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Hand in hand for eternity

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dad's Diary 8 - The Vedanta – As I Understand It

Man-robot relationship is virtually a mirror image of Nature-man kinship. A robot is programmed by man to undertake certain specific chores just as a man is equipped with a congenital agenda to undertake certain functions. This agenda, the Karma of the scriptures, makes appropriate adjustment to suit the situations and circumstances at birth, but is infallible.

A man thinks that he thinks. Actually he does not. Thoughts are planted in his mind by Nature with three forces as its instruments known as Sattvas, Rajas, and Tamas, respectively meaning illumination, action and inertia. These three forces (Gunas) are always present in Nature. By an inter-play among themselves, they combine in varying proportions, decisively influencing the man's ego and thereby his thought and action. Man's mind gropes for a line of thought on this or that matter, and grabs the one closest to his attitudinal nature, never really thinking it out for himself.

Swami Vivekananda
 (Picture from
 http://members.fortunecity.com)
Swami Vivekananda who espoused and popularized the Vedanta and Yoga in the USA and Europe in the1890s once put it succinctly when he remarked, “Every thought is extracted out of you.” Sri Aurobindo mentioned (The Synthesis of Yoga), “All conduct and action are part of the movement of a Power, a force infinite and divine in its origin---(leading towards)--- the fulfillment of the divine intention in the world and of the larger universal Self of which each being is a portion – a portion that has come down with it from the Transcendence.”

The mixing of proportions of Gunas is responsible for the result of an action – good, bad or ugly – depending on the preponderance of one or the other Gunas. There is nothing in the world which is not a combination of all three Gunas, their superior or interior manifestation depending on their proportions. The preponderance of any of the sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic Guna will make any work either illumined, or egoistically acted, or afflicted by inertia.

Sri Aurobindo
(Picture from
http://www.searchforlight.org)
We feel responsible for our own thought and action, and we want others to accept the  responsibility for theirs, because of our attaching undue importance to the illusion of our names and forms, triggered by our ego and desire. Remove the names and forms, get rid of ego and desire, what is left? It is variously called the Soul/the Self/ the Spirit. And that makes all of us in this world mates, soul-mates.

There is still a persisting problem. Why am I held accountable for the very thoughts and actions that were imposed on me by a Primal Force which is seemingly beyond my grasp? That is the point that the Vedanta philosophy deals explicitly in its depth and totality. A seeker is required to undertake the most perilous journey ever – search out the Purusha or the Soul in his/her heart through meditation and yoga.

The Vedanta also adds that 'just thought and right action' is possible to perceive and execute once the Soul takes over the administration of the being from a level of higher consciousness. The puny 'egoistic I' gets the beating it deserves and consents to follow the soul in its evolutionary process. After all it's not the evolution of Tapas Mukherjee as a name assigned to the form of a human body, but that of the Soul that embodies it.

Action-less Purusha is the cognitive principle and Prakriti or Nature, revered as the universal Mother Shakti, his dynamic aspect. These two aspects together emerge through evolution as the ultimate One reality, Brahman, the Trinity that is Sachchidananda – the Absolute Knowledge, the Absolute Existence, and the Absolute Bliss. And the seeker realizes the ultimate Vedantic truth – 'He am I.'

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE


52 comments:

  1. Truly enough Kirti, I don't posses that much of knowledge to comment on this post,forgive.

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  2. Mitr I am so glad that I am not to be blamed for my thoughts because they are put in my head by nature, at least that is what I inferred from Uncle's article. "Man's mind gropes for a line of thought on this or that matter, and grabs the one closest to his attitudinal nature, never really thinking it out for himself."
    And I love the idea of all of us being soulmates.
    "just thought and right action' is possible to perceive and execute once the Soul takes over the administration of the being from a level of higher consciousness.", but when it doesn't do that we are left with wrong actions and bad thoughts.
    A thought provoking post by your Dad, enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks for the Vedic teachings. I am enlightened:)

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  4. WOW this is something to think about. I know sometimes my concience lies worried for my thoughts which for whatever reason are not provoked... some are good some are bad...why this is I am not sure. I feel sometimes that what is around me and the dispare of others just makes me so sad. For us all to be soulmates is interesting as there are times when I feel like I have just met someone for the first time but knew them for a very long time...

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  5. Your dad postings are always interesting to read. This was even more so. Do you mind if I ask what his vocation is/was? He seems like a very educated man ."search out the Purusha or the Soul in his/her heart through meditation and yoga" For the first time I think I understand what meditation is. Very interesting. You must be very proud of him and he of you.

