Hello and welcome to episode 80 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about honest, hardworking and committed people. Why do they not see god? Why do they not achieve enlightenment?
Today’s question comes from Will and he says “I am doing my duty properly and I am sincere. I am responsible and I do not chase desire. Why do I have to be born again? Why is it necessary to have knowledge of Brahman? Why do we need this to be enlightened?”
Thanks for the question will it’s a really good one. I know by your question that you are at a very high level because most people don’t get this. The most important thing you should know is that Karma cannot lead you to enlightenment. People need to understand the different forms of yoga: Karma yoga and Jnana yoga.
Enlightenment is defined in the Sanskrit as moksha. Moksha means you are not born again. So when someone says they are enlightened what they mean is they will never be born again on this earth. We talked about this in previous episodes. Buddha says “First enlightenment then laundry” what that means is when you are enlightened you still have to go through the daily grind till the end. It is just that your context changes your lens changes and work becomes effortless but you still have to do the laundry work till the end.
So why are we born again and again? When we see, hear or touch we accumulate impressions and we accumulate gunas. The gunas builds up and up in the mind from the impressions we accumulate over a lifetime. As we do this we form the seeds of the body, mind and intellect. Karma is gunas and the gunas is nothing but desires. They can be any type of desires both good and bad. These desires form a crater that must be filled. They are filled with the body, mind and intellect and we are born again because of the baggage of that karma. You have karma so you come back again and then you accumulate more so it’s a cycle. If you draw your mind in and focus on the consciousness then your gunas will be destroyed.
We should know that life is not just about what is happening in this particular lifetime. Krishna says “there was never a time when you and I did not exist. You know them not, I know them all”.
There are 3 types of karma. The first is called Sanchita karma. This is the karma of all your previous lifetimes. It’s the accumulation of all your baggage and all your previous craters that had to be filled. Then there is Prarabdha karma which comes from Sanchita Karma, a portion of which is allocated to this lifetime. The third type is Agami karma. In this lifetime as you fulfil your Prarabdha karma you will also form new karmas because you are still accumulating gunas. This is Agami karma which later on becomes Sanchita karma. So there are three types: Sanchita, Agami and Prarabdha karma.
So the question was, why can’t we have the entire Sanchita karma in one life by living a good life without any desires? It’s just not possible. It would be like asking why you can’t live an entire lifetime in one day. It’s the same concept so when you put it like that you can understand why it is just not possible. In one lifetime you will have carved 10 or 15 huge craters that have to be filled. It is just not possible to fill all those craters in one lifetime. That would be going against the nature of how it works.
No one can look back on their lives and say they did everything for others and nothing for themselves. That’s just not possible. 99% of everything that we do is to benefit ourselves. With others it might be less but for most of us the majority of things we do are for ourselves.
So it is not possible to destroy Sanchita karma in one life by living a good life because we have the other two types of karma to contend with as well. So let’s say you lived your Prarabdha karma without any desires, it’s not really possible but let’s say for arguments sake that you did. You still have Sanchita karma from your previous lives. So you will have to be born again. So just because you are honest and committed and selfless does not mean you can avoid it. You still have Sanchita karma so you have to come back in a different mode because you are not enlightened.
Krishna gives this example. “Just as fire burns everything to ashes the fire of the knowledge of Brahman destroys all works to ashes. Nothing in this world of manifestation exists as purifying as the knowledge of Brahman. Perfected in yoga in course of time one wins knowledge. Winning knowledge one attains to Brahman. The man of faith having mastered the senses and intent on it wins knowledge. Winning knowledge he attatins to Brahman
The ignorant the unfaithful and the doubting self perishes. Neither in this world nor the other does happiness accrue to him. He is not bound by work who is vigilant who through yoga has given up the fruits of work and has slain all doubts with knowledge. Thus with the sword of knowledge slay the doubt in your heart. Stand up and resort to yoga.”
Knowledge of Brahman
So Krishna says the knowledge of Brahman is knowledge of the consciousness. Knowledge of Brahman destroys your Sanchita karma. No other knowledge on earth can do that. You can destroy Prarabdha karma through selfless works but the only way to destroy Sanchita karma is through knowledge of the consciousness.
I know we are getting through a lot here so I will try to keep it simple. Here is an example. Look at it as a bowman who has arrows in the quiver, arrows that he has set in the bow and arrows that he has already shot. The arrows in the quiver are the Sanchita Karma. The arrows that are set of the bow is the Agami karma which has not yet bore fruit and the arrows which have been shot are the Prarabdha karma. Life in the body will continue till the arrows that have been shot finds its mark. So the great ones continue to live till even after being enlightened till the released arrow finds its mark.
So what do you do when you have knowledge? You throw away your quiver and the arrow that is set in the bow. This is the power of knowledge.
Knowledge of Brahman gives you the power to destroy the arrows in the quiver and the arrow that is set in the bow. Both Agami and Sanchita Karma will be destroyed and the gunas will be destroyed with it. Once you do this you can say you are a karma yoga or a Jnana yoga or a bhakti yoga.
So being honest and committed is good, it helps you be prepared for yoga but it is only the start of the journey. This makes you fit for yoga but it in itself is not yoga. Yoga is all about forming the gold image from the mould. You can only do this through eh knowledge of Brahman.
You do this by knowing the jiva, becoming the jiva and then manifesting the dharma.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep asking them.