Types of Karmas

Tattvabodha is one of the texts authored by Adi Sankaracharya. It is said to be the first text to be taken by a spiritual seeker to get better understanding and clarity about Vedanta.

Below are some notes on a small part of the text where he explains the different types of Karmas.
Karmas are basically divided into three types:
1. Sanchita Karma
2. Prarabdha Karma
3. Aagami Karma

1. Sanchita Karma: Before attaining this birth, we have passed through countless births. During all these births, we have accumulated a lot of Vasanas which resulted in our actions in the past. Some of the actions yield its result in the same birth, while some are not due in the same birth. Such actions which are carried forward to the next birth, or rather, which we have brought forward from our earlier birth are called Sanchita Karma. These Karmas may or may not give its result in this birth even. Many of them may be carried forward to the next birth.

2. Prarabdha Karma: Prarabdha Karma is like a bill that is due for payment. It is something that has to be paid off in this birth. Good actions yield good results and bad actions result otherwise. Whatever the quality of our past actions may be, if it due at the moment, one has to go through it. That is the result why we see some good people suffering or some bad people enjoying life. We can see the lives of many great saints & sages whose body had to go through a lot of physical pain and suffering. Even though they were enlightened, they had to go through their Prarabdha Karma. The result that we see today is according to the action that was performed in the past.

3. Aagami Karma: Our actions today will have its result in the future. So, whatever act we perform at the moment, good or bad, is going to give way to Prarabdha Karmas in the future and we may have to take many more births to exhaust that. This may sound there is no escape for us to break this chain of births & deaths. However, it is not so. If the actions are performed as a dedication to the Lord, then it will not result in any Aagami Karmas. The actions of such a doer become selfless. This is what Bhagwaan Shree Krishna says as Karma Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta.

In case of a Jeevanmukta (a liberated soul or Self-Realised Master), his body has to go through Prarabdha because, even though he has realized God, his body has to go through the result of his past actions that are due in this birth. Even if he might be performing actions today, they are selfless actions that he does for the welfare of others. Hence, he will not enjoy its result in the future. Thus, Aagami Karma cannot affect him. He also does not have to take another birth to experience Sanchita Karmas that are not exhausted in this birth because there are no more Vasanas to exhaust. This may seem confusing to most of us. To explain this situation of exhaustion of Sanchita Karmas, Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda gives the example of a person who is convicted of many crimes and the court is about to award a punishment to him. At that moment, he dies. Now the court is left with no option but to close the case. Such is the case with Sanchita Karma.

karma

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Why do we need a Guru? Who is a disciple? | Excerpts from GURU-STOTRAM talks, Part 2

…continued from https://vinayrnair.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/guru-stotram-part-1/

Moving ahead to the next question – Why do we need a Guru…why can’t we learn from books?

A simple answer given by Swami Chinmayananda to this question is, ‘Why don’t you ask this question to a book?’

The answer is self-explanatory. Not just that, while one is on a spiritual path and studying the scriptures on his own, there’s a chance that he might misinterpret something in it. This can be really dangerous. Hence, there arises the need of someone wise and knowledgeable enough, who has walked the path, to guide him the right way.

A Guru acts like a role model to his disciple. When the student is trying to grasp the idea of an ideal which is beyond intellectual comprehension, in the Guru he sees the ideal, in flesh and blood, whom he can look up to and pursue his path of spiritual journey.

As the disciple starts gaining some knowledge, he might start feeling that he has become another Guru and his ego goes up. At this point, the Guru crushes his ego, for; the ego is the one of the biggest hurdle in one’s evolution.

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A Guru acts as an altar at which the disciple can surrender himself. The act of surrendering is very important in the life of a seeker. The attitude of surrender gives a lot of strength to the seeker and he feels secured that since he is working with an attitude to serve God, Guru will take care of him and he doesn’t have to worry. The disciple also dedicates his achievements at the feet of the Guru which in turn prevents his ego to get stronger. The disciple starts seeing his own work as the manifestation of his Guru’s vision. He starts realizing that it is not by his own merits, but the Guru’s grace that is working wonders. Thus the altar of surrender becomes very important for a seeker.

A disciple should have four types of faith:

1. Faith in the existence of a Higher Reality.

2. Faith in the scriptures.

3. Faith in the Guru.

4. Faith in himself.

Among the above, if he has only faith in the Guru, then also he will be saved.

Now that we have discussed who’s a Guru, the question is, ‘who is a disciple?

Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda gives a simple definition of a disciple – One who submits himself to discipline (of the mind) is a disciple. No learning is possible without proper discipline.

The scriptures also indicate the way to approach a Guru. One needs to be intelligent enough as to how to approach a Guru. Will one go and ask a Doctor about a legal advice in a civil case? In the same way, when one goes to a Guru, he should choose his questions very carefully. Guru is there to lift us up spiritually. If we go and ask them about family issues, cause of delay in our child’s marriage, etc., it would be really stupid. Guru may answer those questions but he’s sitting there for our spiritual upliftment not for solving petty domestic issues.

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The Upanishads say that one should go to a Guru as a Mumukshu. A mumukshu is one who desires nothing else from the Guru but liberation.

 

…to be continued

Meaning of the word ‘Guru’ | Excerpts from GURU-STOTRAM talks, Part 1

Who is a Guru? Why do we need a Guru when we have books to guide us? How do we know if we have chosen the right Guru? These are a few common questions that usually come to the mind of a seeker. Below are the understandings taken down during a session given by Swami Swatmananda ji in Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Powai for the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) on 3rd Feb 2013 .

Guru Gita, hymns in the glorification of Guru, a collection of around 200 verses, finds its source in Skanda-Purana as a conversation between Lord Shiva and Parvati. Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda took 15 verses from it and gave it the present day form and named it ‘Gurustotram‘.

What is the meaning of the word ‘Guru’?

The word ‘Guru’ has several meanings. One meaning is: ‘Gu’ means ‘darkness’, ‘Ru’ means ‘remover’. So Guru is none other than the one who removes darkness, the darkness of ignorance and bestows upon the light of Knowledge.

Another meaning of ‘Gu’ is ‘Bhava-roga’, the disease of ‘Bhava’ (pronounced as Bhava not Bhaava). What does ‘Bhava’ mean? One meaning of ‘Bhava’ is worldly matters. But the actual meaning of the word ‘Becoming’.

Right from childhood we are trained to ‘become’ someone or something. When do we get the feeling of ‘becoming’, when we are not Complete. Every action of ours is with an aim to gain happiness, be it a job, winning a competition, getting married, or even seeking the company of a good friend. The scriptures try to tell us that our nature itself is happiness and that we are complete in ourselves. However, in our journey we have forgotten our true nature and try to seek happiness outside in the ever-changing impermanent world. It is very difficult for the common man to apprehend this idea, let alone experiencing it. Guru is the One who removes this disease of ‘becoming’ in us and make us realise every moment that we are That Absolute Reality which pervades the entire Universe. He reminds us that ‘Becoming’ is not what is required, all we need to do is – ‘Just Be’. By giving the knowledge of our own Being, the one who brings us back from ‘becoming’ is our Guru.

One might get a doubt that does the above mean we should never have goals in life? Is having a goal not good? One can have two types of goals – Goals in life and Goal of life. Goals in life are the goals of getting a good job; getting married to the person you love, seeing your children becoming successful, etc. However, these are only goals ‘in’ life. What ultimately is the goal ‘of’ life? What is the purpose of our birth? Is it only to achieve material success, get married, raise children, achieve a place in the society or even making the world a better place to live? Are these the only purposes of life? It is like the story of a pilgrim who sets on to a long pilgrimage. On the way, he might go to a good restaurant to eat food, do some shopping on the way, make new friends, enjoy the beauty enroute, etc. He can do all these things. But what if he forgets why he has set foot on this journey and takes a detour to enjoy all the fantasies he comes across? Then the purpose of the pilgrimage is lost. He forgot the purpose why he is on this journey.

In the same way, no doubt goals in life are good and make our life enjoyable. But in the process, one should never forget his goal ‘of’ life, which is to realize his true nature.

The third meaning of Guru goes like this. The word ‘Gu’ also represents ‘Gunateeta‘ (the one who is beyond all qualities) and ‘Ru’ resens ‘Roopateeta‘ (the one who is beyond any form). The three Gunas – satva, rajas and tamas does not affect a Master who has gone beyond the three gunas just like how gravity cannot pull down an object that has crossed the atmosphere and gone into 417space. Self-Realised Masters, even though they appear to us in their physical bodies, are the ones who have gone beyond their forms. Their realm of existence is not at the body level. They are nowhere affected by physical troubles. Such Masters, whose lives are engrained in the Truth and who stand firmly grounded in the Truth, they are the ‘Gurus’.

The fourth meaning of ‘Guru’ is – the one who swallows the sins of his devotees.

The fifth meaning of ‘Guru’ is – heavy. Heavy as in the one who is strongly rooted in the Absolute Truth.

There are many more meanings of the word Guru which truly adds on to the beauty of the Sanskrit language.

…to be continued

Attachment & Love

– Understandings from a talk of Swami Mitrananda for Youth Empowerment Programme 6th batch

There’s a lot of difference between Love & Attachment, yet we often get confused between the two. Krishna tells Arjuna ’88 times’ to Detach in the 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita. To understand what Detachment is, we need to understand the difference between Love & Attachment.

Expression of Attachment is when we demand something for our happiness. Expression of Love is when we supply something for others’ happiness.

In Attachment, selfishness dominates. In Love, selflessness dominates.

Attachment is lower. Love is higher.

Attachment is a sign of weakness. Love is a sign of strength.

In Attachment, one loves ‘because of’. In Love, one loves ‘inspite of’. We love our children mainly because they are ‘our’ children. Had they been the same children but not ‘ours’, then we wouldn’t have loved them so much. This Attachment we have for our children is ‘because of’ the my-ness feeling. It can definitely become a cause of our sorrow tomorrow.

Detachment is not ‘not loving’ someone. Detachment is de-attachment from the lower and Attachment to the higher. Our great freedom fighters Loved our motherland. They Loved their families too, but Love for the country was higher. Hence they did not get Attached to their families even though they loved them.

Detachment born out of Pure Love is Freedom because there is no expectation from anyone. Attachment is Slavery because in Attachment, we define our Happiness Quotient depending on what others give us. People who ‘fall’ in Love are probably the ones who fall due to Attachment. ‘Love-Failure’ is a wrong term. One who truly Loves cannot Fail in Love even if he doesn’t receive Love in return. But ‘Attachment-Failure’ is a certain thing.

One may ask, ‘How can we Detach from anything? Can refrainment from something be called Detachment?’ Detachment is not refrainment. Refrainment is physical. Detachment is mental. One can Love, yet remain Detached. Such is a person is indeed Liberated/De-Attached/Freed from all sorrows.

Some say, it is easy to say all these things but hard to practice Detachment. But hard does not mean Impossible. Some say Detachment is not just hard but Impossible. To them the Optimist replies, “Impossible for you does not mean it is impossible for all. You know that it is impossible for you. I know that it is possible for me, not because I’m superior to you. But only because I know I want to (get Detached) and you don’t. Our mind is always right in such cases. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you really can’t. I may not be able to achieve it today, but I’m sure I’ll be able to…someday!”

Is the Creation Real?

– (a fictional story from the understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talks on Kathopanishad)

(the story below is a continuation of a serious discussion that is taking place between a Teacher and his Student)

Teacher: Where are our thoughts taking place?

Student: In our minds.

Teacher: What is the Mind?

Student: Nothing but flow of thoughts.

Teacher: Good. Do thoughts occupy space?

Student: (Thinking) I’m not sure.

Teacher: Thoughts travel faster than the speed of light. Anything that travels faster than light cannot be matter. So, thoughts and Mind are not matter. Hence, they do not occupy space. If they do not occupy space, then are they in this space?

Student: (Wondering)

Teacher: Let’s try to analyse. Thoughts come and go in split seconds. From where do they come? Unto where they go? Is there a specific place from where they come?

Student: Never thought about it?

Teacher: Thoughts are able to travel so fast because they exist in a dimension that is subtler than space because of which they are able to travel faster than light.

Student: Wow!

Teacher: (Smiling) Next question. Can you show the exact place where mind is located in your body?

Student: Is it the brain?

Teacher: A torch is an instrument through which a battery can function. Similarly, brain is the instrument through which mind works. However, we cannot say that mind is in the brain. Mind is subtler than the brain. When the brain dies (a person dies), the mind and thoughts manifest through someone else. That is why, great people take up great initiatives and even if they die without fulfilling their dreams, it gets manifested through someone else. Swami Vivekananda once said, “If a person takes a strong thought and goes and locks himself inside a cave, and he dies there. The thoughts will penetrate through the rocks and come out. Such is the power of thoughts.” Let us take the examples of freedom fighters who laid down their lives with a dream of achieving freedom. Their thoughts were so strong that others took it up and fulfilled them.

