Sociable wisdom manages to see such as: Some relations are derelict; some are teeming with ulterior motives; worth is judged by one's outward positions, or even the ideas that were put "into infirm heads". From these and many other influences hard-hearted ones profit, and cling to them.
Ramakrishna once said,
"The cow cries "Hamba!", which means 'I". That's why it suffers so much. It is yoked to the plough and made to work in rain and sun. Then it may be killed by the butcher. From its hide shoes are made, and also drums, which are mercilessly beaten. Still it does not escape suffering. At last strings are made out of its entrails for the bows used in carding cotton. Then it no longer says, "Hamba! Hamba!" "I! I!" but "Tuhu! Tuhu!", "You! You!"
Only then are its troubles over. [Only now it is dead!]
Egotism is the cause of all suffering, says Ramakrishna (1974, tale 50). Well, it is not true. But the cow says "Moo" and similar. You can count on that . . .
The art of living well is seen in filtering out harmful contacts, maximising good ones, and go for healthy endeavours on an "even keel".
Healthy egohood is an integral, deep part of man's mind as he was meant to be - normal and not to be dispensed with. Selfishness is different. But even selfishness steered well may pay for a long time, depending on how enlightened you are. It is possible to do good out of selfish concern, and benefit from doing good. The idea of laying up heavenly merits - akin to "good karma" is rooted likewise.
The Transactional Analysis (TA) of Dr. Eric Berne counteracts much badness if set into system, and there is documentation that it can do so. (See for example Jongeward 1976)
Don't be run over
A lot of Hindu teachers talk down on 'egotism'. What is meant by it may be blurred or unclear, though, and breed confusion. Confusion often incapacitates. What seems wrong is too much selfishness in adults. But it tends to drops off in some. Selfishness is natural in children, and at times dear. "Not too little, not too much, aligned with one's stage in life, or conditions" could be the preferrable attitude. The same goes for bland assertiveness. Much depends on blandness.
Also, a sort of well-proportioned "middling fare" could serve many.
Stories and alleged wisdom of such as Indian "saints" seek to fix conformity to standards and ideals and notions, but not all of them make fit for living after all.
Hinduism is vast. Some of its goodies may be hard to come by, if at all, and besides, appearances may deceive. And it could pay to stay at home and not steer into merely alleged Hindu wisdom.
Some balanced, non-proselyting survey first should work well. A fine study of Hinduism a few decades ago, was made by Dr. R. C. Zaehner (1966) And it's good to have built up a general frame of understanding before outright propaganda by foxes. Moral lessons matter. Instead of advocating adaptations fit for guru servility and "giving up the world", we may focus on deep-going instructions for all-round thriving. Getting educated so as to make a living helps many.
Being rooted in the better titbits of your own culture may function all right too, depending on that culture and your surroundings.
Among orthodox Hindus, the Vedas have top authority, religiously speaking. Eating meat is not forbidden in the Vedas. Many gurus say no to eating meat. There were three divisions of society then; the fourth and pretty much renouncing state came later. Many guru monks advocate that fourth stage anyway . . . In fact, they speak highly of old Hindu books they do not all follow, and do not act according to these basics.
Results of saying one thing and doing another may ibe confusion and deterioriation, even insanity. For example, in many handed-over traditions of yoga there is much talk of sacrifice and renouncing - of giving up, giving way - to the end that others profit in this world. It may become an insipid means of doing long-range harm.
A low life may be lifted up into being a sect-driveller, however. So there could be good sides to sect inculations that make all right persons embarrassed.
Jongeward, Dorothy, et al. Everybody Wins: Transactional Analysis in Management. Rev. ed. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1976.
Ramakrishna. Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Madras: Ramakrishna Math, 1974.
Zaehner, R. C. Hinduism. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.
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