Monday, December 19, 2016

DISPUTATION

When two or more persons argue, each is trying his best to convince the others of the rightness of his own view or the wrongness of the other. At the end of an hour or so, the following picture emerges:

  1. A verbal agreement may or may not be reached depending on the relative authority, status of the disputants.
  2. A verbal agreement may or may not signify any basic conviction or change of attitude.
  3. One or the other of them will be complaining of a headache, fatigue or disgust, or of the utter obtuseness of the other fellow.
  4. Instead of the debate throwing light on the different aspects of the subject in hand, it helps to cover it up by layers of personal emotions and involvements, and as the discussion proceeds it would be seen that the final result is determined by factors far unrelated to the essential truth of the matter in hand.

When a certain X says that he is right, what he is giving is a verbal report of the total experience that he has undergone, his thoughts, feelings, autonomic reactions and so on, that occured to him in the presence of the topic referred to. His verbal report is a minute fraction of this global experience. The other, Y, does not have the same experience and his verbal efforts in marshalling so many reasons for disagreeing with X do not sufficiently convey this. Both are then forced to marshall and manipulate more and more ‘facts’ and ‘reasons’ for their separate convictions. Soon, the ego factors come into play: the need to appear cleverer than the other, the need to defend one’s individuality, the need to humiliate or avoid humiliation, the real or imagined security factors for one’s own safety and advantage and so on.


Krishna says that He is ‘vada’ if disputation. There are three modes of discussion: Jalpa, in which a person is engaged in proving himself right at any cost; Vitanda, in which a person is engaged in proving the other person wrong at any cost; Vada, in which by a calm dialectic process, both parties are engaged in revealing more and more truth of the matter in hand.


The self-realisation aspirant is aware of this. He is also aware that his own inner harmony is the most important factor, since the following must become obvious to him:


  1. Agreements do not come about by verbal agility, but are determined by the relative ‘Power factors’ of the parties: otherwise the world should now be led by only the most successful lawyers or professors of logic.
  2. A person, in a given situation, is as effective as his blood-vessels permit him! To loudly assert views, the heart quaking in the shoes or reason dimmed by anger, is like trying to shoot straight from a rocking boat.
He takes care to be aware of his feeling state in the midst of all situations, and takes measures to damp down unhealthy reactions, so that his perception of truth is not distorted. In such a state even a silent thought has more power than tons of ‘face-saving’ verbiage.

The self-realisation aspirant’s goal is the more and more effective use of his own faculties. He will soon see that one of the most potent sources of waste of energy occurs unobtrusively in the many so-called pleasant or unpleasant verbal exchanges that are part of the present civilisation - gossip, committee meetings and conferences and so on. One soon learns that the most effective interaction is t politely the positive things one has experienced, with no harsh or unnecessary critical references to another’s statement, to say once or twice what one’s positive observations are, and leave the matter at that.

1 comment:

जितेन्द्र माथुर said...

That's an extremely useful as well as admirable post. Hearty compliments.

Jitendra Mathur