Body is in the dimension of space. Mind is in a dimension subtler than space. Hence, mind cannot be inside the brain.
Student: You are talking about dimensions outside space, and probably time too. But how can we imagine something like that? Even the theory of creation is explained through space and time.

Teacher: To a questioning mind (intellectual mind), all these stories might sound confusing or even ridiculous. That is because he is thinking within the dimension of space and time.

Scientists keep coming with newer and newer theories of creation which usually contradicts the earlier theories. Religious scriptures (of every religion) have given out their theories of creation. To an intellectual mind, most of them sound like interesting stories. But the same person might accept a theory of creation given out with a world-famous scientist (without even questioning it).

Student: Yes. That’s because science is rational. It is based on proofs. We believe something only when it is proved.

Teacher: If that is so, why is the ‘Theory of Creation’ called a ‘Theory’ even by the scientists? Why don’t they say that it is the Truth?

Student: Because it’s a theory, or a hypothesis based on the study made by a scientist or group of scientists.

Teacher: You said it. It is JUST a ‘hypothesis’, an assumption, a probability. But we believe it so strongly that we ACCEPT it as the Truth because Science is saying this. Don’t we?

Student: So, do you mean to say that all these theories of creation given out differently in different religious scriptures are to be accepted too? If that is the case, then which one should we accept? All of them sound like a fairy tale to me.

Teacher: You are right. You might feel these stories like fairy tales but a child would not. If a child asks its grandmother how it rains, the granny would probably say that there is an elephant above the clouds who showers water from the sky and that’s how it rains. For the small child, this story might be enough to satisfy his question. But when the same child grows little old, he questions as to how an elephant can sit in the sky. When the granny sees that he has matured a bit, she gives another story – the elephant is Lord Indra’s elephant, and Lord Indra sits in heaven. His quest is at rest for some time but then he starts questioning Lord Indra’s existence and if there is something called as Heaven? The granny tries giving more stories but the boy is no longer interested in stories. He wants to know nothing, but the Truth. Granny is now happy that he is now seeking the Reality and tells him scientifically how it rains. Had the granny tried explaining him this science when he was very young, he would have got all the more confused.

Knowing this fact, the Rishis gave many stories of the Creation so that people who are of a questioning mind can satisfy their quest. But they knew that these stories would not keep them quiet for a long time and that they would keep enquiring deeper and deeper. And that, if they (the Rishis) could not answer their further questions, they would shun away religion like a bundle of beliefs and superstitions. Hence, the Rishis gave different stories for people who are at different stages of evolution. After a true seeker listens to all these stories, he becomes like the boy who is no longer interested in stories but to know what is the Truth.

To such a student in the Upanishads, the Rishis say, “Till now you were asking about the story of Creation and we gave you the story of Creation. But now, you have asked a deeper question – Is the Creation Real?”

When the student asks this question, the teacher understands that he has become more matured and can digest a Higher Truth. His level of intellect has risen to such a point that even objective sciences fail to answer his questions. To that student, the teacher says, “Contemplate upon this – Is the Creation Real – and Realise the Truth; for, this Truth cannot be explained. It has to be Realised. Explanations are for the Intellect. How can you explain something which is beyond the understanding of the Intellect?”

Student: (Astonished) I’m hearing things like this for the first time. But somewhere it rings a bell in me. I think I’m not matured enough to grasp the essence fully at the moment. I’ll surely contemplate on it.

Teacher: (Smiling) Good. We will wind up the session with a story. A Maths teacher gave a problem to a class of students. He said that it is the toughest problem that he has given till now. He also declared a prize for the one who could solve it. Everyone immediately started working on it. First they attempted individually. But when they saw that they are not able to come to a conclusion, they started working in groups. At some point, a group would arrive at a solution but then for some minor reason, the solution would be wrong. Still they kept trying and presenting their proofs. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Yet there was none who got the answer. Finally, after a year, they admitted their defeat and asked for the solution to the teacher. The teacher laughed and said, “The problem I gave you was wrong. How can you get a correct solution for a wrong problem?” The students surprisingly ask, “What do you mean?” The teacher replied, “What do you understand when I say, that the problem was wrong? It means, there was no problem at all! How can there be a solution if there is no problem at all? It was your mind that made the problem look real? Had you given a shift to your mind, you could have realized the unreality in the problem.”

