Saturday, April 26, 2008

God the scriptwriter

I signed up for Facebook a month or so ago and joined a 'Teachings of Ramana Maharshi' group that had just started there. One of the other members mentioned this statement that Bhagavan had made when his mother begged him to return home in 1898:
The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past deeds - their prarabdha karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try hard how you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is for one to be silent.
The person who posted the quote then asked about this 'Ordainer', and this is what I wrote in reply:

Before I write a response to this I should explain, for the benefit of those who do not know, the circumstances under which Bhagavan made this pronouncement. Bhagavan’s mother Azhagammal, came to see him in Tiruvannamalai in 1898 and begged him to return with her to the family home in Madurai. Bhagavan knew that such an option was not possible because he knew that it was his destiny (his prarabdha karma) to remain at Arunachala. This written statement was his response. The Tamil and English versions of it can be found on page 66 of Self-Realization, Narasimha Swami’s biography of Bhagavan.

This statement encapsulates several key elements of Bhagavan’s teachings that need to be explained before I can respond to the question that Cliff poses.

First, the term ‘ordainer’ refers to Iswara, the generic personal God of Hinduism, and not to the unmanifest Self. The relationship between the two was explained by Bhagavan in Guru Vachaka Kovai, verses 449 and 1218:
Other than as thoughts, jiva [the individual self], Iswara and the world do not exist.

The unmoving basis, the screen, is Brahman. The moving pictures that appear on that unmoving screen are jiva, Iswara and the world. You should know that everything which is perceived [on the screen] is maya.
The mind brings an illusory world into existence, dividing it into a seer and seen: a jiva who appears to inhabit the body, and an external world that is witnessed by it. When this projection takes place, Iswara, the God who supervises this creation, is also created. This God, the God who creates and sustains the world, is a mental creation, meaning that when the mind dies, the jiva, the world and God die with it, leaving Self alone. Iswara allocates karma to devotees and ensures that each devotee experiences the consequences of his and her actions. Here are some interesting answers that Paul Brunton elicited from Bhagavan on Iswara and his role in devotees’ lives:
Question: Is there a separate being Iswara who is the rewarder of virtue and punisher of sins? Is there a God?
Bhagavan: Yes.
Question: What is he like?
Bhagavan: Iswara has individuality in mind and body, which are perishable, but at the same time he also has the transcendental consciousness and liberation inwardly.

Iswara the personal God, the supreme creator of the universe really does exist. But this is only true from the relative standpoint of those who have not realised the truth, those people who believe in the reality of individual souls. From the absolute standpoint the sage cannot accept any other existence than the impersonal Self, one and formless.

Iswara, God, the creator, the personal God, is the last of the unreal forms to go. Only the absolute being is real. Hence, not only the world, not only the ego, but also the personal God are of unreality. We must find the absolute – nothing else.
(Conscious Immortality 1st ed, pp. 7, 8, 10, and 180-1)

That is to say, Iswara will exist and run the world while the individual projects creation, but he will cease to exist when the Self is realised and one knows oneself to be unmanifest Brahman. Since Bhagavan defines ‘reality’ as that which does not come and go, and as that which has its own inherent being, Iswara is not ultimately real since he comes and goes with the appearance and disappearance of the jiva. He is not permanent, unchanging being in the way that Brahman is.

How does Iswara, ‘the ordainer’, allocate destiny? Here is Bhagavan explaining the process, using an interesting and novel analogy:
A man might have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of them alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy the fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance.
(The Mountain Path 1982, p. 23)

And here is a second quote on how this process works:
Individuals have to suffer their karmas but Iswara manages to make the best of their karmas for his purpose. God manipulates the fruits of karma but he does not add or take away from it. The subconscious of man is a warehouse of good and bad karma. Iswara chooses from this warehouse what he sees will best suit the spiritual evolution … of each man, whether pleasant or painful. Thus, there is nothing arbitrary.
(Conscious Immortality, 1st ed. p. 376)

The point of the slide-show analogy is that the slides are arranged in a fixed sequence. The choice of slides and the order in which they display are determined in advance by Iswara. This is ‘God the ordainer’ determining which actions a jiva will perform, and in which order.

There is a traditional three-fold division of karma, of which prarabdha karma, mentioned in the original question, is one. Sanchita karma is the store of karma that has been brought forward from past lives. Prarabdha karma is the destiny that one has to undergo in this life, and agami karma is the new karma that is created in this life that is carried forward into future lives. One’s prarabdha karma is thus one’s destiny in this life, the God-ordained sequence of events that one has to experience.

Bhagavan did not seem to regard the laws of karma as being inherent in creation. They were, instead, a ‘divine ordinance’, a rule made by God, rather than a fundamental property of created matter. This was explained in the first verse of Upadesa Saram, which Bhagavan begins with the sentence ‘Action bears fruit by the ordinance of God’. This is Bhagavan’s reply to a question by Krishna Bhikshu, who asked who or what this ‘God’ was in this sentence:
Question: In ‘Karthuragnaya prapyathe phalam’ [‘actions bear fruit by the ordinance of God’] who is the karta [God, or the supreme doer]?
Bhagavan: Karta is Iswara. He is the one who distributes the fruits of actions to each person according to his karma. That means He is saguna Brahman [manifest Brahman]. The real Brahman is nirguna [attributeless] and without motion. It is only saguna Brahman that is named as Iswara. He gives the phala [fruits] to each person according to his karma [actions]. That means that Iswara is only an agent. He gives wages according to the labour done. That is all. Without that sakti [power] of Iswara, this karma [action] will not take place. That is why karma is said to be jadam [inert].
(Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 11th August, 1946)

A natural consequence of all this is Bhagavan’s remark ‘Nothing happens except that which is divinely ordained’. (Padamalai, p. 295, v. 12.). While it is easy to see how this is so for embodied jivas who are under Iswara’s rule, it does not explain why Bhagavan, who had realised the Self and transcended the jurisdiction of ‘the Ordainer’, told his mother that he could not come back to Madurai because this event was not in his destiny.

To understand this some further philosophical digressions are necessary. Bhagavan taught that all the actions that a body performs are determined by its pre-destined prarabdha. This includes jnanis, the liberated ones. That destiny is God-given and immutable, but that does not mean that one has to identify with the body that is performing and undergoing its various destined actions. Enlightenment, or Self-realisation, is having the permanent knowledge and the experience that one is the underlying substratum, Brahman, not the temporary and ultimately unreal appearances (the world, the jiva and God) that appear and disappear within it. When one realises the Self, one knows that one is the Self and not the transient body that is going through its allotted activities. Destiny pertains to the body, not to the underlying Self. Bhagavan’s body had a destiny to fulfill, and that destiny did not include returning to Madurai, but the Self that he knew himself to be had no such destiny.

Traditional advaita, going back to Sankaracharya, teaches that jnanis, through their realisation, have transcended agami and sanchita karma, but continue to experience prarabdha karma until their body dies. That is to say, the karma that has accumulated in the past which produces rebirth and suffering has ended, meaning that there will be no more births, but the destiny of the body in this life (the prarabdha karma) has to continue until the body dies. Bhagavan objected to this argument, saying that if one knows oneself to be the Self, then all three of the karmas have ended. He summarised these views with an elegant analogy in Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham, verse 33:
The statement that the jnani retains prarabdha while free from sanchita and agami is only a formal answer to the questions of the ignorant. Of several wives none escapes widowhood when the husband dies; even so, when the doer goes, all three karmas vanish.
Bhagavan accepted that the body of a jnani had a predestined script of activities that it had to undergo, but he would not accept that he had prarabdha karma since he knew that he was not the body that was engaging in all these physical activities. As he remarked in Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 1146:
Prarabdha will never fail [to take its course] in the case of a body that has been born to exhaust it. But the jivanmukta who has severed the chit-jada knot, and thereby become distinct from the body, has transcended prarabdha.
The jivanmukta is one who has become liberated while still alive in the body, while the chit-jada knot is the process by which pure consciousness attaches and identifies itself with the insentient body. The same idea was expressed more succinctly in Padamalai, p. 294, v 11 where Bhagavan said: ‘In the blissful experience of jnana, the Self, those prarabdha experiences will not cling to the “I”’.

There is one other consequence of realisation that I should mention since it impinges on another reason why Bhagavan could not accept his mother’s plea to return home. When one realises the Self, one no longer has any sankalpas. That is to say, one can no longer choose or decide what one should or should not do. People with minds who identify with bodies assume that they have ‘free-will’, that they can choose or decide what they do or don’t do. Jnanis who know that they are the Self and the Self alone have no such choices or options. When they speak, it is the Self that is speaking, and when they move, it is the Self that is animating them to perform a particular action. There is no intermediary mind that considers courses of action and then executes one of them. Bhagavan did not have a ‘choice’ to return home since the ‘chooser’ in him no longer existed. His body had a destiny to remain at Arunachala, a destiny that was scripted and ordained, but he himself had freed himself of its karmic destiny by abiding in the Self.

To give Bhagavan himself the last word, here are some more verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai (697, 698, 300, 1191, 151) on the topic of transcending prarabdha. They are probably more relevant and useful than my own discussion on what prarabdha is and who it affects:
The purport of the statement, ‘For those who dwell in the firmament [of consciousness] there is no prarabdha,’ is that not even an iota of prarabdha will exist for those who meditate unceasingly on the subtle space of consciousness that flourishes everywhere unobstructed, and which cannot be encompassed even by the vast physical space.

Prarabdha, like a whirlwind, relentlessly agitates and spins the mind that has shrunk through the ‘I am the body’ idea. However, it cannot stir, even slightly, the limitation-free mind that shines as the extremely clear space of being-consciousness when that ego-impurity [the ‘I am the body’ idea] is destroyed by self-enquiry.

It is impossible for the jiva who has become a victim of ego-delusion to overcome even slightly the force of prarabdha. Therefore, unless he subsides in the Heart by relying primarily on God’s grace, he can never, by mere effort, which is the activity of the rising ego, overcome the buffeting momentum of that prarabdha, subside by himself [in the Heart], attain Self-realisation and be freed from fear-causing delusion.

No one can do anything that is opposed to the ordinance of the Supreme Lord who possesses unlimited power and who can do anything. Therefore, to end the illusory anxieties of the mind, which engender an evil discontent, the proper course is to remain under the spell of supreme consciousness, which arises from meditating on the divine feet, with the mischief of the ego subdued.

Siva shines within each jiva as a witness, [enabling] him [the jiva] to experience his prarabdha through his [Siva’s] presence. Whoever knows his nature to be mere being-consciousness, without imagining through ignorance that he is the experiencer of prarabdha, shines as that supreme person, Siva.

69 comments:

sada said...

Hi David,
the slide-show you were mentioning about, as to the karma bearing fruit, is it deterministic only for this life time or has it already been pre-determined for N subsequent life time. This is because the actions of this life time will go as karma for our next life and so on. If so then is everything deterministic until our realization which might be after 10 lives. This might be a stupid question but this one thing I never understood in Bhagavan's teachings. He says everything is pre-ordained. Is it applicable only for this life or for all the subsequent life to come
thanks
Sada

David Godman said...

