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  1. #1
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    Root cause of human Bondage


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    Expressed as Q&A to make it easier to read:


    1. Why create this new thread?


    Some reasons:


    a. Topic may be of interest to someone

    b. I had some time to kill this weekend

    c. A thought occurred to me that may be I should scale back my 'Quadrant 4 time' (without intending to be disrespectful to anyone by the use of this term. Quadrant 4 activities are those that not important to my life goals and are not urgent as well- they could be fun "waste of time activities" like watching movies, watching TV serials, arguing without purpose, etc). I thought I could post something I consider useful before scaling back my Quadrant 4 time here




    2. What does scaling back mean?


    Most of the members (except few here) do take a breaks of weeks and months and no one really cares if and when they do. There are months I never bothered to read anything in the forum. Sometimes I have found exceptional ways to waste time and read (and possibly respond) to more threads. I usually skip most posts based on a 'reputation' number in my mind about the poster based on their past posts. I also have a bad habit of writing content of a response and posting it right away without proper proof reading. Then if I notice something off I may go and correct them.

    I am careful about ideas and expressions that I use and always strive to stay consistent. Though I became more efficient by these activities, I found myself spending more and more time here and wanted to scale back my engagement for a few months. I always had set up options such that I do not get any email from any of the posts including the ones I post but I do get email from Private messages here which I will monitor. I know no one cares but wanted to provide this information anyway.


    3. OK, no one cares that you or anyone wanting to scale back their engagement here , but what do you think is a 'useful' post or thread since that is what you want to do ?


    Well, there are informative threads (and posts) that provide interesting references (e.g., Politics in India, significance of a function like Navarathri etc). There are few interesting discussions about culture and lifestyles now and then. Usually if I sense something to be useful I do like to acknowledge that in the thread itself.


    A more useful contribution could be posts that provide a well thought out analysis of a problem that affects most people. Of late I have not come across any such posts. Others may not agree with my definition of what is useful and interesting of course.


    4. What is the topic of your thread that you want to share from your notes before you take a break?


    It is from my notes (most of which I keep in electronic form these days including handwritten notes). This post/thread uses my notes made while researching online, talking to Mahatmas and listening to lectures etc. I cannot get more specific than this. The notes I use were made a long time ago. I just came across this today and thought to share what I had learnt.


    All human beings tend to lead an unsatisfied life mostly wishing something they do not have all their life (and I do not mean just material things), and also lead a life of worry about future security of something important to them. Now there may be people disagreeing with me in which case my answer is 'to please enjoy and you have no use for this thread'.

    If people think a little bit and are very honest with themselves they will sense the issues I am referring to. All religions tend to cater to these two basic needs and their approach is one to get people to get more deluded in my view.


    It turns out almost everyone is aware of the above two issues but they are unaware that they are in a state of delusion for most part in their life even if they do not drink or do drugs or consider themselves an atheist. This part is even harder to understand much less agree with.


    5. Even if I agree with these statements (and actually I do not) are you going to propose a solution?


    Yes and no!


    6. There you go again, confusing everyone. What does it mean to say Yes and no?


    Yes - I will take a verse from Srimad Bhagavatham which has a cryptic answer to the problem


    No - I will not provide a solution but the solution will be apparent if you are able to first appreciate the problem. So by explaining this universal problem I hope the solution alluded to in the verse itself will become apparent at least for some people




    7. So you are actually theist since you are coming here with a verse from Srimad Bhagavatham? Yet you talked about religions deluding us!


    Actually I am not a theist or atheist or agnostic. I know someone will jump and say "what do you mean by these terms then" . So I created a web url just to answer these questions for such people. And here it is

    Answer is here


    8. How many posts do you plan to have?

    It depends on if there is interest. I will only be engaged for next couple of days. The thread can stop with just this one post. I have no expectations. Many threads get filibustered by distractions and if that happens the thread can die the usual death (that happens at many such threads in my view). If there are no responses (even to say to continue) I will stop which is another way for the thread to die

    9. So what is this verse?

    In my next post within this thread .. It is late in USA ,,, So going to sleep

    (தொடரும் - to be continued ...)
  2. #2
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    Moving on ..


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    Q&A format continues

    - 1. What is your response to the last two posts?

    Actually not much to say at this time. There are assumptions and understanding built in that I do not want to address right now.