With this story in mind, contemplate on these questions – When we try to find out the possible theories of Creation of this world, have we ever given a thought if the world is real? If yes, how? If not, why? Do not conclude anything immediately. Let your mind churn with these questions. Let not the answers come out as Theories but as Realisations.

Who am I? | Upadesa Sara

– Understandings from talks on Upadesa Sara

In Upadesa Sara, one of the wonderful philosophical compositions by Ramana Maharishi, he explains about the mind and ego. Bhagawan Ramana asks us to enquire – ‘Who am I?’ And the process is really interesting.

Q: What is mind?
A: Mind is nothing but a flow of thoughts.
Q: What is a ‘thought’?
A: Thought = the experiencer ‘i’ + the object of experience. In every thought we have will have these two components. E.g. I’m thinking about a temple. Here, the object of thought is the temple and the subject is ‘i’ who is thinking about it. If we take any thought, this ‘i’ is common in all the thoughts and the objects keep changing.

So, we can say, mind is nothing but the unchanging component ‘i’ that is present in every thought. When ‘i’ experience, the mind experiences. When ‘i’ is happy, mind is happy. When ‘i’ is sad, mind is sad. But that proves that, even ‘i’ is subject to change with a change in the object of thought. Anything that is subject to change is not permanent. So, then who is that entity in us who realizes that we were happy then, we are sad now; we were sleeping then, we are awake now; we were young then, we are old now?

Ramana Maharishi says – just look at the mind. Keep looking at it. See how every thought arises which leads to another thought. Don’t analyse, just keep observing your mind. When we do this for some time, there will come a moment when all the thoughts cease. This point might be just a moment, and immediately we might get another thought. Still, this single moment can be experienced. At that moment, when the thoughts & mind ceased who was present there who realized that the thoughts ceased? That entity does not experience anything, he is just ‘aware’ that he is! What remained as a witness was an awareness. It is this awareness, that is our true nature – the Real ‘I’ – and not the ‘i’ that is subject to change with every changing experience.

On enquiry, why did the mind end?
Because it’s an illusion.
Why is it an illusion?
Because it is not the reality.
Why it is not the reality?
Because it is not permanent.

Anyone, irrespective of the purity of their heart, can taste the absence of mind atleast for a second. To continue this awareness for a longer duration, one needs to purify himself. It’s like this – anyone can do one pushup. But only those who practice every day for a certain period can do 50 pushups. What Ramana Maharishi asks us to do is – Enquire our true nature. Nothing else can make us realize who we are, what are we made up of, what is our real nature. All the spiritual practices like Japa, Meditation, Satsang, etc are required. But that does not lead to experience. To experience, we need to enquire.

A couple fell in love. After some struggle, their families agreed for their marriage. The marriage day was fixed, the hall was booked, and all the arrangements were made. One day before the wedding, both the bride and the groom’s side, stayed in two hotels near to the hall. Suddenly, Mani mama came to the hotel where the girl’s family stayed. He was well dressed in silk robes and had a commanding personality. They girl’s family thought he must be from the groom’s side. He checked if all the arrangements are being made properly. He went through the final check-list and suggested some changes. The bride’s side agreed to it thinking that a denial might lead to a problem. Mani mama left the hotel and went to the groom’s side. He did the same thing over there and they too agreed. They also thought the he must be from the bride’s side. The wedding ceremony was done under the instructions of Mani mama. Mani mama became the centre of all activities. He even got a room for himself in the house where the bridegroom stayed after marriage. After two-three days, the girl started getting irritated over Mani mama’s behavior in their house and complained to her husband. He said, “He’s your uncle. Why are you complaining to me? Even I’m irritated with him.” She was shocked. She said, “What! He’s not my relative. I thought he must be your relative.” Both of them were shocked. They understood the truth. Both of them went to Mani mama’s room and gave him a look. They didn’t even have to say anything. He understood that the drama was over and immediately disappeared from the scene.

In the same way, when we enquire what is this mind it will disappear; for, illusion cannot stand enquiry. When we mistake the rope as a snake, and we keep looking at it carefully, the illusion of snake disappears and what remains is the truth – the rope.

When I say that I see the pen, it is actually the ‘eye’ that sees the pen. So we are claiming that ‘eye’ has become the ‘I’; and ‘eye’ is an object. We cannot say that ‘eye’ is pure consciousness because in seeing there is a transformation going on; and pure consciousness cannot change.

So, who’s this ‘I’ who is the witness? It is the Self, the Awareness that shines, not like the sun shining, but it shines in its own Awareness. It shines from Itself, for Itself, by Itself, in Itself.