That's an interesting question. I have just run the various quotes from Bhagavan on this subject through my mind and they all leave the impression that Iswara makes the selection on a lifetime-by-lifetime basis.

sada said...

Does this mean it has been already pre-ordained whether we will, if i may say so, achieve realization in this life or not. If not in this life may be 20 lives from now :( That does scare me a little.
Sada

David Godman said...

No, while Bhagavan has said on several occasions that one's actions are scripted, he is also on record as saying that we have the freedom to not identify with the body that is performing its scripted actions. This is, in fact, the only true freedom we have in this life. Either we can identify with whatever the body is doing and suffer the consequences of that identification, or we can transcend identification with the body, abide as the Self, and then be a mere witness to the body as it performs its destined activities.

The question of whether enlightenment is destined in this life or a future one is an interesting one. In Nothing Ever Happened Papaji recounted the story of how Dr Hafiz Syed showed him a palm-leaf horoscope that had been given to him. It stated that he would have three Gurus in his life: one whom he had already been to, Ramana Maharshi, and a third called Harilal. At that time Papaji was only using the name Poonja at Ramanasramam, and no one there knew that his first names were Harivansh Lal. Papaji kept quiet about his identity when he was shown this horoscope, but he said that Dr Syed became his devotee even before Bhagavan passed away.

For those who don't know about these palm-leaf predictions, they are supposedly hundreds or thousands of years old, and were written, by ancient seers, about individual people who would be born many centuries in the future. If one accepts this premise, and also accepts that these leaves (or least some of them) are genuine, then it follows that somebody a long, long time ago, possibly more than a thousand years ago, knew that Papaji and Ramana Maharshi would be contemporaries of each other, and that both would be enlightened in the same era in order to be the Gurus of Dr Syed.

This in turn would imply that there was no chance of either of them getting enlightened in the centuries leading up to the time when Dr Syed, Bhagavan and Papaji were in Tiruvannamalai together. I, like you, would find this to be a depressingly deterministic scenario.

I don't know how accurate or reliable these palm-leaf predictions are. I have met many people who have had bad, inaccurate ones, and a few who have received astonishingly accurate information.

Personally, I don't worry about it. I believe that I have the choice to identify with the Self or the body on a moment-to-moment basis, and I also believe that Iswara has put me here with the script that will be the most useful and beneficial for me.

I took someone to see Saradamma about ten years ago. During the course of our conversation she told the person I had taken, 'Your prarabdha in this life is your prasadam from God. How you deal with it is your sadhana.' I am happy with that.

Murali said...

My own two cents of humble comments is that it is our own mind (which does not like to "give up" control) which tries to debate how much portion is pre-determined and how much portion we have control on etc., All Bhagavan's quotes and logical conclusion of them point out that everything to the last detail is alrady decided. For example, at this precise time and day, I am typing these precise letters here are pre-determined and thats it. In this scheme of things, even the decision to make effort and the actual act of making effort and we getting the result out of it is all pre-decided. Ofcourse, the irony is that choices present themselves to us and we always make choices but I dont think it makes any difference whether we believe or not in pre-determination when we are making choices and making effort. Its a question of just habit that we think we can make full effort only when we believe we can change something. We can always change the habit and can make the effort while believing that this is all pre-determined and that does not effect the quality and intensity of the effort

I read somewhere a very simple explanation. "If we believe there is a God who is omniscient, then it implies God knows the future which means that future is already known by someone"!!

I hope my understanding is right.

David Godman said...

In UIlladu Narpadu, verse 19, Bhagavan wrote:

The debate "Does free will prevail or fate?' is only for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have known the Self, the common source of free-will and fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

Debates about free will and destiny can only persist as longer as there is an idea that there is a 'chooser', someone who decides what he or she shall do or not do. After realisation the illusory chooser vanishes, and all actions are performed by the Self without any prior 'Should I do this? Should I do that?' You can only argue about this matter while you still believe that there is an entity that has choices. When that belief and that entity vanish, concepts of destiny and free will vanish along with it.

sonachala said...

Bhagavan had been quoted by several authors to have said that all our actions are predestined and that our only freedom is to turn the mind within. Are our thoughts and emotional responses to each situation
in life also predestined??

David Godman said...

That's an interesting point, one that I have occasionally wondered about. I don't ever recollect Bhagavan giving an answer on this topic.

For the unenlightened, actions and choices are generally made on the basis of prior thought. If the act itself is destined, then it might be reasonable to conclude that the thoughts which prompted the acts were also part of the chain of destiny.

Although most people know that Bhagavan taught that all the body's acts are pre-determined, there is a 'get-out' clause in Upadesa Manjari (Spiritual Instruction) where Bhagavan says: 'Destiny only affects the extroverted mind. The more you introvert the mind, the more you transcend your destiny.'

When I was in Lakshmana Swamy's ashram about twenty years ago, Saradamma made the following interesting comments to me:

'[Lakshmana] Swamy can see past lives of people who come to see him. Sometimes images of these lives just come to him unasked. Occasionally he also sees future lives also, but only in people who have no interest in God or meditation. For such people the future seems to be fixed. However, he doesn't see the future lives of people who have devotion or who are meditating to realise the Self. For them the future does not seem to be so fixed.'

It is said that in the presence of the Guru the worst effects of destined karma can be mitigated to some extent. A major accident can be reduced to a minor one, and so on. Saradamma told me once that in some cases karma can even be experienced and eliminated in dreams, rather than in the waking state.

In 1985 I was in their ashram when Saradamma informed me that she felt that I was about to have a bad road accident, and that I should therefore stay in the ashram until she felt it was safe for me to leave. A few days later I was attempting to remove a large photo of Lakshmana Swamy from the wall of the Ramana Mandir there in order to do some cleaning. The ladder I was standing on slid from underneath me; the picture rail I grasped at came away from the wall, and I, the ladder and a large photo all came crashing down together. My feet were only about three feet from the ground but I somehow managed to sustain a fractured femur in the incident. I was taken to a hospital, put in traction, and was told I would have to be there for about twelve weeks. Apparently, if you are around thirty, which I was at the time, the pins and plates that would speed up recovery in older people are not recommended because they don't last for the rest of one's life.

I have to say that the treatment seemed a bit medieval to me. I felt like a cartooon character with my leg bolted to the bed, and pulleys and weights stretching its components in the right direction.

I consulted my mother, who was a physiotherapist in the UK, and she reassured me that this was still the standard treatment for young people with major femur fractures. I also consulted a doctor friend of mine who had a private practice just off Harley Street in London. I borrowed my x-rays and sketched a picture of what my femur looked like. I am no expert, but it looked like a very alarming picture. There seemed to be a gap of almost an inch between the two broken bones.

The message cam back from London: 'I think you have sent me the wrong x-ray. You can't break your femur like this falling three feet off a ladder. This is the standard break of someone who has been hit in the side by a car travelling at about 30 miles per hour.'

So, my destined road accident happened in a traffic-free zone. I like to think that having it in the ashram temple, holding on to Lakshmana Swamy's photo as I fell, made it a lot less severe than it might otherwise have been. I could have been flattened on a street in the nearby town and had far more severe injuries.

Murali said...

Sideline comment:
There is an intersting stuff I came across recently in which the author discusses the concept of Post-determination. He says that one way of looking at things is that for a desired futuristic event, the chain of events work backwards to the events which are happening right now.

For example, if we are destined to get Self-Realized, say in the year 3500AD, the events work backwards where we might possibly start doing sadhana in 2008 June and meet a Self Realized master in year 2500AD in a future life etc.,

I dont know how much true this view point is, but this whole topic of destiny, freewill is a mystery in the present level of consciousness we are in..

Regards Murali

Jupes said...

I love this exchange between Annamalai Swami and a questioner. It's from David's book Living By the Words of Bhagavan.

Annamalai Swami: Before we came into this life all the incidents of our life were predestined: where we have to live, what acts we have to perform, etc. If we desire anything other than our prarabdha, that which was already destined for us, we cannot attain it.

Questioner: So there is no point in planning future projects. It is better to live with what comes, day by day.

AS: According to one's prarabdha, the efforts which are necessary and which have to happen will arise in one's mind.

Q: So we only think that we have choices. The sense of choice is not real.

