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Not Indulging the Whining, Insatiable Child
Allen: Hello, Sundari. In the meantime John, Cathy and I continue our trip down Vedanta Way. The [Swami Dayananda’s] Home Study Course is priceless. I’m taking it very slowly, summarizing in writing as I go along and watching the intellect change as I live with a karma yoga attitude. One huge recognition came when I realized that, as I clearly don’t choose my likes and dislikes, to follow them as a prioritizing force, having them guiding my actions, is like being a slave to an immature, whining child! On the other hand, choosing the appropriate action in each situation, based on the roles we have been placed in by Isvara, seems much more like freedom. So while the seemingly automatic and unconscious identity I superimpose on myself as the “doer” continues, there’s nothing like karma yoga.
~ Love to you and James, Allen
Sundari: Hello, Allen. We are so happy that the Gita Home Study Course is working for your family; what could be more beautiful than living life according to the irrefutable wisdom and logic of Vedanta as a family? Even though karma yoga and managing the gunas (triguna vibhava yoga) is only for Allen as the jiva, it frees him from the hopeless quest to “fix” himself! We have so many seekers who just cannot become finders because they are stuck thinking they have to fix the doer. Like you say, Isvara runs the dharma field and is the giver of results, or karma phala datta, so what use is control? The understanding of the gunas is important as it is difficult, if not impossible, to be free of the doer without understanding Isvara and the gunas, which is why James and I emphasise that teaching.
On the other hand, there is also the possibility of this understanding becoming a cop-out for the ego. As you point out, it is definitely true that you did not create your likes and dislikes, or vasanas; they are created by the gunas and belong to Isvara, not to Allen. Moksa is freedom from the attachment to and identification with all objects. As Allen is an object known to you, it is thus clear that you are not Allen. The self appearing as the identity that goes by the name of Allen is the one that is apparently choosing the appropriate action. The appropriate action is always that which does not contravene dharma, or create injury for the individual or “others.” From this point of view following your true nature as the self is sattva, peace of mind. Managing rajas and tamas is not indulging the likes and dislikes, which, as you so eloquently put it, is just like indulging a whining, insatiable, unhappy child. Pretty boring and tiresome – and a recipe for suffering!
I like the way you put it: “On the other hand, choosing the appropriate action in each situation, based on the roles we have been placed in by Isvara, seems much more like freedom. So while the seemingly automatic and unconscious identity I superimpose on myself as the “doer” continues…”
It is obvious that as the one that knows that you are superimposing this “unconscious identity” onto “Allen” – you know that the identity called Allen really is unconscious but the one who knows it, consciousness, is not. And therefore the superimposition, although it remains, is known not to be you. And you know that you are the one that knows the one that is apparently “choosing the appropriate action.” Duality remains and all that changes is how you contact objects, which includes the identity called Allen.
Karma yoga is then not only automatic, it is pure knowledge – and an act of worship of you, the self. In this way, the vasanas get burned up by the knowledge even though they may persist for a while.
Much love to you, Cathy and John, from both of us.