The Ultimate Knowledge – Gita VII

 

Gita Chapter VII – Jnana Vijnana Yoga – Ultimate knowledge

Bhagavad Gita from chapter one to six, the discourse was about individual, the issues and dilemmas facing him, the need to engage in action, the ways to do it, the importance of knowledge and renunciation and how all of them work together. We also understood that we are beyond this body, mind and intellect and are eternal atman. That being our identity the next step is about awakening the self, the inner being.

The journey from now on is of spiritual journey of a man. It is moving away from Individual consciousness to consciousness that pervades the world, the source of all consciousness the ultimate reality. That we call by many names, Brahman, Param-atma, God, Supreme soul, Universal Consciousness, Krishna consciousness and so on. From 7th chapter onwards the gear shifts and the direction is towards understanding this world, reality, universal consciousness or God, worshiping a godhead and aspects related to it. That from this chapter Gita becomes highly conceptual is may be why few attempts to talk or write about it.

Godhead, Manifestation of God and Devotion

All of us from time and again have a question, especially when we embark upon a journey to understand universe. Is there a God. Who is He or She. What defines God. What are the attributes. Why and how should I pay reverence to God. And related questions there off. Why there are as many gods in the world as there are beings in the world. And we have the limitations imposed by our body, senses, mind and intellect in trying to comprehend that which is beyond these instruments of ours. Within this constraint we try to understand when Krishna goes about explaining the God Consciousness.

Ultimate Knowledge

The ultimate knowledge is knowing that God is everything and in every being and he is the ultimate reality of what world is made up of. He is omniscient, omni present, Nature – one who does the functions of creator, sustainer, destroyer where all the three are necessary for evolution. He is life personification, essence of everything and anything, controller and illuminator. To put it in nutshell, nothing moves without him.

The World:

And what is world. It is made up of Elements – earth, water, fire, air, ether, intellect, ego and mind. Apart from this there is the universal soul, of higher nature, that is present in everything, matter and life in this world and it supports it. All beings that are born have two components, matter and energy. Soul, and Godhead is the source of all origin and dissolution.

Excellence in everything

Godhead is the source code of everything and everyone, for no animate or inanimate energy can exist without matter and consciousness necessary for that state of existence. And what we call as matter, plant, animal or body is the coming together of elements of earth, fire, air, and water, and when they disintegrate the body dissolves.  And the seed of intelligent is from ether that creates our mind, ego and intellect. In essence, not even an atom moves without God consciousness.

Nature of Godhead

God is the substratum of everything ever born and also the one in which everything dissolves. He is immutable, un-manifest, unsurpassed, veiled by illusion and controls the world. He is the essence of everything. He is the basis of the flavor and fluidity of water, the heat and light behind the sun, moon and fire, the vibration behind the sound, the elements of atmosphere, the solidity and fragrance of earth. He is present in all life forms. He is the prowess personified in the valiant, as strength in the powerful and life force in everyone. But the challenge is while he is all pervading, manifest in everything, present at all times – past, present and future, he is not easily comprehensible by sense organs, mind and intellect for he is beyond all that.

Purpose of Worship

Why do one pray. There are two types of people. One who do not believe in prayer being helpful and the others who believe prayer is a great source of inspiration.  All our prayers fall within these four types. When we are suffering, grieving and sad and need help we pray to God asking him to alleviate our suffering.  Or we ask for wealth, success, fame, promotion, college admission essentially those aspects which make one seem successful in the eyes of the world. The third type ask for knowledge for knowing that everything becomes easily attainable. And fourthly the wise pray to god, not for seeking in any of the above, for he is free of dualities, illusions and delusions that affect the world but to attain liberation for this is considered as ultimate in prayer and Krishna holds him to be the dearest.

By worshiping God, by taking refuge in God, practicing yoga one will know God in Full. When one worships with complete indifference to the fruits of actions, comprehend with the aids of mind and intellect – gather from outside and by going inside, by intuition and meditation one reaches perfection.

World as a playground

Worship for deliverance from suffering because of dualities – birth/death, pain and suffering. We take birth in this world of experience, illusionary world as long as the soul has desire. We have inherent tendencies accumulated from various births and led by them we seek our experience in the world. Each birth is a step towards soul’s evolution. And this is directed by the consciousness in us, desire, knowledge and action and our nature of rajasik, satwik or tamasic.  And it is the god who drives us in this world to fulfill out right desires, that is desire as per the state and stage in life. So, we understand that wish fulfillment is not denounced as long as it is right.

And we understand the futility of materialistic nature of the world. It dawns on us that we come from God, play in this world for some time and go back to the God. And the stay in this world is like crossing of the ocean, full of challenges and dualities. Knowing this world, the elements, the God consciousness, transitory nature of our life the wise seek liberation and merges with consciousness.

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Ignorance and Knowledge

In our life we take decisions both in our personal and professional life. We undertake many work some time on the spurt of the moment, and sometimes after deep deliberations. Yet we are not certain of success of our decisions and actions all the times. We are hit by random events, unexpected happenings that are against our expectation. This is the case even we think that we are taking an informed, knowledgeable decisions. The reason is difference between knowledge and ignorance. Information, partial information, misinformation, lack of information, misconception, dynamics of information all play its part. The oft heard parlance in management corridor, when postmortem of negative events are being dissected is, well, we took decision with the available information at that time and with the understanding of the same.

Is it possible for one to be correct always? Can we know all information upfront by research? Can ignorance be warded off by knowledge? If so what needs to be done and how.   This is playing out at the background of our mind for no one is spared of issue that there have been things that could have been avoided had the information that is known currently had been known then. That is what we call us hindsight bias.

There is this beautiful passage from the book “The philosophy of Sanskrit Grammar” by Prabhat Chandra Chakravarthi attributed to “Barthruhari” that explains the limitation of our understanding and resultant ignorance.

“What should we then do under these anomalous circumstances? Human knowledge is limited by nature. It is not possible for a man to know anything in its entirety. To realise the ultimate essence of a thing lies practically beyond the range of human intelligence and what is almost incontestable is that our knowledge and experience, as Bhartruhari rightly observes are in most cases liable to be inaccurate and imperfect.