AS: Correct! All the difficulties that we experience in life have been given to us by Bhagavan in order to turn our minds towards the Self.

~~~~

I guess this speaks a little to the question of whether our thoughts and emotions are predestined. The idea that we have choices in our outer lives is an illusion. I am always so struck by the way children (and indeed all of us) are taught and encouraged to set goals in life, to plan for the future, as if we have a choice in the matter. Annamalai Swami's comments really put that in perspective.

On the other hand, having thoughts about how to conduct one's life, how to proceed with things as they come up, etc., even though the script is already in place, is part of the fabric of one's earthly existence, and those thoughts help us to live life in the unrealized states most of us are in. So, illusion or not, I usually find those thoughts necessary on some level.

David, what in interesting story about Saradamma's premonition and your resulting broken femur. There was no way you could escape that happening, even by staying at the ashram extra days. How unfortunate for you, but what a great example of the inevitablility of one's destiny.

David Godman said...

I was going through some Robert Adams material this afternoon, editing it for a future post, when I came across this exchange:

Question: What is the relationship between effort and realisation, since only the ego is doing this effort. How can the ego doing this effort... ?

Robert: What you call ‘effort’ has been preordained.

Question: Self-enquiry is the ego doing effort?

Robert: Self-enquiry is the ego trying to find itself as the Self, so the effort is brought on through your karma so that you may become Self-realised. It is a privilege to have been able to find in this life the method of self-enquiry. Therefore, it’s been predestined that you should make the effort to find yourself.


Robert clearly seemed to think that one's effort, and one's choice of practice, is predetermined. I suppose that, if the amount of effort and vigilance one puts into enquiry is also unchangeable and part of one's script, then this would also mean that the moment of success (Self-realisation) is also predetermined.

I had a discussion about this with Annamalai Swami in the early 1990s.

I asked: 'How can the activity of the individual self, which is an imaginary entity, result in awareness of reality? If the individual self is an illusion, then all its efforts must be illusory as well.'

Annamalai Swami was a great believer in hard,unremitting effort, and I knew I was playing devil's advocate on this one.

Not surprisingly, he replied, 'You mustn't think like this. You must continue to make efforts until the moment of realisation.'

I replied, 'But who is making the effort? If the one making the effort is unreal, then his efforts are also unreal. The unreal cannot produce awareness of the real. It can only hide it from view.'

Again he admonished me for being defeatist and said if I started to believe this I would give up all effort and practice and lapse into samsara again.

I said, 'I don't think it's my choice. I think I have a destined moment for realisation and that in the years and lifetimes prior to that moment there will be an increasing desire and interest in the Self which will eventually culminate in the final experience. I don't actually have a choice on whether I should meditate or do self-enquiry. This is also in my script. It seems to me that the progressive intensity of one's sadhana as one approaches the moment of liberation is an illusion, maya's final joke. This illusion, this script, creates the impression that individual effort culminates in liberation whereas it is just a script reaching its final climax.'

I don't know if I believed this or not. I think I took this position just to wind him up, to get him to give a forceful pep talk on the necessity of more and more effort.

Instead, he was silent for a while. Finally he said, 'It's true. The ego cannot choose to make more and more effort to hasten its final end. The desire to make the effort, and the intensity of that effort are also in the script. It is also in the script that I tell people every day that they must have more determination and make more effort. People who are ready to be inspired to make more effort come here and listen to me speak, and when I cajole them into more effort, they go away and make more effort. But it wasn't their choice, their decision. They were scripted to come to someone who would inspire them to try harder. And that subsequent trying harder is also in their script.'

I was astounded that he backed down on this one. He did say afterwards that he didn't speak like this in his public satsangs (this was a private meeting) since he didn't want people to become lazy and get defeatist. However, if he accepted this position, he must have known that, just as the individual self cannot make a choice to try harder, it cannot make the alternate choice of being lazy.

I took someone to see Saradamma around 1990. This question was also on his mind.

He asked, 'Bhagavan says that all our physical acts are predetermined. Are our thoughts predetermined as well?'

He had told me his question in advance and I had hazarded a guess that Saradamma would say 'no'.

However, she surprised me by telling him that the sequence of thoughts as well as the sequence of actions was also part of one's script.

Where does that leave me and 'my' efforts to 'attain' the Self? This knowledge hasn't made me lazy or defeatist. I still try to put my attention on the 'I' or on some thought of Bhagavan as often as I remember to. To be honest, thinking about Bhagavan sometimes makes me so quiet, peaceful and happy, I do it for the sheer pleasure of enjoying Bhagavan's grace and sannidhi. I don't need to be inspired by some future goal to turn my thoughts towards Bhagavan. Basking in the presence, moment to moment, is a reward in itself.

I guess that I have an appointed moment with liberation. Judging by the volume of stray thoughts that still clatter around my head, I don't think that this is going to happen anytime soon. That doesn't bother me either. For now I am content to serve him by following his teachings and to enjoy him by opening myself up to his silent presence.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, the notion that everything is predetermined doesn't appeal to me. If that were the case, astrologers are the Gods on earth and not jnanis! David, you've had the opportunity to stay long in Tiruvannamalai, study Bhagavan's teachings in depth, absorb the presence of Sri Nisargadatta, Papaji, Annamalai Swami, Lakshmana Swamy, Saradamma and of course the inner Self. You're far ahead in the road towards liberation that most of us here! We're fortunate that you're blogging and helping us along in our paths towards liberation! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have a question that's bothering me: Why would 'God the scriptwriter' allow sordid events in the world like genocide while allowing the perpetrators of genocide to live with all the pleasures of the world, trivial as they maybe compared to the happiness of the Self? The only answer I can think of is to convince others that this world is a bad dream, to give people a clue that something isn't right with the world. I'd like to see a post on Bhagavan's views on evil. I guess he has answered such questions before..and i guess his answer was 'Know thyself'?

David Godman said...

Anonymous one

The idea that everything is destined doesn't appeal to anyone who buys into the 'I am the body' idea. If you believe the individual self exists, then you appear to have choices. Bhagavan tells us to exercise those apparent choices wisely by putting attention on the Self, rather than the non-Self.

However, as Bhagavan says in Ulladu Narpadu, once you have transcended the idea of the individual self and identified with the real Self, both free-will and destiny disappear, being known to be unreal.

We think all is destined (or not) because we think we are people inhabiting bodies. When that erroneous thought vanishes, destiny vanishes along with it.

Anonymous two

It's God's business to run the world, not yours. Everyone comes here with a destiny to fulfill that is a result of what happened in earlier lives. According to Bhagavan, God chooses the script of each jiva so they can best make use of their pending karmas. It's not a random lottery in which some people get issued a suffering script while others have an easy life.

I posted some Robert Adams dialogues yesterday. He frequently used to say 'All is well'. When you abide as the Self, you know that everything you see and experience is the unfolding of a divine plan. You know that everything is as it should be.

Nisargadatta Maharaj said once, 'There is nothing you can change in the world except your attitude towards it'.

Bhagavan said we should regard the world as an unreal appearance because if we regard it as real, our minds will always be jumping out to associate with it and get involved in its affairs. If you regard it as a projected dream, it is much easier to avoid getting entangled in it and instead focus on the source of that dream.

I have a psychic friend who says that in her last life she chose to be born in Nagasaki in the late 1930s because she had a destiny to die as a child. She died in the atomic blast there in 1945 and is now sixty years old in her next incarnation. If you don't know the back story (which God alone does) then you are in no position to pass judgement on the affairs of the world.

Sufferings and judgements about good and bad in the world come from a flawed perspective that sees a world that is separate from the perceiver of it. When that flawed persepctive goes, suffering and judgements vanish. One can then say from experience, as Robert Adams frequently did, 'All is well'.

Murali said...

David,

For a hollywood actress, I remember that Bhagavan once quoted from Vasishtam that Sage Vashista gave an advice to Rama that He should be inwardly detached but outwardly work "as if" fully attached. He gave a series of such "inwardly-so-and-so-outwardly-AS-IF-something-else" kind of advise.

I think this "as if" is what seems to be the way out. In all the efforts we put, the transformations we try to bring about, we should put effort "as if" everything is in our control but inwardly knowing that whatever we are going to do, think, etc., are pre-scripted. This means not allowing this "pre-scripted" concept change any of our efforts and the efforts/thoughts go "as if" we do not know anything about "pre-scripting" concept

Am I right in saying this?

Regards Murali

Jupes said...

I find that, knowing that my life is scripted, even down to every thought and individual effort, I feel somehow freer to be who I am. Even though I may forget all that sometimes, in general it is comforting to know that if I screw up, or if something icky happens to me, it was going to happen anyway, regardless of what I might have done, and so I might as well accept it, without judging it, correct what can be corrected, and otherwise let it be what it is. (often easier said than done.....) This seems like an aspect of surrender, and there seems to be a close link between this recognition of a scripted life and the notion of surrender. Can you expand on this, David? Does this make sense? Or is the way I'm looking at surrender here too much about being in the world?

David Godman said...

Murali

Bhagavan was probably quoting the verses from this work which he translated himself and included in Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham:

26

Having investigated the various states of being, and seizing firmly by the mind that state of Supreme Reality, play you part, O hero, ever in the world. You have known the truth which is at the heart of all kinds of appearances. Without ever turning away from that reality, play in the world, O hero, as if in love with it.

27

Seeming to have enthusiasm and delight, seeming to have excitement and aversion, seeming to exercise initiative and perseverance, and yet without attachment play, O hero, in the world. Released from all bonds of attachment and with equanimity of mind, acting outwardly in all situations in accordance with the part you have assumed, play as you please, O hero, in the world.

This is good advice for everyone, even though the verses themselves are given to an enlightened one. So, yes, I think your conclusion is the right one.

Jupes

Surrender, says Bhagavan, is 'to give yourself up to the original source of your being'. As such, it is no different from enquiry.

However,as Bhagavan remarked on several occasions, though complete surrender is impossible for all but the rare few, partial surrender is within the capabilities of everyone. Cultivating the idea that one is not the doer, not being attached to the fruits of one's actions, being continuously aware that all that happens is through God's will - these are all ways of accomplishing this step by step. To this can be added your own suggestion: maintaining an awareness that all one's actions are part of God's plan and script.

I think I have already mentioned Saradamma's advice somewhere in this thread: 'You prarabdha in this life is your prasad from God: how you deal with it is your sadhana.'

Some people might think that if all is scripted, they can do what they like, or do nothing at all, since whatever they do or don't do is part of the script. This is not surrendering to one's script, it is just a cop out, an excuse for personal indulgence. True surrender is giving up the one who chooses to act or avoid action.

There is a Sanskrit term 'kartavya', which means a feeling that there are things that must be done'. It is this that needs to be given up for true surrender to emerge. One has to reach the point where one allows the Self to animate the body and the mind, without there being an intermediary 'self' who decides what should and shouldn't be done. Here is what Bhagavan had to say about kartavya on page 175 of Padamalai:

119

The notion of duties that need to be done [kartavya] will not cease as long as the sense of doership [kartrutva] exists in the heart.

120

Why do you become mentally agitated, blindly believing there are things you have to do [kartavya]?

121

The bondage called ‘duty’ will cease [being known] as a delusion caused by the ego, when the firm knowledge of reality is attained.

