Archive for the ‘Law of Spiritualism’ Category

Scientific advancement sans spirituality is like body without soul – the form of science we see today. It leads to a society with all the attributes of self-destruction: Greed, Selfishness, Intolerance and Bloated Egos. Today we have become slaves of the gadgets and scientific infrastructure we have put together for our service.

What humanity needs is a humane and progressive culture on Earth, where spiritualism and scientific development go hand in hand. A culture based on the principles of love, tolerance, brotherhood and a desire to grow, to move forward… And do we have any precedence for such a culture, such a society? That’s where ancient history comes into picture.

Human race on our planet Earth is very old, as discussed further in the “Beliefs” section. In ancient history, there have been times when our culture was highly advanced – scientifically as well as spiritually. The society was guided by highly evolved rishis (sages), master exponents of metaphysical skills who had conquered death through yoga and meditation. These sages, the great scientists, knew of environment friendly and unlimited resources of energy. People traveled to farthest stars and solar systems in sophisticated spacecraft, and by astral travelling. They had mastered anti-gravity, and had contacts with other advanced civilizations of the universe. But human culture and its development always follow a sine wave. People leave the middle path tilting more towards materialism, and knowledge decays. There were natural calamities due to toying with environment, and nuclear wars, resulting in total destruction. Radioactivity mutated human genes and so there were primitive Neanderthal men. And this has happened not once, but many a times in the past. Physical evidence for this might not be available today, but documentary information in symbolic or parable form is still available in some ancient Indian scriptures (Puranas), and in scriptures of other civilizations too.

Can We Revive Our Glorious Past?

To realize the dream of a spiritual-scientific culture on Earth, the spiritual level of the society has to go up. There must be a large number of people with high spiritual level to bring about a change at a very fast rate (referred to as a critical mass by some). This might sound difficult, but things are actually moving in a positive direction. Despite all the greed, hatred and materialistic hullabaloo, many of us are feeling a need for an inner quest: What are we here for? Why so much misery and pain in life? Can we rise above this and make our lives more meaningful… can we? This inner quest is actually helping us rise above the ordinary. And so the long queues at the doorsteps of Gurus and religious preachers.

But only the desire for an inner quest may not help much. To hasten the pace of this change, something more is required: dedicated and evolved groups of people, working specifically and steadfastly to bring about the change. And one of the paths for them is to look for scientific-spiritual advancements of the past.

To Find Scientific Advancements In Ancient History

A two pronged action plan is required for this:

One certain source of scientific knowledge is Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures, written in the ancient and sophisticated language of Sanskrit. Many other Sanskrit scriptures and ancient books from other parts of the world and in other languages may contain advanced scientific knowledge. Various research programs on Vedas are already in progress, here in India and abroad. Specific and coordinated research programs on such texts have to be initiated.

Scientific remains of certain ancient civilizations must still be hidden somewhere – beneath some ancient ruins, or pyramids, or in some caves/ highlands of Himalayas. Or there could be some ancient library, or manuscripts/ texts, which might have survived the ravages of Dark Age wars. These have to be traced – through dedication, meditation and intuition.

The aim of these words is to bring together all such like-minded people who resonate with these thoughts, to launch a concerted and dedicated effort in this direction (points 1 & 2 above).

The evidence for many of the ideas mentioned above might not be forthcoming, and so may appear to some of us as hypothetical, and based on wild imagination and faith. But imagination and faith are amongst the strongest forces of nature capable of doing many a miracles in life. So if we have faith in our imaginations and in our inner quests, we surely can do some miracles. Let’s come together.

God


There is one Supreme being, called by the names of GOD, the Parmatma (the soul of universe), the Almighty Lord. God is sat (truth), chitta (intelligence) and ananda (happiness). He is absolutely holy and wise. He is omnipresent, incorporeal, unborn, immense, omniscient, omnipotent, merciful and just. He is the creator, protector and destroyer of the worlds. He is the lord of the universe.1

There are three distinct eternal identities: (1) God, (2) Souls, (3) Prakriti – the material cause of the universe. All three have the attributes of eternal existence in common. But they differ in other respects. Matter is inanimate and inert while God is all-life and all-power. The soul is limited in its intelligence and powers, while god is unlimited. The soul is confined in a body – God pervades all space. The former is finite – the latter infinite.2

The Universe

In the early part of this century, two opposing theories about the origin of the universe were postulated. (1) The Steady State theory, which says the universe is never born, never dies, and is always like what it is. (2) The Big bang theory, which says the universe began with a point of energy exploding in a “big-bang”. All the matter came into being from energy continuously expanding and changing form. Ultimately the expansion will stop and it will start contracting, ending into nothingness with a “big-crunch”. What is before big-bang or after big crunch, the theory doesn’t know.

In reality, both the theories are correct. The universe begins from a point with a bang and ends in a point with a crunch. This duration we call one Kalpa (cosmos) or Brahma Diwas (eternal day). It is preceded and succeeded by an equal period during which matter lies in a dormant, inert state and that is called a Brahma Ratri i.e. a divine night (for the nature that sleeps as it were). All the souls also remain in a dormant state, a sort of hibernation, during this period. The evolution of cosmos from dormant state may be called a ‘creation’ or ‘srishti’, and its involution back into inert state is called dissolution (pralaya). As days and nights succeed each other, so do cosmos and divine nights in this eternal sinusoidal cycle of evolutions and involutions 3 (Figure 1).

