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 Blooming Stars

Holiness in Life

             All are called to holiness. Holiness should be effortless like breathing. It should be the natural state of every human being. When disciples came to Christ asking him as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he called a child, and put him in their midst and said: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18: 1-4). Children are innocent. They are not programmed in the ways of the world. They are holy in their natural, unprogrammed state. They are honest and truthful. They do not know devious ways to manipulate and deceive. We are all familiar with the story wherein the guilty father going to hide in the house seeing the police officer coming to arrest him told the son to tell the officer that he is not at home. The son told the officer: “My father told me to tell you that he is not in the cellar.”

            A two-year old child is neither aware nor ashamed, for instance, of his/her nakedness. Savitri, age 47 years, from Mumbai (name and place have been changed to disguise her identity) married to her husband for 21 years lives in virtual slavery. She pretends to be happy as she does not want her two sons to know that her marriage is a failure, and that she is very miserable. I told her that I am willing to work with her in counseling if she is willing to stop her life of lie. Most people live a life of pretense in one form or another. We are programmed to compete and survive in this world, and make good impressions on others. It is often the survival of the fittest, the strongest, and the most crooked.

             A virtuous life may not get you anywhere. In reality we all have been programmed to be unholy from childhood on. So breaking through this seemingly impenetrable shield of programming is almost impossible. Thus holiness has become a very difficult proposition. One has to do heroic and extraordinary things to prove one’s holiness. In the Catholic Church, for instance, one has to work at least two miracles after one’s death to prove one’s holiness and fitness for canonization or official proclamation as a saint. This is absurd. Needless to say, I myself was moved by this so-called ideal in my younger days under heavy programming. I thought how nice it would be if my statue as a saint would be put in the niche of a church after my death!

            For a person living an aware, conscientious, truthful, selfless, loving life according to one’s conscience, it is difficult not to be holy. Nobody needs to do anything miraculous to be holy or a saint. This is everybody’s goal all the time. Our society programs us for unholiness while mouthing the virtues of holiness. A value-based life may not lead to recognition and awards from the world, but it will definitely help attain holiness. We live a hypocritical, double-life. We live an unholy life while we talk about a holy life. We have a private and public life. St. Paul said: “For I do not do the good I want, the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans, 7: 19). This is sometimes known as the principle of double law working in us. In Bhagavad Gita, Arjun asks Sri Krishna as to what impels a human to sin against one’s own will as though compelled by force (III: 36).

            The human tendency to sin (papa vasana) is brought out. Sri Krishna answers that lust and wrath born of rajas, the quality (guna) that is nothing else but a tendency or force that overwhelmingly paves the way to sin (III: 37). He also talked about knowledge being covered by ignorance (ajnane avratam jnam); because of our delusion – foolishness - I wrongly think of myself as the doer of actions (ahamkaravimudatma karthahamiti manyate, III,27). Paul who influenced more than anyone else the route that practical Christianity would take stressed the principle of double law, while Bhagavad Gita also stresses the forceful tendency in humans to sin.


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