Monday, February 23, 2015

The Order of Karma, The Order of Dharma - Swami Dayananda

The order of karma includes the karma that we do here in this life and the karma we brought along with us. The karma that we brought along with us is the result of karma that we did before; it need not be in the previous life.

The human life which includes parentage, place of birth, the contemporary society, in general the whole humanity, at this period of time - internet humanity. Babies are born with the hand near the ear (for mobile).  So, it is an entirely different kind of society. I have seen all this changes in my whole life time. To be born now is entirely different. It is all karma. It is a combination of karma to be born in an internet society.

The relationship with father, mother, siblings - I don’t know whether it is the same as it was before. Why do I say this? Because to be born now,  needs a special karma,. So, that is the gati of karma. Gahana karmano gatih, not easy to track, to trace the karma for what we have.

So, this karma flows as though into this life, setting up this life and continues to be the one which sets up situations, because it is a life-time karma. Karma for your life-time, for  your  life. The karma for your life is going to be unfolding situations for you to face. Not only the past karma unfolds, the present karma also joins in this unfolding of old karma. So old karma can pull down the present karma, can enhance the present karma, can completely silence the present karma; power. The old karma is too powerful. The present karma can be overwhelmed, overpowered.

We use the word karma for karmaphala (result of karma) also. The effect is also called by the cause. Like a shirt is called as cotton, it is cotton. A chain is called gold.

So when you say it is my karma, it is karmaphala, the result of karma, punya and papa. Punya helps you to be at the right place at the right time. And papa accounts for what is unpleasant. This punya-papa we create by our own karma, in this life also. We cannot say what unfolds in the present moment, is on account of which punya or which papa.

The interconnection, the people you hang out with, all this is past karma,  present karma. Past, present, past, present. They go together. That is why we can create antibodies to unpleasant karmas, by doing good karma, by prayer. In spite of that something happens in the present means the karma was powerful.

There are a lot of other things involved in karma. Like sancita karma (accumulated), agami karma (karmaphala generated in this life). The karma standing in your account, is over  beginningless time. The  jiva has no beginning and therefore it is a cycle.
We are in svetavaraha kalpa. And the kalpa consists of manvantaras, and out of them our manvantara is vavaisvata. A manvantara consists on yugas, and among the four yugas our yuga is kali yuga. Kali yuga consists of four quarters, four padas. We are in d in the first quarter, the segment of the period of time blessed by Buddha avatara.
Kalpa is one cycle. We have karma since  kalpa after kalpa after kalpa. In every kalpa even if you have one human birth you have limitless karma. Atma is eternal, this jiva also is as though eternal. Jiva is atma, therefore eternal. Being centred on atma is  eternal. If you understand it is eternal, if you don’t understand it is eternal. So the jiva who has been around from beginingless time has enough karma to assume any body. So when you take a given body like a human body, it is not one karma. Means what you experience now. It is a group of karmas. Therefore all these karmas, among them, one is called sancita. What is waiting for expression.

Karma phala is definitely going to fructify. It has got a certainty, it will definitely fructify. That is called sancita karma.

The group of karma that has fructified is prarabdha karma, the fructification takes place in time; in time. In hundred years; in seventy years; fifty years, in a span of life time fructification takes place. That means the karma goes along with the span of life.

How  is the span determined? By reckoning your breathing. It is not a calendar. You breath in, breath out, the life span time clock ticks. That is the count down. You have that much span of breaths, and prarabdha unfolds in that span. So, tick. If you do pranayama, tick……tick…….tick……..you can slow down. And if you dont care ….Tick.tick. tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. That is calld udana, the time clock is called udana. The time clock is the karma clock. Karma works in tandem with time, with praa. This is called prak arabdha karma, prakarshena arabdha karma, well begun karma.

Then we have karma called agami. In this life we pick certain karma whose result cannot be fulfilled in this life.  They require a special body, a special time and place. May be a human body, but at a special time and place. Or after leaving this body, assuming another body should be in special time and place, with special parentage. All the specifications for what is going to come in future. Agami is the name for what is going to come in the future.

So these are the three-fold karma. These three fold karma is all within the order of karma.

Nitya karma, naimittika karma, all within the order of karma. Vaidika karma, in the order of karma. Karma order is huge. It is not easy. Sending a satellite up to a rocket is all karma. But generally we don’t include them, but anything that produces punya-papa, as well as laukika (worldly)karmas are included. In fact laulika karmas produce punyam and papam.

