Zilch life!

Endless fights
Sleepless nights
Lifelong blues
Heedless clues
Pointless probing
Wayward groping
Ticking clocks
Hitting blocks
Switching tracks
Trying hacks
Failing tests
Ailing rests
Risking death
Every breath!
Common strife
Zilch life!

Thoughts 72

At death's door,
Expecting more,
Is digging your grave
For another life!

Sudden recovery

They say that a Guru's wish can turn around things for a seeker. To a good extent, I feel the power of such things right now and that too with a very simple example. I partook some Badrinath prasada today and since then, I've felt a turmoil with things I've been thinking of in the past so many weeks. Suddenly, its clear now that grace does work in so many more ways than I can ever understand.

Although I keep feeling that all is lost, there's still hope left!


On a related note, how does the Lord's name work in different ways for different modes and different people? This was my topic of contemplation yesterday. If I think of something gross while doing nAmasmaraN or vice-versa, will it still aid or could it do damage? I'm contrary to the opinion on the latter, but it could give various helpful results. Depending on the depth of worldly thoughts, the level of purification varies. The same utterance of God's name with more focused attention could bring in fruitful worldly results. But the only spiritual progress would be when the utterance is heartfelt, without a worldly thought, without a spiritual demand... as in when its purely namesake, perhaps!

To hell with Mt. Everest

Those are the choicest words from my thoughts over some news that I caught up with yesterday. If you're not comfortable with curse words, please do not read ahead since I'm going to vent it out here... (you've been warned)

China has decided to rape the eco-system by making a road to the base camp of Mt. Everest! I've no better words to express my disgruntlement for such disrespect towards nature. As ridiculous as it sounds, they are doing it to present themselves in as many ways as possible for the upcoming 2008 Olympics there!!! Mt. Everest is not your regular bungee-jumping game or some Olympic fete. She's someone whom innumerous followers worship as a Goddess, nature lovers want to witness her sheer glory survive unto eternity, trekkers for whom she's a lifetime achievement, something so close to heart; she's someone who stands tall on the top of the world whispering to the heavens!

On one hand, we have US killing the environment with GHG while on the other, China planning something unthinkably absurd. I wonder what China plans to do post-Olympics 2008, perhaps a decade down, when Mt. Everest, a mother to many glaciers, starts receding? To hell with the world too, as its always been with China, but what are the Chinese going to drink for survival? Their own waste, I suppose!

The only sane suggestion I've heard as a movement against such inhuman step is that the Olympics board should put their foot down against Beijing 2008.

Against nature

If we stop for a moment before we *produce* something and think how we can safely *destroy* it, then that would be a wise thing to do. Looking back, have we ever done so? Look at plastic, for example; did anyone ever think that plastic cannot be destroyed and hardly put to good reuse? The toxic effect of plastic is less understood even now. We go on throwing them away, those plastic bottles and carry bags, 50 microns or whatever thick they are. Not only are they damaging natural beauty and adding to drastic health hazards by mixing with nature-provided resources, but are also eaten by animals, posing them a threat of life! This is but one example of how we have taken nature for granted, as if its an infinite resources' pumping machine! When we damage nature we are always in a hurry, but when it comes to cleaning things up, we take a back seat, start pointing the finger around (pun intended), and wash away our hands from the issue as a whole, opining that its beyond us!

There's obviously a bigger problem than visible in these seemingly simple mistakes of inventions and productions. Every such step forward should have a systematic study *beforehand* on the entire chain of its effect from produce to disposal, including handling, ill-effects, environmental effects, etc, that questions the justification of the produce itself! Only those who feel ownership for the nature, who think widely, globally, for current and future generations can take an unbiased decision, then, on whether or not does the new product outweigh the side-effects by as many times as to make the latter negligible.

As a simple test, all of us should take some time off, jot down a list of most useful utility products, think how they have damaged nature, how they pose a threat to us now and tomorrow, and bring up options to them that are safe, and thrive to replace them in totality. A better tomorrow, all said and done, lies with us, if we do agree that today's rotten enough!

In the end, I link ya to some things that we can start now on this simple reuse/ disposal mechanism, thanks to Gotya:


(I do have another pending blog to complete on global warm(n)ing, but I think the way postpone issues till we are neck-deep in them, so do I on blogs too!)

The sin

I read quite a perfect explanation of sin in an article on Vegetarianism in Hinduism by Sadaji. I`ll put it in my own words, expanding his definition, here.

Every individual is stuck between a dvandva bhaava, or duality. This applies to the conflict between the mind and intellect too. Humans being gifted with intelligence, are the only species that can discriminate the good from bad. That viveka vichara of the intellect is hijacked by the mind and replaced soon by some ill thought of the mind, fed by purva karma vaasana. So the mind crosses the intellect and the intellect falls prey to the mind. A strong intellect needs to be alert to fight it out at this juncture and not let the good to be replaced by evil. Else, knowingly a person ends up doing something that his intellect doesn`t permit him to do! Thats killing one`s conscience.

This conscience comes back alive after the evil act and wakes up the intellect questioning, asking for a justification! This is what amounts to sin: the mind`s want taking over the intellect`s wisdom. So the evil act leads to the person being punished by the sin! Note those important words from Sadaji. The hell is created due to the sin and is not an outside punishment or something like that. Had it been a strong intellect, there wouldn`t have been a sin to punish us in the first place. What needs doing is to wake up to this conscience that warns the intellect to not die or sleep off making things easy for the mind. The mind needs to be scrutinized every moment in waking, dream and sleep. This is by no means easy or effortless. One has to put lives in this activity to perfect one`s intellect to master the mind. That is sadhana, waking up to the conscience and living up to it. It needs satsanga and tough decisions with oneself and others. One who fails there, fails everywhere. Only then can one even think of walking the spiritual path... people who have taken to the path without being ready, have been routed back into the sinful system to return later!

