This title may perhaps surprise you. It may cause you to think variously. Conflicts are there, no doubt, in the mind within the world and without. We need not create them deliberately. They are already there of their own accord, compelling us to look to them and try for removal. Normally their elimination is our concern, the set purpose of our life. All our efforts are generally directed to this end. How then can it suddenly be said that conflicts, the contradictions we see and experience, are the things that feed the mind, much less that they are the things in which the human mind will find its fruition, fulfillment?
Well, this is what I have to say, reveal, and describe. Philosophy has the aim of probing into truth and exposing it, whatever it may be and wherever. The attempt of the thinker is always relentless. The seeker has to pursue his seeking. The think sought has to be discovered, understood, to the satisfaction of the seeker as well as seeking. Seeking knows no stealth, no corruption. In it is the innate pulsation of the unsullied human mind, intrinsic human emotions, the undeniable thirst of man for knowledge and the light it sheds.
Is not the whole world into which man is born, in which he makes his living, with which he conducts his actions, a big mess, a thorough confusion? The more we grow, the more we live, the more and more we tap different spheres and levels of our personality and the world, is this not the one lesson, the single truth, the great fact, we find, we are told and reminded of every time?
What is a conflict, a contradiction? The conflict I speak of is the conflict of the mind, the conflict of emotions, the conflict which our knowledge and experience create within us.
When two or more things, opposite to each other, are present before the mind and the mind suffers under their pressure, a conflict or contradiction will result. When the forward urge of the mind is met with a backward thrust of facts from outside, then too a conflict will emerge.
You may want to have something, but you find you are unable to have it. Also you do not see chance of gaining the object any time shortly. The mind has a strong desire either to do something in particular or to achieve some goal, but the object in view, you find, is not attainable easily. A conflict is the natural result. The condition which prevails when what is to be in the mind’s view, and what is in reality, differ from each other, is the cause of conflict. That is the conflict itself. The facts in front are not those thought of and worked for. This condition may relate to any sphere, outside or inside, any person or thing.
There are very many instances of conflict in our lives. Search and seek for actual truths from any one’s life. You will find several conflicts, a variety of them. Mostly people do not know what to do with the conflicts. That is why they suffer and continue to suffer endlessly.
Often the parents relate big problems with their children. Those who are ‘the creators’ speak about ‘their creation’. Is it not like God complaining about what He has created? God does not complain and will not. But man does. The cause is man’s own ignorance, confusion. Let him think of God and His complex parentage in relation to the world and all that it contains and reveals. The trouble of man will then be immensely reduced.
When a man and woman get married and find their life stale and incomplete without children, they desire to become parents, be promoted from manhood or womanhood to graceful parenthood. In due course, children are born to them, one first, two next and perhaps three and four later.
The expected materialises, the long-awaited and much-looked for arrives. But what is the result? In place of happiness and fulfillment, they find their opposites strongly appear. Much against their wishes, they find facing them facts and events disheartening and painful. Nevertheless, they have no option to get rid of them or to seek a redress.
‘We are yours’, assets the children before the parents ‘and so you must give us what we want’. If the parents too claim ‘you are ours, and so you must take what we give’, the words are resented by the younger ones. It becomes a one-way traffic, a choice but only of one of the two, not of the other.
Yet, what can they do? They have no right to disclaim their position or that of their children. At the same time, they do not find matters easy. Is this not a big conflict, a protracted one, which only grows and expands, encroaching newer and newer territories! What is the salvation? What is the possible end?
With every month and year, with every new phase of life of the youngsters, the problem only grows, deepens, widens and strengthens. With all this, the conflict too grows. The pressure of the mind also is on the increase. Can it be otherwise?
In this country, the marriage of a daughter and then sending her with the husband to live with the husband’s people are eventful. The daughter is brought up by the parents with love and fondness. Of course, the parents do know that the daughter is to be married. They pay the same attention to marrying her as her studies. In fact, everything about the daughter is done keeping in view her timely alliance. But when the event of marriage really comes, their minds begin to struggle with doubts, apprehensions, fears and anxieties. Yet the daughter has to be married, and she has to be sent away.
How can a human make a new alliance in the mind so soon? She has to shift her mind from her blood parents to the matrimonial parents? It is not so easy. Yet is has to be done! Will not the mind resent, struggle and ache? But all that has to be endured.
A conflict again, a serious one, which lingers on and on.
There is an ancient Sanskrit saying which describes the plight of the parents’ minds when a daughter is born to them:
With the birth of a girl in a family also sprouts the seed of prolonged anxiety about her. The parents begin to reflect and debate: ‘When she grows in age and her education is over, where, in which family, shall we find a suitable match for her? If a boy is found and she is married to him, will she be happy with him and his family members? Or will she lose all her joy and begin to suffer in the hands of the husband or this people? What, if the worst takes place!’ On the whole, to be the parents of a girl means to undergo a great deal of mental affliction!