Human knowledge is must be remembered, is bound to be of difference types, the same object being variously perceived by difference men. Truth does not reveal itself to all persons. A man’s intelligence, however sharp and far-reaching, does not help him in getting into the real nature of things. If we closely examine our experience, drawn from personal observations, we do not fail to see how often we are deceived by it. knowledge as its comes from experience is subject to error.

As our experience are likely to be false and defective in most of the cases we should not treat them as the basis of our experience, without examining their validity by means of reasoning. Thus what is perceived directly by sense organs required to be fully determined by reasoning. Observations unaided by reasoning are not to be relied on as evidence at all. “

Bharadwaja was a venerable sage in Hindu lineage. Many of the ancient treatise, vedic scriptures are attributed to him. The story is that his thirst for knowledge was insatiable that he could not complete his learning even after repeated birth and he asked for extension of life by hundred years to Lord Siva, ( some say Lord Indra) multiple times so that he can continue his pursuance of knowledge unhindered. Twice it happened. Third time the reply he gets is interesting. The God tells him that, do you see the Mountain Himalaya far off. That is the vastness of knowledge available in Vedas. For our understanding let us say knowledge needed to lead a righteous life. And what you gain in life time is equivalent to the dirt you can hold in your hand.

So when and how did ignorance get attached to us. Do we become knowledgeable all of a sudden the answer is no. Ignorance is a state of illusion.  The knowledge that is inside us has been veiled for reasons unknown to us. Like a brightness in a vessel that shines after cleaning, ignorance has to be removed and knowledge has to be obtained by cleaning out senses, mind and intellect of the dirt and darkness hiding the real beauty, so that knowledge can come out and shine.

So, let us not feel bad for our past mistakes and ignorance that has been the cause for it. We did our best.  And no guarantee that we will not make mistakes in the future.  Yet, let us go ahead and understand our true nature and try to eradicate our misconceptions, lack of knowledge slowly, be it in our daily life or aspirational life by association with wise people, role models, learning from scripture, by our experience, Intellect and intuition. One day we may reach there.

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Grieving to Surviving

 

Grieving to surviving

Grief sometimes becomes unwanted guest in our life. it strikes you when you least expect it. Loss and pain spares none. Our life is package policy of some action, inaction, happiness, sorrow, growth, decay and that keeps changing constantly. While we can predict that life expectancy is 70 on an average, it also means there are people who live upto 40 only so that someone else can leave up to 100 which we conveniently forget. When you happen to be in unfortunate 40, it attacks one with such a vehemence that one does not know what hit.  What follows loss be it of failure in exam, not getting that coveted job, promotion, losing a girl friend or boyfriend, or death of loved ones, is utter desolation. N amount knowing from story books, movies, games, poetry, why leave philosophy does not prepare one adequately for the reality. Worst of all is the loss of beloved.

On death of loved ones, what follows is ethereal. First you become numb. Your mind, senses do not cooperate. Your body is constantly fatigued. You tend to rewind all of your life together. You question your every action and see where you went wrong and right, though you could not go back and change any of them. Your relations, friends, people who live with you do not understand what is going on. Acquaintances and others because it does not directly impact them tend to think why the fuss. They expect you to come back to the mainstream and function at your pre loss level at the earliest. This is definitely the case if you are working, studying, or participating in the society in some form.

You tend to question the society. You tend to question the purpose of life. You ask why me. You are on guilt trip. You think of what all you could have done or not done to avoid this from happening. You cry your heart out, of course alone. You understand that individual factors do not matter for every diabetic with that particular number or a heart patient, or a cancer patinet you can find thousands that have been living with that conditions for decades. For every person who has decided to end life following failure in exams you know there are millions who fail to clear the exam, take it up next time or look for alternative and continue to live happily. You come to an understanding that “Death defies Logic”. Any amount of rationalization, thinking, whacking you brain cells to make sense is not going to work.

Then there is withdrawal from society. The music that used to enthrall you now evokes no response. Some time may be anguish.  Here again, the songs, movies, dramas, entertainment full of pathos, to borrow from P. B. Shelley, “our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought” that you used to enjoy tend to worsen the situation. For they are no more words, lyrics, poetry, music, sound, acoustic but new knowledge, understanding, reality. So they tend to make you grieve more. But ultimately it helps in catharsis. You come to a situation when your tear glands have completely dried and that there are no more tears left. A situation similar to blue sky following a thunder storm.

Slowly you look up. You find that your appetite has been non existing. Your interest in day to day life, mask that we wear by way of our dress, make up, fashion etc has been torn away. It is not possible to go to the earlier role. Or rather futility of it is understood. You see that the world has moved ahead when you were grieving and as the famous adage goes – “Time and tide stops for none”. And that you are a non-entity and your space in this multi-universe is like a speck.

You tend to think of the life you had. You think of the time when your loved ones can not stand your suffering, getting angry or being down. Your think of the time when they were rejoicing with you in your glory, cheering you, consoling you, supporting you through ups and downs, sharing burden with you, loving you, caring for you, protecting you, helping you grow, helping you claim you place in this world, in nutshell being with you forever!!!  You think what they would think if they have been here with you now. You think of other people who are there for you now. You think that they are gone and you are here must have some reason. You come to an understanding that grieving is not going to bring them back. You understand from scriptures that they are there, but nor in the form you know. From manifestation to un-manifestation.

They are moments that slowly change. The song both of you used to like. The rituals you used to carry. The song of cuckoo to which you both used to wake up. The dog that you used to feed. The trees that you have planted and have grown big. The wardrobe you have accumulated over a period and history behind each of the items. Innumerable nonsensical things that are shared memory now. You start to reminiscence. You think of the plans for future you had. You think what your loved one would have wanted you to do if they had been alive. You think what would be their reaction when they see you in current state. Something strikes in you. They would not be happy to see in despair. They would want one to lead life to full fill their duties, dreams, aspirations and take care of their dependents as they did when they were alive.

