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606. Addiction

One can get addicted to tobacco, coffee, etc. They are physical habits. Addiction has a psychological dimension. Watching TV and reading light material become such addictions. Any activity, however exalted it is, can become an addiction if one outlives its need.  Such a commendable practice like meditation can become a habit from which one cannot extricate himself, when his consciousness rises to an intensity where meditation serves no useful purpose. There are great scholars in various universities whose scholarship is prodigious. Scholarship at some point enables one to think. This is the point where the scholar has to exercise a choice. Should he prefer scholarship, he foregoes the development of thinking. People who are voracious readers have the option to develop thinking. If they want to avail of it, they should give up the taste in reading.

At this point, reading too can become an addiction. Today we know opium is a drug to be avoided. India has grown opium for long. It is produced in Turkey too. England received opium with open arms. The great French writer Dumas describes opium as a door to celestial living. In nineteenth century England, opium spread all over the nation. Among the upper classes, it became a fashion. Poets resorted to it as it inspired imagination. In Tamilnadu, Bharathi was addicted to opium. Samuel Taylor Coleridge not only resorted to it and became an addict but died of it. It was considered a wonder drug. In China one percent of the population smoked opium.  One percent of the population in India today is one crore of people.

It is a mystery to historians why India who grew opium, who suffered all kinds of miseries issuing out of poverty, did not make opium a national addiction when an educated country like England became a victim to it.  An ancient civilisation like China could fall a prey to it. Nations are evaluated by the heights they can rise to and the depths to which they can sink - as cannibals. For democracy to be stable, the per capita GDP should be above $6000. In India, with a GDP of $600, democracy is stable. Again, it is a mystery to researchers. So, opium too presents a mystery in the Indian context. The foundation of Spirit prevents the Nation Soul from falling below a certain level. That is why opium has not marred the life of the nation. For the same reason of a Spiritual basis, democracy survives here as nowhere else, with a tenth of the income studies have discovered to be necessary.

story | by Dr. Radut