Bumper stickers

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Mon Jul 14 12:09:49 CDT 1997


I would like to give your question a public response.  But to preclude as
much misynderstanding as I can, can you please elaborate what you feel are
the essential tenents of shastra dharma?



> From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU>
> To: Multiple recipients of list ADVAITA-L <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Bumper stickers
> Date: Saturday, July 12, 1997 4:24 PM
> Jonathan Bricklin wrote:
> > >nothing could be more foolish. naishkarmya siddhi is attained only
> > >there is complete purity of mind, not by repeating "there is no
> > >free-will" ad-nauseam. Do you agree?
> > One of the few quotes from an Indian that I have seen frequently on
> > stickers is Gandhi's "It's not important what you do, but it's
> > that you do it."  I think about this quote a lot, and not only because
> [ ... ]
> I fail to see what this has to do with my question. My question is
> simple:
> 1. It is advisable to disregard the belief in freewill in order to
> attain advaita siddhi.
> 2. In this case the path of dharma, as dictated by shastra, should be
> followed and the results ("good" or "bad") must be accepted with
> equanimity. Otherwise it is easy to get into hedonism all the while
> under the delusion that there is no "volition".
> Do you agree that the path of dharma has to to be _strictly_ followed or
> not?
> > The desire to realize naiskarmya siddhi, being a desire, not only has
> > absolute, transcendental value, and there have probably been as many
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > for him to realize that.  Once he does realize that, the change happens
> > itself.  Will is not part of the equation. .
> While there may be some examples of people being hedonistic and changing
> later, that's of no consequence. All such people _had to change_ after
> they _realized_ the folly of their ways. That involves effort. In any
> case this has little, if no relevance to my question.
> Further, the desire to attain advaita siddhi has no permanent value. But
> it has the effect of "removing a thorn with a thorn and then discard
> both" (as Charles aptly put it). It is one of the foremost prerequisties
> for realization (see any advaita text).
> >  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
> > actually manifested it.  A divine bum, like Astavakra, does not believe
> > will, and manifests that belief by expressing a disinterest in any
> Ashtavakra was supposedly a realized soul beyond desires. My question
> does not concern such people.
> > The hedonists you mention sound like the ordinary kind, filled with the
> > separate sense of self that a belief in will engenders.  Do you
> > 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
> > Do you actually know anyone who repeats ad nauseum "there is no free
> Yes, I have (to both your questions). My question is very simple and
> direct. I'd appreciate a direct answer to that question please. A yes or
> no would suffice.
> Ramakrishnan.

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