom of choice can be exercised on the basis of a misconception that I am the ultimate controller and enjoyer in this universe. This erroneous conception will lead us into an unending cycle of suffering because we will consistently violate the rules established by superior intelligence. By recognition that the superior intelligence is actually our friend and guide, we can dovetail our intelligence with the superior intelligence for maximum benefit in this life.

    The honest self inspection and use of common sense leads to the conclusion that there are three distinct factors in life: matter, individual consciousness of the dependent living being, and the supreme consciousness of the ultimate authority in the universe. This six step common sense approach is the beginning of self knowledge.

    With the development of self knowledge comes respect for the superior intelligence and exercise of attentive caution in all activities. One becomes very careful not to offend or violate the laws of nature and the rights of others to achieve self knowledge. Knowledge leads to caution and prudence in the exercise of our limited free will and the respect of others. With the advent of such knowledge one refrains from committing unnecessary violence and lives in harmony with the laws of nature.

    The beginning of knowledge is becoming free of false pride. The delusion of pride is due to being puffed up by thinking oneself the owner and controller of material nature. It is impossible for one deluded by false pride to accept to be the servant of God Almighty. Through spiritual education one learns that he is not the lord of material nature. Only God the Supreme Person
    is the Lord of everything.

    Once free from delusion caused by false pride, one can begin the process of acquiescence to the will of God. But, as said above,
    for one expecting some honor in this world, it is not possible to surrender to the Supreme God. False pride is due to illusion.
    We come here for a short time, perhaps 60 to 80 years. Then we are forced to die. Yet, we maintain the foolish notion that we are lord of this world. This deluded state of mind makes all things complicated and causes us trouble all the time.

    People claim the land, this whole earth belongs to human beings. They divide the land assuming falsely that they are the proprietors. One must discard this false notion that human beings or certain groups are the proprietor of this world.

    Once free of this flawed notion one can disentangle oneself from false social and national attachments based on the bodily identification. These false bonds bind one to this material world birth after birth. Then and only then can one begin to cultivate spiritual knowledge. Such knowledge reveals what is actually the true nature of proprietorship, which is that everything belongs to God the Supreme. Understanding this plain truth, one becomes free from all dual conceptions of happiness and distress, pleasure and pain, and all the confusing dualities of material life. With such knowledge, one is able to surrender to the will of God and free oneself from the cycle of repeated birth and death in this material world.

    We can control an airplane but can we control our own mind? The technological advancement of knowledge has given us many material conveniences. Yet, we are still plagued by distress and social ills. Over three thousand years ago, Moses received the ten commandments of which one says “Thou shalt not kill.” We can safely assume that killing was prevalent then and it was necessary to proscribe such horrible behavior of unnecessarily taking a life. After three thousand years, the killing has not subsided. Rather, it has become more scientific and brutal. Instead of killing a few people at a time, it is possible today, due to technological advances, to kill thousands at one time. Although we have advanced technologically during the same period, we have not advanced the human nature or the social skills by which men can live in harmony without unnecessary killing. The world seems much more violent today than it was previously.

    Education gives us the power of discernment between what is real and what is not real. Some things are real but temporary. Others are real and eternal.. Some things do not really exist although we may believe they do. The goal of education is to strive for things that are eternally true. We can use those things that are temporarily true to achieve eternal truths. We must not be fooled by things that are false. For example, a horse’s egg is something we can articulate but it does not really exist. Seeking such a thing is an illusory endeavor. The body is true but it is temporary. It can be used, however, to achieve self realization or it can be used to chase illusory things. There is an eternal spiritual realty such as the individual soul and its relationship with God which is forever true and is above the transitory nature of the material world. Real education is directed at understanding what is matter, the individual soul and the Supreme Soul, God. Once this is understood, one is liberated from unnecessary suffering and illusion in this world.

    With freedom from illusion and true knowledge, one becomes capable of achieving real love and happiness.

    When we incorrectly see or hear about something we can make a mistake. For example, if I am driving on an asphalt highway on a sunny, dry, hot day and see a slick of water ahead of me, I may conclude that there is water ahead on the highway. This is most probably a mistake that I will find about quickly as I accelerate because once reaching the point ahead where I thought there was water I do not see water there but it appears to be still further ahead. What I am perceiving with my eyes is the mirage of water due to the hot sun shining on the asphalt highway. It is a mistake of perception. If I accept that there is water on the highway when in truth there is not, then I am subject to an illusion. A mistake of perception is not necessarily an illusion. But accepting that the hot highway is a body of water is an illusion because it is accepting one thing to be something that it is not.

    If I am convinced that the illusion is true and begin to act on such an assumption of false truth, then I am in a deluded state of mind. Let’s say I truly believe that there is water on the highway ahead of me and purposely slow down drastically believing that my car may hydroplane on rolling into the water at my fast speed. If my abrupt slowdown causes the car behind me to tailgate my car and cause an accident, my action in a state of deluded mind has serious consequences. A mistake of perception can lead to an illusion or accepting one thing to be something else. Believing that my mistake is actually true (an illusion) and acting on it I fall into the trap of a delusional mentality with potential serious consequences.

    Our position in the material world is very precarious and dangerous because material education teaches us to accept the material body and temporary bodily pleasures as the ultimate reality or goal of life. Thus, we organize our life to serve the bodily needs. We ignore our spiritual essence, believing matter is everything. There is no formal education today to teach the difference between the body and the soul. Thus, most people spend their whole lives seeking only bodily comforts. The temporary body is served but the soul is starved.

    Above the body is the consciousness made up of mind, intelligence and ego. Psychology only scratches the surface of consciousness studies. The human consciousness is not regulated by material laws nor is it a mechanical construct. It is not produced by a combination of matter. Therefore, it remains an elusive subject for science.

    Consciousness is the symptom of the soul, which is not a material thing. Science stays away from the subject of the soul because
    it is not observable or measurable with our material senses or instruments of measure. The Vedic literature, namely the Svetasvatara Upanisad (5.9) explains that the soul is one ten-thousandth portion of the tip of a hair. It is said,

    “When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spiritual soul.”

    The individual particle of the spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms. No scientist has ever seen a
    material atom. They have only surmised its size and shape or constitution. They know however, that the material atom is capable of being divided or broken down. Therefore, there are existing particles that are even smaller than the material atom. The Supersoul is considered the soul of the soul and is even smaller than the soul. The Supersoul is present in the heart of every individual living entity and in every atom of the universe.

    Published on June 29, 2008 · Filed under: Education;
    No Comments

Comments are closed.