Here are the opening lines from Chapter 9 Judge Rendition

KRISHNA:

“Unto thee who findest no fault I will now make known this most mysterious knowledge, coupled with a realization of it, which having known thou shalt be delivered from evil. This is the royal knowledge, the royal mystery, the most excellent purifier, clearly comprehensible, not opposed to sacred law, easy to perform, and inexhaustible. Those who are unbelievers in this truth, O harasser of thy foes, find me not, but revolving in rebirth return to this world, the mansion of death.

“All this universe is pervaded by me in my invisible form; all things exist in me, but I do not exist in them. Nor are all things in me; behold this my divine mystery: myself causing things to exist and supporting them all but dwelling not in them. Understand that all things are in me even as the mighty air which passes everywhere is in space. O son of Kunti, at the end of a kalpa all things return unto my nature, and then again at the beginning of another kalpa I cause them to evolve again. Taking control of my own nature I emanate again and again this whole assemblage of beings, without their will, by the power of the material essence. 1 These acts do not bind me, O conqueror of wealth, because I am as one who sitteth indifferent, uninterested in those works. By reason of my supervision nature produceth the animate and inanimate universe; it is through this cause, O son of Kunti, that the universe revolveth.

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"Unto thee who findeth no fault....."

Studies in the Bhagavad-Gita: "It is difficult to get an idea of what fault-finding is without looking deep into the devious workings of the personal mind. It is an underlying attitude or inclination that colors everything an individual approaches. The root cause of this inclination must be a disbelief in the rule of Law (Karma) in the Universe. It must stem from an often hidden propensity to expect others to do what we rightly should do, and to blame others for our recurring predicaments......When Arjuna reached the position of this chapter he had become completely honest with himself, resigned to the Law. He had much knowledge to master yet, but he was resigned to the fact that he was the cause of his present situation, and that he was the one who had to do something about it."

"All this universe is pervaded by me in my invisible form;...."

Studies in the Bhagavad Gita: "From the beginning of the poem Krishna has made an effort to move Arjuna, and us, from a concentration on evil and imperfection to a seeking out and making alliances with the spirit of imperfection in all life. He is telling Arjuna that the mystery is in the true comprehension of His, Krishna's nature. He is not a being that exists somewhere else. He is everywhere, invisible and the cause of the universe. He is not a "part" of the universe yet is the Spiritual essence of every one and every thing in that universe. Indeed a mystery! But only to the personality."

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The no fault statement suggests to me that from a cosmic or universal standpoint everything is functioning just as it should be. Karma is accurate and just, nothing is out of place, the laws of the universe are doing exactly what they are supposed to do and are absolutely reliable. That is not saying that everything is perfect and everybody is happy. The universe is not on the side of anyone's happiness it is on the side of evolution.

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The personal standpoint, that Krishna is rebuking is to find fault because things are not as the personal nature wants them to be (easy, glorious, lavish, fun, beneficial to "me" etc. etc.).  From Krishna's vantage point, and  perhaps now with Arjuna, all is in place despite how the personal nature views it.

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Gerry writes:  "The no fault statement suggests to me that from a cosmic or universal standpoint everything is functioning just as it should be."

It would be reasonable to assert that universal law operates as it should do.  However, we would need to be careful not to take this to mean that everything is as it should be. If we took that latter view literally then there would be no reason tread the path, no good reason to offer help to each other or even to make any effort at all.   

The person who can't swim and who falls into a river is likely to drown according to nature's laws, which act impersonally.  But just because nature's laws are acting as they should that wouldn't be a reason not to save the person from their fate or for the drowning person to struggle against those laws and try to reach the safety of the bank.

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An unphilosophical perspective leads people to chaff at their circumstances. Karma and reincarnation suggest that circumstances are of one's own creation by and large.  Perhaps another take on the finding no fault idea is to see the wisdom of being in just the right place and under just the right circumstances to learn what it is the "soul" needs to learn to take the next step in the evolutionary pilgrimage.

Arjuna initially rejects the need to fight.  He initially chaffs at the whole idea of a war with his relatives. (Which we might interpret as struggling with the limitations of our lower nature.)  Finding no fault might mean in Arjuna's case an acceptance of the necessity to fight (to climb the evolutionary ladder).

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It is so true ! Recognition of the absolute justice, wisdom and equity of the working of the law, and placing reliance on it with full sense of personal responsibility in face of every and all circumstances, should see us through all difficulties  most harmoniously to our highest good and the good of all. It is the law of our being, as Higher Self is that Law itself. Did not Plato say Justice subsists in the Soul ?

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This is a very good point.  We often confuse karma with fatalism.  Would it be accurate to say that circumstances are based on karma and the way we deal with the circumstance generates new karma.  It seems, in a way, karma stops for a brief period and the window of opportunity opens for creation of new karma. 

