The Avidya-Samskara-Kama-Karma Cycle of Rebirth


Tell me if I’m correct: Samskaras (impressions/tendencies/habits) are products of karma (actions). And karma is product of Samskara, because it's obvious our actions (karmas) are driven by tendencies (samskaras). And both samskaras and karmas are products of avidya (ignorance).

So which came first? Impressions (samskaras), actions (karmas), or ignorance (avidya)?

RESPONSE:

They all originated at once. Neither came first.

Avidya (ignorance of self owing to maya) sets the wheel in motion.

Remember, maya's power of concealment (avarana-shakti) from standpoint of macrocosm, creates variety/duality.

Just like RGB (suppose it's called maya) mixture creates many colors.

However this same power from standpoint of jiva (individual) produces experience of “I don't know”. Otherwise called ignorance (avidya).

Just like if you're perceiving color-red, you're not perceiving (ignorant of) color-blue. Vice-versa.

So…

Maya's power on one hand creates infinite differences out of one Consciousness.

On other other hand, the very fact that you (as person) are different from me (as person), implies we are ignorant of each others character traits.

That's why we need to “get to know each other”, in order to remove our ignorance of each other.

So what compels actions (karma)? Ignorance.

Why does ignorance compel actions? Because noone can stand being ignorant. So we act to remove the discomfort of ignorance.

What specific actions does ignorance compel? One's based on our samskaras (past impressions, habits).

For example…

Doctor wants (kāma) to remove ignorance (avidyā) about medicine, because it interests (saṃskāra) him/her.

Cook wants (kāma) to remove ignorance (avidyā) about food, because it interests (saṃskāra) him/her.

In short: Ignorance (avidya), provokes a desire (kāma), in reference to saṃskāra (what is meaningful to you).

And what is the ULTIMATE cause that compels us to remove ignorance (in form of endless actions)?

The individual doesn't know (avidya) that he/she is ALREADY whole and complete. Consequently seeks objects in hopes they will provide lasting satisfaction and permanent fulfillment.

Problem is no amount of FINITE objects or experiences can ever add up to an INFINITE result (which is what all are seeking).

Because we don’t know this, every-time the FINITE OBJECT gives us a little satisfaction, it temporarily silences the “wanting mind”.

And what's always shining/pervading the “wanting mind”? Consciousness (Brahman), whose nature manifests as happiness inside the human-mind.

Problem is we assume the FINITE OBJECT was the source of the happiness.

However source of happiness was YOU (Consciousness) which got a chance to reflect on a temporarily calmed-silenced mind, thus manifested it's nature as happiness.

Unfortunately, soon, the voice of our samskaras begins to speak again, clouding the mind, thus the happiness dissipates.

Owing to our FALSE ASSUMPTION that the object was source of happiness, we innocently APPLY (desire) a similar action in hopes to bring back the happiness.

Action can be form of more money, intimacy, more knowledge, entertainment, more wisdom.

And this repetitive action forms a samskara (impression).

Here we can see the intricate relationship between samskara (impression), avidya (ignorance), karma (action), kama (desire). These great four are beginningless and cause of rebirth.

CONCLUSION:

The only remedy is self-knowledge, for what we are really seeking through objects is the limitless fulfillment that is our true nature. Thus, no object or measure of experience will ever fully satisfy.

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