Question: I want to know my tattva [my truth, my reality] and my duties.

Bhagavan: Know your tattva first and then you may ask what your duties are. You must exist in order to know and do your duty. Realise your existence and then enquire of your duties.(Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk 565)

122

A mind that has dissolved in the state of God, and ceased to exist, will not be aware of any activity that needs to be performed ...

123

because when the ego, which has the idea that it is the performer of actions, has been completely destroyed, the idea that something needs to be accomplished ends.

124

Those who do not see anything as a duty that has to be done will attain the bliss of peace that yields limitless contentment.

Mariano said...

Many thanks David for your great work. I strongly believe on the idea that all is preordained. Perhaps some concepts related to the true existence of time and space may be involved in fate. In this respect, since for many there is a gradual understanding of who actually are (until Sel-realization occurs), I wonder where in fact there is a gradual evolution of the human race. In other words, we realise that significant technical advances exist in the world but is there a similar increase of the understanding as “time” passes on?. Is it possible a dreamed world full of jnanis?. Has used Bhagavan sometimes the term of evolution (or something similar) in the understanding of our true nature as applicable to the human race at global scale?. Or the number of liberated people will be always very limited?.

David Godman said...

It seems to be common among many western spiritual teachers to say that there has been some sort of evolutionary breakthrough in the last generation or so that has resulted in more and more people getting enlightened. Personally, I don't believe it. Certainly there has been an outbreak of people claiming that they are enlightened, but that is not the same thing.

There is 'grade inflation' in schools and colleges, with more and more people passing exams because they are getting progressively easier and easier, and there is 'enlightenment inflation' among western spiritual groups with teachers who are nowhere near enlightenment themselves declaring their own disciples to be enlightened.

Papaji, who always used to say how easy it was to get enlightened, counted in single figures the number of jnanis he had met in his life. And that was after spending quite some time looking for such beings.

There are plenty of people who have had some sort of experience and who believe that they are enlightened; and there are plenty more who are just pretending to be enlightened to make money out of their followers. Caveat emptor.

I don't recollect Bhagavan ever saying that there was any kind of progressive change in human consciousness that made realisation any easier in recent times. The Hindu idea (not Bhagavan's) is that we are in Kali Yuga, a degenerate era in which all spiritual affairs are in a state of decline. Bhagavan didn't endorse that theory either.

With regard to time, Bhagavan has said that time and space are projections of the mind, and that without that mind, they don't exist. In Ulladu Narpadu verse 16 he wrote:

Without us there is no time and space. If we are only bodies, we are caught up in time and space. But are we bodies? Now, then and always - here, now and everywhere - we are the same. We exist, timeless and spaceless we.

Jupes said...

"Some people might think that if all is scripted, they can do what they like, or do nothing at all, since whatever they do or don't do is part of the script. This is not surrendering to one's script, it is just a cop out, an excuse for personal indulgence. True surrender is giving up the one who chooses to act or avoid action." (from David's June 6 comment to Jupes)

It starts to feel a bit convoluted when I think of what I'm going to say here, but here goes.... If every action and every thought a person has is truly part of that person's script, then why would it be a 'copout' or 'personal indulgence' if a person makes no effort and does nothing at all? If having that attitude and 'doing nothing' is, in fact, part of that person's script, then for that person to NOT do nothing would hardly even seem possible.

As Bhagavan said, "Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try hard how you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain."

So, wouldn't this apply in the case of a person who has "decided" to do nothing (that is, whose prarabdha is to 'do nothing'), just as much as it applies to anyone else, whatever the circumstances? And, on the level of the "lesser" surrendering that you mentioned, would this not BE THAT, even if the person doesn't have the awareness to realize it, or thinks s/he's being 'real smart' by acting in this way?

David Godman said...

You are probably right. What I was criticising here was the attitude of people who were using the prarabdha idea as an excuse or rationalisation for what they were doing or not doing.

Jupes said...

And would that attitude of a person who was using prarabdha as an excuse for what they were doing or not doing also be part of their script? I find this all very fascinating. I guess part of what I'm trying to do is to understand how far and to what depth prarabdha actually extends, whether it affects absolutely every aspect of a person's thoughts, attitudes and actions. I know that if I was around a person who had an attitude like what you described, I would probably be annoyed and critical of that person, at least initially. And it sounds like you have been annoyed by such people. But then, when I think that maybe it's their prarabdha to be that way, to have that attitude and to use prarabdha as an excuse for doing what they do or don't do, maybe even committing murder or other criminal acts, I find it a little easier to be less critical, in the same way that I might view things happening in the world, such as famines, wars, natural disasters, knowing that those events are also part of the script and can't be avoided. It doesn't mean I wouldn't have feelings about what is occurring and wouldn't get upset or feel the urge to help. But knowing that prarabdha is at work in all that happens makes it easier to be accepting of the way things are.

David Godman said...

Bhagavan has said that we always have the freedom to not identify with the body that is performing its scripted actions. Once could use the same logic to say that there is always a choice not to identify with the one who thinks our thoughts. Thoughts may be there, but one does not have to claim them as one's own.

I have argued both sides of the question in this thread - (a)that we have the freedom not to associate with thoughts and actions and that (b) even that process is scripted - but I am left with Bhagavan's promise and assertion that freedom comes from not identifying with the one who performs the actions. Rather than get lost in a regression, I try to exercise that freedom as often as I can. Am I destined to do so, and is the success of failure of my attempts also scripted? I don't know, but I still do it with the faith that I am doing what Bhagavan has asked me to do.

Jupes said...

Thank you for going into this with me, David, and for bringing it back to the center, which is Bhagavan, always Bhagavan. Your faith and devotion are unbending and I am so grateful for that and for you, for your example and for your openness to communicating with all of us through this blog. It is a great service you are performing and I hope it is as worthwhile for you as it is for me and for others who read and respond. Many thanks.

arvind said...

Thanks David and everyone for the great discussion on the question of whether thoughts are predetermined also or not.

It might surprise some that plenty of scientific research has also been done in the field.

First must be mentioned the neuroscientist Benjamin Libet of the University of California. His 1980s experiments conclusively showed that the unconscious electrical processes in the brain called “Bereitschaftspotential”, or “readiness potential” (discovered in 1968 by Lüder Deecke and Hans H. Kornhuber), precede conscious decisions to perform deliberate and/or spontaneous acts. Simply put, he discovered that brain activity instructing any body organ to act, took place a few milliseconds BEFORE the person consciously thought of doing that act. In effect the physical action came first and then the person (a few milliseconds later) thinks of doing that same act; only an illusion for the person is created that he is acting based on his conscious decision, whereas the act had already, effectively, been done.

This, neuroscientists say, suggests that “the brain simply responds to outside stimuli, and consciousness is just the brain’s way of rationalising actions the brain has already determined to make”. And thus they came to the conclusion that there is NO free will. Everything is determined by “stimuli”.

[I believe that herein the scientists made their big error, because they just will not accept a “spiritual” explanation. The above should perhaps read – “the brain simply responds to the pattern of Karma laid down by the Lord, and (world-)consciousness is just the brain’s way of rationalising actions that are are already programmed by the Maker to be made”].

But to continue with our story. Because the conclusion was that the brain, in some way, directly responds to outside stimuli and thought enters the picture later, the scientists designed experiments in which there was no outside stimuli, or input for the brain. This work in 2007, led by the young neuro-biologist Bjorn Brembs, put some humble fruit-flies into an environment in which they were deprived of all external stimuli. Then it should happen that the movement of the fruit-fly would become absolutely “random”, with no identifiable pattern. Instead, they found that their movement, on scientific analysis, was being clearly directed by brain activity [in the absense of any other known, scientifically acceptable, intelligence]. And so they concluded that there IS free will.

Needless to say that the jury is still out on a final conclusion from the scientific community.

[Of course, we who are spiritually inclined would immediately say that the fruit-fly movement was not directed by the brain – the movements were in accordance with the programmed movement chalked out for it by the Maker].

Detailed references are available for the above fascinating studies, but for those who want to learn more, suggest do a Google search on the scientists’ names & you will find loads of stuff, including Bjorn Brehm’s own very interesting blog.

So where does the above leave our own understanding for predetermination with respect to thoughts ? If the explanations as given within the brackets above are accepted, then are we looking at conclusive scientific proof that all thoughts are predetermined ? Or is it that only those thoughts are pre-determined that are linked to any sort of physical activity or movement. What about those thoughts which flash around in our brain, about this and that, in endless chains, when we may be perhaps lying absolutely still ?

Of course I have my own views on this, which are however not important. The foregoing was related just to give a fresh perspective to those who may be unaware of these really interesting scientific studies. Since we are unable to locate a categorical statement from Sri Bhagavan on this issue, I believe that each one of us, if the issue bothers us and demands resolution, have to study all His works, talks and reminiscences, and also perhaps take inputs from other sources and then make our own conclusions.

David, apologies for the long comment.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if what I'm going to write is going to be of much use, but I'm going to try anyway.

In the language of bhakti or surrender, everything that occurs is a matter of Divine Grace, including moksha or Atma-gnan. It is by Divine grace that the mind becomes satvik. It is by Divine grace that one receives upadesha from the Satguru. It is by Divine grace that one performs sadhana according to the instructions of the Satguru. It is Divine grace that finally destroys 'I' and 'Mine', along with the delusion that 'I am the doer' and 'I am the body'. The fully mature bhakta can't take credit for anything. Even his surrender to Bhagavan is a matter of Divine grace.

In that sense, even our realisation is 'scripted', in the sense that it is a part of a Divine plan, and according to the will of Bhagavan. But this Divine grace isn't bound by any law or rule. It is bot bound by the shackles of prarabdha, in the sense that it is not bound by the fruit of our past births. Whatever a man may have done or not done in his life, or his past lives, if he sincerely surrenders himself at the Feet of the Divine, seated within himself, he is free, whatever his body must undergo in the course of its prarabdha.

According to my limited understanding, there is a difference between prarabdha and Divine grace. Prarabdha is karma, incurred through past births, which gives rise to fixed consequences in a current birth. Divne Grace is the power of Bhagavan which destroys the veil of 'I' and 'Mine' and reveals the truth of the Atma. Grace is lawless and wild. It falls where it wills. Prarabdha is the iron and inexorable law of causation. It hangs from the 'I' thought. But Divine Grace destroys the 'I', leaving only the left-over effects of the 'I' thought, such as a particular body with a particular set of actions to perform.

For the fully mature bhakta, there is no prarabdha and no free will, only the Grace of Bhagavan. The bhakta is a leaf, moved by the Breath of Bhagavan; a tool in the hands of His Master.

I'm sorry if anything in here is false, or if it is obvious to the usual readers of this blog. I'm still quite a baby in these matters. Perhaps it's not my place to talk about them.

Murali said...

I came across a brilliant material on this subject. This material is supposed to be a course material taught in Virginia University.
Following is the link and please read the PDF version

http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/consciousness/

The concept of Free Will, Determinisim, the myth of I-am-the-doer idea are discussed in detail there. The material revolves around Bhagavan. I found it very deep and fascinating.

Regards Murali

Sonachala said...

