Maha Upadesh of Aadishri – Part – 9
Let us look at the cause of the Happiness and sorrow that keep cycling through our lives. The real cause of Happiness and sorrow is our past Karma. What this means is that if the record of our past karma is 70% good and 30% bad, then the ratio of the happiness versus sorrow that we experience today will also be in the ratio of 70:30. Not only that, the specific incidents we experience that create our happy and sorrowful situations-illness, pain, broken relationships, happy moments, achievements, accolades, abundances etc are also dependent on the exact things we had done earlier.
So in that sense, we are completely in the control of the cycle of karma. The fact is that we will always reap what we have sown. In this way, the cycle of karma is highly mechanical and one may feel that it is inescapable and therefore one may feel helpless but that is not true. God has left an escape route. There is a way to escape this automatic cycle of action and karma creation. How to do so? The way is that if we renounce the fruit of our actions, even as we do our actions sincerely, then no karma accrues to us for the actions we commit.
If we live our life this way, not creating new karmas but wearing out/ consuming the karma of our past actions, we will soon reach a point where we have no more karma to undergo and we would have reached the state of Moksha or liberation. This is clearly affirmed in the Geeta chapter 18:12, which says that the person who does not renounce the fruits of his Karma-whether good or bad or mixed, such a person is destined to constantly experience the fruits of that karma. However the person who renounces the fruit, such a person achieves liberation quickly.
Now the question is-how is karma made? The answer is that karma is made based on the actions we commit and the starting point of action is thoughts and beliefs. Thoughts, in turn, are made based on the information that we have access to. The fact is that all our thoughts are based on our information base. Whatever we see, read, experience etc, all these form the base of information and knowledge that make up our thoughts and opinions. And in turn, our thoughts and opinions create the basis of our actions which results creates our karmic destiny.
Thus whatever information we take in, that is what is the soil from which emerge the actions we take and the karma we create. The soil (information) creates the plant (thoughts and beliefs) and the plant bears the fruit (karma).
A concrete example will make this clearer – In the earlier times children were brought up to respect their parents and they did so. They believed that doing so would get them love and respect and happiness. This belief was based on the information available at that time. All information sources of earlier times were extolling the virtues of respecting your elders. Scriptures like Ramayana were the ideals and sons like Shravan kumar were thought of as ideal persons. It was because of this belief that most people strived and aspired to be like Maryaada Purshottam Rama, who had renounced being king and undergone hardships of a 14 years exile just to honor the promises that his father had made. Thus children of yesteryears looked after their parents in their old age and accrued good karma as a result but the children of today don’t care for their parents even if the parents are now suffering illnesses that are debilitating and life threatening. They are only interested in indulging in their own desires and they forget that they are what they are because of their parent’s sacrifices and labors. The result is that when their parents actually need their help in their old age, that is exactly when their children abandon them.
Why has this happened? It is because the sources of information today are giving the young of today this wrong kind of information. Television, face book, twitter and all kinds of entertainment sources are constantly teaching people of today that bitching, backbiting and doing selfish, lustful things is acceptable and fashionable. The earlier ideals of compassion, helpfulness, looking out for others etc is now out of fashion. Today it has become ok to cheat, lie, misbehave and disrespect others simply to enjoy one’s life.
But ask yourself-can negative qualities ever promote happiness, peace, bliss?
No friends-they can’t.
So my advice is that if your want to be truly happy then you will have to adapt those qualities that lead to happiness and bliss. After-all can you get mangoes if you have in reality planted only cactus plants all your life?
So I suggest to all of you that if you want to walk on the path of happiness, first empty your mind of all the wrong information that you are taking in today. Just as the bad effects of overeating can be reduced by going on water fast, similarly one should go on a social media fast. I suggest that we should stop using those sources of information that are only promoting lust, desire, anger, greed, fear and selfishness in you. Go on an information fast to purge yourself or wrong thoughts and feelings.
The modern means of communication should be used for how they were intended, which is to carry out essential, quick and cheap communications. For example Whatsapp was created to give a free method to send messages between people who were living very far from each other. But today it has become a method of sending all kinds of time wasting uncouth jokes and videos instead of messages. What we have done is that we are misusing these technologies to entertain ourselves rather than using them for communication and we are also replacing actual real relationships with virtual ones. Not only that, we are letting our morals and standards become corrupted by the constant messages that we hear from wrong sources of information. Thus my advice is to get over the addiction of social media. That will go a long way in getting our information base right and that in turn will nurture the right thoughts and actions.