Bhagavad kr^pa (grace of God)
gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Tue Jan 6 21:36:46 CST 1998
On Tue, 6 Jan 1998, sadananda wrote:
> While agreeing with Vidya's comments, Sri Murthy made some interesting
> remarks related to the grace of God. I could not but venture into making
> further remarks from my understanding.
> There are various ways of looking at this grace of God and purusha
> prayatnam in relation to it.
> If God's grace is the same for all and if it makes us what we are, then why
> we are all different? If so, where does the Purusha yatnam comes in?
> Since the difference is the nature of the creation, the differences must be
> related to the differences in the texture of vasanaas, which are product of
> our individual ego centric actions (I am including thinking also as an
> action). Then what we are - is the product of our own vasanas.
> Then where does the God grace come in?
> On the other hand, if grace is not the same for all, then that God ceases
> to be God.
> Krishna declares in B.G.
> samoham sarva bhuteshu name dveshhyosti na priyaH|
> I am equal for all being neither hating anybody nor favoring anybody.
> Essentially my grace is the same for all. But he does not stop with that
> he adds:
> ye bhajantitu maam bhaktyaa mayi te teshu chaapyaham|
> But those who worship me with complete devotion they are in me and I am in
> Worship is an action.
> Here the means to tap that grace, the purusha yatnam is indicated even
> though it is available to everyone equally.
> It is true that realization is not by self effort. Since it involves
> knowledge, knowledge cannot be willed and hence it not the result of
> In acquiring knowledge, any knowledge for that matter, purusha prayatnam is
> required even though the prayatnam itself does not yield the required
> knowledge. What it does is it prepares the mind - For realization,
> purification of the mind is essential - This is what is involved in
> Krishna's statement - those who worship me with full devotion. He declares:
> This Maya of mine is of divine origin and is very difficult to cross. By
> surrendering to me only, one can cross this maaya.
> Let us not underestimate the purusha prayatnam. Only by yoga one can
> purify the mind. Knowledge is revealed to the pure mind that is not by
> purusha prayatnam. Just like going to sleep. We prepare ourselves for
> sleep but sleep has to descend on us - and that part is not by effort.
> Grace also manifests as the merits of ones actions. This aspect of the
> Lord as karma phala daata - who gives the results not only tangible but
> intangible in terms of punya and paapa based on ones action. This is the
> adR^ishaTa or unseen since we are not fully conscious of our prarabda
> karma or sanchita karma.
> In vivekachuuDamani Sankara says:
> durlabham trayamevaitad daivaanugraha hetukam|
> manushyatvam mumukshutvam mahapurusha samsrayaH||
> The three things are very difficult indeed - birth as a human being, after
> that desire for liberation and then help of preceptor - they are obtained
> by the grace of God.
> In avadhuuta Geeta Dattatraya says: One acquires the liking for Advaita
> (advaita vaasana) is due to the grace of God.
> Here grace is the adR^ishTa phala and it is the graceful way of saying it.
> It has to be earned. It is the result of ones own effort in the past.
> Grace of god and purusha prayatnam are intimately interrelated. One has
> make an effort to tap that grace by ones effort. Geeta statements:
> Uddare atmanaa atmaanam - one uplifts oneself by oneself.
> dyanenaatmani pasyanti kechidaatmaana maatmanaa|
> One sees oneself by oneself through oneself by meditation.
> The role of self effort is also clear while understanding that by effort
> one cannot gain the knowledge!
> Hari Om
I am grateful to Shri Sadananda for his well-thought-out and as usual
thorough response to my post. Human effort versus God's grace is only
a very minor part of my post and is not intended to open that debate
afresh again. The main purpose of my post is to look at moksha as
freedom from individuality which would result in advaita or non-duality
as the only meaning of moksha. I would be grateful if Shri Sadananda and
other list members comment on that portion of my post as well.
Now, coming to Shri Sadananda's comment on the necessity of human
effort: it is necessary, but may be given too much importance.
The physical effort (action) is certainly inferior to mental and as
such, physical actions need not be considered. The only human action
that is of any relevance is the meditation. Shri Shankara uses the
following arguments to say that meditation cannot lead to moksha.
