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Eternal Law

Personal Growth
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ram.jpg

shri rAm parivAra
(Ram familly)

ApadAM apahartAraM dAtAraM sarva sampadAM lokAbhirAmaM shri rAmaM bhuyo bhuyo namAmyahaM

Again and again I bow to Shri Ram who removes adversities, provides us with our needs, and is pleasing to all.

In Three Views of the Universe, I stated that a person can move from the world in tension, to the world as saMsAra, and on to the world as mAyA, through personal growth. I hope to explain what personal growth entails and implies in this model.

It is easy for us to see how our actions affect other persons. Most people do not seem to be aware that our actions also affect us, i.e. they have consequences in the inner world - the world of dharma kSetra or for an individual, his subtle and causal bodies. But this is really where ancient writers on karma have concentrated. Thus when bRhadAraNyaka upaniSad says: "according as one acts, according as one conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.", it is referring to the effect of our actions, not others, but on ourselves.

Figure 5a below shows our world inhabitant X represented by the triangle XBC. The contour in blue shows what he might look like after some personal growth. The blue arrows indicate how his personality profile shifts from the black dotted lines to solid blue lines due to personal growth. This is progress.

In figure 5b, we can see might happen to B's personality profile if he regresses. The red arrows show how regress shifts his profile from dotted black lines to solid red lines.

Progess as in figure 5a causes our personality profile to expand in the subtle body of the univetse. Regress in figure 5b causes our personality profile to shrink in the subtle body of the universe.

In general, X progresses or regresses through his
karma, i.e., his actions, in accordance with the words of BRhadArNyaka UpaniSad.  Importance of karma can never be over-emphasized.

We should always be mindful of our actions. While the consequences of our actions may appear to impact others in the physical world, , in the field of Law, or dharma ksehtra, we alone are impacted by its consequences. We progress or we regress - the choice is ours. Karma is about making choices.

As our personality profile grows, we grow in awareness of the world around us. This has very far-reaching consequences in the way we interact with the world or the field. Indeed, karma can also be defined as interaction with the field i.e., dharmA kshetra.

On the other hand, as our personality profile shrinks, we become isolated in the world and lose our ability to contribute to the world.

This growth or shrinkage of our personality is what qualifies us for greater or lesser understanding of the world and determines our standing in the scale of adhikArabheda.

Figures 5a and 5b can be interpreted as pictorial depictions of the karmic equation in dharma kshetra.

(Impressions, Intentions, Karma)1 + Actions + Experience ===>
(Impressions, Intentions, Karma)2

progress.jpg

Figure 5a. Progress is indicated by blue lines and arrows. Dotted lines indicate original state of X.

regress.jpg

Figure 5b. Regress is indicated by red lines and arrows. Dotted lines indicate original state of X.

Finally, here are some practical ways we can use understanding of karma. People have been debating what is good and what is bad for ages. Some say good and bad are relative, i.e. they have no inherent value. I suppose this is what gives rise to situational ethics. If good and bad are relative, the basis of all ethics evaporates into nothingness.

Can we meaningfully define what is good and what is bad? Question of good and bad for me is purely based on necessity. Necessity itself arises out of my essential nature which is to seek pleasure, joy and happiness. Thus I want to know how I can achieve maximum happiness in most efficient manner. In my tireless search for happiness, sometimes I succeed  and sometimes I fail. I want to know why I succeed and why I fail. I want to be in perpetual state of happiness. I define good as that which gets me closer to happiness and bad as that which takes me farther away from happiness.

Thus good actions are those which lead to happiness and bad actions are those which lead to unhappiness. That actions have consequences is the principle of karma. Consequence of good actions is happiness and consequence of bad actions is unhappiness. Thus the notions of good and bad actions arise from the law of karma when we couple it with our core need to find happiness.


 

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