When put in words, It cannot be expressed or explained. That is why the Masters like Ramana Maharishi ask us to Enquire and Realise ourselves by Our Self.

Arise! Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached.

Arise! Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached.

This was one of the most famous roars of Swami Vivekananda. People usually hold on to the last line very much ‘Stop not till the goal is reached’. But he said two words before that – Arise! Awake! Why did he say Arise Awake, why not Awake Arise? When we are asleep, we wake up first; only then we can arise from our bed. But most of the times, our slumber is so powerful that it pulls our body back to sleep.

Once a boy told his teacher, “I’m unable to wake up early in the morning despite of keeping an alarm. Every day, the alarm buzzes at 5am but my sleep is so bad that I stop it and go back to sleep. I’m sincerely trying to wake up, but unable to do so. What should I do?” The teacher replied, “Don’t keep your alarm in your bed. Keep it somewhere in your room, may be over the loft or cupboard, where you have to get out of the bed and take some effort to put it off. Once you are out of your bed, you’ll gain more consciousness and with that little awareness, you can prevent your body and mind from going back to sleep.”

What Swami Vivekananda said was very correct. First we must pull ourselves out of our sleep by our own willpower – ARISE! Once we rise up, then sleep is automatically gone. Then AWAKE! Be aware of your goal. Keep reminding yourself about it every day. Let not a single day pass without remembering your goal. Then strive for it. Give all your best effort towards reaching the goal. And STOP NOT…TILL THE GOAL IS REACHED.

Swami Vivekananda’s birthday is very aptly selected as National Youth Day. They are the real Masters who lived a life of inspiration at every breath.

Salutations to the Great Master who continues to charge up the souls of millions even after 150 years of leaving his body!

Dialogue 8 | Believer Vs Non-Believer

RV: What do you have to say about the world…I mean, Hindu philosophy says that the world is unreal. How can it be unreal when you and I see the same things? They say the world is a suffering. How come? And also that for a Self-Realised person, the world disappears. What rubbish! How can it ever make sense? Are they saying that a Self-Realised person see the world something like how Neo saw in numbers in the movie Matrix? What’s your take on this?

VR: These are some questions that every seeker must have asked at some point or the other. They are quite confusing questions indeed. However, they would have been less confusing if one would ask these questions in Sanskrit. E.g. for the term ‘world’ in English, we can call it only ‘world’. Since we all see the world as it is, we cannot think of it as unreal. In Sanskrit, a word for ‘world’ is ‘Jagat’. Another word we come across is ‘Samsaar’. ‘Samsaar’ is also the world, but perceived through relationships. A car is seen as a car in ‘Jagat’; but in Samsaar, it is seen as ‘my car’ or ‘Mr.X’s car’. In Samsaar, a relationship is added to everything and then they are perceived. When this beautiful creation is perceived through relationships, then it causes miseries to us. E.g. If a person sees a wave washing away a pair of shoes, it will not cause any sorrow for him. But when he realizes that it was ‘his brand new shoes’, then he’s unhappy. If an 80 year old man dies in the nearby building, we say – ‘he was very old and sick. It’s good that he got freed from his miseries.’ But if it’s our own father, then we weep. So, what is it that ultimately brings sorrow to us in this world? It is nothing but our relationship with everything we see.

When we say the world disappears for a Realised Master, he doesn’t see the world how Neo did in the movie Matrix (after he realizes what the Matrix is). He too sees the world as we do, but without any relationships and bondages attached. This is what makes him a liberated soul – Jivan Mukta.

The Lord is described as ‘Jagat-atman’ – one who is the Self of the world. If the world is unreal, then how can the Lord be called Jagatatman? The world (Jagat) is Real, but seen in terms of relationships (Samsaar) is unreal.

RV: Hmm…That’s interesting. I cannot fully agree upon what you are saying, but whatever you had said looks logical. Probably, if I think over it then I can counter you with more questions.
And by the way, do you mean that Vedanta cannot be learnt through English? What’s the big deal about Sanskrit anyways? It’s just a language.

