credibility - leading ethical life -

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Thu Feb 26 07:51:34 CST 1998


Firstly, I welcome Shri Anand Hudli back to the List. I look forward to
reading his well-thought-out views with good references to sources.

On Wed, 25 Feb 1998, Anand Hudli wrote:

>  We hear of sattva, rajas, and tamas guNas from many sources,
>  especially the Giitaa. Although from the viewpoint of a jnaanii,
>  all the three guNas are of no use in Self-realization, it makes
>  no sense to deny the effect of these guNas in day-to-day life
>  and in the context of Self-realization as well.
>  tamo guNa leads to delusion, obsession with trivial things, crime,
>  etc. rajo guNa leads to unnecessary exertion/activity,
>  desire for material
>  wealth, etc. Sattva guNa brings out what are generally considered
>  "noble" qualities and virtues in a person. The Giitaa explains the
>  characteristics of these three guNas elaborately.
>  An aspirant for Self-realization should conquer the tamas with
>  the rajas and then conquer rajas with the help of Sattva. It is
>  Sattva that has the capacity to lead one to jnaana, not rajas, not
>  tamas. However, one should not become too attached to Sattva to
>  the extent that it becomes an obstacle for Self-realization.
>  A story comes to my mind.
>  [...]
>  In conclusion, it is right, desirable, commendable (not condemnable)
>  to strive for and cultivate qualities and virtues that Sattva
>  stands for. At the same time, we should not become too attached to
>  the results of Sattva. Such attachment is an indication of building
>  up of the ego. A philanthropist  has a good chance for Self
>  realization if he/she realizes that fame will not guarantee Self
>  realization. He should sincerely seek out a Guru and learn the
>  secrets of Atma-vidyaa. A criminal, on the other hand, has
>  little chance because of the constant agitation of the mind and
>  delusion. He can only be saved, if out of sheer luck, the grace of
>  a great soul falls on him.
>  Anand

Yes, I agree to some extent. In my view, the sattva, rajas, and tamas
guNAs are an indication of one's lack or otherwise of desire. The
fundamental and the only requirement for an aspirant of Self-realization
is lack of desire (in anything worldly). If the human is without desire,
then the other characteristics mentioned above would follow. The human
develops sAttvic  attitude in life and that would show up. The sAttvic
behaviour is an indicator of lack of desire and hence is an effect. It is
not a means to Self-realization. The point I was trying to make in my post
of yesterday (which I might not have made clearly as seen from responses
from others also) is the following: Whether a human is a philanthrapist,
a volunteer, or a bank-robber, if he is interested in the effect of the
work (either in the form of name, fame, or worldly pleasure) that person
is as far from realizing the Truth as anyone else. After all, isn't that
the essence of Gita ?

It is true that a philanthapist or a volunteer has more sAttvic behaviour
than a bank-robber or a common criminal. In my view, it is an effect of an
inner human characteristic, the lack of desire (relatively to a bank
robber as an example). If this philanthrapist - volunteer has a desire
for name and fame that goes with the work, this desire is in no way better
or more acceptable (as far as Self-realization is concerned) than the
desire of the bank-robber or a common criminal for instant gratification
or whatever.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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