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Thread: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

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    Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Namaste HDF,

    I got this question while learning Srimad B.G.

    If soul is immortal and can not be hurt by any means why should it carry the Karma baggage along with it? If soul will/can not feel the pain or pleasure, what is the use body undergoing the the effects of action? If my soul is not hurt, why should I nurse my mortal body?

    Thanks in advance for your responses

    PS: If similar thread exists answering the questions, please provide links
    Anirudh...

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Excellent question! Does the soul act as a "proxy" in redeeming the mind of its sins?
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Namaste Anirudh,

    If soul is immortal and can not be hurt by any means why should it carry the Karma baggage along with it? If soul will/can not feel the pain or pleasure, what is the use body undergoing the the effects of action? If my soul is not hurt, why should I nurse my mortal body?
    This confusion arises due to translation of both Jeevaatma and AtmAn as soul. In Bhagwad Gita, there are two terms "Jeeva" and "AtmAn" and both have different meanings. AtmAn is the spirit which is eternal (SanAtanah), omnipresent (Sarvagatah), untainted (na lipyate), Ajah (which doesn't take birth) and this AtmAn cannot be hurt (na hanyate) etc. This AtmAn doesn't get involved in enjoyment. AtmAn is Only One.

    Jeeva is an entity created by the phenomenon of ChidAbhAsa into Prakriti. It "was created" due to arising of desire of "becoming many" (Sah Ikshat- Upanishad). Due to this desire, arose individual entity, with the combination of Mann(Observing and storing Mind), Buddhi (Intellect) and Ahamakaar (the feeling of being different entity as compared to other things around, feeling the joys and sorrows arising out of contacts with this world). Jeevas are many and every Jeeva is different from the other in its content of three gunas of Prakriti which brings in modifications in the characteristics of a Jeeva. Over the lifetime and over many lifetimes, this Jeeva keeps gathering Karmas i.e. impressions of its actions by Mann (Thoughts), Speech and physical actions. These impressions cause increase or decrease in different gunas (Good Karma increase Sattva and Bad Karma increase Rajasa and Tamasa gunas). Jeeva keeps a separate identity life after life and keeps enjoying or sufferings the effects of its Karma as per the Laws of Karma of Nature. This cycle is endless until "it" realises its True Nature as being non-different from AtmAn (i.e. Brahman). On this realisation, Jeeva's mAyic bondages are broken and it merges with Brahman as water of a pot mixes with water of the ocean without leaving any trace of its identity and all Karmas cease to exist as the owner of the Karma is no longer there.

    So, AtmAn doesn't feel any pain or joy but soul or the Jeeva does. AtmAn doesn't carry any burden of Karma but Jeeva does. And this continues until Self-realisation occurs.

    However, the way to this realisation is not easy due to very strong MAyic bondages and the powerful gunas of Prakriti. It may take many births to get this realisation. As all spiritual/religious duties are possible only through our bodies, it is important to take care of our bodies well.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Anirudh,



    This confusion arises due to translation of both Jeevaatma and AtmAn as soul. In Bhagwad Gita, there are two terms "Jeeva" and "AtmAn" and both have different meanings. AtmAn is the spirit which is eternal (SanAtanah), omnipresent (Sarvagatah), untainted (na lipyate), Ajah (which doesn't take birth) and this AtmAn cannot be hurt (na hanyate) etc. This AtmAn doesn't get involved in enjoyment. AtmAn is Only One.

    Jeeva is an entity created by the phenomenon of ChidAbhAsa into Prakriti. It "was created" due to arising of desire of "becoming many" (Sah Ikshat- Upanishad). Due to this desire, arose individual entity, with the combination of Mann(Observing and storing Mind), Buddhi (Intellect) and Ahamakaar (the feeling of being different entity as compared to other things around, feeling the joys and sorrows arising out of contacts with this world). Jeevas are many and every Jeeva is different from the other in its content of three gunas of Prakriti which brings in modifications in the characteristics of a Jeeva. Over the lifetime and over many lifetimes, this Jeeva keeps gathering Karmas i.e. impressions of its actions by Mann (Thoughts), Speech and physical actions. These impressions cause increase or decrease in different gunas (Good Karma increase Sattva and Bad Karma increase Rajasa and Tamasa gunas). Jeeva keeps a separate identity life after life and keeps enjoying or sufferings the effects of its Karma as per the Laws of Karma of Nature. This cycle is endless until "it" realises its True Nature as being non-different from AtmAn (i.e. Brahman). On this realisation, Jeeva's mAyic bondages are broken and it merges with Brahman as water of a pot mixes with water of the ocean without leaving any trace of its identity and all Karmas cease to exist as the owner of the Karma is no longer there.

