Selections from the Upanishads

He knew that Brahman is bliss. For truly, beings here are born from bliss. When born, they live by bliss. And into bliss when departing, they enter.

-- Taittiriya Upanishad 3.6.1

The face of truth is covered with a golden disc. Unveil it, O Pushan, so that I, who love the truth, may see it.
O Pushan, the sole seer, O Controller, O Sun, off-spring of Prajapati, spread forth your rays & gather up your radiant light that I may behold you of loveliest form. Whosoever is that person (yonder) that also am I.

-- Isha Upanishad 15-16

I have overcome the whole world. I am brilliant like the Sun.
He who knows this, knows the secret wisdom.

-- Taittiriya Upanishad 3.10.5

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On the law of karma

I thought I must add this.
I mentioned something about the law of Karma in my post on Non-violence.
Though I don't altogether reject the existence of the law of Karma, i.e. the metaphysical operation of such a law, I don't pay any attention to it either.
The theory of karma is not only unverifiable & totally closed to the simplest of logic, but also totally irrelevant.
Above all, it is psychologically & socially destructive, like astrology & the plethore of ritualism which exists in organized, dogmatized, ritualistic religion.
It's possible that it operates, but no one can ever be sure if it does, and it's not important.
What is important is not what I did in my last birth, or what I did in my previous births to suffer here & now, but - what I have done, am doing, &ought to do - in THIS "birth" - and what I've done here & now which has led, or can lead, to my suffering.
The law of karma has been - and shall always be - the bane of Indian society, and of any collective spiritual life.
It is still being used by our "God-Men" to justify casteism, suffering, injustice, poverty, & suppression.
This, please note, IS a misinterpretation - almost a historical error - and in itself is no reason why the law of karma should be rejected.
The law of karma should be rejected on the basis of its IRRELEVANCE.
When I mentioned it in the context of the Gita, I was aware that in true Vedantic philosophy, the law of karma involves only one significant idea: that every birth is an opportunity for man to move towards union with God: that is, unite with the Root & Essence of Existence (& hence, with the whole of Existence itself).
In a more simplified form, any wrong action takes us further away from God-realization, and any good action takes us further towards it.
Evil action makes it more difficult, good action facilitates perfection.
But only on attainment of Brahmanirvana do actions stop having any effect on determining the course of the immortal soul's movement.
But all this is basically inessential to the real development in a human being.
The life & consciousness of an intelligent, active-minded, rational man is endowed with sufficient meaning to impel him toward self-realization.
It is our inner burning desire for perfection which counts.
That it exists, can be strengthened, and can become the compass of our life is what counts, not whether I was a jackass in 1850, or shall be a pig in 2100.
People should not lose their heads with the law of karma because it is not the objective of a man's life to remember what he was in some previous birth, and what he did, & where he was, and whether he was Christoper Columbus or Nero or Pascal.
So what, if you were Attila the Hun, in your 1564th birth from now, or Francis of Assissi in your 37th, or a lizard in your last?
It makes no difference to you, or anyone else.
All this is silly, & unintellectual, - and above all, makes a man a very easy target to be fooled & misled.
Anything can be interpreted in any way - anything can be justified - anything can be given any explanation - and this means that someone endowed with some unidentifiable, unverifiable, indisputable "special powers" is giving an explanation, and someone lesser endowed & "gifted" has to simply accept it, on "faith".
This is mental & moral slavery, and destruction of the Freedom of Consciousness.

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