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Barbara - nicely put and you may well be right.  I would express it slightly differently and put a few extra thoughts just to add some detail to what you say.

In general, our current life circumstances are the results of our own past actions in previous lives. Those past actions have set in motion forces which in turn are governed by the Law of Karma.  The Law of Karma brings these generated forces together in such a way that they manifest in what we call 'karmic effects'.  Until the energies/forces set in motion by our actions are exhausted they continue as karmic effects in one form or another and may be either 'positive' or 'negative'.  At the same time, from moment to moment we are currently setting in motion forces that will become the karmic effects of the future.

Therefore, the way in which we respond to the circumstances in which we find ourselves in life can either help exhaust the forces originally set in motion or prolong them with an additional (perhaps even more negative) layer of new potential karma added to it.  

I wonder sometimes whether we theosophists tend to romanticise the notion of Karma and talk about it almost as if it were an agent or an entity of some kind with wisdom and intelligence looking after our individual welfare via a scheme of reward and punishment.  I think the truth is more along the lines that we are where we are through our own actions, for good or for ill.  Given the current state of the world I would suggest that, so far, we are where we are largely through ignorance and selfishness rather than wisdom.  There are a couple of statements from HPB in The Secret Doctrine Commentaries that support the above:

"It [Karma] does not act. It is our actions that act, and that awaken into all kinds of influences. Look here, if you say that Karma acts and you say it has intelligence, immediately you suggest the idea of a personal god. It is not so, because Karma does not see and Karma does not watch, and does not repent as the Lord God repented. Karma is a universal law, immutable and changeless"

When asked therein if ignorance was the cause of evil karma, HPB replies:

"It is, but Karma does not take stock of it, does not concern itself whether you do it from ignorance or from too much learning. It is simply if you do a certain thing, so the effect will be on a similar line."  (SD Commentaries - Meeting June 6 1889)

The complexity and intricacies of what we call 'karmic causes and effects' must be beyond our current grasp, I would think, given that the Law of Karma is said to adjust the karmic effects between individuals, groups and nations. It only takes a little reflection to appreciate that our individual actions affect not only ourselves but ripple out in concentric circles through all those we come into contact with and through them others, and through those others still others & so on.

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Hi Peter:

Beautifully described.  We can all agree that karma is an impersonal force set in motion by our own actions.  These forces continue to gravitate around the originator and will persist till they exhaust themselves.  I wonder if it is possible to act without creating any new karma?     

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To learn to act without generating new Karma is the whole purpose of life. We can try. It is personal motive in action which generates most potent Karmic effects which bind us down. Selfless motive in action with a view to benefit humanity is the only way to break the chains of bondage.  

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Hi Barbara,  I was hoping in my previous message to convey the idea that there is a difference (albeit subtle, though important) between the forces we set in motion by our actions and the Law of Karma which 'governs' how those forces eventually play out.  I may be wrong about this, but I think the difficulty is probably in the language used in the literature when discussing the Law of Karma.

It probably sounds like I am splitting hairs but I think there is a difference between “Karma” and the “Law of Karma” though we often use the simple term “Karma” to refer to both.

“Karma” simply means action or cause and effect.  By itself this doesn’t tell us a great deal other than every cause is followed by an effect and every effect is necessarily preceded by a cause.  Further, effects often become causes themselves in a chain of causes and effects which eventually dissipate in energy.  The boss angrily sacks a worker who goes home and argues with her husband, who kicks the cat, which races out into the street and gets run over by a car etc etc. Positive chains also occur.

“The Law of Karma” is said to be that universal law which resolves all effects back into their original causes, in that it tends always to adjust the effects so that universal harmony and equilibrium areeventually restored. Hence it is sometimes referred to as the Law of Compensation - where ‘compensation’ applies to both perpetrator and victim. Importantly, the Law of Karma is a Moral Law.

While the simple term Karma means "action", the Law of Karma doesn’t do any “acting”, as such, even though it may be an ‘active’ Law.  This is how HPB puts it: 

“Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is man who plans and creates causes, and Karmic law adjusts the effects ; which adjustment is not an act, but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its original position, like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with corresponding vigour.”

(SD II 305)

And…

“..in the active laws of Karma—absolute Equity—based on the Universal Harmony, there is neither foresight nor desire; . . it is our own actions, thoughts, and deeds which guide that law, instead of being guided by it.”

(CW XI 145  from “Thoughts on Karma and Reincarnation”)

I think the above passages are important because its so easy to end up talking about the Law of Karma as if it were guiding our lives in some way, helping us to be ‘just where we need to be for our next step in growth.’  I suspect that it is through our own actions that we sometimes end up being just where we need to be.  Likewise, it is through our own actions that we sometimes end up being exactly where we don’t need to be(!) - for our own welfare and for the welfare of those around us - and we (and others) may pay a very heavy price until we can get back on track.

