Author Topic: vAsanA-s part 2  (Read 1284 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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vAsanA-s part 2
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:26:20 PM »
vAsanA-s part 2

If we examine our lives, we go from one environment to the other to fulfill our likes and dislikes. We are driven by our vAsanA-s to seek environments that are conducive to fulfill our vAsanA-s. In the process of fulfillment, we only reinforce those vAsanA-s. Thus we get caught up in this whirlpool of vAsanA-s - desires - agitations - actions - vAsanA-s - more desires, etc. Every ego-centric action that we perform will leave its characteristic vAsanA-s in the mind. There are vAsanA-s that cannot be exhausted in this life and they are stored into our total account. The total account of vAsanA-s that each person has is called saMchita karma. Of the total account, we can only bring into this life those that can be exhausted or those that are ready to germinate. The ones we bring with us are called prArabdha karma and one can loosely translate it as our destiny.

We always seek an environment that is conducive for the fulfillment of our vAsanA-s. Thus, we seek birth in a particular place and to particular parents so that we may exhaust the set of vAsanA-s that are ready to germinate. In the course of living and being a ‘will-full’ person, we act. In the process of acting, we accumulate a new set of vAsanA-s that can, in turn, either be exhausted in this life or put back into our total account. The new set of vAsanA-s that are being deposited into our account are called AgAmin karma. Thus we have a total account (saMchita karma) and, from this, we have brought only those elements that can be exhausted and can be regarded as destiny (prArabdha karma), and the new ones, that are being freshly accumulated and deposited into our account, are called AgAmin karma.

The vAsanA-s are also called the ‘causal body’, since they are the cause in determining what type of body, what type of parents and what type of environment or world that I need around me in order exhaust my vAsanA-s. In this model, every cause and effect is perfectly accounted for. No one gets anything to which he is not entitled. If there is a God up in the sky, he can only be God if he gives each one what he or she deserves. Or, to put it bluntly, everyone gets what he deserves, whether one wins millions in a lottery or looses them when the stock market crashes.

My vAsanA-s determine the sort of world that is needed to exhaust those vAsanA-s. The world that you need is determined by your set of vAsanA-s; her world is determined by her vAsanA-s. Hence, the total world is determined by the total vAsanA-s of all beings in this universe. Now whom should we blame for the type of the world that is created? If we do not like the world we are in, we must blame ourselves, since it is the world that is required to exhaust each of our vAsanA-s, including the vAsanA-s of a mosquito that is trying to get its share of the food that it needs for its survival. If I change my vAsanA-s; if you change yours and she changes hers and everybody changes their vAsanA-s then we create a new world that is more conducive to our new set of vAsanA-s. If there is a God up in the sky, He is bound to bless the type of environment that incorporates all the demands of all the vAsanA-s of all beings in this universe. The total vAsanA-s become the cause for creation for the total world.

Now we can define God or Ishvara. Total consciousness or Brahman takes the role of Ishvara and creates the total universe based on the total vAsanA-s of all beings in this universe. It is like Starbucks’ coffee shops springing forth all over the country, in order to satisfy the coffee vAsanA-s of all coffee lovers in the country. If nobody wants to drink coffee, all the coffee shops will close in no time. Just as the individual has vAsanA-s, so the family has collective vAsanA-s that bring them together to exhaust their mutual vAsanA-s. The same principle applies to groups and to nations at large. Hence Vedanta says, if you want to change the world, begin that change first in yourself.

Now we are ready to define what a soul or jIva is. When I die, I take with me my subtle body (consisting of all the nineteen entities that we discussed), along with my causal body which is nothing but my vAsanA-s, and gravitate towards a field that is conducive to experience my next powerful vAsanA that is ready to fructify. To look at this total scenario correctly, we need to look at the problem from both the totality or macro-cosmic viewpoint (or total vAsanA-s viewpoint), and from the individual or micro-cosmic viewpoint.

To address this issue correctly, we can examine the subject from three reference points. Firstly, from the absolute standpoint, 'I am' stands for the absolute, immutable pure consciousness-existence that I am. This is what Vedanta calls ‘Brahman’ - infiniteness or limitlessness is my nature. 'I am = Brahman' is absolutely infinite; it is one without a second, advitIya. We cannot say anything more since words, which are limited, and mind, which is also limited, cannot describe that which is unlimited. The only descriptions that are possible are ones such as indescribable, infinite, imperceptible, etc; i.e. all negative descriptions to negate what it is not.

Even these descriptions are only from the point of view of finite, mutable and perceptible things. Brahman is beyond all words and there is nothing beyond this. It is the very substratum of the entire universe, since it is an ever existent, conscious and infinite entity. From that reference point, there is nothing other than it. Since it can only be one, there is nothing else to differentiate it from. This can be stated as follows:

Brahman is free from three fundamental possible differences - called in Sanskrit - vijAti, sajAti, svagata bheda-s.

jAti means family or class of the same type. We can say chairs are one family or jAti, which is different from the jAti of tables. The differences between different jAti-s are called vijAti differences. The differences within the family are called sajAti differences. For example, within the family of chairs, there will be differences between one chair and another. Finally, within the chair itself there could be internal differences called svagata bheda-s. For example, arms are different, legs are different, etc. These internal differences, svagata bheda, are possible, since a chair is an assemblage of parts. Brahman is a homogeneous mass of pure consciousness, which has no parts for it to be parted. Vedanta says ‘I am that Brahman’ and that is the absolute truth. Since Brahman is infinite or limitless, Vedanta calls its intrinsic nature satyam, j~nAnam and anantam, brahma - It is of the nature of pure existence-knowledge and is limitless. Realization of that as my intrinsic nature is called self-realization, God realization, mokSha, nirvANa, liberation or freedom from all differences and discriminations - it is the very goal of human life itself. It is a fearless state since fear comes from something ‘other’. Vedanta defines this absolute reference point as pAramArthika satyam, supreme reality.
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