ROLES OF MIND, WILL & FATE   :  RAMA-GITA

Sri Rama’s ‘Gita’ to Bharata begins with

नात्मनः कामकारोऽस्ति पुरुषोऽयं अनीश्वरः।इतश्चेतरतश्चैनं कृतान्तः परिकर्षति॥

nAtmanaH kAma-kAro.asti purushho.ayaM anIshvaraH .

itashcetarashcainaM kRRitAntaH parikarshhati .. (V.R. Ayodhya Kanda 105 – 15)

Man is not able to do what he wills; Fate pulls him hither and thither

Mind is not something that you or the doctor can get hold of; it is subtle matter so subtle that it is nothing but a flow of thoughts.  It just receives all the cognitions that the senses send to it. It receives and stores.  Nothing more.  What acts is the will or will-power of the mind.  What analyses the cognitions is the intellect within the mind.  Will-power (dhRRti or IcchhA shakti in Samkrit) and Intellect (buddhi) are the two facets of the mind, which do these, of course, under the promptings of the mind.  When Sastras teach you to ‘speak the truth’, they are telling your will-power to act in that direction of truth.  If it decides to do so, it will tell the senses to follow that.

Now what does Fate do? FATE  is only the result or fructification  of what all you have thought and done in your past lives. It creates certain tendencies, which are the 13 channels[1] of the mind through which all thoughts flow.  If the will-power takes over and refuses to go over those channels but takes a decision to direct the thoughts to flow through the only two (remaining) right channels of the mind, viz.,shraddha (faith) and (bhakti) dedication to the rules of the sastras, then the right thing happens.

Rama tells Bharata to use his will power to understand the sastras and his own advice and act accordingly.  Fate will certainly keep on dragging you into directions.  But you must use your will-power not to be influenced by those pulls and pushes and take the right decisions. Will should take over the mind in consultation with the intellect and take the right decision.  Lakshmana’s decision to rebel against the father was against the shastras and so that will-power against Fate is a wrong direction of will-power.  This is what Rama told Lakshmana.  Now Bharata is being told to follow the shastras and use his will-power to control his anger, hate, etc. and go along the right path according to the shastras. The right path here according to the shastras is to accept the Fate, because Father’s word is Law, both according to tradition and according to Manu Smriti. Rama explains this to Bharata in shlokas 15 to 42 of Sarga 105. This is Rama-Gita. Rama’s speech at this juncture is almost a capsule version of the Gita. The following is a summary: (The nos. within brackets are shloka numbers of he chapter):

“Freedom of action does not belong to the embodied soul since the latter is powerless unlike God. Providential Fate forcibly drags it hither and thither (15). All accumulations end in attenuation; all elevations end in degradation; and all life has its end in death(16). As no fear from any quarter other than a fall awaits ripe fruits, so no fear from any quarter other than death  awaits men who come into the world(17). Even as a house, though supported by stone pillars collapses on getting old, so men fallen into the clutches of old age and death breathe their last(18). The night that passes away does not return in any case. The Yamuna river meets without fail the all sufficient ocean, abounding in water(19) . Passing days and nights quickly end the life span of all living beings in this world even as sunbeams suck up water in summer(20). 

Therefore what is to be done?  Grieve for your Self.  Why do you grieve for another?  In fact Death ever walks with us when we are walking and remains seated with us when we are sitting(21, 22).  When folds have appeared on the skin of the limbs and the hair has turned grey, by what expedient will a man worn out with age be able to control them?(23). People wrongly enjoy sunrise and sunset. They  forget that with each change of day and each passing of a season there comes the gradual waning of life of living beings(24, 25). Even as two pieces of drifting wood come together on the surface of the ocean at a particular moment but drift apart at another moment so also wives and sons and relations and riches part company after coming together; for inevitable is their separation(26, 27).

As long as mind is present, such modifications as attraction, desire, pleasure, pain, etc.  seem to function and these stop functioning during sleep when mind is absent. So these functions belong to the mind and not to the Atman. Therefore our celebrated father whose mind was given to piety and who has attained Heaven through all kinds of sacrificial performances of a highly blessed character is not to be grieved for, in any way. As such, be at ease and let not grief overpower you. Return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom as you have been enjoined by father. I too shall do his bidding. It is not justifiable on my part to flout his command.”

 

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[1] The 13 channels are: rAga (attachment). Dvesha (hate), kAma (desire or lust), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), lobha (greed), mada (arrogance), mAtsarya (jealousy), IrshyA , asUya (malice),  dambha (show/vanity) , garva (pride)  - and their Captain AHAMKARA (Ego).  (See Chart attached)

 

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© 2017 by V. Krishnamurthy

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