    So, AtmAn doesn't feel any pain or joy but soul or the Jeeva does. AtmAn doesn't carry any burden of Karma but Jeeva does. And this continues until Self-realisation occurs.

    However, the way to this realisation is not easy due to very strong MAyic bondages and the powerful gunas of Prakriti. It may take many births to get this realisation. As all spiritual/religious duties are possible only through our bodies, it is important to take care of our bodies well.

    OM
    Namaste Devotee,

    Thanks for the explanation. I can't understand few things here. Even though trying my best, I might not have formulated my questions correctly. Please don't get offended.

    1. Is Maaya some thing like a honey trap for Jeeva? If it is yes, who governs Maaya? Why it should play a negative role?
    2. Why can't Jeeva follow the dharmic route from the word go instead of becoming prey to Maaya?
    3. We observe and undergo fight or flight syndrome in our lives, Why should Jeeva choose flight route before deciding fight?
    4. When a particular Jeeva was created (say the first birth) what would be its orientation towards Dharma vs Adharma
    5. I assume Jeeva is different from body also think this Jeeva born for the first time need not necessarily be human. And what regulates which Jeeva get which body and the circumstances of the body

    Apology if my questions are malformed.
    Anirudh...

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Namaste Anirudh,

    Quote Originally Posted by Anirudh View Post
    1. Is Maaya some thing like a honey trap for Jeeva? If it is yes, who governs Maaya? Why it should play a negative role?
    Maayaa comes into action because of Brahman's desire to become many. Maayaa plays its role and it cannot be said to be negative. Maayaa comes into being with three gunas and these gunas in action perform as per their nature. The Rajas and Tamas gunas may look acting in negative ways but it is their inherent nature. Why are they so ? There is no answer. Actually, our habit of asking "why is it so ?" is irrational. The Truth as It is ... there is no reason for why It is as it is.

    Maayaa is governed by God. Here God means Ishvara or Saguna Brahman. The Maayaa, Ishvara and the two worlds exist simultaneously in relative plane of existence. It is also fallacious to say that Brahman desired for becoming Many at a certain point of time and then at that time Jeeva, Maayaa and Ishvara came into being. No. It is not like that. Nirguna state of Brahman and Brahman in state of multitude i.e. God, Jeeva, Maayaa and the worlds always exist in parallel planes of existence simultaneously.

    2. Why can't Jeeva follow the dharmic route from the word go instead of becoming prey to Maaya?
    It is also a wrong notion. Jeeva's existence is with the three gunas and Jeeva seemingly act as per the nature of Gunas. As Jeeva is only a relative existence and AtmAn is the Reality which doesn't do anything, Lord Krishna says in Bhagwad Gita, "In reality, all actions are performed by the three gunas of Nature in every way but the Jeeva being deluded under the influence of Ahamkaar thinks that he is the doer". This assumption of doership binds Jeeva.


    The Sattva, Raja and Tama act as per their dharma but from Jeeva's point of view these are considered good and bad or dharma and adharma.

    3. We observe and undergo fight or flight syndrome in our lives, Why should Jeeva choose flight route before deciding fight?

    Jeeva's ahamkaar binds it to notions of "life" and "death". "Ahamkaar" by its nature wants to do anything to maintain its existence. So, in its effort to "save" itself from "fight", its first reaction is usually resorting to "flight".

    4. When a particular Jeeva was created (say the first birth) what would be its orientation towards Dharma vs Adharma
    There was never a first creation but for our discussion sake, let's assume so. In that case, the Jeeva would be born with its three gunas in balance but it is not born in vacuum. It takes birth with world surrounding it and is born with its desires under effect of the 5 indriyas and instinct to survive at any cost. This leads Jeeva to use its intellect for choosing an option from the available options at that time. This choice creates Karma and also encourages one guna over other two. This imbalance has spiraling effect and creates Karma over Karma in various layers and decides various opportunities / tendencies in the course of life of the body.


