Destiny and free will

We all fall in broadly two categories: the one who believe in free-will or the other who believe in destiny. Then of course, most of us switch gears between the two or mix and match as per the context (read convenience*). I happen to fall in the latter category -- with a pinch (read sea-full) of laziness thrown in, while also believing that the push of free-will over lives decides the drift of destiny. Modern day folks call such ones as careless, at times! But then again, why do the careless care? ;)

Against destiny, people argue why is there so much cruelty in the world? Why did God decide such a fate for the state of the world? ... etc. I'll try to express how an advaitin within me wants to react to such queries. Consider how the sun illumines the world. A thief is free to steal at night when there's no light or even in broad daylight! In either case, can we blame the sun as responsible for the theft? Thats what we do though!

* Good things happen due to me while the bad things are beyond my control.


Yoga has many a meaning in today's times. The modern world does yogAsana qualifying it as yoga. When mentioned without any prefix, its generally understood as Raja Yoga, the others being Bhakti-, Karma- and Jnana-yogas.

Yoga is basically distancing from bodily association and unity with the soul; distancing from the prakriti to reach the purusha.

The entire set of Patanjali's yogasutra has been condensed into three statements by Swami Venkatesanda. No one has ever put these shlokas into the right order for the easiest and straightforward understanding. Everything else in yogasutra is a what-to-do, somewhat how-to-do, but the following ones are descriptive of what-it-is and how-to, what-happens-by-it and finally the goal-to-reach (or the goal, as it stands always).

yogas chitta vritti nirodha
tadA drashTuswarUpe avasthAnam
drashTA drishImAtra

Most of us think of yoga as mind control from the first line, ending only as a witness from the second, but the third one puts everything in perspective. Thats where the entire episode of bashing of dualists by non-dualists is ended by SV, quoting the yogasutra declaration that "the seer no longer exists separately from the seen"!


Advaitins are also known as mAyAvAdis although advaita declares mAyA creations as mithyA. Someone mentioned that "for an advaitin the world is more real than it is to others". Although it sounds contradictory to the mithyA reasoning, it is not.

The advaitin's path necessarily involves intense study of mAyA in all its forms during waking, dream and deep sleep. An analysis into each and every aspect of life leads the student to ascertain the changing temporary nature of it, to discard it and climb a layer below that acts as a substratum to the superficially sensed objects. Moving on, one applies the same analysis to the layers one below the other in an orderly fashion till the end finds itself. So, its a mAyAvAdin's journey starting with an acceptance that jIva perceives the world as real to advaita moksha without the world vanishing, but only by its appearance of reality dissolving into the reality of brahman! That is, *realizing* the world as mithyA doesn't mean that the world disappears; mAyA still remains as a superimposition on brahman, with the realized merging into the brahman. Its like the realized watching the movie as the screen than from the earlier viewer's perspective; the movie still playing as before!


Thoughts 23

23. yatra sadhyataa tatra sadhanaa
Wherever there's a possibility, there's a path leading towards it (inspiration: where there's a will, there's a way)

Role reversal

I remember from ages back a statement that says something to the effect that "a saint remains awake when the world sleeps and vice versa". I used to take this literally in my childhood understanding that the sages somewhere in Himalayas must be sleeping in the day while remaining awake at night! It seemed absurd later on as I grew up, but I couldn't understand the real meaning until Ramana's grace fed me yesterday.

The Self is said to be the active substratum behind everything, while still remaining merely a passive witness to all that happens. So, a realized sage is awakened to the Self but remains asleep in the mayic world! The entire world sleeps through this world when the saint remains awake abiding in the Self. Similarly, the whole world remains awake in the Maya refusing to accept the illusive nature of what we find as the reality, while the saint sleeps blissfully behind it!



There's a reason why we are not to eat partly-eaten food. The qualities of the person who took the bite earlier influences the latter. Precisely why food is offered to the divine before partaking it, leaving us with prasada that builds divine qualities or satva (quality of sat).

satsangatve nissangatvam nissangatve nirmohatvam
nirmohatve nischaltatvam nischaltatve jivanmuktiih

... said our Adi Shankara. Why it is important to have the right company is said in just the right words in this shloka from Bhaja Govindam. I was thinking some time back how easy it is for one to fall in bad company, get influenced, lose perhaps an era, with or without regret later, and then possibly blame it on others in the end! Whoever it is responsible, we've lost that era!