All matter, i.e. nature, has three basic attributes/forces – satva, rajasa and tamasa. During brahma ratri, these forces remain in a balanced state. After the big bang, the three forces get realigned to form elementary particles called Mahat or Aapah, which combine further to form other basic particles, atoms and so on. 4

Figure 1

A to B – One “Kalpa”

A – “Big Bang”

B – “Big Crunch”

Age of the Universe

The age of each Kalpa (eternal day) is 4.32 billion years (4,320,000,000 years). According to Hindu scriptures this is further subdivided as below:

1 Kalpa

=

1000 Chaturyugis

=

14 Manvantars + Buffer Periods of 6 Chaturyugis

1 Manvantar

=

71 Chaturyugis

1 Chaturyugi

=

4,320,000 years

Of the 14 manvantars, the universe expands for the first seven, and contracts for the next seven.

Each chaturyugi is subdivided into four Yugas:

Krit yuga = 1,728,000 years

Treta yuga = 1,296,000 years

Dwapar yuga = 864,000 years

Kali yuga = 432,000 years

At present, kaliyuga of the 28th chaturyugi of the 7th manvantar is in progress. According to this calculation, 1,972,949,100 years have elapsed since the evolution of present cosmos began, and it has 2,347,050,900 years still to go before the “big-crunch”. 5

The Earth

All planets prior to their formation are part of their parent stars, like the nine planets of our solar system were part of the Sun. After parting from the Sun, it took millions of years for our Earth to cool and become solid. The Earth is hollow inside, with a tiny white-dwarf “sun” at its center. Most of the other planets in this universe are hollow inside. And most of the planets are inhabited too, because the basic purpose of planets is to support life – as that of stars is to support planets. On a planet, both the outside surface and the inside surface, or any one of them, could be suitable for life. For our Earth, both the surfaces support life – in fact, the “inside world” (referred to as Pataal Loka in Hindu scriptures) is more suitable for life as is protected from outside natural calamities. 6

Life on Earth


Presently, the twenty eighth chaturyugi of the seventh manvantar is in its last phase. The Earth was formed in the second manvantar, while the Moon was formed in the third. Continents came out of the oceans in the fourth manvantar. Vegetation was born in the fifth, animals in sixth and humans at the beginning of the current seventh. So, human life on Earth is roughly 120 million years old.7

At first the humans were born by asexual means – in fully grown-up and knowledgeable state – in the Meru Parvat region in Himalayas (Tibet). They further carried on the chain of life through sexual means.8

At the birth of every cosmos the complete knowledge of God is transmitted in wave-form and spreads out with the expanding universe. This knowledge was received by the foremost of the earliest humans – the four rishis (sages) – through meditation, and given to the humankind in the form of the four Vedas. 9

Population increased, Vedic knowledge spread, and human society flourished. Since the very beginning, humanity has taken two paths, the Devas and the Asurs, the believers in God and the worshippers of nature, the good and the evil. The society got divided along these two paths. The Deva or Aryan culture believes in scientific development supported by equal spiritual enlightenment for the ultimate betterment of humanity. On the other hand, the Asur culture believes in extreme materialism and considers the nature to be all powerful, leading to usage of science for destructive purposes.10

The fight for supremacy between the two cultures, between good and bad, follows a sinusoidal path, and so do peace and wars, and the scientific and spiritual development of humanity. Today it’s the asur culture that is on top, but the fight is still on.

Human Body: Birth to Rebirth

What we call human body actually is a combination of three bodies

The Physical body (Sthula sharira), one which we ‘see’ and ‘feel’ with our senses.

The Astral body (Sukshma sharira), our higher dimension body, and connected with our physical body by means of an infinitely extensible ‘silver cord’ at the naval.

The Cause body (Karana sharira), much subtler than the astral body, plus the wave form record of all our Karma and desires (vasana), good or bad.

This “combination” human body is the carrier, the vehicle of our “Atma”, the Spirit, the actual “me”. During our sleep – unconsciously, and during meditation – consciously, our astral body can leave the physical body. For astral body being at a much higher vibration level, physical things are no barrier to it. When we “die”, only our physical body is destroyed. We, the “spirit” along with the astral body and cause body are born again in another physical body, as directed by our Karmic record. In between the death and rebirth, the spirit, along with the astral body goes to a particular astral plane depending on its level of evolution. There it experiences a detailed review of its latest life before being born again in another life. And this cycle of birth & death continues. The process of rebirth causes a memory loss, and we humans forget the real purpose of our lives. The aim of human life is to remember who we are, and to work towards the goal of evolution and the ultimate “moksha” (freedom from the cycle of birth and death). 11

The Law of Karma

All human actions/deeds, performed voluntarily or involuntarily, are termed as Karma. Broadly, karma are divided in two categories.

Nishkama Karma – performed as a duty, without expecting any “karma-phal” (result/ benefit) out of it. Karma of highly evolved yogis fall into this category.

Sakama Karma – where the performer wishes a particular result out of the karma. Karma of most humans falls into this category only. It can be good, bad or mixed type of sakama karma.