    5. I assume Jeeva is different from body also think this Jeeva born for the first time need not necessarily be human. And what regulates which Jeeva get which body and the circumstances of the body
    Jeeva is neither human nor un-human. It is an entity comprising of "ChidAbhAsa" of AtmAn, 5 mahaabhootas, Observing mind, intellect and ahamkaar. As I told you, there was never a beginning. Nature is called AnAdi i.e. that which never had a beginning. This world is created again and again as per the past impressions. The body is not important. In fact, science tells us that human being came into being much later. So, the bodies keep evolving in every yuga. The body is taken as per desires and karma a particular jeeva stores in its "observing mind " or mann. This mann carries the impressions of actions from one births to the other and takes births and bodies as per its desires and its Karma.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Anirudh,



    Maayaa comes into action because of Brahman's desire to become many. Maayaa plays its role and it cannot be said to be negative. Maayaa comes into being with three gunas and these gunas in action perform as per their nature. The Rajas and Tamas gunas may look acting in negative ways but it is their inherent nature. Why are they so ? There is no answer. Actually, our habit of asking "why is it so ?" is irrational. The Truth as It is ... there is no reason for why It is as it is.

    Maayaa is governed by God. Here God means Ishvara or Saguna Brahman. The Maayaa, Ishvara and the two worlds exist simultaneously in relative plane of existence. It is also fallacious to say that Brahman desired for becoming Many at a certain point of time and then at that time Jeeva, Maayaa and Ishvara came into being. No. It is not like that. Nirguna state of Brahman and Brahman in state of multitude i.e. God, Jeeva, Maayaa and the worlds always exist in parallel planes of existence simultaneously.



    It is also a wrong notion. Jeeva's existence is with the three gunas and Jeeva seemingly act as per the nature of Gunas. As Jeeva is only a relative existence and AtmAn is the Reality which doesn't do anything, Lord Krishna says in Bhagwad Gita, "In reality, all actions are performed by the three gunas of Nature in every way but the Jeeva being deluded under the influence of Ahamkaar thinks that he is the doer". This assumption of doership binds Jeeva.


    The Sattva, Raja and Tama act as per their dharma but from Jeeva's point of view these are considered good and bad or dharma and adharma.




    Jeeva's ahamkaar binds it to notions of "life" and "death". "Ahamkaar" by its nature wants to do anything to maintain its existence. So, in its effort to "save" itself from "fight", its first reaction is usually resorting to "flight".


    There was never a first creation but for our discussion sake, let's assume so. In that case, the Jeeva would be born with its three gunas in balance but it is not born in vacuum. It takes birth with world surrounding it and is born with its desires under effect of the 5 indriyas and instinct to survive at any cost. This leads Jeeva to use its intellect for choosing an option from the available options at that time. This choice creates Karma and also encourages one guna over other two. This imbalance has spiraling effect and creates Karma over Karma in various layers and decides various opportunities / tendencies in the course of life of the body.




    Jeeva is neither human nor un-human. It is an entity comprising of "ChidAbhAsa" of AtmAn, 5 mahaabhootas, Observing mind, intellect and ahamkaar. As I told you, there was never a beginning. Nature is called AnAdi i.e. that which never had a beginning. This world is created again and again as per the past impressions. The body is not important. In fact, science tells us that human being came into being much later. So, the bodies keep evolving in every yuga. The body is taken as per desires and karma a particular jeeva stores in its "observing mind " or mann. This mann carries the impressions of actions from one births to the other and takes births and bodies as per its desires and its Karma.
    Namaste Devotee,

    Thank you very much for explaining in a way it is easily understood. I understanad the meaning of Saguna Brahman, yet, want to know if I have understood it correctly. Can we say Saguna Brahman is a common noun? If not what is the difference between a particular deity and Saguna Brahman?

    Besides, quite often while learning Srimad B.G or any of our epics, unable to draw a line between our scriptures and atheism+Abrahamic religions. Among atheism and Abrahamic religions, I think atheism is a part of our scriptures. In the present Sociopolitical environment it has become very important to understand our scriptures so that our children aren't brain washed by EVIL around us. So I have got few questions in that direction. They might be interpreted wrongly if asked in public. I will send you a PM in a coupe of weeks times.

