Self-realization and Karma

Giri gmadras at ENGR.UCDAVIS.EDU
Fri Aug 23 18:09:25 CDT 1996

On Fri, 23 Aug 1996, Chelluri Nageswar Rao wrote:

> You know the outer examples set a standard for agnanis like me.   In
> bhagavadgita krishna said, in effect people set examples for others to
> follow.


        Not necessarily their outer actions. We have many 'avadhuta-s'
(crazy adepts as they are called by westerners) in history. Take Samvarta,
for example. Even Shankara refers to him in his brahma sutra bhashya.
        I don't think Krishna says anywhere that yogis should not marry,
should not eat meat, shouldn't smoke/drink alcohol etc. Maybe He knew
that Rama ate meat, was married etc :-) imho, a jnani sees no difference
between Him/Herself and an avathar.
        These practices may be hindrances on a path, but every hindrance
shall be overcome by the Grace of the Guru/God/Self.

> You sort of created another question in my mind.   How do we know
> that they are self realized jnanis.
> I know they dont care what we think of them but we do care.   One RM sanyasi
> told me you have to be one to know another.   Well that rules out all
> possibilities and iam back at square one.

        What we think of them is based on our expectations/ judgement etc.
Most of us have preconceived notions (based on samskaras, society, whatever
you want to call them) of what is right and wrong and use them to judge
others. The above statement itself a judgement by me.  Therefore, we
presume that one who smokes, is married, who eats fish/meat can not be
self-realized. It is my humble contention, we should look within ourselves
and correct our own faults (I am not saying you or anyone in this group
have any faults, I am just introspecting).
        I asked a saint once, 'How do I know you are self-realized ? Was
Buddha, Shankara, Ramanuja all self-realized ?' His simple answer
(wordings are slightly different) was 'You don't, but why do you worry
about me or others ? Do you know who you are ? Know thyself.'


Regarding karma and free-will, the following is taken from Shri Ramana's

--begin quote--

One summer afternoon I was sitting opposite Bhagavan in the old hall, with
a fan in my hand and said to him: "I can understand that the outstanding
events in a man's life, such as his country, nationality, family, career or
profession, marriage, death, etc., are all predestined by his karma, but
can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have
already been determined? Now, for instance, I put this fan that is in my
hand down on the floor here. Can it be that it was already decided that on
such and such a day, at such and a such an hour, I shall move the fan like
this and put it down here?"

Bhagavan replied,   "Certainly." He continued: "Whatever this body is to do
and whatever experiences it is to pass through was already decided when it
came into existence."

Thereupon I naturally exclaimed: "What becomes then of man's freedom and
responsibility for his actions?"

Bhagavan explained: "The only freedom man has is to strive for and acquire
the jnana which will enable him not to identify himself with the body. The
body will go through the actions rendered inevitable by prarabdha and a man
is free either to identify himself with the body and be attached to the
fruits of its actions, or to be detached from it and be a mere witness of
its activities."

This may not be acceptable to many learned people or philosophers. I recall
in this connection the following lines that Bhagavan once quoted to me from
Thayumanavar on another occasion: "This  is not to be taught to all. Even
if we tell them, it will only lead to endless discussion."

--end quote---

        In the spirit of the last sentence, I will refrain from posting
anymore on the topic of freewill.



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