There are still others who say that a person with will-power won't get spoilt in wrong company giving examples such as "lotus in the dirt", et al. However, that may well be true for a lotus; but being a lotus in itself is a tough thing. How that happens is being in constant company of the good; yes, thats satsanga. Its not about attending a spiritual discourse and walking out into the routine... it needs the follow-ons of thinking and contemplation in a repetitive -- nay, endless -- cycle till the subject feeling is firm.

One may agree with all that I blabbered above, but think that s/he's not in bad company. Then why bother at all? Fine, I say... but here's more blabbering for describing other types of companies, not necessarily bad.

They say that even a lie repeated a lot many times feels like truth. Consider schooling, for example, the physics we studied; it left us in a whole world of atoms and molecules. I'm not saying that it was a lie, but I feel that it has caused us to be somewhat narrow-minded in that it doesn't let us escape to take a non-scientific viewpoint, even for a moment. For everything within or without, we search for a scientific explanation, in vain, more often than not. Even so, the world we believe in, after being fed all sort of inputs through our senses since childhood, is just one-sided viewpoint... bad or good company, thats all!

Satsanga helps us *see from* the other side of the shore if not *see the* other side of shore, slowly at first, steadily next and firm at last. Else its just getting stuck in bad company, the non-sat, the unreal, the Maya, the anirvachaniya, the loop of lives and deaths!

Guidance to seek

He said I haven't sought the thought
In order to find the mind
So that I realize the prize
Of source being the force
Behind each and every reach
From screams of dreams
Through the raking waking
Into the deep sleep!

Spider's web

The spider spins a web for its prey only to withdraw it later. The sun, too, rises and lights up the world and sets to withdraw the light. Thus lit world during the day, vanishes in the night's darkness. We fall prey to such an illusive world, lit up by the sun of our life: the mind.

The mind rises in the waking hours, painting the sun's world for us to believe in and live by. With that come the bound relations, friends and enemies, qualities of good and bad, and an utter ridiculous feeling of doership in everything that happens or is merely witnessed! The mind's web is also produced in the dream state, albeit such a world being different, governed by weirder set of rules in comparison to our waking world. No one can deny the tightly coupled senses in and during the dreams, although they're freed minutes from waking up. While waking up, the mind slowly fades out the dream world or does so shockingly fast (depending on the quality of the dream and one's attachment towards such a dream world) and brings forth another world of this waking state. There's not even a guarantee that it gives of whether or not you're still in a dream! It may sound foolish unless you've dreamt within a dream; yes, its recursive.

In deep sleep the spider's web vanishes; its pralaya, no dream or waking worlds exist. The mind is sleeping, though not dead. The little rest that the mind catches then, gives it sufficient strength to pull one out of the deepest sleep into freshly created dream and wakeful states to be related to; the memory that still exists aching to be associated with. This is true in its entirety even in death, except that the memory fades into being reset or sometimes corrupted in bits and pieces, brought alive in later lives by the mind. So the *individualized* soul gets dragged across worlds and universes of mind's web, spreading across lives and lives.

Humara Bajaj

Yesterday, I was stunned by the amazing interview that Rahul Bajaj gave on BBC's HardTalk. Personally, I'd issues with Bajaj due to the noise and air polluting autos (auto rickshaws) that Bajaj makes, until few months back when I happened to talk to a couple of auto drivers who said that originally the autos do not make such noise. Its only after the drivers make some modifications to increase pick up that they make that high pitch sound. Also its the kerosene or God knows what that they put in the autos that cause such air pollution. Anyways, back to HardTalk...

Bajaj played an impressive defense on his downsizing employees in favour of technology and even attacked some elements for not-so-fair-policing in Europe taking Mittal's bid for Arcelor as an example. The energy in this proud Indian who to quote said "India is going places" was felt even in the interview. He also went on to criticize Indian politicians of corruption and claimed that his files moved slow in the govt due to his refusal to bribe since ever. But most of all, while speaking of India in comparison to China, Bajaj said that China is far ahead in infrastructure, but his confidence in India's democracy guarantees that India can only improve from here on, since the Indian infrastructure can't worsen than what it is, and so can't the corruption. Towards the end, Bajaj said "so if we are so good-- based on facts about India and rest of the world-- even in such a scenario, we will be in top three countries in twenty years! Thats one more person who thought of generations other than his alone and my hats off to him. (I'll be getting as many Bajaj products as possible now on to show my support).

On a related note, I've always been a fan of Bajaj ads.

Harsh unreality

Deep down in sorrow
And no place to go
A little happiness to borrow
And a long life to tow

(... unfinished business, to be continued)