6-1-1-2: Three types of Action 14(16 to 18) The consequences of actions with the predominance of different qualities are different. Gati is the consequence after death and phala is the consequence of actions in the present life. A sattvic person undertakes good and noble activities and earns spiritual growth in the form of peace, balance, tranquility, and freedom from stress, tension, and anxiety. A sattvic person enjoys harmony and peace. In the case of a rajasic person, there is activity and material prosperity but there is tension, anxiety, stress; there is strain, and other negative emotions. A tamasic person is lethargy driven and prefers not to act because of delusion and ignorance. He wastes the gift of human birth.
6-1 Preparation Amritbindu Upanishad says that the mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. A mind attached to sensory objects is bondage and a mind dispassionate to sensory objects is freedom. It has three impurities, namely, likes and dislikes, wandering, and ignorance about the true nature of a jiva. The corresponding spiritual disciplines to remove them are karma yoga, upasana yoga, and jnana yoga. A person undertaking them is a seeker of truth. The first two disciplines make him qualified for jnana yoga. On successful completion of jnana yoga, a person is enlightened and liberated.
God is the giver of results of action, and He is impartial in as much as in whatever manner a person approaches Him, He reciprocates in the same manner. A person who approaches Him with devotion for the fulfilment of three goals, namely, desire, wealth, and dharma, He provides the same. The person performs various rituals of karma kanda and worships various deities. He is a Karmi. There is no sin attached to a karmi so long his pursuits are within the fold of dharma, i.e., not prohibited by scriptures. He gets (quick) success, i.e., in this world. He also gets success in other worlds, e.g., heaven. It is no wonder that common folks are karmis. The downside is that worldly pleasures are not permanent and secondly, they come in combination with sorrow. If the rituals are not performed as per scriptural injunctions, the results may be harmful and counterproductive.
Arjuna asks Sri Krishna (BG 14.21) to narrate the signs and behaviour of a GunAtita, i.e., one who has transcended three constituents (sattva, rajas, and tamas) of nature. Sri Krishna replies that he neither dislikes illumination (knowledge), activity, and delusion when they appear in the form of objects of experience), nor does he long for them when they disappear. Continue reading →
One of the five great sayings (mahavakyas) of Vedanta which proclaims the highest truth of Non-Duality or Advaita is “Thou art That” – Tat Tvam Asi, occurring in the Chandogya Upanishad in 6.8.7. Here “Tat” refers to Brahman/Self. So in the most common sense rendering of the statement, it means – “You are Brahman”. This saying is not saying, “You must ‘become’ Brahman”. What it says is that one is already Brahman. Such is the case and one just has to know it to be so.
I had to bold and italicize the last lines of this paragraph because even when it is clearly stated, people are not able to overcome this notion of “becoming”. This is seen in the most advanced ‘practitioners’ of Advaita. In fact this notion of “becoming” is actually Maya, which keeps one tied to doership. This Maya is extremely hard to overcome, a fact which was anticipated and stated, both by Gaudapada and Shankaracharya, whom I shall be quoting in articles coming subsequently in this series.
In fact, this sense of Maya or “becoming” or “doership” is so powerful and so blinding that even after the Mahavakya says this to be the case; even after I shall show that all forms of doing are Maya; after giving all forms of quotes, logic and arguments: the notion of Maya/becoming/doership is very hard to root out. The Bhagavad Gita gives words to this predicament in the verse,
Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence
ROLE OF “REPETITION” IN SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTION, PRACTICE AND UNDERSTANDING — 1
All of spiritual instruction and learning has two aspects or dimensions: The Theory and Praxis – a doctrine to understand and a method to practice, so that the former may dawn in the seeker’s mind as an experiential realization of his/her own. In advaita Vedanta the goal is to understand the Reality by dispelling the misunderstanding. The final understanding to arrive at is that there is no essential distinction between the jiva (individual self) and Atman (Universal Self), and further, that Atman, the Self, is Brahman (its cosmic extension, as it were). Here the two terms of the polarity, subject-object, get obliterated, given the intuition (anubhUti, akhandAkAra vRtti) that reality is One. Knowing and Being are no longer distinguishable from one another, when Happiness shines self-effulgently and this is encapsulated in the three-pronged expression, sat-chit-Ananda.
The method of imparting the above Non-dual message is usually by teaching (through gradual and progressive steps) so that the seeker intuitively grasps the Reality, the ‘what Is’. Normally a teacher is required for this education; otherwise, the scriptures (basically the prasthAnatraya; the purANas and specific treatises likes the prakaraNa grantha-s being the accessories) are the source to which one can access again and again. Saying ‘again and again’ implies repetition… or does it? Repetition of what? Continue reading →