Part 2 – The First Principle

Idam aham anritaat satyam upaimi
I shall move away from falsehood towards truth=bliss!

The very first principle of Vedic philosophy is that truth and bliss are synonymous. The root ‘Sat’ is used to denote truth as in “Satya” and also bliss as in “Sadgati”. This forms the core foundation of the entire Vedic framework. In fact, this search for bliss through discovery of truth defines the most essential trait of human life. The entire progress of science and attempts made by human beings to know the world better is driven by this urge to achieve bliss through truth. This defines our humanness. In Sanskrit, humans are called Manushya, which literally means ‘one who can analyze or evaluate truth’.

Now, often we see that illusions and ignorance also bring bliss. The entire entertainment industry and even most of the cults thrive on gaining by providing bliss to masses through illusion and ignorance. This seems to contradict the principle of ‘truth’ and ‘bliss’ being synonymous. In fact this has led to many a philosophers to believe that bliss is merely a matter of perception and one cannot assess the same on parameter of true or false; right or wrong. And from a restricted standpoint, they are right as well. We shall be able to address this apparent paradox subsequently as we learn about some more fundamental principles of Vedic philosophy.

But to provide some hints, consider the fact that truth and bliss do not represent absolute points. They represent a journey…a path of progress..a process. Thus technically knowledge is another term to define the process that leads us to truth. To simplify, we can treat them as synonymous.

We enjoy apparent illusions because while we are enjoying them, we consider them as truth, based on our limited understanding and capabilities. So far an illusion appears to be true, or ignorance appears to be knowledge, we tend to enjoy them. But as our knowledge and understanding increases, we are no more able to enjoy what was bliss yesterday. We no longer enjoy putting fingers in switch-boards that we used to do when we were infants, simply because new knowledge has dawned upon us. Even the food we used to enjoy as children are not the ones we enjoy as grown-up adults. Our food preferences change, our reading habits change, our hobbies change, our aspirations change – all because we now possess more knowledge. And hence only those things that provide us bliss suited to our enhanced knowledge levels are the ones that provide us bliss.

Now also consider the fact that the same level of bliss provided again and again makes us bore again. Thus the same tasty gulabjamun eaten again and again seems to degrade the level of happiness we are able to derive from its taste. We now need a change. We want to grow now. The small infant had had enough of blabbering lying in the couch. It now wants to stand up and try to walk. It wants to explore more. And it shall do that regardless of the number of times it falls down or gets hurt. It shall simply not give up until it is able to stand up, walk, run and jump. The basic nature of soul is in full steam in a child – in its urge to grow and progress.

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