When I had suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts, I had no idea about what I will write on it. As late as yesterday, I had no clue as to how to go about writing the post on time. This morning however, when I sat down for my daily session of meditation, the idea of writing about inner peace came as though it was a command and ideas on what to write also crystalised.
In Sanskrit peace invocations one always concludes by saying “Om! Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” The reason that the word Shanti, meaning peace is said three times is to invoke peace of mind during sufferings arising out of Adhidaivika (of divine origin), Adhibhautika (originated in the physical, material beings), and Adhyatmika (created by ourselves).
The word “daivika” means “of divine origin”. Adhidaivika refers to the suffering due to divine causes, causes that we have no control over. These include natural disasters like floods, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, fires and the like.
The word ‘bhautika’ is derived from ‘bhuta’ which means all “things”. It can be any entity, living or non-living. For example, even a stone can be termed a bhuta. So Adhibhautika refers to suffering caused by other things. These are classified as – other humans, domestic animals, wild animals, reptiles, insects, mosquitoes, bugs, cockroaches etc. For example, suffering can be caused by someone physically hitting you or hurting you through verbal abuse. Similarly, suffering can be caused by a snake or a scorpion bite, you may have sleepless nights due to mosquito bites, you could be attacked by a domestic or a wild animal etc.
The word ‘atmika’ means ‘self-generated’. Adhyatmika suffering is the most damaging and long-lasting as we inflict it on ourselves. This could be physical, mental, or emotional. We cause physical suffering on ourselves by, for example, overeating, not taking care of our health etc. Most other suffering is mental. We suffer when we carry negative emotions – anger, hatred, jealousy, greed etc.
In the Indian ways of life, one remarkable feature was the way the average Indian was expected to face trials and tribulations of life with equanimity and peace of mind. Unfortunately, we have become quite materialistic in our life styles here over the past few generations and so this ideal of a life of inner peace despite adverse conditions is also rare to find except in those who follow some kind of a spiritual life which will include regular meditation and study of the scriptures.
I flatter myself that I lead a spiritual life and by and large, live a life of inner peace and joy. I have not however yet reached the stage that the Dalai Lama has reached. Ido slip every now and then and get agitated. I am however making steady progress and hopefully will reach that stage before I call it a day.