“Is it possible to act without  creating any new karma?”   I think that’s quite a complex question.  Perhaps the two meanings associated with the term “Karma”, mentioned above, might prove helpful here.  All action in the world involves creating causes from which follow effects.  So from that point of view “Karma” (in the simple definition of that term as “action”) will always continue.  Without it there would be no evolution - physical, mental and spiritual.  Without it we could not help other beings.   

“The Law of Karma”, on the other hand, is a moral law and has to do with restoring universal harmony and equilibrium.  From this perspective the issue is not so much around the notion of cause and effect as to whether such causes and effects create disturbances in the field of universal harmony and equilibrium.

We are taught that all self-centred activity (whether for good purposes or bad) does create such a disturbance. The result is that the effects of such a disturbance rebound onto the originator of the action. These effects may be experienced positively or negatively in proportion to the initial causes and moral intentions    With this is mind, our question could be reframed as, “Is it possible to act in a way that is in harmony with the whole?”  For such action, while still in the field of cause and effect will not create the problematic kind of karmic effects that keep us tied to the endless cycle of ignorance and suffering.

(Apologies for the length of the message.)

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Peter,

I agree, every kind of action brings about ripples of effects, whether done with or without personal motive. The question is, is it possible to so act as to be free from the binding effect of such action which perpetuates ignorance and bondage.

What brings us again and again into incarnated life involuntarily is Trishna or Tanha, thirst for life in embodied state to which we so tenaciously cling, and find it almost impossible to rend it asunder and be free. Conquering of the desires of the soul, which is conquest of self, is the most difficult task one can ever take up. One who conquers himself, says the Buddha, is greater than the conqueror of the world.

Only he who entirely eliminates personal self or personal idea and personal motives, burns them to ashes in the fire of Jnana beyond possibility of it rising again from the dead, can escape involuntary rebirth, and become emancipated. But he still makes Karma but is not bound by such Karma as his actions will be for the highest good of humanity with a motive wholly free from taint of personality which he has reduced to a cipher.

That seems to be the paradox of Action and Inaction. Such an one acts and yet he is not acting; and, also, though seemingly not acting, he is acting. Judge said you may do thousands of actions and yet be free within.

"Both action and inaction may find room is thee disciple." (Voice)

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Permalink Reply by Peter on October 7, 2014 at 1:20pm
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Great post, Ramprakash.  You write:

"The question is, is it possible to so act as to be free from the binding effect of such action which perpetuates ignorance and bondage."

Yes.  This is exactly my question which I put in the last paragraph of my post above:

' “Is it possible to act in a way that is in harmony with the whole?”  For such action, while still in the field of cause and effect will not create the problematic kind of karmic effects that keep us tied to the endless cycle of ignorance and suffering.'

How we get to that stage is the substance of the spiritual path itself.

I think we know precious little about Karma and the Law of Karma beyond the general principles given out by the Sages, and that a great deal is withheld on this topic by 'those who know'.  

It seems to me there must be many different kinds/levels/qualities of 'Karmic effects' - some which bind and some which don't; some connected with evolutionary unfoldment and some connected with moral development & so on.  What kind of Karma does the Jnani create (if any) when providing help in the world, given that the Jnani can do no other than act in harmony with the universal law, which is His own nature (i.e. Atman)?

In the SD Commentaries HPB states that even the astral prototypal germ which becomes the Oak tree has its karma as do the Dhyan Chohans connected with that level of development  (see Meeting February 14 1889).  At the other end of the spectrum of life, the Law of Karma must be in operation across planetary and solar pralayas and the great periods of universal pralaya governing the effects of causes created in previous planetary, solar and universal cycles.

But for now, I guess we are just exploring the 'problematic kind of karmic effects' which keep us cycling round on the wheel of samsara.

 

Permalink Reply by barbaram on October 8, 2014 at 9:45pm
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Thank you for the clarification. 

Based on the last few messages on the subject of karma, I gather there are different facets to this law.   Because karma operates on all levels, the effects vary depending on the different planes.  Looking at it from the physical angle, creating new karma seems unavoidable since “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  This mainly refers to the mechanical motion on the physical plane. 

On the subtler levels, karma has a close connection with restoration of universal harmony, which is the reason another name for karma is the Law of Adjustments.  If one acts and functions on the higher planes where the sense of unity predominates, there is the possibility of not creating new karma for oneself because the sense of an isolated “self” has disappeared.  The subject of the action is no longer the self but a “beneficent force in Nature” and the forces set in motion will follow the originating source, which, in this case, is not the self. 

