Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Wed Mar 18 09:06:31 CST 1998


I am grateful to Swami Vishvarupananda for his response. I am not
advocating that the human does not make any effort. If my post came
up that way, I did not mean that. May be, I did not put sufficient
introductory sentences to my post. I took my post as a continuing
discussion for the past one and half years or so on the List where
this topic has been repeatedly discussed. The archives would show
that I have repeatedly stated that the human has to work and I
referred many times to Isha upanishhad statement "... kurvann eva
iha karmANi..", that the jeeva has to do the work (effort) and do
the work. One cannot escape from that.

Swami Vishvarupananda and I differ in the interpretation of what is
called *human* effort. What the swamiji calls *human* effort, I call
that effort is put in (by the jeeva) only by divine grace. I am saying
that the human cannot and should not take credit for it. What is the
*human effort* due to ? I suggest that it is by bhagavadkr^pa.

On Tue, 17 Mar 1998, Swami Vishvarupananda wrote (in response to my post):

> >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
> effort.

The swamiji did not address the two rhetorical alternatives that I
suggested. Ishwara does not require *human* effort to supplement His
blessings. Nor, if Ishwara blesses otherwise, the so-called "human effort"
does not make a difference.

In the Swamiji's analogy, who suggests to the human to open the tab ?
I say it is only divine blessing. The viveka the human has is a result of
divine blessing and nothing else.

> >    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.

Swamiji says "... till the ego surrenders.". Exactly. But the
ego-surrenderance would not be there as long as the human thinks he/she is
making an effort to better him/herself. Shri RamaNa's analogy which I
quoted is a very apt one here. Why does a passenger on a train wish to
carry the load on the head rather than surrendering it for the train to
carry ?

> >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.

I am not attributing Shri Shankara says anything about human effort here.
I am interpreting "...aham bhAvodayAbhAvo..." to say that the human should
not have even the *thinking* of the egoistic I and that is the culmination
of knowledge. The human should not even be conscious that he/she is not
having the thinking of the egoistic I. That feeling should not even arise
in the mind and that is the culmination of knowledge. I submit that when
the human is thinking that he/she is putting an effort, the egoistic I is
very much present. I referred to Shri Shankara's Viveka ChuDAmaNi verse in
that context.

> [...]
> Shankaracharya has never said effort is not needed to subdue the ego.

I did not say anywhere in my post the above sentence. I would request the
Swamiji to show clearly where I made that particular statement in my post.
I think the Swamiji is mis-reading my post.

> >    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.

I repeat the statement above again. I think the Swamiji is mis-reading my
statement. I have never said effort is not needed nor suggested to use
that as an excuse for not making effort. I said the word "human effort"
does not have meaning and it is all bhagadkr^pa. I am saying "don't take
credit for the effort, as the devAs did in the allegory". I would ask the
Swamiji to show the specific statement in my post where what he attributed
to me was said.

> [...]
> 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.

I did not say anything about effortlessness., only on taking credit for
the effort. I suspect the Swamiji may have another objective in mind in
making the above statement, rather than to respond to what I posted.

> 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.

This is another topic altogether. We clearly have a "choice" here.
We can wallow in the vyavahArika, talking of human effort all the time,
rejoice at the "successes" of the so-called human effort


Make that extra step required to reach that paramArthika level. The extra
step is not hard to make. But, in order for us to be qualified to make
that extra step, the first condition is give up the concept of *human*

> Namaste and Om
> Om Om Om
> Swami Vishvarupananda

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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