    I can only use a metaphor to talk about why I am skipping these posts over. Let us say there was an auto accident and there are minor injuries with a few people bleeding. The question would be to ascertain the nature of injuries, and ensure help is available to treat them right away. Questions asked will be - where are you hurt, are you able to move your neck, arms etc, where are you bleeding from etc

    If someone asks the question - what brand name T-shirt are you wearing to the victim , is it expensive because the stains may not go away etc what response can one give other than - 'let us wait to address these later'


    - 2. Kathopanishad has a metaphor about trees and roots, and Chapter 15 of B.Gita also has a similar metaphor with roots of a tree being in the space and branches all over including going underground. Freedom is talked about in this context via detachment. Are you referring to any of these in the use of the word root in the subject line?

    NO!


    - 3. Can you explain the phrase "root cause within a context" again?

    If one has a question about say designing a rubber band based mouse trap car that can go farthest there will be a need to understand few simple laws of Physics. If the car is not going far enough there will be a need to understand the cause, and its cause etc until the problem can be fixed. It will be inappropriate to start with the root cause as the world of Science understands and start to say - "well it all began 13.6 billion years ago when there was a event called Big Bang". In addition to this being irrelevant it is also useless to solve the problem at hand

    4. Can you provide a more Vedantic example since the topic of bondage comes up under that subject?

    OK, Imagine a friend of yours has had a fight with her spouse and is coming to you to share her sadness about how she feels disrespected.
    If you start by quoting Sri Sankara that " Brahma satyam jagat mithya, jivo brahmaiva naparah" and say that all you see is an illusion , there is only Brahman. Will this be helpful??

    In fact in our daily experience, what we sense is a world of diversity, opposites, good-bad-and-ugly, and countless number of animate and inanimate objects. There is no way anyone can relate all their experience to one Brahman. Even if it is true - whatever that means - my response would be 'who cares' in the context of this example

    In fact bringing such topics inappropriately is actually detrimental to learning anything properly.

    If someone told me all this without the right context I would want to reject the entire statement and Vedanta as sheer nonsense.

    5. So what is your outline and what is this verse you have referred to from Srimad Bhagavatham?

    My intent to talk a bit about Devotion to a God (Bhakthi) vs Knowledge (Jnana) as part of introducing this verse
    Then the idea is to pick a few phrases in the verse and connect to the term Bondage
    After that I want to relate these bondage areas to a root cause within this context so that one can address them via concrete action.
    There will be no discussions of dry Vednatam topics here (வறட்டு வேதாந்தம் will be absent)

    Since this post has become longer than what I had planned, let me address these topics in the next post
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  4. #3
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    Q&A format presentation in a conversation style continues


    1. Before going into discussions about devotion/Bhakti and knowledge/Jnana aspects what is this verse?

    OK, here it is

    यस्यांवैश्रूयमाणायांकृष्णेपरमपूरुषे
    भक्तिरुत्पद्यतेपुंसः
    शोकमोहभयापहा


    Yasyāṁ vai śrūyamāṇāyāṁ kṛṣṇeparamapūruṣe|
    Bhaktirutpadyate puṁsaḥśokamohabhayāpahā


    It occurs in Srimad Bhagavatam in the first chapter (I think it is 1.7.7)

    Online I was only able to find translations that come from SV or Hare Krshna founder's perspective . Rather than type my notes let me share their translation first. I am sure other perspectives exist online but I did not spend time searching for them.

    Translation: Simply by giving aural reception to this Vedic literature, the feeling for loving devotional service to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sprouts up at once to extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fearfulness.

    This translation is written from Hare Krishna founder's perspective of unconditional devotion to Godhead who is referred to as Lord Krishna.

    2. Is there a difference between Bhakti of say Hare Krishna people and that of Siva Bhaktas or the Bhakti of devout Muslims?

    In some sense the answer is No only from a Hindu perspective, since each group refers to their God with a particular name and form (or 'formless form').

    Our teachings emphasize knowledge as well which means one needs to be taught by answering questions arising from a student's perspective. If it was simply just a mandate to worship the concept of a Lord unconditionally then the effort to teach will be not one of understanding but one of invoking fear or appealing to a desire (like reserving a place in the heaven)

    3. Are there then multiple paths to reach heaven or reach God in Hindu thinking?

    Contrary to popular myth there are not multiple paths. There are many schools of thought but all those still emphasize knowledge as well. Going to heaven is not the same as 'reaching God' in Hindu thinking. Devotion without right knowledge can be dangerous.

    4. Why is it dangerous and by the way how are you going to tie all these to the original topic of this thread?

    I provided a translation emphasizing Bhakti only. Therefore there is a need to talk about how knowledge plays in this thinking (from my understanding). Once that is done we can analyze the verse in the context of the original problem statement.

