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Advaita for the 21st Century

Vedanta - Part 45


VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem
D. Venugopal


D. Venugopal is a student of Swami Paramarthananda and a direct disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda. He has successfully completed the long-term residential course in Vedanta and Sanskrit conducted from May 2002 to July 2005 at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti.

 

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III - The benefits of understanding Éçvara

Understanding of Éçvara brings about a radical change in our life. We were earlier away from the awareness and presence of Éçvara only because we were unclearly seized of the facts and were ignorant of their implications. The first fact is that Éçvara is the cause of everything. Since the effects are the material manifestation of Éçvara, the cause, everything that is here is Éçvara himself. We can never be away from him at any time. The second fact is that everything is intelligently put together in one mahä-order through all-knowledge, which is Éçvara. The implication is that we always function in the well-ordered whole and since the order is infallible, nothing can go wrong at any time. When everything is right, everything stands validated. In personal terms, the implication of the validation is that we gain the ability to accept our situation without condemning ourselves or others and neutralize our reactions to disagreeable circumstances. Since the means to deal with them are also given within the order, we can also handle them dispassionately.

 

On assimilation of these facts and the implications of the validation of the existing reality, we discover the presence of the infallible order in our awareness. We recognize that we are an integral part of the order and cease to feel alienated from anyone or anything. Our sense of being a separate and helpless entity in this vast world, which has been the cause for our insecurity and fear ends. Our search that started in our childhood for the support of the infallible to protect and take care of us stands fulfilled. We discover the composure within ourselves to live confidently and without fear. We handle our situation dispassionately and intelligently and live with little stress and great mental comfort. Actually, we are now just one crucial step away from total freedom.

 

IV - The principles of karma-yoga flow naturally from the order

 

The principles of karma-yoga flow naturally from the vision of the order of manifestation as Éçvara. Karma is that which is to be done in a given situation. What is to be done in a given circumstance is nothing but Éçvara in the form of dharma and that exactly determines one’s duty or svadharma. Discretion in action lies is doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place. On the other hand, if we go against dharma by doing what is not to be done, we are alienated from the whole. We become an orphan. When our action follows the dharma, we are in harmony with everything and we find satisfaction, even when our action is not to our liking. By following dharma, we lead an alert life using our discriminating ability and we become a yogé. Since we choose our karmas recognising dharma as Éçvara, our actions become a form of worship of Éçvara. This recognition is not an ordinary thing but is vision.

 

While action in harmony with dharma becomes an offering to Éçvara (Éçvara-arpita), the proper attitude to the result of the action makes the result Éçvara-prasäda. We do seek the outcome through our action since we do it only as the means to a desired end. However, our attitude towards the result is now different. We accept it willingly, regardless of what it is. We do so not because of the pragmatic approach of taking our life as it comes. We accept the result as dhärma-based, which brings Éçvara into the whole picture. We recognize Éçvara as the giver of the results of action or as the karma-phala-dätä. Once the action is done, the results of the action, coming as they do from the laws that are not separate from Éçvara, come from Éçvara. It is in accordance with the order. It means that every result of action whether it is equal, less, more or opposite with reference to our expectations comes from him. The awareness that it comes from Éçvara is the cognitive change and it converts the result into a prasäda. The attitude of prasäda is the vedic attitude. If this attitude is there, more than our expectation is prasäda, equal is prasäda, less is prasäda and opposite is also prasäda. We are not swept away by the outcome of our action. This is not one time but for lifetime since life is full of these four types of results. Therefore, equal we can accept; more we can accept; less we can accept; opposite we can accept. The sameness of the mind with respect to the responses, in the wake of desirable and undesirable situations is yogaù. [290]Thus, we become a yogé even while being involved in karma.[291]

 

Day after day, the present effort and the past karma combine themselves to shape different types of situations for us. All situations and experiences are all shaped by our own actions, as per the law of karma, which is Éçvaras order. Therefore, as they come, we receive them cheerfully with an attitude of prasäda. Owing to this attitude, we are aware of the presence of Éçvara in our life. And, being in harmony with Éçvara, we are at peace.[292]

290. Samatvaà yoga ucyate. (Bhagavadgéta, 2.48.)
291.See Swami Dayananda, Need for Cognitive Change, pp. 37-40 and Isvara in One’s Life, pp. 70-75 and Bhagavadgétä Home Study Course-1, p. 314 and p. 295.
292. Swami Dayananda, Isvara in One’s Life, p. 76.

To be continued...

 

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