A Present Free Of Past

This is a translated part of Acharya Mahapragya’s book Ateet ko pado, bhavishye ko dekho

Who is free and who is bonded? We cannot say we are completely free. We can also not say we are completely bonded. Both are relative terms. We are both ,free and bonded.

Time, one’s nature, karma and destiny – these elements cause bondage while consciousness which is the basis of existence, makes us free.

A prani possesses consciousness. Where there is consciousness, there complete bondage  is impossible. The other point to be noted is that elements which cause bondage have limited power. People assume that karma is the most powerful. That everything happens because of it. This is a delusion which should be broken. If everything happened because of karma, liberation wouldn’t have been possible. Karma has a limitation to it. It bears fruit within that limit.

A person collects good and bad karma. They give fruits according to some limits or rules. These limitations are – dravya (i.e. matter) , chetra(ie place) , kaal(ie time) , and bhaav(ie emotion).Every action has a fruit or a result.It is assumed that darshanavarniye karma fructifies when one falls asleep. Now this karma is present in our entire lives but it needs mediums such as time and place to manifest or fructify. For example, during a specific kaal or time sleep is present (during night, for example) while during another time sleep disappears. The creatures of hell are unable to sleep. This is so because of the intense pain they go through. Does this mean darshanavarniye karma for them does not exist?-No, it does exist but the effect of place is such that it does not manifest.

Therefore every karma fructifies because of certain conditions. These are limitations to karma. Karma does not do everything. When a person is awake, even the impression of the karma just performed is erased. A karma goes through so much change, this needs to be understood. The darshan of karma given by Lord Mahaveer has not been understood fully. If this was not the case, so many false notions around karma would not have existed. Such false notions have caused people to suffer diseases, difficulties and poverty. A poor man thinks since it is written in fate, I shall have to live like this. People excuse their situations through their false notions and suffer misery.

Karma and fate have become big excuses. When one’s point of view, beliefs and concepts are false then nobody can overcome the resultant problems.

Karma does everything – this is a very false notion.

Time, one’s nature, destiny, purakrit (done by us) and purusharth – these are five elements. If we give prime importance to anyone of these, problems will arise. Time is an element of nature. Every matter has a unique behavior which gives it its nature .Destiny or law of nature applies to everyone in this world. Whatever a man does knowingly or unknowingly , through speech or thought, in a subtle or gross way- everything is written. Every doing is written and has a counteraction as well. Just as a sound wave has an echo. An image has a reflection. Actions of every person have results. Karma is performed by  the person himself and the result comes in the form of a krit or deed. Since it comes as a counter action it is called purakrit.It means what was done before. The fifth element is purusharth. Karma and purusharth are not different.The first moment of someone’s purusharth or self-effort is called purusharth and when this moment passes, it is called karma. Basically karma is the purusharth done in the past and self-effort done this moment is purusharth.

These are five elements. Neither of these is most powerful. Each of these have limitations. On this basis we can say that we are free as well as bonded. The second question is- Who is responsible? Time, one’s nature, destiny and karma – all of these affect us but neither of these can be held responsible for our lives. A person’s self effort or purusharth is responsible. A person cannot be free of his responsibility towards his conduct and behavior. This excuse cannot be made- ‘since it was karma/yog this happened.’ We need to accept our responsibility. We need to tell ourselves that all responsibility of conduct and behavior rests upon us.

Different people from different walks of life consider different elements as responsible. Psychologists, physicians and the philosophers of karma, according to their subject consider different elements as causal. But all answers are relative. The biochemicals in our body affect us and so does our environment and situation. All these affect us but none of them alone can be said  to be a responsible entity.

This is because time does not possess consciousness. Neither does matter. Neither karma.  Neither destiny. Neither our naditantra. Neither our surroundings. Neither our situation in life.The whole system is unconscious. Then who can be help responsible?The unconscious cannot be held responsible.It does not have the ability to know responsibility.The question of responsibility is conjoined with consciousness.Where there is knowledge, there the question of responsibility comes up.The ability to undertake responsibilities is where there is knowingness of consciousness.Our self effort is the rays from the consciousness with which the ability to know and fulfill our responsibility is also attached.

Our self effort in the present or purusharth is responsible.We cannot deny this.We should not hesitate to take responsibility for our conduct in life.Unless we don’t feel responsible we will not be able to refine our  behaviour and conduct.It will stay brutish and unrefined. It  will never be able to become free from the boundary of selfishness.

