Practising the Hindu concept of Unity


In my previous article, I described the principle of Unity in the Universe, with the spiritual message from the sacred Hindu scripture Isha Upanishad.  That spiritual message was: to attain true Unity, one must see the Self in others, and see others in the Self.

Allow me to explore the first part – seeing the Self in others – and take the concept a little further, through the example of a first encounter with another person.  If I approach that person with a smile, and with a “friendly” welcoming body language, that person will (hopefully) reciprocate with a friendly attitude.  A small bond is formed, which has the potential to develop further.  However, if I were to approach that other person with indifference, or even with a scowl, that would have steered the outcome in a negative direction.

Thus, I can exercise my wisdom, and my influence, to shape how others behave towards me, then towards others, and ultimately, towards the Universe.  This is the way we are able to see, and we are able to manifest, the Self in others.  (“Paying it forward” is one example of this approach of influencing others positively in a geometric progression).  The wisdom (and higher knowledge) I mentioned is called vidya in the Hindu scriptures called Upanishads.

Of course, there is the possibility that even when I approach the other person with a smile, that person reacts negatively.  In that case, I can deduce that the person is still engulfed in what Hinduism calls maya or the fog of our transient existence.  The fog has distorted the other person’s vision and perception, distorting reality, perhaps making me appear unfriendly or unworthy of knowing, in the eyes of this person. Thus the forces of dislike (or even hate) or ego would have triumphed.

This principle of transcending the fog called maya, is very much in play in our every day lives.  Whether in the arena of societal interaction, or in the corporate world (especially in sound management principles and practices), or in the political arena, examples abound of those who are champions and practitioners of either positive influence or negative influence.  The outcomes correspondingly are either positive or negative, and have a profound effect on humanity in the long run.

In our societal interactions and experiences, the principle is very much in action, with outcomes of either strong, meaningful bond with others, or the exact opposite.  We are individually and personally responsible for enriching our family, our community, and enriching those who co-exist with us on this planet.

In the corporate arena, I’m sure you have heard of autocratic leadership style, as well as democratic (or participative or affiliative) leadership style.  In your experience, which one has worked better?  Which one has brought harmony and improved motivation and job satisfaction?

In the political field, we see the principle in action at every level – local, provincial, national and international.

So, I would encourage each and everyone, to bring this principle of “seeing the Self in others” into one’s life, at one’s own pace.  And I would encourage each and everyone, to work towards dispelling the fog called maya with wisdom, thoughtfulness and (higher) knowledge, at least for oneself.

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place, if each one of us did our little part?

Suresh Basrur

Suresh Basrur practises the Hindu faith, participates in inter-faith activities in Victoria, and speaks to audiences about Hindu religion, philosophy and practices.

Source: Times Colonist