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Thread: A question about Destiny

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    A question about Destiny

    I've been wondering about destiny!

    Here are two examples, both devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

    P. 449, Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, DS Sastri

    "...Her name was Alankaratthammani. She had a son by name Subbiah Mudaliar and a daughter-in-law Kamakshi. The three used to spend their time in the service of an old Sanyasi. That Sanyasi passed away sometime in 1908 or 1909. During his last days, when all of them implored him to tell them about their future it seems he told them their future was at Arunachala." (The family moved to Aurnachala)

    Here is another, different example, as described by a Western devotee::

    pp. 296-297, Here Lies the Heart, Mercedes de Acosta

    "I sat in the hall with Bhagavan three days and three nights. Sometimes he spoke to me, other times he was silent and I did not interrupt his silence. Often he was in samadhi. I wanted to stay on there with him but finally he told me that I should go back to America. He said, 'There will be what will be called a 'war,' but which, in reality, will be a great world revolution. Every country and every person will be touched by it. You must return to America. Your destiny is not in India at this time."

    The first woman stayed and served Bhagavan till the end of her life. The second returned to America and died in the 1960's-- "almost penniless".

    The question is this: How does one first find one's guru in order to ask the question of destiny? Is it even a good question???

    With thanks...
    Last edited by RosemaryOs; 14 August 2011 at 07:56 PM. Reason: spelling correction

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    I suppose the real question is "where does one belong??"

    In the first case, Alankaratthammani moved her family to Arunachala per the instruction of her guru. As I said, she served Bhagavan for the rest of her life by making and offering food. When her son left the family to become a wandering monk and her daughter-in-law died, the devotees had to financially support her so that she could continue in her service to Bhagavan.

    In the second example, Mercedes de Acosta served no one, and she died basically alone and penniless.

    Where does one belong? How does one serve?

    In the present economic downturn in America, one is pretty lucky to have a job, much less extra money for optional destiny and serving, or even seeking an outside guru in America (I live in very isolated Bible Belt) much less in India....

    so is the present circumstance to be concluded as destiny and dharma and does one turn inward for guru...?
    Last edited by RosemaryOs; 14 August 2011 at 07:57 PM.

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    Quote Originally Posted by RosemaryOs View Post
    I suppose the real question is "where does one belong??"

    Where does one belong? How does one serve?

    In the present economic downturn in America....so is the present circumstance to be concluded as destiny and dharma and does one turn inward for guru...?
    Namaste,
    no easy answers if one cannot do a whole lot materially (financially),
    gurus do help alleviate the pain and I have no question about that.
    Ask some one in your area.No need to suffer on this beyond a point.

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    Quote Originally Posted by RosemaryOs View Post
    I suppose the real question is "where does one belong??"

    Where does one belong? How does one serve?

    In the present economic downturn in America, one is pretty lucky to have a job, much less extra money for optional destiny and serving, or even seeking an outside guru in America (I live in very isolated Bible Belt) much less in India....

    so is the present circumstance to be concluded as destiny and dharma and does one turn inward for guru...?
    Vannakkam Rosemary: I am not really sure of your question: if it is a personal question or a theoretical/philosophical question?

    If its a personal question, I would just say,"Give what you can."

    Giving can mean a ton of things. You're serving God (and Guru if you have one) by simply being dharmic. One can give money or time, but in the end what a teacher wants is transformation. I remember discussing unacceptable behaviour with former students when i was a Grade school teacher ... "No apology, no payback, no promises yes those are nice, but what we really need is a change in behaviour." (Gosh I hope I didn't sound like the jail Boss in Cool Hand Luke) If you can transform into a nicer person then any Guru would be happy, as would your inner Self as at a deeper level They are one and the same.

    Back to this idea philosophical idea of destiny, I ask myself (I mean the outward self, not the Self, as the Self doesn't talk much) "Do I have a choice in this?" Intuitively, I just know the answer is 'Yes, of course (you fool!)"