David,
Greatly appreciate your posting on the views of Robert Adams, Annamalai Swami and Saradamma on predestination. Really interesting!

Sonachala said...

Arvind,
Thanks for posting the very interesting experiment by Libet . I was thrilled reading it!

Ravi said...

Sri Ramakrishna tells the story of Sage Narada being asked by a Yogi and a Layman to find out from Lord Vishnu as to when they would have the Lord's Darshan.Narada offers to do so and returns later to tell the Yogi that Lord Vishnu had confirmed that the Yogi would have his Darshan after another 3 Rebirths!The Yogi immediately becomes crestfallen and curses his destiny!Narada next tells the layman that he would have the Darshan after 1000 births!The layman exults that afterall these births he would have the DARSHAN!The moment he accepted this,he was Blessed with the Darshan of Lord Vishnu that very instant!(what was victorious here-Destiny or Freewill!)

Scott Fraundorf (enzymaticactivity) said...

I have a question, so when a 'person' realizes the self, and they don't undergo future births because they have transcended the ego. I've always wondered if that means, they no longer have pictures on teh cinema screen after their current body has died. Or if even if they uptake future bodies, like the Dalai Lama, tehy have no identification or pretention of doership. I've had a few short glimpses maybe of the Self that were more intense then previous 'experiences', and of course my mind quickly ended it by projecting outward, or noticing how cool it was. But in those experiences it was almost indistinguishable from dying and losing consciousness, while an unreal panorama of images flitted by, while it was longer maybe 10 seconds then previous times, I fell into it, but then found it extremely difficult to stay there.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Robert: Self-enquiry is the ego trying to find itself as the Self, so the effort is brought on through your karma so that you may become Self-realised. It is a privilege to have been able to find in this life the method of self-enquiry. Therefore, it’s been predestined that you should make the effort to find yourself.

Robert clearly seemed to think that one's effort, and one's choice of practice, is predetermined. I suppose that, if the amount of effort and vigilance one puts into enquiry is also unchangeable and part of one's script, then this would also mean that the moment of success (Self-realisation) is also predetermined.
----------------------------
I said, 'I don't think it's my choice. I think I have a destined moment for realisation and that in the years and lifetimes prior to that moment there will be an increasing desire and interest in the Self which will eventually culminate in the final experience. I don't actually have a choice on whether I should meditate or do self-enquiry. This is also in my script. It seems to me that the progressive intensity of one's sadhana as one approaches the moment of liberation is an illusion, maya's final joke. This illusion, this script, creates the impression that individual effort culminates in liberation whereas it is just a script reaching its final climax.' ...




Yes, and at this stage only the removal of "script", "destiny" and "mine" is necessary. And it needs the strong experience of that - not only thinking about it. He who experiences what is said here not only knows, what is going on - he experiences it in daily life, and he loves it to sink deeper and deeper into this completely unknown, mystic Reality. With other words: He wants to die - every day anew. He's only talking because the "potters wheel" enforces it.

Saying: "Striving is preordained" or: "Inactivity is preordained" is the same as saying: "All is unknown. I really don't now what's it all about!". Knowing and ACCEPTING this thoroughly, that nothing is to be known, immediately drowns the individual in the Self. The hindrance is the none-acceptance.

"Destiny", "preordained", "scripts" etc. are nothing else then ideas - illusions of the mind related to the indescribable Reality, the Self. They arise because the mind don't wants to give up the "I-thought" - the striving for its personal life within this universal life. The mind tries to understand the none-understandable. It don't wants to merge into the Self because it want's to live its desires, hopes and fears in this sensual world projected by itself.

The sensual world is nothing else then this plane of universal consciousness THE INDIVIDUAL CHOOSES TO LIVE IN. "They (who are dismissing death) don't know that there are other worlds existing." (Sankara in his comment to Katha Upanishad)

"Destiny", "preordained", "scripts" are words. The Reality is utterly free from ideas. Every attempt to see objects in formless Reality produces illusion - that is the essence of all mysticism, not only of vedanta. "Don't try to make a picture of Me", said the bible. Why? Because the picture is not God - it is only a picture, i.e. a part of him. Confusing the part of God with God himself is ignorance.

"Only Brahman exists. The world is illusory. Brahman IS the world" (Sankara)

This triade (often misunderstood) means the same: The world (projected by the mind) is a PART of God - seen as this part alone it is an illusion. Seeing it as Gods true form is reality.

Some blind men tried to know an elefant. Some touched this part of the elefant, some that part. Then they said: "The elefant is this or this..", depending on which part they touched. All are wrong and wright AT THE SAME TIME = MAYA. It is not true to say: "the elefant is the leg" because the leg is only a part of the elefant. It is not true to say: "the leg is NOT the elefant", because it belongs to the elefant.

So what is the reality of the elefant? The answer: Indescribable, inexpressible, completely unknowable Mystic Reality; One Being, Self, Brahman, God. Only mystic love can realize it because this Reality Itself is being + mystery + love = sat-chit-ananda. This was the reason for Seshadri Swami to bow and to declare: "This donkey is Brahman Himself!"

And you as an individual are a part of it. Know this to be united with that Reality. To be united with That means - to be it. To be it means to aquire the attributs of this Reality: Being, Love, Mystery.

"Destiny" or "free will" is the mind trying to find causes for the uncaused. The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada karikas says clearly that "nothing except for God ever existed, no soul was ever in bondage etc." (concept of Ajatavada). It expresses the same - none of our concepts can reach the mystery of Reality. Every attempt to create links between "effects" and "causes" are illusory. I find this to be the true essence of vedanta.

We need this links as long as we are not really ready to give up all our hopes and desires - to sink immediately into the caring hands of God. Giving up all hopes includes the desire to become enlightened.

The teaching of a Guru saying that your personal striving is a precondition to get enlightenment can not guide you to this total willingness to give up all your desires and hopes. That means he can not show you the true nature of the Reality. Because of his own illusions or because he can't tell you the whole truth - maybe because he don't wants you to get hurt. A true teacher always prefers to teach the whole truth - 100%, not 99% or 80%. Like Sankara, Ramakrishna, Ramana and many, many others.

Saint John of the Cross, one of the deepest mystics of mankind, said: Whom God loves - to that being he cuts into his soul and mind a tiny, tiny, tiny wound - the wound of love. During the whole lifetime of this being it feels this tiny wound - and it loves it. This being would never like to be without this wound - not even after death.

This love expresses the feeling of the lover being separated from the Beloved. It is its free will to do so - this kind of lover loves it to be in "duality". Think of this kind of ancient electric lamps - with an electric arc. I don't know the name. There are two carbon rods. Separating them means light, and joining them means no light - stillness. This is the same way mystic love works.

Love without pain does not exist. This love in my eyes is the expression of sat-chit-ananda during the lifetime of an enlightened being.

(One has to say exactly: During the PERIODS where consciousness decides at free will to glide into duality. Because nothing else then periods of consciousness exist. This is true even for birth and death - they are nothing else then longer or shorter periods of states of consciousness.)

Now listen: Duality experienced with the mind means samsara. Duality experienced together with God means endless happiness - unshakable, eternal, sheer blissfulness.

I found out for myself that there exist a thing I call "the milliards of dead-end-streets in the universe of mind and soul". The meaning is that we believe to understand something, but in reality we live in one of this milliards of dead-end-streets - without knowing it. Self Enquiry in my eyes means the deliberate removal of all this ideas (and false feelings), like peeling an onion (u.s. teacher Satyam Nadeen). It takes longer as one might expect in the beginning. This is the "rational approach", But doing it is not rational - it is mystic: No one knows whether it will work, why it will work and what are the results.

There seems to be no end of illusions. One of this strong illusions is the body form, as we all know. How to realize the "unreality" of the body? Once italian advaita teacher Raphael (prominent in sankara based ashrams in India) addressed this, maybe because his disciples have had the same question: "It is not sufficient to talk about the fact that the body is composed of molecules - we need to TREAT it like that!"

I could talk for hours but it is true that I need to eat something...

vishy said...

I never knew this information .
Thanks for the sharing such a vibrant devotee named Mastan .
We can find Bhagwan among the true devotees only.

Like tamil saying
Thondarukkellam thondan avar

Sarvamum Ramanamayam

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

There is a good quote by Arvind. Someone had told me that about the brain determining an action before the I rationalizes that i did this.

In fact I thought that validated Maharshi's philosophy that we are not the doer. I also agree, scientists are really close minded to a subjective point of view, let alone a spiritual one.

My neurophysiology teacher (I'm hating this class) decapitates cats to show that they can be stimulated to move through spinal nerves. The thought of empathy doesn't even cross his mind. Although I think of Papaji's dispassion in the situation on the train car in the Punjab. And that as David Godman said quoting Robert Adams, all is well. There are alot of rationalizations that allow him my neurophys. teacher) to carry out those actions. It amazes me to no end though that he can't comprehend that cats are sentient creatures. All cats I'm around, communicate with abstractions, their affection is almost indistinguishable from human affection.

Ravi said...

Scott,
" Although I think of Papaji's dispassion in the situation on the train car in the Punjab. And that as David Godman said quoting Robert Adams, all is well. There are alot of rationalizations that allow him my neurophys. teacher) to carry out those actions. It amazes me to no end though that he can't comprehend that cats are sentient creatures. All cats I'm around, communicate with abstractions, their affection is almost indistinguishable from human affection."
I recall how Dr Christian Barnard,the famous Heart surgeon said that no one has a right to meddle with the lives of animals.Rationalisations that serve to numb the sensitivity towards cruelty cannot be equated to the Dispassion of a Sage.

What you have said about cats is true.Even inanimate objects like pens and knife respond differently to different people!
One of my favourite chapters in that Wonderful book 'Autobiography of a Yogi'is the one on Luther Burbank who could persuade a Rose Plant to shed its thorns by talking to it in a reassuring manner.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, oh I agree. What i was more admiring in Papaji was not that he was somehow numbly dispassionate, I didn't get that impression. but that he at the same time, wasn't afraid. with the neurophysiology teacher, while I deplore his actions, I am also not in a position to do anything about it. I could kill him and free the animals, but I'm not quite at that point yet. In the same way Papaji wasn't numbly dispassionate, but was matter of fact, and did not allow the play of the senses, not that was even an option for him, to infringe on his Being/Consciousness/Bliss. In the same way I was inspired to be in Being/Consciousness/Bliss, unjudgemental whatever is happening around me, but if an opportunity arises to have an effect on someone else's perspective or save lives bravely, I'd take that also, hopefully. But being in Being/Consciousness/Bliss like Papaji even though he was surrounded by Genocide, seems to be the source of the most outstanding courage as evidenced in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf;

I just wanted to stress again, that was probably my sloppy writing, I was making no such equation. But it was more how do you stay dispassioante when you are surrounded with atrocities, and I was inspired by Papaji's dispassion, not numbness in the midst of atrocities. Not condoning, but being able to stay on task, which was to save his family. In a similar way, I'm so un-O.K with what my neurophysiology teacher was doing with cats, there is no way I coudl ever do that. I love cats in some ways more then humans. Cats have never rejected me, and i them. So the idea that this guy kills my friends, was extremely, extremely appalling. Also it seems to me that the more dispassion I cultivate, the less numb I am to how people treat eachother, the more I'm appalled with the ways of the world. Similarly Papaji was talking about how there was a father who raped his daughter, and the daughter killed both the mom and dad. The court looked at the daughter like she needed help. Papaji said, the daughter wasn't the one who needed help, she did the right thing in that situation. It was the parents who were sick and needed help. She had killed the dad for violently violating her, and had killed the mom for sitting by and watching. While Ravi, I have this feeling you are a pascifist. (could be wrong, it's totally a wild presumption) I wholeheartedly agreed with Papaji.