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  6. This is really very interesting. It's always fascinating to look into the mind that grew up in another culture. I hope that made sense.

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  7. @ Nirupam that you came means a lot to me anyway... thank you! @Mitr Dad will get right back to you with that @ NCL thanks for coming by friend @ Angel Eyes i feel like that often too - its kinda eerie and fantastic at the same time @Jim - Dad was a journalist all his life and is now retired. He spends his time reading and researching spiritual and other stuff - can go on and on about anything from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism.... Then again he is not at all a religious person - just interested in the soul and its journey - willing to pick up lessons from wherever he can get them.

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  8. Sounds like a very interesting man. Would love to share a glass of wine or beer with him.

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  9. @Anna - thanks - know what you mean completely... @Jim when you are in India next - he loves his rum : ). Explore India - be our guest and lets have some fantastic conversations... What say you?

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  10. @ Uncle - And only once we - Sukanya / Kriti / tapas realise this - the duality disappears. Theory might be yet decipherable. Putting it into practice is quite something else.

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  11. @ Sulekha – You have got it right. “---but when it doesn't do that we are left with wrong actions and bad thoughts” is a veritable problem. The external Nature provides thoughts which are commensurate to the requirements of the Karma. Meditation/Yoga is the only means to hasten the process of realization of the Soul, and set your Karma right. The Vedanta says that all are moving towards that goal in any case whether you like it or not, but Nature's process is gradual. The Soul is infallible once it reaches the higher state of consciousness.According to Swami Vivekananda 'you can plan your next life just as you plan the next day or the next week.'

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  12. @ Sukanya - Once you start practicing, it gradually becomes easier and easier. Once the soul is realized that difficult task becomes the easiest one. With meditation, the seeker finds his own nature undergoing a sea change.

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  13. There you have it guys... It is so intriguing the subject - I have such a long way to go ...

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  14. a subject that i realise i know absolutely nothing about .. i'll have to get my head around it somehow .. thanks for directing me here to find out .. :)

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  15. @ JOhn never too late to start : ) Glad you tried nonetheless... Thanks a ton for coming by : )

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  16. it sound like tapas and i are sole-mates or of the same mind. tomorrow is Sunday for me. and i like to write of god from a Christan point of view. however i has look in other Theosophy and have a little understanding of most. i like Tapas post, and i will give a some what aw western view of his post not a rebuttal but in accord with tapas's post. like it very much. thank you for the post.

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  17. Look forward to it very much ROy - I know Dad definitely will look forward to it : ) Thanks a ton for coming by...

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  18. Kriti and Tapas, this clear explanation really got me thinking. As I told Kriti it is beautifully put and easy to understand for us beginners.
    But what about evil thoughts and actions - who's responsible for those? And does karma of past lives have something to do with how we think and act in this life?

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  19. @ Roy - Waiting eagerly to read your Sunday post. Thank you

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  20. @ Lavina - That is the most striking part of the Vedanta philosophy. It believes in everything being manifestations of God including evil thoughts and actions. The Vedantin does not hate even the evil ones, but prescribes sympathy and love to help them tide over.
    Yes, Karma is like a debit-credit bank account that runs life after life.

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  21. How about meeting half way (kind of) I'll be in Italy next May !!!!

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  22. Ever since my father explained this to me I've been thinking very hard about it. It's the perfect explanation of everything....I've been trying so hard to meditate to reach somewhere in the process of evolution, maybe if I keep trying I'll reach a higher realm in this lifetime. Fantastic post!

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  23. kriti cannot give any expert comment as clueless about the subject but he certainly gave a fantastic view for people like about the subject. Like i keep saying he should start his own now

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  24. @ Jim - Thank you for your interest. It's great for an old man like me to feel wanted. The problem is that I am not physically fit; and travelling happens to be very very difficult indeed. I returned from the USA last month, and am now in Delhi, India. Should our lanes meet, it will be this rum-man's pleasure to split a beer with you.

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  25. To me finding the balance of my inner and outer world is my path, The journey of the self is interesting and an eye opener. Yoga and it's philosophy is quite advanced and abstract to the simple mind. However it can be used to find that beautiful balance within without having to seek liberation.

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  26. @ - YogaSavy - So true. If I may add, the goal of yoga is not always liberation. Sri Aurobindo's 'Integral Yoga' charts a way to reach liberation, and then come back to this world as a more perfect instrument to carry on the divine works.

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  27. Wow! Your Dad writes such an intriguing post. I will have to study this a while which will be a good thing. Very interesting views!

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  28. Thanks a ton for dropping by Mari... Let me know if you need any questions answered in this regard - Dad will be more than happy to help...

