[Advaita-l] Are actions essentially meaningless?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 23 21:35:02 CST 2012

> Dear friends, thanks for the responses. 
> I'll rephrase my ideas. Let us consider Ramana Maharishi - he didn't have to act like a normal person, he could be in the samadhi state without any need for action. We are not on that level, which means we still have some karma to work out. Maybe, that's why we are restless. 
> So my question is, is prescribed action simply a way to do away with this restlessness (caused by our vasanas)? Is it simply a means to an end? That's why I gave the prison example - doing something until we are free of all residual karma.
> Suresh 

For the student advaitin, yes, doing prescribed action is a way to discipline the mind. For the realized person, it is usually only a pedagogical tool, to set an example for disciples in how to discipline oneself. If one is at the point where one is still and undisturbed by anything, including a need to teach others, action will indeed be meaningless. To that extent, think of actions as not being "essentially" meaningless, but as "ultimately" meaningless. 
For the non-advaitin, actions remain meaningful always, in one form or the other, whatever verbal construction they may put on the relationship between karma and jnana.

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