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In The Age Of Social Media - How One Could Keep One’s Mind On God

Sri Ramakrishna used to explain how one could keep one’s mind on God even while being engaged in worldly activities. He gave the example of a village woman in rural Bengal selling puffed rice. She would be cooking the puffed rice, stirring the pot as required, breastfeeding her baby, and negotiating with a customer, all at the same time. The mind can likewise be kept on God, and yet also function normally in the world.

Sri Ramana Maharishi gives a similar example: “When village women walk with their water pots on their heads and chat with their companions, they remain very careful, their thoughts concentrated on the loads on their heads. Similarly, when a sage engages in activities, his activities do not disturb him because his mind abides in Brahman.”

In the age of social media, we need to at least try to keep our minds engaged in the Self alone. The world is constantly demanding our attention; or rather, our minds constantly rush out to the world. Added to this, is the problem of endless social media messages and relations that people today get entangled in. But do we need to worry about flimsy relationships in the virtual world? In any case, what is the actuality about worldly relationships, and even about the world itself? Are the relationships and the world real or is the Self real? Should one pay attention to that which is unreal or to that which is real?

The greatest bane of our modern scientific civilization is that it constantly throws at us a thousand things that are not real but seek to engage out attention. Sri Ramana Maharishi’s way is attention-oriented. Single-minded, continuous, unbroken attention to the ‘I’ is required until firm establishment in the Self is ensured. What does a seeker engaged in such sadhana do when his friends call upon him insistently to join their WhatsApp group or some other such group? If the seeker is unable to resist the temptation of gossip, the desire to ‘catch up with the old gang’, then surely, the seeker will drown in the sea of unreality. Of course, it is not a great sin to socialise, but the problem for the majority of human beings is not that they are great sinners, but that they fritter away their energies in satisfying silly temptations. The problem with the avid social networker is that he cannot realize God for he cannot find time for sadhana.

Source - Excerpts from article titled 'Loka Vichara versus Atma Vichara' by Sanjeev Kumar Nath published in the Mountain Path January - March 2022 issue.