A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 2
Father, I will be Thy faithful companion, loving and sincere, throughout Eternity. Shape me and make me worthy of my part in Thy cosmic play and Thy divine Mission.— Sri Chinmoy
An Ongoing Adventure
At the first part of this spiritual adventure, my Brother Manatita helped me, and I hope you too, to understand the term of reincarnation. In this second part, we will continue with some more questions about the Karma. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did.
Spiritual Adventure, Part 2
Ioannis: I wholeheartedly agree with you, my brother. My sudden illumination happened to me at the age of seventeen, through reading a book. I found it "accidentally", and I read it in one breath! Then my life changed. I knew that everything has its meaning and nothing is random. I am sure that I had prepared myself and then the book came, a reaction to my action!
Isn't it marvellous that this Universal Law of Karma is a Universal Law in Physics too? The third law of Newton:
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
The Unity of all Knowledge!
My next question, since every one of our actions determines our lives with the reaction they cause, what is the first significant action?
I quote the words of a beloved Christian author, who have marked my first spiritual steps, Emmet Fox:
“All day long the thoughts that occupy your mind, your Secret Place, as Jesus calls it, are molding your destiny for good or evil; in fact, the truth is that the whole of our life’s experience is but the outer expression of inner thought. Now we can choose the sort of thoughts that we entertain. It will be a little difficult to break a bad habit of thought, but it can be done. We can choose how we shall think—in point of fact, we always do choose—and therefore our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have.”
Do you believe that our thoughts are the first essential kind of action?
Manatita: Significant actions are naturally those which bring joy. If you are in the dark, then you will seek the Light. If you are in the mind-room, which is restless and chaotic, then it’s your duty to enter the room of the Heart … the room of simplicity and identification … of oneness, the room of the child.
The great Seer Swami Vivekananda says that anything which makes us weak, we should reject like poison. ‘Expansion is life, narrowness is death’, he said. So our significant actions should entail empathy, selflessness, compassion, Love … all the things that will enhance our joy.
Again, perhaps the first significant action is to have a belief in Something Higher, or even re-birth, because it is then that we are conscious of our true Source or Self. Then we do all for the glory of God. Finally, the soul decides. It may be harmful for me to enter the life of sensual pleasure, but in another soul it will be a significant act. Paradoxical eh? Truth is, Bro, or it isn’t Truth.
We are mostly the victims of fate or destiny. They do not have the last word, but they coil around us like snakes. So to an extent, some actions are ordained. Now everything begins inside in seed form and so thoughts come later. Thoughts are of the mind and compassion is of the Heart, the spiritual Heart.
The body is mystical. There is the subtle … the causal … like a seed planted underground; everything begins inwardly, before manifestation takes place.
Ioannis: Hm! There is where I need your help. I can approach the idea of the "seed", but I am not sure that I understand the origin of it. Am I the planter of the seed, or the seeds are there already, within me, and I have to choose which of them I will nourish?
Manatita: From the Highest spiritual standpoint, God is the only Doer and as such the planter of the seed. Let us just say that the potential is within and some aspects of Karma are there too. But at the same time, each soul has limited freedom to choose. I may see a beautiful desire which runs of me, like rain falling of a lotus. Or I may cultivate a negative thought, which is sown as a seed and manifests outwardly later on. My first hard question. Hope the answer helps.
Ioannis: Yes! It is a great help! But let me ask you something more about the seed, and your answer will lead me to the next question. Did I understand right, that every seed may have a different result, depending on how we nourish it?
Manatita: Yes. The seed is associated with desires and as you can appreciate, there are many! I wanted to go to India, but found my Guru in the West. That desire then became dormant, although most recently, I have been thinking that I won’t mind going.
The seed and its desire are related and would give the necessary result. Ambition is the drive of the rich man and aspiration or longing that of the devotee. So the rich man will get money or wealth and the devotee will get inner opulence, as the seeds will be of empathy, love, compassion … oneness.
Again, Ignorance (temptations, limitations, imperfections, bondage), will necessitate a similar reaction.
Ioannis: I am glad because your answer comes to round out my idea about the seed! Through my spiritual studies, until now, I have understood that Love is the essential way to nourish the various seeds, to achieve one’s divine potential.
When we act with Love, when we choose Love in every moment of our lives, then every one of these seeds will become the blessing they are meant to be. Even if we have nourished it with the wrong desire at the start, we can change it at any moment by choosing Love! Do you agree with this idea?
Manatita: Generally we can and I note your emphasis on choice to others. I am devotional by nature and the Bhakti ultimately sees God’s hand in all. Duty is in our hands … actions also, but the results are always up to God. That which is pre-ordained and has to happen, will happen, according to the needs of the soul and the sanctioning, approval or toleration of the Supreme.
Ioannis: This concept of the pre-ordained future always was a challenging theme for me to accept. Please, mind my ignorance. I can't find the free will in this concept; I can't see the power of Love over Karma. I wanted to believe that God in His infinite wisdom has prepared every possible path and it's up to me the one I'll choose to walk.
Any moment of my life I can take any possible turn, therefore the end of the road is a combine of my decisions and His alternatives, not pre-ordained. I am sure He knows already my route, but I am responsible for this, not Him. Please, be patient and try to explain to me where I am wrong.
Manatita: My Brother, it is not a question of right and wrong. Life is a series of stages and our viewpoints are clouded by where we are on the level of evolution … the rung of the ladder we are on, if you like. I say here: ‘I note your emphasis on choice to others.’ Because I know that you have taken that route.
I also say: ‘according to the needs of the soul and the sanctioning, approval or toleration of the Supreme.’ Grace is always the last word and Karma can be nullified, either by God or the intervention of a God-realized Soul. At one level, we have to make the effort, at a higher level, what we have is ‘limited freedom.’ God is the only Doer.
That part appears to be missing in your understanding of things. In some things, try as we may, we cannot kick against the pricks, because it has been so ordained for higher purposes. Spiritual Masters sometimes change things and the same Spiritual Masters; sometimes leave them alone, purely because they have to happen for a higher reason known only to God.
There are many examples. But again, this is just my position according to my understanding of those whom I love and admire. They do not differ, not to me.
Sri Chinmoy on the Spiritual Master
End of part 2.
To be continued… (link to part 3)
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis