Monday, February 26, 2007

Story 41 – Story of Saubhari Muni - 05

Karma in the form of austerities and knowledge – an analysis

We saw in the previous day as to how Saubhari realized the futility of tapas performed without knowledge of the ultimate reality of Lord. It is important for seekers to analyze this and understand it clearly.

When we analyze the world and the underlying reality of the ultimate reality of Lord, there are only two components present in the first place. The two components are karma or action and jnaana or knowledge. Karma is based on duality or difference between doer and the thing to be achieved (goal or phala) whereas jnaana is based on the non-dual reality of Lord as the substratum of the illusory world. Karma like the entities of the world is ever changing with respect to the doer – the same action of driving a car is different with respect to the person driving. On the other hand, jnaana is changeless as it is the reality behind the differences that we see in the world. Jnaana is the knowledge that there is no duality at all here but whatever really exists is only an illusion of name and form in the ultimate reality of Lord. Always remembering that the Lord alone exists even while doing activities in the world is the path of jnaana. Such a person who remembers the Lord and does all actions as an offering unto the Lord (following the great upanishadic statement of ishaavasyam idam sarvam and tena thyaktena bhunjeethaah) is not bound by karma but is following the path of jnaana.

Karma is only an illusion based on duality. A person who depends on karma is bound by the karma and the phala (fruit) thereon. This vicious circle of fruit and action continues without any end. This leads a seeker to take many births in order to fulfill all desires and attain a state wherein there is no more action to be performed. This state of no-more-action-to-be-performed is termed by the Lord in 15th chapter of Gita as krithakrithyaa bhaavam – this is what Vedantins claim as moksha or jeevan mukthi. This state of moksha is achieved only through the path of jnaana.

A seeker thereby has to always choose the path of knowledge wherein he remembers the ultimate reality of Lord as the one and only existing entity and offers all actions performed at the empirical level to the Lord as worship.

Are tapas, dhyaana, samaadhi etc. part of karma or jnaana?
Bhagavatham following the Upanishads doesn’t differentiate between various actions. All actions are bondages for the seeker if it is not associated with the thought of the Lord. Any action performed with the thought of the Lord is jnaana – a seeker who performs actions in this way is following the path of knowledge which will lead him to nishreyas or moksha. On the other hand, the seeker who does actions without remembering the Lord will be bound in the ocean of samsaara even if the action is dhyaana or Samadhi. This doesn’t exclude bhajan or chanting as well. Even if the seeker goes to meet Mahatmas like AMMA or Sri Sri Ravishankar and spends time in AIM (Amrita Integrated Meditation) or the Sudarshana Kriya (propagated by Art of Living of Sri Sri Ravishankar) but forgets the ultimate reality of Lord while doing these actions then those very actions become bondages and leads the seeker into the ocean of samsaara.

I personally know many people who follow these meditation techniques but are so attached to the action that they cannot be without it. One of my friend claimed once that if she doesn’t do the meditation, she feels powerless & her friends claim that on such a day her face is not bright!!! This is nothing but heights of ignorance.

We all are traveling from Kanyakumari to the goal of Himalayas. We might either travel through bus or train. Let’s say “Hariram” travels through train. After getting out of the train when it reaches the destination of Himalayas, it is stupidity if “Hariram” claims that he will not get out of the train.

Any path or means is never the goal. The goal of realization of the ultimate reality of Lord is beyond all paths. Meditation or sudarshan kriya or AIM or Samadhi are only the means and not the goal. If a person is very much attached to these means, then that only shows that the person is forgetting the goal of ultimate reality of Lord. Such a person who forgets the Lord and does all these actions will fall into the ocean of samsaara like Saubhari.

If the particular action is done remembering the ultimate reality of Lord, the seeker will not get affected if the action is not done in a day. He will still remember the Lord and say that “O Lord! It is your wish that I was unable to do meditation today. Instead of meditation, I will chant your name a couple of times” – with this, the seeker will be ever blissful and unaffected by any activities. Attachment to such activities happens when we forget that those activities are only meant for easy remembrance of the Lord. Instead these activities themselves cause us to forget the Lord and get attached to the activities.

It can be argued that “will not AMMA or Sri Sri Ravishankar protect me even if I am getting attached to the activity”. JThe Lord openly says in Gita that the Self is saved by the Self alone – a horse can be taken to the pond but it cannot be made to drink water. All Mahatmas can only lead us or show us the direction, they cannot save us from the ocean of samsaara without knowledge. Any Mahatma who claims to protect their devotees through devotion or surrender to them are only false-gurus --- nobody can save us from the ocean of samsaara without knowledge. We have already seen this in the story of Jada Bharatha whom even Lord Vishnu couldn’t save; in such a case, what to speak about Mahatmas who are in a human body?

