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Dharma Profile - DHARMA PROFILE - 6 PDF Print E-mail
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The last Dharma Profile is A which expresses AWARENESS and ACCEPTANCE.


Buddha calls it mindfulness. This is the process of all meditations. Awareness forms the basis of vipassana. Krishna is trying to raise the awareness of Arjun. What am I talking about?

I am alive and I am awake. I know what is going on. I am aware of my surroundings. How is this awareness or mindfulness different than this?

Krishna has this shloka :
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam
tasyam jagarti samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani
sa nisa pasyato muneh

It is night; it is dark
We rest and we sleep
It is night and it is dark
He (the awakened one) is awake
He is alert; he is observing
It is daytime; we are busy in the market
We think we are awake; we are alert
He (the awakened one) is uninterested
Our daytime is night time for Him ||2:69||

Range of awareness :
The difference in my mind is in the range of awareness. We have a limited awareness that Krishna is talking in the shloka above. Arjun’s has a wider scope of awareness in some areas but has limitations in other. He is a great warrior. He is fully aware of moves that his enemies are or might be making. But, as we know already, he has limited awareness about what might be going on in the minds of his enemies. He is unaware of what might happen to him, his brothers or Dharma if Duryodhana continues to rule.

Let us examine this a little further. It is night and it is dark. You take a flash light and go out to find a coin that you had dropped. The torch may help and do the work, but has its limitations. Now you want to hold a match of cricket in the night time. You need to have flood lights. This may do the job but has its own limitations. None of these give you the clarity of sunlight. Sunlight dawns the absence of any darkness. You do not only se the coin easily, but you also see the surrounding area as well. There is no comparison.

Krishna’s range of awareness is much wider. He can see the plans in the mind of Shakuni as soon as it arises. His vision is totally different. A common example given is that f a cart coming on a road. You are standing in a lower plane. You can see the road to a point. The cart is not visible to you. Some one climbs a tree and now he can see far but he can not see the cart yet. The cart is too far. He then picks up a binocular. Now he can see the cart clearly.

Awareness can raise the vision of a person. He can also see through the person. Buddha is known to give different answers for the same question posed by different people. Anand used to get confused. Anand will ask Buddha about the reason. Budddha’s answered the person and not so much his question.

The interaction was between Krishna and Arjun. We happen to have it because of Sanjay. Sanjay’s awareness was on a different scale. He was able to see what was happening in the Mahabharata scene.

Who is aware?
Krishna and Arjun sitting in the chariot do not look much different. Both are drops on the outside. We can say that drop is a drop is a drop. This is not true in the case of Arjuna and it is definitely not true in case of Krishna. In fact it is not true of any two individuals. No true drops are different. Kabir describes people like Krishna in his doha:

It is easy to understand that a drop entering into the ocean

But how do you understand the entering of ocean into a drop

(Samoond samaana boon me)

How can this happen. It is not possible physically for an ocean to enter a drop. It is not possible. What is then Kabir talking about? Is it a metaphor? In my mind it is not a metaphor. Kabir is talking about the ocean of consciousness. Ishavasya Upanishad is also talking about this ocean of consciousness in the Purnamidam shloka. The mathematics will then work. The more the awareness rises, the more amount of consciousness enters the person. Now his scope is wider. His vision also gets to a point where he can see further in time.

We shall talk about how to raise awareness in our next column.

Awareness (contd.) :
We normally confuse wakefulness to awareness. There is a difference between the two terminologies. Just because I am not sleeping does not mean that I am awake. Many of us act like robots even when we are awake. I go to hospital every morning except some weekends. I am off this weekend. I get into the car and I plan to go to the grocery shop to get some banana and milk. I start the car. My mind is somewhere else. I have taken the turn going towards the hospital. My mind wakes up as and I wonder if I was awake.

Awareness that Krishna is talking about or the one Buddha talkes about is much more than just being awake. There are great depths and there is great scope of this awareness.

Buddha calls it “Sama Sati” and it has been translated as ‘Right Mindfullness.’ What do we mean by this awareness? What is Buddha implying by it? We have a zone of awareness. Our zone of awareness has limitations. We need to widen it.

