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Re: Topic for Discussion

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jan 07 2000 - 12:58:41 PST

--- Venkat Nagarajan <NAGARAVE@fin.gov.on.ca> wrote:
> Dear Bhagavatas,
> A Vedantin is concerned not just about bliss in the
> after life, but also
> about minimizing misery in the current life (karmic
> life.)  The dharma
> shastras inform us of the (unique) optimal path;
> i.e., the single path
> which results in misery minimization.  We are all on
> paths that are 
> sub-optimal; the degree of sub-optimality varies
> according the degree of
> delusion resulting from avidya karma.   The degree
> of delusion resulting
> from avidaya karma is subject to change; it is
> greatly influenced by the
> place in which we reside.  The place of residence
> determines the people
> we interact with and the culture to which we are
> exposed, as such it
> has a strong impact on the strengthening or weaking
> of the grip of
> avidya karma (karma 
> that causes delusion.)
> 
> I am curious to find out the following :
> 
> 1. are there any members of the net who actually
> accept, at least in
> principle, even if they feel it is an ideal that is
> almost impossible to reach,
> the path prescribed in the dharma shastras (for a
> brahmana) as optimal?
> 
> 2.  are there any members of this net who think that
> progress towards
> the optimal path, no matter how slow, is a must?
> 
> ramanuja dasan,
> Venkat
> 

Dear Sri.Venkat,

Your questions are very thoughtful even though they
may appear very abstruse. I hope adiyen has correctly
understood you but I suppose you are asking if (1) our
"karma" will rule us or (2) whether we can exercise
some control over our destiny by consciously changing
some of the circumstances of our existence, like place
of residence, cultural moorings etc, as you have
mentioned.

adiyen is a novice in Vedanta so please don't take my
word for it when I say that the answer to your
question above is both YES and NO.

"karma" is like our genetic code... we are both with
it and to some extent it is pre-engineered or
pre-prorammed into our very being, our existential
constitution.

Nevertheless, we do not have to be fatalistic about
our "karma". If we do so become then it just as
foolish as it is to resign ourselves to a disease like
diabetes or cardiac malfunction on the grounds that we
are "genetically" pre-disposed to it.... "so what can
I do about it?".

Just as there are ways to cope and deal with our
genetic make-up... diet-regimen, proper life-style,
regular exercise, medication and surgery etc..... so
also there are plenty of ways that our Vedic/Vedantic
religion prescribes in order to cope and deal with and
eventually thwart and conquer our "karma". What are
these coping mechanisms? They are "karma", "gnyANa"
"bhakti" yoga-systems of Vedanta and "prapatti" yoga
of ramanuja-darsanam.

Now, you are the best judge to find out in which the
environment you are best able to observe and put into
practice the coping mechanisms of Vedanta. If you can
do it in the middle of Hollywood or Las Vegas, fine!
If you find you can't but probably need to move to
SriRangam or Mylapore then you must make the decision
and move out fast... real fast... because for everyone
of us the "metre" of life is ticking away....

Trust adiyen is able to clarify things to you at least
a bit!
dAsan,
Sampathkumaran

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