Ravi said...

Scott,
You have expressed yourself quite clearly and beautifully-In fact this is the starting point of the wonderful yet deep Bhagavad Gita.More of it later.
Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

I almost brought that up myself, because isn't the beginning about Arjuna going to war against relatives, and friends? And Krishna telling him that it was all predetermined, and that he should just play out his purpose. I'm sure you are more of an expert on this then me.

Bookworm said...

Scott

You ask:
'Or Bell Bottoms, and high heels. Hard to know. What was Maharshi's opinion on this?'

IT IS A WHILE since I `studied, searched or read' Ramanas words and teaching...
But if you dive deep into yourself..into the core of your Being and do a sharp right
somewhere around...
at what appears to be the the chest area but is really no place physical...
you will find Ramana seated at the Spiritual Heart of your Being.. and you can ask yourself.

Some people say that God is Love.
Is Love trouser wearing male?
Is Love high heel wearing female?

Some say Love is All, undefinable,
Heart, Beingness...SELF.

Anonymous said...

Scott fraundorf:

Oh, this is what i ended up writing to the teacher, on the stuff. I have no idea if it was the right thing to do, but at the moment, i felt the pull to say something, that had the potential to trigger thought. I tried to talk within the academic vernacular, so that he couldn't easily write it off...Tactically it might have been smarter to wait until after finals, as I doubt grades are not influenced based on the egoic ideas of teachers.

to my teacher:
It was surprising and interesting to me, the way you spoke about drowning rats, or fellow students who died. It seemed like you were jubilant about others failings. Is it that you are better, in comparison to them, both the overdosing rats, and the drowning students, and their Darwinian awards reinforce your own belief in your accomplishments? I guess I just tend to have a more human and humane feeling both toward rats, and people who are addicted to substances, or even people that for whatever reason are acting out in a stupid manner at a particular point, not because my empathy is more heightened. But mainly because for instance friends who have had pet rats, the rats came up to me, pretty obviously begging for attention, a human characteristic. I have had friends with all sorts of problems which has made me see those people as 3-dimensional, and not mere concepts that serve as the butt of a joke. I have had a harder less ivory tower life perhaps then you have, and have seen great violence between people, so the baseball bats demolishing CNS's is just a little too real to have quite the edge of humor it seemed to have for you, or several people (maybe a majority) of the class. I know that this perspective that I'm demonstrating is rare, but that is also probably why current events are so violent, people don't really show alot of empathy toward those they haven't been given reason to. I also recognize maybe the necessity of animal testing in some situations, and people certainly eat meat. But I would think, or hope rather that it is necessity that drives that, such as medical breakthroughs. I should also add I'm not an animal rights person at all, or political in any other regard. And I also am not a bleeding heart. But I wanted to trigger maybe, possibly some thought on these matters.

Also for me the complexity of both the organisms, such as this body I inhabit, and the evolution over the last billions of years from bacteria, to me, has increased, not decreased my reverence for the wonder that simple molecular units could evolve to correlate into such amazing experiences such as relating with other humans, relating with pets, relating with nature. So the rational, emprical worldview, does not have to be one that it is in contrast, mutually exclusive to empathy, to love, because those make up the fabric of human experience, I experience those "subjective" experiences before I learn about neurotransmitters, or CA1 Schaffer Collaterals, so I feel that the conceptual, correlational awareness of the neurobiology is in unbelievable harmony with the subjective, that I feel affectionate toward furry creatures, or love my partner. The One doesn't have to discount the other because they are part of the same fabric, they evolved concomitantly.

Anonymous said...

This was Nome's response on it:

When in ignorance, beings use the instruments of action (body,
speech, and mind) in foolish and karma-producing ways, because of their
delusion. Due to that delusion, they do not even perceive how deluded their
views and activities are. The very basis, that of doing unto others as one
would have others do unto oneself, is not grasped by them. Such dwell in
their own suffering, oblivious of the nature of the true Self and even the
purpose of life. Deserving of compassion, even the compassion they do not
show toward others, they are like characters in a dream who are, themselves,
dreaming and talking in their sleep.

And Bookworm, I agree, gender, such a conceptual, and unecessary dichotomy sometimes, especially when talking about love or god, high heels and trousers may be unecessary attributes.

Ravi said...

Scott,
I am profoundly moved at what you have expressed to your teacher.Nome's response is quite to point-compassion is the Essence of Living.
Remember what vivekananda said-'They only Live who live for others,the Rest are more dead than alive!'

Best Regards.

Anonymous said...

Scott Fraundorf:

Ravi, I find it incredibly hard to live for others being an individual who lives for others. Because that individual thinks it has "needs", is selfish. I think that is why for me, the Inquiry seems like the most selfless, and most true thing I could do to that Vivekananda quote, I agree with it. But I don't feel, speaking for myself, in my own case, that taking myself as an individual, that individual could live for others. But giving up the individual, which is some ways incredibly difficult, but maybe simple at the same time, there woudl then only be living for others. The individual I take myself to be, wants to live perpetually, doesn't want to die, wants pleasure, is selfish. If there is no individual, there is nothing to put before others. I notice that in the way Maharshi treated everyone around him, he lived only for the benefit of others, because there was no individual, that could fear others, would want to do something other then help others.

Sankar Ganesh Chandrakumar said...

With regard to this blog post's subject, the following link contains an interesting letter (first few portion of it) written by Swami Vivekananda to Maharaja Ajit Singh of Khetri. At that time, Swami Vivekananda was an unknown mendicant wandering across India and exploring it (i.e. after the death of his guru Sri Ramakrishna and before his famous trip to Chicago that made him an international spiritual figure).

Source:
http://www.vivekananda.org/newSVLetters.asp

Thanks. Sankar Ganesh.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Destiny doesn't need a definition to explain. It simply exists as long as the individuality lasts.

What about freewill? Unlike destiny, freewill is very subtle to prove it. Let us assume for a moment that there is no freewill. If we are certain and very clear that only destiny prevails in the world, then, we should focus only on the present moment. If the past, present and future are all predestined, then nothing to regret about the past, feel insecure about the present and worry about the future. We can simply exist in the present. In fact, it is the complete surrender state. But we find that it is very difficult to practice.

Ramana Maharishi says, “The essence of mind is only awareness or consciousness. When the ego, however, dominates it, it functions as the reasoning, thinking or sensing faculty.” Our mind dominated by the ego doesn’t stop; it constantly lingers in the past or the future. In the present, we do not have peace, but feel insecurity. Even if we say that our thinking process is predetermined then we should question who is saying that? If we are able to question that to the core then it is called Self-Enquiry which can lead to Self Realization. The thinking process (ego) cannot say that all of our thinking process is predetermined, unless we are ready to accept that we are totally insane and continue to live like that way. It is quite possible that some or most of our thoughts are programmed based on our previous actions. However, we can change the manner in which we receive these reactions and work them out. Thus not all of our thoughts can be predetermined.

Our mind dominated by the ego is similar to a stirred pond. We are driven by the latent tendencies (muddy water) which gains force from the deep rooted mental impressions (buffaloes stirring the debris). These latent tendencies don’t allow us to utilize our mind properly. In fact, they dictate our actions.

The more we try to suppress or control them more the tendency strengthens (pond gets stirred). Secondly if we make decisions with the residue of mental impressions (muddy water) then it would cause suffering in the form of destiny (disease caused by the mud).

So at this time, all we can do is to settle the debris down. It means we need to step back and take a look at things consciously. This conscious process is the stepping stone for freewill. The freewill is to take a look at the madness that we are into. We can see that our mind dominated by ego is continuously chattering with thoughts and those thoughts drive us crazy. This awareness of looking oneself as a witness will put things into perspective and we will try to avoid creating future destiny. It is a long way to go, but at least we have identified our true enemy. As we start to observe the pattern and nature of our behavior, it severs the associated thought process and weakens the vicious cycle ‘impressions-thoughts-actions’. This process reduces the seeds of future destiny. Now we can say we have started exercising our freewill towards spiritual path.

To summarize, Freewill doesn’t allow us to do whatever we want to do. We have a course of path that we need to travel as limited by our destiny. Of course, we have freewill to accumulate more mental impressions in the form of destiny which will limit the future freewill (course of actions) or use awareness as the freewill to exhaust as well as avoid future destiny.

Thus, it is up to us to make better use of our freewill to be free from destiny. It is important to remember that in our life we have to experience so many life situations based on our multiple mental impressions. The good news is once the awareness sets in properly it is easier to handle them efficiently.

I have posted articles related destiny and freewill in 8 part series. Please visit the following URL for the first part. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-1-importance.html. Rest of the 7 articles can be navigated within the blogspot.

Thanks,
Ramesh

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

******************************
David Godman Said:

There are plenty of people who have had some sort of experience and who believe that they are enlightened; and there are plenty more who are just pretending to be enlightened to make money out of their followers. Caveat emptor.

******************************
This is very true. Even after the experience the mind can go back to old ways. Ramanar has quoted this in several places in "Talks with Ramana Maharishi". The experience of supreme bliss (realizing I am not the body and mind) cannot be called as enlightenment and ultimate liberation. However, having experienced the truth even once helps the individual to firmly travel towards the destination. Please refer to http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/03/nithyanandas-scandal.html

Thanks,
Ramesh

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

This topic "God the scriptwriter" http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/04/god-scriptwriter.html talks about Destiny. Please see the postings - 8 part series related to Destiny and Freewill. I have provided the summary of the topics. The detailed information can be found on each one of the links provided.

1. Destiny and freewill cause us suffering and unconditional longing, which takes away our priced possession PEACE. Only a peaceful mind can experience true joy, love and beauty. So, it is important to understand the Destiny and Freewill concepts. Once we know how they play part in our life, it helps us to takes steps to free from them. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-1-importance.html.

2. Destiny and freewill simply exists all the times as long as the individuality lasts. Destiny doesn’t define itself as good or bad. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-2-presence-of.html

3. Destiny gets formed through a series of steps. The accumulated information through our senses creates mental impressions. Later on these mental impressions sprouts out in the form of latent tendency and affects our future thoughts and actions. These thoughts and actions further strengthen the mental impressions. Eventually we fell into the trap of vicious destiny cycle ‘impressions-thoughts-actions’. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-3-creation-of.html

4. Our freewill is bound by our previous destiny to some extent. We can utilize our limited freewill to accumulate more mental impressions in the form of destiny which will limit the future freewill (course of actions). On the same taken, we can leverage this freewill to take control of our future destiny into our own hands. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-4-creation-of.html

5. The first step towards utilizing the freewill effectively is to become a witness of our own thoughts and actions. This conscious process helps us to exercise awareness to weaken the vicious cycle ‘impressions – thoughts –actions. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-5-first-step.html.

6. Destination of Destiny and Freewill is to become from both of them. Destination of destiny is freedom. Destination of freewill is to be free from the thoughts and actions based on ego. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-6-destination.html