    If we try to understand the suicide bombers or those intent on Proselytising others by any adharmic means using deception etc we will find a seriously misguided Bhakta. In Hinduism practices also we have extreme Bhaktas (though rare) who will insist that their God is the only Godhead. There are those ready to burn effigy of someone in a New York minute all to express their devotion and Bhakti.

    So Bhakti without knowledge is dangerous.

    5. For a person focused on Janana/Knowledge in Hinduism how do they deal with the emotional aspects of Bhakti?

    Actually all true Jnanis are true Bhaktas of Isvara (I am not using the word God on purpose since the word Isvara has a specific meaning). The basic human heart knows devotion often translated as LOVE. This is not like any love which has its opposite called hate. This is Love that has no opposite and is the essential nature of our being. That Love is also synonymous with the nature of Isvara. It is this understanding as a result of knowledge that makes a Jnani a true Bhakta.

    There are other practical reasons for bhakti to be considered significant in our lives. One does not have to be a theist for this since the definition of Isvara for a theist is often very different from the understanding of a true Jnani.

    Besides it is not possible to realize this Love without an understanding of what Isvara means. That is how Janana and Bhakti becomes one and the same. Even in ordinary love it is not possible to love something (or even hate something) without knowing what it is or who it is that we love (or hate)!

    There are Sampradayas that emphasize Janana first. In the end the final state is the same.


    6. What are the other practical reasons for Bhakti to play a role in our lives?

    We get things done by our intellect and our body (hands, legs etc.). What transforms any Karma (work) to Karma Yoga or any knowledge (jnanam) to Jnana Yoga is our attitude. This attitude has its seed in our heart.

    In my career I have had the fortune to transform large organizations to produce more competitive R&D and services. The issue was never dearth of talent but one of attitude. Transformation involves the right attitude and right devotion (and in this instance to quality and excellence) and the need to serve the customers with utmost care. Once I enabled the change in attitude , spectacular results just followed.

    Bhakti is all about attitude and comes from our heart .. This topic is very big and I will return to the main topic area of the thread in the next post (perhaps tomorrow)

    தொடரும்
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  6. #4
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    Continuing content from Post #9 in a conversation style Q&A format:


    1. Say something more about this Love that has no opposite

    It is a capacity that one has which transcends the mind but it has to be discovered.
    Our teachings provide a framework for this discovery. The love (small letter for convention here) that the mind and ego feels is often confused with the other Love.

    All human beings are capable of sensing their true nature with this Love of heart .
    When it is directed to an understanding of Isvara it is called Bhakti.

    2. How much of your notes have you covered?

    Actually just the verse in Post # 9 only. I had about 3 lines of scribbled notes following this verse that I wanted to expand and tie with few other verses. I got distracted with explaining words like root cause and I have limited time now. I will try to wrap up the discussion quickly before the thread has a death!

    3. What is the hurry?

    Vijaya Dasami is on October 3rd. In addition to my professional activities, I have decided to undertake new Quadarant 2 activities (Important to me but not Urgent) by taking time away from Quadrant 4 activities (like browsing and responding to the threads here). There need not be anything special about any day but we follow some of our conventions. My wife keeps a Golu almost every year and invites people in these 9 days of Navarathri. I have a habit of starting to learn something new every Vijaya Dasami day.

    I think this forum could have a lot to offer but in its current makeup its potential is severely limited. I thought before limiting my engagement here I wanted share something that may be useful to some people (because it did for me a while ago)

    What I wanted to share is just a small and first step to eliminate a few issues in our lives with some prescriptive actions. The intent is not to attain Brahma Vidya with this small step!

    4. So what part of the verse do you want to focus on and why?

    Rather than explain the entire verse from a non-dualist point of view, for want of time let me just focus on one word which describes the set of human problems for which the verse provides a prescriptive remedy. The word is शोकमोहभयापहा

    There are three issues that human beings find themselves in

    a. Shoka - Loosely translated as sadness but it is much more
    b. Moha - Delusion
    c. Bhaya - Fear

    5. Can you elaborate the meanings of these words and why they cause bondage ?

    To keep each message to a manageable size let me explain the three words that describe universal bondage of human beings and tie that to a single root cause which can then suggest a remedy consistent with what the verse is describing
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    Continuing from post #12 again in Q&A format :

    1. Are you being delusional in saying that human beings are in bondage?

    We need to learn to look inward to recognize how our mind is enslaved by Skoka, Moha and Bhaya
    Let me define the terms in a particular manner and then one can decide if the statement is delusional.

