Questioning – a vital base of Sanatana Dharma

 Perhaps, the core of Sanatana Dharma is solidified with this very attribute of Questioning. It is only by questioning, inquiring that one learns. It is also a proof to good listening, to ask good questions. Quite interestingly, almost any form of thought which is directed to learning is a question. Our ancestors used this natural way of the mind to imbibe their teachings. They not only encourage us question them, but dares us to challenge their claims!

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Our Puranas illustrate a lot of dialogues between characters. Be it Yudhisthira answering the Yaksha’s questions in the Mahabharata or Arjuna questioning the Lord Himself through which the wonderful Gita was uttered by Lord Krishna, or Nachiketa questioning the Lord of Death to know what the absolute truth is, our Dharma encourages us to question more. It is said that the Vedas are a compiled formation of questions and answers.

The present is echoed with a lot of questions raised (thankfully) by our younger generation, by the non-believers and on-lookers, urging us to check our authentic references for answers. It is a common misconception that the young ones question a lot and they don’t quite follow what has been said. Contrary to this, given the proper answer, they are clear and keen on following something than the skimmers and old ones who will know some facts here and there and quote it during their meetings with foreigners only to show off. They seldom know that the foreigners know much deeper about Sanatana Dharma than themselves.

Coming back, the guru-shishya (guru-disciple) parampara is a wonderful method of questioning and enlightening the inquisitive mind. The guru not only answers, but propels the student to question more, thereby expanding his field of knowledge. The children are to be taken as a role model in questioning. They question everything and don’t pollute their minds with unwanted blocks. They question what they don’t know, what interests them, simple. The very first of Lord Buddha’s eightfold path is ‘Right View’, which means to see and understand things as they really are. Needless to say, asking the right questions will help one get the real view about something.

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Here is an excerpt from Adi Shankaracharya’s Prashnothara Ratna Malika, a wonderful name which means Gem-Garland of Questions & Answers!

” Oh Lord! Which is to be taken?

The utterances of the Guru (Guruvachanam!)

The next question naturally is…

“Who is a Guru?

“One who has realized the truth and ever strives for the good of the disciple”

Today, in the myriads of corporate gurus and self-proclaimed gurus, the above answer can be easily read as “the one who never cares for the good of the disciple”. So care must be taken in posting the right question and to find the right Guru. Though this looks like a daunting task, it is said in the scriptures that for the right student who yearns for the guru, the right Guru will appear. Till then, keep your eligibility criteria under check and beware of the pseudo and boasting ones who call themselves as modern-age gurus.

Let’s ask right questions to get the right answers and never stop till we get it.