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Drivers of Activities

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“World is made up of precisely two things: living beings and non living things, and then there are all kinds of activities around. Who or What drives these activities, which are happening all around?”, kicked off the 5th session on philosophy.

“As per some philosophies, it is some super power called God, who makes all the things happen around”, answered Viṡay.

“But then does that mean, no one has any control on doing anything, it is all as per the super power”, quizzed Mitthyātva.

“Such philosophies believe so. But I don’t think that is practical. May be God has some control and remaining control is left to the individuals – the living beings”, replied Viṡay.

“Yes, I know of many philosophies, which propound that doer is the individual, but the result provider is the super power”, intervened Tatva.

“There are a few who believe in no super power as well, and dictates that you are the sole controller of your destiny”, added Ātmā.

“But again, that may not be practical, as we have seen incidents which are totally out of one’s control, whatever one may do”, interrupted Viṡay.

“I liked it. A really healthy debate”, praised the professor. “In fact, nothing really right or wrong about these philosophies. It is just that they have been put up from different perspectives, and they may be valid from that perspective.”

“That’s really interesting”, expressed Mitthyātva.

“Yes it is, indeed. And, how about incorporating various of these perspectives in say a unified philosophy?”, questioned the professor.

“O Wow! Don’t tell me that’s possible”, exclaimed Tatva.

Why just possible? In fact, there is a name for the technique of incorporating multiple perspectives.

What is it?

Anekāntvād (अनेकान्तवाद), which is one of the foundation pillars of the philosophy under discussion, all these days.

Okay, so what does it talk about the driver of the activities?

As per it, there is not just 1 or 2 but 5 samvāy (समवाय) or the so called drivers of activities.

Five?! We are already puzzled with two.

Don’t you worry. It would rather help us resolve the unanswered from other philosophies. And the five are:
+ kāl (काल) – time
+ swabhāv (स्वभाव) – the intrinsic property or nature
+ karm (कर्म) – the tiny particles, we learnt about in our previous session
+ puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ) – one’s effort, we discussed in our previous session
+ niyati (नियति) – the pre-determined activity – the destiny, which can’t be changed

That seems complicated.

Let’s take some examples to simplify. Take for example a mango seed. We sow that for growing a mango plant, and then into a mango tree, to finally bear mangoes. We water it, manure it, for it to grow healthy and faster. Now, whatever be done, it would take a minimum time for the seed to sprout and come out as a sapling, one can’t make it faster – that is the kāl in action. After all these, what size of tree it grows into, what taste of mango it bears, … is all decided by the karm attached with the soul in the mango tree. Now, if one expects berry from the mango tree, it wouldn’t but give only mango – that is its swabhāv in action. Now, even after the first three in action, if one wouldn’t have done the puruṡārth of sowing the seed, it wouldn’t have even grown, forget about bearing fruits.

“So, puruṡārth is the most powerful – that’s why people say don’t stop putting in your effort”, quipped Ātmā.

Your second part is correct that don’t give up your effort, but not the first one. Actually, all the samvāy have their own roles to play. Sometimes one may seem to be more powerful than the other, but all of them have their importance – again that is what is anekāntvād.

If it is not *the* powerful, then what’s the point of doing puruṡārth?

Understand that you may need all the drivers for an activity to happen. So, skipping puruṡārth may cause it not to happen at all. Say you are all planned to become rich, you have the characteristics to earn (swabhāv), opportunities to earn (kāl), and karm supporting it – but then you don’t even attempt to earn. In such a scenario, given all possibilities of you becoming rich, you won’t become rich.

What if any of the others is not supporting?

Exactly. Note that, in this scenario, all may be important – and any one missing may lead to not becoming rich. But the challenge is our inability to know about the state of others. More importantly, out of all the samvāy, it is only puruṡārth, which is under one’s control, none others are – so this is our only key, and *the* key to control or drive the activity – and that’s why we should not stop putting in our effort.

“What is the role of niyati? That has not come in any of the above examples”, asked Tatva with curiosity.

Niyati is what people call the destiny – whatever may happen, if something has to happen, it would happen. For example, if the niyati of the mango seed was to not sprout, even after all the first four supporting samvāy, it would not sprout.

That’s dangerous.

Yes, it is. But typically, only very few things are niyati. And that’s why most of the times, it is not *the* most powerful one, as it may look like in the first go.

But, how is niyati decided? Is it set by a super power? And why is it set, in the first place?

It is set or rather attracted by no other super power but the soul itself. Niyati is basically driven by a special type of karm called nikāchit (निकाचित) karm, attracted & set by soul itself. And it is such, that its effects cannot be altered or removed without bearing them as is, unlike other karm.

