karma X jnAna

S. V. Subrahmanian svsubrahmanian at YAHOO.COM
Mon Jan 28 10:14:39 CST 2002

Some define karma as 'chalanAtmakam karma' (movement is karma).  If I remember
correctly, it is the tArkikAs who define so.  That this definition is highly
inadequate can be easily seen in the events like falling of a dry leaf,
floating of a piece of paper in the air etc.  They are also movements but there
is no pApa or puNya associated with it.  [Here the assumption is that every
karma has either pApa or puNya as the result].  So what causes 'karma'?  When
looked at it, it the kartR^tvam (doership) and bhoktR^tvam (enjoyership) that
makes a karma.  "I am the doer/enjoyer" - this notion is the cause of karma
phalam which is pApa or puNya, not the act itself.  So much for the anatomy of

Talking of jnAna generically and not specifically AtmajnAnam, we can say that
jnAnam or pramA requires 3 things - pramAta (knower), pramANa (means of
knowledge) and pramEya (known).  When the pramAta is attentive and the pramANa
is adequate and appropriate and operative, and the pramEya is available -
knowledge happens automatically.  If we have a rose in our hand and our eyes
are open and the mind is attentive then, there is NO WAY one can avoid seeing
the rose.  And if even one of them is not available or not operative, then
jnAnam does not happen.  If we can't see the rose in the hand, we are not going
to be able to see the rose by doing 100 push-ups !!  So much for tha anatomy of

karma X jnAna
1.  karma is purusha tantram ie., will-based. It depends on the volition of the
person doing it.  Ex:  I can post this or I need not.
jnAnam is vastu-tantram ie., object-based.  The knowledge depends on the object
known Ex: rose-knowledge, lotus-knowledge etc.

2.  Since karma is will-based, we have a choice.  Since jnAna is object-based
and when the 3 (above) are in alignment we don't have a choice! jnAna will take

3.  karma being dependent on human will, is limited by its very nature.  Since
karma is limited, karma phala is also limited.  So, no karma can produce
infinite result.  It is always finite.  Whereas jnAnam is infinite, not in the
sense that the knowledge is immense, but that once the object is known, that
knowledge remains forever.

4.  karma has a phalam ie., either pApa or puNya.  jnAnam has no phalam or one
can say "knowledge is its own result".

Thus we see that karma and jnAna are different realms altogether.  There is no
relationship between them and also, there is no negative relationship also
between them.  Therefore

We cannot say that they are opposite to each other.
We cannot say that they are mutually exclusive.

All we can say is:

karma cannot produce jnAnam as we have seen above in the anatomy of jnAnam - it
is not at all a component.  karma is inert as far as jnAnam is concerned.  For
that reason, we have to dismiss karma as means of attaining AtmajnAnam.

A popular example given is the dark room(jIva).  Only a lamp(jnAnam) can light
the room.  Any amount of cleaning the room(karma) cannot make the darkness go
away.  At the same time, cleaning is not the opposite of the lamp lighting the
room.  Nor is cleaning mutually exclusive to the lamp lighting the room.  Just
that cleaning the room has no impact on the light of the room!

(karmaNA) na vardhatE na kshIyatE - (Can't remember from where, I got this)
By action, (self)knowledge neither increases nor decreases.

Comments are welcome.


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