[Advaita-l] Adi Sankara's comment about Prayascitta Karma and Sureshvaracharya's comment

Ramesh Nagarajan rameshnj18us at gmail.com
Tue Aug 10 10:10:29 CDT 2010


Unfortunately, at current times, besides Nitya Karma, people spend more time
at work.    So people practice the minimal required Nitya Karma for the
day.  This makes us vulnerable as we are more exposed to material world.
This opens up the opportunity to add more vasanas (deviating from the
target.) and even perform our duties at work with attachments and
aversions.  There are exceptions.    So we need to come down to see how to
eradicate the primordial sin

It was said, we are born out of some sangalpa based on vasanas in addition
to experiencing the prarabdha (as per pava and punniya of previous acts).
As a result, we have taken this birth to do some actions.  We cannot simply
renounce everything and perform penance to reach the target (As Arjuna tried
to do in the war).  So, we have to exhaust our vasanas in the form of
experience and secondly, we should exhaust them in the form without
incurring additional sin (deviation from the target).  The only way we can
satisfy both the conditions is to perform Swadharma while keeping the target
as the primary vision.  Keeping the target as the primary vision means,
doing actions without attachment and aversions.  I have created a multipage
document on Swadharma and Pardharma, if someone is interested I will post it
here in this forum.
Chinmayananda provides a beautiful explanation on Swadharma:  “The bundle of
vasanas with which an individual has arrived into a particular incarnation
is called his, "personal call-of character" (Swadharma.)  In its right
import Swadharma means the type of Vasanas that one discovers in one's own
mind. To act according to one's own taste, inborn and natural, is the only
known method of living in peace and joy, in success and satisfaction. Each
one of us to get up and fight the battle of our own life, according to our
own Vasanas (Swadharma), so that we may exhaust them and thus gain inner
purity. To act against the grain of one's own Vasanas would be acting in
terms of Para dharma --- and that this is fraught with danger is very well

In Gita we can see that the chapters are organized in a way that first comes
(Yoga of Knowledge – Knowledge of Self) followed by Karma Yoga.  And Lord
Krishna asks Arjuna to conduct war (Arjuna’s Swadharma) with the Knowledge
of Self in the mind.  This statement answers all the other questions.

What is bad karma? What is sin?

Both are the same.  Performing Pardharma and / or performing Swadharma with
attachment and aversions (without the knowledge of Self in the mind.)  More
the person performs Pardharma, further he deviates from the target then the
more he identifies with the body, preventing citta suddhi.  And unfulfilled
vasanas gets stored in Sanchita Karma leading to further births.  Thus it is
not necessary, that one should do horrendous crime, to be called as sin or
bad karma.  Adding new vasanas is itself a sin as it strengthens the ego,
which leads to multiple births.

What is Citta Suddhi?

Citta Suddhi is quietening or purification of mind.

Is Citta Suddhi different from removing bad karma?

When the bad karma is removed it leads to Citta Suddhi.  If the person can
do Nitya Karma as prescribed in the scriptures and doesn’t perform outside
work (such as priests) or engages in outside work (other occupations) but
works with involvement without entanglement then Citta Suddhi happens.
Alternatively, exhausting the previous vasanas – Swadharma (bad karmas / sin
performed in the past) without attachments and aversions and not adding
additional vasanas leads to Citta Suddhi.  Please refer to Swami
Chinmayananda’s definition how Swadharma leads to purity of the mind.


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