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15 January, 2016

How to accept the Choiceless?

       In our culture, the life of an individual is to be governed by the teaching of the Vedas.  Vedas are otherwise known as sruti.  Therefore, an individual's life should be in keeping with the sruti, just as a musician's performance is in keeping with the sruti.

       If sruti is behind and the musician is aware of the sruti, the music will be enjoyable.  Not only he himself enjoys, in the process, he gives enjoyment to others also.  

       If the sruti support is not there and the music becomes apasruti, not only if it is problem for him, it is terrible for other people also.

       In the same way, if our life is governed by the sruti teaching, our life will be like music.  Not only we enjoy, but other people also enjoy our presence.

       If our life is not supported by the sruti, our life becomes apasruti, against sastra, it becomes a problem for us and more than that it becomes a problem for others also.

      We do not know the origin of this sruti.  It comes down to us as parampara, anaadi parampara - the author of it is unknown.

       That is why they say, if it is a sruti, it is heard.  From where it was heard, nobody knows.

       Therefore, we say it is apaurusheyam - not created by human beings or we say it is a gift from the Lord himself.

       This sruti teaching can be broadly classified into two parts.  

       In the first part of the sruti (of the Vedas) deals with our common problem in life.  Every human being, while living faces a lot of situations by which it creates lot of mental problems, emotional strain, depression.  

       Only if you talk to an individual asking, "How are you", you know about it.  If you ask in a place like bus stop, the answer will just "I am fine".  But, if you go to his home or call him to your home over a cup of coffee, stories will come.  It will be about daughter, son, daughter-in-law, son-in-law or other relatives.

       This emotional problem is unique to human being.  The animal don't face this problem.  They don't feel separation from the children.  They happily grow up and happily get separated.  The cow does not cry on seeing its child go somewhere else.

       The first part of the Veda deals with the mental problem of a human being.  If we analyse, all our mental problems can be reduced to one basic problem.  That is, we are not able to accept some of the situations, that we are facing.  

       If you take hatred, I hate a person because I am not able to accept his behaviour, character, way of life.

       If you take anger, you find that it can be reduced to one problem.  I am not able to accept my son's behaviour - therefore I am angry.

       Take the problem of jealousy.  It can reach down to one problem - I am not able to accept my neighbour's prosperity, neighbour's son getting first Rank and my son getting second or third.

       What is fear?  I am not able to accept the future, that may come to me.

       If we analyse, all our mental problems can be reduced to one basic problem.  That is, we are not able to accept some of the situations, that we are facing.

What is fear?  One is not able to accept the future, that may come to oneself.

       I don't want certain situations to come to me.  And if it comes, I will not be able to accept.  This non-readiness to accept a certain future situation is fear or anxiety.

       My son is writing IIT examination.  I am anxious - it means I will not be to accept that fact.

       Thus, all our emotional problems can be traced to one fundamental problem.  Certain situations in life, certain people in life, certain things in life, I am not able to accept.  Now, Veda tries to give lot of pariharams for this point.  In fact, varieties of rituals, japa, tapas, puja, pilgrimage are prescribed. Because Veda believe that many of the situations can be changed, cured and remedy is possible.

       But Veda itself accepts one thing - for many situations remedies are there, there are many other situations for which remedy is not there.

       That is why we divide our Vidhi or Prarabdha into two types - durbala praabdha and prabala praarabdha.  Durbala praarabdha is a weaker problem or a weaker situation over which, I have control.  I can use my free-will and work out a solution.  

       But there are certain types of praarabdha or karmas, which are stronger.  Even if you do puja, pilgrimage or charity, astrology, palmistry, including black magic etc., it cannot be cured.

       There are certain aparihaara artha - to use Krishna's expression for certain situations there is no remedy. 

       It is simple common sense that which cannot be cured, should be endured accepted.  We don't require a great logic for this.

       But here alone we face a problem.  We know that we have to accept.  All doors are closed and there is no other way out.  Our intellect tells that, we have to accept.  But our mind refuses to accept.

       Verbally, we can say that we have to accept.  But the mind is incapable of facing the situation, even though I know that I have to face.  

       It is illogical not to accept the situation.  When such an emotion, frustration, depression, etc., comes, what is the logic behind that?