Hindu scriptures consider nishkama karma to be the highest form of karma that leads the soul towards salvation. 12

Categorizing as per mode, human beings perform three types of karma

“manasa” – by thought

“vacha” – by speech

“karmana” – by actions

All three have different karma-phal, and based on it a spirit’s next incarnation is decided. Three attributes of the next life are decided by karma-phal

“yoni” – Species (human/ animal/ plant)

“aayu” – Age

“bhoga” – Comforts

Only human form is the one where a spirit is free to do karma. In rest all life forms – all animal and vegetation species – spirit is not free to do karma, only to endure the results of previous karma.

Apart from the above classification, the karma is also classified in two types

Personal Karma, a persons individual karma which effect him alone

Societal Karma, the karma of individuals of a society counted together, whose reward/ punishment has to be borne by every individual of the society, in addition to the effect of the personal karma.

Knowledge is Eternal

The knowledge of God is eternal, and is present everywhere around us in energy form. So are the past and prospective futures. These can be “tapped in” by sufficiently spiritually advanced individuals. Without the spiritual development, knowledge and science always decay.

At the end of every chaturyugi, there is always a pralaya – mass destruction in the form of natural or man-made cataclysms – in which most of the knowledge in physical form is destroyed. But humanity survives in the form of a few human beings to carry forward the human race into next chaturyugi, like “Manu” (Noah) did at the end of last chaturyugi 3,893,100 years ago. Scientific remains of ancient, advanced civilizations of present chaturyugi may still be present and could be discovered by evolved and dedicated groups of people.

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The Suffering of Change
Some people have characterized Buddhism as a negative religion that identifies all that we experience as suffering and does not acknowledge happiness at all. This, however, is a misinformed view. It is true that Buddhism speaks of our usual, ordinary happiness as the suffering of change. This means that this type of happiness is unsatisfying: it never lasts and we never have enough of it. It is not true happiness. If, for example, eating ice cream were true happiness, then the more we ate of it at one sitting, the happier we would become. But soon we reach a point at which the happiness at eating ice cream changes into unhappiness and suffering. The same is the case with sitting out in the sun or moving into the shade. This is what is meant by the suffering of change.

Buddhism, however, provides many methods for overcoming the limitations of our ordinary happiness, this suffering of change, so that we reach the everlasting joyous state of a Buddha. Nevertheless, despite the drawbacks of our ordinary happiness, Buddhism also explains the sources for achieving that kind of happiness. Buddhism provides this teaching because one of its basic axioms is that everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to be unhappy. And, since everyone is looking for happiness and, as ordinary beings, we do not know of any type of happinessother than the ordinary, usual kind, Buddhism tells us how to achieve it. Only when that wish and need for happiness has been fulfilled on the most basic level of ordinary happiness can we go on to aim for deeper, more satisfying levels of it with more advanced spiritual practices.

Unfortunately, however, as the great Indian Buddhist master Shantideva wrote in (Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior)
Although having the mind that wishes to shun suffering,
They rush headlong into suffering itself.
Although wishing for happiness, yet out of naivety they destroy their own happiness as if it were a foe.
In other words, although we wish for happiness, we are naive about its sources and so, instead of creating more happiness for ourselves, we create only more unhappiness and sorrow.

Happiness Is a Feeling
Although there are many types of happiness, here let us focus our attentionon ordinary happiness. To understand its sources, we first need to be clear about what is meant by “happiness.” What is this happiness that we all want? According to the Buddhist analysis, happiness is a mental factor – in other words, it is a type of mental activity with which we are aware of an object in a certain way. It is one section of a broader mental factor called “feeling”, which covers a spectrum that spans a wide range from totally happy to totally unhappy.

What is the definition of “feeling?” Feeling is the mental factor having the nature of experiencing. It is the mental activity of experiencing an object or situation in a way that actually makes it an experience of that object or situation. Without a feeling somewhere on the spectrum between happiness and unhappiness, we do not actually experience an object or a situation. A computer takes in and processes data, but since a computer does not feel happy or unhappy in doing this, a computer does not experience the data. This is the difference between a computer and a mind.

Feeling a level of happinessor unhappiness accompanies either cognition of a sensory object – a sight, sound, smell, taste, or physical sensation such as pleasure or pain – or cognition of a mental object such as when thinking something. It does not need to be dramatic or extreme. It can be very low level. In fact, some level of feeling happy or unhappy accompanies every moment of our life – even when we are deeply asleep with no dreams, we experience it with a neutral feeling.

The Definition of Happiness
Buddhism provides two definitions for happiness. One is defined in terms of our relation to an object, while the other is defined in terms of our relation with the state of mind of the feeling itself.

The first defines happiness as the experiencing of something in a satisfying manner, based on believing that it is of benefit to ourselves, whether or not it actually is. Unhappiness is the experiencing of something in an unsatisfying, tormenting way. We experience something neutrally when it is in neither a satisfying nor a tormenting way.
The second defines happiness as that feeling which, when it has ended, we wish to meet with it once more. Unhappiness as that feeling which, when it arises, we wish to be parted from it. While a neutral feeling is that feeling which, when it arises or ends, we have neither of the two wishes.
The two definitions are related. When we experience something in a satisfying way, the way we experience the object is that the object, literally, “comes to our mind” in a pleasant manner. We accept the object and it remains comfortably as the object of our attention. This implies that we feel our experience of the object is of benefit to us: it makes us happy; it feels good. Because of that, we want the benefit from this experience to continue and, if it ended, we would want it to come back. Colloquially, we would say that we enjoy the object and the experience of it.