    Thanks again for your explanation.
    Anirudh...

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    All that has been said from the posts above is right and proper and I have no dispute, as it fits nicely within the 6 schools of thought1.

    If one looks at the world from the sāṃkhya school (darśana) then many jīva’s are possible. Their point of view ? There are multiple perceptions of the world hence there must be multiple jīva-s. Yet when called upon to talk of the final and ultimate reality ( the final view) then one would be wise to consider advaita vedānta or non-dual kaśmir śaivism to suggest a few . Here the ‘world’ is a bit different, here there are no multiple Selves.

    Consider this one thought offered by kṛṣṇaḥ -jī in the bhāgavadgītā ( chapter 2, 12th verse)2 as He informs arjuna of the following:
    natvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ|
    na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ param||12

    there never was a time when I was not, nor you, nor these rulers of men;
    nor will there ever be a time when all of us shall cease to be ||
    12

    If there was never a time when kṛṣṇaḥ -jī was not, nor you nor me, then by deduction all are unborn. From where can I accumulate karma ?
    And, there never is a time when we cease to be, then we also must be eternal, correct? Where then is my 'demerit' for wrong doings to be cleansed in the ~ next life~ ? This is the ultimate truth that takes some getting use to.

    But one must ask, why yajvan does kṛṣṇaḥ-jī go-on to say in chapter 4, verse 5 :
    śrībhagavānuvāca
    bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna|
    tānyahaṁ veda sarvāṇi na tvaṁ vettha parantapa||5


    many births have passed before Me and for you also O arjuna;
    I know them all but you know them not O scorcher of enemies
    . ||5

    Here’s the deal...
    kṛṣṇaḥ-jī is the most masterful teacher. He informs arjuna of the highest truth, yet He also brings it to a level that the student
    can understand within the relative field of life ( things that come a go, change, diversity, etc).

    Just like a movie playing on a big white screen... it is the screen that is never changing, and all the acting, falling, growing, dying, the ups-and-downs appear on this unchanging screen. If there is no screen there is no movie (life). If there is no infinite Being ( the screen) there is no actions that can occur ( life, and all the cycles of yuga-s). Kṛṣṇaḥ-jī is telling arjuna, you, who you really are, is the screen, not the movie.

    But yajvan what then is the movie?
    Kṛṣṇaḥ-jī clearly points this out in chapter 3:
    prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ|
    ahaṅkāravimūḍhātmā kartāhamiti manyate||27


    actions ( the movie I had mentioned) in every case are performed by the the guna-s of nature (prakṛteḥ);
    he whose mind is deluded by the sense of ‘I’ holds ‘I am the doer’
    ( of actions, of the movie).|| 27

    When your alignment to actions as the 'doer' then you are the accumulator of actions. Yet per
    kṛṣṇaḥ-jī this is not the clearest view of your true nature... He informs us, one is deluded holding that they are the actual doers. If this is thought though, one can come to the same conclusion. This again takes some study and pondering of which I see Anirudh pursuing.

    Within the pursuit of truth of the highest nature ( that is the neighborhood we are now in with this conversation ) we are told by the wise of sādhana-catuṣtaya or the 4 prerequisites ( or pursuits) of sādhana ( spiritual unfoldment/practice), they are:

    • discrimination
    • non-attachment
    • self-control
    • irrepressible hankering after the realization of truth


    Rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi offers his thoughts on the last point mentioned.
    What should one do to overcome (present) ignorance?
    Be eager to have true knowledge. As that eagerness grows (the)wrong knowledge diminishes in strength until it finally disappears.


