Īśvara (God) is Endless Causes & Effects – and Dealing with Difficult Situations (21)

Summary:

Session 21 revisits why Bhagavad Gītā is applicable in today's age more then ever. Then we see how understanding of Īśvara's (God's) Cause-Effect relationship leads one to take responsible actions every moment… eventually leading to Freedom. Finally we share one method how to know what is the best action to take – despite NOT knowing what is the best action to take.

TOPICS COVERED:

  1. 3 ineffective ways people deal with situations: Escape, Change, Accept (Suffer).

    (i) Escape: Our natural and instinctive reaction is to escape from problems. ‘If I can avoid it, why not?’

    Arjuna wanted to run away from the battlefield rather than kill his beloved and revered ones.

    However, situations only worsen when we run away from them. Our non-acceptance only increases our fear.

    Getting drunk makes the world temporarily rosy, but a hangover added to the existing problem makes things seem worse the next day!

    (ii) Change: Since we feel that the situation causes the problem, we waste all our energy in trying to change the situation.

    But the situation itself keeps changing and we find ourselves constantly preoccupied with finding new solutions, all the time feeling inadequate, desperate and tense – as though we were pushed into a pool but not knowing how to swim, ever keep struggling to keep our head above water.

    (iii) Suffer: Go through the problem cursing and complaining.

    We blame our fate, God, the world – anyone we possibly can – for the suffering caused to us.

    Arjuna laments why he, the favourite of his elders, was fated to kill them. Such an attitude only intensifies the suffering, whereas the problem remains unresolved.

    None of these are effective means to face problems. In the Bhagavad-gītā we find that Śrī Kṛṣṇa did not allow Arjuna to escape or complain.

    He did not change the situation (paristhiti) even though as Lord of the Universe, He could have.

    Since the problem was created by the mind, Kṛṣṇa guided Arjuna with the right vision and attitude which transformed his thinking (manaḥ-sthiti).

    He could now see the situation clearly without tension, reaction and fear, and could take the right action.

    He performed his duty, and successfully faced the challenge before him. He fought the battle of life and won it.

  2. Īśvara is facilitator of Jīva's actions.

    Explain this means, in light of what you learned in the video?

    Give another example of your own demonstrating how your actions are facilitated by various Īśvara laws operating continuously?

  3. Jīva has control over Cause (Action). But NOT over Effects (Reactions).

    If Jīva has no control over type of Effects (Reactions) received from it's chosen Causes (Actions) – then how is Jīva supposed to be happy?


    Answer: By understanding world is too complex for the mind to grasp. Simply put, trying to control the effects is like trying to be God, which is actually arrogance. And one wil fail at miserably. Thus we apply Karma Yoga attitude: Doing the best you can – without concern of the fruits (effects) of your actions. And gladly accepting with gratitude any fruit returned (sour, sweet, bitter, salty, etc) – as a gift from Īśvara (prasād).

  4. Consciousness is a Causeless Cause.

    Explain what this means.

  5. Method of knowing what is right course of action – despite not knowing.

    Demonstrate one way how to know what is most appropriate action to take in any situation, anywhere, anytime, anyplace?


    Answer: Follow law of ahimsa. Law of non-injury. Ask: “Would I appreciate this kind of response being given to me?” . EG: “Would I appreciate being unacknowledged and ignored?“. If answer is “no“, then don't do it to another. Because another IS you. Hurt another, and you're hurting yourself simultaneously.

    More samples:Is my action upholding peace or taking away peace from this situation?” OR “Will this action, after being performed, cause me and another to feel GOOD about each other, OR feel small?”

25 Sept

12 Comments

  1. Hi Andre.
    You said that “ Krishna is a symbol of intellect “ and you clearly explained why.
    Seems to obviously be correct.
    But then Yogananda emphasises time and again that Krishna is a symbol of soul or Christ Consciousness.
    Is there a conflict in this point of view, or is it just another way of talking about it?
    Does it change the meaning of the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna or is the meaning preserved?
    To clarify, if Krishna is a symbol of the discriminating intellect( which you have established) then the context of the conversation is in Mitya.
    If he is a symbol of the soul or Christ Consciousness, a symbol of the Self or Atman it moves the conversation to the level of Satya.
    Is this point valid, or meaningful, or am I just creating confusion through not understanding properly?

