H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

NIDOSHA (free from defects)

By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings:

free from mistakes

Nidosha literally means free from defects. For a long time, probably from before the Age of Light, western thinkers have given up the idea that there could be someone who has no defects. Neo-rationalists have no more connections to metaphysics and for the modern psychologists the mind is the subject. On the other hand for the Vedic Rishis the extroverted mind, or manas, is matter, prakriti1, because the true subject is the purusha or atman, the immortal spiritual being. Manas, the mind, is not the subject but the object, it is an instrument that is to be used by the self. Nidosha cannot develop without this vision of life, if first of all we do not understand the difference between subject and object, and we identify with the body and the mind. One is squeezed by the vice of conditionings has a hard time even just to imagine that there could be someone who is free from them; we should not forget that the greatest conditioning is avidya2, non-awareness of the self.

Nidosha is the characteristic of a person who has become free from anarthas; he can still make mistakes but such mistakes are insignificant, and due to absent-mindedness. One who has not developed a sense of discernment puts these mistakes on the same platform of the structural mistakes, through which the individual becomes alienated from the self, from his own ontological identity, but these are two very different categories of mistakes. A liberated soul may be unsure if the street such and such is on the right or on the left, but this has nothing to do with those structural mistakes that make us slide into adharma3. What corrupts personality is a selfish attitude, known as kripana. Kripana is the opposite of mahatma4, in Latin magnanimus. The great soul has a wide vision, a deep understanding, a big opening, differently from the person who is tied within the narrow limits of the ego and has big inner blockages. The mental, affective and emotional blockages that are always generated by attachments must be de-structured, otherwise they condition our choices, behaviors and, in the long run, our character.

Through bhakti, the path of devotion and faithful love, these blockages are shattered. The spiritual master must be affectionate towards the disciple, know him deeply so that he can correct him, and in order to know him he must observe how he moves, listen to him also when he speaks to others, watch his way of eating, his way of relating with others; in this way he will be able to locate the psychic lumps that need to be dissolved, and to apply his therapy. Such psychic complexes obstruct the correct process of development for Bhakti, but the master intervenes with some words, with his own behavior, with his love, and gradually he turns the disciple into nidosha.

All material attachments generate conditionings, even the most innocent ones, like the attachment for ice cream or for comfort, and those of a sattvic nature such as attachment to family or preoccupation for the body's health. When I speak of excessive attachment I mean morbid, pathological attachment, that attitude that creates the terror of losing something or someone, the fear that what we have can go away. In this way the world becomes "objectified" and nidosha remains impossible.

Free as the wind, warm as the sun, delicate as a flower, tolerant as a tree, humble as a blade of grass, affectionate towards all creatures, devoid of ulterior motives and distinction: these are the nidosha persons. They feel the benefit of others is not different from their own, because they know there are no different goods in the world: good is one, and everyone can participate and benefit from it.

Thinking that our kith and kin have more rights than others, of that our children can be more important than the children of other people, that our Scriptures are the only valid ones, is a form of disease, a pathological form, just like believing there is one way only for spiritual realization indicates cultural and spiritual immaturity; bhakti is supreme but is found in all the paths of spiritual realization.

On the path of bhakti devotion is more intense and evident; it is like saying that mathematics has a central value in the Faculty of Mathematics, while it has less value in the Faculty of Archeology, but it is the same mathematics, more or less developed. Thinking that English has an absolute value in the Faculty of English Literature while it has zero value in Engineering is a limited way of thinking, typical of people who see the world in black and white and is incapable of seeing hues. Bhakti is like gold: in some mines there is more, in other mines there is less, but gold always has the same value.

If we associate with nidosha persons we can attain the state of nidosha, while by associating with persons who have numerous and deeply rooted defects, it becomes an impossible dream.

If we follow a serious and constant process of purification, the condition of nidosha can be attained, and in a short time, too.

In many cases the West is concerned with notionism, because in spite of its extraordinary development, it has not made adequate distinctions between theoretical knowledge and practical realization; professors themselves are often uninterested in practicing what they teach. Maybe they give information on the Hindus and describe their social habits, but they are simply external commentators. This is not true realized knowledge. Only by living it daily, by experimenting it in tangible reality, by applying it in all our choices, knowledge becomes fixed and internalized.

Nidosha does not depend on a ponderous accumulation of data, that do not necessarily correspond to the development of wisdom. A person may know many formulae, may have memorized a lot of theories, equations, verses, and can span from physics to chemistry to Sacred scriptures, but if that information has not become experience, practice of life, it remains barren. Nidosha is a state of mind, not a state of culture.

To take the path that leads to the state of nidosha, there is a condicio sine qua non: meeting a genuine Spiritual Master, a realized person who can direct, guide and inspire us. This is why it is said that one who meets the Spiritual Master has received the greatest blessing from the Lord; this meeting does not happen in each lifetime, and it can come after very long periods of aridity in our life. The texts of Tradition describe this meeting and give it the utmost importance; they celebrate it as a marriage between heaven and earth, as the re-establishment of the relationship between the human and the divine platforms.

What is the psychological type to which nidosha belongs? It cannot be categorized within the four divisions of Jung's psychological types. We could say it escapes the psychological mapping of modern psychologists because this individual has gone through a catharsis, a process of purification. Plato spoke of a philosophical catharsis, through which the individual becomes closer to the intellectual world. Aristotle spoke of a catharsis of aesthetics, through which the understanding of emotions takes us closer to psychology, and at the end of this path we discover that there is no aesthetics without ethics. Real aesthetics is the science of perceptions, and it reaches its peak, its maximum height, when it unites with ethics, otherwise perceptions and emotions become disorderly, anti-ecological and damaging for the very system of perception.

There is also a catharsis of a religious type, constituted by prayer, chanting, liturgy and rituals. The supreme catharsis, enabling the deepest and most definitive purification, is diksha5, or spiritual initiation.

1 Nature, constituted by eight elements: bhumi 'earth'; apa 'water'; anala 'fire'; vayu 'air'; kham 'ether'; manas 'mind'; buddhi 'intelligence' and ahamkara, 'distorted sense of the ego'. Also called apara-prakriti or inferior energy, it is the manifestation of the external potency (bahiranga-shakti) of the supreme Being, and works under the influence of time (kala). From prakriti the three gunas emanate.

2 Cosmic ignorance, lack of awareness of the individual in regard to his own ontological spiritual nature, constituted by eternity (sat), knowledge (cit) and bliss (ananda).

3 Opposite of dharma, ‘disorder, imbalance, lack of harmony, impiousness’.

4 Literally, ‘great soul’, enlightened or realized person.

5 'Spiritual initiation, consecration'. In the spiritual Tradition of ancient India, one cannot walk alone on the path of self realization; we need the guidance of a Guru, a person realized in that science within a succession of masters (Parampara). Spiritual initiation equals to a symbolic death to mundane life and a true rebirth to spiritual life; therefore the initiate is called dvija: twice born.

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