When we experience an object in a tormenting manner, this unhappy experience of the object, literally, “does not come to our mind” in a pleasant manner. We do not accept the object and it does not stay as the object of our attention comfortably. We feel that our experience of the object is of no benefit and, in fact, it is hurting us. We want it to end. Colloquially, we would say that we do not enjoy the object or the experience of it.

Exaggeration of the Qualities of an Object
What does it mean to feel comfortable with an object? When we are comfortable with an object, we accept it as it is, without being naive, and without exaggerating or denying its good qualities or its shortcomings. This point brings us to the discussion of disturbing emotions and their relation with whether we experience an object with happiness or unhappiness.

One set of disturbing emotions is lust, attachment, and greed. With all three of them, we exaggerate the good qualities of an object. With lust, we want to get the object if we don’t have it. With attachment, we don’t want to lose it when we do have it; and with greed, we want more even if we do have it. With these disturbing emotions, we tend to ignore the shortcomings of the object. These are not happy states of mind, since we do not find the object satisfying. That means we are not satisfied with the object. We do not accept it for what it is.

For instance, when we see our girlfriend or boyfriend to whom we are very attached, we may experience the sight with happiness. We are satisfied to see the person; we find it satisfying. But as soon as our attachment arises as we exaggerate the good qualities of the person and of being with him or her and we exaggerate the negative qualities of our being without this person, then we feel dissatisfied and unhappy. We do not accept the situation of seeing the person just now and merely enjoying the moment, but we want more and dread his or her going away. Consequently, all of a sudden, we now experience seeing our lovedone with dissatisfaction, uneasiness, and unhappiness.

Another set of disturbing emotions is repulsion, anger, and hatred. With these, we exaggerate the shortcomings or negative qualities of the object and want to avoid it if don’t have it; we want to get rid of it when have it; and when it ends, we don’t want it to recur. These three disturbing emotions are usually mixed with fear. They too are not happy states of mind, since we are not satisfied with the object. We do not accept it for what it is.

For example, we could be having root canal work. The object of our experience is a physical sensation of pain. But if we accept it for what it is, without exaggerating its negative qualities, we will not be unhappy during the procedure. We could have a neutral feeling as the way in which we experience the pain: we accept that as long as the procedure takes, it takes and so we are not praying for it to be over quickly; and when the dentist stops drilling, we do not wish for him or her to drill more. We have equanimityabout the pain of the drilling – neither repulsion nor attraction nor naivety. In fact, during the procedure, we could experience happiness focused on the thought that we are preventing the future pain of more toothaches.

Note that being happy or satisfied with something does not preclude wanting more or wanting less of something, based on need. It does not make us inactive so that we never try to improve things or to improve ourselves or our situations in life. For example, we can accept, be satisfied and consequently be happy with the progress we have made on carrying out a project at work or on recovering from surgery. But based on need, we can still want to make further progress without being unhappy with what we have achieved so far. The same is the case with the amount of food on our plate or the amount of money we have in the bank, if in fact the reality is that we do not have enough and need more. Without exaggerating the negative aspects of not having enough food to eat or money in the bank, or denying the benefits of having more, we can make efforts to get more food or money without being unhappy about it. If we succeed, it’s OK; and if we fail, that’s OK too, we will somehow manage. But still we try. Most importantly, we try to get more, but without the mental wandering of expectations for success or worries about failure.

If it can be remedied,
Why get into a foul mood over something?
And if it can’t be remedied,
What help is it to get into a foul mood over it?
ConstructiveBehavior as the Principal Source of Happiness
In the long term, the main causefor happiness is constructive behavior. This means refraining from acting, speaking, or thinking under the influence of disturbing emotions such as lust, attachment, greed, repulsion, anger, naivety, and so on, without concern for the long term effect of our behavior on ourselves and on others. Destructivebehavior, as the main cause for unhappiness, is not refraining from that type of behavior, but rather engaging in it. For example, with longing desire, we exaggerate the good qualities of an object in a store and ignoring the legal consequences, we steal it. With anger, we exaggerate the negative qualities of something our partner has said and, ignoring the effect it will have on our relationship, we yell at him or her and say cruel words.

Acting, speaking, and thinking while refraining from being under the influence of disturbing emotions builds up the habit to refrain from being under such influence in the future. As a result, if a disturbing emotion arises in the future, we do not act on the basis of it and, eventually, the strength of the disturbing emotion will weaken and eventually the disturbing emotion will hardly arise at all. On the other hand, the more we act on the basis of the disturbing emotions, the more they will arise in the future and the stronger they will be.

As we have seen, when we experience an object with happiness, we experience it without the disturbing emotions of naivety, lust, attachment, greed, repulsion, or anger. Our experiencing of the object is based on accepting its actual nature as what it is, without exaggerating or denying its good or bad points. This way of experiencing things, then, comes from the habit of constructive behavior with which we act, speak, and think likewise based on accepting the actual nature of what people or things or situations are, without exaggerating or denying their good or bad points.

The Circumstances for the Potentials for Happiness to Ripen
Our way of experiencing objects or thoughts – with happiness or unhappiness – is not determined, then, by the object or the thought itself. As we have seen, if with our long-term previous behavior we have built up the habit of refraining from exaggerating or denying the positive or negative aspects of these things, we can experience even the pain of having root canal work in a happy state of mind. Going back to the definition of happiness, we experience the procedure in a satisfying manner, based on believing that it is of benefit to ourselves.