       There is no logic behind frustration.  Because, logically if you analyse, we should accept that.

       This person alone fixed the son's or daughter's going abroad for higher studies and cries.  He alone has fixed it and he is crying to part with the children.  The person wants them to stay abroad.  He knows very well that it is for the benefit of the daughter or son and he alone has planned it.  But there is no logic behind his crying.

       Any amount of logical arguments doesn't seem to be meaningful in such situations.  The mind continues to have depression, frustration etc. where intellect itself fails to solve the emotional problem.

       The mind continues to have depression, frustration etc., where the intellect itself fails to solve the emotional problem.

       The intellect tells that there is no other way other than acceptance, but the mind is not ready to accept.  Nothing can be done with respect to the situation.  There is only one way, mind has to accept.  If the mind is not able to accept what it has to accept, it only means that the mind is weaker.

       All emotional problems are indications of not a weak intellect.  Intellect is wonderful, sharp, brilliant, capable of even analyzing Vedanta. but has depression.  Intellect is not weak or depressed.  Mind is not strong enough to face what it has to face.

       The only remedy is mind has to be strengthened.  If you yourself can strengthen the mind, it is fine.

       Otherwise, you gather strength from a source where the strength is available.  This alone is called saranagati, surrender, devotion to the Lord.

       Don't ask for any logic.  When the emotional problem itself is illogical, I need not give you any logic for the solution.  For faith, there is no logic.

       For emotional non-acceptance, there is no logic.  In the case of faith also, there is no logic.  Even though it is logical, emotional problem is there.  Even though there is no logic in faith, faith works.

       For a non-logical problem, the solution given also happens to be non-logical.

       Therefore, Lord Krishna tells in the Gita,

       Karmanyevadhkaraste ma phaleshu kadchana
       ma karmaphalaheturbhu: maatesangostvakarmani

       Then later he tells,

       mayi sarvaani karmani sanyasyadyaatmachetasaa
       niraasheer nirmamo bhootvaa yudhyasva vigatajvarahe

       There is only one remedy - surrender to the Lord, who is an infinite source of strength.

       "O Lord, give me the strength to face or accept what cannot be changed."

       The above prayer is not to solve our intellect problem, it is only to solve our emotional weakness.  It is only to strengthen our emotional personality.

       This is the entire Karma Kanda, the first portion of the Veda.

        Religion helps to solve some of the problems, it also helps to accept the unsolvable problems.

       Religion gives solutions to solve what can be solved; it also gives the strength to accept what cannot be solved.

       Once a person has gathered sufficient emotional strength, he is able to accept the imp[act, the onslaught of lot of emotional strain.

       Once the emotional problem is reduced to some extent, then intellectual problems begin to raise its hood.

       When some problem arises, the mind asks the question, "Why should I get this problem?"  I did not do any mistake.

       There is a tennis player, who was the youngest to win the US Open Championship.  She won it twice and she was having a wonderful future.  At that time, she gets in a big accident.  Some knee injury took place with which her future was totally wiped off.  She cannot play any more and can only give commentaries.

       In an interview she has said that "It was a terrible accident and I was unlucky to lose my knee.  I was lucky enough at least to survive.  And I am happy that people have accepted my glory etc.."

       Finally there is a sentence in the interview that she spends a lot of time thinking "Why me?"  Why should it happen to me?"

       Whenever some accident happens, whenever a popular person dies, the mind raises this question, What is this all about?  Why should that person who is all the time singing about the Lord's glory die? Why should that happen to a person, who is devotee of Swamiji?

       What happens to Karma?  What will happen to rebirth?

       When such accidents happen, our intellect begins to question, "Why should this suffering come to me?

       Everyone answers this question very simply.  "Your Karma!".

       This answers the question immediately, but if the person has got sufficient intellect, he will ask the question how did that Karma come?  I have not done any papa.  I have been nice person, a devotee going to temple regularly, I don't miss Guru Purnima.

       We answer that it is all because of purva janma karma - results of actions done in previous births.

       Purva karma came from last birth.

       How did the last birth come?

       Because of its last birth and so on.

       How did this all happen?