Each one of us have a karma to fulfill. Some independently some jointly. With the passing away of the loved one be it parents, spouse, children, friends, grandparents, relatives our joint responsibility there off ends. New normal has to be created. Nature abhors vacuum.  So we need to think how we will the vacuum created by the departure of our loved one. The time, energy, space, activity that we shared with them is not going to be available anymore to us. But we have to fill the time that is available to us. It is a clean state available for you to start afresh.

Start small. Establish a routine. Venture out to the familiar areas. If uncomfortable go to a new area, new market new place. Any thing that can bring you out of your sorrow state. Minute by minute. Understand you can spend your time grieving or doing that would make both of you proud. Being stoic helps. Start adding things one by one, be it books, music, movie, friends, events, outing, travel. Look at every aspect of your life. Keep what helps you and be ruthless in saying no to what you think has no place in life any more. Do this in every aspect of life clearing away the clutter and cobwebs both in your physical and mental realm.  Find activity that is beneficial to fill the time. Understand that your life must go on, and so also the relationship with your departed one but with different dimension. You owe your endurance, success, happiness to them and doing that makes you, them and everyone around you proud and happy. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to happen at a snap of your hand. It is not that you are not going to face resistance from the world around you. Yet it must be done. May the power be with you.

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P.S. I had my own thoughts as to whether I should put it in the blog considering the topic is generally considered off limit. But then even if it can helps one person…….

 

 

Knowledge – A Gateway to Freedom – Gita Chapter IV

Knowledge, Action and Renunciation – Way to Freedom

Freedom can be obtained by either following the path of Knowledge, Action or Renunciation and the path differs based on the individual’s latent tendencies.

Why birth:

As per Hindu philosophy, there is reincarnation. Everybody has had multiple births and death but are not aware of it. And that there is a definitive pattern behind taking birth. Natures decide the course. Everyone is born with certain tendencies and these latent characters of one decides one’s preferences and orientation in life. There also exists the reason behind everyone’s birth and the success is in knowing our purpose of being born, our areas of work, field of operation and tendencies which we must harness and fine tune so that our purpose in life can be fulfilled. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna states his life purpose as – “whenever there is decay of “Dharma” – morality, virtue, righteousness – and there is rise of “Adharma” – decay, decadence, injustice, wickedness, – I am born in this world; for the protection of good people, for the destruction of evil-doers, for re-establishing the right.” Only different being his birth and ours is that his is not guided by the desires and karma but by his own determination and based on the needs of time. He is not bound by the life-death cycle which we are. And the ultimate freedom for a human being is supposed to be getting liberated from this cycle.

Knowledge as-a-way to freedom:

Krishna says – Those who know me, my action, my birth obtains freedom. Those who can get rid of desire, fear and anger, worship me, get purified in the fire of wisdom, or whichever way they reach out to me get liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Ways of Action and Organizing Society:

Men are endowed with different temperaments and tendencies. All are not equal and each one has some tendencies that are prominent. Action is the easiest way to achieve material success in this world. For this purpose, the society and people working are divided into four divisions, based on the energy requirements for effective functioning, each function being complementary. The four castes or varnas are created, are aligned with types of tendencies and actions, being the tendency for knowledge acquisition and exposition, for warrior-ship, for commerce and business and for production involving ground level work. Four division of labors, based on their tendencies and capability, each meant for specific purpose or excelling in certain works to express themselves to fulfill societal functions. There is no work that is low or high and all are equally important for the effective functioning of the society. This division helps in one expressing themselves freely based on their inherent tendencies. It is not that others cannot do it but something like the economic concept of comparative advantage. This we find still prevalent in organizations and more akin to consultant, architects, authors, teachers forming intellectual class, Military, Police, CEOs, Controllers, Sales and Marketing, forming part of warrior clan.  And Business, trading, Farming and producing class constituting the third section and service oriented work forming the other sections of the society.  It is important to note here, that as Krishna says in the opening verses of this chapter, these knowledges has however deteriorated and collapsed in the course of time, when being handed over from generations to generations and societal imperfections that this has becomes the most mis-interpreted concept in Hinduism and India currently.

Way of doing work:

Do work without doers-ship. Do without enjoyer-ship. Work. Engage.  Be amidst work. But do not think that you are doing it. Because the nature that is present in the world does it. Circumstances make it happen. It is a collective action.  To understand this better, if you have put a seed to grow, for it to start giving fruit, in addition to you, the sun, water, nutrients from soil, may be birds for pollination need to work together for the tree to start giving fruit. And when it starts fruiting may be the enjoyer could be somebody else. In the same manner, your duty is just to work without bringing into thinking that it is who you are doing and you are the enjoyer. When engaging in action, understanding that the circumstances and my inherence tendencies is making me do this, without getting impacted by the ego, you are free from the sorrow of individuality and not bound by the suffering born out of work.

Action, Inaction, Prohibited Action

In familiar parlance action means movement and inaction is absence of movement. Any action against law is prohibited action. Life means activity, a way to evolve, is dynamic and cannot even for a second cease to work. When life cases death occurs. So, action is inevitable.

Action is imperative if one lives. One cannot renounce action. Every action has a reaction and one has to bear the fruit of their karma.  However, any action that is performed without attachment, that I am the doer or for the fruits of action does not bind the soul.  Work is needed for purification of the self. Even if one is high up in the ladder in the society and can do without performing any work, it has to be done so that no wrong precedent is set for others still in the lower spectrum of evolution.

Action in inaction and Inaction in Action:

Performing action with an understanding that it is being done by body and mind, not induced by once nature, one self and the soul is not involved in it is inaction though action is being done. Here action essentially means those actions that is needed to be done and not the ones impelled by one’s desires, likes and dislikes and circumstances.  Similarly, when one thinks no action is being performed while say sitting, sleeping etc., it means no perceptible bodily action is taking place. It needs to be understood that the bodily action of breathing, digesting, circulation of blood etc. is happening involuntarily. Our mind may be busy in thinking, dreaming, extrapolating and visualizing. So seemingly inactive one is active.

