[Advaita-l] Re: Transformation

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 26 12:07:46 CDT 2004

--- Girish Ramadurgam <rsgirish at aol.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> We did digress on my questions on transformation, behaviour and
> process.

Before trying to answer your question, it is fundamental to understand
the difference between karma (action) and GYAna (wisdom) in the context
of advaita VedAnta. I hope someone in this list can take the time to
write up an answer in detail, but in a nutshell, here is something that
should help: "The Self never acts."

I've been trying to find a website that explains completely the
*practical* path of advaita VedAnta, but am unable to find one. 

> Let me ask a question which is objective -
> Say there is a Human Being(HB) who earns a decent living and in fact
> a 
> bit more than he/she needs which goes into his/her savings. They see 
> another humanbeing(say beggar) on the pavement who  is dishevelled
> and 
> is hungry.
> --> Should HB help him/her and to what extent.

The very fact that HB is earning money implies that (s)he believes the
Self to be something that acts. Since the Self never acts according to
advaita, the person is ignorant of the nature of the Self. In this
context, the person ought to live morally. Knowledge of morality
(dharma) is obtained only from scripture. The karma kANDa portion of
the Vedas as well as the various smR^itis on dharma ought to be
followed by the HB. Since the various smR^itis say that people in
distress ought to be given aid, the HB should give money to the beggar.

> Continuing  the question - The excess instead of savings should it go
> to 
> help the society?

If the dharma shAstras say that excess savings should be given to the
society, it should be done so.

> I read in a book about Krishna(might not be the same words),
> 'Anything 
> in excess is luxury and is not good'. Also read in the same book,
> where 
> it mentions 'We should store food which should suffice us for 3 days
> and 
> anything more should be distributed'.

It would be a good idea to provide exact quotes and references.

Ideally, a Brahmin ought to study and abide by the word of the Vedas,
the Kshatriyas ought to take care of matters of the state, and the
vaishyas ought to be attached to their trade.

> Now I do have savings and i do have food which will last me for 2
> weeks. 
> Can I ever be a Janani is if live life like this OR should we give up
> everything?

The path of GYAna is for sannyAsins. A sannyAsin is one who has (at
least to a certain extent) attained moral development of the qualities
such as vairAgya (dispassion), etc. that are referred to as sAdhana

The very fact that you have an occupation in a society, and are talking
about helping others, implies that you simply should abide by dharma,
and aim to attain the prerequisites for enquiry into the Self.

> ------> Q2 ) If no one works then the world comes to a stop. So if I 
> quit working and go to help society, would i be selfish? As I would
> be 
> relying on the fact that the rest of the population will work and the
> world goes on....

I don't think any dharma shAstra advises "going to help the society at
the cost of losing all possessions". Please provide references.

> ------> As for not able to understand Animals as we are incompetent
> to 
> gauge their knowledge. By saying this are we putting ourselves on the
> same plane as animals. I would say there are millions in world, whom
> we 
> can comprehend so can we classify them in a different plane?

The above question is not clear.

> I am not extremely good at writing, at places I might not be clear.
> Best Wishes,
> Girish


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