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on October 9, 2014 at 10:38am
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I think this distinction is important too. Karma refers to both a law and action itself.  You might say it is the Law of Action. Imbalanced actions that lead to the need for reconciliation are to be avoided.  Actions performed in perfect balance with the whole are 'karmaless' in the sense that they leave no residue of imbalance or disharmony. When our actions are perfectly in balance (selfless actions) they have the power of the whole behind them.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on October 9, 2014 at 10:29am
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One thing necessary in avoiding the "creation of any new karma" is to do our duty. Krishna warns about this, " the duty of another is fraught with danger." Each human life has an inherent dignity about it because there is a duty to one's fellow man and the earth that must be performed.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 5, 2014 at 10:56am
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Thanks. That is an excellent statement. Very well put.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 4, 2014 at 12:00am
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Opening Lines Johnston Rendition

THE MASTER SAID:

This most secret wisdom I will declare to thee, since thou dost not cavil, and with it knowledge, knowing which thou shalt be freed from darkness.

This is the royal science, the royal secret, this is the most excellent purifier; it is to be understood by intuition, it is righteous, it is happiness to follow, it passes not away.

Men without faith in this law, O consumer of the foe, failing to reach Me, turn back again along the way of the circle of death.

By Me, whose form is unmanifest, was this whole world stretched forth; all beings are set in Me, but I am not contained in them.

Yet do not beings dwell in Me; behold My lordly power! I am the supporter of all beings, though I dwell not in beings; My Soul causes beings to be.

As the mighty wind, that goes everywhere, rests ever in space, so do all beings dwell in Me; thus understand!

All beings, O son of Kunti, go to My nature at the end of the age; and I put them all forth again at the beginning of the world-period.

Establishing My own nature, again and again I put forth this host of beings inevitably, by the power of nature.

Nor do all these works bind Me down, O winner of wealth; seated in lordship above them, unattached to all these works.

Under My supervision Nature engenders beings moving and motionless; through this motive power, O son of Kunti, the world circles on its way. 

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 4, 2014 at 3:14pm
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"This most secret wisdom I will declare to thee, since thou dost not cavil, and with it knowledge, knowing which thou shalt be freed from darkness.."

A number of translations use the term "cavil" rather than 'findest no fault".  

There appear to be at least two ways we can understand Krishna's statement to Arjuna.  One is that 'findest no fault' means that Arjuna sees and promotes the good in other people.  The other meaning is that by not 'cavilling' i.e. not grumbling or raising petty objections to the teachings already explained to him up to this point, Arjuna has shown he is ready to receive even deeper teachings. Indeed Krishna says that because of Arjuna's attitude he is now going to speak of the 'most secret wisdom'.  

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 6, 2014 at 10:21am
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In addition to all the above ideas maybe we can add that we are here to lift up all matter and if we want to better the world we have to start with ourselves, it is not others or the circumstances we find ourselves in that we can blame for they present to us opportunities to look within. "Man know Thyself". What do we think, feel and how do we act when troubles come our way.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 7, 2014 at 10:35am
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 The first step in right living is assumption of self-responsibility. We are not separated from our fellowmen, whether good or bad. All and everyone is our-Self. Everyone is a mirror of every other and of the whole.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 9, 2014 at 12:49am
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What impresses one indelibly while pursuing studies of the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, is that every event, even behaviour, thought, intent of a character in the epic, which  brings about a radical and wholly unexpected change in the course of events, fraught with seeming disaster, can be traced to causes generated by the characters involved in some past existence on earth, even ages ago; and in the outcome of it all, in the final results, are to be found a grand fulfillment of Karmic destiny, rich in lessons of life. Study of epics is an important part of our theosophical studies.

In the SD it is said (as remembered) : "There is not  accident in our life, a misfortune or a misshapen day which cannot be traced to our own doing either in this or in some prior life."

Even causes sown in prior Manvanataras by Egos in the drama Manvantaric life are not lost or reduced in intensity but brings on their legitimate and just results at the appropriate time.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 15, 2014 at 9:53am
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This is one of the things I love about the Epics of India.  They show these incredible processions of connected karmic events that give logic and meaning to the most dramatic circumstances. It gives you a feeling for the chain reaction, seemingly, of karma, or cause and effects over life times.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 16, 2014 at 11:27pm
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Not only epics of India but in the study of Histories by Herodotus, the most credible and truthful earliest historian and an ideal journalist, one can see how well he brings out to our view the subtle threads of  Karmic causes and effect in the events of the world; that emperors who resorted to unjust ways had to submit to Nemesis. In one case, Gyges who ascends to the throne of Lydia by unfair means was told by by Eleusenian oracles that the 5th generation from him would perish at the hands of Heraclidae. Croessus, the 5th generation Lydian Emperor misinterprets the Grecian oracles and makes a fatal mistake of invading Persia and meets his nemesis, ending the Lydian glorious dynasty.

