Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Act or Surrender; Decide!

Hari Om
Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

Guru-ji, Swami Tejomayananda tells us about praarabdha and purushaartha and their effects upon our choices. This article appeared on Speaking Tree a couple of years ago.

Vasanas, or our tendencies, drive us to karma, action, which in turn leads to phala, results. These results are called our praarabdah - destiny. However, purushaartha - free will - is not a product of vasanas. It is a human right, a special quality exclusive to human beings. How we use free will may be influenced by our vasanas. So we can use our free will well or otherwise. At the end of the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, “Yathecchasi tatha kuru — Do as you think fit.”

If we feel we cannot be sure that we may use our free will well, surrender it to God, as Arjuna did. He said, “Karisye vachanam tava — I shall do as you say.” Since God has said, “Tesam aham samuddharta — I redeem those who surrender,” tell God, “Please guide my life.”

However, we must also keep in mind the fact that this kind of total surrender is the greatest use of our purushaartha, self-effort, and it is very difficult….

If we are convinced that destiny is more important, then we should accept that every success or failure that comes our way is because of our destiny. On the other hand, if we believe that self-effort alone is important, then too there is no problem, because we will accept responsibility for all our failures and successes. But if we believe that both are important, a problem arises because we will not be able to say with certainty how much of our success or failure is due to self-effort and how much of it is due to destiny. Probably we would then end up saying that everything that happened over which we had no control happened because of destiny and the rest was due to self-effort. However, the best thing is to know that in a given situation we are only required to act to the best of our ability and knowledge and leave the rest. If the result is preordained, then the question that comes up is, preordained by whom? If it is by us, then try to change it. If we cannot change the result, then try to change the state of mind.

When we know our true Self, then there is no question of self-effort or destiny because we would then have realised that the entity that does actions and reaps the results — the jiva — itself is illusory….

What we get in the present is our destiny. What we do with what we get is our self-effort. Each moment in life we find that we are faced with one situation or the other. We do not know how it comes, why or from where. We do not know exactly how much we have contributed to bring about this situation before us. The fact that there is a situation, leads to the conclusion that it must have one or more causes. The important thing is that we must know how to deal with it with a cool mind, in a way which uplifts us, and is beneficial to all concerned. Even though we have no control over the situation, we decide how to deal with it. We may do it in one way or the other or decide not to do anything at all. Sant Ekanatha had a supportive wife; so he thanked God for her. Sant Tukarama had a cantankerous wife who opposed him all the time. He too thanked God for a wife like that as it prevented him from getting attached to her. Each of them dealt with their destiny in a positive way. Some say that even our responses to situations are not self-effort, but destined. That belief too should not cause problems, because then we would have no complaints. We would accept things as they come, cheerfully.

Some say that there is no destiny or self-effort. It is all the will of God. Then also it is fine as we accept all situations as gifts of God. Some others feel — we create the situation and we respond to it; we are totally responsible. This attitude also can lead us to a positive response to situations as we would not blame anyone else, learn to be responsible and become careful in our responses. 

1 comment:

  1. We all have choices each day ~ and each 'belief' is similar yet unique ~ I honor all of them and respect each person's beliefs ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)


Hari OM
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