7. Ramanar says there are two ways to conquer Destiny: Self Enquiry and Surrender. In the self-enquiry process, we peal the false “I” layers step by step, until it reaches a stage where that cannot be eliminated. The surrender path we submit us and leave all the outcomes to HIM and finally merge with HIM. http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/destiny-and-freewill-part-7-ways-to.html


8. Quotes by Ramanar and Vivekananda and the summary of Destiny and Freewill.
http://abideinthetruth.blogspot.com/2010/05/destiny-and-freewill-part-8-context-of.html


Thanks,
Ramesh

Anonymous said...

Extract(circa page 355 onwards) from the book:Silence of the Heart; a compilation of Rober Adams' spoken satsangs around 1990.
The below extract is about one of the most sought after question of ‘Freewill and Predestiny’.

Absolutely profound and very deep question and answers. The use of language here is absolutely elegant and very exacting.

You can download it free from www.scribd.com

[Extract starts...]
---------------------------------
Q)You just haven yt suffered enough. Is that true? People really
think...
A)Because they read the books of certain saints, and they
think certain saints have gone through certain experiences, so
everybody has to go through those experiences. That's why I
don't talk about myself too much. The truth is, of course, if
you really want to know about this body and about the Self in
me, know your Self. Find out first who you are. Then you'll
know all about me. Otherwise, you'll see me as you see
yourself. Do you see what I'm saying?
If you meet a con-man, the con-man's going to look at you
and think you're a con-man too. A con-man believes every
body's a con-man. If you meet a person who's illed with love,
they will see you as love also. So that's why I say, whatever you
are, I am a mirror for you, and you're only seeing yourself.

Q)That's so for everything, though. Not just for you.
A)For everything, of course.

Q)So what you're saying is, you create your own reality.
A)Where you are right now, the world that you're seeing is the
world that you're creating.

Q)But how does that tie in with everything being predestined?
A)Everything is predestined.

Q)So you're predestined to create your reality as it is.
A)That's the way it goes.

Q)That seems paradoxical.
A)Of course it does. It wouldn't be a truth teaching if it weren't paradoxical.Everything is pre-ordained if you go to work on yourself to life yourself up and become free.

Q)There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.
A)Exactly.

Q)Why is that?
A)That's the game. And if you try to figure it out, you can't. So
don't try.

Q)And that means thatwhen one becomes realized, everything
that's preordained doesn't exist anymore, right?
A)Right. When one becomes realized, the whole game is over.
There's nobody to become realized. There's nobody that's not
realized. There's no universe, there's no God. There are no
others. All is well.

Or, nothing is well, as the case may be.
Touche.
[Extract ends]
My favourite answer is this:
[There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.]
‘There is nothing you can do about it’ is from the point of view or at the point in time when it is realized it is all predestiny and the statement ‘you have to try to do something about it’ is from the point of view of the ‘jiva’.When I was practicing sort of Advaita I was stuck, total jammed, but the samskaras underneath were bubbling as usual. So I was sort of jammed(sthabdhata in Sanskrit). I guess this is what happens when beginners try to be ‘panilenivaadu’. ‘panilenivaadu’ is the end not the means meaning you cannot practice Advaita but only BE which is the end.You cannot stop a bullet train(mind) suddenly. You have to let the steam off slowly. Hence the statement ‘You have to try to do something about it’ meaning the various sadhanas and when the train(mind) is slow enough you apply ‘Self Enquiry’.

I hope my explaination above helps anyone with similar problem.

There is one question I would like to have asked Robert:
At what point in time do you know it is all pre-destined?

Anonymous said...

Extract(circa page 355 onwards) from the book:Silence of the Heart; a compilation of Rober Adams' spoken satsangs around 1990.
The below extract is about one of the most sought after question of ‘Freewill and Predestiny’.

Absolutely profound and very deep question and answers. The use of language here is absolutely elegant and very exacting.

You can download it free from www.scribd.com

[Extract starts...]
---------------------------------
Q)You just haven yt suffered enough. Is that true? People really
think...
A)Because they read the books of certain saints, and they
think certain saints have gone through certain experiences, so
everybody has to go through those experiences. That's why I
don't talk about myself too much. The truth is, of course, if
you really want to know about this body and about the Self in
me, know your Self. Find out first who you are. Then you'll
know all about me. Otherwise, you'll see me as you see
yourself. Do you see what I'm saying?
If you meet a con-man, the con-man's going to look at you
and think you're a con-man too. A con-man believes every
body's a con-man. If you meet a person who's illed with love,
they will see you as love also. So that's why I say, whatever you
are, I am a mirror for you, and you're only seeing yourself.

Q)That's so for everything, though. Not just for you.
A)For everything, of course.

Q)So what you're saying is, you create your own reality.
A)Where you are right now, the world that you're seeing is the
world that you're creating.

Q)But how does that tie in with everything being predestined?
A)Everything is predestined.

Q)So you're predestined to create your reality as it is.
A)That's the way it goes.

Q)That seems paradoxical.
A)Of course it does. It wouldn't be a truth teaching if it weren't paradoxical.Everything is pre-ordained if you go to work on yourself to life yourself up and become free.

Q)There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.
A)Exactly.

Q)Why is that?
A)That's the game. And if you try to figure it out, you can't. So
don't try.

Q)And that means thatwhen one becomes realized, everything
that's preordained doesn't exist anymore, right?
A)Right. When one becomes realized, the whole game is over.
There's nobody to become realized. There's nobody that's not
realized. There's no universe, there's no God. There are no
others. All is well.

Or, nothing is well, as the case may be.
Touche.
[Extract ends]
My favourite answer is this:
[There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.]
‘There is nothing you can do about it’ is from the point of view or at the point in time when it is realized it is all predestiny and the statement ‘you have to try to do something about it’ is from the point of view of the ‘jiva’.When I was practicing sort of Advaita I was stuck, total jammed, but the samskaras underneath were bubbling as usual. So I was sort of jammed(sthabdhata in Sanskrit). I guess this is what happens when beginners try to be ‘panilenivaadu’. ‘panilenivaadu’ is the end not the means meaning you cannot practice Advaita but only BE which is the end.You cannot stop a bullet train(mind) suddenly. You have to let the steam off slowly. Hence the statement ‘You have to try to do something about it’ meaning the various sadhanas and when the train(mind) is slow enough you apply ‘Self Enquiry’.

I hope my explaination above helps anyone with similar problem.

There is one question I would like to have asked Robert:
At what point in time do you know it is all pre-destined?

Anonymous said...

Extract(circa page 355 onwards) from the book:Silence of the Heart; a compilation of Rober Adams' spoken satsangs around 1990.
The below extract is about one of the most sought after question of ‘Freewill and Predestiny’.

Absolutely profound and very deep question and answers. The use of language here is absolutely elegant and very exacting.

You can download it free from www.scribd.com

[Extract starts...]
---------------------------------
Q)You just haven yt suffered enough. Is that true? People really
think...
A)Because they read the books of certain saints, and they
think certain saints have gone through certain experiences, so
everybody has to go through those experiences. That's why I
don't talk about myself too much. The truth is, of course, if
you really want to know about this body and about the Self in
me, know your Self. Find out first who you are. Then you'll
know all about me. Otherwise, you'll see me as you see
yourself. Do you see what I'm saying?
If you meet a con-man, the con-man's going to look at you
and think you're a con-man too. A con-man believes every
body's a con-man. If you meet a person who's illed with love,
they will see you as love also. So that's why I say, whatever you
are, I am a mirror for you, and you're only seeing yourself.

Q)That's so for everything, though. Not just for you.
A)For everything, of course.

Q)So what you're saying is, you create your own reality.
A)Where you are right now, the world that you're seeing is the
world that you're creating.

Q)But how does that tie in with everything being predestined?
A)Everything is predestined.

Q)So you're predestined to create your reality as it is.
A)That's the way it goes.

Q)That seems paradoxical.
A)Of course it does. It wouldn't be a truth teaching if it weren't paradoxical.Everything is pre-ordained if you go to work on yourself to life yourself up and become free.

Q)There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.
A)Exactly.

Q)Why is that?
A)That's the game. And if you try to figure it out, you can't. So
don't try.

Q)And that means thatwhen one becomes realized, everything
that's preordained doesn't exist anymore, right?
A)Right. When one becomes realized, the whole game is over.
There's nobody to become realized. There's nobody that's not
realized. There's no universe, there's no God. There are no
others. All is well.

Or, nothing is well, as the case may be.
Touche.
[Extract ends]
My favourite answer is this:
[There's nothing you can do about it, and yet you have to try
to do something about it.]
‘There is nothing you can do about it’ is from the point of view or at the point in time when it is realized it is all predestiny and the statement ‘you have to try to do something about it’ is from the point of view of the ‘jiva’.When I was practicing sort of Advaita I was stuck, total jammed, but the samskaras underneath were bubbling as usual. So I was sort of jammed(sthabdhata in Sanskrit). I guess this is what happens when beginners try to be ‘panilenivaadu’. ‘panilenivaadu’ is the end not the means meaning you cannot practice Advaita but only BE which is the end.You cannot stop a bullet train(mind) suddenly. You have to let the steam off slowly. Hence the statement ‘You have to try to do something about it’ meaning the various sadhanas and when the train(mind) is slow enough you apply ‘Self Enquiry’.

I hope my explaination above helps anyone with similar problem.

There is one question I would like to have asked Robert:
At what point in time do you know it is all pre-destined?

Jupes said...

And would that attitude of a person who was using prarabdha as an excuse for what they were doing or not doing also be part of their script? I find this all very fascinating. I guess part of what I'm trying to do is to understand how far and to what depth prarabdha actually extends, whether it affects absolutely every aspect of a person's thoughts, attitudes and actions. I know that if I was around a person who had an attitude like what you described, I would probably be annoyed and critical of that person, at least initially. And it sounds like you have been annoyed by such people. But then, when I think that maybe it's their prarabdha to be that way, to have that attitude and to use prarabdha as an excuse for doing what they do or don't do, maybe even committing murder or other criminal acts, I find it a little easier to be less critical, in the same way that I might view things happening in the world, such as famines, wars, natural disasters, knowing that those events are also part of the script and can't be avoided. It doesn't mean I wouldn't have feelings about what is occurring and wouldn't get upset or feel the urge to help. But knowing that prarabdha is at work in all that happens makes it easier to be accepting of the way things are.

Ravi said...

Scott,
You have expressed yourself quite clearly and beautifully-In fact this is the starting point of the wonderful yet deep Bhagavad Gita.More of it later.
Best Regards.

vishy said...

I never knew this information .
Thanks for the sharing such a vibrant devotee named Mastan .
We can find Bhagwan among the true devotees only.

Like tamil saying
Thondarukkellam thondan avar

Sarvamum Ramanamayam

David Godman said...

That's an interesting point, one that I have occasionally wondered about. I don't ever recollect Bhagavan giving an answer on this topic.

For the unenlightened, actions and choices are generally made on the basis of prior thought. If the act itself is destined, then it might be reasonable to conclude that the thoughts which prompted the acts were also part of the chain of destiny.

Although most people know that Bhagavan taught that all the body's acts are pre-determined, there is a 'get-out' clause in Upadesa Manjari (Spiritual Instruction) where Bhagavan says: 'Destiny only affects the extroverted mind. The more you introvert the mind, the more you transcend your destiny.'

When I was in Lakshmana Swamy's ashram about twenty years ago, Saradamma made the following interesting comments to me:

'[Lakshmana] Swamy can see past lives of people who come to see him. Sometimes images of these lives just come to him unasked. Occasionally he also sees future lives also, but only in people who have no interest in God or meditation. For such people the future seems to be fixed. However, he doesn't see the future lives of people who have devotion or who are meditating to realise the Self. For them the future does not seem to be so fixed.'

It is said that in the presence of the Guru the worst effects of destined karma can be mitigated to some extent. A major accident can be reduced to a minor one, and so on. Saradamma told me once that in some cases karma can even be experienced and eliminated in dreams, rather than in the waking state.

