Sastric Praman and Common Sense: The meeting point.

In the midst of an irregular snowing day at the end of April, I have decided to pen some more thoughts on paper,or should we say on e-paper. Now before I commence, I’ll like to dispel all ambiguity the heading might raise. This article in no way claims that common sense is superior to or better than sastric praman. This is more of a methodological approach to sastric praman from a common sense approach. That been said let’s get started.
It is clearly mentioned in the scriptures and repeated by many acarya’s; saintly teachers, that one should see through the eyes of the scriptures i.e sastra caksusa. I totally accept this fact and do advocate the same, however there seems to be a blurry gap between identifying a situation requiring sastric approach and a situation requiring common sense approach. In other to look at this deeply we shall examine a couple of real life situations and then try to see what fits best. Every situation we face is usually spread across three divisions namely; physical, subtle and spiritual. Usually many people confuse the subtle for spiritual but there is a difference.
Just as we have physical bodies, subtle bodies and our spiritual bodies, different situations affect these different aspects too. Trying to administer a physical solution to a subtle problem not only compounds the problem but doesn’t yield any tangible result. In the same vein trying to solve a spiritual situation using material solutions is just as counter productive as the former. Without getting too much into logic let’s quickly look at this example. A devotee walks up to you and says “hey, I have a little problem that whenever I am chanting I fall asleep.” Now the typical scenario that occurs is this, the listener immediately starts quoting sastric reference to prove that your mind is not focused and that you are not attentive and then summarizes the whole talk by saying it’s a spiritual defect. In as much as I accept that all of these could be “possibly true”, I’ll suggest a different step by step approach.
First and foremost, ask the devotee involved “how many hours of sleep do you get a day?” If he says two hours for instance, common sense tells you that a Man sleeping two hours a day is definitely prone to fall asleep at 5:00am if he is praying. Second question that would be logical to ask is how much of physical activities do you engage in during the day? Do you eat heavy at night before bed and hence wake up feeling drowsy even though you get enough sleep?
These and many more, are physical questions one can ask first in order to see if the physical aspects are all clear. Now in a case where the devotee has about 8 hours of sleep daily, doesn’t physically exert himself, has a good diet and everything seems okay, then we can take it a little step forward and suggest doing parikrama around Tulsi while doing Japa meditation. Most people find sitting down a natural sleep inducer, and prefer to walk to keep sleep at bay. If however all physical conditions are perfect as mentioned above, and the devotee tries walking but still sleeps even while walking then now you know this is clearly beyond the physical. At this point a subtle approach could be administered.
Finding someone else who doesn’t sleep during japa, who chants audibly enough to keep one awake as a chanting partner could be a nice step to help the devotee in concern on a subtle level. Now one might ask how is this subtle? Having a friend who sits besides you, whom you know will gently tap you to wake you up whenever you dose off, is a nice reassuring manner to adress such a situation thereby giving the devotee not only physical support of keeping him awake but the subtle need for companionship and mental support, making him/her know that this problem is not peculiar to you alone and I’m here to help you provided we both agree to go through this process together.
Now if the physical approach is all clear, and the subtle remedy also isn’t providing much help then we can thus see that the problem might be more deep rooted than we envision. At this point, we might want to see how this person performs in other activities in their lives. Do they also sleep at work? Are they lackadaisical to important activities? Do they exhibit tendencies of someone in gross ignorance, like sleep, inertia, madness? If all these are checked as positive then we can at this point administer some spiritual remedy backed by sastra.
At this point some of my readers might say but why go through all these if I can see it immediately that it is a spiritual problem? Well the answer is a multiple choice one. Owning to the fact that we don’t have perfect judgement due to our imperfect senses, one can not be totally “too sure”, except if you are a Nitya siddha jiva, an eternally liberated soul, who sees beyond time, place and circumstances. If you however do not fall in this category, it is safer to try to administer “help or treatment” after proper diagnosis of the situation in depth. A good example is visiting a doctor, you might have all the symptoms of fever and the doctor could clearly see these symptoms just by looking at your eyes, mouth and asking a few questions. However a good Doctor would for the benefit of doubt and for double clarity, run a few tests either by blood or other body fluids. The reason for doing so is not only to confirm if you have fever but to see if there is more to your ailments than just the fever itself.
Why do we think that the process is any different for spiritual diagnosis? Why do we feel the need to sermonize every problem? One would agree without a doubt that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad was very successful in the management of “issues” while physically on the planet because He had an all round vision of everything. He could analyse things from a Father perspective, from a Family Man perspective, from a Business perspective, from a Spiritual perspective, from a Subtle perspective, and over and above all from the perspective of an eternally liberated soul. This gave his answers and decisions a very wholesome approach that defy time and space.
In conclusion, let us try to step back and double check whenever we have to administer “help”, there is always more to somethings than meets the eyes. Hope to get your feedbacks on this line of thought. Till our next read, have a blissful day ahead.


2 Replies to “Sastric Praman and Common Sense: The meeting point.”

  1. Thats why is the best to have a good and experienced mentor if not yet a guru. And its a good pointer of the fact that u just cant preach(help) if u dont have realised knowledge to pass on for practical use for each devotes level of advancment.

    Liked by 1 person

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