Harnessing Reaction; Live in the Box of Dharma
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2015-01-07
Responding and handling karma when feeling mistreated. The goal: insight into our self, get into a more refined cycle of life. Harness instinctive and intellectual reaction and forgive, karma's totally gone. Religion provides a box. In Shum, two kinds of boxes: nyafsam and siimf. Two kinds of dharma: grihastha and sannyasa. Some one needs to be In the box of dharma before taking on their karma.
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lesson 251.
"Lesson 251, The Role of The Satguru
"Responsibly resolving karma is among the most important reasons that a satguru is necessary in a sincere seeker's life. The guru helps the devotee to hold his mind in focus, to become pointedly conscious of thought, word and deed, and to cognize the lessons of each experience. Without the guidance and grace of the guru, the devotee's mind will be divided between instinctive and intellectual forces, making it very difficult to resolve karma. And only when karma is wisely harnessed can the mind become still enough to experience its own superconscious depths."
Gurudeva says elsewhere it's not the experience which is a challenge, it's our reaction to the experience, that's the challenge. Somebody mistreats us and of course, the instinctive mind knows what it should do. It should mistreat them, maybe a little bit more than they mistreated us. That's our instinctive response. We get mistreated and some part of us wants to mistreat back. And of course, we have to harness that with the intellect.
And the intellect will harness our tendency to immediately respond back with kind or even more but it can also come up with a more indirect way to get back. Different forms, you know like a husband and wife. The wife starts forgetting things all of a sudden. "Oh, I forgot to make your lunch today; I'm sorry." She got back, right? But very directly. What's that called? Sneaky anger? Sneaky anger is getting back in a subtle way. So we don't want to do that either.
We manage to avoid that, we can still resent that it happened. We're upset with the person who mistreated us. We don't do anything instinctively or intellectually but we're upset. We haven't forgiven them. So therefore, the karma is not gone. As long as we resent what they did the karma is not gone.
Gurudeva explains that elsewhere in the Master Course:
"The Tirukural gives the best advice. Says return injury with kindness and forget both and punish the offender by his own shame."
So, you've kind of raised the bar on behavior. You make the person realize that you're not going to stoop to that kind of instinctiveness and you don't think they should either. And so, they get punished by being ashamed by what they did. That's a very clever way, right, of retaliating? You make them feel ashamed. That's the ultimate retaliation. But if you do it for their benefit then it's not retaliation. If you have in mind their well being at all times then what you're do is not done as a retaliation. It's just done as a way of responding and handling the karma.
"The guru guides and also shares a bit of the heavier burdens, if one is fortunate enough to be dedicated enough to have a guru who will lend his powers in this way. But each aspect of the karma, the outgrowth of the dharma, must be passed through by the disciple, creating as little as possible of a similar karma on this tenuous path of the repetition of the cycles of life."
That's a good one, huh? "...tenuous path of the repetition of the cycles of life." In other words, we tend to get stuck in patterns of behavior. We keep reacting the same way to the same situations. We don't have enough insight to break out of that pattern of that cycle. So same experiences keep repeating in life. Requires insight. Insight into what? Insight into our self. Insight into our nature. Insight into our tendency to react certain ways to other people. We have to break through that pattern to end up in a new cycle which is the goal. Getting in to a more refined cycle of life.
"The guru is able, because of his enlightenment or tapas, or as his tapas, to take upon himself the karma of another. Just what exactly does this mean? You have already found such persons at the moment of your birth--your mother and your father, who, perhaps unknowingly, took the full impact of your dharma, and continue to take the impact of the karma you create, deeply within their nerve systems. (Sure some here can vouch for that who have raised children. It does come back on you and it doesn't go well.) If your karma is of a heavy nature, it could disrupt the entire home, (Meaning the child's karma.) and they could suffer because of it. (The parents.) On the other hand, if your dharma is devonic, full of merit accrued by generosity, good deeds and graciousness in your former life, your presence in their home is a blessing, and the force of your arrival may mitigate influences in their minds of an uncomely nature, bringing peace, harmony and forbearance into the home."
