Location: Gadag, India
Dear Francis, I hope my questions do not sound poorly thought-out. Since there is, in fact, only one doer, can a sage be distinguished by his or her actions in the world? Judging from outward appearance only, it seems to me that literally anyone could be a called sage, since ultimately only the one doer exists and does actions. Thus one cannot distinguish between sage and non-sage. Yet it is difficult to see a great evil-doer as a sage. Would it be possible for one to be a sage, yet to act in ways that violate notions of justice and moral conduct? Of course, even “evil,” “justice,” and “moral conduct” are relative concepts. But they are undeniably important on the relative level. I ask these questions because I feel a background of bliss constantly growing in my life. Oddly, however, I find that my behavior in the world is not uniformly ethical or righteous, and I feel in an odd way that this feeling of bliss and peace may facilitate such behavior. Examples include no longer holding reservations over offering opinions about someone even when they are not present, what would normally be called “gossip.” Also, fear regarding pursuit of the opposite sex and their feelings has almost completely dissapeared. I do not mean to convey the wrong impression, that I am somehow out of control or deliberately doing these things. But I have sensed these changes quite clearly. Thank you and blessings, Jay
“Would it be possible for one to be a sage, yet to act in ways that violate notions of justice and moral conduct? ”
In theory, yes, in practice, in most cases, no, because the actions of the Sage flow directly from the Absolute, and not from the belief to be a separate person. However, they will not always conform to social norms or moral values or to other people’s expectations. That which is ethical in the US may be unethical in India and conversely. However, in most cases, the actions that come from wisdom will conform to societal values. Therefore, in practice, the Sage can be distinguished by his behavior which is always in line with Truth, Love and Beauty.
“Offering opinions about someone even when they are not present” is ignorant behavior if we truly believe that there is a separate individual out there who decides and performs actions. If we don’t share this belief, we can still judge an action as appropriate or not, just as we can differentiate between black and white on the phenomenal level.
We live in societies where sexuality is often seen as a creation of the devil. If we see it as part of God’s creation, our attitude towards it may change. However, the bedrock of our relationships should be the recognition of our partner as being the very same consciousness we are. That is the Love bond, the eternal bond. The pleasantness of the relationship arises as a celebration of the Love, and the sexual pleasure as one of the possible components of the pleasantness.