The path is not for the weak, its a sword`s edge, full of sacrifices for one`s own selfish goal. The seeming contradiction there with sacrifices and selfishness is understood by the wise so: The intellect should be selfish while the mind needs to sacrifice itself unto its own death.

Another chapter of brahmacharya

Lets take a very routine example to understand brahmacharya: A beautiful, attractive, person of the opposite gender walks by me. Now, one of the following happens:

--I follow the person in thought, in a fantasyland and/ or deed.
--My eyes follow the person.
--I take a peek.
--I do not even take a peek.
--I remain unmoved, unaware of the person walking by!

That last unmoved, flawless state is brahmacharya. And this same example graduates from that *person* that walked by to the *world* that moves (mAyA)! The person who is absorbed in the Self is a true brahmachari, to whom the world has died, since He is all that is alive.

A stupid question

And then there are stupid questions such as: if all remained brahmacharis or took to sannyasa how will the world continue to exist? I wonder if people who ask these questions also ask whether if all sorts of works would remain if everyone moved on to become engineers or doctors? Don't people always want the very best of their interests to be satisfied? Doesn't everyone want the topmost in this world? But, do all of them get it? No! Do we stop trying then?

Similarly, ours is to try to achieve the best across lives, moving away from the animal nature through human, to the divine. The divine goal doesn't get fetched at once; its a tapasya of many lives, trying to crawl, before we can stand up, walk and finally run -- nay, fly! One must start now so that the long journey is not put onto another time. Only the very lucky few would get the blessings of all to continue flawlessly, only those would get godspeed.

To remain crawling and satisfying oneself of being close to the ground, avoids risking the fall, of course, but thats all that it does!

Questions 1

(I start another series today, the way I started Thoughts, just for the record of how my spiritual quest progressed in terms of questions faced by fellow advaitins or purvapakshins (opponents), that I tried to answer in various forums/ modes. Some of this has already been blogged earlier but I hope to be able to actively get into the mainstream now)

shrI vakratunDa mahAkAya koTisurya samaprabha
nirvighnaM kuru me deva shubha kAryeshu sarvadA

ajnAnatimirAndhasya jnAnAnjanashalAkayA
chakshurunmilitaM yena tasmai shrI gurave namaH

Q: What is that maya? If brahman is every thing and he is all pervading and truth and blissful then what is maya? How can maya, an illusion, originate in absolute truth brahman?

prb: You're answering your own Q, aren't you? There are many ways to understand this, some might seem suiting, or none! If the former, use those. If latter, no one can convince ya. In any case, no one but a brahma jnAni knows it. And you'd appreciate that even brahmajnAni-s have *not* described the (moot) question.

How avidyA originates, if at all, purely in a vyavhArik viewpoint, is itself within avidyA. So when you say brahmaN is everything, its not a vyavharik standpoint at all, else you wouldn't be asking this Q and I wouldn't be replying. That duality (or multiplicity) is very much a part of vyavharik.

You translate mAyA as illusion; lets go with that. With the above para, the illusion doesn't arise in the absolute brahmaN at all. Now don't mix up the statement that "where else does it arise if everything is brahmaN?" If you accept that such an illusion does exist, that something is within brahmaN, is brahmaN, but it *appears different to itself*. *Why* is not a good Q, since it meets no ends, its a purposeless curiosity, which is a good teaser at best. Compare it with an example of a concave or a convex lens used as a mirror changing our own look (of course, the lens and us are made of different material, scientifically, but I'm going with the panch-maha-bhutas... you could replace the lens with someone's eyes if that helps understand a "similar material" asserting sarvaM khalvidaM brahma). So, that mirror image is an illusion, not the true you. Can you see your own self without the mirror? No! How do you know then that you exist? You *feel* it. Suffice it then that brahmaN doesn't even *see* itself without the so-called mithyA mAyik jagat (as a reflective mirror, made of itself, but not in real), and it just *feels* itself by the *all-pervading consciousness*.


Thoughts 70

70: Not knowing food to be mere medicine to cure hunger causes more diseases. (Inspiration: P. Sankaranarayan)

adhyAropa apavAda: a short note

The oxymoron, advaitic dichotomy, is an issue that a lot of opponents bring to the argument-desk justifying duality! They term the teacher-student, teaching-taught, real-unreal, original-reflection, God-world, and you-me relation to exist due to the duality and call advaita bogus or ridiculous. The argument itself is ridiculous, to me. Every example that advaita takes up to explain its stand is seen dualistic. This is precisely where advaita is misunderstood. A smart opponent will call the earlier statement dualistic and run away under the cover of duality again. But advaita stands bold in the face of duality, by saying that the journey is dualistic to the end that is non-dual. That is, dvaita has its use in the path, but its not the end. Well, that has been voiced over and over by all, including me, so I'll return to the points I want to make.

Advaita is difficult to understand since someone who understands something else would mean duality and that blocks the merging step. Keeping that aside, one must take the examples intuitively. Just because a dumb person like me doesn't understand infinity, doesn't term the mathematical expression tending-to-infinity as junk. Lets take another example that we can relate to: I take a bath to cleanse myself. To clean it, I need to add soap, which is factually another impurity! Now, the question is why I add an impurity to remove another impurity? We all know that the latter would remove the former. So, I superimpose to remove the superimposition. That is adhyAropa apavAda. Removal of superimposed world needs a superimposed dvaita bhAva that removes both and advaita shines on its own then! No one says after the bath that I've soap over me and thats why I'm clean, but I washed myself with soap and therefore I'm clean. So too, one washes oneself off dvaita and advaita shines forth.