The only other hope for me was the domain of spiritualism. What modern science cannot observe through its meters and scopes, a spiritual person can decipher through introspection and spiritual knowledge. Very closely associated was the concept of religion.
I was born in Kolkata, the den of communism in India and was exposed to two sharply contradicting theories – “religion is opium, science is truth” and “all religions are equal”. The first one was the basic mantra of communism, and second was the political agenda of Left Front. And thus both these themes continued in my life for most of the time. They both provided me with swords to cut each other. Ultimately I found that both ripped off each other so much that both turned out to be hoaxes in the sense popularly or commonly understood. What I mean is that both failed to give me a satisfactory solution which is scientific, rational, logical and intuitive to this problem of death.
That was why I found myself having more and more of such bouts. More I dwelled into the prevailing solutions for this fundamental problem, more I could observe their loopholes, and more skeptic I became to everything in life.
I went behind all the major spiritual schools of thoughts and religions. Be it Advait of Shankaracharya, Vedanta of Vivekananda, the Puranas, the Geeta, the Mahabharat, the Ramayan, the Upanishads, the Quran, the Bible, and so many other religious texts, I hardly left any to dig out the solution to my problem.
My life became story of the eternally confused. Should I go for high moral character? Or should I become a lecher? The first guarantees spiritual success and hence freedom from death. The second provides me immediate gratification assuming that in end everything is going to end in big zero for everyone. But then, what is the sense in going for temporal enjoyments when it is so fleeting. And then, what makes an enjoyment, an enjoyment is merely the way my mind works. So in any case, it is better to change the way my mind function than run here and there pointlessly for sake of enjoyment.
As a student of science, at least the following was now clear in my mind:
a. Either life exists after death or it does not exist.
b. If it does exist, it is better to be spiritual. That will ensure trouble-free afterlife.
c. If it does not exist, everything is pointless. So whatever you do is fine.
d. Since I am in doubt, I should do what maximizes my profit in both cases. Thus I should better be spiritual. In case life exists, I shall be a winner. If it does not, still it is same for everyone, so there is nothing to lose.
e. Now the question of enjoyment comes. If I run after worldly fun, I will have lots of fun as everyone is having. So on surface it appears that it is better to seek temporal enjoyments.
f. However, happiness is a state of mind. Spiritualists and modern scientists both regard mind as inanimate object. This means the way I control my mind will define my happiness. Thus it is more efficient to change the way my mind works as per my will, rather than run like a monkey here and there to gather petty bananas thrown by master (nature).
g. In conclusion, let me continue exploring the mystery of life and death. But meanwhile the most optimal solution would be to control the mind and live like a spiritualist. That may also help me get the solution more easily, if at all it exists.
This conclusion gradually firmed up in my mind and I found myself detached from most worldly pleasures. Not because I avoided them as source of sin. But because of two reasons:
a. I found them so temporary and fleeting
b. I wanted to control my mind further
Soon I observed that most of the so-called worldly enjoyments are sheer hoaxes propagated over a period of time but having no logical basis. Even temporal enjoyment was much more in those things which conformed to the spiritual practices.
Of course, there were many of them that I found myself hooked to more as a habit than anything else. Once into them, I would lose sight of my goal of finding answer to that fundamental problem of my life and be immersed in fun and enjoyments. They provide convenient escapades and pre-empt my bouts. But then, suddenly, the question would knock me loudly for answer the way it is knocking today in middle of the night!