Faith

Overcome bias

The human mind gives in to discriminating tendencies that arise spontaneously and it needs great effort to overcome them and remain unbiased in any situation. In a discourse, Swami Paramasukananda drew attention to how Sri Ramakrishna would explain this issue by quoting the case of the Trimurtis who subject themselves to human emotions and gunas during the time of avatar, merely to enable human beings to learn the art of overcoming them. An interesting incident from the life of Adi Sankara illustrates this point.

Believed to be an avatar of Siva, there is no limitation to his jnana. Yet as a human being, he is subject to a situation when he reacts with a sense of discrimination. It is perhaps the Lord’s way of enabling the acharya gain the subtle Advaita jnana and thereby also teaching humanity how to deal with such feelings that frequently show up in the life of every being. It is held that once, when Adi Sankara was proceeding towards the Ganga for his ablutions through the narrow lanes in Kasi, he sees a chandala and asks him to move aside. The chandala merely asks, ‘Are you referring to my physical frame or my inner atma?’ Immediately realisation dawns in the acharya and he sees the very Lord in front of him who out of His grace has granted him jnana. This incident is the cause for the birth of Manisha Panchakam, a Stotra full of divine wisdom and jnana that can help people realise the true value of human life.

It is also held that once Swami Vivekananda was entreated by a dancer to grace her dance performance. But when he declined, she sang a soulful song of Surdas, wherein the saint pleads with God to accept him with all his faults. It enabled him to shed his prejudices and refine his own feelings about life and people.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 3:56:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/overcome-bias/article31456965.ece

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