We thus have to remember that knowledge and constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord alone can save us from the ocean of samsaara. This doesn’t require any help of any Mahatma – if a seeker is weak to ward off obstacles, then he can seek those Mahatmas but without forgetting the goal of non-dual reality of Lord. If he forgets the Lord, no Mahatma can save him. AMMA starts her discourses by telling that we have to learn the scriptures – this is because scriptures tell us that constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord is the one and only way out of the ocean of samsaara.

For a seeker whose goal is remembrance of the Lord, there are no conditions of actions – he neither needs to get up by 3 nor sit in meditation daily for 2 hours. He does all actions like a worldly person but remembering the ultimate reality of Lord thereby offering the actions to the Lord.

Saubhari thus thought and proclaimed (bhagavatham proclaiming through Saubhari as an instruction to seekers like us) – A person seeking the ultimate truth should never get entangled in sensual pleasures. He should initially always try to be away from sense objects and maintain silence (sitting or staying at a quiet place). While being in a quiet place, the seeker should fix his mind upon the ultimate reality of Lord. I was alone once. The sanga (attachment or association) with a fish caused another 50 people to be associated with me. The 50 count became 500 now. There would be no end to thoughts and desires of people who concentrate on the duality in the world rather than the non-dual reality of Lord.


As the famous saying in the world goes “Experience makes man wise”, Saubhari is here advising all seekers so that they don’t commit the same mistake that he committed. What mistake? The mistake that Saubhari made was of getting attached to things thereby forgetting the ultimate reality of Lord. One desire will lead a seeker to get attached to many things. This will go on like an unending chain of attachments. The more the things that we get attached to, the more we will tend to forget the Lord. The more we tend to forget the Lord, the more our sorrows and sufferings will be. The more our sufferings, we will then struggle to get rid of those sufferings in one or the other way. It is at these moments that we seek spiritual advice and go to saints like AMMA and others.

I am not here telling that we shouldn’t seek these saints. Sankara mentions three things as very tough to get in life and got only by God’s grace – they are manhood qualities, desire for liberation and surrender to a man of wisdom. We should surrender to saints like AMMA not to get rid of our sorrows but to get knowledge of the Lord from them. What many years of tapas cannot achieve can be achieved through the mere presence of these Mahatmas because they are ever immersed in the reality of Lord.

When we go to a wineshop or a pub, we feel the negative vibrations there. Similarly if we go to these Mahatmas we will feel the positive vibrations which will energize us to progress in the spiritual path with full power and strength. But we will gain out of these energizing only if we know the goal of ultimate reality of Lord to be attained in life. If we don’t remember this, we would be seeking such Mahatmas either for getting worldly pleasures or for getting of worldly sorrows. That is not what is to be achieved from a seeker. Not seeking realization or moksha and seeking worldly things from Mahatmas is like going to Bill Gates and asking for a dollar!!! We should never go and seek petty things from Mahatmas – we should only seek moksha or realization and that alone should be sought. If we seek anything else, then that will be only temporary. We may go to AMMA or other saints for getting temporary relief and getting promotion among other things. We will get it but there will be no end to desires. We will still go to them after some time but this time it will be for something else. This vicious circle will go on and on until we realize the futility of such desires and stay away from them. Instead we should always seek the ultimate reality of Lord who alone is real amidst the illusory things of the world. The world that we see is like a long dream – it has no reality apart from the Lord. It is the Lord who is seen as the various names and forms in the world. If we seek the names and forms forgetting the underlying reality of Lord, we will get only sorrow. Instead if we remember the underlying reality and seek the names-forms, we will not only get worldly things but we will be ever blissful and content with thought of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Thus we have to always seek the ultimate reality of Lord whether we go to Mahatmas or get spiritual advice from friends – our goal should be the ultimate reality of Lord. Everything else should be of less importance and lesser priority than thought of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Such a seeker who always remembers the ultimate reality of Lord and is ever immersed in the thought of Lord alone will overcome the delusion of samsaara thereby realizing his very nature of non-dual reality of Lord.

We will see tomorrow as to what Saubhari does to rectify his mistakes thereby going on to realize the ultimate reality of Lord.

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