"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No Karta, No Karma

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Swami Lokesananda, a sanyasi, asked Sri Bhagavan: Is there prarabdha for a jivanmukta?

M.: Who is the questioner? From whom does the question proceed? Is it a jivanmukta who is asking? 

D.: No, I am not a mukta as yet. 

M.: Then why not let the jivanmukta ask the question for himself? 

D.: The doubt is for me. 

M.: Quite so. The ajnani has doubt but not a jnani.

D.: According to the creed that there is no creation (ajatavada), the explanations of Sri Bhagavan are faultless; but are they admissible in other schools? 

M.: There are three methods of approach in Advaita vada. 

(1) The ajatavada is represented by no loss, no creation, no one bound, no sadhaka, no one desirous of liberation, no liberation. This is the Supreme Truth. (Mandukya Karika, II - 32). According to this, there is only One and it admits of no discussion. 

(2) Drishti Srishtivada is illustrated thus:- Simultaneous creation. There are two friends sleeping side by side. One of them dreams that he goes to Benares with his friend and returns. He tells his friend that both of them have been in Benares. The other denies it. That statement is true from the standpoint of one and the denial from that of the other. 

(3) Srishti Drishtivada is plain (Gradual creation and knowledge of it). Karma is posited as past karma, etc., prarabdha, agami and sanchita. There must be kartritva (doership) and karta (doer) for it. Karma (action) cannot be for the body because it is insentient. It is only so long as dehatma buddhi (‘I-am-the-body idea’) lasts. After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a jnani. In the absence of that idea (buddhi) there cannot be either kartritva or karta. So a jnani has no karma. That is his experience. Otherwise he is not a jnani. However an ajnani identifies the jnani with his body, which the jnani does not do. So the ajnani finds the jnani acting, because his body is active, and therefore he asks if the jnani is not affected by prarabdha. 

The scriptures say that jnana is the fire which burns away all karma (sarvakarmani). Sarva (all) is interpreted in two ways: (1) to include prarabdha and (2) to exclude it. In the first way: if a man with three wives dies, it is asked. “can two of them be called widows and the third not?” All are widows. So it is with prarabdha, agami and sanchita. When there is no karta none of them can hold out any longer. 

The second explanation is, however, given only to satisfy the enquirer. It is said that all karma is burnt away leaving prarabdha alone. The body is said to continue in the functions for which it has taken its birth. That is prarabdha. But from the jnani’s point of view there is only the Self which manifests in such variety. There is no body or karma apart from the Self, so that the actions do not affect him. 

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