The Real Thief Is Ignorance

Mon, 03/06/2013

Bangalore, India

(Below is a continuation of the post The Shine In The Sunshine)

Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, 'Moghasa mogha-karmano mogha-jnana vichetasah. Rakshasim asurim chaiva prakrtim mohinim-sritah. (9.12)

Man has three powers with him: the power of desire, the power of action, and the power of knowledge. When all these three powers are influenced or dominated by attachment, it leads a person to become Tamoguni in nature

Lord Krishna here speaks about Mogha-asha (Meaning: desires that bear no fruit or purpose). There are some desires in our life that are totally futile and have no purpose. Neither do we get any joy or comfort from them, nor do the people around us. But still we continue carrying such useless desires in our mind and heart.

Then, there are some people who do actions which not only harm themselves, but others as well. Such actions are called Mogha-karma (Meaning: futile or fruitless actions driven purely by attachment or feverishness of desire).

In the same way, there is Mogha-jnana which means incorrect or incomplete knowledge. It is when you see everything in a distorted way, in an upside down manner.

Man has three powers with him: Iccha-shakti (the power of desire), Kriya-shakti (the power of action), and Jnana-shakti (the power of knowledge). When all these three powers are influenced or dominated by Moha (attachment), it leads a person to become Tamoguni in nature (a quality or state of existence characterized by inertia, ignorance and negativity). People with demonic tendencies, negative and evil tendencies are completely sunk into Tamoguna.
Now, such people do have desires, they perform action as well and they also have some knowledge about the action they are doing, but there is no life in them (here meaning, to become devoid of positivity, enthusiasm and spirit). There is no awareness in them (meaning, to become deluded and lose sight of the Self).

A thief went to a wise saint and said, ‘O noble sage, I will do anything that you ask me to do; but please do not ask me to stop stealing. It is in my nature and I will continue to steal. Other than this, I shall willingly listen to any knowledge you have to give’.
The sage said, ‘Alright, do as you wish. Go ahead and steal, but from now on, when you steal, do it with full awareness and by being established in your consciousness. Even if you wish to curse someone, do so with all your consciousness. If you wish to be angry, do so with complete awareness’.
The thief said, ‘Alright, what you have said is quite easy to do. Stealing is my habit, I can steal even if I am asleep, and I get away with it. I am an expert at stealing. Since all you are asking from me is to do all this with full awareness, I shall definitely do that’.

The thief took blessings from the noble sage and continued on his way. When he was about to commit his first robbery, he remembered the sage’s words, ‘Steal, but with full awareness’. So he tried to steal with full awareness, but he found that he just could not steal. He thought, ‘It is just the first time that I have failed, so let it be. It's alright. I just met the wise sage today, so that meeting with a noble soul might be causing a little fright within me. I will steal tomorrow’. But the next day when he went to commit the robbery, he was again unable to do it. The same thing happened the third day too. The thief thought to himself, ‘The effect of meeting such a noble sage and his blessings will obviously stay for some time. It might last a week, no more than that. So I will refrain from stealing until a week has passed. By then, I will be back to my nature (of being a skilful thief)’.

Often when people come to satsang, their nature gets transformed. But the moment they leave and go out, they slip back into their bad habits.
So the thief also thought the same, ‘The effect of Sadhana, being in silence and following spiritual practices lasts for a week or two, or a month at the most, and then it all fades away. So after a week, I shall surely be able to steal skillfully once again’.

People with demonic tendencies,negative and evil tendencies are completely sunk into Tamoguna.Now, such people do have desires, they perform action as well and they also have some knowledge about the action they are doing, but there is no life in them. There is no awareness in them.

After a week had passed, the thief again tried to commit a robbery, but again he was unable to steal anything. He then tried the same thing after one month, but again he was unable to steal anything. He started shivering and became nervous.
He thought to himself, ‘What is happening to me? Earlier, I was able to do all this so easily. But now, if I try to even pick someone’s pocket with awareness, I become so nervous, my heart starts pounding, and my whole body shakes. No matter how hard I try, I am just not able to steal anymore!’

The thief rushed to the noble sage and fell at his feet. He said to the sage, ‘O noble sage, what have you done to me? You have ruined my business’.
The wise sage smiled and said, ‘It is all because of your awareness. All mistakes happen when a person is not fully aware of what he is doing’.
A person who is fully aware can never get angry, nor can he commit any misdeed. All mistakes happen in a state of ignorance, and lack of awareness.