    Also, you have a very clear and detailed explanation of cause and effect.
    Can they be viewed as two sides of the one coin?
    That is, we artificially separate reality into linear time slices and so percieve events as sequential rather than as a unity since we are dependent on the senses and the organs of perception.
    The buddhists talk about an infinite chain of interdependent causal events.
    Science talks about the Big Bang and the Big Crunch and the possibility that this happens endlessly.
    In sacred scripture this series of events is sometimes referred to as the cosmic breath or cosmic heartbeat.
    A day and night of Brahma.
    Q.
    Is there a logical necessity for there to be a beginning, or is it a logical impossibility?
    Science tells us that time was only created after the Big Bang when the Universe became manifest because without space for objects to move through there is no reference point to create the concept of time.
    Hence space- time.
    But:
    If we accept that there are an endless series of Manvantaras- an endless series of manifestations of the Universe then doesn’t time still exist during Pralaya, the Night Of Brahma?
    There is a certain duration between manifestations that is measurable as time, yet there is no space, so it is not really space time at all.
    Leads me back to the question “ Did God have a beginning “?
    My mind has never been able to grasp the concept of an Uncaused cause.
    I know I have moved away from the practical to metaphysical speculation, but we were given this faculty too and I have spent roughly fifty years being plagued by these questions.
    Is there an answer, or am I just left with a metaphysical article of faith that I need to accept to make sense of the system?
    Archimedes one fixed point that he needs as a fulcrum to move the world.

    Another consequence of my probably misguided thinking.
    If reality is beginning less and endless,” an expression of eternity “ as you said, where does that leave the concept of meaning?
    It seems like the point is for our consciousness to evolve until we can escape manifestation.
    But if our true Self is in an Unmanifest state to begin with, why project into manifestation at all if the highest point of our evolution is to make our way back to a state we are already in?
    ( language fails me here. Even my own argument seems absurd, but I can’t see the flaw in the logic)!
    It seems like a zero sum game.
    I don’t see that there can be any evolution of the true Self.
    It’s not like I can take anything back with me from my experience as a Jiva- I can’t add anything to something that exists in a state without qualities.
    It seems there could only be meaning if God itself was evolving, but then it couldn’t already be the absolute.
    Checkmate ?
    You can see that Roberts mind is besieged by questions.
    Would really appreciate some help to escape from the maze!

    1. ============
      You said that “ Krishna is a symbol of intellect “ and you clearly explained why.
      Seems to obviously be correct.
      But then Yogananda emphasises time and again that Krishna is a symbol of soul or Christ Consciousness.
      ============

      Later you’ll see that knowledge of self takes place in Buddhi (intellect capacity of mind). The only place where “I AM” is known is in buddhi.

      That’s how teaching takes place. We say one thing, only to refine it later hundreds of times throughout the course.

      Yes, we’ll even say Krishna is Īśvara. But much later!

      Vedanta has a teaching style.

      ============
      To clarify, if Krishna is a symbol of the discriminating intellect( which you have established) then the context of the conversation is in Mitya.
      If he is a symbol of the soul or Christ Consciousness, a symbol of the Self or Atman it moves the conversation to the level of Satya.
      Is this point valid, or meaningful, or am I just creating confusion through not understanding properly?
      ============

      Krishna is a clear mind speaking. Arjuna is one whose yet to be clear.

      Also we can’t say “Krishna is Consciousness”. That’s a simplistic statement. Consciousness has no attributes. It can’t speak.

      Hence Consciousness & intellect (speaking from clarity).

      Lasltly, I know Yogananda’s work. It’s not Advaita Vedanta, but language designed for Amercican’s in 1940’s (when they haven’t heard of any Indian words).

      That’s why Yogananda constantly integrated Vedanta and Christ, to relate to Americans. You need to consider this also. Same happened with Vivekananda, he had to simplify (dumb-ify) Vedanta for the skeptical niche market in 1950’s.

      ============
      Also, you have a very clear and detailed explanation of cause and effect.
      Can they be viewed as two sides of the one coin?
      ============

      Yes. Where there is effect, it also implies a new cause, which in turn produces a new effect.

      ============
      That is, we artificially separate reality into linear time slices and so percieve events as sequential rather than as a unity since we are dependent on the senses and the organs of perception.
      The buddhists talk about an infinite chain of interdependent causal events.
      ============

      No contradiction.

      Often mind thinks in linear fashion, thus asks impossible questions like: Which came first, seed or tree, son or father, chicken or egg?

      But there is no first. It’s beginingless series of cause-effects.

      ============
      Science talks about the Big Bang and the Big Crunch and the possibility that this happens endlessly.
      In sacred scripture this series of events is sometimes referred to as the cosmic breath or cosmic heartbeat.
      A day and night of Brahma.
      ============

      Beginingless manifestation/unmanifestation. Will be talked about in incredible details in CH7/8, including science.

      Yes, we’ll also cover 1 day of Brahmāji = 1000 catur yugās = 4.32 billions years. Etc.

      ============
      Science tells us that time was only created after the Big Bang when the Universe became manifest because without space for objects to move through there is no reference point to create the concept of time.
      Hence space- time.
      ============

      True. Once big bang comes, time/space/objects immediately come. This is called 1 day of brahmā. Discussed in CH7/8.

