Agony of the soul (?) etc

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Sun Jan 5 15:24:27 CST 1997

The Advaita List is very quiet for the past few weeks. May be, the members
are following the dictum of the last thread "Silence is best" too
literally. I am sure, all of us interpret Shri Ramana's teaching "Silence
is best" as the silence of the mind that is to be strived for. Anyway,
both to re-start discussions in this group, and also to clarify some
points for myself, I like to put forward the following questions for
members' views.

1. Agony of the soul (?)

During my readings of some commentaries, I came across statements that
attribute the feeling of the suffering and the agony to the soul. I give
some references below.

(a) "Brahmasutras" by Shri Vireswarananda [Advaita Ashrama publication],
while discussing Shri Shankara's Bhasshya, says that the soul feels the
agony (chapter 2)

(b) The Religion correspondent of newspaper The Hindu from Madras, India
(considered the National Newspaper of India) in his/her reports on talks
given in Madras, India by various religious/philosophic leaders.

(c) Shri Sadananda of this List in discussing maaya says in part "....
How did sat chit ananda get deluded into jeeva notion and undergoing
suffering - This is one of the famous question. ....." [Advaita Digests

Now, my question is "Is it the soul that feels the agony or suffering or
joy or happiness ?  I think it is the ego that feels the suffering or
happiness and not the soul. The soul is a witness to the feelings and
does not participate in these emotions.

2. Seeking happiness and sadness

In some books [Shri Ramanaashram letters, Nisargadatta Maharaj's I AM
THAT, Shri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi of Kanchi Peetham] it is stated
that we seek happiness and avoid everything that is sad. My question is:
Why should we seek anything ? What is happiness and sadness anyway ?
Do not seek anything. Then one can take things in stride as that
pre-ordained to us.

3. Concept of re-birth and carry-over of karma

My understanding of Advaita concepts is that there is no creation and
hence the concept of re-birth does not even arise. The concept of karma
is not there at the highest level of understanding of Advaita.

Then, how are the fruits of action (good or bad) carried forward in the
Advaitic thinking ?

4. Shri Nageswara Rao, one of the List members, wants me to put the
following question to the Group, as presently his computer is

We all know the ithihaasic story of Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers at
Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu's abode. Once, they were cursed by the sages
Sanaka and Sananda to live their lives on the Earth. Lord Vishnu took
pity on the gatekeepers and gave them a choice "Do you want to be my
enemies and come back to Vaikuntha after three lives or do you want to
be my devotees and come back to Vaikuntha after ten lives ?" Of course,
they chose to be enemies for three lives and returned back to Vaikuntha.

Now, Shri Nageswara rao's question is "Why does it take shorter time to
reach God by being an enemy than by being a devotee ? Is there any inner
meaning in this ? "

I would be most grateful for clarifications on any or all the points.

Gummuluru Murthy
Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
                                GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
 end is as good as non-existent even in the present.

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