Ordinary man only knows that he is bound by karma or past.Mahaveer said-“One has to experience the fruits of karma performed by him.”This is an ordinary law.It has a remedy law as well. He also said –“Karma can be changed.It can be broken.If one’s  purusharth is active and awake then we can change karma in whatever way we want .”For example, if someone creates a bond for a demeritful action, but later if he does meritful self-effort (purusharth) ,the fruit for his previous demerit can change into a meritful fruit. A story can illustrate this fact clearly.

There were two brothers. Both went to an astrologer and asked about their future. The astrologer told the elder brother that he will be hung on the gallow while told the younger brother that he will get a kingdom to rule. After this incident the elder brother started living with awareness. He changed his behavior. Improved his conduct. He saw death in front of him. Everybody changes on seeing death. The younger brother thought – Oh, Since I’m going be a king shortly, what is there to worry?He filled himself with ego.One by one he developed several vices.The intoxicant of authority indeed makes many mad.

A few days passed.The elder brother was walking somewhere.His feet got injured by a pin while the younger brother found a bag of gold coins.

The brothers went to the astrologer after four months.Both said-“your foretellings never saw daylight.”The astrologer was a knowledgeable figure.He explained to the elder brother that his meritorious conduct caused the foretold gallow to be replaced with pin.He explained to the younger brother that his unmeritorius  conduct replaced the foretold kingdom to be replaced with a bag of coins.

This illustrates that collected merit is transformed into demerit by bad purusharth while collected demerit can be changed to merit by good purusharth.

We find a corroborating stance in the Sthanang sutra-

चउविहे कमे पण्णते तं जहा –

सुभ नाम मेगे सुभ विवागे,

सुभे नाम मेगे असुभ विवागे,

असुभे नाम मेगे सुभ विवागे,

असुभे नाम मेगे असुभ विवागे |

A meritful karma is bonded and its fruit is merit,

A meritful karma is bonded but its fruit is demerit,

A demeritful karma is bonded but its fruit is merit,

A demeritful karma is bonded and its fruit is demerit

The second and third lines give the principle of transformation.When one’s purusharth is as such that demerit turns into merit and vice-a-versa.

Once upon a time, a man asked Sukrat to show his birth chart.Sukrat replied- “The birth chart was prepared when I was born and now I have wronged it.What will you see now?”

Through self-effort or purusharth  one can change their birth chart and fate too. From this viewpoint only a person is responsible for her/himself. Mahaveer weighed on the principle of self-effort but did not establish a one-sided view. He accepted the influence of all the elements.

Self effort has its own importance. No one can excuse themselves in the name of destiny or niyati. We need to experience the truth. Let  our purusharth go in the right direction and let its propensity to go in the wrong direction break.

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Hold On The Present

The following post is a translated part of Acharya Mahapragya’s book  Atit ko pado, bhavishaya ko dekho

Is it possible to become free of the past?What is the upaaya or way towards it?The one who does not know the way cannot solve the problem.Apaya means obstruction or vighn.Man wants to leave the obstruction but without knowing the upaaya or remedy one cannot overcome it.For every obstruction, there is a definite remedy.That acharya who knows the remedies  is a successful acharya.A student comes to the guru with questions such as “anger, egoism and lust trouble me.I want a way out of them.”If the acharya says he does not know the way out of them, he is not a real acharya.The one who knows the remedies can give a solution and change the unhealthy mind of a student  into a healthy mind.

A person should be skilled in remedies.A remedy-skilled person is one who can skillfully use a remedy.Knowing remedies is not enough.Therefore that darshan or branch of philosophy is useful which has practical applications.The one which can be lived and applied in the present.What is the use of the darshan which comes in use after death?

To disable an obstruction three things are necessary- a search for a remedy ; knowing the remedy fully and using the remedy skillfully.

A remedy to free oneself from the clutches of past is a hold on to the present.The more we are able to hold the present, the more we will be free from the effects of the past.Just like the shadow of our bodies moves along with us so does the shadow of our past.We can see the shadow of our physical bodies but we are unable to see the shadow of our past.Despite our inability to see it, it moves along with us.The only way to become free from it is to hold on to the present.

Only an awake person  can live in the present.You study your life.Just after waking, whatever thought comes in your mind, note it down and then whatever you thought and did in the entire day, note it.Looking at these notes, you will realize how much past, present and future was lived by you.After analyzing you will see you lived in the present hardly for an hour in an entire day!Whatever a man does, he surrounds himself with memories of the past.The list of memories is so huge that the present moment is hurt by their weight.A person even loses  awareness of his duties.He says he forgot.But if we look closely we’ll find he does not really forget.It is just that he loses his awareness because of some memory.If a man can learn to hold control over his memories and imaginations, he can live in the present.One who can learn the art of living in the present, can be spared from many problems.