But, why would the soul attract the nikāchit karm, in the first place?

As discussed earlier, as long as we do activity, there is continuous inflow & outflow of karm particles. However, if during the inflow, we (as in our soul) is in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), these karm particles get transformed into nikāchit karm.

So, if our soul (as in we), through our puruṡārth, are never in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), we’d never attract the nikāchit karm, avoiding any effect of niyati.

Yes, no more new niyati drivers. But, you’d have to bear the past ones, if you had already accumulated any.

Hmmm! So, that’s one more strong reason for being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit, at least the intensest ones.

Excellent recall. And, finally note that the five drivers are for the activities of living beings. For non-living things, it is only the first two, others don’t make sense.

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Theory of Karm

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“As discussed in our last class, karm (कर्म) particles are the impurities surrounding the soul, obstructing it to attain its state of complete knowledge. But what are these karm particles? Are they living or non-living? Do they decide the fate of soul? Can they ever be eliminated from the soul? If yes, how? Why in the first place are they surrounding the soul? I am sure you have one or more such queries bothering you”, jolted the professor.

“Yes”, came a chorus.

These and many more questions around karm are what are dealt in the theory of karm.

“So finally, are we going to learn how to attain the complete knowledge by eliminating the karm particles?”, asked Jāti.

Dear Jāti, it is a continual learning process, not just a pill to eliminate all karm particles. So, knowing the theory of karm is just the beginning into the process.

Great! at least we’ll begin today.

Karm particles are one of the tiniest granules of matter, and as such they are non-living.

“How does the living soul accumulate the non-living karm?”, asked Upyog.

If it is a pure living soul, it in fact cannot accumulate non-living karm, and that state of soul is what is called nirvāṅ (निर्वाण) or mokṡ (मोक्ष), from which it never comes out. However, the worldly soul is already surrounded by karm and these karm leads to accumulating more karm – it is a vicious cycle.

“If it is a vicious cycle, would soul ever be able to come out of it”, asked Yog.

Good question. If left on its own, the karm wouldn’t allow soul to attain nirvāṅ. However, soul has the ability of doing puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ), i.e. “putting effort” to break the vicious cycle.

What kind of effort?

Effort to stop the inflow of karm, and effort to remove the existing karm.

How to do the effort?

For that, let’s first understand the process of inflow & accumulation. Any of our mental, vocal, or physical activity brings in the karm. So, stopping or reducing them, stops or reduces the inflow, e.g. taking vows to reduce our activities – the most common & profound activity being eating.

Is that why so many soul centred philosophies are centred around food restrictions?

Sort of – more precisely food control and management, as food is one major activity driver for all living beings.

So, does it directly relate fasting to removal of karm particles?

Yes, it does – just that it should be done with that intention alone – otherwise it may not be that effective.

“Intentions? Do they have any role?”, asked surprised Karm.

In fact, they are the ones having the major role, as intentions trigger thoughts, and thoughts drive the appropriate effort.

Isn’t putting effort an action in itself?

Putting effort to remove karm is an action indeed.

Then, wouldn’t it further accumulate more karm?

It would, but accumulate only good karm particles, eliminating the bad ones.

“Does it mean, it is good to have good karm particles?”, quizzed Yog.

Not really, as even they would obstruct the soul from reaching its pure form. But once all the bad ones are gone, the good ones cannot stay for long – they would eventually go off. And a thing to understand is that more important than the accumulation of karm particles is the strength with which they are bonded with. As it is almost inevitable to reach zero activity, so karm particles would keep on accumulating, till almost our soul gets into pure form. But, if they are accumulated with the least possible bonding strength, they could all be cleared very easily, in lesser go’s.

And how do we control the bonding strength?

The bonding strength depends on the level of kaṡāy during the bonding.

“What is this kaṡāy?”, asked Guṅasthān.

It is the glue for karm particles. The foursome of Anger, Greed, Ego, Deceit is collectively termed as kaṡāy. So, having the less of these in our character, enables easy removal of our karm. One may remember them as the acronym AGED. I hope all of you understand these four emotions.

I believe anger is best understood but least worked upon. Greed is want of something more than one’s need, even at cost of others. Ego is the “only me” thought. Deceit is cheating.

More or less correct. And with that I believe you understand why various philosophies talk about being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit.

You mean being devoid of AGED paves the path towards complete knowledge.

Yes. Shed anger, be peaceful. Shed greed, be satisfied. Shed ego, be accommodative. Shed deceit, be straightforward. And head towards achieving complete knowledge, and henceforth the state of pure soul.

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