Archive for July 21st, 2009
This man can be best described as a “sadhu,” someone who has chosen to live on the edges of society so that they can focus on their personal spiritual development. A sadhu renounces family, possessions, career and anything else that would distract from the goal of “moksha,” liberation from the wheel of life, liberation from having to be reborn.
That said, it appears to me that this sadhu and many others that I saw in India, was not really escaping distraction. So many sadhus fill the spaces where tourists are found. For three days this sadhu spent many hours in animated conversations with young white tourists, mostly Americans while sitting on the steps of the ghat that was the busiest in Varanasi.
In contrast to individuation, moksha seems to be about abandonment of self, of ego. Individuation assumes becoming more conscious and in the end, more related to society. But, both the sadhu and the individuant find themselves on the fringes of society. One as an ascetic, denying self; the other also in his or her own way, holy while celebrating and embracing the union of opposites within. In the end, both might be the same. Yet, for me, somehow, there is a difference. For me, the route of individuation results in giving service in a holistic sense to the collective. It becomes a journey of making a difference in the raising of the collective consciousness. Both are about “soul,” about saving and nourishing the soul. I need to learn so much more.