So this order  of karma is gahana, too vast and too intervened with the karma of others. And therefore the Gitāasays gahana karmano gatih, the ways of karma are too deep, too vast to unravel.

The order of dharma is not a different topic. In the Gita we repeat every day the verse. “sarva dharman parityajya, mamekam sharanam vraja…..”. We repeat this at lunch time.
Parityajya means giving up; sarvadhaman means all dharmas; mamekam sharanam vraja, bhagavan says please surrender to me, take my refuge in me alone. That means give up all dharmas and come. There dharma is karma.

You cannot do dharma. Can you do dharma?

You cannot do dharma. You can only do karma, which is dharma, which can produce punyam and papam. That is also dharma. Therefore dharman parityajya Bhashyakara translates dharma as sarva karmani. Dharma becomes karma.

When we talk about order of dharma, it includes the order of karma and itself as a matrix of values, motivating the person to do proper karma. And those karmas are samanya and vishesha. Samanya values, universal values, like ahimsa, universal values. Based upon ahimsa there are other derived values, they are also universal. I don’t hurt because I don’t want to get hurt. Samanya. And from this universal value of ahimsa it follows :- I don’t want to be robbed; I don’t want to be cheated; I don’t want to be in any way hurt. All the values are derivatives. In other words I don’t want to get hurt in any manner and I know that others also don’t want to get hurt.

 This order of dharma is the order of universal values. They are meant to guide one while doing karma. What is to be done, what is not to be done.  A life of karma is guided by and  based upon dharma.

Then we have vishesa dharma. That is also the order of dharma. What I have to do as a student. What I have to do as a married man, house holder. The house holder is a funny translation of grihastha. House-holder, nice. But grihastha doesn’t say that. Grihastha also if you translate is funny, -grihe tishtati the one who sits at home. She works, he sits at home, cooks. That is grihastha. There is a root ‘ stha’ and the ‘stha’ doesn’t permit you to move this way or that way. Then we have to go for the rudhi meaning. Vyutpati here doesn’t work. So the one who makes the home, both the man and woman, they make home. That is grihastha ashrama dharma.

What is to be done as a grihastha, what is to be done as one prepares oneself for sannyasa, so vanaprastha, they are all laid out. As the time changes, so this dharma ashrama, dharma also undergoes change. These are all anitya rules.

In grammar you have anitya rules. They change themselves, they adapt themselves to the time. The influence of other cultures brings about changes. But the core basis for making these dharmas, that doesn’t change.  Playing as a role, as a son; as father; as mother; as husband; as wife, these are all roles one has to play in life. And every role has a script and the script is dharma. It is called vishesha dharmas.  They are endless … All under the order of dharma which we all sense.
The human beings have to conform to this order, samanya dharma and vishesha dharma. This conforming is in terms of karma always.


Thus the  order of karma, the order of dharma is important. They are Ishvara. When you live in harmony with this dharma order, you are in harmony with Ishvara.

...adapted from Talks at AVG Annikatti 2015

Modern Vedanta and Intellectual honesty – Swami Dayananda Saraswati


We say Modern Vedanta though there is no modern Vedanta. We say Modern Vedanta because there are a lot of these people, who teach Vedanta proclaiming themselves as teachers of Vedanta. And there is a certain truth about the teaching, and they teach Upanishads, they teach Gita, but say that ultimately it is to be experienced.

If it is ultimately to be experienced why should one study for so many years. They say ‘learn and then experience’. “You have to eliminate all thoughts, no thoughts should come”. After eliminating what will you get? This is modern Vedanta.

All over the spiritual world we have modern Vedanta which declares “You realize the self” – some kind of kriya yoga. The difference is obvious, they talk about experience and we (traditional Vedanta) say that every experience is Brahman. Brahman is not a matter of experiencing, it is a matter of knowing. All experiences are Brahman. If you want to experience Brahman like you experience a mango, Brahman becomes an object!!

In this, one must have intellectual honesty, when you find that what you have been thinking of as valid knowledge, is dismissed by this Swami. You had already invested emotionally, time wise, in a person and in his her teaching.  It is difficult to come out of that, because of investment. You may have had a great involvement in the projects of that person. That person may be having his own publications, propagations. So it is difficult for one to give up, unless one has intellectual honesty. It is very difficult to give up. That must be right, we have got a mechanism of making it right. How it can be wrong? That must be right.