This is what Lord Krishna also says. A person who is dominated by attachment (Mogha-asha, Mogha-karma and Mogha-jnana) and negative tendencies is as good as a dead person, without any consciousness (Here meaning: Due to demonic tendencies, the quality of their consciousness becomes dull and inert because it is filled with negativity). This is what happens due to Mogha-asha.

People who become more and more dependent on demonic and negative tendencies (Mogha-asha, Mogha-karma and Mogha-jnana) become totally absorbed by Tamoguna.
Lord Krishna says, ‘How can such people know Me, when they are so deeply entangled in negative tendencies?’
Such people engage in Nishedha Karma - that is, karma or actions that make one’s consciousness dull and polluted. Such actions completely destroy the consciousness. Actually it is not appropriate to say that the consciousness gets destroyed. It means, such actions suppress the consciousness because it covered with Mogha (attachment) and demonic tendencies. These actions are called Nishedha Karma.
For example, suppose a boy and girl fall in love each other, and their parents do not support their relationship. Somewhere deep down, both the girl and the boy also know it well that they will not be able to spend their lives together, because their nature is very different from each other. Yet they get trapped in attachment towards each other (and the craving for a relationship).
Whenever they are together, they fight with each other, despite all this, they still continue to be in a relationship. This is what attachment is.
Staying together causes pain, but on the other hand, being away from each other causes misery. It is like how a bit of food gets stuck in your throat. If it is too sweet, you do not want to spit it out, and if it is too bitter, you do not want to swallow it. People often get stuck in such situations and relationships. This is called attachment. They are not able to stay in the relationship, and neither are they able to abandon it.

By getting caught up in such attachment and feverish desires, a person loses his consciousness and reels in negativity. People who find themselves in such a state are neither aware of how to overcome it, or are they able to make any efforts to do so. They only keep sinking deeper in such a state.

Nature has this mysterious power, by which it enchants a person and take hold of him completely, thus deluding him. Take alcohol for instance. Why do people become so addicted to alcohol? It does not help their consciousness blossom in any way. Neither does it give them any long-lasting joy or comfort of any sort. Yet leaving alcohol causes pain and problems in people. People who smoke cigarettes suffer in the same way. If smoking cigarettes can bring you everlasting bliss, then I would recommend everyone to smoke. If that was the case, then the faces of people who smoke would be glowing with radiance, joy and happiness. But do you ever see this happen? Have you seen anyone who smokes look radiant? Do they look ever look happy, scintillating with joy from every particle of their being? (Laughter)
When you see a smoker, does it look like his consciousness is blossoming and expanding? Does his spirit dance in joy when he smokes? You will not find even one person like that anywhere. They all look so dull and lifeless!
People who are drunk with alcohol look the same too. Just like the street dogs that are ridden with disease and who everyone throws stones at. You feel so sorry for those poor animals. In the same way, people who smoke and drink reach such a pitiable state. People who smoke and drink resemble such dogs, so dull and lifeless. All this happens due to Mogha-asha, Mogha-karma and Mogha-jnana (here meaning: being ignorant about how something brings only misery instead of happiness, yet continuing to indulge in them).

There was an old lady whose son had abandoned her. He insulted her and threw her out of the house. The lady became so depressed thinking about her son and how he treated her. But how long can she weep for him? After sometime, the tears also dry up, and then inertia takes over completely because of attachment, and this dulls the consciousness. Such a person appears almost lifeless. You will find many such people around in the world today.

Once I had gone to South Africa for an Art of Living program. Many people from the old age homes, packed in four buses, had been brought to meet me and attend the program. It was the most pitiable situation to see them. These old people had been thrown out of their own homes by their children, just like how we throw garbage outside.
These people were living in old age homes where there are no spiritual practices followed, no sadhana and no satsang. They would just eat, drink and sit idly. These old people had become so miserable in life because of the attachment with their children that they appeared dead despite being alive.
I said, ‘I pray that such a situation never happens in India'.
In the old age homes here, people still discuss knowledge and attend satsang. At least they are aware that they are caught up in attachment, and they need to overcome their attachment. The people there (in South Africa) were not even aware of how deeply they were caught up in attachment, and that they needed to overcome it.

This is why Lord Krishna says, ‘By getting caught up in such attachment and feverish desires, a person loses his consciousness and reels in negativity'.

People who find themselves in such a state are neither aware of how to overcome it, and are unable make any efforts to do so. They only keep sinking deeper in such a state.

(Click Here to continue reading)

(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)

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