A devotee visited a saint.He said- “Only you can save me.I have gone everywhere.I’ve come to you for refuge.I’m extremely helpless.Help me!”The saint’s heart melted.He said-“There is a stone in the bag hanging in front .Bring it here.”The devotee brought it forward and took the stone out and asked  what will I do with it.The saint said- “ This is not a stone.It is a crystal which can turn iron into gold.”The devotee asked how.The saint took out a tong out of the same bag; touched it with the crystal and the iron tong became a gold tong.The devotee reacted- “This is deceit.The crystal and iron tong were in the same bag.Why did the tong not become gold then?” The saint replied-“You din’t understand.Till now the crystal was covered by a cloth.When this cover was unveiled, iron turned into gold.”

Our joy is also covered by two veils.One that of past memories and the other of dreams or hallucinations for  the future.When these two veils uncover themselves, joy is experienced.I do not say memories and dreams are always unnecessary.They also serve a purpose.Without memory life does not move while without a dream life does not develop.To run life in the societal realm, both are needed.But the problem is today people dwell in unnecessary memories and hallucinations.The hold onto the past and future loosens when the hold on the present strengthens.

Memories and dreams which bring you to the present moment are the ones which simplify life while others do the contrary.

The meaning of holding onto the present is to experience pure consciousness.For this we need discrimination or viveka which is born out of introspection.We need to discriminate between pure consciousness and karma.We need to separate these two.We know karma is associated with likes and dislikes (or raag and dwesha) while pure consciousness is devoid of these.Experiencing pure consciousness more and more  frees one from emotional distress and the resultant diseases.

 

Read The Past & See The Future-Karma

This post is a translated part of Acharya Mahapragya’s book Ateet Ko Pado, Bhavishya Ko Dekho

 The purpose of meditation is to go from the gross to the subtle.The findings of  truths and rules working at the subtle level  increases our knowledge which can change a man’s behavior and character.Knowing the rules is very necessary.The ones who have tried to know them have taken support from the subtle, weather for the rules of science or spirituality.The principles of karma are very subtle.One cannot understand them through a gross intellect.Today’s law of genetic make up has  made it easy to understand the law of karma.Genes are carriers of  generational traits.For every unique trait there is a unique gene.Karma carries particles.The basis of differences between people is karma.For every unique trait of a life, a unique karma is responsible.A gene is a component of our gross bodies while karma is a component of our subtle bodies.

For meditation purpose we discuss the subtle.Meditation is a search for the subtle.A person with a gross intellect gets stuck on to the gross.A child gets stuck onto the gross.Another meaning of child is one whose knowledge is not developed.

Karma is a rule.Through karma, one can study the past and understand the future.By looking at the bhaav or emotion of the creature one can know what kind of karma will be created and by looking at the actions one can take hold of the emotion behind the action.In this way by the study of the stages of karma in the present one can understand in what way the person will behave in the future.This is an important method to know the past and understand the future.These days, the knowledge of karmvad is less and delusions are more, therefore spoiling its image.

Today every incident is associated with karma despite its limitation.Two friends were standing at the seashore, watching the tides.Some time passed.They saw a ship.One friend said- friend, in my mind a question has come- a small pin drowns in the ocean but a big ship floats.What is the reason?The other friend said-you do not even know this!The pin on account of its bad karma sinks while a ship on account of its good karma floats.

We do not understand karma and therefore attribute every event in our lives to it.We should know the limits of karma.Consciousness  has two qualities- one that of craving and aversion and the other is of purity.Where there is craving and aversion (ie raga and dwesha) the association of karma can be found.Where there is pure consciousness, there is no karma.

The purpose of meditation is to experience the present moment.The experience of that is free of cravings and aversions (ie likes and dislikes).At that moment no karma is created- a witness consciousness is present.This witnessing is only possible through separation from karma.

Whenever a human is in craving or aversion mode, at that moment the mind’s association with the craving or aversion feeling creates chaitisik karma – he collects some particles. These karma paricles  display their result in due time ,according to the associated raga or dwesha. Through this principle we can understand some incidents.

Muni  Skandhak was a great tapasvi.Due to some reason his skin was ripped off.In that utter pain, he remained equanimous.

This incident was studied.A question arose- how did this happen?One found that Skandhak as a child in a previous lifetime was peeling a fruit called kaachar.He peeled it with such skill that the skin got peeled off easily.He started appreciating his skill.He got very attached to his display of skill.The attachment got intense.This attracted complex particles.These karma particles fruitified as the incident of his skin being removed.