Yudhisthir is invited to a game of gambling. He likes to gamble. He is Dharmaraj. He knows all the rules of righteousness. This is his strength but it is also his weakness. Yudhisthir is not able to think about possibility of any foul play in this invitation. He is not thinking of what Shakuni might be planning behind the scenes. Yudhisthir is a good man. He is good to the point that he cannot understand whay some one will plan anything foul in such a trivial game. This is why he gets trapped. Shakuni was a smart strategist. Shakuni admitted himself that but for Krishna, he would make the Kauravas win. What is that factor which makes Krishna so special. It is his scope of awareness.

Krishnafield is much greater that Shakunifield. How can we increase our fields of awareness. Buddha has given us the formula in a very precise manner. Just imagine that it is a dark night. You have to go outside. What do you do? You get a flash light. Flash light is able to show you an area but it is still limited. Darkness still stays around you. You may get special vision by wearing an infrared glass. The vision is distorted but you have an advantage over some one who does not have those. You can put a flood light to increase the field of vision. Darkness still stays around. A sun coming out dispels darkness completely. There is no darkness to find.

Our wakefullness state is like a flashlight. Buddha or Krishna are like sunrise compared to a flash light.

Acceptance :
It has been a few days since I wrote my last column. Much has happened since then in my life and I think I owe an explanation to the readers of this column and to the IndiaPost team that has been so patient for as many days.

Everything was going smoothly. Life at home was marvelous. Life at work was great. Practice was doing well. My son and daughter were also doing very well. Life was as good as it could have been. There was nothing more I could have asked from God. I was about to write my column on Acceptance. This was the last column to be in the Dharma Profile series.

And right at this moment something happened at work. A complaint was lodged against me. It had nothing to do with patient care and it had nothing to do with sexual harassment. I am making it clear here because these are the two bad ones in the profession of medicine. The complaint had no real basis. Yet it lead to a lot of upheavals. I needed a lawyer. My friends outside the hospital were extremely supportive. My practice did not suffer because I could continue my practice in office and still perform surgery at one of the neighboring hospitals. I cannot give the details of the whole event because of confidentiality reasons. It so happened that I now have privilege to work at a bigger and better hospital. In the process I resigned from the hospital in question. But I have still to deal with the aftershocks of the initial quake that shook my life. My practice is better than before, yet I feel there is a scar in my life.

So, why should I stop writing the columns in the Gita series in the paper? Here was my dilemma. I planned to write an article on Acceptance and I was unable to accept what had happened to me. It would have been easier for me to write an article on this subject when I could accept most things in my life prior to this event. Things were going great. Why would I not be able to accept whatever comes my way?

I realized that it is easy to accept results when they come good and they come easy. It is easy to give lectures to others and tell them that they need to accept results as they come. This event shook me up. I was full of denials inside. I could not accept it for a while. Every cell in my body and existence rejected the whole idea of accepting what had just happened. There was no time to getting used to the event. It all happened so suddenly. The complaint was investigated into by an adhoc committee. They unanimously found that the whole event was a misunderstanding and that the complaint was almost completely dismissed. As you might imagine nothing gets completely dismissed. My whole existence was asking this question all the time. How could this happen to me? Why did this happen to me?

I have always been writing in my columns to take these as situations and then it is easier to deal with the crisis. I wrote the column on Vishad yoga: an art of crisis management. A major crisis happened in my life and I was shaken. I looked inside me constantly to see how the process was affecting my interiority.

This is the reality. My relations with Gita came to help me in my life. I was frozen in the beginning like Arjun was in the first chapter. I soon realized that I have to wake up, accept and then deal with the situation as best as I could. What has happened is not going to change. I soon realized that help could come from unlimited sources. It started from the family which included my wife, my son, my daughter, my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law. I got total support of my office staff. By and by things have started to look up and so far I am better of than when I started. The game is still going on. But, now I am at peace with myself and have in the process understood the meaning and significance of Acceptance in life. We shall continue these columns and hopefully will not have a break in future.

Acceptance (contd.) :
What are we accepting when we talk about acceptance? Is it accepting a gift or is it accepting pain? Is it accepting the fate or is it accepting defeat? Is acceptance as a principle negative or is it positive? There are many questions and there are many answers.

