Charles A. Hillig
chillig at JETLINK.NET
Fri Jul 11 18:47:06 CDT 1997
>One of the few quotes from an Indian that I have seen frequently on bumper
>stickers is Gandhi's "It's not important what you do, but it's important
>that you do it." I think about this quote a lot, and not only because I'm
>stuck in traffic reading it, but because while its meaning seems obvious
>enough, I always feel I fall short of grasping its full import. I believe
>it is a profound truth, I'm just not sure I fully get it.
Perhaps it means that we should just fully throw ourselves into our
roles and to read our lines (no matter what they might be) with gusto, wild
abandonment and total consciousness.
The Self loves Itself as much as a Villain (or as a coward) as it does
as a Hero.
>I'm thinking of
>it now again, though, in response to Ramakrishnan's earnest appeal. I'm
>imagining Krishna, after he has driven Arjuna through the thick of battle,
>dropping him off and appearing as a rickshaw driver to someone fleeing the
>battle, someone who always flees battles, not because he is a pacifist, but
>because he is a coward. In fact, his cowardice is so renowned he is dubbed
>the village coward. Everyone makes fun of him, even though he serves a not
>unuseful purpose of making them not only look brave, but actually be brave,
>since it is the ridicule heaped on him that they fear for themselves more
>than an enemy's arrow. Now let us imagine this coward is, like Arjuna,
>having second thoughts. Why must he always flee? Why must he always be
>ridiculed? Would not Krishna tell him exactly the same thing he told
>Arjuna, except instead of the bit about his duty as a warrior, he would
>substitute his duty as a coward? And couldn't he be driving both vehicles
>with Gandhi's quote on the bumper sticker?
Yes! Exactly! It really doesn't matter the role. What's important
in both case is only their degree of attachment to (or, perhaps, their
interpretation OF) the results of their actions.
>The desire to realize naiskarmya siddhi, being a desire, not only has no
>absolute, transcendental value, and there have probably been as many people
>who have reached some sort of enlightenment by landing at the bottom of
>hedonistic induced despair, than by striving to climb toward spiritual
>purity. And those who don't come through the bottom to the top are not
>turned around by an act of will (whatever that is) but by seeing clearly
>what their condition is. An alcoholic tells many lies to himself, but
>telling him he has free will to turn his life around would just be adding
>to the pile. The one truth that can change his life is that he is an
>alcoholic, and often it takes a crisis, like running his car into a tree,
>for him to realize that. Once he does realize that, the change happens by
>itself. Will is not part of the equation. .
I agree. Psychologically speaking, if we are ever to "become" what we
could be, we have to first be willing to be what we already are. In
short, having the courage to openly say how we truly are, magically changes
"how we truly are."
What keeps us stuck is our unwillingess to fully acknowledge "what's
so" for us. Or, to put it another way, whatever we don't fully own.....owns
> I often hear the objection you have raised against belief in the
>non-reality of free will, but I have never once met or read of anyone who
>actually manifested it. A divine bum, like Astavakra, does not believe in
>will, and manifests that belief by expressing a disinterest in any goal.
>The hedonists you mention sound like the ordinary kind, filled with the
>separate sense of self that a belief in will engenders. Do you actually
>know, or have you ever heard of anyone acting *badly* and using a belief in
>the non-reality of free will to justify it? This is an earnest question.
>Do you actually know anyone who repeats ad nauseum "there is no free will"?
> I, myself, don't keep saying it, I just keep posting it. :) I am thinking
>of starting, though. It might be a little bit like Dorothy's "There's no
>place like home." And perhaps to the same effect.
Yes, there's no place like OM
You cannot freely choose (or NOT choose, for that matter) to post
"there is no free will." In fact, I can't even choose to keep writing what
I do in response.
The Self, seemingly, "acts" and "we," seemingly, "do the doing."
And the dance goes on....and on.
A very human acknowledgement:
Jonathan, I am deeply grateful for the contributions that you
and others (Allan, Martin, Mark, Cameron, Anand, Prashant, Prasad,
Vidyasankar, Venkat, Srinivas and Gummulvru, etc.) have been making to
these recent discussions about karma, free will, unreal actions, etc.
I greatly appreciate that all of you are "willing" to take the time
to openly share your thoughts and experiences about these matters. In
your own way, you have all "enlightened" my life, and I thank you most
I suppose that, in a sense, we all ARE the very path that we are walking.
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