And the man whose work is devoid of desires and purposes to enjoy the result of action, and whose actions are based on knowledge he is called a sage by the wise. Such a man, even when involved in worldly action performs it because he had to do it and to set example for others rather than for fulfilling his desires or expecting any results. If he is a renunciate he works to maintain his bodily functions only. Free from desire, with the mind and the self-controlled, having relinquished all  possessions doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.

Satisfied with that which comes to him by chance, or in course of nature, rising above the dualities or like and dislikes, pleasure and pain, hot and cold etc., being equipoise both in success and failure, working with such frame of mind even though he is working he would not be bound by the actions.

That man from whom all attachment is gone, from whom all cause of bondage, right and wrong has fled away, whose mind is ever fixed in wisdom alone, who acts  with a view,  to  the  performance of a sacrifice, his action with  its result is reduced to  nothing meaning does not create bondage arising out of action. Thus, work not prohibited in scriptures, work performed with the right knowledge of doing, without the desire for its action and with a sacrificial mindset frees one from the bondage arising out of such actions.

Know that, Brahman is the “Real, Consciousness and the Infinite”. He is cognized by all and is the innermost self of all.  It is instrument of action. He is all pervading. He manifests himself as an instrument of action, and the five forms actions and its accessories.

Work as a Yagna-Sacrifice:

Sacrifice is not limited to fire sacrifice or yagna alone as known in the traditional circle. It includes all work done with restraint, focus and effort. Thus, there are multiple ways in which sacrifice is performed.  Controlling one’s senses, Imparting knowledge one had gained to others, charity by donating wealth, following austerity, sacrifices by way reading, writing, acquiring knowledge, following scriptural vows are of different ways of sacrifice. Essentially all works that require discipline, excellence and renunciation of something is what is meant as Yagna here. It is work for work’s sake and duty for duty’s sake.

Controlling food, sensory intake, engaging in pranayama – Controlling one’s incoming and outgoing breath, and performing the sacrifices one is said to obtain freedom.

The sacrifices performed with material objects produces material effects, whereas wisdom-sacrifice does not. Therefore, sacrifice where knowledge is involved is superior to the sacrifice performed with material objects.  For, wisdom, which is the means to moksha comprehends all action.

Superiority of Wisdom:

Wisdom being the means to one’s freedom, Krishna says that it should be the basis for all actions. Then he describes why, how, from whom, with what mindset one gets to acquire wisdom. And what is this wisdom and benefit of acquiring this wisdom.

Approach the Guru, the teacher who is a realized self, with a sense of humility, enquiry and respectful mindset and by providing him service. Enquire what is the cause of bondage and how to get relieved from it.  And What is wisdom (Vidya) and what is ignorance and mistaken belief (Avidya). Guru can then impart knowledge of action, renunciation and wisdom.

Once this wisdom is obtained, clarity sets in and one will not be confused again as one is now. One is also able to perceive that all beings, all manifestation say from self to grass is of same Creator (Brahma), consciousness and the whole universe exists in oneself and one in the universe. There is a oneness, a unity of all things and all beings which is essence of Upanishadic wisdom.

With the right knowledge one can cross this samsara. While prarabdah karma, responsible for this life, that has commenced has to run its course, the result of future action, accumulated karma from actions of previous life that has not commenced (sanchita karma), yet to start and yet to fructify can be nullified by right knowledge.

Thus, the seeker of freedom, who has perfected himself by practice in yoga of action, knowledge and renunciation will attain peace and spiritual wisdom. On the other hand, the man who knows not  the Self, the man who has no faith in the teachings of his Guru, the main whose mind is full of doubts is  ruined.

Therefore, the man by practice of Karma Yoga has all his doubts and ignorance cleared and by knowledge acquires wisdom.  Hence Krishna commands – Arise! O Arjuna! Fight.  And thereby energizing us also to get out despondency and perform in this world with knowledge and wisdom.

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25th April, 2017

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -III

continued from previous post…..

  1. Pingala: There was a dancing girl named Pingala, she was tired of looking for customers. As time went by no one came and she became anxious and frustrated. At the height of frustration she gave up her wait for customer and went to sleep. At that moment it also dawned on her that she does not need anyone for her happiness and bliss, decides to give up her pursuit of wealth and pleasing customers. She teaches that abandonment of expectation from people leads to contentment and infinite joy. Also with Atma contained in oneself there is no need to search outside for happiness and contentment.
  2. The kurara bird (hawk):A hawk carrying a prey was attacked by other birds like crow, eagle and other larger animals eyeing for same prey.  After some fierce fight, the bird carrying the prey, out of fear for its life,  let it fall so that other birds immediately went after the prey  allowing the original bird that had the meat to escape. From this one learns that there is intense competition and aggression in the world to acquire  material objects and for worldly pleasures. One who yearns for it is likely to come into contest and clash with fellow being who also compete for the same leading to avoidable aggression, strife, worry and stress. By balancing, managing and controlling ones wants one can save himself much of the unhappiness, have  and enjoy peace of mind.
  3. The child:Two children fight for some time. Their parents intervene to end the fight and they end up being enemies for life. But the children who were fighting initially  after some time forget and start playing together again. This is because they are free from ego and innocent. Be like a child to be happy.
  4. The young girl:There was a young girl who was doing work with hands full of bangles. During work it jangled against each other and was making noise. Since she had guest then, she did not want them to know that she was doing work. So, to reduce noise she removed all bangles except two. This reduced the noise to a great extent, but still was making noise, then she removed one more and was wearing only one in each hand. This way she could work without making noise and desist other from knowing what she was doing. So too, when many people live together, there will be noise, clashing of interests, disturbance, discord, dispute and fighting. Even when there are only two people difference of opinion and resultant discord is bound to be there. So, the ascetic is better of living in solitude. This is what the maiden working with hands full of bangle teaches one.
  1. The arrow maker: Once there was an arrow maker who was so absorbed in his work of making a straight arrow that he did not notice the king’s procession passing by. Then I learnt that to produce excellent result focus is necessary.
  2. The snake: The snake never builds a place for itself. It moves around and changes its place and sheds it outer skin. Thus it is able to lead safe life. An ant though puts effort and makes ant hill and later that is taken by snakes. Likewise, the householders endure difficulty in building and running their house by themselves while ascetic lives free by roaming around and not being rooted in one place. Thus one should know that people aspiring for carefree life should live lite, know his true self, and understand that at the end of his life time one will shed this body and get a new life as per one’s actions in this life time.
  3. The spider: The spider weaves its web from the thread in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up the web into itself. Thus the God projects the whole world during creation phase and after sometime, withdraws it into itself at the time of dissolution. The individual soul too takes birth in the body as per its past action, and in alignment with its inherent tendencies acquires intellect, mind, sense organs and bodies of action. Its latent tendencies direct the role play and actions while in this world and space. And at the end of allotted time-frame, death occurs when the soul again withdraws its senses, mind, and tendencies acquired in the life time and leaves the body. Thus, birth and death, creation and dissolution happens is what one learns from Spider.
  4. The wasp/Caterpillar: Wasp trapped a weaker insect in his hive. This insect took on the mentality of a wasp out of intense fear of the wasp, and thus became a wasp in its next life. This illustrates how one attains in the next life what one’s mind is fixed upon. You are the company you keep and what you think you become is what one learn from caterpillar. Good thoughts, company and action will lead one to higher level/birth.