Although we might have built up the habit of refraining from acting, speaking, or thinking under the influence of disturbing emotions and so built up the potential to experience objects and thoughts with happiness, still certain circumstances are necessary for that potential to ripen into an experience of happiness. As we have seen, the object of our experience does not necessarily determine whether we experience it with happiness or unhappiness. Rather, experiencing an object with happiness depends more strongly on our attitude of accepting the actual reality of what the object is, regardless of what that object might be – the painful physical sensation of root canal work or the sight of a loved one. So, our attitude, our state of mind, is critical for whether at the moment we feel happy or unhappy, no matter what object we might be seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, physically sensing, or thinking.

We have also seen that when we accept the reality of what something is and are not naive about it, then we do not exaggerate or deny its good or bad qualities and so we do not experience the object with lust, greed, or attachment or with repulsion or anger. Therefore, what helps to trigger the ripening of happiness at any particular moment is being free of naivety.

Naivety
In any given moment of unhappiness, our naivety is not necessarily restricted to being naive about the object we are experiencing. Naivety has a much wider range. It can also be focused on ourselves. When we are experiencing a problem with great unhappiness, then with naivety we tend to become fixated only on ourselves and we might even think that we are the only one who has ever experienced this problem.

Take the example of losing our job. The reality is that there are millions of people around the world who have lost their jobs and are now unemployed. We can think about our situation without being naive about impermanence, for instance. We remember that all phenomena that arise from causes and circumstances will be affectedby further causes and circumstances, and will eventually end. That can be very helpful. But even more effective is to expand the scope of our thinking further to include not only our own but also everyone else’s problem of losing their jobs, if that has happened to them. We need to think, “This is not just my problem alone; it is the problem of an enormous number of people. I am not the only one who needs a solution; everyone else needs a solution too. Everyone needs to overcome such problems and unhappiness.” That is, in fact, the reality.

With this way of thinking, which is without naivety, we develop compassion for others, rather than wallowing in self-pity. Our minds are no longer narrowly focused on just ourselves, but are much more open in thinking about all others in a similar situation. With the wish to help them overcome their problems too, our own individual problems diminish in importance and we develop the courage and strength to deal with them in an objective manner. We certainly did not want to lose our job, but with equanimity we accept the reality of the situation and, thinking of others, we might even be happy at the thought that now we have the opportunity to try to help them.

The Relation between Compassion and Happiness
Compassion, then, is one of the key factors for triggering our potentials to experience an object or a situation with happiness. But how does that work? Compassion is the wish for others to be free of their suffering and the causes for their suffering, just as we wish the same for ourselves. But when we focus on the suffering and unhappiness of others, we naturally feel sad about that, not happy. Or we may have blocked feelings and feel nothing. In either case, we don’t feel happy about their suffering. So, how does compassion bring about a happy state of mind?

To understand this, we need to differentiate upsetting feelings from nonupsetting feelings. Here, I am using these terms not with their strict definitions, but in a more colloquial, nontechnical manner. The difference is whether or not the feeling of happy, unhappy, or neutral is mixed with naivety and confusionabout the feeling itself. Remember, when we differentiated happiness from unhappiness in general, the variable was whether or not we were naive about the object we were experiencing. Here, even if we do not exaggerate or deny the qualities of an object that we experience with unhappiness, for example, we might still make that unhappy feeling into some sort of solid, truly existent “thing,” like a dark heavy cloud hanging over our heads. We then exaggerate the negative qualities of that feeling and imagine it to be, for instance, “a horrible depression” and we feel trapped inside it. In this case, the naivety is not accepted the unhappy feeling for what it is. After all, a feeling of unhappiness is something that changes from moment to moment as its intensity varies: it is not some sort of solid monolithic object that exists truly on its own, unaffected by anything else.

We can apply a similar analysis to when we experience feeling nothing when thinking of the suffering of others. In this case, when we exaggerate the negative quality of feeling sad or unhappy, we are afraid to feel it and so we block it. We then experience a neutral feeling, neither unhappy nor happy. But then we exaggerate that neutral feeling too, imagining it to be something solid, like a big solid “nothing” that is sitting inside us, preventing us from sincerely feeling anything.

To develop compassion, it is important not to deny that the difficult situations of others are sad, as may be ours, such as when losing our job. It would be unhealthy to be afraid to feel that sadness or to block or repress it. We need to feel this sadness, but in a nonupsetting manner in order to be able to empathize with others’ suffering, to develop the deep sincere wish for others to be free of it, and to take some responsibility to try to help them overcome it. In short, the Buddhist advice is, “Don’t make a solid ‘thing’ out of feeling sad; don’t make a big deal out of it.”

Quieting the Mind
To experience the feeling of sadness in a nonupsetting manner, we need to quiet our minds of all mental wandering and dullness. With mental wandering, our attention flies off to disturbing extraneous thoughts such as thoughts filled with worry, doubt, fear, or thoughts filled with expectations of what we hope will be something more pleasant. With mental dullness, we fall into a mental fog and so become inattentive of everything.

Buddhism is rich in methods for ridding our states of mind of mental wandering and dullness. One of the most basic methods is to quiet down by focusing on our breath. With minimal mental wandering and dullness, our minds are tranquil and serene. In such a state, we can more easily calm down as well any exaggeration or repulsion or indifference to others’ problems and suffering and to our feelings about them. Then even if we initially feel sad, it is not upsetting.