HPB tells us that Herodotus was Initiate of the Mysteries, knew more than he told, and was very truthful.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 20, 2014 at 9:16pm
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These karmic chains are also part of the Jataka Tales I believe.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on October 9, 2014 at 10:24am
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Much agree Margreet.

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 7, 2014 at 10:32am
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These are interesting verses yet seem on the surface to contain contradictions.  How should we understand them?

9.4 By Me, in my unmanifest form, are all things in this universe pervaded.  All beings exist in Me, but I do not exist in them.

9.5  And yet the beings do not dwell in Me – behold that is My divine mystery. My Spirit, which is the support of all beings and the source of all things does not dwell in them.

9.6  As the mighty wind blowing everywhere ever rests in the akasa, know that in the same manner all beings rest in me.

(trans. by Swami Nikhilananda.)

So, do all beings exist in the Krishna, the Supreme Self, or not?  What is the Mystery that Krishna is pointing towards?

Permalink Reply by barbaram on October 8, 2014 at 9:52pm
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I think these verses point to the transcendental as well as the immanent nature of the Self and how both states can exist simultaneously.   

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on October 9, 2014 at 10:43am
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Could this be pointing to the mysterious relationship between the Whole and the part? The Absolute is a circle with its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.  The Absolute could be said to be the underpinning or foundation of any being or object in manifestation, but that being or object cannot contain the Absolute.  "All beings exist in Me, but I do not exist in them."

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 9, 2014 at 11:17pm
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9.4 By Me, in my unmanifest form, are all things in this universe pervaded.  All beings exist in Me, but I do not exist in them.

The universe exists as formless Idea before it become manifest. It is the Platonic conception of  the world as existed in the Mind of the Deity. It is the Pre-cosmic Ideation (Spirit). Evolution begins when Thought Divine is transmitted and made manifest through Dhyan Chohanic Ideation on Pre-cosmic Root Substance. Thus comes into being the Archetypal World--a world first made as a first model.

Archetypes contain all that is to be in the universe to be evolved. It is these Archetypes which, in subsequent emanation, are transmitted into the next lower plane as Astral Ante-types. It is latter, in the downward course of materialization, becomes the physical Types, upon which act physical natural factors, resulting in their differentiation into numerous genera and species--the forms we see.

 It is thus, I suppose, : "By Me, in my unmanifest form, are all things in this universe pervaded." 

Krishna as Cosmic Ideation originates and pervades all things as Eternal Ideation (or Consciousness) which is first made manifest as Archetypes, in which all exist but existing things are not Archetypes, not even Astral Ante-Types.

It is thus, I suppose, we can understand :

9.5  And yet the beings do not dwell in Me – behold that is My divine mystery. My Spirit, which is the support of all beings and the source of all things does not dwell in them.

9.6  As the mighty wind blowing everywhere ever rests in the akasa, know that in the same manner all beings rest in me.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 8, 2014 at 12:51pm
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“The One Life, the One Law, the One Element. These are absolutely inseparable from one another. In their inseparable and eternal union, they are “The ONLY One,” other than which there nothing ever has been (to paraphrase from the Rig Veda). The One Life being Pure Eternal Spirit and the One Element being Pure Eternal Matter (primordial root-matter or Mulaprakriti in Sanskrit), the One Law which is vitally and eternally interconnected with the “Two-in-One” is the immutable Law of Karma.”

As no cause remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently, and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer.

H. P. BLAVATSKY, The Key to Theosophy

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 8, 2014 at 8:46pm
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The Next Section of the Gita  Judge rendition

“The deluded despise me in human form, being unacquainted with my real nature as Lord of all things. They are of vain hopes, deluded in action, in reason and in knowledge, inclining to demoniac and deceitful principles.2 But those great of soul, partaking of the godlike nature, knowing me to be the imperishable principle of all things, worship me, diverted to nothing else. Fixed in unbroken vows they worship, everywhere proclaiming me and bowing down to me. Others with the sacrifice of knowledge in other ways worship me as indivisible, as separable, as the Spirit of the universe. I am the sacrifice and sacrificial rite; I am the libation offered to ancestors, and the spices; I am the sacred formula and the fire; I am the food and the sacrificial butter; I am the father and the mother of this universe, the grandsire and the preserver; I am the Holy One, the object of knowledge, the mystic purifying syllable OM, the Rik, the Sama, the Yajur, and all the Vedas. I am the goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting-place, the asylum and the Friend; I am the origin and the dissolution, the receptacle, the storehouse, and the eternal seed. I cause light and heat and rain; I now draw in and now let forth; I am death and immortality; I am the cause unseen and the visible effect.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on October 9, 2014 at 10:20am
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"All this universe is pervaded by me in my invisible form; all things exist in me, but I do not exist in them. Nor are all things in me; behold this my divine mystery: myself causing things to exist and supporting them all but dwelling not in them."

