Friday, March 16, 2007


Viveka or Discrimination

The most natural thing that we do as soon as we meet a person or a situation in life is form an opinion based on our past experience. This is what we call being judgmental. Is Viveka or discrimination the same as judging or different? It is actually a judgment with a difference. On earth man is on top of the chain of evolution because he has the faculty of discrimination which gives him the power to choose between right and wrong, good and evil. It is correct use or abuse of this faculty which enables him to reach the sublime heights of divinity or plunge into the depths of despair.

Most of us live in this world superficially as slaves to our senses and fail to look at ourselves and persons around us as manifestations of the divinity which pervades each and every object. That is the reason why we have connotations like fair, tall, elegant, smart, good looking etc. seen as positive attributes and the opposite as negative ones. We tend to select our friends and favor our acquaintances based on these qualities. One thing leads to another in India race, religion and class become the basis of the worst use of negative discrimination in society. A closer look at life will easily tell us that appearances are very deceptive and we need the quality of Viveka or discrimination with consciousness to realize right from wrong.

The wise say we must not be biased or judgmental in our dealings with persons. Does that mean we should not decide right from wrong? Should we be indifferent? The answer to this is that we must judge but with viveka or discrimination based on our identification with the divine unchanging Self rather than the constantly changing superficial person of the world. The wise see themselves in all and all in themselves. The detached judgment prevents us from unduly favoring the ones appearing good and discriminating against the ones appearing bad. Our judgment will be free from lust, fear and anger and will be fair and correct. One must become a humble instrument in the hands of the Lord and become one with the universal consciousness. This will enable one to distinguish right from wrong.

All conflicts and violence in this world arise from the inability of individuals, groups, religions, classes and nations to rise above selfish differences. Human beings commit crimes against each other and destroy themselves and mother earth when overcome by jealousy, anger, hatred and lust. The wise or the ones who have true discrimination or viveka overcome these negative qualities and are able to see the divinity in each and every creation of God.

We cannot change overnight since man is a creature of habit. The first thing we need to do is to stop impulsively and superficially reacting to any situation. A pause and an awakening of ones consciousness by any means are needed. Looking within oneself and recognizing the Self within through meditation is essential. Use of a mantram to awaken this consciousness is the emergency brake needed to prevent us from being swept away by the surge of negative emotions. Patience and a slow considered approach will prevent us from jumping to wrong conclusions. An unselfish look at the situation where we put others before self is the hallmark of a person with discrimination or viveka.

Simple steps to use our discrimination or viveka in perfect harmony with our consciousness which is part of the universal consciousness can usher in an era of universal peace. Every individual step taken in the use of viveka or discrimination is a step towards ultimate freedom.

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