Eventually, however, as our mind relaxes and calms down further, we naturally feel a low level of happiness. In a tranquil mental and emotional state, the natural warmth and happiness of the mind become manifest. If we have built up strong enough potentials for experiencing happiness from having engaged in constructive behavior, our tranquil state of mind helps to trigger them to ripen as well.

Developing Love
We then enhance this happiness with thoughts of love (byams-pa, Skt. maitri). Love is the wish for others to be happy and to have the causes for happiness. Such a wish naturally follows from compassionate sympathy. Though we feel sad at someone’s pain and sorrow, feeling that way is difficult while actively wishing the person to be happy. When we stop thinking about ourselves and focus instead on someone’s happiness, our heart naturally warms. This automatically brings us a further gentle feeling of joy and can trigger even more potentials to feel happy that were built up over a long timeby our constructive behavior. Thus, when love is selfless and sincere, a gentle happiness accompanies it that is not upsetting and our sadness disappears. Just as a parent suffering from a headache forgets the pain while comforting his or her sick child, similarly the sadness we feel at someone’s misfortune disappears while we radiate thoughts of love.

Summary
In short, the long-term, most basic source of happiness accordingto Buddhism is building up a habit of refraining from acting, speaking or thinking destructively under the influence of disturbing emotions and attitudes such as lust, greed, attachment, repulsion and anger, all of which are rooted in naivety. Such constructive behavior builds up the potentials on our mental continuumsfor experiencing happiness in the future. We can trigger those potentials to ripen by not exaggerating or denying the good or bad qualities of any object or situation we experience or any level of happiness or unhappiness with which we experience it – regardless of what the object or situation may be. Without naivety, and so without attachment, repulsion, or indifference, we then need to quiet our minds of mental wandering and dullness. We need especially to quiet our minds of worries or expectations. In that serene and tranquil state of mind, we will already feel a low level of happiness and trigger the potentials we might have for feeling even greater happiness.

We then expand our minds by turning our attention to the problems of others and how they might be in even worse situations than ours. We stop thinking of only ourselves. We think how wonderful it would be if all others could be free of their suffering, and how great it would be if we could help them to accomplishthat. This strong compassion naturally leads to a feeling of love – the wish for them to be happy. Thinking of their happiness triggers even more of our own potentials for happiness to ripen.

With these thoughts of compassion and love, we may then turn our thoughts to the Buddhas or to any great humanitarian figures. Thinking of their examples, we gain the inspiration to take some responsibility to actually try to help others. This helps us to gain the strength and courage to tackle not only the problems of others, but our own as well – but again, without exaggerating them and without worries about failure or expectations of success.

Karma

Posted: 30/05/2010 in Law of Spiritualism

Karma is the law of moral causation. The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we have it today.

What is the cause of the inequality that exists among mankind?
Why should one person be brought up in the lap of luxury, endowed with fine mental, moral and physical qualities, and another in absolute poverty, steeped in misery?
Why should one person be a mental prodigy, and another an idiot?
Why should one person be born with saintly characteristics and another with criminal tendencies?
Why should some be linguistic, artistic, mathematically inclined, or musical from the very cradle?
Why should others be congenitally blind, deaf, or deformed?|
Why should some be blessed, and others cursed from their births?

Either this inequality of mankind has a cause, or it is purely accidental. No sensible person would think of attributing this unevenness, this inequality, and this diversity to blind chance or pure accident.

In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve. Usually, men of ordinary intellect cannot comprehend the actual reason or reasons. The definite invisible cause or causes of the visible effect is not necessarily confined to the present life, they may be traced to a proximate or remote past birth.

According to Buddhism, this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, “nature and nurture”, but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate.

Perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable, apparent disparity that existed among humanity, a young truth-seeker approached the Buddha and questioned him regarding this intricate problem of inequality:

“What is the cause, what is the reason, O Lord,” questioned he, “that we find amongst mankind the short-lived and long-lived, the healthy and the diseased, the ugly and beautiful, those lacking influence and the powerful, the poor and the rich, the low-born and the high-born, and the ignorant and the wise?”

The Buddha’s reply was:

“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.”

He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of cause and effect.

Certainly we are born with hereditary characteristics. At the same time we possess certain innate abilities that science cannot adequately account for. To our parents we are indebted for the gross sperm and ovum that form the nucleus of this so-called being. They remain dormant within each parent until this potential germinal compound is vitalised by the karmic energy needed for the production of the foetus. Karma is therefore the indispensable conceptive cause of this being.

The accumulated karmic tendencies, inherited in the course of previous lives, at times play a far greater role than the hereditary parental cells and genes in the formation of both physical and mental characteristics.

The Buddha, for instance, inherited, like every other person, the reproductive cells and genes from his parents. But physically, morally and intellectually there was none comparable to him in his long line of Royal ancestors. In the Buddha’s own words, he belonged not to the Royal lineage, but to that of the Aryan Buddhas. He was certainly a superman, an extraordinary creation of his own Karma.

According to the Lakkhana Sutta of Digha Nikaya, the Buddha inherited exceptional features, such as the 32 major marks, as the result of his past meritorious deeds. The ethical reason for acquiring each physical feature is clearly explained in the Sutta.

