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Friday, December 12, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -3-

presented at a conference NIMHANS
By Sri NV Raghuram

* Wise person is one who knows that it is temporary he sees that things are going to change and will not be the same. Therefore though he is in this world he does not get caught by this world. He has no attachment and no axe to grind. Good happens to him does not excite him overwhelmingly and the sorrow that comes does not disturb him so that he will eb crippled!*

* Now let us see how Krishna shows to Arjuna the pairs of things and going beyond to beyond!*

* What ever that is born has to die. That is the rule of the creation. We can observe the same truth every where around us. But the greatest wonder is that even though man sees all around himself death occurring he thinks he will not die. Therefore he will be paying homage and soft words for any one dies. This Krishna shows as if they are not competitive but they are complimentary. Accept the death as much as you accepted life and birth and death belong to body and things which are having coming and going qualities. Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘you are eternal and untouched by this death and birth. Like the way you have travelled through the childhood adulthood and old age in the same way you pass through this body and then through another body and so on. You can not be cut by sword or burnt by fire or killed by water. Just like you are not touched by these things, all others also are not touched by the death and birth. Krishna says, ‘therefore oh Arjuna, don’t think that you are causing death for them. You uphold dharma’. *

* In the scene of Maha Bharata war Arjuna appears to be mentally sick but he is truly not. He appears to be sick because of confusion in his mind. Bhagavad-Gita suggests that even an ordinary sane person who has practiced righteousness has also reason to get into confusion unless he gets the higher dimension. He will not find solution in ordinary realms of right and wrong! *

* Krishna says to Arjuna that action and non action are two ways of involving in any situation both of them are alright and they are complimentary. Both of them are acceptable but the third thing he says the vikarma is not good and poisonous. Karma is doing and Akarma is not doing (a+Karma). Krishna says both of them are alright but he says vikarma is bad. Vikarma is normally translated as bad action or forbidden action! Some of the translators or interpreters even present it as torturing, killing or physically or mentally abusing is bad. I was having reservations about this way of interpreting because of the fact that there was no reason for Krishna to say this to Arjuna. One reason is that Arjuna always followed right actions and never took to wrong actions even though there were opportunities. Therefore when Krishna says don’t do Vikarma it can not be bad actions or forbidden actions. Another important aspect is that Arjuna does not even want to fight the war and instead he wants to run away from the battle. If it was right then Krishna does not have to give any philosophy. Suffice it to say to Arjuna that what you are thinking is right. *

*But that is not Krishna’s intention. The philosophical background he has given, helped Arjuna to take to fight the war in a yoga way. (Yogasthaha Kurukarmani!). The transformation that happened is that the action has no more the element of Vikarma! The question we need to understand therefore is what is meant by vikarma?*

*Let us take a simple household example to understand the concept of Vikarma:*

*You are watching the news program on TV and wife is busy in the kitchen preparing food. The kid two years old comes and says, ‘dad, can you help me?’. You are not in a mood to attend to him and say, ‘don’t disturb me now. Go to your mom I am busy,’ the mom from kitchen says, ‘take care of him please, what is busy work you are doing watching the news on tv you can watch it later.’ Even then you want to find an excuse, ‘no, taking care of the kid is mother’s responsibility and I am tired working in the office. She is surprised at the answer and says, ‘ok I shall take care and you will not have dinner.’ It is like veto. You can not do any thing, with great rejection in side you say in harsh tone to the child, ‘ok, tell me what it is?’ again the order comes from kitchen, ‘take care of him properly’. You can not even say loud. *

*If you observe what went on now you will see that you have created a split personality with in you. One part says take care of him as it is needed but on the other hand another part strongly says, ‘don’t take care let wife take care of the child’. Thus when we create a duel personality with in and do any activity this is called ‘Vikarma’. Vikarma according to Krishna is bad. We can also feel the same. Any activity we do in the form of Vikarma we do not enjoy and it becomes like a big burden. Your mind takes completely the posture of fighting. Your min is filled with anger and negativity towards wife and kid. Such an activity becomes a big stress on you. Similarly when ever we do not do an activity not peacefully but with repulsion within that non activity is also Vikarma and that activity also can not give us peace and relaxation. *

*By looking at this example we can see every activity we do or every non activity we prefer, almost ninety percent of the times we are only doing vikarma and not doing karma or a karma. We get up in the morning with an idea of going to the office, but once we get up we start complaining about getting up so early. This is vikarma. We have to go in the traffic and once we are there we just don’t go easily we continuously complain about the traffic getting irritated and upset at every step. This is vikarma. This vikarma is reaction and doing by creating a split personality within. Once we know that we need to do the activities why not take a position to do it whole heartedly. That belongs to inner understanding and inner correction. Any activity where we remove the vikarma aspect it becomes karma yoga. This helps us to rise above the third position vikarma. *

*Another important dimension Krishna gives to Arjuna is the concept that the creation can be divided into three divisions called satva rajas and tamas depending on their properties and actions etc. A simple observation of the creation can give us this aspect more clearly. If you look at a tree it can be divided into three aspects the root is tamas, the trunk is rajas and the flowers and foliage is the satva. We need all the three things for the tree to be alive. Similarly if we look at the human being we also have similarly three aspects, namely the feet is the tamas the middle portion of the body is rajas and the upper portion of the body is satva. All the three are necessary and what is the health of a system whether you take a tree or a human being is the harmony between all the three aspects. *

*There is nothing like one is good and one is bad. They all are required according to their activities. That is how the activities they do are also named as satva and rajas and tamas activities. The roots are in the soil and darkness all the times, therefore darkness is also tamas and they feed on slush and putrefied food so the putrefied food is tamas, similarly feet always carry the weight of the body and walks in dirty rough terrain. Therefore the activities of that nature are called as tamas activities. On the other hand our head things and plans etc. such an activity therefore is called as satva activity. Strictly speaking these are not in separate water tight compartments but they are in degrees of subtleties. Krishna gives further that these three gunas are there in the nature but you have to go beyond these three gunas so that you can easily without any reaction switch from one guna to other guna where ever it is necessary. Therefore Krishna gives the idea of the fourth state called the gunateetha which is the actual spiritual practice. You can reach guna teetha level only by developing non attachment with all the tree gunas. Thus in t his case also Krishna suggests the state beyond, and that is the purpose of life!*

*I have mentioned here only some ideas of how the world is made up of and it has different divisions such as good and bad, right and wrong etc and the purpose of teaching of Bhagavad-Gita is to take you beyond which is the purpose of life and purushartha,*

- to be continued...

2 comments:

Seda said...

Dear Raghuramji,
Thank you very much for reminding me the real meaning of vikarma.Your life journey articles are lightening our path.
Love,
Seda(YFC`2007, Istanbul)

Seda said...

Dear Raghuramji,
Thank you very much for reminding me the real meaning of vikarma.Your life journey articles are lightening our path.
Love,
Seda(YFC`2007, Istanbul)