A girl is born and brought up, definitely to be married to some one. If she is not given in marriage to a boy, then the purpose of a girl’s life, the ambition of her parents, will not be accomplished. At the same time, marriage is a risk. Its fate can turn this way or that. Suppose she is not happy with her husband or with his people, it will be eternal torture. She cannot be brought back to the parents’ care. Under any circumstances, that is wrong, forbidden. It will not work. So she will have to bear the fortune, and with that the parents too. The fortune of the parents is even greater. All their peace and hope will be shattered. They will not be able to leave the earth with any contentment.
What is the fate of the girl married well and enjoying happiness at the husband’s home? It has its thrills, but not without its tolls. With her growth and maturity, she begins to understand the role and values of the mother. It is all the more so, when she herself becomes a mother.
When everything is pleasant and prosperous with her, the husband and children, suppose her mother falls sick. She gets a message that the mother is laid up in bed, unable to move her body. The mother prefers to have her daughter by the side. That will give her relief, help and satisfaction.
The girl, who is living at a great distance, begins to weep and sob. This is the time she would long to be by the mother’s side. But the situation in her own house does not permit her to do so. The husband’s urgent needs, the children’s examinations, the father-in-law’s old age and frequent spells of disorder, all put together demand her presence and attention. Without her, the husband’s work will be handicapped. His job and profession demand her presence, very much so.
She much wants to run home, but how? What will she write to her mother? Of what use is her writing? The mother wants, if at all, the daughter’s presence, not her words.
The daughter’s mind too is steeped in agitation, agony and indecision. However, the external outweighs the internal, the physical needs overpower those of the mind. But whole needs, not the needs of her first home, but of the second; not the needs of the mother who gave birth to her and made her worthy of what she is now!
A severe conflict indeed, one that no earthly human mind can easily dissolve or endure. This is true, but of what avail is that truth? Truth is now only an ideal, an imagination, to be pondered over as an idle pursuit, a trifling myth. It cannot be actual, to be thought of with love and feeling, to be accepted with faith and realism!
She does not go; she cannot; she will not. Yet she wants to; mentally she even goes. She does go in a dream. The mind struggles; it does not accept the fact of not going. Thus the wish is one, the will is altogether another. The ambition stands apart; the event is present rightly in front. Thoughts are one; but actions are altogether another. The facts facing us are something; the truth fervently sought is different. The two do not meet. They remain quite apart, staring at each other, and making all attempts at their amity in vain!
Is there any redress then? Whither is the staunch seeker to go; what is he to think; how is he to act?
The conflict he finds is not anywhere else, but in himself! It prevails in the depth of his mind, of his wisdom, of all his feelings and professions. He may ignore it; but is can only be for a time, for moths or even for years. But that does not make it die. His disregard of it little makes it extinct or weak. What, if at all, grows weaker is he himself, not the conflict.
Time does not heal it; it cannot; it has no power to. What time does is to age us, both man and woman. With every day, man can only lose his power of healing. We are not born to forget truth, but to remember it fondly and understand it, at least in the end. How can the conflict be set aside then by any one?
The mother has her suffering too. She can little wish her daughter causing trouble to any one at the husband’s house. She will not herself like to cause trouble to her daughter’s husband and children. She wants the daughter to live her husband and for his people. That is the mother’s comfort and joy.
Yet, now the craving for seeing the daughter by the side is there. However much she argues, this feeling does not subside. Feelings have their place, strength and reality. The facts across are equally strong.
The mind’s thoughts are thus pitted against the body’s needs. The subtle part of the gentle human creature struggles against the gross part of it. The invisible psychic structure of man suffers in the hands of the visible physic. The visible questions are invisible. The invisible does not yield; yet it cannot win. Each tries to vindicate its position of prestige or superiority!
And the little and innocent human heart ache and bleeds in between, unable to be healed, yet crying unheard for a cure!
The husbands and wives have their problems indeed. Neither is the husband totally what the wife would like, nor vice versa. Each finds the other intolerant, lacking in appreciation, in basic adjustments, in making amends and timely sacrifices.
Yet the bond between them cannot be broken. Disagreements and disharmony are there. But the noose of love gets only stronger!
How can one, once love, be hated? To hate is to condemn one’s own love, oneself! To love, is to honour oneself. Man says and thinks he loves another, but truth knows itself that he loves not another but himself – his own love.
Everywhere, by every one, it is love that is loved, not the lover, not the beloved. The need and dictate of love is there strongly. It only increases, never can it grow less. But to preserve and possess it becomes harder; the tax to be paid on this account is heavier.
What is each of the couple to do? It is a big question, complex in every way. The cause behind it is the same, the pet, and perpetual conflict of the mind of man, of woman, of the young as well as old!
Poverty is resented by all. Idleness too is not liked. But when one has riches, he begins to grumble and complain. Riches is a great load to bear. But, nonetheless, the owner does not like to leave it. When there is enough of work to do, the worker finds it hard. Sometimes, over-exerting, he begins to blame himself and others. But, when there is no work at all to do, when he becomes laid up unable to do anything, he finds the fate hard to bear. Is it not complex?