It is obvious from this unique case that karmic tendencies could not only influence our physical organism, but also nullify the potentiality of the parental cells and genes – hence the significance of the Buddha’s enigmatic statement, – “We are the heirs of our own actions.”

Dealing with this problem of variation, the Atthasalini, being a commentary on the Abhidharma, states:

“Depending on this difference in Karma appears the differences in the birth of beings, high and low, base and exalted, happy and miserable. Depending on the difference in Karma appears the difference in the individual features of beings as beautiful and ugly, high-born or low born, well-built or deformed. Depending on the difference in Karma appears the difference in worldly conditions of beings, such as gain and loss, and disgrace, blame and praise, happiness and misery.”

Thus, from a Buddhist point of view, our present mental, moral intellectual and temperamental differences are, for the most part, due to our own actions and tendencies, both past and present.

Although Buddhism attributes this variation to Karma, as being the chief cause among a variety, it does not, however, assert that everything is due to Karma. The law of Karma, important as it is, is only one of the twenty-four conditions described in Buddhist Philosophy.

Refuting the erroneous view that “whatsoever fortune or misfortune experienced is all due to some previous action”, the Buddha said:

“So, then, according to this view, owing to previous action men will become murderers, thieves, unchaste, liars, slanderers, covetous, malicious and perverts. Thus, for those who fall back on the former deeds as the essential reason, there is neither the desire to do, nor effort to do, nor necessity to do this deed, or abstain from this deed.”

It was this important text, which states the belief that all physical circumstances and mental attitudes spring solely from past Karma that Buddha contradicted. If the present life is totally conditioned or wholly controlled by our past actions, then certainly Karma is tantamount to fatalism or determinism or predestination. If this were true, free will would be an absurdity. Life would be purely mechanistic, not much different from a machine. Being created by an Almighty God who controls our destinies and predetermines our future, or being produced by an irresistible Karma that completely determines our fate and controls our life’s course, independent of any free action on our part, is essentially the same. The only difference lies in the two words God and Karma. One could easily be substituted for the other, because the ultimate operation of both forces would be identical.

Such a fatalistic doctrine is not the Buddhist law of Karma.

According to Buddhism, there are five orders or processes (niyama) which operate in the physical and mental realms.

They are:

Utu Niyama – physical inorganic order, e.g. seasonal phenomena of winds and rains. The unerring order of seasons, characteristic seasonal changes and events, causes of winds and rains, nature of heat, etc., all belong to this group.
Bija Niyama – order of germs and seeds (physical organic order), e.g. rice produced from rice-seed, sugary taste from sugar-cane or honey, peculiar characteristics of certain fruits, etc. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order.
Karma Niyama – order of act and result, e.g., desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results. As surely as water seeks its own level so does Karma, given opportunity, produce its inevitable result, not in the form of a reward or punishment but as an innate sequence. This sequence of deed and effect is as natural and necessary as the way of the sun and the moon.
Dhamma Niyama – order of the norm, e.g., the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisattva in his last birth. Gravitation and other similar laws of nature. The natural reason for being good and so forth, may be included in this group.
Citta Niyama – order or mind or psychic law, e.g., processes of consciousness, arising and perishing of consciousness, constituents of consciousness, power of mind, etc., including telepathy, telaesthesia, retro-cognition, premonition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, thought-reading and such other psychic phenomena which are inexplicable to modern science.
Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these all-embracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves. Karma as such is only one of these five orders. Like all other natural laws they demand no lawgiver.

Of these five, the physical inorganic order and the order of the norm are more or less mechanistic, though they can be controlled to some extent by human ingenuity and the power of mind. For example, fire normally burns, and extreme cold freezes, but man has walked scatheless over fire and meditated naked on Himalayan snows; horticulturists have worked marvels with flowers and fruits; Yogis have performed levitation. Psychic law is equally mechanistic, but Buddhist training aims at control of mind, which is possible by right understanding and skilful volition. Karma law operates quite automatically and, when the Karma is powerful, man cannot interfere with its inexorable result though he may desire to do so; but here also right understanding and skilful volition can accomplish much and mould the future. Good Karma, persisted in, can thwart the reaping of bad Karma, or as some Western scholars prefer to say ‘action influence’, is certainly an intricate law whose working is fully comprehended only by a Buddha. The Buddhist aims at the final destruction of all Karma

Vedangas

Posted: 26/03/2010 in Law of Spiritualism

The Vedas are the most important treatise to the humanity
classical Sanskrit language that was widely used in ancient Aryan times
Vedic verses can be interpreted from various angles like literature, spiritual, religious, grammar, philosophy etc
Most of the texts of Vedas are in the form of verses
These are called mantra verses and their oral delivery largely depends on phonics and rhythm
There are four Vedas Rik(it is also pronounced as Rigveda). Yajur, Sama and Atharva.  The first three are known as Trayividya (literal translation – three types of knowledge).  Atharva Veda is not included here because of its late origin.  The origin of the other three Vedas is not known
Vedas are also known as srutis.  Vedas in their original form is too difficult to comprehend as they are considered to have been delivered by God Himself to the ancient sages and saints
If the sages had chosen to contrive the Vedas into manuscripts, they could have been destroyed or modified unable to stand the vagaries of the Mother Nature
It is beyond the human power to decrypt the speech of God.  To make it possible to some extent, the study of Vedas were divided into various categories and each category was analyzed by the experts in the respective fields. 

