Saturday, March 31, 2012

What is material world?

Humans are often criticized for their attachment to material world. Its considered as some sort of trap where once you get stuck, its difficult to get out. Reason for our spiritual and moral decline is often blamed on our desires and attachments associated with this material world. What is this material world after all? Is it our planet, our surroundings, our possessions, people around us, what is it?

If we assume God as creator of all living beings then this whole earth or universe is its creation, so how it can be a trap or bad thing? If this material world is so bad or its a trap full of so many distractions and evil things then why God sent us here?  For me earth is the best planet in entire universe and we are lucky to be on it, that's why we call it our mother planet/earth. How can mother be a distraction or source of our downfall. We are still trying to find evidence of life on other planets and it’s very much possible that we might find evidence on some of them but still ours will be the most beautiful planet.

Now let’s see why this planet or material world or attachment with it is often criticized in scriptures/religions. This is the place where we are born and live our entire life and during that process we get attached to many things which is quite natural. Most religions believe either there is life after death or there is some other planet or world (which is supposed to be better than ours) where one goes after death (that too if you qualify to go there). It’s also believed that your attachments on this planet hinder your journey to that unknown destination. All religions paint different picture of that promised land (heaven or hell whatever you want to call) and also prescribe different ways to qualify to go there.We use everything available on this planet to fulfill our needs and desires. After serving us so well and honestly his poor material world gets blame for our attachments and miseries.

Aim of religion was to replace all our attachments with only one attachment (that is God or whatever that religion preaching). They see these material attachments as biggest threat to them and want to eliminate their competitors that's the only reason I see they criticize it. People many times use wrong ways to satisfy their desires or greed, but they don't do this only for their material desires there are enough examples of religious extremism, forceful conversions, hatred about non-believers, communal riots, etc. all these are due to human attachment to religion/God in these cases. People think its God's will  to preach their religion and they are serving/pleasing God by doing this. Its even said that “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” How come then only material desires or attachments are blamed/criticized in scriptures but not the religious attachments? May be someone can explain this for me.

These so called distractions and attractions around us are part of life and life is interesting because of them. Running behind them is not the whole purpose of life; everything has its own importance and meaning in life. For example eating is necessary for living but if you only pay attention towards eating and do nothing else, eat as much as you can, then you know what will be the result and it might become cause of all your problems and destruction. Give importance to things as much as they should be given (or deserve) and to know how to do this is living balanced life. Every person is different and different things have different importance to different people.

This planet is our home for rest of our life and we are privileged to have it. Whatever we learn, achieve, discover, create is all from this so called material world. It's source of all our happiness, problems and sorrows (everything which we have). There is perfect world around us which provides us everything we need, it has enough for our need but not for greed. Real material world, its imperfections or attachments or distractions are not out side but they are inside our mind and we need to control that, no point in blaming anyone for that. So called heaven or hell everything is here and we experience it so many times during our life but don't realize it. It's our duty to take care of this planet as generations to come will be living here. We should try to make this place more beautiful than it was before we leave.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinions about this topic.

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 


  1. Why god sent us here?
    According to scriptures, I think, God did not just sent us here but he came with us. That's why it is said god is within us. The only problem is that people dont realize it.
    I do agree with that no need to completely detached from material world and enjoy it as it comes, but the attachments should also be checked regularly (by oneself) for the proper development of society. For example a child has attraction/attachment for toys, when he grows (in teen age) he gets attached to games/activities of that age in adulthood (say ~25 years of age) he start earning and get attached to monetary things. Interestingly this attachment stays until the death as whatever he does is for money money and only money, irrespective of he being religious or not!! I think as if the individual does not want to grow after the age of 25.


    Interesting explanation on this link...

    This is a recent perspective and an intelligent and rational one:-

  3. Vinay, the article is good, but I know you can explain it better than what you have done. The subject is very very good, points shown are amazing, but its quite difficult to read. Read it again and you will probably know.

    @Nitin, I can not agree with you more on first few points, but I completely disagree when it comes to bashing others. We should stop speaking about what others do, and only speak about ourselves. Sorry for being direct, but I think we cross boundaries many times and try to bash others at every opportunity which is unfair. If someone has to understand about life, there are so many readings to understand it, but bashing others only makes things worse. That is my personal point of view. I believe in letting people make mistakes to learn. Bashing only makes them accept things out of fear, or completely rejecting with rebelliousness. Lets try to balance out that area.

    Regarding topic, I consider materialistic world as a mean to make our life better on this planet. May be there is a better life after death, but what if there is not. Can you believe in someone making such claims. My simple answer is no. Simple reason is my mind does not have capability to think beyond certain limit. I am not going to punish my mind for not being able to do that. Rather, I am going to let it enjoy its success for bringing me up to the place where I never ever thought I can be. My mind has worked hard for 30 years to see a better life. If 30 years is not enough to figure out the best way to live my life, no amount of years or lives will be enough. For me life is here and now itself. Let me enjoy. If there is a better life somewhere else, sure, you go ahead. I will follow soon enough because I believe in theories than assumptions. It is that plain simple.

  4. @ Vishnu: I truly apologies if my comment sounded like bashing on others, however I never meant of bashing anybody. The analogy I used is to explain the general pattern in society (not pointed to any individual). You are right about "we should speak about ourselves only", but if you read some of my other comments (on other topics) you will understand that I have strongly emphasized on changing ourselves (i.e. principles) and not attempting to change others (i.e. Making Rules). The analogy I used in my comment was actually the recent lesson I learnt from my life experience. Hope that is fair enough explanation.

    1. No problem Nitin. There is nothing for an apology there. I spoke what I felt, you spoke what you felt. The end goal is getting better and making sure we pass on good values and be there as role models for whoever want to seek one. Your apology itself reflects your receptiveness to other ideas. Cheers for any positive outcome which comes out of our discussions...

  5. I think that all we have is this world around us. Whatever else written in books or scriptures is unknown destination and no one ever had any interaction with that world. My point is nothing wrong in getting attached with things, whether you want or not you have to leave it all behind and go one day. Whether to go with satisfied mind or with pain in heart is our choice. Heaven or hell everything is here. As I said give importance to things as much they deserve then there wont be any problem. Age is just a number, your age is not related with your intelligence or understanding so dont worry about age, enjoy the life and try to spread love and harmony.

  6. very nice and I think relevant to this subject also....
    Jesus says: “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Everything is made for man; man is the supreme value. Even God, the idea of God, is for man, and man is not for the idea of God. Sacrifice everything to man and don’t sacrifice man to anything whatsoever. Then you help....Osho

  7. Vinay, this one definitely has better flow and is easier to read too. Anyways, while watching couple of different movies yesterday or while listening to TED talk, I realised one thing why people need god/or god type figure. That is why karm theory sounds relevant too. Many times mind thinks they should have attached better. They need someone to say that. But in reality, you cant speak to any human being so freely because they have their emotions and cant understand others emotions so perfectly. That is the time, we want someone so strong like god to whom we can believe blindly. That is why different people have different gods. Unfortunately it also divided people, specially when person started saying that their god is better than other's gods.

    Coming to material world, I have got one theory. The reason few people consider material world bad is it has ability to control your emotions. By denouncing it, they feel in their own control. By giving themselves into gods, they feel in their own control, and there are many things we do which make you feel guilty. By putting it on god's name, people feel guilty less and their mind is free of emotions during work. That is one reason I think god's concept should be fine with everyone as long as there is no direct competition...