VR: The scriptures say, after Sravanam (Listening) Mananam (Reflecting upon what we have listened to) is very important. Nothing should be accepted without critical analysis.
Vedanta can be understood through English. We both are communicating in English and I’m making my views clear too. But English or for that matter any language (other than Sanskrit) has got its limitation. Sanskrit is not just a language; it is an ‘evolved language’. Let me explain why. The person who teaches is called a ‘Teacher’ in English. Why? Why is the word ‘Teacher’ used? Why not use some other word like ‘asdfjio’? You might say – because he teaches. In that case, why the word ‘teach’ is used to convey the meaning of teaching? There is no answer, or rather; there is no reason why a teacher is called a teacher. As English language (like most of the other languages) developed these words came into existence. But in Sanskrit, there are many reasons why teacher is called a ‘Guru’.

Every letter, I repeat, every letter has got a meaning in Sanskrit. ‘Gu’, in Sanskrit, means darkness and ‘Ru’ means remover. Darkness represents ignorance. So, one meaning of Guru is ‘One who removes or dispels darkness of ignorance. Another meaning of Guru is ‘One who reveals Guri (target) to the disciple’. Guri refers to the Self or the All-Pervading Consciousness. Yet another meaning of Guru is…’Gu’ stands for ‘Gunateetha’ – one who is beyond the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas & Tamas); and ‘Ru’ stands for ‘Rupavarjitha’ – one who is formless. So Guru is the One who is beyond all the Gunas and forms, who is none other than the Supreme Self, who resides in each one of us.

In Sanskrit, for every letter there is a meaning. For every word, there is a reason why those letters were used to make the word. In Sanskrit – Nothing is for no reason.

RV: Zapped!

Dialogue 7 | Believer Vs Non-Believer

RV: Now that i know you do support science. Do you think Mahabharta took place and do you think Bheema was as powerful as hundred elephants. And what about Kunti’s sons before marriage? She gave birth to three sons from three different men/gods. one of them Surya devta or Sun which is not a living thing I would want to hear the philosophy behind this.
My take: I think science and society were advanced back then. Sex before marriage was not a taboo but a recreational stuff. People were free to think and write what they wanted. But then I also feel that may be Sage Vyasa was writing a poem and visualized a society as advanced as his treatise. It is a beautiful thought that one’s child is so bright that he would be imagined to be conceived as Sun’s god but taking it too seriously is like taking Harry Potter too seriously.

Philosophy in bhagvad geeta is beautiful and I think it was projected as god’s words so that lay man follows it sincerely but people, as usual, have ignored bhagvad gita and only remember Sri Krishna for his politics which is truly awesome. Only few like you have read Bhagvad Gita (i am assuming).

Your view..

VR: Mahabharata and Ramayana actually happened. But Vyasa & Valmiki composed them in their poetic form. Poets are free to use their imagination in poetry. Our Puranas, Epics & Scriptures are a blend of Spiritual science, Poetry & Symbolism. We need to learn them in the right way to understand them properly.
Why they used imagination or exaggeration is a question asked by many? If you have seen movies based on true stories, how the directors use some masala so that the viewers can grasp the ‘essence’ from it? Our minds accept things if they are encapsulated in stories. Even today we enjoy reading comics, don’t we? Stories go a long way. Through stories, unknowningly the values go inside. That is more important.
The way our earlier teachers taught subjects was also interesting. If we take the case of Mathematics…there was no separate subject like Mathematics. It was imbibed in Astronomy, Astrology, Construction of Yagnashalas, etc. Its like have Tea. The essence is tea. But how many of us can enjoy tea if we eat tea leaves? So, for the essence to go inside we may use water, milk & sugar along with tea. There’s no harm in taking tea this way.
Our scriptures are like sugar-coated tablets. What’s inside cannot be known easily by the common man, but they do have their good effects. As you rightly said, very few people have rightly understood scriptures like Bhagavad Gita or Krishna correctly. One reason is because of the problems caused by our own people who wanted power didn’t transfer this knowledge to everybody. They gave different interpretations of scriptures and caste systems. This way, the caste systems became impure and the knowledge came into the hands of a few who themselves did not understand it properly. Another factor is the change in our educational system. Till a few centuries ago, we had the Gurukul system. The British educational system made a big difference. Now that you are in Boston doing your research, you might understand the difference in educational system of India and US or UK. The British made the educational system for us so that they can produce only clerical class and they themselves follow a different approach. Still our people excel in various fronts (thanks to the genes of our forefathers that we carry).
As I see it, there’s no point now blaming different people of the past. The question is, if we know how useful our ancient knowledge was, we should be asking this question to us – What are WE doing about it? What is OUR contribution (however little it may be) to protect it?

RV: Good answer! 🙂