Analogously is this true for every individual too? Could we say: " I am an immortal soul, I pervade and witness all the circumstances of this life but I do not dwell in them, they dwell in my vestures."?

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 9, 2014 at 10:24am
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"The deluded despise me in human form,...."

Studies in the Bhagavad Gita: "Krishna is admonishing us and Arjuna to look for the essential, the eternal;, the real in all Nature and in all Beings. Letting our attention dwell on the evil and the ignorance in life attracts those elementals and thoughts to us, forming a lower nature that is mean and selfish, and opaque to the light of the Higher. It is by associating with greatness that we bring out the greatness within ourselves; and Krishna is telling Arjuna to learn from the transient and corruptible side of life but see it from the vantage point of the eternal within.

"Others with the sacrifice of knowledge in other ways worship me as indivisible,..." In the Upanishad it says, "The Self shines in all; but in all It does not shine forth." It should be remembered that Spirit is in everything, not just in certain things. It is in all and can be found if we look for it. It is the enduring, the essential, the fundamental aspect of any manifestation. We should train ourselves to ask, "How does this relate to the whole of life? What is its meaning from the point of view of the eternal"? It is to this core "meaning" that we should direct our constant attention to. Salvation is won here in incarnation, not in some heaven or Nirvana."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 10, 2014 at 10:43pm
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Next Section of the Gita: Johnston Edition

The deluded contemn Me, thus entered into a human form, not knowing My supreme nature, as mighty Lord of beings.

Vain their hopes, vain their works, vain their wisdom, of little knowledge; they have entered into savage and demoniac natures, full of delusions.

But the Mighty-souled, O son of Pritha, who draw near My divine nature, love Me with undivided heart, knowing Me the source of beings, that passes not away.

Ever doing honor to Me, striving, firm in their vows, they bow down to Me in love, drawing near to Me in perpetual union.

And others, offering the sacrifice of wisdom, draw near to Me, as in unity or diversity, or manifold, appearing in all things. (15)

I am the offering, I am the sacrifice, I am the oblation, I am the libation; I am the chant, I am the holy oil, I am the fire, I am what is offered.

I am the father of this world, the mother, the guardian, the father’s father; I am the end of knowledge, the purifier, the sacred syllable, the hymn, the chant, the sacred sentence.

I am the way, the supporter, the lord, the witness, the home, the refuge, the beloved; the forthcoming and withdrawing, the place, the treasure, the everlasting seed.

I give warmth, I withhold the rain and send it forth; I am immortality and death, existent and non-existent, O Arjuna.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 19, 2014 at 5:28pm
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Next Section Judge Rendition

Those enlightened in the three Vedas, offering sacrifices to me and obtaining sanctification from drinking the soma juice, petition me for heaven; thus they attain the region of Indra, the prince of celestial beings, and there feast upon celestial food and are gratified with heavenly enjoyments. And they, having enjoyed that spacious heaven for a period in proportion to their merits, sink back into this mortal world where they are born again as soon as their stock of merit is exhausted; thus those who long for the accomplishment of desires, following the Vedas, obtain a happiness which comes and goes. But for those who, thinking of me as identical with all, constantly worship me, I bear the burden of the responsibility of their happiness. And even those also who worship other gods with a firm faith in doing so, involuntarily worship me, too, O son of Kunti, albeit in ignorance.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 19, 2014 at 10:30pm
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Two cross references in Theosophical Glossary may help us to a better comprehension of these verses : One is 'Soma' and 'Soma Drink,' and the other is 'Yajna.' 

Of course, the magical ceremonies to which Krishna refers have gone out of use in this dark age--Kali age. In those days Soul life, apart from physical bodily mortal life,  was a living reality to people, and accordingly their whole outlook on life and world-view was so different from ours, at the present time, that we can scarcely understand that ancient culture, born and bred as we are in a starkly materialistic civilization.

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 20, 2014 at 4:18am
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Perhaps a key line here is that all those who pursue the path of 'offering sacrifices' and follow the path of the celestial gods eventually "sing back into this mortal world where they are born again as their stock of merit is exhausted."

It's put slightly clearer, perhaps, in Radakrishnan's translation:

20. The knowers of the three Vedas who drink the soma juice and are cleansed of sin, worshipping Me with sacrifices, pray for the way to heaven.  They reach the holy wold of Indra and enjoy in heaven the pleasures of the gods.

21. Having enjoyed the spacious world of heaven, they enter (return to) the world of mortals, when their merit is exhausted; thus conforming to the doctrine enjoined in the three Vedas and desirous of enjoyments, they obtain the changeable (what is subject to birth and death).

22. But those who worship Me, meditating on Me alone, to them who ever persevere, I bring attainment of what they have not and security in what they have.