The mind is in three states- intense; medium or mild.(ie the craving and aversion is in these three states)A person for the purpose of running life, performs actions in mildness – ie he is neither  attached to his action nor repulsed by his actions.A person does something and appreciates it sometimes – medium state.A person does something and is intensely attached to it and appreciates it a lot – intense state.

There is no difference in the act.The act is one but along with it different levels of emotions or  vruttis are associated.Based on this different karma particles are collected.

Skandhak peeled off the kaachar and later on his skin was removed.But in this world so many people peel fruits but who all have been ripped?The question is not of the incident but is of the violence.It is not necessary the one who kills will be killed.It is said that if you stole someone’s house in a previous lifetime, that is why somebody stole from your house.This may be a reason and may not be a reason.

In his context  a secret of life comes to being.When and how should a person perform a karma.The meaning of karma is pravrutti .The answer is to fulfil a necessity.Many people say that everyone should do something or the other all the time.I do not agree with this.An action should serve a purpose.Today work of many kinds has come into being.Watching television, playing cards are also counted as work.Work should be attached to a necessity.

The second question is how should actions be performed?The secret of spirituality is to perform actions without craving or aversion.

Skandhak peeled a fruit and hence his skin was peeled off.This is not the truth.People pick up the gross happening.The truth is found in depths.How Skandhak peeled the fruit is the key question.A how indicates the degree of craving or aversion.Only on this basis a karma is created.How we eat-how we talk-how we walk-this is the important question.Whatever you do, do that only.While walking, just walk.Let the body walk, let the mind walk.This is called gamanyog.Similarly  every activity should be accompanied with bhaavkriya.The mind is steady in this way of doing.

Through meditation one learns two things very clearly- when to do something and why to do it.The third question is- how to do it?When one is able to understand this facet, then it can be concluded that meditation is yielding its fruits.

We have an important sutra- through meditation, our consciousness, mind, speech must become subtle and we must be able to learn the rules of the subtle truth.On the basis of these rules, we can read our past and know our future.A person who has started reading his mind, he has started to read his chaitisik karma– his cravings and aversions.Past and future- when these scenes are created , one can analyze the incidents of the present.In this state one is able to take responsibility for every incident.One stops blaming others.An earthen lamp(ie diya) was burning.Wind blew.The lamp’s light dwindled into darkness.The oil had also finished.But the wind would be made responsible, if seen from an outsider’s perspective.It is like blaming the medium.One whose consciousness is awakened through meditation looks for the true cause of an incident rather than the medium through which it happened.This is the sign of our spiritual progress.

Naye Jeevan ka Nirmaan (2/2)

This post is a translated part of the Acharya Mahapragya’s book naye jeevan ka nirmaan

In our world, the law of life is that something is created and something is destroyed.In nature, a lot of matter is created and destroyed.So is true for the human world.So many people come and go.It is a continous flow.Life is a flow too.The flow of life is  continous.The possibility of something/ someone remaining the same is zero.Another name of change is new development or creation.

The first sutra to a new life is to know oneself.To know anything one needs to know the laws governing it.To know the laws of the world, one needs to keep their eyes open and to know yourself, one needs to close their eyes.

Once upon a time a house was being built.The bricks were being laid. Naturally, a lot of noise was being made.After this work, the painting work started. No noise was made.The owner of the house shouted “nobody want to work here.”The workmen responded-we are doing our work.To this the owner said-“earlier I could hear noises now I don’t.How do I believe you’re working?”

The rule of laying bricks is different while the rule of painting is different.

In the realm of knowing oneself, there is no need of noise.It involves withdrawing from one’s general propensities for once. Withdraw  your efforts to see through the eyes, to taste, to touch, to hear through the ears-if you hear something, let that be but do not make efforts from your side to listen.Effortlessness of senses , body and mind is the key here.

One needs to have a discipline over the mind, speech and body.Relaxing the breath is also necessary.If the breath is fast one will fail to experience this state.

Result of Knowing Thyself

Breath has a relation with emotional state.If the emotions become turbulent, breath becomes of shorter duration.When the turbulence decreases, the duration of breath increases.Therefore, one must use breath to bring one’s mind at peace.Through breath we can step towards meditation, which gives a chance to know our true selves.

In a meditative state our mind is relaxed yet alert.In this state, one experiences silence and joy independent of matter and one experiences one’s true basis.In this state if bad thoughts come then one can infer there is some garbage inside and if some sadness is experienced one can infer that one has collected grief.If some happiness is experienced then that shows itself.One can know the fruits (which show themselves as thoughts and feelings) of one’s actions and thoughts.This is knowing oneself.Whatever one does, that is collected inside of him and its fruit comes as an experience.In this field of awareness we can understand what line of thoughts and actions has brought us  non-peace and therefore can decide for ourselves to not go in that direction.