Thus are the advise of Dattatreya to Yadu on what he has learnt from nature around him and how inculcating it in his life has made him blissful.

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The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -II

continued from earlier post…..

Of the following 24 teachers from around us we saw The earth, Air, Sky, Water, Fire, Moon, Sun, and Pigeon in the previous post. In this let us see what the stories of python, sea, moth, honey bee, elephant, honey collector, deer and fish teaches us.

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honey Bee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp
  1. Python: Python does not roam around looking for food instead waits for food to come to him and eats whatever comes it way, be it sufficient or not. It teaches us to accept whatever one comes across in the life, taking sufferings, hardships, miseries in life, joy, happiness, wealth in ones stride. Be rest assured and content with one’s state and be peaceful, you will get what is needed.
  2. Sea: Sea is deep. Sea is Clear. Sea cannot be crossed easily. Can’t churn it. Because of monsoon or the rivers emptying in it, sea does not swell or shrink. A sage, like sea is clear minded, unmoved amidst the tribulations of life. His wealth of knowledge is available to all those who associate with him.
  3. Moth: A moth is captivated by the radiance of flames, gets attracted, approaches flame, gets burned and dies. Thus being attracted by the outward look of things, we get deceived and fall prey. Man is foolishly gets tempted by the illusory pleasures of the visual sense and gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth and death. The wise one, understand the illusion of the sensory world and controls it and thereby obtains freedom.
  4. Honey Bee: A honey bee obtains honey from all flowers, without harming the flower and within the limit. Also note that the honey bee does not drink honey but it gets killed for it by honey gatherers. Thus a wise man should be able to know how, where and how much obtain necessary things, without harm for the self and the giver, without being greedy.
  5. Elephant: A bull elephant is captured by using female elephant as bait. Thus is man/woman gets lured by infatuation and sex and uncontrolled and unrighteous attraction to opposite sex is harmful is what elephant teaches one.
  6. Honey Thief: Honey being greedy collects honey, stores it, does neither eats it by self or allow other honey-bees to eats it. And one fine day it looses it to honey collector. Similarly man accumulates wealth by hard work, over a period of time, by umpteen sacrifices, forsaking enjoyment, and may lose it suddenly to fire, flood, treachery, tax, or if he were to die to his heirs or third party if issue less who may use of misuse his wealth. Thus being greedy leads one to loss is what honey bee teaches
  7. Deer: The deer is very fond of music and is very much attracted by it thus is trapped by hunter using music. It is trapped by the sense organ of listening – the ear. Thus excessive passion and sensory pleasure of listening to music and dance is thus harmful is what Deer teaches.
  8. Fish: The fish in search for food, due to greed is caught by the tasty bait and dies. Similarly, man meets his destruction by his craving for delicious food. Among the senses, tongue is the most powerful and difficult to control, and once controlled it makes it easy for one to manage other sensory pleasures. Learn to eat healthy and balanced food and be saved. Control your tongue, the sense organ for taste is what one learns from Fish.

To be continued

Why Suffer

The Fault is of the Sufferer

Suffering is inevitable aspect of life. All of us suffer. When we suffer the first questions that crosses our mind is why, why me, why now, what did I do wrong, is there a reason for it, will I recover and where do I go from here.  And many a times that answers we get, if at all we get, would be more complex and confusing. And rarely we get answers that are simple, profound and to our liking.

When we suffer, due to some reason after the first set of questions, we want to know who is at fault. And when a problem resulting in suffering occurs, be it in home, school, college, office, public space, it happened because of so and so, or an incident, or accident or a natural cause.  If one were to go by psychiatrist, after analyzing our life, one identifies that our parents, siblings, teachers, Government etc. are the reason one is suffering.

In his book “The fault is of the sufferer”, Ambalal Patel, A Jain Guru gives an interesting says that, Sufferings happen because of three cause – one’s Karma (Action) which is Law of the Nature, mistakes committed by us in the past, and ignorance of the ways of the world.

Karma and Nature’s Law

“Nature’s law governs this world at all times. The simple rule being -Those who deserve merit receive their merit and those who deserve punishment are punished. Nothing operates outside the law of nature. The law of nature is completely just, but because one does not understand it, he does not accept it. When one’s understanding becomes pure, he will be able to accept nature’s justice. “This law is exact and no one can ever change it. There is no law in this world that can inflict suffering upon anyone, not even the law of the government”.

Past Mistakes

One is free of sufferings, but we suffer because of our past mistake, be it of this life or past life, and are bound by it. Because of our mistakes, be it of understanding, thinking, action in any area of the field we work, mistakes happen resulting in failure, accidents, loss, gain and so on. And once we identify the mistake and eliminate it we can be free of resultant suffering.

