Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi : How did the difference of karma come about in the beginning  (Read 1705 times)


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29th April, 1948

This morning, at about 9 o’clock, a lawyer from Rayalaseema who came here yesterday, sat near Bhagavan’s couch and asked, “Swami, in the Gita, Lord Krishna first said that everything is embraced in the ‘doing’ only, and one’s self plays no role. Subsequently, He says that He Himself is the ‘doer’, the ‘doing’ and the ‘deed’ (karta, karma and karyam); though ‘doing’ (karma) is the most important of the three, it is ineffectual by itself (jadam). If this is so, then everything depends upon the ‘doer’, who is Ishwara. Why when He first created ‘doing’ (karma), did He create different karmas for different people? It is said that afterwards everyone is made to function according to his karma. How did this difference come about in the very beginning? How did it arise? Not only that, if everything is left to the ‘doing’ and to the ‘doer’ who is Ishwara, where does personal effort (purushakaram) come in? If there is no personal effort, why is it said that we ourselves must attain Realization? What does it mean?”

Bhagavan said,“Who is it that is asking? To whom has this doubt arisen? Why has it arisen? First think that over and find out.”

The devotee: “Swami, I am only enquiring why Lord Krishna said that.”

Bhagavan: “That is what I am referring to. What exactly did Lord Krishna tell Arjuna? He told him, the deed will get done according to the ‘doing’. I am the ‘doer’ watching the whole thing from above. Why do you worry? It is your body which does the killing of your relatives. Are you the body?

No! Why then this bondage for you? Renounce the idea, He said. This means that He asks Arjuna to do the thing but to give up the feeling that it is he that is doing it. That is personal effort.

The feeling that one is, or is not, the body, comes from one’s own ignorance. One only has to give up that feeling; that which one has, one must oneself reject. Who else can do it? If by personal effort that bondage is removed,action, under the orders of the ‘doer’, Ishwara, goes on of its own accord.

Every one has his work allotted to him and he will do it automatically. Why should one worry? Arjuna, when he felt that it was not proper to kill his relatives, was only told to give up the feeling that he was the ‘doer’, yet it was Arjuna himself who ultimately fought.By listening to the Gita, he lost the feeling of being the ‘doer’ and the doubt he had had was no longer there.

The work had to be done with that particular body, and it was done. Even Duryodhana was like that. Not that he was not aware of the correctness or otherwise of what he was doing. He knew that what he was doing was not right, but some force was leading him on to that work. What could he do? That work had to be done in that way by that body, and it was done. He is reported to have said so at the time of his death. Hence it is clear that some Force is making all people to do things. Getting rid of the feeling that ‘I myself am doing’ is personal effort (purushakaram). All spiritual practices (sadhanas) are towards that end.”

Another devotee: “That is all right. For this karma there must be a beginning, but how it began, no one has mentioned.”

Bhagavan: “Yes, but it is the same thing. If you are asked ‘how did you get this?’ you say you have got it by ‘doing’ (karma). How were you born? By ‘doing’ (karma) that is all that could be said. If, however, you ask how was this karma born, you are told you should not ask such questions.

This is known as the Law of the seed and the tree (bija ankura nyayam). The tree is born of the seed; again from the tree a seed is born. Where is the origin of that seed? That is a question which you are told is not to be asked. What can we say to that? That is why I always ask people to find out first how they were born and where they were born.”

O Arjuna, the Lord dwells in the heart of all beings who are mounted upon the automation of this body, causing them by His illusive power to spin round according to their actions.

-- Gita XVIII: 61

Seek refuge in Him alone, with all your being, O Arjuna! Through His grace, you shall obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode.

-- Gita XVIII: 62

Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam VOLUMES I, II & Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam By SURI NAGAMMA Translated by D. S. SASTRI


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In fact Srimad Bhagavad Gita is like a huge orchard, with a variety
of fruits yielding trees, and fruit yielding creepers like grapes.
One can eat any one fruit that is liked by him most and enjoy.
There is no point in telling why there is variety, why not it be
a garden of only mango-trees or grapevines?

BG does not synthesize various margas.  Not at all.  It gives
a variety of margas, and allow you to choose one, reach the
goal via pursuit of self enquiry.
During Bhagavan's time in Tiruvannamalai, several theosophists
used to come and have darshan of Him.  Everyone used to bring
a pocket edition of BG, as if it was an adornment for them!
But no one had read it thoroughly and discussed with Bhagavan.

When the devotees of Bhagavan asked for a brief version of BG,
He made Bhagavad Gita Saram, with 42 verses, selected out of BG.

Dear prasanth,

The last two verses mentioned by you, in your post, XVIII. 61
and XVIII. 62 have been included by Bhagavan as 41 and 42
of His condensation.

Arunachala Siva.