This study is known as vedangas that integrates study of phonetics, ritual injunctions, linguistics, grammar, etymology, lexicography, prosody, astronomy and astrology

The Creator

Vedas do not recognize the universe as different from God, the Creator.  Except the Eternal self-illuminating Brahman, all other objects get reflected by That supreme light.  The simple philosophy of Vedas is that the universe originates from Him, sustained by Him and dissolves unto Him. This logical presentation of Vedas prompted Upanishads to postulate”By whose will is the mind drawn towards its objects?  Who makes the vital breath, the first sign of life, function?  Ordained by whom do people utter words?”   Vedas describe creation as an act of God.  A new living being is created by the combination of two factors that augurs well with the theory that for a creation two energies are required.  Vedas described these energies as ‘purusha’ and ‘prakriti’.   They are known as soul and Mother Nature, a primordial substance.  Soul is described as static energy and the primordial substance is known as the kinetic energy.  Though soul and Nature are assigned with different types of energy for better discernment, they continue to be the reflectivity of God.  Vedas categorically emphasize this factor without any ambiguity.At the same time, they do not fail to take cognizance of different attributes of God for His three acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Each of His attributes is given an objective name such as lord of fire, lord of water, lord of wealth, lord of death, lord of light, lord of darkness, etc.  Even for the act of conjugal bliss, there is a lord.  Every aspect of human life is considered as divine, based on the fact that every object, be it movable or immovable, is His reflection.  Therefore, it is not surprising that every act of humanity is made as reverent.  Rgveda (X.110.9) says “He is the one who has decked the parental heaven and earth, and all the worlds with living forms”.  After the great dissolution, the creation again begins and this process goes in a cyclic manner, one after another.  During the great dissolution, when water engulfs the entire universe annihilating all living non-living beings, the Brahman alone exists along with His kinetic energy.  The kinetic energy alone survives because; it forms a part of the potentiality of the Brahman.  Every object dissolves unto Him during the great dissolution.   There is a contextual explanation in Atharva Veda (XI.7.2) which says “In the remnant heaven and earth, all existence is set together; in the remnant waters, the ocean, the moon, the wind is set”.  The verse proceeds to delineate on these lines.  Again, another cycle of creation begins from Him

The Creation

The creation is the act of the Creator.  The process of creation is the will of God executed as cognitive operation in a multi dimensional and conceptual platform.  Vedas accentuate the importance of breath and call this as prana or vital force or life.  Like other attributes of the Lord, prana is also worshipped.  The formation of the human body is beautifully explained in Vedas.  The human body is formed out of many sheaths or coverings.  They are called sheaths because they from a protective covering to the soul, which is also known as purusha or atman.  Soul’s association with prakriti emanates a new life that commences its activities due to the unfolding effects of karma engrafted in the soul.  It is widely misconceived that soul is a representative of the Lord.  If this theory is to be espoused, the omnipresent nature of the Brahman is lost.  When Vedas unwaveringly corroborate that, the existence of universe is the manifestation of the Brahman, there is no question of His representative.  Vedas say that there is no second to the Brahman.  He is the One and the only One.  That is why He is not only ubiquitous, but also omnipotent, the perfect ratiocination for being called as Almighty.   Rgveda says (X.121.1) “The sustainer Lord of illuminant celestial cosmos has been present from the very beginning.  He has ever been the sole Lord of all the created beings.  He upholds this earth and heaven”.When Vedas explicate about creation, they also discourse on sins, karmas, rebirths, bondage and all the requisite evils of existence.  They point out that sin need not necessarily arise out of a wrong doing, but surely accrues by mere thought of an evil act. Atharvaveda Veda VI.45.1 says “Go far away evil mind.  Why utter something that is not worthy.  I do not desire you”.  Vedas prescribe high moral standards of living by accentuating the importance to the mind that eventually leads to virtuous deeds

Upanishads

Vedas reposed a strong fundament for noble inhabitancy.  They interpret the Brahman in a complicated manner and common man could not understand their subtle conveyances.  This situation led to Upanishads, where God as a concept has been elucidated in a way that can be understood by common man.  Upanishads do not dwell on ritualistic rites, but explicate by negations and avouchment to realise the Creator.  The imparting of Upanishads is considered as mystic doctrine, from the angle of rational approach to philosophical renditions.  This process of understanding the Creator is called self-realization.  They prescribe certain tools called meditation to establish ones consciousness with the Creator.  Both science and philosophy believe that the Absolute can be realized only by that pure form of consciousness.  The precepts of Upanishads got transubstantiated into a condensed form called kundalini meditation that is widely prevalent now.  But any type of meditation without understanding the logic of creation and the Creator may not yield the desired results

Conclusion

It appears that the stupendous darkness, the supra mental nescience in our scramble, nerve gives it up to man, the genial existence.  The struggle is incessant and would ever go on in our inner spheres with fresh vigor.  This nescience has not merely to be cut away from us, but broken up into and made to yield up the enigma of light, good and infinity.  Hushed up behind this cognitive content, is the great light of self-illuminating Absolute.  Vedas, being the voice of the Absolute himself elucidate the ways and means to realize the Creator by inferring the process of creation.  Technological explorations, scientific inventions and psychological perceptions of modern times have already been expounded by the Vedas time immemorial