Ignorance

Majority of the People do not have the knowledge of the Reality of this world and how it functions. They only have the knowledge of ignorance, the relative world, which causes them to wander endlessly, life after life. To give an example, if someone steals your wallet, need to identify whose fault is it and why is that only your wallet was stolen and not anyone else’s?

Karma is Relentless

We read newspapers or watch TV, we get to know about lots of untoward incidents like, theft, accidental death and atrocities happening. This leads to worry, anxiety, negative thinking, unwanted imagination causing us suffering. One needs to know that You will only be robbed if it is in your karmic account. If it is not in your karma, then no one in this world can touch you, so be fearless  and not afraid of what is happening around us. No one has any control over you. If you happen to get robbed, all you need to do is ask yourself who is really suffering and then move on. The world is not meant for suffering, it is meant for enjoying. People receive that which is due to them according to their karmic account. Some people are happy and some are suffering all because of our legacy. Most importantly, if you are suffering, it is your own fault. Therefore, do not see anyone else’s fault, otherwise you will create new karmic accounts for your next life.

Learn to Live

One must learn how to live life. Suppose you fight at home, say between father and son, or husband and wife, and one of them is suffering and not able to sleep while the other has no concern whatsoever and is able to go about himself/herself, and sleeps soundly, know that the one who is suffering is at fault. The fault is of the sufferer.

There is no one in this world that can inflict the slightest bit of suffering upon you, and if someone does, he is merely an instrument in it. And do not blame the instrument, but know that the fault is of the sufferer. Once this fact is understood all problems and quarrels at home will cease and then one can use the energy to do other things.

If you just understand that the fault is of the sufferer, the burden of this worldly life will be lifted significantly. God’s law says that at any given time, at any given place, the person who suffers is at fault. A pickpocket is happy when he steals a person’s wallet. He will enjoy himself with the money he stole, whereas his victim will be suffering. He must have stolen in his past life and so today nature has caught him and therefore he is paying for his mistakes. Therefore, the sufferer is at fault.

Freedom from Suffering

No one is at fault. The fault is of the person who blames others. There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma. They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If you want to know who is at fault in this world, find the one who suffers. He is at fault.

Problems between people are escalated and exacerbated by each placing the blame on the other. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they must suffer them all over again. Their accounts can only be settled through awareness and intelligence that the fault is of the sufferer. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled.

World as Machine

If your finger gets stuck in the gears of a machine, the machine is not at fault. Similarly think everyone around you is like a machine. All these parents, children, husbands, wives, colleagues, partners, society, Government are nothing but machinery. They are not responsible for your suffering. By thinking like this shift the blame to self and thereby reducing the suffering gain control. If you do not let yourself be affected by the actions of others, then you do not suffer. So, understand that fault is yours and that is why you suffer. Comprehend this one will be at peace.

The Action Reaction Cycle

There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma (Actions). They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they will have to suffer them all over again. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, you have to accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled. Whatever you have given to others, you will receive in return. If you accept it gladly, you will be settling your account. If you do not accept it, you will have to suffer. Know that the fault is of the sufferer.

Your inner enemies of anger, pride, attachment and greed (krodh, maan, maya, lobh), makes you see faults in others. The vision of the Self, does not see any faults in others.

Our sufferings are either physical, mental or intellectual. Sometimes it is the ego that suffers and so the ego is at fault. Sometimes the mind suffers and so the fault is of the mind. Sometimes the chit (the subtle component of the mind that is composed of both knowledge and vision) suffers so the chit is at fault. The Real Self is detached from the mistakes of the relative self. In situations at home, in the business, at work, everywhere, just look to see who is suffering; the one who suffers is the one who is at fault and exists as long as there is ault. Once the faults are gone, no one in this world, no event in this world, will have the power to give any suffering to you.

***

Excerpts fromThe fault is of the Sufferer”, by Ambalal B Patel, A Jain Guru.

The Fountain

I will always return

What is life?

what is Death?

Why are we born

Why do we die

Can we stop ageing

Can we stop death

Is immortality possible

Tree of knowledge do we know it

Tree of life do we know it

 

Is there purpose to life?

Or are we born to  die

Do we come as we go

Are de we grow, learn

And mature in each birth

Like rings of tree that grow with each year

Picking up knowledge with each birth

Burning immaturity and darkness in every life

 

Is every life the same

Is every path the same

Can medicine break this life and death cycle

Is it ever possible

Has it not been the quest for man from time immemorial

But have we not as our life expectancy increases

Prone to more disease, sorrow and pain

Are we running in circle

Or are we growing in sphere

Up and up with every ring

To reach to sky to be part of eternity

 

What is life

Is it mundane living, eating, running to earn a living

Or is there more to life

Is it not what the philosophers spent time

Did they find something that is beyond us now

If Death is the road to awe

Then what is life

 

What defines where we are born

What we do and where we go

Why is that some traverse hard path

Other have it easy

Like musical notes that rise and fall

Like waves that have ebb and flow

Is there a pattern to life

 

Death and life are two sides of the same coin

For in death life is reborn

Death of ignorance is life of knowledge

Death of toddler is youth

Death of youth is Adult

Death of Adult is Old

Death of Old is start of new era,

 

Death of seed is start of a tree

Falling of branch is blossoming of new life

Change of seasons is death and life

And death of night is birth of day

For billions of stars die

Billions of stars born

Each by coming together and going apart

For each has its time

For time is the ultimate winner

***

P.S: “The Fountain” (2006) iz the movie that started this rant. Check it out.

Gita – Working your way through Life – Chapter III

Karma Yoga Chapter III

Knowledge or Action which is superior, what should one go after is the theme of Chapter III of Bhagavad Gita, which is the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, Krishna being the Guide. This is one question perplexing to us for it is generally seen that either one is good in execution or good in strategy, planning and design and there is a general mistrust between these two set of people. Arjuna was not an outsider to this. And like many of us he is lazy to contemplate and decide for himself and wants Krishna to give a directive answer. Let us see what are Krishna’s answer to this.

