Breakdowns And Renewals
I recently purchased two new books about Dvaita, the system of Vedic philosophy founded and propounded by Sri Madhvacharya (1238-1317) and both of them authored by the famous and reputable Madhvite scholar Dr. B.N.K. Sharma. In one of them I noticed this poignant passage that illustrated the change in my own outlook effected during my time as a Sai devotee:
"[Madhvacharya] urged the necessity of adopting a fresh attitude of mind and a new set of fundamental concepts and categories in place of the old and worn out ideas of the fashionable schoolmen, including those of the latest in the field. Once the metaphysical necessity of discarding the outmoded ideas and the need to go in for more effective theories and newer modes of approach to the problems of philosophy were established, the whole course of philosophical inquiry was bound to take a new turn and enter upon a new terrain."
- 'Philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya', Dr. B.N.K. Sharma, p. xvii-xviii.
This, I believe, is the key to educating beleaguered Sai devotees and the philosophical doubts and problems that they regularly face in their continual groping within the dark labyrinths of Sai Baba's teachings. Indeed it is true of my own experience; when I could no longer adequately reconcile the very real problems and inconsistencies in Sai Baba's teachings as a Sai devotee, I experienced a momentous paradigm shift in my entire (spiritual) conceptual construct and outlook that completely revolutionised my entire way of thinking, something that as stayed with me to this day. Although I didn't realise it at the time, I see now that what I went through has been briefly summarised in the above passage. Suddenly, I had a new and fresh outlook on Sai Baba's teachings that, for the time being, brought all conflicts into perfect harmony according to a particular point of view. Everything made sense.
The fact that I later renounced Sai Baba and his teachings is largely irrelevant to the purpose of this little story, but the fact remains that a similar paradigmatic shift must occur within the minds and brains of confused Sai devotees who can no longer make sense of every contradictory thing they read in the Baba's books. I recently came to know that this idea had been enunciated by Dr. Sigmund Freud and is a part of popular psychological history; the psychological process that occurs to effect a resolution of conflicts.
How I managed to do this would entail another detailed blog, but for now it is suffice to observe that the importance of recognising the burning need to change one's outlook when necessary, and to resist the temptation to hold onto disproved and rusty components of thought cannot be overestimated, especially when the necessary spiritual growth is waiting to take place. It is very easy to glibly say that one must be open to new ideas, but it is quite another to do so in practice. As a matter of fact it's quite like how Sai Baba himself describes it; breaking you down and remoulding you in a fashioned image.
These ideas can apply to just about everything and is not necessarily restricted to spiritual issues. But the experience of this remoulding is something distinctly unique, almost as if the transition itself was so smooth that it was hardly noticed.
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