[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 35, Issue 18

Viswanathan N vishy1962 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 21 23:12:30 CST 2006

Pranams to everyone
  Let me try to share my thoughts on the questions. Pl bear with me if I am wrong and correct me. Basically this is being written to have some sort of reassurance.
  1. About work, duty towrads family etc:  Just look at what Krshna says in geetha. Kepp doing your duties to the best of your ability (towards parents, children, firend& relative and society in general), but without any sort of attachmants towards them or ant expectancy towards the results.That is karma yoga...Important is Non attachment towards anyone / anything and non expectancy of results. If you can do just that thats more than enough.
  2.Sanyasa: out of various stages of life thats the last one. That doesnt mean that you wear kavi and live in forests  Its again state of mind...Not being attached to anything/ anyone and living without any sort of desire or fear. If you live your life naturally(very subjective term and bit difficult in the present day), say when you cross the age of 56, you naturally land in that state  . But whose will is matured  and stronger due to carryovers of ealeir deeds, they get in much much earlier, bypasing all other stages. Again sanyasa doesnt mean that you dont do anything....you be doing your normal work wearing even jeans/ tshirt..nut its state of mind. 
  3. Swarga/ Naraka: I dont think its some where above the clouds with ramba/ urvasi or fring pans.... Those are mere symbolic. They are also the projections of your mind. If you have done good deeds , that remais in your mind and project pleasent memories/experiences, that is swarga . if have lived the life bad way, the projections wud be mere reflections of your deeds like punishments or sufferings others underwent due to your actions. Certainly you will experience all these before your death itself. Or more probably when you can not settle your accoubts completely before death, you (the ego and mind ) take another form at much higher or lower stata according to your past deeds and left over desires in the mind.
  4. Moksha:  When you develop absolute non attchment towards anyof your actions or anybody or anything, thaere wont  be anything in the mind to project , neither pleasent/ unpleasent things, nor you are left with unfulfilled desires to look for fullfillment. When you get into that kind of " Shoonya'' you realise your " TRUESELF"...nothing more to be done. Thats  Moksha
  If you know this much basically and understand fully ( not just theoratical understanding., but true understanding by your own exprience).....you are halfway thru.... towrd that " Tat vam Asi"
  Aum Tat Sat

"Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
  On Tue, 21 Mar 2006, Santhosh Nair wrote:

> 1. Are you working people like me? I work in a private company in 
> Mumbai. IT-related stuff, although not exactly. Do you follow all these 
> principles?

I for one am a working person. I am also in the IT field. To be honest, 
I do not follow all the principles of Advaita Vedanta. As a grhastha who 
has elderly parents, wife, children, who depend on me I simply cannot. 
That is why I try to follow karmayoga i.e. doing my duty as per shastras 
and society as dilligently as possible. Vedic dharma operates on several 
different levels and does offer options for people in different 
situations. What is absolutely wrong for the serious sadhaka is to just 
pick and choose what they are going to do.

> 2. If someone sets out to be a Sanyasi, isn't that 
> considered as not doing duty towards his parents? of serving them, 
> looking after them?

It was mentioned in a previous post that the ideal is to follow the 
ashramas in order from Brahmacharya to Sannyasa. However Shankaracharya 
says that one can take sannyasa from any ashrama because it is entirely a 
seperate category of behavior.

Whether it is feasible to take sannyasa or not is highly dependent on 
individual situations. I know a family whose son became a (Vaishnava) 
sadhu straight after college and they were overjoyed by it.

There has to be honesty on both sides. Loved ones have to ask whether 
their objections are really based on their childs interest or selfish 
motives? Prospective sannyasis have to ask are they just trying to escape 
from worldly problems or do they have a real sense of vairagya? Are 
people being hurt by this action? (A sannyasi always wants to avoid 

> 3. I guess my duty would be serving my parents and 
> brothers who depend on me. (I'm not married - just 26 yrs), other than 
> those toward God. Hence, my dharma is to do work to serve my family.

As long as one feels attachment, one is not ready for sannyasa or the 
higher practices of Advaita Vedanta. But that doesn't mean one has to 
stop in ones tracks. There is plenty even a grhastha can do to increase 

5. What's the truth about heaven, hell etc?

> a) If people are punished in hell, why is it said that they will be 
> punisehd for their bad doings in the next birth?

It is not the same body that goes to heaven or hell, they are reborn 

> b) If there's hell, how long will the souls be there? AFtehr the 
> punishment, will the soul go to Heaven or take rebrith?

Rebirth. The time spent in heaven or hell is proportionate to ones 
balance of good or bad deeds.

> c) If one goes to heaven, is that Moksha?

No. Because as noted in b) heaven and hell are transitory whereas Moksha 
is permanent. In our shastras we have many stories of sages who were 
advanced in tapa but get tempted by Indra with promises of material 
rewards. But a true sage will consider even rulership of heaven as 
inferior to Moksha.

> But heaven is for Gods. How can men be there?

See a).

> And in heaven you find materialistic things (from what 
> i have seen in serials, etc.) that men aer not supposed to do in the 
> Earth. How is this justified?

Well if a cat is reborn as a human, it will be able to do things a cat was 
not able to do. Different levels of beings have different abilities and 
different rules.

> D) If souls take rebirth, why do we perfom rituals for "pitrs" ? They 
> would have already been "de-linked" from us?

Because we want them to be linked with us and return to our own families.

Jaldhar H. Vyas 
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