Action Vs. Inaction

There are two paths, path of knowledge and action each having its own virtue. Man, does not get freedom from action by not participating in it nor by renouncing it. And by nature of birth, man cannot be without performing action. On the other hand, by shunning physical action, sitting in meditation controlling the action of mind and sense organs, man can achieve perfection is sheer hypocrisy. But the one, while controlling his mind and senses, does his duty in this world, action in alignment with his Dharma is superior. Hence perform right action, for action is superior to inaction and that action is needed even if one must just maintain the physical body. (Even though it is not considered action in normal parlance, actions of breathing, eating, pumping of blood by heart, excretion etc. are the acts of maintaining the body also need some action from one though could be involuntary and when this stops the life ends.) the world is bound by action and as such one has to perform action free from desire, attachment and for the common good. For action, free from desire and attachment, both which is the cause and effect of calm mind, and results in superior result, gaining knowledge and excellence

The Action Cycle

Food is essential for man and he comes from food. Food comes from the bounty of rain gods for rain is needed for production of food which is followed by sacrifice and action. And action comes from knowledge that comes from consciousness that is eternal and all pervading. So for a man who participates in this wheel of action, not indulging in sense pleasures, content and rejoicing in self there is nothing to do. He is self sufficient that he does not depend on external ideas, objects or actions for his happiness. Hence please perform work without any attachment for therein lies freedom.

Role Model

People follow a role model. What a leader does everyone follows. Leaders set standards for other to follow. Krishna gives the example of self that though he is not going to gain anything from the work he performs (Creation, sustenance and destruction), he still has to continue for if he stops the whole world stops leading to destruction. Thus no body is exempt from working.

How to Work

An ignorant man acts with attachment to his work and a wise should act without attachment. And at the same time wise man should not denounce the act of ignorant ones who act with attachment. All actions follow the natural cause and yet man thinks that he is the doer. So each man performs work that is appropriate to his state, nature and knowledge. Thus a man who is superior in knowledge and experience does work according to his inherent nature, his evolutionary state and yet should not delude those who work in different stratum of hierarchy. For doing this would confuse them and hinder their work and the society. The wise many by virtue of his performance would anyway be able to lead them towards improvement.

Work within the Laws of Life

There are various laws existing – laws of nature, society, organization, political, economic, moral and ethical etc.- those who are aware of these laws and work within the framework of these laws appropriate as per the ground reality progress and prosper in this world and those who defy and break them come to grief and debasement.

Man by nature is varied in his disposition. One is introvert or extrovert, knowledge oriented or action oriented, thinking or intuitive and so on. And all his action would be in alignment with his nature. Each one is encouraged to evolve in line with his temperament. Attaining perfection in their way of action is the goal for him. For following ones nature aids in his growth and evolution and actions against their nature is not conducive for his welfare.

This leads to the next question – If one is to follow his own nature for freedom then what is the role of self-control and self-discipline. While working as per ones natural tendencies man gains and with the help of senses, mind and intellect understands reality, performs his action and leading to fulfillment, yet man has to learn to work controlling the senses rather than being controlled by it. By taming the senses, beyond likes and dislikes, man has to learn to work. And in work the best philosophy is each according to his own, that is doing one’s own duty is superior to performing duty of others however good one may be at it and pleasurable and adept at it.

What Induces man to commit sin?

Krishna says that desire, that is all consuming is the cause for sins or problems of the world. It is insatiable as fire and covers like smoke covers the fire, dust the mirror and water the fetus, meaning is not easily visible. The desire is created by senses, mind and intellect where in mind is greater than senses, and intellect that mind for each is subtler that the previous. But Atma, Brahman, Self or consciousness as you may call it is greater than all the three. Thus discriminating and being aware of the action created by desire, induced by sense, mind and intellect and transcending it restraining the self the man over comes the desire and attains freedom.

To summarize,

Thus Krishna advises  that Knowledge and action are both needed in this world. And when performing action, do your duty, as per your stature, nature, and instinct. Be you the president of country, rich, poor, leader, follower, lecturer, blue color worker, bachelor, married, monk, young, old does not matter. All have to work and carry out the responsibilities applicable to them. It may be varied yet they are the same. There is no escaping the fact.  Perform and acquire excellence through the directed, disciplined action using senses, mind and intellect yet not giving into their domination. Action is unavoidable for those who have born in this world. So work selflessly for only through work the world runs, and one attains perfection in their chosen course of work and work without being egged by likes and dislikes and with calm disposition to succeed in life. By controlling desire, sense organs, mind and intellect, performing ones duty one can attain freedom from the life. Each work according to his own.

***

 

“The Power of Silence” Carlos Castanda – Quotable Quotes

During our active lives we never have the chance to go beyond the level of mere preoccupation, because since time immemorial the lull of daily affairs has made us drowsy. It is only when our lives are nearly over that our hereditary preoccupation with fate beings to take on different character. It begins to make us see through the fog of our daily affairs. Unfortunately, this awakening always comes hand in hand with loss of energy caused by aging, when we have no more strength left to turn our preoccupation into a pragmatic and positive discovery. At this point, all there is left is an amorphous, piercing, anguish, a longing for something indescribable, and simple anger at having missed out.

***

Perception is the hinge for everything man is or does and the perception is ruled by the location of the assemblage point. Therefore, if the point changes positions, man’s perception of the world changes accordingly. One who knew where to place his assemblage point could become anything he wanted.

***

Transformations were strategical. They are determined by the need of time.

***

I was young and stupid that only the obvious had value for me.

***

Wisdom always comes to us painfully and in driblets.

***

Plans of action is appropriate only if one were dealing with average human beings. In the human context, we can plan and plot and depending on luck, plus our cunning and dedication can succeed. But in the face of the unknown, the only hope of survival was to acquiesce and understand.

***

Stalking was an art applicable to everything and that there were four steps to learning it; ruthlessness, cunning, patience and sweetness. And ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence and sweetness should not be foolishness. And these four steps should be practiced and perfected until they were so smooth that they were unnoticeable.