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  29. I don't understand this completely, but it sparked an interest. Either way just stopping by to show a fellow blogger some luv :)

    Deb~

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  30. Thanks Debbie - you're the best : )

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  31. Very interesting post. Thought provoking! Thank you for sharing this with us. I look forward to reading more.

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  32. Thank-you for visiting my humble little internet abode. So now I'm here to return the favor! I enjoyed reading your post. Much more substantial than mine!!! Not as funny!!! I joke I joke!

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  33. There's a lot to take in but it's an interesting concept that we are guided by nature in our thinking and our actions. I do love this bit though:

    "The puny 'egoistic I' gets the beating it deserves and consents to follow the soul in its evolutionary process. " I'm not sure if I get the concept but I to me it's saying be true to yourself without losing yourself.

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  34. Thank you, I really enjoyed this and my mind is reeling trying to process everything. The idea that my thoughts and actions are guided by anything other than myself is one that I have to reflect on.

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  35. @ all take a coin, heads or tails, same coin yin and yang, same coin good and eval. same coin love thy enemy as thy self. hey any body got some change. that is more then two cents. keep the change. god bless oh, Tapas make mine whiskey if we get near the beer.

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  36. @Diane - so glad you liked it! @Robb - that's what blogs are all about I guess - myriad of subjects and emotions : ) @Rita - yes I could not get over it either... @Roy - Dad is gonna get right back to you with a reply on that one LOL

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  37. Wow! My brain just went DING! DING! DING! The light just came on. Now I must learn and research this topic to go with what I have been studying. Your dad is the bomb! (Please tell him this is a good thing - lol). This I love which he wrote in a response: "The Vedantin does not hate even the evil ones, but prescribes sympathy and love to help them tide over." - Thanks SO MUCH - Sherry

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  38. @ Roy - Whiskey it will be for both of us.

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  39. Sherry - Bomb says 'thank you'! SO glad you came by and gave the post some time and your love....

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  40. Hi Kriti! It's almost 1 a.m and this is such and interesting read yet not the kind to read so late...I will come back and roam more pleasurely on your blog, love the writing style!
    thanks for stopping on www.goodhealthdiva.blogspot.com

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  41. Wow feel i will have to re read this wonderful post several time before even started to get the understanding in my little head;)

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  42. Kriti..would like to speak to Uncle..thank u for sharing this with us.

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  43. N'na - come back anytime and ask any amount of questions you may want to ask : ) @Charles - Philosophy was never an easy pill to swallow : ) @Alpana - anytime... he would be thrilled to speak to you...

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  44. Really interesting philosophy. Worth looking into more.

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  45. @Thanks for coming by Sweepy - really look forward to hearing from you : )

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  46. aaah Goddess... on one of my Favorite subjects!!! Uncle ji has really explained so much in a nutshell... Loved the essence of his message.
    To see the pictures of Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda while reading about the inner Gunas.. automatically readjusts the right proportions within me. Would really beg him to write more on this subject... and on karma and destiny and... everything else!!!

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  47. @Liaochiling - thanks for coming by and the beautiful compliment...
    @Sheba - another one coming up soon - promise to mail you that one just in case you miss it. Thanks for your wonderful comment...

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  48. Hey Kriti I am so out of touch with facebook that its only today I came across this post of uncle's. Very enlightening. Every action has a reaction and if we move towards right action, we ensure a better next life accumulating good karmas. At least that is what I understood from this post.

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  49. Uncle - I just read this post today and thank you for articulating the Trigunamayi Maya theory so succinctly. I often get pulled into discussions of purusharth or Karma and it becomes difficult to explain that complete surrender does not mean inaction and that every thought and therefore every action is from the Divine. It is only when things get out of our hands/control, do we turn it over to God and say that this is God's will. The surrender of Ego comes only at that point and rarely before that.And yes, the ultimate Truth is that we will go through endless cycles of birth and death till we realize the ultimate Truth of Brahma and - I am That. Aham Bhahma Asti. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

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  50. @ Neeru - It's good to meet a fellow seeker along the way. Don't mind others' resistance, you can explain it successfully to only those who have become entitled to receive the knowledge. Complete surrender does not lead to inaction, not at all, but to more desired action in the right direction.And thank you very much for commenting.

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  51. Thank you for this post, insights from Vedanta.
    Sri Aurobindo reclaimed the Vedanta, Gita, Vedas from the stranglehold of the mayavada advaita traditions [not rejecting but putting them in context]. I am also very indebted to my late father who helped me appreciate this living heritage, it is a blessing to have a father like yours!

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