    I did search for temples in NC. I use google maps and the 'search nearby' function. This may not get them all, but I found 8 or so, mostly around the 3 bigger places, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.

    Best wishes with clear decisions.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    From a spiritual perspective one may look to the yoga vasișțha ( called yogavasișțharāmāyaṇa (yoga-vasișțha-rāmāyaṇa) authored by vālmīki-ji¹ , we know him also as the author of the rāmāyaṇa. He informs us in chapter 2 (called mumukṣu prakaraṇaṃ - the qualifications of a seeker ) of destiny as it finds its way into the conversation.

    Self-effort
    This is the notion of one's own intention, will and action to expand their sādhana to support & nurture the condition of mokṣa to unfold.

    Vasișțha-ji informs us ( via his dialog with śrī rāmaḥ ) that self-effort is based upon 3 limbs:
    • knowledge of the śāstra-s,
    • instructions of the preceptor and
    • one's own self effort.
    He mentions an important point - fate or daivaṃ does not enter-in here.

    This I find useful guidence. To appreciate this position, the definition of daivaṃ is warranted; daiva is defined as belonging to or coming from the gods , divine , celestial. It is also defined as a as destiny , fate , chance. Hence vasișțha-ji is telling us that the fruit of one's action is the reason for one's advancement or decline. The notion that 'it was fate' that caused this or that to occur is delusion.

    Vasișțha-ji informs us that fate is no less then past actions that come to fruition. Since many roots to past actions cannot be seen (connecting the dots ) it has become convention that it must then be daiva or destiny. He gives us some words of wisdom:

    • One's actions and intent in this life is infinitely more potent then those of the past.
    • At times, and without effort, we see others advance or gain with little to no effort.
    • This is neither a divine act or accident, but the fruition of some actions coming to play in this life.

    • One must keep a balanced eye to what is attainable by self-effort and what is not.
    • One who says 'fate' is directing me to do this' is brainless.
    • Self-effort that bears fruit is that mental, verbal and physical action
    • Fate is nothing but the culmination of one's own actions.
    praṇām

    words
    vālmīki वाल्मीकि - his name comes from valmīka , an ant-hill or mole-hill ; a hillock or ground thrown up by white ants or by moles so called , according to some , because when immersed in thought he allowed himself to be overrun with ants like an anthill
    Last edited by yajvan; 14 August 2011 at 11:06 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    Thank you for all replies, each being helpful....

    I suppose that my original question is both personal and general. The scope being better defined as thus: where does one belong? how does one serve? how does on find one's guru? is this all there is to life? how does one make effort without money?

    After I posted my original question here , I found also this answer in my book, Letters from Sri Ramanasramam. DS Sastri, p. 148

    "The questioner asked again, 'But first of all we must find a Guru who can give us sufficient practice and thereby enable us to get rid of these gunas, mustn't we?"

    'If we have the earnestness to get rid of these qualities can we not find a Guru? We must first have the desire to get rid of them. When once we have this the Guru will himself come searching for us: or he will somehow manage to draw us to himself. The Guru will always be on the alert and keep an eye on us: Iswara himself will show us the Guru."

    This seems to be very nearly the same as this answer as above:
      • One's actions and intent in this life is infinitely more potent then those of the past.
      • At times, and without effort, we see others advance or gain with little to no effort.
      • This is neither a divine act or accident, but the fruition of some actions coming to play in this life.
      • One must keep a balanced eye to what is attainable by self-effort and what is not.
      • One who says 'fate' is directing me to do this' is brainless.
      • Self-effort that bears fruit is that mental, verbal and physical action
      • Fate is nothing but the culmination of one's own actions.
    It seems to me that it is my nature to want to serve. This evokes the problem at this time..."Whom do I serve?" If I am to serve the poor as Christ instructed as service "done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me", then one begins to look for the "least of these" and sees that those who are worse off than me (and I am really in a good place) are not asking for food, they are begging for money for drugs, cigarettes, or beer.