***

Women are natural stalkers. And only in a woman’s disguise could any man learn the art of stalking it is about being ruthless but charming, cunning but nice, patient but active, and sweet but lethal.

***

People have no idea of the strange power we carry within ourselves. At this moment for instance you have the means to reach infinity.

***

Words are tremendously powerful and important and are the magical property of whoever has them.

***

The very first principle of stalking is that a warrior stalks himself. He stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently and sweetly. Very succinctly stalking is the art of using behavior in novel ways for specific purposes. Normal human behavior in the world of everyday life is routine. Any behavior that broke from routine caused an unusual effect on our total being. The unusual effect was what sorcerers sought because it was cumulative.  The seers of ancient times, through their seeing, had first noticed that unusual behavior produced a tremor in the assemblage point. And if unusual behavior was practiced systematically and directed wisely, it eventually forced the assemblage point to move.

***

The real challenge for those sorcerer seers, was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates seers from witches.

***

Heightened awareness – what would the survival value be. Would one be able to assess the situations better? Be quicker than the average man or perhaps be intelligent? Heightened awareness was the entrance to the portal of intent.

***

The knowledge was there for everyone. It was there to be felt, to be used but not to be explained. One could come into it by changing levels of awareness and therefore heightened awareness was entrance. But even the entrance could not be explained. One could only make use of it. The natural knowledge of intent was available to anyone, but command of it belonged to those who probed it.

***

Thinking and saying exactly what you want to say requires untold amounts of energy.

***

Cutting our chains is marvelous, but also very undesirable for nobody wants to be free. The chains imprison us, but by keeping us pinned down on our comfortable spot of self reflection, they defend us from the onslaughts of the unknown. Once our chains are cut we are no longer bound by the concerns of daily world. We are still in the daily world, but wo don’t belong there anymore. In order to belong we must share the concerns of people and without chains we can’t.

***

Normal people share a metaphorical dagger; the concerns of our self-reflection. With this dagger, we cut ourselves and bleed; and the job of our chains of self-reflection is to give us the feeling that we are bleeding together, that we are sharing something wonderful; our humanity. But if we were to examine it, we would discover that we are bleeding alone; that we are not sharing anything; that all we are doing is toying with our manageable, unreal, manmade reflection. Seers are no longer in the world of daily affairs for they are no longer prey to their self reflection.

***

Extraordinary perception, seeing occurs when by the force of intent a different cluster of energy fields energizes and lights up both within us and outside us. And awareness takes place when the energy fields inside us were aligned with the same energy fields outside. Thu alignment of energy sources is the source of heightened awareness. Awareness was the glow of energy fields being lighten up and the force that did that is called will.

***

Our great collective flaw is that we live our lives completely disregarding that connection. The busyness our lives, our relentless interests, concerns, hopes, frustrations and fears take precedence and on a day to day basis we are unaware of being linked to everything else.

***

It did not matter what out specific fate is as long as we faced it with ultimate abandon. If we had to go under it should be fighting, not apologizing or feeling sorry for oneself.

***

Stalking is a procedure, a special behavior that  is secretive furtive, deceptive and is designed to deliver a jolt. And when you stalk yourself your jolt yourself using your own behavior in a ruthless, cunning way.

***

The idea of death is of monumental importance in life. The knowledge of our impending and unavoidable end is what gives us sobriety. Our most costly mistake as average men are indulging in a sense of immortality it is as thought we believe that if we don’t think about death we can protect ourselves from it. Not thinking about death certainly protects us from worrying about it but that purpose is an unworthy one for average man a travesty for seers. Without a clear view of death, there is no order, no sobriety, no beauty.  This crucial insight is needed to help us realise that the life will continue beyond the moment. This realisation gives one the courage to be patient and yet take action, courage to be acquiescent without being stupid.

***

Death is not an enemy as though it appears to be. Death is our challenger. Death is the only worthy opponent we have and we are born to take that challenge. Life is the process by means of which death challenges us. Death is the active fore. Life is the arena. And in that arena there are only two contenders at any time. Oneself and death. If we move it is only when we feel the pressure of death. Death sets the pace for our actions and feelings and pushes us relentlessly until it breaks us and wins the bout or else we rise above all possibilities and defeat death.

***

What we need to do to allow magic to get hold of us to banish doubt from our minds, once doubts are banished anything is possible.

***

The place of not pity is the site of ruthlessness.

***

I had learned through life fearful experience that nothing in life is free.

***

Silent knowledge is something that all of us have. Something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything, but it cannot think, therefore, it cannot speak of what it knows. When man became aware that he knew and wanted to be conscious of what he knew he lost sight of what he knew. This silent knowledge which you can not describe is of course intent – the spirit, the abstract. Mans error was to want to know it directly the way he knew everyday life. the more he wanted, the more ephemeral it became meaning that the more he clings to the world of reason the more ephemeral intent becomes.

***

What is continuity – the idea that we are a solid block. In our minds what sustains our world is the certainty that we are unchangeable. We may accept that our behavior can be modified that our reactions and opinions can be modified  but the idea that we are malleable to the point of changing appearances, to the point of being someone else, is not part of the underlying order of our self reflection. Then that order is interrupted the world of reason stops.

***

Human being are creators of inventory. Knowing the ins and outs of a particular inventory is what makes a man a scholar or an expert in his field. When an average persons inventory fails the person either enlarges his inventory or his world of self reflection collapses. The average person is willing to introduce new items into his inventory if they don’t contradict the inventory’s underlying order. But if the items contradict that order, the persons mind collapses. The inventory is the mind.

***

Continuity is so important in our lives that if it breaks it always instantly repaired. If there is break uncertainty is to be expected till a new continuity is established.

***

If you think of life in terms of hours instead of years, our lives are immensely long. Even if you think in terms of days life is still interminable.

***

My benefactor did not believe in handing down knowledge. He thought that knowledge imparted that way lacked effectiveness. It was never there one needed it. On the other hand if knowledge was only insinuated the person who was interested would devise ways to claim that knowledge.

***

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