Swami Vishvarupananda omkar at GIASDL01.VSNL.NET.IN
Tue Mar 17 01:33:10 CST 1998

Harih Om,

>My views on "human effort" are quite known to list-members. I have
>argued many times that what is called human effort does not have
>meaning. It is only in the human thinking that the human is making
>an effort. I would like to make four more points to substantiate
>my view.
>1. Is the human effort to supplement Ishwara's blessing
>   or
>   Is the human effort in spite of Ishwara's blessing in order to
>   correct any missed emphasis by Ishwara ?

Water is always there in the tab and it is always flowing. But you receive
it only when you open the tab. The same is the case with grace. It is every
present and always available, but to receive it you have to remove the
artificial obstructions that your mind is creating. And that requires

>   "He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is the most excellent
>    devotee. Giving one's self up to God means remaining constantly in the
>    Self without giving room for the rise of any thoughts other than that
>    of the Self.

Which requires a lot of effort as long as the mind has not been purified.

>    Whatever burdens are thrown on God, He bears them. Since
>    the supreme power of God makes all things move, why should we, without
>    submitting ourselves to it, constantly worry ourselves with thoughts
>    as to what should be done and how, and what should not be done and
>    how not ?

Surrender is the most powerful and beautiful sadhana. Once we surrender
*totally* all effort ceases. Yet, to grow ready to surrender totally, we
have to make a lot of effort in ceaselessly inquiring into the Self, till
the ego surrenders, i.e. the imagination of a separate individual collapses.

>3.  Shri Shankara says in Viveka ChuDAmaNi (verse 424) "... aham
>    bhAvodayAbhAvo, bodhasya paramAvadhih....": The end of the rise
>    of the sense of "I" of the ego is the culmination of knowledge.
>    My interpretation of this is that the human has to give up the
>    thinking that he/she is putting an effort (to better oneself).

Don't you think this is a bid farfetched? Shankaracharya does not even talk
on effor here. He merely says, when the ego stops rising, i.e. when it
falls, silent for ever, when it dies, that is the culmination of knowledge.
Shankaracharya has never said effort is not needed to subdue the ego. On the
contrary, Viveka Chudamani is full of the effort we have to make in ataining
Viveka, vairagya, shama, dama, etc. Why would he talk about things like dama
(self control), why would he talk of sadhana at all, if he saw effort as
Yes, sure the ego we identify with is not the doer. Sure we have to overcome
the thought that it is we who are making an effort. But that does not mean
the effort does not have to be made. Instead of giving up effort we must
inquire into who it is who is making the effort.

>    I interpret this section of kena upanishhad (I hope I am not wrong)
>    to mean that devAs give themselves too much credit in this victory.
>    The credit for victory rightly belongs to Brahman. In the same way.
>    here, the human, in spite of obvious limitations, thinks too much
>    of his/her strength and glory while the victory (over the evil forces)
>    rightly belongs to Brahman.

Yes. All credit goes to Brahman. But if we take this as an excuse for not
making an effort in our sadhana, there won't be any progress.

One makes an effort to keep the body nourished, clean and healthy. One has
the wife make the effort of cooking food. You do not say, "Since it is not I
who is eating, there is not need for me to eat, everything is automatic. If
it happens that I am nourished, the food will go inside by itself."
When you were studying, you made an effort to learn and earn good marks.
Again in
your profession you make an effort to please your boss by taking great
effort in your work, because you have to earn a living. It won't fall into
your lap.
Even here the doer is not the ego, because the ego can never be the doer,
but the effort has to be made, and dissociation from the ego does not happen
by abandoning the effort, but by abandoning the false identification.
>From where does the idea arise that in everything we do have to make an
effort, while liberation will just drop on our head from somewhere some day?
Yes, the highest state is total effortlessness. Just to reach it effort is
needed. A man has climbed up a ladder to the roof top and now he is told to
discard the ladder. He need not cling to it. He will stay up there
effortlessly. But that does not mean that the man who is standing down on
the ground too should discard the ladder, because remaining on the roof is
effortless. First let us climb up and reach the roof. Then we will talk
about effortlessness.
Talking and acting from paramarthika level while we are caught in
vyavaharika is a little like walking through the streets of Chicago carrying
and orienting oneself at a map of New York.