Equanimous View Towards Money and Desires

After identifying one’s true self, one develops an equanimous view towards money and desires.Within us, we have lots of desires.Within every human and creature, there are various vruttis. When a wave of desire arises, a man cannot do anything.When he becomes a slave to them, life gets disturbed.Within us there  is an ocean of desires.

The second element is money.One needs money in life.In society we see two situations- Lack of money and effect of money.There is a huge section of society which faces poverty and there is another section which faces an over-effect of money.As a result showing off, excessive luxury and eroticism occur.Even today a lot of diseases are of  the mind and not of the body.This is due to effect of money. The problem is there is an excess of  this effect on everyone’s mind .There  is so much of it that a rich person has absolutely become used to convenience.

When there is an effect of money on mind, a person forgets the distinction between  harmful and beneficial ; right and wrong. For example, consuming excessively cold and hot food  diminishes our ability to face nature – our body becomes weak but today’s dining trend has created a demand for after dinner cold ice creams.We have created the demand for 24/7 air conditioning despite its debilitating effect.It is important to understand that when we accustom our body to the natural environment of contrasting features such as hotness and coldness,  then our immunity and resistance power increases.

A man went to a garden.Strong winds blew.Small plants were shaking.He asked the gardner-Wh don’t you to tie these plants with a rope or else they will fall.The gardner said- Sir, Tying them will make their roots weak.They will fall off easily when they grow up.

This is the law of  life- facing difficulties and going through all elements of nature- be it cold or heat.Going through these, one becomes absolutely strong.But today’s man does not want to face any difficulties.He thinks one should enjoy as much as possible.Who know what will happen tomorrow.

If money influences one’s mind, then life cannot be built on a new basis.That is why one should have a right view towards money and desires.

A Delusional Concept

It seems as if money is influencing religiosity/spirituality.People with money want to perform religiosity through money- earn a lot and do a little donation and in turn reserve a seat in heaven.

Acharya Bhikshu deeply studied this problem.He said- religiosity or spirituality cannot be performed through money.The one who thinks- spend some money, religion will be performed.It is as wrong as thinking eating mud can quench your thirst.There is no relation.Spirituality is only purifying one’s thoughts and feelings-inner purity.The rich think if we earn through wrong means then we also build houses hospitals and dharmshalas.This is a wrong perception.The values of austerities and letting go (tyag) have been replaced with donation-merit and demerit.This is a delusional concept.

What is the right view of dharm/spirituality?Acharya Bhikshu gave a small definition- letting go is dharm and enjoying is adharm.Religion based communities have confused the essence of religion(dharm).This is a straight definition- the more you can let go-the more you can be independent of matter-that much is dharm.Total independence is not possible neither conducive.The meaning of dharm is- limiting money and desires.It  implies deciding not to use money more than a certain limit ; not earning money through wrong means ; not using money to show off.The second element is limiting desires.Many desires arise.Deciding not to act on desires more than a certain limit is dharm.

There was a small boy.A mother sat near him.The kid was crying.The mother gave him 5 rupees.The boy stopped crying.After 5 minutes, the mother asked him to return.He closed his fists.If a small child does not know how to let go, I wonder how difficult it would be for adults.

The Meaning of Liberation

Fourth purusharth is moksha or liberation.What liberation?The one that one gets after dying?We assume that man goes to heaven or hell or gets liberated only after dying.Dharm also happens while one is alive and so does liberation.If one is not liberated in the present, one will not be liberated after death.A person who does not live a hellish life in the present, will not end up in hell after dying.A person who does not live a life of liberation will not be liberated after death.

This liberation is the most important sutra to one’s development.Experiencing alone- ness is liberation or moksha.I’m alone-my soul is alone-this is a truth.I have come alone and will go alone.I have to experience happiness and sadness alone.Family is not mine in reality.Knowing nothing is yours in actuality.In this way experiencing the separateness of matter and yourself-this is liberation.

There is bondage with matter because  without matter social aspect of life does not work.It is necessary to have relation with matter-everything is necessary.Living in midst of society, family and knowing one’s truth-of  that being alone-experiencing it- that is liberation.

Changing one’s mindset

A man becomes so bonded with matter that he is always is search of it.Let your mindset be like this-the matter that came your way, you enjoyed it and then it went away.If it stayed, it stayed and if it left you-then let it go.This kind of thought process is of liberation.

The three sutras of  building life are-Knowing yourself; Right view towards desires and money; Right view towards liberation.If these are followed. A new life can be built.