      ============
      Leads me back to the question “ Did God have a beginning “?
      My mind has never been able to grasp the concept of an Uncaused cause.
      I know I have moved away from the practical to metaphysical speculation, but we were given this faculty too and I have spent roughly fifty years being plagued by these questions.
      Is there an answer, or am I just left with a metaphysical article of faith that I need to accept to make sense of the system?
      Archimedes one fixed point that he needs as a fulcrum to move the world.
      ============

      Easiest thing to figure out when topic of māyā is brought up in CH7+.

      No beginning. Only manifest/unmanifest.

      When there is dissolution of universe, it simply went into unmanifest.

      EG: Where is tomorrow, from standpoint of today? Unmanifest. But from standpoint of tomorrow, it’ll be MANIFEST.

      Where is yesterday, from standpoint of today? It’s in unmanifest. But from standpoint of yesterday, it was MANIFEST.

      Same thing with God. A beginingless cycle of manifest/unmanifest.

      ============
      But if our true Self is in an Unmanifest state to begin with, why project into manifestation at all if the highest point of our evolution is to make our way back to a state we are already in?
      ( language fails me here. Even my own argument seems absurd, but I can’t see the flaw in the logic)!
      It seems like a zero sum game.
      I don’t see that there can be any evolution of the true Self.
      ============

      Self is neither manifest, nor unmanifest.

      Manifest/unmanifest belongs to mithyā.

      Hence there’s no evolution for self.

      It’s important to understand, liberation is NOT for the Self. It’s for the jīva.

      ============
      It’s not like I can take anything back with me from my experience as a Jiva- I can’t add anything to something that exists in a state without qualities.
      It seems there could only be meaning if God itself was evolving, but then it couldn’t already be the absolute.
      ============

      You’re 100 steps ahead Robert.

      Nature of God will be talked about in CH7+.

      Gita CH1-6: Talks about Jīva.
      Gita CH7-12: Talks about Īśvara.
      Gita CH13-18: Talks about Brahman.

      1. ‘ liberation is NOT for the Self. It’s for the jīva. ‘

        Thank you for the questions and responses 😁♥️

  2. Thank you so much Andre.
    I see clearly that I need to break the Vasana of asking questions and let my mind become quiet so I can absorb the process of the teachings.
    I noticed that Roberts mind immediately started creating questions even as I read your lucid answers.
    You won’t hear from me for at least ten talks Andre!
    Promise ?

  3. Excellent teaching. I especially resonate with jnani yoga.

    Therefore, if I understand the teaching up until now right, even body ailments or illness can carry a blessing, as it reminds us that this is mithya, thus it’s anatman, not me and helps us remember to discriminate.

    1. It is true absolutely everything is mithya (object), other then the subject (satyam).

      The teaching does give some level of relief from endless pursuit of healing, self-growth.

      However long as body-mind is being carried around, the fact is, mithya is the center of one’s experience. Thus it’s ironic that we must still attend and acknowledge it, no different then someone whose never heard of the teaching.

  4. Hi Andre. You mentioned Isvara is controller of actions and cause and effects is beginning less. So If karma is beginning less then how is it that we have free will if the cosmic mind of Isvara is running the show? If I surrender all actions then how is it I’m performing actions? This means free will is just an illusion and the jiva only appears to be under the illusion of controlling their actions, when ultimately they are not.

    If it’s still early in the course and it’s presented this way for early seekers then dismiss my question. Thanks

    1. “Isvara is controller of actions and cause and effects is beginning less” > Need to look at implied meaning. Not LITERAL.

      If you throw ball into air, who is controlling the direction of it? Ishvara in form of physics (gravity, unexpected wind, etc).

      So Isvara can ONLY control once YOU throw an action into the field. Isvhara doesn’t control your free will, in WHICH direction to throw, HOW fast/slow to throw, or WHEN to throw.

      Better to understand Ishvara as: The intelligence that delivers the results/consequences of your actions. What it delivered to us, is out of our control. But what SPECIFIC actions are put into the Ishvara-field, is 100% in our (jiva’s) control.

      No question of scripted-universe, or powerless jiva whose being puppet-ed by strings.

  5. Thanks Andre for responding

    But how is that even so if the vasanas are causing us to react the way we do? If we don’t control our vasanas to act, then how is it we have the free will to act? Seems like every step is predetermined. Some may find this difficult to accept, while others may find it freeing. Is this the right understanding?

    1. Vasanas do have a huge influence; like a stream flowing in one direction. Just as inexperienced swimmer won’t easily get to shore, similarly a weak mind will “go with the flow” of it’s vasanas, and justify “I’m just living THE LIFE!”. Whereas strong mind is able to say “No!”.

      That’s why 99% of Advaita is mind management (qualifications). Else person won’t stick around to comprehend the full vision. They’ll submit to vasanas; meaning their likes for personal stuff will override the importance of discipline.

