When we are born, we bring our destiny with us. Some in the sciences say we are born a blank slate tabula rasa in the mind, the intellect, the skills and capacity. The enquiries, the discoveries of the sages and saints teach otherwise, as Sage Vasishtha teaches the young Rama. There is much to reflect upon, and belief must be unshaken if we are to have victory.
Answer: Ramji, daiva is nothing but one’s own purushartha. The actions of the previous birth become destiny in the present birth.
Therefore, with the help of your purushartha, you establish yourself in Atma. If on jumping into a fire, one escapes being burnt, then it can be assumed that there is a daiva other than purushartha which saved him from being burnt. But this cannot happen. Or, if a jiva becomes inactive and food gets cooked and goes into his mouth automatically then it can be said that there is an entity-like daiva that cooked food and put it into his mouth. But it is inconceivable.
It goes to prove that it is only through purushartha that a jiva is able to save himself from fire or get food and satisfy his hunger. It means that only one’s own effort or striving is daiva with the help of which one gets salvation. A guru or a scripture would not be necessary for a jiva, nor would there be a code or a rule, if there were daiva other than one’s purushartha which could have carried out all the functions; but it does not happen that way.
Hence, it is established that a jiva attains his goal only through purushartha carried in accordance with the directives and injunctions of saints and scriptures. He attains his goal and is liberated from bondage only when he strives himself. Accept the word daiva as an illusion and forget it. Follow in the right manner the instructions of saints and scriptures, and with your purushartha you will attain the supreme state.
Reminder (Question 5, What is purushartha?)
- (i) to do all good things required according to his family norms and to follow his religion,
- (ii) to abjure undesirable actions,
- (iii) to be in association with sages and reﬂect on what is said in scriptures, and
- (iv) to introspect in silence on his positive and negative qualities.
We know from the experience and teaching of sages and saints that until moksha (liberation, release from the cycle of birth and rebirth) one has to cross samsara, the ocean of life, again and again. All the philosophical schools of India agree on this. Man is not the body; there is a subtle element called mind; man is not the mind. Within the mind is a still more subtle element called the Atma, the individual soul.
The Atma (soul) is eternal and incapable of being affected by change.
The Atma is
- absolute purity
- absolute fullness
- bliss; bliss is restored and revitalised by grace, life after life;
People of the East look within to find God; People of the West look to the heavens and Outer Space to find God.
We are not born with a blank slate as some biologists and psychologists insist. We bring daiva (destiny) with us, as well as the mind when entering a new womb and being born again. Belief has to be unshaken in order to obtain a victory. We become what we believe we are; iti drishti iti is the teaching. The seen reflects the seer, for everything is reflection, reaction, resound.
It is a fact that all are endowed with a supreme power, for we are children of immortality. The decline in humanity can be laid at the feet of loss of faith or confidence in the Atma, the eternal soul within. This is equal to loss of faith in God himself. God is omnipresent, and the inner motivator of all. He is the warp and woof of our body, mind, emotions and intellect. Strengthening faith in God is the only means of realising him. At the end of our lives – the sages and saints taught – we should bring our highest thoughts, our highest feelings to mind. We should not be thinking of being a sinner, a failure. For we recall, the Atma, the soul within – Purity is its very nature; Fullness is its genuine reality.
Religion means “experience”, not platform orations nor preaching of sermons. Religious principles have to be practised and their validity experienced. We must review our practice, and it is practice that must transform us, not books, nor lectures, nor electronic gadgets and knick-knacks. You should measure your practice in daily life; you should review your purushartha (as given above) in order to find peace and progress. Do not discuss your faith with those who have none; it will lessen your own faith. Let the blind lead the blind into the pit. Faith in God is based on genuine experience, and those who have no experience have nothing to offer you.