    2. What is Shoka ?

    Shoka - It is very subtle and can be expressed as a "general sense of not being satisfied with our life". Its manifestation is to seek approval from others, want to be noticed, feel the need to accumulate money and things, put others down, cause harm to other beings, wishing bad things for others even if they are close in our lives etc. One may not exhibit all of the above traits but even one is an indication of how Shoka rules our mental world.

    For example, in this forum itself someone may want to say something or the other in almost every post every day. This need for constantly seeking attention, and inability to listen or read what is there is but one expression of Shoka.

    Shoka does not just mean an overt expression of sadness.

    It is easy to sense being bound by Shoka but to sense this bondage one must take to time to examine one's own action in a contemplative manner.

    3. What is Bhaya - Fear?

    This is not about the fear of a killer or a physically threatening and dangerous situation. That is a natural response for all beings.
    The fear mentioned here is really a description of our psychological insecurity unique to human beings. It includes worry like the status of our job, our health in old age, the success of our children, etc. All our worldly and material pursuits arise from this sense of insecurity.

    In order to recognize the bondage of insecurity one has to examine one's action in a contemplative manner. The enslavement is real and hence it is easy to sense the existence of Bhaya in our lives and how it rules our actions.

    4. What is Moha - Delusion?

    The delusion refers to a wrong conclusion that the happiness we seek is in the external objects and material items (Wealth, woman/man, wine/drugs?). This delusion compels all our actions as to how we seek to fulfill our needs to be happy. One therefore is constantly looking at the world for this happiness and is unable to look inward.

    It is easy to sense this bondage if we again make contemplative effort.

    5. So what is an approach to the solution to these problems

    First is to appreciate how our actions are ruled by the above three bondage of our mind. This is possible not by looking at the world but "looking" at our mind and its actions in a dispassionate manner. This inward looking habit provides the first step towards maturity

    6. So what is the root cause of all these three bondage areas?

    Simply we are bonded to our sense of time. This is not calendar time where we review our daily activities and appointments. The reference here is to a sense of psychological time

    7. How so?

    Next post ...
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    Continuing from Post #13

    1. How are the three bondage areas namely Shoka, Moha and Bhaya tied to our sense of psychological time?

    a. Shoka - This arises because we are unable to get rid of all the baggage of our past actions. Our mind when focused on the past events and actions feels the burden of Shoka. Even when one glorifies the past the focus of our mind on the past events . Contemplative thinking is the only way to sense this bondage associated with our psychological past.

    b. Bhaya - the psychological insecurity arises when our mind is focused on the psychological future.

    c. Moha - While the only thing that is real is the moment NOW, our mind is switches between Past and Future without living in the Present. Somehow we are deluded to thinking that we are in the moment here and now but actually shuttle between psychological past and psychological future.

    2. If the Bondage of the three areas mentioned in the verse arise from human being's bondage to a sense of psychological time how do we learn to live in the moment NOW?

    When our mind is in motion by thoughts it is not possible to be in the present.
    The prescription is not thoughtlessness which is impossible. We overcome the bondage by Bhakti and a surrender based on the understanding of Isvara (I used the word 'understanding' and NOT 'belief' of Isvara)

    3. How is this Bhakti developed?

    The verse itself starts out with यस्यांवैश्रूयमाणायां


    In other words the requirement is Sravanam - listening to Vedic/Vedantic teaching culminating in knowledge of true Bhakti.
    What is not explicitly mentioned in the verse is Mananam which is about internalizing the teaching to our lives.
    Nidhidhyasam is about learning to live in the Present moment via meditation which is a natural activity for a true Bhakta.

    By focusing on Isvara (which is NOT a concept) with the help of the teaching one can realize the true knowledge which is synonymous with true Bhakti. This understanding based Bhakti is an expression of true surrender which is the only way to overcome the bondage of psychological time manifested as Shoka, Moha and Bhaya.

    4. What is the starting point to reach this ?

    Developing a daily habit of Mantra Japa/ Meditation and doing one's Nitya Karmas


    5. Anything more?

    Yes - I will conclude what I planned to say in this post. I will be happy to engage in further discussions with anyone for the next one or two days if the points made comes across as sincere to me. I can also answer any question that appear from sincere need for engagement.

    Om Tat Sat!
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    Posts that are relevant in my view and for use as reference in other threads here (scholarly section) is moved from a prior thread.
    Thanks to Sri Praveen for his kind support for my request.