      The “free will” deniers, in 99% of cases, are those who are yet to even develop basic self-control. Still driven by their fancies, one makes conclusion “I don’t have free will”. “It’s the government! It’s the people. It’s the country! It’s the president!”. All this comes from immaturity or lack of scriptural guidance which ongoingly reinforces our choice to choose on a daily bases (despite pull of vasanas): uttiṣṭhata. jāgrata. prāpya varān nibodhata – “Arise! Awaken! And Realize the Truth!” – Kathopanisad

  6. Hi Andre,

    I have a few questions and answers too :

    1. It’s important to understand, liberation is NOT for the Self. It’s for the jīva:
    Here Self means the Pure Consciousness, and the Jiva means the Individual Consciousness or the consciousness enmeshed in our body. Is that correct? I am trying to find the definition of Self and Jiva in the above sentence.

    2. Īśvara is facilitator of Jīva’s actions explain:
    As a facilitator means he allows us to put an action into practise. He does not control our action, but controls the effects of our action.

    3. Give another example of your own demonstrating how your actions are facilitated by various Īśvara laws operating continuously?
    I am able to listen to your videos on weekends…..
    I am able to work in my hospital on week days….

    4. Consciousness is a Causeless Cause, explain :
    It is Substrate independant. It is indivisible. It is the source of matter, thoughts, emotions, and perceptions arises. Mithya is substrate dependant.

    I would appreciate your answers. Thank you.

    1. ================
      1. It’s important to understand, liberation is NOT for the Self. It’s for the jīva:
      Here Self means the Pure Consciousness, and the Jiva means the Individual Consciousness or the consciousness enmeshed in our body. Is that correct? I am trying to find the definition of Self and Jiva in the above sentence.
      =================

      SELF:
      Self specifically means Consciousness that’s making Nicholas’ mind self-aware right now and equally making Andre’s mind self-aware right now. And every persons mind self-aware in the past, and will continue to make minds self-aware that haven’t yet been born.

      As metaphor: Consciousness is like the one light illuminating all objects in the room, making them seen. Objects are different in size, color, shape, and status. But all those attributes are only revealed in presence of the one light. Similarly, each mind in the universe is different, but they all depends on the one same Self (ie: Consciousness).

      No need to add adjectives to it like “pure”. Just call it “Consciousness”. Adjectives add extra confusion, and imply there is “impure Consciousness”. Consciousness is neither pure, nor impure. Both pure/impure are words of mithya. Just call it “Consciousness”.

      JIVA:
      Jiva means Consciousness obtaining in the mind. That’s it. Anything that has a mind (subtle-body) is a jiva. Basically anything capable of responding, evolving, or showing some intelligence is a jiva. Even plants, bacteria, sperm cell, ant, lion – is a jiva. Jiva means “living entity, or living being” in English. A tree is also a jiva, because it responds to sun, water, etc. The moment you cut a tree, it’s no longer a jiva, because its subtle-body is severed. Were it to have a subtle-body, then your wooden table in your room would continue growing.

      A liberated person is also a jiva, because they too continue having a mind, which is made aware by Consciousness. However the reason we call them a jiva-mukta (liberated jiva while living), is because one understands the mind is merely incidental, while I am the Consciousness illumining all the narratives in my mind, just as one light is bringing to light so many objects in a room.

      Correction: refrain from adding adjectives to Consciousness, like “individual”. Just call it Consciousness or Awareness. Better to say, “Jiva is consciousness, except doesn’t know it owing to ignorance”.

      =================
      2. Īśvara is facilitator of Jīva’s actions explain:
      As a facilitator means he allows us to put an action into practise. He does not control our action, but controls the effects of our action.
      =================

      Correct. Ishvara supplies materials (such as time & space, hydrogen, oxygen, lithium, potassium, etc) and laws and orders (such as gravity, thermodynamics, karma, dharma) which allow the materials to function and interact with each other in an orderly, harmonious fashion.

      Whether we want to make an atom bomb from the supplied materials, by learning about Isvara’s laws-orders (as indicated by E=MC2 which shows how to gain lot of energy from miniscule matter), then what result is gotten, is our doing.

      Equally, we can align to Isvara’s order – such as mindfullness, ethics, and inquiring in light of the scriptures. This causes the laws-orders to respond by gradually blessing you with a clean/sharp/sensitive mind, capable of ascertaining the subtlest reality, which is both the truth of Isvhara and you.

      =================
      4. Consciousness is a Causeless Cause, explain :
      It is Substrate independant. It is indivisible. It is the source of matter, thoughts, emotions, and perceptions arises. Mithya is substrate dependant.
      =================

      Good. You’ve paraphrased, while strictly adhering to the terminology. “Causeless cause” means, it’s the first cause, and nothing caused it. Nothing gave birth to consciousness. Consciousness-existence always was since time immemorial. And everything is born out of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *