The word ‘ichhā’ in Sanskrut means wish. Accordingly:
- Swēchhā: ‘Swa’ means me or mine. Behaving in swechha mode means doing everything as per one’s own wish.
- Parēchhā: ‘Par’ means others. Behaving in parechha mode means doing everything as per another person’s wish.
- Īshwarēchhā: ‘Īshwar’ means God. Behaving in Ishwarechha means doing whatever God wishes.
2. The concept of Own wish, Other’s wish and God’s wish in spiritual practice and growth
Almost all of us identify only with our body (five senses), mind and intellect. This is also known as our ego. However spirituality teaches us that our true nature is the soul (ātmā) or the God Principle within each of us. The nature of the soul is perpetual Bliss (Ānand), i.e. a superlative state of happiness that is not dependant on any stimulus. Broadly the aim of spiritual practice is to make us:
- Reduce and finally dissolve our identification with our five senses, mind and intellect and
- Identify with and experience the soul (the God Principle) within us.
One way to do this is by moving from one’s own wish to other’s wish and finally to God’s wish mode as part of our spiritual practice.
When we do things as per our own wish it is in accordance with what our 5 senses, mind and intellect want. As we keep giving into these desires we only enhance our reliance and identification with our 5 senses, mind and intellect. This makes it impossible for us to understand and experience the soul within us. This mode of one’s own wish is like that of an animal with little or no care for others.
There is a saying that by ignoring something we reduce its effect on us. We can use this same principle in our spiritual practice. When we listen and comply with others wishes we automatically give less importance and ignore our own wishes. When we get into the habit of acting in other’s wish mode, we begin to reduce our ego (i.e. dissolution of our 5 senses, mind and intellect).
Let’s take an example of a person being in other’s wish mode.
Mark and Elizabeth are a married couple and on a Friday night they both want to do different things. Elizabeth wants to go for a concert and Mark wants to go for a football game. Mark who is doing spiritual practice is aware of the concept of other’s wish and therefore gives way to Elizabeth’s wishes. He forgoes the football game and goes to the concert with her. With this gesture Mark grows spiritually as he has in this instance ignored his own wishes rising from his 5 senses, mind and intellect.
True following of other’s wish is thinking of the other person’s wish as your own.
With regular and increasing amounts of spiritual practice coupled with being in other’s wish mode, in time one dissolves enough of the identification one has with one’s own five senses, mind and intellect. At this stage a Guru in the manifest form comes into one’s life. A Guru has access to the Universal Mind and Intellect and acts as per God’s wish. By listening to Him and doing as per His instructions, one does as per God’s wish. When one’s ego has dissolved enough (i.e. at the level of a Saint) one is able to have direct access to the Universal Mind and Intellect and then directly able to do as per God’s wish. Behaving in accordance with God’s wish gives us the experience of God Himself.
3. Some frequently asked questions about this concept
1. To what extent should we follow another’s wish? Suppose somebody asks us to do something that is incorrect should we still follow the other’s wish or should we use our common sense and say no?
Answer: We need to keep in mind that whenever following another’s wish causes an obstruction to our spiritual practice, then it is incorrect to do so. If something is 50% right and 50% wrong then one can still follow another’s wish. This is purely from a spiritual standpoint where the intention is to reduce one’s ego by listening to another person and acting as per their wishes. This is not from a worldly viewpoint. The example in the next paragraph explains this further.
2. Should we follow another’s wish at home with family only or try to do it with whomsoever we come in contact?
Answer: We should do it whenever possible without any obstruction to our spiritual practice.
For example: If someone would ask us to do something like going to movies everyday because they wish so, we need to exercise restraint in such cases. This is because we do not have the time to go to movies on a daily basis and also complete our worldly duties and spiritual practice. But let’s say a friend of ours wanted us to come for a movie every week and even though we felt it a waste of time we could go from the perspective of being in other’s wish mode.
3. What if we follow another’s wish with resistance and anger?
One needs to understand the spiritual benefit of following another’s wish. Sometimes even after understanding at an intellectual level that one should be in other’s wish mode in a certain situation one still has a lot of resistance and reactions to it. To overcome the resistance and reactions one can give oneself auto suggestions.