“Duty is that which must be done whether or not it is in agreement with my likes and dislikes. If the like and duty coincide, the action becomes spontaneous. If the like does not coincide with the duty, the action becomes deliberate—this is karma yoga with respect to action. If I do what I fancy, regardless of whether it is proper or not, it is an impulsive action. An impulsive person is in the hands of likes and dislikes and therefore full of conflicts. A deliberate person, who does what should be done, releases the mind from likes and dislikes in course of time. The sense of duty grows upon the person such tht the duties are performed as naturally as breathing and eating. The mind of such a person is fit instrument to appreciate the teaching of Vedanta”.
If you have not read the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, then maybe we should all read it. In that, this is the first thing that is spoken about. It is about the five modulations of the mind. It is very important.
The five modulations are: Pramana (proof). We want proof for everything. We want proof of love, of truth, of someone’s honesty, of God. We want to prove everything.
The second modulation is Viparyaya (incorrect conclusions or wrong understanding). Viparyaya means the mind making up its own universe, which is very different from what actually is in reality. In the Yoga Sutras, it is said, ‘Viparyayaha mithya jnaanam atad rupa pratishtham.’ (Yoga Sutras, Ch.1, V.8)
It means, that what you thought, was not what was actually happening in reality. It meant, you were having a wrong understanding of reality.
So Viparyaya means seeing the unreal as real, and the real as unreal. It means seeing that which is temporary, transient and perishable as permanent and imperishable. Sat and A-Sat. (The Absolute truth and Maya (fantasy)
It is like, sometimes others think something about you, but those people are gone, and that thought is gone as well, but you have held on to that thought in your mind and you are miserable. This is Viparyaya.
A simple example could be: you are going into someone’s house and they do not see you entering. There is a gust of wind, or maybe they see a lizard entering the house, so they shut the door, but you think that they have banged the door on your face.
It was simply a coincidence of your going towards the door and them banging the door shut. You thought they saw you coming because you saw them, and they shut the door. These are some simple examples of Viparyaya. You sit and think, ‘Others are thinking badly about me’. But in fact if you ask them, they will tell you, ‘I never thought about you. I was busy with my own work’. Where do people have the time to think about you?
The third is Vikalpa (fantasy or imagination). It again means the mind thinking or galloping on that which is not there at all.
The fourth is Nidra meaning sleep, and the fifth is Smriti (memory), meaning dwelling upon something in the memory, or thinking all the time about something that happened in the past.
There are 26 qualities, which we are either born with or need to cultivate.
2) Purity of mind
3) Steadiness in contemplation
5) Dama Limits Controls of the Senses
6) Yajna Sacrifice
7) Svadhyay Self reflection Contemplation
8) Tapas Practicer of Austerities like fasting etc.
9) Arjavam Simplicity
10) Ahimsa Non Violence
11) Satya Truth Honesty
12) Akrodha Anger less
13) Tyaga Giving up or Renunciation
14) Shanthi Peace Calmness Tranquility
15) Apaisuna Non criticism or not criticizing others, Absence of Calumny
16) Daya Mercy Forgiveness
17) Aloluptva Non greedy
18) Mardav Softness gentleness mildness leniency
19) Hri Modesty
20) Achapala Focused
21) Tejas Brightness Light
22) Kshema Engaged in welfare of others
23) Dhrti Will power Steadfastness
24) Saucha Cleanliness
25) Adroha Faithfulness
26) Natimanita Not looking for Accolades Praise.
The branches of this ancient tree.
Are the perishable jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the secondary creator who lives for trillions of years down to humans who may live for a hundred years down to an insect that may live only for some hours. All regardless of their span of life have their limiting adjuncts and restricted effects and represent the branches of this tree. Of those jivas who have the inclination for evil and demoniac activities their births will be in the reptile and insect species. Those jivas who are oblivious to their divine nature and act like beasts will correspondingly take birth in the animal kingdom and those jivas of virtuous and pious nature nature will take birth among the Brahmins, Vaisnavas and demigods. All jivas constitute the unlimited branches of this ancient banyan tree represented in the mundane material existence. Furthermore it should be understood that they are nutured by the three gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience according to their qualifications and propensities. The tips of the branches are the senses and the innumerable sprouts and shoots are the sense objects. The roots are spread out above and below with the central primary tap root representing the Supreme Lord alone with the roots below representing desires for enjoyment and the roots above representing subtle impressions of past enjoyments. The effects of such are specifird by the words karma anubandhani which refers to actions according to the proclivity to perform righteous or unrighteous activities which results in corresponding reactions some positive, some benign and some negative. When past reactions eventually have been finally exhausted the jiva once more takes birth in the world of humans directly related to the influence of the subtle impressions accumalated from enjoyments experienced in the previous lives and worlds which are the subtle motivating impetus for the inclinations and propensity to experience these activities again. The ability to experience these actions is limited to the worlds of humans alone and so Lord Krishna states manusya-loke meaning the world of men.