When there is no intellectual honesty, you find you cannot give up. Within the organization you have got a name, you have got a power. So for name’s sake, for power’s sake, you belittle this knowledge.You side line this knowledge, you belittle it, you turn away, you show a “Nelson’s eye”.  That is what people do. That is what I didn’t to. Therefore I am here.

Intellectual honesty is so important. In purushartha nishcaya – ascertainment of the goal of life, intellectual honesty is important. Then you change certain things, your priorities change. It is all born of intellectual honesty. Priorities undergo change. For all of you priorities have undergone a change, that is why you are here.

Adapted from excerpts from Talks in AVG Annaikatti 2015


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vedanta is a Pramana - Swami Dayananda



This question “Who am I” comes because of the Vedic statement of atma, the self, being what is not construed to be. Being the opposite. I think I am a mortal, I am incomplete, imperfect. I am just an individual and the whole world is different from me. This is my opinion about myself.

The Veda has a vision about myself. And the vision is, I am the opposite of what I think myself to be. I am mortal. I was born at a given time, and will die. I am time bound. The Veda says you are not.

I think I am insecure; you are not, you are the security, you are the meaning of insecurity.
I think I am incomplete. Always a sense of incompleteness. I always feel dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with the world. The people. With myself. Except those moments I laugh for a slapstick joke, or whatever.Veda says you are purṇa, you are the whole. The meaning of satisfaction.

So the vision of the Veda about myself is just the opposite. How will you arrive at that? That is spiritual. “I am just an individual”.  No, you are the cause of the world.

How are you going to arrive at that on your own?

First, we have to understand the position of the Veda with reference to the subject matter it unfolds. All other means  of knowledge that we use do not have access to the subject matter of the Veda, so they cannot handle it.  The Veda talks about it in the Upanishad which are a part of the Veda. 

It talks about me. I cannot look at myself any more than what I know. The whole question is common to many people, it is not one’s person’s question. Many people have the same question. Let us understand it.

Any knowledge of the self anywhere in the world, is Vedanta if it says you are the whole. But nobody teaches Vedanta except the Upanishad. The Upanishad teaches this. No scripture, no mystic, teaches this. This vision has gone abroad. It has no national boundaries.

Some mystics experience the oneness. Experience is as good as your interpretation of it. Interpretation is as good as you know. If you don’t know, you don’t know how to interpret and without interpretation, the experience came and went. Some people tell me, “Swamiji the day before yesterday, I experienced oneness. Today it is gone”. So you have to know.

What “is” is you. The stars are you. The space is you. Time is you. This is the vision of the Veda, the vision of the Upanishad. Veda is a pramana  a means of knowledge in the form of words - shabda. Veda is called shabda; shabda is a pramaṇa.  Upanishad belongs to the Veda, it is a pramana.

All over the Veda this vision is there. It is not only in the Upanishad; in the Upanishad it is taught. There is a Svetaketu, there is Uddalaka, it is taught. There is a dialogue - a teaching dialogue, a samvada - a teacher student dialogue.

“Shri Krishna-arjuna samvade, prathamo’dhyaya”, then will come dvitiyo’dhyaya.

Vada can be a discussion or a dialogue. Samvada is a teacher student dialogue.Uddlaka Shvetaketu samvada is presenting the subject matter as a samvada - a subject matter to be learned from a teacher.

There is no other way of knowing. The question doesn’t arise. When there is no other way of knowing, then the Shastra is the only pramana.

As a seeker you are taught that you should experience atma.  Who is to experience what? If I have to experience myself, I am the subject; I am the object. Long ago I said this pursuit as an experience of atma is silly, I distributed all my Vedanta books to people. Whatever you want you take, you also suffer! 

What is commonly taught is “You will have eternal mortal supreme bliss””. These are all Vedanta words translated in some form and repeated as something to be  experienced.

Limitless is to be experienced?!!!. Supreme is to be experienced!. Bliss of course is to be experienced! B capital!!!

With this kind of teaching .... And I gave away the books, I decided to burn all my boats. Distributed all the books. ….Then I met Swamiji Pranavanandaji, he was the first to say that Vedanta is a pramana - a means of knowledge.  I never turned back. That is what grace is about. At the time, the right person comes in your life. Changes your life.

.... adapted from excerpts from Talk at AVG, Annaikatti on 3/1/2015


Nidhidhyasana - The Meaning of 'I'