Tuesday, March 27, 2012
PATANJALI YOGASUTRAS - Sutra 3.23 - VIBHUTI PAADHA - Knowing death & Freeing from karma
Sopakramam nirupakramam cha
karma thath Samyamaath
Ø sopakramam = quickly manifesting
Ø nirupakramam = very slow to manifest
Ø cha = or
Ø karma = (or karma phalam) the fruits of the sadhaka’s actions
Ø thath = (on) that
Ø samyamaath = By performing Samyama
Ø aparaantha = (about) death
Ø jnaanam = knowledge
Ø arishtebhyah = (by the)forebodings,Premonitions
Ø vaa = or
Patanjali is giving examples and methods of using Samyama for many interesting purposes. In the earlier sutras, he detailed method of remaining unseen, untouched, unheard, and so on; that is, remaining beyond the ordinary reach of the five senses of all others.
This was needed for yogis for many purposes. Many people would otherwise be disturbing the yogis – from their daily routine. Many yogis tell us – that their Gurus remain inaccessible this way – to all people – except those whom they want to access or permit to access.
A yogi can know everything about their visitors, including their innermost ideas, desires etc – and only if they feel fit – they will become accessible to them. All these potentialities are available to them through Samyama.
Now Patanjali is talking about another interesting Power of Samyama. How does a Yogi come to know about his own death – when, how, and where it will happen.
Let us clearly understand first that - a Yogi has no Fear of Death. He can see his earlier births through Samyama – and he can clearly understand his past karma and its Fruits.
Which Karma results in what karma Phalam (or fruits of action) is well known to him.
The ancient theory about Birth, life and death is that – for a YOGI (a Jnani in Vedanta) , when the current Birth’s Prarabdha Karma phalam is dissolved, he need not retain his body and can invite his own death instantly or when he chooses.
Through his Yogic practices like Samyama, the seedless Samadhi, and then, through his Guru’s teachings, he attains a rare knowledge of the self – which dissolves his Past, accumulated bag of Karma, called the Sanchita karma. This he has been carrying on his self from the last birth or even from much earlier births. This huge bag of Sanchitha Karma is the first one to be dissolved, when he attains the knowledge of his self, according to the Vedantic and the Yogic theory.
The very understanding and witnessing of the Karma done earlier and its fruits – dissolves this karma. He will no more be interested in such Sanchita Karma again. The Power of being a Drasta, a Sakshi, a pure witness is implied here. The object witnessed comes under the Drasta’s power and dissolves.
But, a part of the Sanchita Karma, has already matured for fruition into the current birth. This part of Sanchita Karma, which has to be faced any way by everybody born – whether a yogi or a non-yogi - is called Prarabdha Karma. Prarabdha Karma is responsible for all of our pleasures, enjoyments, sufferings, diseases and so on of the current Birth.
A part of the Prarabdha Karma relates to previous Janmas or births and comes along with their Sanchita Karma and matures for fruition in current Birth.
This, in western world – is debated as the Nature vs Nurture controversy. Is our current life and its pleasures and pains the result of our genes or our upbringing/our actions?
You may be born as a hale and healthy individual, as a wealthy one at birth, or born in a highly placed family in Society – as a result of your sanchitha karma, which has matured for fruition in current birth. Or you may inherit some diseases, troubles etc from birth itself. All this is your past sanchitha Karma, which has matured for current birth.
A part of the matured Sanchitha Karma becomes Prarabdha Karma and continues throughout your present life. It plays the part of luck or ill-luck – throughout your current life.
So, Genetics, if we want to call it so, plays this part.
But, in this current birth itself, we are continuously performing Karma again. A part of that goes into the bag of Sanchitha Karma – as everything cannot be enjoyed / suffered in this birth itself. A part of it has to be enjoyed or suffered now – and a part of it is for our future births.
This is how – we can say – we only create our Destiny by our own actions.
So, our destiny does come from 2 sources in every birth – one, from our own actions in our past births, which forms our genetic code. Second, from our current actions and motivations. Both play their part.
Whatever we do – some times, victory remains exasperatingly elusive. Happiness remains elusive. Prosperity remains elusive. At the same time, some times, whatever we do or don’t do, victory comes forced upon us, happiness and prosperity comes to adorn us – to our own utter surprise. Why this? And, why that? Life remains a puzzle. But, for one who understands Karma theory, life is not a puzzle at all.