    ... I found this eagerness to hold merit, to be true.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ

    terms
    1.
    The 6 schools are the following:
    · sāṁkhya
    · yoga
    · vedānta
    · mīmāṃsā
    · nyāya
    · vaiśeṣika
    The 6 darśana-s (seeing, looking, knowledge, traditional doctrine or precept , collection of such doctrines) are so complete in themselves, that many people took the 6 to be different views. This is not the case, it is the 6, when taken as whole give a 360º view of Reality.
    2. I find it interesting that this verse is found in the chapter called
    sāṃkhya yoga.
    Last edited by yajvan; 24 January 2017 at 09:26 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Namaste Yajvan ji,

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post

    If one looks at the world from the sāṃkhya school (darśana) then many jīva’s are possible. Their point of view ? There are multiple perceptions of the world hence there must be multiple jīva-s. Yet when called upon to talk of the final and ultimate reality ( the final view) then one would be wise to consider advaita vedānta or non-dual kaśmir śaivism to suggest a few . Here the ‘world’ is a bit different, here there are no multiple Selves.


    I hope the above post doesn't create a confusion between Purusha and Jiva. Per SAmkhya Purusha is pure consciousness, absolute, free, imperceptible, it is unborn etc. SAmkhya believes in multiplicity of Purusha. Here there is a difference between Advaita VedAnta and SAmkhya. Advaita Vedanta says that AtmAn is one and except being just One it has similar qualities of Purusha. However, Jiva is a creation within Prakriti and it carries past impressions, observes, stores its experiences and desires in Mann, it takes logical decisions with the help of its intellect and it takes ownership of actions and creates bondages for "itself". Per VedAnta, Jiva's existence is just an illusion from absolute point of view.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    Devotee, thank you for your post...

    Since I brought up r
    āmaṇa mahaṛṣi let me offer a question that was posed to him1, I think it is relevant.
    From my last post I mentioned
    kṛṣṇaḥ-jī's words to arjuna ( see the post above); it is the notion of not being born and being eternal.
    If that is so, where then does the body arise? This question was posited to mahaṛṣi-ji, as he was asked:
    Q: How did I get this body?
    mahaṛṣi: You speak of 'I' and the 'body' . There is a relationship between the two. 'You' are not the body. This question does not occur to the body because it is inert.
    The answer according to the
    śāstra-s will be the body is due to karma. Then the question becomes how did karma arise ? We must say 'from a previous body' and so on and so on without end. So, now the logical question must be whose karma is it?

    This has been my point all along... Your essence, your SELF, Being, does not accumulate anything , it is stainless. That is who you are. This is the essence of our śāstra-s. Now in
    rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi's repsonse he is using the term 'I' as one's Being ( not as ego). He is saying when Being is co-mingled with body we come to the conclusion that 'I' am the doer . This is where kṛṣṇaḥ-jī said one is deluded to think in this manner. The delusion is not being aware of one's true status.

    Now, one needn't go anywhere to get this Being, it is with us all the time. Because it so intimate with us such a part of us we miss it, but it is there. In wake-dream-sleep, every moment of every second of all time. It is impossible to be without it. That is why I said in the last post there is nothing to gain. Gain suggests you do not have it to begin with and that would also add to the delusion.

    Last point...
    Being human , we want to gain this information , comprehend it immediately. For some it is doable , for others ? not so much.
    So one needs to be patient and persistent. This falls under the idea offered in the previous post of sādhana-catuṣtaya and the self control component. Another name for it is one-pointedness, purposefulness. With time , practice and study it comes.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ

    1. The book, 'Talks with
    rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi' - July 12, 1938

    Last edited by yajvan; 25 January 2017 at 12:54 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Prarabdha Karma and immortal soul

    Namaste Yajvan

    Within the pursuit of truth of the highest nature ( that is the neighborhood we are now in with this conversation ) we are told by the wise of sādhana-catuṣtaya or the 4 prerequisites ( or pursuits) of sādhana ( spiritual unfoldment/practice), they are:

    • discrimination
    • non-attachment
    • self-control
    • irrepressible hankering after the realization of truth

    Most probably you may have explained above terms in any of your previous threads. I believe, understand all of them. In particular the term discrimination always fascinate me. I have heard a lot about discrimination from various Sri Vaishnava teachers. From what ever I have learned, define discrimination as the act of differentiating right and wrong or truth and false or light and darkness.

    But truth/light/right has many shades, and if you look at Srimad Maha Bharat or Srimad Raamaayan, Sri Krishna and Sri Raam have twisted truth to fit to the situation. Then what is the yard stick to measure discrimination?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Anirudh; 25 January 2017 at 01:18 PM.
    Anirudh...

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