Alcohol, what is wrong with that liquid ? By a Meditation Masterposted on 28 August 2014 | posted in Information
If I ask this question without explaining, then I am sure to be dubbed as an ignoramus. People will wonder, "What has happened to Swami Paramananda?" But from my vantage point, I am right in asking this question. In our society, there is too much taboo, imposition and repression without any scientific explanation. Yes, what's wrong with alcohol? Lay a bottle of it on the table or in a corner of the house and let it there for a whole year or a whole generation, nothing wrong will happen. We will even forget it, won't we? Except for addicts, of course, who may now and then cast a glance to see if it is still there!
Today it is said that a glass of wine per day is not harmful but good for health. If that is true, then the trouble comes with going beyond the prescribed limit. But then does this not apply to everything else? Does not 'le trop nuit," as says the French adage? The problem is with the mind which by nature wavers from one extreme to another and which is attracted to that which is soothing and repelled by that which is not.
Why do religions condemn alcohol? Many people do not know the rationale. Religion is a march towards growth in awareness for that is life, while alcohol, and for that matter any excess, induces unconsciousness. Furthermore, the body is a temple wherein the cosmic energy is residing as a packet of energy awaiting unfolding. An excess of alcohol or anything else, be it even work or play, destroys the possibility of using the body for the manifestation of cosmic consciousness. Then comes all the evil that is associated with the consumption of much alcohol. But even here it has to be understood that man becomes violent and behaves in a bestial manner not because of the alcohol consumed by him but rather because of that which is his unconsciousness. An excess intake of alcohol stirs the unconsciousness and simply brings out that which was already there.
Some women disciples tell me, "My husband is a good person, it is only when he is drunk that he behaves badly." I then ask them, "But from where does the evil of your husband come? Is it from the alcohol that he consumes?" They are at a loss. In fact, absolutely anything can stir our unconsciousness and this is what happens always. Human behaviour is based on instinct coupled with what comes from the unconscious layer. This engulfs the brain and urges us to action.
Simply by abstaining from the consumption of alcohol does not make one a good human being, though it can certainly avoid the useless destruction of the human temple. But then there are numerous ways through which we are destroying it. For instance, Mauritius is rated first in diabetes. Is it then immoral to be inflicted with such a disease? No, but is not diabetes the consequence of a wrong style of living? What is a wrong style of living? Is it not going against the natural order of things? My goodness, some people will call that sin or adharma. Simply condemning people does more harm than good. Goodness by habit, principle or by blindly following a religious commandment is no goodness at all. Goodness or virtuosity is an overflow of a transformed mind and heart.
In previous times in ancient India, kings would consume alcohol – madira. The Mahabharata relates how Balram who was the elder brother of Shri Krishna was fond of drinking madira. Therefore let us not bring morality, principle or religion in things like consuming alcohol, tobacco and so on. Let us go deep into the matter, then only say things. Since ages we have been repressing things, "Don't do this, don't do that!" What has been the result? A sick and extremely dangerous human society.
Nothing is lost in this world, but human nature is such that he can turn even nectar into poison. Follow the middle path in everything. Life is a great celebration, but to participate in it, one must be aware. How can a drunken person, who is nearly unconscious and has a false perception, celebrate? Life is an invitation to cosmic consciousness, it is consciousness. Religion is a science meant to increase our level of consciousness. Do not be drunk by material things. For a wise and awakened person, getting obsessed with anything is as stupid as getting addicted with water.
The reason why people take alcohol or drugs is to achieve self-forgetfulness, the sensation of dizziness and in some cases, the guts to say or do certain things. The unconscious mind takes over, while the conscious mind is asleep. This is a state of unmanliness. A man is defined not by the number of women he can have, nor by his physical prowess because even animals are better at these. A man is he who has the courage and wisdom to fully accept and face himself as he is and then take the necessary steps to change where it is required.
An excess of alcohol destroys the body and the brain, but ignorance of the self deprives one of life itself. Hence my emphasis is not on do's and don'ts but on knowing the self. Focus on the essential, then all else will come on its own. If you wish to have the nasha-nisha (I found no English translation for the word, but let's call it pleasure) of alcohol, then dive into the ocean of love deep beyond all emotions and thoughts, drink the nectar of supra-sensuous joy. Come I'll show you the way. Why create unnecessary trouble when you are potentially an infinite ocean of joy!
By Swami Paramananda