So very interesting how the karma and dharma of the parents and the children inter-relate. So it can, the influence is both ways, and this is pointing out the influence of the child on the parents.
"The guru may take unto himself, into his nerve system, some of the heavier areas of your karma in the same way your parents performed this function for you perhaps unknowingly."
So we'll come back to that a little bit further. But the idea here is we can take on someone else's karma so we have to be very careful about that. It's like taking on someone else's debts. You know, we have enough debt already? We don't need our neighbors' debts as well to pay off. So, we'll come back to that.
"Planetary changes activate new karmas and close off some of the karmas previously activated. These karmas then wait in abeyance, accumulating new energy from current actions, to be reactivated at some later time. These karmic packets become more refined, life after life, through sadhana. All of this is summed up by one word, evolution."
And of course, Gurudeva, when he says evolution doesn't mean the body's evolution but the soul's evolution which is synonymous with spiritual unfoldment. Spiritual unfoldment, Gurudeva uses the word evolution for that. That's just talking about the soul.
"The planets do not cause the events or the vibrations that individuals react to either positively or negatively. The magnetic pulls of light or the absence of light release that which is already there within the individual. If not much is there, not much can be released. The magnetic pulls and the lack of are what jyotisha is telling us is happening at every point in time. Two (I think it's things, he's using a word there.) --magnetism and its absence. On and off. Light and dark. With and without. Action and no action. Therefore, these keys release within the individual what was created when other keys were releasing other karmas. It is our reaction to karmas through lack of understanding that creates most karmas we shall experience at a future time."
Well that's how we started the first explanation was on that. It's not the action itself that happens to us. It's our reaction to it. That's the challenge cause that can create new karmas. So if we can manage to harness the instinctive reaction, harness intellectual reaction, and forgive, then the karma's totally gone.
"The sum total of all karmas, including the journey through consciousness required to resolve them is called samsara. Dharma is like a box made of restraints and observances. The box contains karma. It allows an individual to work through his birth karmas and prevent unseemly new karmas from being created to be worked out in the next life. Without the guidance of dharma, the individual is free to make all kinds of new karma."
So religion provides a box. Religion, all religions provide a box of what's acceptable conduct. Box that Hinduism is called dharma.
Well there's a word for box in Shum. In fact there's two kinds of boxes in Shum. Those of you who've studied Shum in the early 70's may remember the word siimf. Anybody remember the word siimf? One, two. Okay two, not very many here. Siimf.
Well there's two. There's siimf and there's sawm, Everything is spelled a little differently these days so it's now called nyafsam. Previously it was just sawm. Now it's nyafsam. So lets do the positive one first which is nyafsam or sawm. The same as siimf but with no... Well I guess I have to read siimf first be first to siimf.
"Siimf: "1)Niimf lodged and traveling within an area of consciousness, unable to travel to another area of the mind; 2) awareness stuck in a certain state or mambashum; 3) a feeling of being burdened may result from the sense of restriction. "
"1) The same as siimf but with no feeling of being burdened; 2) a feeling of freedom within this confined area exists; 3) powers of lilif are present; 4) positive restriction, subconscious freedom. 5) often pronounced and written simply as sawm."
We're talking about a box. A box is comprised of dharma. Dharma comes in two flavors. Grihastha dharma and sannyasa dharma or monastic dharma. (Somethings's moving, is it going to fall down? No, okay well then we're safe.) Oh, a box. A box can be enjoyable or a box can be un-enjoyable or restriction.