23. Even those who are devotees of other gods, worship them with faith, they also sacrifice to Me alone, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), though not according to the true law.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 20, 2014 at 11:32am
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Thanks for adding this translation.  It helps to give us a broader look at the meaning to compare renditions and translations.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 20, 2014 at 10:07am
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"Those enlightened in the three Veda,......"

STUDIES IN THE BHAGAVAD GITA:

".....Krishna is speaking of Devachan, the highest of the after-states through which we go between our lives on Earth. It is not a place, but is a subjective state, a personal state in which the highest of our intentions and unfulfilled aspirations are lived out without obstruction as in an all-absorbing dream. It is a rest for the Ego but it is also a process of building in the lessons learned in the life last lived. Krishna is telling Arjuna that if one's concentration is on rest in some Heaven, he will obtain his wish, but that it will come to an end and he will have learned nothing and wasted much time. His devotion has been to that which comes and goes.

Krishna continues with another promise of considerable importance:

"But for those who, thinking of me as identical with all, constantly worship me, I bear the burden of the responsibility of their happiness.

Unhappiness usually results when we tie our dream of happiness to the things in life that have a beginning and an end. When life moves on to other forms we are left with nothing but the feeling of loss. However, if we focus our destiny on the light, the unchanging, instead of the ever-shifting shadows, we can be the recipients of Krishna's promise. It is not another that is assuming the responsibility; it is our True Self, the Higher Ego, once recognized and counted on, that is assuming control." 

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 20, 2014 at 9:15pm
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This idea reminds one of the idea of the surrender the lower self must make to the higher Self. It is an internal process I believe.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 20, 2014 at 10:57pm
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Yes, through discrimination between the Real and Unreal, ever-fleeting from the ever-lasting, through separating Head Learning from Soul-Wisdom, the Eye from the Heart Doctrine.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 21, 2014 at 9:55am
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What relationship between the idea of surrender and the idea of discrimination?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 21, 2014 at 10:00pm
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Is not surrender giving up the false (Asat) and holding on to the True (Sat), does not this natural and spontaneous shift born of discrimination between Sat and Asat ?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 22, 2014 at 1:50pm
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Isn't this much easier said than done?  Don't we humans, at this stage of evolution, INTENSELY identify with the manifest vestures of our being? When we make an effort to remove that identification we start a Mahabharatan War.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 22, 2014 at 11:40pm
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Doubtless it is difficult. Master says to us - TRY.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 23, 2014 at 11:01am
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It is very difficult indeed but we should in all this never forget who we are, can we say that if we replace conditions with other conditions we live on a horizontal cause and effect line which can go up or down but once we try to understand the deeper meaning and live according to universal principles the line becomes in a sense vertical, spirit enlightening matter.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 23, 2014 at 11:00pm
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That's right. Voice of the Silence says : Mind requires breadth, depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul.

Breadth and depth we get in study, and reflection, and meditation on what we study of the Science of the Soul. Only action along the line of our deepest perceptions and understanding forges linkages of our mind with the Diamond Soul. Putting into action what we have understood means sacrifice of personal idea to the perspective of True Self--which is the Self of All : Selflessness in action and devotion to highest good of humanity.

Each one of us can practice this, however imperfect it may be. After all we begin with where we are, at the level in which we are. Krishna says that we have only one right, and that is to act, and that we have nothing to do with results. Looking for results, for reward etc., is the evidence of presence of personal idea, which is the chief formidable obstacle in our way. Thus self becomes its own enemy; once we give up personal motives in action, Self becomes friend of Self.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 26, 2014 at 12:50am
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A beautiful and very helpful passage from Ordinances of Manu, quoted in Isis Unveiled, vol. ii, p. 159, which is relevant to the point under discussion--the idea and the ideal of self-surrender :

"The man who accomplishes pious but interested acts (with the sole object of his salvation) may reach the ranks of the Devas (Saints); but he who accomplishes, disinterestedly, the same pious acts, finds himself ridden forever of the five elements (of matter). 'Perceiving the Supreme Soul in all things and all beings in the Supreme Soul, in offering his won soul in sacrifice, he identifies himself with the Being who shines in his own splendour.' " (Manu, book vii, slokas 90, 91)

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 23, 2014 at 12:31pm
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Next Section in Johnston's rendition

The men of the Three Vedas, Soma-drinkers, pure from sin, offering sacrifices, seek from Me the way of heaven; they, gaining Lord Indra’s paradise, eat divine feasts of the gods in heaven.

They, having enjoyed that wide heavenly world, on the waning of their merit enter the mortal world. Thus putting their trust in the threefold Vedic law, and full of desires, they gain as reward their going and return.