Those who talk on effortlessness are mostly connected with the line of
Nisargadatta. Yet he himself mentions:
"... the very facts of repetition, of struggling on and on and of endurance
and perseverance, in spite of boredom and despair and complete lack of
conviction are really crucial. ... There must be a push from within and a
pull form without."
"Spiritual practice is will asserted and re-asserted."

Sounds pretty much like effort and exercise of will. Doesn't it? These
quotes are from "I Am That". and "Spiritual practice is will asserted and
re-asserted" is the very caption of the chapter from which I have taken

There is however an effort we need to give up now. And that is the effort by
which we cling and identify with the mind, ego and body. The effort with
which mind adheres to its objects of desire. We do not even feel much of the
effort exerted in identifying with the wrong 'i'. We are so used to this
ageold excertion. But this is the effort we really need to let go. Yet,
ironically, since we are so used to it, it needs great effort to let go of
that effort :-)

Namaste and Om
Om Om Om
Swami Vishvarupananda

omkara at geocities.com

>From  Tue Mar 17 07:54:12 1998
Message-Id: <TUE.17.MAR.1998.075412.0500.>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 07:54:12 -0500
Reply-To: chandran at tidalwave.net
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: mAyA is not the power of Brahman
Comments: To: Advaita List <Advaita-L at tamu.edu>
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Gummuluru Murthy <gmurthy at morgan.ucs.mun.ca> writes:

> .. Brahman does not have any powers. Brahman is powerless. We,
> in our ignorance, ascribe power to Brahman and make Brahman
> Ishwara. Just like we mistakenly superpose gross-subtle body
> combination on Brahman and call ourselves jeevAs, we superpose
> the power of mAyA on Brahman and call it Ishwara, the creator.
> When knowledge dawns on us, the superposition gets shattered
> and we see ourselves as Brahman. ........

Greetings Murthigaru:

Vedanta is simple without explanations and when we try to explain, it
gets complicated! We are too eager to introduce more notions to explain
the phenomena of "no notions." Jeeva and Ishwara are notions to
understand and realize Brahman.  Now we try to introduce the notion,
What is Power?
What is Happiness?
What is Bliss?
What is Sweet?
What is Good?
What is Life?
What is Creation?
What is Maya?
What is Jeeva?
What is Ishwara?
What is Brahman?
Etc., Etc., Etc.,

When we try to explain the above notions, we get into the endless loop
of more notions.  There is no intellectual explanation for Brahman and
that is why Vedanta calls Brahman in absolute term as "Nirguna
Brahman."  When we try to understand Brahman relative to Jeeva, Brahman
is "Saguna Brahman.  Any further explanation will complicate our
understanding because our understanding is limited to our intellect.
This is the reason that the sages and seers of Upanishads have rightly
concluded that we should go beyond the perception from body, mind and

Does this explanation imply that we shouldn't have notions?  Any notion
is an integral part of life experience.  Some notions undergo dynamic
changes, some remain longer and some others disappear after a period of
time.  For example, when we were children, we attributed happiness to
possession of toys, games, etc. As children, we thought winning a game
is important for gaining power.  However during our growth from
childhood to adulthood, we were able to negate those notions but
unfortunately became victims of other notions.

Shri Anand Hudli in his posting has beautifully explained the phenomena
of realization of Brahman, "The Shruti expects a seeker  to proceed in
steps or stages to Brahman. At each step, the previous  stage is
sublated."  I fully endorse his statement - "That is why the Shruti
adopts the unique technique of  "neti neti" in teaching us about
Brahman." In addition, the primary reason for the acquirement of
knowledge is to negate the false notions.   Truth is the residue left
after the negation of all lies.  Purity is the residue after removing
the dirt.  Dharma is the residue after removing all Adharmas.  In order
to attain Permanent Happiness, we have negated all temporary happiness.
Anything that we explain is temporary and they are negated with the gain
of knowledge.

Finally, all my explanations above are also subject to "neti neti" Sloga
of Shruti!

Ram Chandran
9374 Peter Roy Ct.
Burke, VA 22015
Ph: 703-912-5790

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