Describing the roots and branches of the asvattha or banyan tree allegorically to symbolise material existence. Lord Krishna further explains that the branches that rise upwards symbolise the higher level jivas or embodied beings such as the demigods and humans. The branches that turn downwards are lower level jivas such as animals, birds, fish and plants. The roots extend upwards to Satya loka the highest material planet of Brahma and extends downwards also into the worlds of humans where innumerable new sub-roots manifest which are the karma or reactions to actions performed by every human. The twigs are impressions from past desires and the sprouts are the desired sense objects. All parts of this tree are within prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and are nourished by the three gunas or modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. Those lower level jivas who have degenerated into various forms of demoniac entities due to performing evil activities to others as well as degraded activities unto themselves inevitably sink into the fiery hellish worlds for aeons and aeons of atonement. Contrarily the higher level jivas who adhered to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Veidc scriptures receive meritorious births in the heavenly worlds of the demigods. Possessing the nature of good or evil each jivas karma binds them in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and is manifested in manusya the worlds of humans.
The purport is that after exhaustion of all karma and its residue of the jiva enjoying ecstatically in the heavenly worlds or suffering in misery in the hellish worlds due to either following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. One is rewarded after death by performing meritorious deeds or punished by performing degraded deeds during each human lifetime in pursuit of pleasure and sense gratification. After hundreds of thousands of such lifetimes these desires for pleasure become deep rooted tendencies that causes subtle impressions to be imprinted upon the subtle body of the jiva who takes birth in the worlds of humans. These impressions are so resolute that subconsciously the jiva craves and seeks the same pleasures enjoyed in the previous life and performs the same and similar activities in which they had achieved fulfillment before.
The reality of this asvattha or ancient banyan tree having its roots above and branches below is not perceivable by jivas or embodied beings habitating material existence in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death for 43,200,000 lifetimes that transpire for a human in one day of Brahma. Neither can its end be discerned or its beginning determined. It is unlimited and its continuity and how it exists is unknown. Since this tree is extremely difficult to uproot and surmount and is also the actual cause of all suffering, a spiritually knowledegable living entity should sever all ties from this tree by the weapons of nonattachment and dispassion and strive for attaining atma tattva or realisation of their immortal soul. Enunciated clearly having severed all ties to this deep rooted and all encompassing tree with the powerful discriminative weapon of renunciation which consists of relinquishing all concepts of ego such as I and mine and instead see oneself as belonging fully to the Supreme Lord Krishna in complete communion with Him, who is the ultimate source from where this tree has arisen. Upon realising the Supreme Lord one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and is no longer subject to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. In conclusion one must wholeheartedly seek communion with the Supreme Lord and take full shelter of Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.
This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed?
The soul, in essence the reflection of Spirit, undergoes neither the pangs of birth nor the throes of death. Nor having once been projected from the womb of immortal Spirit will Prince Soul, on return to Spirit, lose its individuality; having entered the portals of nativity, its existence will never cease. In all its bodily births, the Spirit-soul never felt birth; it exists everlastingly, untouched by the Maya-magic fingers of change. It is ever the same—now, past, future—as it has always been; ageless, unchanged, since its immemorial beginnings. The deathless soul dwelling in the destructible body is ever constant through all cycles of bodily disintegrations; it does not taste death even when the body quaffs that fatal cup of hemlock.
The difference between soul and Spirit is this: The Spirit is ever existing, ever conscious, ever-new omnipresent Joy; the soul is the individualized reflection of ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy, confined within the body of each and every being.
Souls are the radiating rays of Spirit, individualized as formless, vibration less “atoms” and “tissues” of Spirit. Hence, they are coexistent with Spirit and of the same essence, as the sun and its rays are one. Though incarnate, the soul belongs to the numina region, which changes not. All material forms belong to the regions of phenomena; their very nature being alienated from Spirit, they change constantly. Phenomena arise from and are inseparably linked with numina; but the latter, being of Spirit, are immutable and transcendent. The outer surface of the soul’s consciousness that is cloaked with the instrumentalities of the ego, mind, and senses undergoes the permutations of Nature, but the soul’s essence remains inviolable. (…)
Numen, pl. numina, (an influence perceptible by mind but not by senses,) is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical and religious thought.
Spirit is who and what you really are. Pure eternal Spirit is your real Self, your essential nature, and the higher most part of your being. Spirit is impersonal, formless, and not an individualized thing. There is not a different spirit for each person. Spirit is ONE and shines over all, just as the one sun shines over everybody on this earth. My spirit is the same as your spirit. In fact, there is no such thing as “my spirit” or “your spirit” because Spirit knows no separateness. It is what Hinduism calls the Atman, the Self, and it is literally one and the same in essence and identity as the Supreme Spirit, the Supreme Self.