Not every successful person has done all that is required for his success or failure – in his current birth. But, yes. He only is responsible for his destiny – his success, failure, happiness, suffering etc – only after including all of his actions from his past births also into the causes.
The statement that – you are the maker of your destiny is absolutely right. But, be aware, that you are making the destiny of your future Births too, by your current actions; and that your Destiny in your current birth – is also solely of your make only – but by including the actions of your past births.
There is no real break in the series of “action – result –action-result etc…” which continue every moment..in this birth, into the next birth and so on. The births are continuous, and so are the series of “action-result”.
The Yogi however has a choice. In the Vedanta, the Jnani, the one who has understood the causes of births well, also has this Choice. He can dissolve his Sanchita Karma, just by looking at it in sequence, in his samyama. He understands what he has been doing and what are their consequences. This witnessing and understanding ends his Sanchita Karma. The bag dissolves.
There is thus, the most important part of Karma – the karma which has matured for current birth’s fruits / enjoyment - which we need to understand.
Whatever happens to you in this birth – happens because of this. This, as earlier said, has 2 components. One, the Sanchitha which has come from previous births and matured for result - as Prarabdha Karma. Second, the karma done in this birth and matured for result in this birth itself, as Prarabdha Karma. These matured results of Prarabdha Karma have to be faced by all. This will come slowly throughout our current life.
There is a third, which is called aagaami karma – that karma which we will be doing in this birth in coming days, hours, years etc ( in the future) – whose fruits also join either Sanchitha karma or Prarabdha karma when we actually do them.
A Yogi who does Samyama on Sanchitha and Prarabdha – is automatically freed from the results of Sanchitha and Aagami Karma.
How so? He attains the knowledge of death through the wisdom acquired through Samyama. He knows when, how and where he will die. He is not afraid of death – who knows his past births, his current birth and death, his karma, his karma phalam and all that is associated with birth and death. He is always happy with whatever is happening. If he is to leave the body – so be it. It is as simple as leaving his old dress. He can choose to wear a new dress or not wear one at all!
By performing Samyama on Sanchita Karma ( one which is slow to come to him) and on prarabdha (which is fast entering in his life), A yogi knows all about death. He automatically is freed from Aagami Karma, and Sanchita Karma whose results no more touch him. It is emphasized that Prarabdha th karma which has matured for current life, has to be faced any way. What dissolves are Sanchitha and aagami.
But, of course, there is a beautiful way to face the prarabdha in current life. More on that later.
Patanjali also adds another small hint on how to know about the death. By performing Samyama on premonitions, forebodings, certain happenings all around the yogi – which others, or non-yogis cannot recognize, the Yogi can see the approaching death. Many such premonitions are mentioned in Ramayana, Maha Bharat and other puranas etc – which give indications of approaching death, disease or other calamities – for individuals and the society.
According to Plutarch, a great saint in Rome, had foreseen that Julius Caesar would be fatally injured not later than the 15th of March, which was called “the ides of March”. But, Caesar did not heed him. On way to the theatre of Pompey, Caesar saw the saint and laughed saying, "The ides of March have come", implying that your prophecy was not fulfilled. The saint coolly replied "Ay, Caesar; but not gone."
Caesar was later assassinated in the theatre by his closest friends.
Yogis and saints can recognize the forebodings of death or injury of any one. But, usually, they do not interfere in it – even if they can. They do not interfere – even in their own case – unless, they prefer to finish some pending agenda of great importance.
They can finish up their Prarabdha much faster than others – or keep on to it – if they feel necessary. But, death itself holds no great significance beyond this to them.
The doctors can recognize some physical signs like pulse rate, lung rate, eye ball movements etc – and predict approaching death to some extent.
But, yogis can see many external and internal signs on the onset of death – months before it happens to them or others. They can perform samyama on any such present signs they see or experience – and predict the future death accurately.
Patanjali has already indicated in brief about Karma and its fruits in Saadhana Paadha in sutras 12,13,14,15 and 16.
In sutra.3.23, the present one – Patanjali is talking about the final result of all this Karma, the death and how to know the karma that has caused it. Once, this knowledge comes, the Drasta (the yogi) becomes freed from a huge burden on his head, the Karmas that are causing his life-death sequence.
In coming Sutras, we shall see a few more interesting results of Samyama performed on different objects .
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