Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Law of Karma: Is It True ?

Even though there are unanswerable questions like the ones posed here :Have you been born before?, which strongly support the existence of the law of Karma, there are also questions which cannot be answered by the Law of Karma. For example: what was the first action that set off the Karmic cycle?

But either way, we only stand to gain: both-the existence as well as the non-existence of the Law of Karma offer a tremendous opportunity for us.

The benefits if the Law of Karma is true:

We never need grudge our fate again. All that we are going through is the result of our own actions, words, and thoughts. So nobody can be blamed for our experiences. We only need to cultivate the subtlety of intellect to discern the causes. We can alter our karma by suitable good actions and spiritual practices.

The benefits if the Law of Karma is not true:

If our past actions will not rebound on us, we will not be held accountable for our actions (except by human law). There are no unseen elements from the past which hold sway over us. Which means our life is totally in our control. We have absolute freedom of will, not dictated by our past. This means our future is entirely in our hands.

So it is a thumbs-up either way.
One can question Karmic law, however, evidence is overwhelmingly in its favor. See here. (The same article linked at the top of this article)
The fact remains that to get the true picture of Karma and existence, one has to rise above Karma, beyond the pairs of opposites. A vision unbiased by our past.

The School of Medicine at the University of Virginia has several resources on documented reincarnation.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Happiness Experience -II

Click here for The Happiness Experience - I

According to Yoga* and Vedanta**, happiness or bliss is within us. It is our intrinsic nature. This is why the sages of India called truth as SAT-CHIT-ANANDA (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). They asserted that everything contains this Truth. You and me, too.

Proof that happiness is within us is in the fact that we in our most blissful moments, we close our eyes, we are no longer conscious of the external world. This happens in the fraction of a second, that we may not detect it. If you observe people in the pinnacle of any form of extreme pleasure or ecstasy, you will notice this fact: closed eyes. Even if the eyes are open, they will be blank, indrawn, not seeing outside.

We can see further proof of this fact in deep sleep. Everybody enjoys deep sleep. It is an indescribable experience. After a bout of the deepest sleep, we feel as if we have drunk some divine elixir, from deep within us. As soon as our mind is ruffled by desires and thoughts of the everyday world, this bliss fades away.

Which points us to how this happiness is experienced.

We experience real happiness in stillness. When a desire is fulfilled, there is a temporary lull in the ever rippling mental lake. This infinitesimal stillness enables us to catch a tiny glimpse of the bliss within us. We can experience this bliss by short-circuiting the process. That is, by avoiding having a desire, and developing stillness of mind.

Mind you, this is a wakeful stillness. It is experiencing the bliss of deep sleep while being wide awake. It is stillness achieved through constant, focused action and meditation. It has nothing to do with inaction.

*Cognitive meditation is accompanied by reasoning, discrimination, bliss and the sense of 'I am.'-The Yogasutras of Patanjali, 1.17. , translated by BonGiovanni.
**I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness- Atma Shatakam by Sri Sankara.
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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Happiness Experience-I

What is it that you really enjoy doing? What gives you true happiness ?

For most people, it is a fun activity-like football, baseball, tennis, swimming, camping, or any other sport. For others, it is enjoying delectable delicacies at their favorite restaurant. It may be reading their favorite authors for some others. Movies, sex, sightseeing, hanging out with friends, conversing with your partner, playing with kids, indulging your hobbies, immersing in the work which you love-favorite activities for happiness are many.

Then there are the extreme, not necessarily wholesome ones like alcohol, drugs, other intoxicants, porn,...

There is also the minority which derives their happiness from perversions-and other serious disorders...

You may protest at grouping all of these together-enjoying a game of cards is not in the same league as that of pedophilia.

I agree, but all of these have a common denominator-happiness. It is what all of us seek-perverts included. Aren't there people who derive happiness by teasing and taunting? In fact, the pursuit of happiness is such a complex, deep domain that lack of clarity about it can lead to hazardous habits, often self-destructive.

Lets try to analyse how we experience happiness. As a sample, we will take food. Many people try to drown their frustrations and sorrows by binging.

Anatomy of the happiness experience
Suppose you have a friend who likes Chocolate ice-cream very much. He is always ready for a cup. But how many cups can he take? At the most 3 or 4. Beyond that, if you keep on feeding him ice-creams (free of course!), he will reach a point where he will vomit, if he eats any more of it.

Here, the same ice-cream which gave him happiness, is now giving pain. How can the same object give pleasure as well as pain? Would that be possible, if it really were the source of happiness?

Lets consider another scenario, when a person is sad because of some personal tragedy. He will be in no mood to take ice creams. If you were not in the mood, you wouldn't be able to enjoy your favorite dishes. Would we try to comfort a bereaved adult by feeding him tasty food? That would be childish. It would cause him more pain.

Objects like ice-cream are unable to give happiness, all the time. Our mental condition has to support the enjoyment.

Now a third situation: I've some friends who can't stand the smell of ice-cream. They're averse to all milk products. You may know somebody like that too. How come the same object gives happiness to some and unhappiness to others? That shows again that ice-cream is not the source of happiness.

If so, why do people enjoy ice-cream?

Ice-cream entertains you only if you have a desire for it. The desire is like a ripple in the mind. When that desire is satisfied, the ripple disappears. The person experiences stillness of mind, for perhaps a nano second. This stillness or 'captivation of the mind' is the actual source of happiness.
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