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Self-Knowledge Balances the Gunas Automatically
Florence: Dear Ramji, your comment about how my teacher can look at someone and work out how their emotional history manifests in their physical body is interesting. You said, “This is all very wonderful, but whether or not a liver malfunction was the result of anger related to one’s childhood or not, the question is how to fix both the anger and the liver. Since the anger is the cause, what is the cause of the anger?”
Well, the Bhagavad Gita says that anger is caused by thwarted desire. If we don’t get what we want, then we get angry. The way out of this is to accept our karma with gratitude and not fight it.
Ram: Correct. And you are right about the karma yoga attitude, but it is a mechanical approach that leaves desire intact. The best way is to see that the self is whole and complete and then you don’t have to practice karma yoga, because the knowledge of your wholeness kills desire.
Florence: But what is the root of the anger? So what was the root of her anger? Your mother or father? Your reaction to your mother or father? A dissatisfied nature that causes one to react to one’s environment? Or does it matter – do we need to go that far back? I suppose it is a case of starting at the surface and then working back. I was taught to work from the heart with love. This is the most important teaching.
Ram: That’s correct when you are trying to fix a psychological problem. But for the ultimate solution you need to go even farther “back.” The psychological approach is okay, but its major drawback is that it makes suffering personal. Of course it seems that way to the sufferer, so you need to work on the level at which the patient is fixated. Everyone thinks they are a person – to their detriment. It is all that severely wounded people can relate to, but at what point do you discover the “real” cause? The real cause is self-ignorance. But this solution is only for healthy people.
Florence: Then in your last letter we were talking about the gunas being out of balance and you asked me to guess why they would be out of balance. I think in your teachings you imply that it is a matter of lifestyle. But the source of the anger might also be something to do with the person’s nature, or their vasanas. Taking on board that anger is subjective and not related to an external event – what makes one person angry might wash over someone else – I guess one could even develop a samskara for being angry.
Ram: Yes, indeed.
Florence: And the gunas are always changing, and I don’t believe we can completely control that. You talk about manipulating your life to keep them in balance. But you would say that anger is related to desire for the results of action, so balance is needed but I presume that this balance means taking account of the nature of the person? Is this what you were thinking?
Ram: No. See how the mind is always looking in samsara for solutions. I meant self-knowledge. The gunas balance automatically when self-knowledge is firm. That “lifestyle and manipulation” teaching is only for doers, not renunciants, because they do not seem themselves as doers. Renunciation is the understanding that there is no doer.
~ Love, James