    So, as I talk, my question is becoming clearer to myself and keeps changing! How does one (myself) worship and how does one (myself) serve?

    The closest temple, EM, is in Raleigh and is a road trip of 120 miles away. As you possibly remember, when I tried to visit the temple in Raleigh a few years back, there was a wedding in progress, and I did not know my social options and so drove away...

    Thanks for listening and for caring and for taking the time to post your replies. As I said, the replies have been thought provoking and helpful.
    Last edited by RosemaryOs; 15 August 2011 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: A question about Destiny

    Namaste RoseMaryOs,

    Already you have great answers from the other members. I agree with EM and Yajvan on two important points:

    1. Do your best as your try to follow Dharma, whatever your circumstances. The effort you put into this will never go to waste.

    2. Destiny on an individual, personal level is perhaps romanticising the law of karma a little bit, and is therefore partially illusory in nature. We are the accumulation of our past (and following this, present) thoughts and actions. Everything we are at this moment depended on what we did a moment before, and the moment before that. In effect, our destinies are only real because we have created them thusly. There is the rare of exception of God's grace intervening on our behalf, but that is for another thread.

    Where does one belong? How does one serve?
    Simple questions, with simple answers. You belong to your Self. You serve God by dedicating each action you engage in to Him as part of seva. Begin by endeavouring to see Him everywhere. This can actually be trickier than it sounds, because normally the mind is conditioned to see the world as a fractured place of separation and independence. Sustaining this view is the key to maintaining good conduct, to continue following Dharma correctly. Whenever you partake in the service of others for their benefit, you are serving God. Directly. As EM says, just follow Dharma. Live virtuously, by following the foremost of yamas; that is, try to do no harm to any other being, in your thoughts and words as well as your actions.

    This evokes the problem at this time..."Whom do I serve?" If I am to serve the poor as Christ instructed as service "done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me", then one begins to look for the "least of these" and sees that those who are worse off than me (and I am really in a good place) are not asking for food, they are begging for money for drugs, cigarettes, or beer.
    Yes, it can be a tricky business offering help to the less fortunate if they are inclined to indulge in drugs and are likely to waste the money you give them to pay for alcohol, etc. We talked about the pitfalls of just giving blindly to beggars and the needy here: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...hlight=begging. Is there a meals-on-wheels association you could offer to volunteer at when you have spare time? Or any other charitable and non-profit organisation? Don't forget that karma yoga doesn't just extend to the poor and the needy. When Christ talks of the least of his brethren, he is not necessarily referring to physical poverty - although it is true this ought to be considered a priority seeing as it relates to basic survival. Doing good to the least of one's brethren also encompasses people who just need a kind ear now and again, a shoulder to lean on when times are hard, a helping hand with odd chores (especially if you've older neighbours who are finding it hard to go grocery shopping, cutting grass, etc.).

    I can understand your situation regarding money. Were I blessed by Maa Lakshmi tomorrow and won the lottery, there wouldn't be a moment's hesitation for me to go to India, amidst a tonne of other things I'd love to do to further my spiritual progress. It can curb one's abilities to actively do searching, but it shouldn't impede it absolutely. For the time being, I suggest that you continue your sadhana as normal, read scriptures, etc. You can pray to the guru within you for the present to guide your journey. When the time is right your circumstances could change in the near future, and it becomes apparent where to go next.

    With that temple in Raleigh, maybe you could try ringing them first? That way you'd find out in advance if it's all right for you to visit the temple inside and have a look around. If they have a website, check out the opening times to make sure you're not going to arrive there when it's shut.

    Best wishes with this.

    Om namah Shivaya
    "Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

    ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
    Om Gam Ganapataye namah

    लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु ।
    Lokaah SamastaaH Sukhino Bhavantu

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