— Swami Narasimhananda —
It is quite trendy to follow what is trending these days. One wears what is the fashion, talks what is the fad, eats in places that are happening, watches movies that have rave reviews, buys mobile phones with highest star ratings, and sheepishly surrenders one’s wit and will to the scales of five-star markings, ‘most likely’ to ‘least likely’, serials of one to ten, and all other such euphemistically foolish human inventions of mass subordination. What has happened to the human ability to think, one might wonder. In a race to prove to be better than the others, in a race to find concurrence with others, and also in desperate attempts to be liked and loved, human beings are being engulfed in a vicious whirlpool of trending topics and viral phenomena.
How does something trend? How does something go viral? For something to trend or go viral, two things are necessary: the arising of a new creation and the acceptance of this creation by a large number of people. Any such creation could be an artistic creation, some work of utility, or could even be a thought or idea. One who creates this creation has to have some kind of inspiration to accomplish this feat. Though the degrees of subtlety or finesse of the creation might vary, the creator should feel the inspiration from within.
Hashtag moksha should be our call to ourselves
and a wisdom shared with others.
Integral to the phenomena of trending or going viral is the willingness or ability of the creator to share one’s creation. Unexpressed gems of thought or hidden works of art can never reach a person other than the creator, much less become trending or viral. A person should then, first feel the inspiration or even a need for creating something and then, also consider it important to share such a creation. This act of sharing only increases the value of that thing to the creator, because in true sharing, one acknowledges the fact that the thing shared is, or could be, of the same significance to others as it is to the creator.
This is quite opposite to the general perception that something that is personally important to someone should not be shared with others, to preserve the sanctity of personal memories, thoughts, and feelings. However, do these so-called personal memories, cherished moments, connections, or relationships give true happiness or joy or is it the connection of our self or being that adds joy to the otherwise mundane commonalities of life? In truth, these personal somethings are not existentially important to us. That is why we do not want to share them. Without our ‘I’ connected to these things, they lose all meaning. On the other hand, we do share wisdom of all kinds. Human beings shared the wisdom of fire and the wheel. We humans have an inborn tendency to network. And through the networks that we create, we share all existential wisdom.
Thus, it is not enough if the creator has a creation and the willingness to share it, but that creation should be existentially relevant. Then arises the natural question whether the innumerable songs, videos, tweets, memes, and other such countless phenomena are existentially necessary for human beings. These things are by themselves, of course, not necessary for us, but the feelings of humour, togetherness, love, and a host of other such human emotions are definitely existential to the human condition. That explains why a creation willingly shared by a creator is accepted by others. This acceptance comes due to the shared need for the diverse human faculties.
On a closer look, though, one immediately understands this sharing and acceptance to be mere dabbling on the surface of human existence. As is well-known, it is death that is certain in human life. Similarly, it is suffering that is the common denominator of all stages of the human existence. However, one would be surprised at the obtuse nature of the general human intellect that fails to comprehend this all-pervasiveness of suffering in every moment of human life. Had it not been the case, Lord Buddha would not have had to proclaim to the world the obvious truth that there is suffering in this world. He was only repeating what numerous seers and rishis before him had told to the world.
This idea of suffering has a corollary idea of a way that leads us out of this suffering. The first task at hand is to understand that suffering pervades every moment of our lives and then to understand that we have to have a completely different outlook on and understanding of every moment of our lives. When we have the correct understanding of our selves, this universe, and our lives, we would know that there was no suffering in the first place, and that all this suffering was created due to our wrong understanding.
This idea of suffering and a way out of it is the creation of great experimenters of reality, whom we call sages and saints. They went out of their way to share this twin idea with the world; they wanted to share their bliss with others. Uncountable incarnations and prophets have flooded this world with their wisdom; more will come in the future. But, it is a pity and a great loss, a great misfortune, that this twin idea of the problem and the solution has not been accepted by the masses, that it has not started trending or not gone viral. The reason is contained in the twin idea itself, suffering, or more accurately, the suffering of the ignorance of the truth of suffering. To draw a parallel from present times, this is much like a person being oblivious of some ailment, who has to be told of this suffering by a doctor after conducting many investigations, and then the person starts suffering or starts being aware of the suffering.
This twin idea of suffering and moksha needs to trend today more than ever in the history of humanity. We have created an impenetrable labyrinth of illusions within illusions, concentric circles within concentric circles, whirlpools in whirlpools of misery, series within series of lies, and have marred a clear vision of our perfect selves with fleeting dreams, foggy as ever. Swami Vivekananda promised us that he would continue to work till every being in this universe realises its identity with God. While we have made Swamiji, the person, a trending topic, and while many of his utterances are going viral, have we or should we not accept the need to know that we are one with God? Why are we embroiling ourselves in this deep mire of murk? Why do not we see light that is beckoning us to be seers? Let us trend this moksha, let us tweet mukti, let us make this twin idea viral. #moksha should be our mantra till we find light, till we find that one answer to all questions. Hashtag moksha should be our call to ourselves and a wisdom shared with others.