Q.496 Karma and subtle body

Q:

1. If upon the death of a jivan-mukta person, the subtle body dissolves and the person does not have go through the cycle of birth and death, this would imply that my sole motivation for attaining enlightenment should be the liberation of the subtle body that resides inside this gross body (since that is what suffers from one birth to another). Does this not in some way refute the idea of realising myself as the supreme consciousness bliss?

2. How is it that law of karma stops to act only on an enlightened being when in essence we are all liberated from the beginning?

3. On living while following the path of karma yoga, how do I decide what actually is the right thing to do in one’s life assuming I don’t have any desires? What Arjuna did in those days was the traditional work assigned to kshatriyas but in present day, since there is no acceptance of the traditional caste system, how do I come to decide what I should do? As a karma yogi has no desires, does all for the Lord, but the problem is coming to know what is to be done and that too, without any desire or attachment. What occupation should be taken or should one retire as a monk?

  1. You are missing the fundamental point here. Who-you-really-are is NOT a person. You are neither the gross, subtle nor causal bodies. You are the absolute, non-dual reality. The j~nAnI’s mind has realized this but the body-mind continues until the prArabdha karma has been used up. At that point the subtle and causal bodies ‘dissolve’ and the gross body returns to earth.
  2. The ‘law of karma’ is a way of explaining the seeming life and death of the ‘person’ to someone who is still embroiled in empirical existence. In reality, there is no such law, because there are no people, no creation etc. The entire teaching of Advaita is a series of provisional explanations. The coarse explanations are given to the ‘beginner’ and then taken away to be replaced by more sophisticated explanations as you progress.
  3. You act in response to whatever is in front of you, without desire and without thought of how the outcome will affect you. Your working day job will come about as a natural result of learning and upbringing etc. (triggered by karma if you like). But it is the ATTITUDE of the karma yogi that is important, not the nature of the task. In any case, karma yoga (and bhakti yoga) are only preliminary steps to help purify the mind. Only shravaNa-manana will bring enlightenment.

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