Just as a multitude of sparks are sent forth from a blazing fire, so countless “sparks” of the one Supreme Spirit were sent forth into this manifested universe an immeasurably long time ago and will eventually return to the One. Each Divine Spark is one and the same in essence and identity as the Divine Fire but it has to evolve through the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the animal kingdom until eventually – at the end of its journey through the animal kingdom – it gains and acquires for itself a SOUL.
The soul, unlike the spirit, is an individual thing. It is a permanent entity (after it has been unfolded out of the spirit) and is the self-conscious individuality or Ego, which incarnates and reincarnates in the human kingdom and beyond. It is the “I” of our being. It is the Consciousness Principle, the Mind Principle, in man. The soul is actually the same thing as the mind.
We should not make the mistake of thinking that the mind and the brain are the same thing because they are not. The brain is simply a physical organ and the mind is the individual soul, which thinks and expresses itself through, and with the aid of, that organ. We have a different brain in each lifetime because we have a different physical body each lifetime but the mind is the same each time. The mind/soul can never express itself in its fullness and entirety in one of its incarnations. It can only express itself partially and the extent to which it does so is determined by its Karma and level of evolution and development.
The soul reincarnates but the spirit does not. Souls are many but spirit is essentially ONE. No spiritual philosophy in history has ever claimed that it is the spirit, which reincarnates. Spirit never has any direct connection or contact with the physical form. One reason for this is that it is so subjective that it can have no direct or tangible relation with the objectivity of matter. The spirit is never within the human being but is always above him and “overshadowing” him, as his Real Self…as the ONE Self…as the Divine itself.
It is the task and mission of the soul to learn and realize that in its higher most being there is no individuality or separateness but just the ONE UNIVERSAL SELF, which we call Spirit or Atman. To re become this in consciousness, to consciously merge and permanently unite the soul with the Spirit, is to achieve and attain Yoga (Union) and this is the great goal of all. This has been the goal and achievement of all true mystics and esotericisms throughout the ages, both in the East as well as in the West, where this has sometimes been called the “mystical marriage.”
There is no excuse in this day and age for our confusing soul and spirit when the difference and distinction between the two has been so clearly and definitely explained and shown in the esoteric spiritual teachings of the world and more recently in the teachings of Theosophy, particularly the writings of H.P. Blavatsky. Once we cease to confound the two but comprehend more clearly the true nature of both, we can appreciate more deeply these beautiful and inspiring words from Sir Edwin Arnold’s poetic translation of the Bhagavad Gita, titled “The Song Celestial”…
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birth less and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!
We can only perceive the outer world through the 5 senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. There is a sixth most important sense of feelings, the heart principle or Chitta intuition.
Meditation gets us in touch with the sixth more powerful sense which comes from the larger universe and has no connection with the 5 material senses. It is this sixth sense that is the key to the inner universe, the Atman, the Soul. It connects us with the spirit of existence.
|Sanskrit / Hindi||English||Satvik||Rajasik||Tamsik|
|Good / Expanding||Activating||Evil / Obstructing|
|Gyan||Knowledge||One Indestructible / undivided Spirit in all existence||Different & distinct varied from one another, separateness||Untrue/delusion/ stifled conscience, without reason|
|Kar||Action / work||Non Attached to the fruit, done without either love or hatred/ raga dveshNatural Process||Longing for satisfaction of desires, donewith great insistent Effort||Without thought, harmful to self & others, fickle, based on sensory joy.|
|Karta||Ego/ Character/Doer/Agent||Untouched by egotism or desire of fulfillment, filled with enthusiasm & firmness||Attached, passion, greedy & emotional||Conscienceless, arrogant, cheating, lazy, malicious|
|Buddhi||Intelligence / Understanding||Understands Dharma / rightful duty, has power of discrimination||Dharma & Adharma is distorted, coloured by prejudices||Ignorant of any Duty & bound by excessive living, bringing sorrow.|
|Dhriti||Strength of mind/resolve/ fortitude/ patience||Yoga for restraining the wayward oscillation of the mind & senses.||Bound by duty but also the fruit of all desires & wealth.||Conceited, fearful, sleepy, depressed, filled with negativity|
|Sukham||Experience/HappinessSupreme Bliss||From perceptive Discrimination arises a Self Realization, discipline is hard at first; lives a life of high idealsFirst poison then nectar, prasada.||Based on sensory pleasures of the MBS, joy of possessing material objectsFirst nectar then poison||First poison and later also poisonLack of any control, always excessive|
|Notes: There is no being on earth or in heaven (devas) who is completely free from SRT gunas.|