In 1985 I was in their ashram when Saradamma informed me that she felt that I was about to have a bad road accident, and that I should therefore stay in the ashram until she felt it was safe for me to leave. A few days later I was attempting to remove a large photo of Lakshmana Swamy from the wall of the Ramana Mandir there in order to do some cleaning. The ladder I was standing on slid from underneath me; the picture rail I grasped at came away from the wall, and I, the ladder and a large photo all came crashing down together. My feet were only about three feet from the ground but I somehow managed to sustain a fractured femur in the incident. I was taken to a hospital, put in traction, and was told I would have to be there for about twelve weeks. Apparently, if you are around thirty, which I was at the time, the pins and plates that would speed up recovery in older people are not recommended because they don't last for the rest of one's life.

I have to say that the treatment seemed a bit medieval to me. I felt like a cartooon character with my leg bolted to the bed, and pulleys and weights stretching its components in the right direction.

I consulted my mother, who was a physiotherapist in the UK, and she reassured me that this was still the standard treatment for young people with major femur fractures. I also consulted a doctor friend of mine who had a private practice just off Harley Street in London. I borrowed my x-rays and sketched a picture of what my femur looked like. I am no expert, but it looked like a very alarming picture. There seemed to be a gap of almost an inch between the two broken bones.

The message cam back from London: 'I think you have sent me the wrong x-ray. You can't break your femur like this falling three feet off a ladder. This is the standard break of someone who has been hit in the side by a car travelling at about 30 miles per hour.'

So, my destined road accident happened in a traffic-free zone. I like to think that having it in the ashram temple, holding on to Lakshmana Swamy's photo as I fell, made it a lot less severe than it might otherwise have been. I could have been flattened on a street in the nearby town and had far more severe injuries.

David Godman said...

In UIlladu Narpadu, verse 19, Bhagavan wrote:

The debate "Does free will prevail or fate?' is only for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have known the Self, the common source of free-will and fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

Debates about free will and destiny can only persist as longer as there is an idea that there is a 'chooser', someone who decides what he or she shall do or not do. After realisation the illusory chooser vanishes, and all actions are performed by the Self without any prior 'Should I do this? Should I do that?' You can only argue about this matter while you still believe that there is an entity that has choices. When that belief and that entity vanish, concepts of destiny and free will vanish along with it.

Anonymous said...

Apart from saying my devotees do not come to me on their own but it is I who pull them to me on various pretexts; Sai Baba also said if you take a step towards me I will take a hundred steps to you.Both these statements are contradictory. I was stuck on this contractiction for months and one day I remembered having read Bhagawan’s statement when asked if all the Hindu mythology worlds and gods really exist.He said as long as the personal ‘I’ exists all of them exist else all All is One.

Sai Baba is a very engaging God even after physical death.That is why his fame has spread like wild fire. In some states within two decades his temples are higher than any other Deity.But towards the end he expressed his unhappiness and tiredness at how people were flocking to him for only material gifts and leelas to change their karma.He also said, "Am I really doing any leela/magic?"

But alas, engaging or otherwise RESULTS ARE THE SAME.So it boils down to personal preference whether you prefer a freindly teacher or a strict teacher.

But Bhagawan at other times also said everything is predestined. That means increase in effort by effort is bogus.It follows that increase in love and humility by effort is also bogus. I mean the increase more than what is in your chemical or program or DNA.
On similar lines if Grace too is predestined how can it be called Grace?

Ibn Arabi:
#######
http://bewley.virtualave.net/ibnArabi.html
1)Allah said, "and do not rush ahead with the Qur'an before its revelation to you is complete and say, 'O Lord, increase me in knowledge!'" (20:114) i.e. increase me with Your words that You want me to know. Here increase in knowledge is knowledge of the nobility of slowness in the revelation, out of adab with the teacher who brings it to him from his Lord. For this reason, He put this verse after His word, "and faces will be humbled unto the Living, the All-Sustaining," (20:111) i.e. humbled. He meant the knowledges of tajalli. Tajalli is the noblest path for obtaining knowledges - they are the knowledges of immediate tasting.

2)From the moment man starts up the ladder of ascent, he has a divine tajalli according to the ladder of his ascent. Each person among the people of Allah(read everyone else he would have been persecuted in his days or suicide bombed nowadays) has a ladder particular to him by which no one else ascends. If someone could ascend by the ladder of someone else, then prophethood would be acquirable. By its essence, every ladder gives a rank particular to the one who ascends in it. If it would otherwise, the scholars would climb the ladder of the Prophets and obtain prophethood by doing so. The business is not like that. 'Divine capacity' would vanish if the matter would repeated. In our view, it is confirmed that there is no repetition in that presence.
However, all the steps of the meanings - for Prophets, awliya', believers, and messengers - are the same. One ladder does not have more steps than another ladder. The first step is Islam. It is submission. The last step is in annihilation in the ascent and going-on in the going-out. What remains is between the two of them.
##

I read Sarada the wife of Ramakrishna chastising disciples for trying too hard.But how does one know what is hard for him.

All this double act confusion leads us to what's the point of the creation?Krishna says he is the creator but not the agent.I am the knower, knowable and knowing but it is you that goes to heaven or hell.I created you for my amusement and It is all 'thy will' i.e his will but it is you who will go to heaven or hell.If it is all One who and whose will and what are we talking about.

Finally nobody knows.Like Papaji used to say Gods themselves are waiting for their own Nirvana. Ramana says the only thing that we are sure is we exist.In UG's words "what do you want enlightenment for sir?Go get out and make some money.If there is anything that will express itself." echoing Kathopanishad.

Anonymous said...

As per David's recent request, Sorry forgot to add authorship to the last comment on Freewill and Destiny.It was me z.

Zee said...

Subramanian/Friends,
Just wondering why Bhagawan conceded Annamalai Swamy's request to increase his memory power but was not so forthcoming on his request to deal with his sexual desires.Can we safely conclude that the so called bad desires also are helpful sometimes in some aspects.May be people like Bhagawan knows the timing and interplay of these desires and so know when to act on which desire and in how much quantity.


Here's a glimpse from Rumi's on it:
***********************************
Discourse-32 from 'Discourses by Rumi'

Every experience leads us to certainty, even
acts of corruption. Like the cunning thief who
repents and joins the police force, all their thieving
tricks now become a power for justice. They
are more certain than all the other policemen who
were never thieves, since having stolen they know
the ways of thieves. If they should then become a
Sheikh they would be perfect, the Elder of the
world and the Mahdi of the age.

Anonymous said...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.


- Leonard Cohen

Anonymous said...

Sadhu is a Pali word which means good, excellent or auspicious. Examples of the word’s use are: ‘It is sadhu to see noble ones’ (D.I,88), ‘It is sadhu to control the mind’ (Dhp.35), and ‘Even one who leads a sadhu life will decline by consorting with a lazy person’ (It.71). Sadhu is also occasionally used in the Tipitaka as an exclamation. To show his appreciation of something Sariputta had said the Buddha responded: ‘Sadhu, sadhu Sariputta!’ (Vin.56). Today it is common for people in Buddhist countries to say sadhu three times to express their happiness or approval of something related to the Dhamma.
Posted by Shravasti Dhammika

Anonymous said...

Aimbulak kalvar Ahattinilpuhumbodhu
Ahattilniilaiyo Arunachala

Oruvanam unnai Olittevar varuvar
Unsoodhe idu Arunachala

-Aksharamanamalai - Bhagavan

Vidi-madi moola vivekam ilarkke
Vidi-madi vellum vivadham – vidimadi gatku
Ore-mudalan tannai unarndar avaitanandar
Charvaro pinnumavai chattruvai

- Ullathu Narpathu - Bhagavan

Zee said...

**********************************
From Anguttara Nikaya translated by
Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi
www.scribd.com/Buddhist_Publication_Society
**********************************
29. Three Sectarian Tenets

There are, monks, some ascetics and brahmins who teach and hold this view: “Whatever a
person experiences, be it pleasure, pain or a neutral feeling, all that is caused by past action.”
There are others who teach and hold this view: “Whatever a person experiences … all that is
caused by God’s creation.” And there are still other ascetics and brahmins who teach and hold
this view: “Whatever a person experiences … is uncaused and unconditioned.”54
(1) Now, monks, I approached those ascetics and brahmins (holding the first view) and said
to them: “Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a
person experiences … all that is caused by past action?” When they affirmed it, I said to them:
“If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to past action (done in a former life) that people kill,
steal and engage in sexual misconduct; that they speak falsehood, utter malicious words, speak
harshly and indulge in idle talk; that they are covetous and malevolent and hold false views.55
But those who have recourse to past action as the decisive factor will lack the impulse and effort
for doing this or not doing that. Since they have no real valid ground for asserting that this or
that ought to be done or ought not to be done, the term ’ascetics’ does not rightly apply to them,
living without mindfulness and self-control.”
This, monks, is my first justified rebuke to those ascetics and brahmins who teach and hold
such a view.
(2) Again, monks, I approached those ascetics and brahmins (holding the second view) and
said to them: “Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that
whatever a person experiences … all that is caused by God’s creation?” When they affirmed it, I
said to them: “If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to God’s creation that people kill … and
hold false views. But those who have recourse to God’s creation as the decisive factor will lack
the impulse and effort for doing this or not doing that. Since they have no real valid ground for
asserting that this or that ought to be done or ought not to be done, the term ’ascetics’ does not
rightly apply to them, living without mindfulness and self-control.”
This, monks, is my second justified rebuke to those ascetics and brahmins who teach and hold
such a view.
(3) Again, monks, I approached those ascetics and brahmins (holding the third view) and said
to them: “Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a
person experiences … all that is uncaused and unconditioned?” When they affirmed it, I said to
them: “If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is without cause and condition that people kill … and
hold false views. But those who have recourse to an uncaused and unconditioned (order of
events) as the decisive factor will lack the impulse and effort for doing this or not doing that.
Since they have no real valid ground for asserting that this or that ought to be done or ought not
to be done, the term ’ascetics’ does not rightly apply to them, living without mindfulness and
self-control.”
This, monks, is my third justified rebuke to those ascetics and brahmins who teach and hold
such a view.
These, monks, are the three sectarian tenets which, if fully examined, investigated, and
discussed, will end in a doctrine of inaction, even if adopted because of tradition.
Now, monks, this Dhamma taught by me is unrefuted, untarnished, unblamed, and
uncensored by intelligent ascetics and brahmins.56 And what is that Dhamma?....

Zee said...

Trust in God but tie it(Camel).

Source:
The Sayings of Muhammad by Sir Abdullah Suhrawardy
introcuded by Mahatma Gandhi

Anonymous said...

Are our thoughts pre-determined ?

Anonymous said...

Are our thoughts pre-determined?

Who is asking this question? The reality or the Self wouldn't ask this question. Someone who is confused / concerned about the fate or destiny or the future is asking the question. Who is that someone?

Anonymous said...

Two times two will be four even without my will. Is that what you call man's free will?”
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky


-Zee

Anonymous said...

"Two times two will be four even without my will. Is that what you call man's free will?”

It can be destiny as well as free will. One could say, two times two is always four and claim it is the destiny. Or the same person could say, even though the answer is four, I could do 1+1+1+1, or 1 +3 or 0+4 and so on, and that is my freewill.

It is the same as saying even though the death or sorrow (the result 4) is imminent (destiny), I happened??? to change (different combinations) few things here and there (freewill).

There is a person who is claiming that it is destiny or freewill. Who is that person? Upon enquiring, that person goes away and what (always) remains is the reality. Will that question or dependence on destiny and freewill raise?

Vidi-madi moola vivekam ilarkke
Vidi-madi vellum vivadham – vidimadi gatku
Ore-mudalan tannai unarndar avaitanandar
Charvaro pinnumavai chattruvai

Ksk K said...

Great work Mr.David, but it is not you who did it.
Or otherwise if it is you, "my" thanks to that "you".