Dharma. Well grihastha dharma defines what we can do and what we can do and what we can't do and if we stay within those bounds Then we work out karma smoothly and we don't generate new karma. But if we step outside the bounds then these are those things happens the same. So that box doesn't always feel the same. Sometimes it feels: This is really good. You know I get up in the morning at 6, I do my vigil, I do this I do that. You know, my exercise. You're in a routine. That's a box. Sometimes that routine really feels good and at other times it can feel restrictive. I want to do other things. I don't want to give up. I'm feeling lazy this morning, etcetera.
Sometimes the routine can feel restrictive. Well monastic life is like that. The monastery routine is a very "box of high law" shall we say. Twenty-four hour a day box, you don't get out of it. And if things are going well in your monastic life, you're enjoying the box. And you get up at 4AM, you do this, you do this and you're in your routine. You go to town now and then, not very often and so forth. You know, you're in a box.
But if you're not, your monastic life isn't working right the box feels restrictive. You want to go, you want to go to town more often. You want to see some old friends. You want to do something outside of the box. And then it's restrictive. So, if it's restrictive we to kind of uplift ourselves to enjoy the benefits of the box again. So, it becomes restrictive when our energies are down. We're not inspired. So we need to find a way to inspire ourselves and then the box is positive again. So very interesting, idea of a box.
And then, the point I wanted to come back to was taking on someone else's karma. How can we do that? Well you can do that by counseling someone very deeply, you know, we get all involved in their life and their karma and trying to help them out. Well nothing wrong with that particularly if it's a family member or a friend. You know, we have kind of an obligation if they're depending on us. But we can take on some karma. What does that mean? It means activities or states of mind in us that previously weren't stimulated all of a sudden become stimulated. We want to think about things we normally don't think about. We want to do things we normally wouldn't do. What happened? Those impulses in us got stimulated by taking on someone else's karma.
Gurudeva's very strict with the monks in terms of new people. Someone has to complete, an adult has to complete our supervised Master Course study which currently takes, is it 15 months I think? Fifteen months of study at a minimum. So they need to get through that and make other commitments before we are supposed to get involved in their karma. Why is that? Because they're not in a box. They're not yet in the box of dharma necessarily. So their life can be a bit wild; they can have problems they haven't necessarily resolved things in their past. Well we can take on, whoa, a lot of stuff that we didn't have before. We don't want to do that. So, you want the person to be in the box before you get to know them very closely. You want them committed to that discipline. Okay, I'm in the box of dharma; my life is going well.
I remember one man, is a Hindu man who really pleaded to see me. And usually we don't just see someone without knowing them better. And his life was a total mess, you know. He wanted advice. Well his first wife was this and his second wife was that and his girlfriend was doing this and: What should I do?
Remember Saravananatha? He was a real mess. Well you can't really tell him: You should get in the box of dharma, you know. It wasn't really, you know, his life to do that and I wasn't really able to help him because he wasn't in the box of dharma. He was just going through experiences, one thing leading to another, leading to another, leading to another relationship and so on. Was creating a lot of karma.
Well to help someone in our approach they need to be in the box of dharma and then, you know, take on their karma. As Gurudeva puts it, he says, you know: "Someone needs to take one step toward you and then you can take nine." But if you take 10, 11, 12, 13 you're starting to take on their karma as well. Someone needs to do something, you respond, and then they need to do something more and you respond.
A very simple way of helping someone is to just ask them to burn a prayer. So that's what we can do both here and in Mauritius. Someone wants help, we don't have to know what they're concerned about, we don't have to sit down and hear their problem, we don't have to sit down and do their astrology. We can say: "Write a prayer and burn it to Lord Ganesha. He will give you guidance. If you don't get guidance, do it again. You don't get guidance do it again." You know that's our system for handling individuals who aren't that close to us because we don't want to take on their karma. Unless they come forward sufficiently.
So that's the idea of karma.
Dharma is a box and that box being looked at as a positive restriction or burdensome restriction. If it's burdensome we need to uplift ourselves to realize the benefit of why we're in the box in the first place.
Aum Namah Sivaya
Have a great day.