Krishna’s acceptance is total, a total acceptance of life as it comes. It appears on surface that Krishna is talking about karma (actions) and karmaphala (result of those actions). Let us analyze a little deeper in what Krishna talks about these principles. Let us look at Krishna’s statements.

Krishna says that action is part of our lives. We exist, we work. Even if you become a couch potato, you are doing something. You are sitting. You may be lazy but sitting is an act. Sleeping is an act. You may not get very far in your life but you cannot escape karma. Result will also happen. That is life. Then Krishna goes on to say that results are not in your hand. Your or I have no control over the result. We can decide to be lazy or active, but we do not determine the result. We play a part in what happens but we do not have the whole say. There are other factors that ultimately determine the results. Nevertheless results happen every day.

Life is a series of karma and results. This needs to be understood. If there was no karma and if there were no results, life will have nothing to show for. We know Rama or we know Krishna because of what they did and what results happened because of what they did. Rama killed Ravana. Arjun drove chariot for Krishna. Gandhi got independence of India by non-violence (Ahimsa).

When Krishna says that results are not in your hand, he really is saying that life is not in your control. Many of us then conclude that we should not worry about the result. Although I do not necessarily agree with that conclusion, they really should conclude that we should not worry about life. We should let life take its own course.

Krishna then goes on to say that results should be accepted. Acceptance is the key word.

yadriccha labha santushto dvandvateeto vimatsaraha
samaha siddhav asiddhau ca kritvapi na nibadhyate

Content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by pairs of opposites, free from envy, undisturbed by success and failure, although engaged in work; such a Karma-yogi is not bound by Karma. (4.22)

He is always content
Content with whatever comes to him
He is ready to accept
Any event that happens around him
He is beyond the dualities of life
Such a person
Centered in his successes and failures
Is not bound by whatever
His karma may be
He always remains a non-doer. ||4:22||

Acceptance here is total. It is a way of life. There are no exceptions. There are no questions. “Why this happening to me?” is not even a thought. This is the key. This is the final answer.

Acceptance is not negative. Krishna is not a fatalist. Krishna is not asking us to accept and do nothing. What has happened has happened. We need to move forward. If we do not accept the result, we will be spending energy in the outcome itself.

We will be fighting with the past and are likely to miss the present. We also do not move forward in any significant process.

That is why I think that Acceptance forms one of the key principles of Dharma. As and when we center in ourselves through meditative process, this principle of acceptance becomes clearer and clearer. Acceptance is not just a mind game. It is not a thought process. It is not going to happen really by just thinking about it. A deeper insight and process is involved in its understanding. It is a quality that we slowly acquire as we proceed on the path of meditation. This is one of the qualities of a sthitapragya. Krishna wants us all to get there and then we can find out the meaning of life. I realized myself how just thinking about acceptance is not really getting to that place. A simple event in my life shook my whole being. Jesus also for a moment thought of what was going on when he was placed on the cross. But, then he could soon say, “thy will be done.”

Krishna goes on further about what to do after acceptance. He talks about karmaphaltyag and yagya. We have discussed these principles elsewhere and will not explore that further. The point I am trying to make here is that acceptance is a quality of life and our being. A deep trust or tryst with existence is needed to get to this point. Then and then only is it possible to get to the point that Krishna is addressing in 4:22.

Our life as I mentioned above is a series of karma (actions) and phala (results). We stay attached to these as long as we do not really understand the acceptance part. Until then karma and results run our life. We want to be a good boy. We choose to do good work. If we go astray, we feel guilty. The society wants us to behave and we behave. Krishna wants us to become a rebel. He is readying us to break the cycle of karma and results. Morality is needed but morality has its own constraints. Acceptance of the kind Krishna is talking about takes us to the point beyond karma and results. Karma still continues. Results still happen. But they do not run life any more. Krishna is not teaching us to become amoral or break the rules of society. He simply wants us to transcend morality. The beyond is beautiful. The beyond is plentiful. The beyond has no bondage. Life is then a true freedom. That is Acceptance.

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