But those who think on Me with undivided heart, drawing near to Me in worship, for them ever joined to Me in union, I bring a sure reward.

Even they who worship other deities with love, filled with faith, they also, O son of Kunti, even though irregularly, worship Me;

For I am the enjoyer and lord of all sacrifices; yet they know Me not truly, and so they fall.

Those who vow to the gods, go to the gods; those who vow to the Fathers, go to the Fathers; those who sacrifice to the departed, go to the departed, and those who sacrifice to Me, go to Me.

He who with love gives Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, this gift of love I accept from him who is self-conquered.

Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest, whatever thou givest, whatever penance thou doest, O son of Kunti, do it as an offering to Me.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 26, 2014 at 1:11pm
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Next Section from the Judge Rendition:

I am he who is the Lord of all sacrifices, and am also their enjoyer, but they do not understand me truly and therefore they fall from heaven. Those who devote themselves to the gods go to the gods; the worshipers of the pitris go to the pitris; those who worship the evil spirits5 go to them, and my worshipers come to me. I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. Whatever thou doest, O son of Kunti, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou sacrificest, whatever thou givest, whatever mortification thou performest, commit each unto me. Thus thou shalt be delivered from the good and evil experiences which are the bonds of action; and thy heart being joined to renunciation and to the practice of action, thou shalt come to me.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 27, 2014 at 4:11pm
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STUDIES IN THE BAVAGHAD GITA

"Here it is indicated that even a misguided devotion, if it is honest and motivated with a firm fate, has merit and will eventually lead to a clearer perception. The form of sacrifice may be wrong, but the act of sacrifice itself, the spirit of the sacrifice, is an aspect of the Divine.

But as stated before, we do obtain, or go to, that to which we are devoted. If it is a mortal goal, we are brought back to the world of impermanent reality. If our devotion is to the real, to the eternal in everything, it will follow that our center of consciousness, our window of perception, will be lifted to the plane of causes, and we will see causes, relationships and the meaning of things. A trained ecologist will see things in the woods that are entirely missed by the untrained city dweller." 

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 28, 2014 at 10:09pm
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Last section of the Judge Rendition

" I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. Whatever thou doest, O son of Kunti, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou sacrificest, whatever thou givest, whatever mortification thou performest, commit each unto me. Thus thou shalt be delivered from the good and evil experiences which are the bonds of action; and thy heart being joined to renunciation and to the practice of action, thou shalt come to me. I am the same to all creatures; I know not hatred nor favor; but those who serve me with love dwell in me and I in them. Even if the man of most evil ways worship me with exclusive devotion, he is to be considered as righteous, for he hath judged aright. Such a man soon becometh of a righteous soul and obtaineth perpetual happiness. I swear, O son of Kunti, that he who worships me never perisheth. Those even who may be of the womb of sin, women,6 vaisyas, and sudras,7 shall tread the highest path if they take sanctuary with me. How much more, then, holy brahmans and devotees of kingly race! Having obtained this finite, joyless world, worship me. Serve me, fix heart and mind on me, be my servant, my adorer, prostrate thyself before me, and thus, united unto me, at rest, thou shalt go unto me.”

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on October 29, 2014 at 5:14am
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Krishna describes our worldly life, in which we seem to derive such joy and satisfaction, as if it is the end of existence, to be finite and joyless ! So do Buddha, Jesus, Plato. For Plato life in this body is hell, body itself being a sepulcher, a disease of the soul (Timaeus).  

Krishna gives hope to even worst of evil doers; they are not utterly condemned, but have the potential for good in them, however obscure, by exercising which they may rise, self-redeemed. :

"We should therefore endeavour to the utmost of out ability, by education, studies and disciplines, to fly from vice, and acquire its contrary virtue. But these particulars indeed belong to another mode of discourse." (Timaeus, Thomas Taylor's trnaslation, Wizard Bookshelf, 1975 edition, p. 366)

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 28, 2014 at 10:11pm
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Last Section of the Johnston Edition

Thus shalt thou be set free from the bonds of works, fruits of deeds fair or foul; thy soul united through renunciation and union, liberated, thou shalt come to Me.

I am equal toward all beings; nor is any hated or favored of Me; but they who love Me with dear love, they are in Me and I in them.

Should even a chief of sinners love Me with undivided love, he is to be held a saint, for he has decided wisely. (30)

Soon he becomes altogether righteous, entering ever into peace; and know certainly, O son of Kunti, my beloved will not perish.

Whosoever they be, O son of Pritha, who take refuge in Me, even though they be born of sin, women or merchants or serfs, they also go on the highest way.

How much more holy priests and royal sages, full of love! Therefore, as thou dwellest in this unlasting, sorrowing world, do thou love Me.

Set thy heart on Me, thy love on Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me, thus joining thyself to Me in union, and bent on Me, thou shalt come to Me.