       Slowly the mind becomes philosophical.  Once the emotional problems are solved to some extent, the intellectual or philosophical problems begins to occupy the mind.

       I am not able to accept that everything is predetermined.

       I ask the question, "Predetermined by whom"?

       Someone says, "Predetermined by God?"

       If we say karma, the question of first karma arises and we don't have an idea about that.

       God determines that a musician should die in an accident?  God determines that an innocent person should be killed by a terrorist?  God determines that there should be a feminine in Africa?

       If God determines all these, why should I accept that God?  A sadistic terrible God, who kills all the people, who creates terrorists - why should I worship him?

       Who is that God?

       You raise questions about God or questions about the world or you begin to ask questions about your very life.  If everything is predetermined, my effort has no meaning.  Then why should I study or work? Because whether I should get a job or not is predetermined.

       Why should I marry?  Why should I get children.

       We get into a philosophical question of why we live at all.  All these struggles are only for dying.

       If all unions are meant for separation, why union at all?

       All growths are meant for declination, why grow at all?

       Thus you find that the philosophical questions begin to occupy the mind, when emotional problems are solved.

       To solve the philosophical questions like, what is the meaning of  life, my achievements etc., the last portion of the Veda is there.  It gives answers to our intellectual quest for the fundamental questions of life.

       Religion helps to solve or face our emotional problems.  Philosophy helps to solve the intellectual, philosophical questions.

       Once we have tackled both of them, the intellect subsidies with satisfaction.  The mind will also be quiet either with the solution or acceptance.  Then our life becomes smooth.  This is in short, the content of the Vedas.

Veda teach us indirect method to solve emotional and philosophical problems

       Even though Veda contains this wonderful treasures to solve the emotional and intellectual or philosophical problems.  Veda teaches not in a direct method, but uses a very peculiar method.  A method which cannot be directly understood.

       So, we require a key to open the Veda and get its teaching.

       A person planned to have a dinner in the beach.  So, he carried the dinner and also the tomato sauce as side dish.  But, he forgot to bring the opener to open the sauce bottle!  You have side dish, but you cannot taste it.

Key to Vedas

       Similarly, Veda has got a solution for our emotional and intellectual problems.  But unless we have the key we cannot open it.  That key is sampradaya - method of teaching, unfoldment.  This key also is coming down in the form of Anadi parampara.  Just as Veda itself is anaadi - beginningless, the key to the Veda to Veda is also anaadi.  Like some books which contain the questions as well as the key answers.

      That key is called mimamsa - purva mimamsa is the key to the first portion of the veda.  The uttara mimamsa is the key to the final portion.  Mimamsa is the method of bringing out the teaching.  The key has been maintained in the form of Guru - Sishya Parampara, which alone is expressed as

       narayanam padmabhvuam vashishtam....

      Narayana is the Adiguru, not only of the Veda, but the opener also.  The food is Veda, the opener is mimamsa.

      Even though it is coming down in the form of traditional teaching, the credit of putting the vedas and the mimasa is written form - that credit goes to Vyasacharya.

       Even though it started from it started from Narayana, Vyasacharya gets the glory - a pioneer in which he has uncolded the purvamimasa portion in the form of Dharma Sastra - which is there in all the puranas and in the Vyasa Smriti etc., he has brought out the purva bhaga of the Veda.

       He has equally contributed to the final portion of the vedas in the form of Brahma Sutras.  It is called Uttara mimamsa sultrani or Vyasa Sutrani or Badarayana Sutrani.  They deal with the deeper philosophial problems and intellectual problems.  When a person is emotionally depressed, one should not teach Brahma Sutram.  You have to tell him a parihara to overcome the situation.

      That is why sanyasi has two things.  To a depressed person, he gives vibhuti - holy ash and a few words of moral support and prayers.  The moment a person receives the prasadam and the words, he is feeling peaceful.  There is logical explanation to emotional problems.  When a person comes with intellectual quest and is emotional cool and ready, then sanyyasi teaches him the Upanishads. Vysacharya has contributed to the solution of emotional and intellectual problems.  Thus, Vyasa is considered as an important Guru.

Source: From the Guru Purnima Talks 1992 delivered by Swami Paramarthananda