This argument by Shri Shankara is part of his debate with ManDana
1. The standard points on which we meditate, or what our gurus ask
us to meditate on, are the upanishhadic statements aham brahmAsmi,
tat tvam asi etc. They are statements of truth and not
commandments for human action.
2. If we say that such meditation will lead us to moksha, what that
implies is moksha will be an effect of action. Meditation is a
mental action, and like any action, it can be done, or not done,
or done in a contrary fashion. The implication of making moksha an
effect is to make it impermanent like swarga and all attainments
generated by human activity. This is the very negation of moksha.
3. In meditation, we impose one entity on another by an assertion of
the will and generate a new effect which did not exist before.
Knowledge of Brahman is not an activity like that of converting
Atman which was not Brahman before, into Brahman by mental
assertion. Brahma vidya is knowledge and not meditation. Knowledge
is a mental mode of "being what one has always been" and not of
"becoming into something that was not before".
4. The text tat tvam asi declares the eternal nature of things. The
passages in the upanishhads which look like commandments (like
for e.g. "This Atman should be heard of, meditated upon" etc) are
only for removing the obstacles or coverings. Jnana or knowledge,
if it can be called an action at all, is only of the nature of
removal of obstacles, and not of bringing about a new condition
or effect. When the obstacles are removed, the truth that "the
Atman has always been Brahman" stands revealed. This is not an
effect but what is in the nature of things.
Thus, human actions do not lead to moksha; at best they only remove
obstacles. I am not saying that human effort is not necessary. It is
indeed vital. But there is something else (which a human mind cannot
comprehend) that leads to moksha.
Again, as I mentioned before, human effort vis-a-vis the grace of
God is only a minor part of my earlier post. I would be grateful if
the members comment on the latter portion of my earlier post as well.
... aham bhAvodayAbhAvo bodhasya paramAvadhih ...
Shri Shankara in Viveka ChuDAmaNi (verse 424)
The end of the rise of the sense of "I" of the ego is the culmination
>From Tue Jan 6 23:16:09 1998
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 23:16:09 -0500
Reply-To: chandran at tidalwave.net
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Home Personal Account
Subject: Re: Bhagavad kr^pa (grace of God)
Comments: To: Advaita List <Advaita-L at tamu.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>> ...... It is indeed God's grace that makes us what we are. I am
>> glad to note that the human contribution in attainingmoksha has
>> been put at a minimum and is correctly not even mentioned at all.
sadananda <sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL> writes:
> While agreeing with Vidya's comments, Sri Murthy made
> some interesting remarks related to the grace of God.
> I could not but venture into making further remarks from
> my understanding.
> There are various ways of looking at this grace of God and
> purusha prayatnam in relation to it.
> If God's grace is the same for all and if it makes us what
> we are, then why we are all different? If so, where does the
> Purusha yatnam comes in?
> Since the difference is the nature of the creation, the differences
> must be related to the differences in the texture of vasanaas,
> which are product of our individual ego centric actions
> (I am including thinking also as an action). Then what we
> are - is the product of our own vasanas.
>Then where does the God grace come in?
> On the other hand, if grace is not the same for all, then
> that God ceases to be God. .......................
The assumption of the "Grace of God" works like a catalyst to purify the
corrupted mind. This attitude attributes human actions and the results
to God's Grace. Those who totally surrender their ego to God cannot
perceive any duality. They really do not seek Moksha but only seek the
Grace of God. In Mukunda Mala, Kulasekara Alwar appeals to Lord
Krishna to help him to pray all the time! He requests Lord Krishna to
remove all desires other than the desire to chant HIS name.
When we start using our yardstick to judge, we see differences
everywhere and with everyone and at every moment. Does this imply that
we are different? Explanations, definitions, and judgements confirm the
absence of the Grace of God! The acceptance of Grace of God also
requires the Grace of God. It is the grace of God that helped me to
write and it is the Grace of God that will help you to read and it is
also the Grace of God that will help some to reply and correct me!
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