    In the thread on "Brief History of Time" within this section, I hope to use the verse from Srimad Bhagavatam referenced here in this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tks View Post

    1. How are the three bondage areas namely Shoka, Moha and Bhaya tied to our sense of psychological time?

    a. Shoka - This arises because we are unable to get rid of all the baggage of our past actions. Our mind when focused on the past events and actions feels the burden of Shoka. Even when one glorifies the past the focus of our mind on the past events . Contemplative thinking is the only way to sense this bondage associated with our psychological past.

    b. Bhaya - the psychological insecurity arises when our mind is focused on the psychological future.

    c. Moha - While the only thing that is real is the moment NOW, our mind is switches between Past and Future without living in the Present. Somehow we are deluded to thinking that we are in the moment here and now but actually shuttle between psychological past and psychological future.

    2. If the Bondage of the three areas mentioned in the verse arise from human being's bondage to a sense of psychological time how do we learn to live in the moment NOW?
    Dear TKS ji,

    I have a question here with regards to "psychological time".

    You wrote about past baggage/luggage and the focus should be NOW.

    But technically is NOW actually even possible without our subconscious linking present with a known scenario a.k.a the past?

    Everything in our human body has a "memory".

    Even when we type our password into Forum our muscles of our hand has a memory of the keys to type.

    The human body is designed to have subconscious stored data which the conscious mind refers to from time to time.This is vital for our very existence.

    Even a familiar fragrance can trigger memories of childhood..the mind deals with the past without us being aware of it.

    So why do we have to strive too hard to be NOW when NOW might not be technically even possible?

    As I type this..my past memories of reading up stuff on the mind from a book is aiding me..I am depending on my memory to type this post.

    Another example is your very own post where you mentioned about the behavioral pattern of forum members and also about your career..this all signals the mind in past mode.

    Even most religious discourses focus on past examples..Ramayan/Mahabharat/Puranas are just the past.

    The past is an inevitable part of existence.

    So why even the need to view the past as unfavorable/burden and think that only NOW matters?

    Why even call it psychological time and restrict ourselves? To be in NOW means denial.

    Why not just let everything be called experiences and the need for a time axis would not even exist.

    Just to add..you also mentioned that the mind switches between the past and future without being focused on the present.

    Can the mind really switch to Future mode when the future has NOT yet happened?

    The so called future is nothing but an imaginative state of the mind having desire as a substratum here again using the past as a reference.

    The mind in an imaginative state would delete all unpleasant memories of the past and shape a "future" using desire for a favorable state..therefore the future is nothing but an illusion.

    When something is an illusion the mind technically can NOT swing into it. An illusion is a present state and not a past or future state.

    This might come to a differential diagnosis that only in a state of illusion one can actually be rooted in the present.
    Last edited by renuka; 10-09-2015 at 07:26 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by renuka View Post
    Everything in our human body has a "memory".
    Even when we type our password into Forum our muscles of our hand has a memory of the keys to type.
    The human body is designed to have subconscious stored data which the conscious mind refers to from time to time.This is vital for our very existence.
    Even a familiar fragrance can trigger memories of childhood..the mind deals with the past without us being aware of it.
    Pratama Prathyaksham? So the rope is real and the serpent is also real. Not phenomena?? LOL.
    Giving someone a piece of your soul is better than giving a piece of your heart. Because souls are eternal. --Helen Boswell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaagmi View Post
    Pratama Prathyaksham? So the rope is real and the serpent is also real. Not phenomena?? LOL.
    Good you brought up the snake and rope analogy..it helps to explain about past overlapping the present.

    When one sees a rope in the dark....it triggers the memory of a snake instead of a rope becos of the fight or flight adrenaline response..so the mind goes into alert mode and the stored image of a snake comes up..the mind would prefer to temporarily delude itself believing its a snake becos if the snake turns out to be rope its not big deal but not the other way round..due to the adrenaline based response in the body one thinks he/she is seeing a snake and prepares to flight(run)...no chances..the mind would not want to take a risk thinking a snake is a rope!

    Then when the light is turned on..the temporary delusion of the mind is removed and one breathes a heavy sigh of relief that its a rope and not a snake.

    The image of the snake was not real but the mind depended on past memory of the image of a snake.In fact the past overlapped the present for a split second.

    The reason the mind deluded itself is for protection of self..its better to be wrong but not be in danger.

    Conclusion: The rope is real..the snake is not real and past memories is a protective mechanism and not really a burden.
    Last edited by renuka; 10-09-2015 at 01:15 PM.
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