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Question: How is the karmic account of my past lives linked with my current state of mind?
Speaker: How is the karma of the past linked to my current state of mind? What you call as your current state of mind is always a friction, a conflict, a tug-of-war between two opposing forces. One is the force of the past, one is the force of conditioning and the other is the call of peace, the call of the untouched, the call of the core. What we call as the mind, is nothing but a sandwich between these two.
But it is not a normal sandwich, it is not a normal conflict, it is a conflict between two parties in which the first party is the first party, and also the power provider to the second party. Are you getting it?
So there is that which you can call as the core, and then there is that which you can call as conditioning or illusion or Maya.
What is happening in the mind? A tussle between the call of the core and the lure of Maya. But in this we will remember that Maya is not really a power opposing the core because Maya itself is being powered by the core. So two parties are in conflict, yes there is a tussle, yes there is a tug-of-war, but it is a special conflict in which one party is powering the opposite party as well. That’s why it is called Leela.
‘I want to have a good time, so you know I am powering the other party’, sometimes it happens when you are very playful. Let’s say you want to have a race with someone who can’t run too fast, so what do you do? You run slow or you give him a lead. You say, ‘Alright! I will cover hundred meter and you have to cover only sixty meter.’ So you are powering the other party because you want to have just a little bit of fun! That kind of a war it is. But nevertheless, it is a war and the mind is the battle ground.
When you say, ‘Is my state of mind a result of my karma, my past?’, yes it is, surely it is. But much more important than that is the fact that there is a power far bigger than any past, any conditioning, any karma. You are asking, ‘Does past affect my state of my mind?’, it does, but much more powerful than that is another power available to you. So karma is reality, fate is reality, destiny is reality but fatalism is not right because fatalism would imply that fate is the biggest power.
I fully acknowledge the power of fate, but I do not acknowledge fatalism. Do you understand the difference? It means that even though fate is there, yet fate is powerless in front of something else, which is far bigger than fate. So fatalism has no ground.
All the effect, the influence of the past karma can be dissolved right now. No karma can affect you if you are in attention, that power is always available.
It doesn’t matter what happened in the morning today, you can still be totally present in this session, and when you are in attention here in this session then the past evaporates. Right now, as you are listening to me, all of you are the same, and all of you are zero. Whereas, all of you come from different sets of conditioning with different experiences in the morning. Right? But as you sit here, right now, Karma doesn’t matter! Past doesn’t matter! What happened in the morning doesn’t matter! Because right now you are in attention.
So attention is that which wipes away the past. In other words, attention is that which wipes away all your sins. That’s why religions have emphasized so much on cleansing. They say, this will take care of your sins.
Have you heard this proverb, “All sins are washed away”? And that is why wise people have said that sins are not washed away by bathing in Ganges, they are washed away in aatma-snaan(Bath in self). Who was singing, ‘aatma-snaanam, mahaa-snaanam’ (The bath in the Self is the greatest ablution)? Now do you understand that aatma-snaan(Bath in self) means attention, going within and cleansing?
What does bathing do? It cleanses. By going within and cleansing the mind, all your sins are washed away. Whatever you might be, whatever you might be your past, doesn’t matter. And saints know that past doesn’t matter, that’s why they keep allowing you in, irrespective of what you are, because they know that it doesn’t matter whether you have been a king or a pauper, whether you have been a saint or a sinner, it doesn’t matter at all.
Rumi has captured it beautifully, ‘Come, come yet again come, even if you have broken your vows thousand times. You might be a sinner, yet come back. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, you might have been led astray a thousand times, but come back. You are still welcome.’
How can I punish you if you killed somebody in your dream? Comeback! All dreams are the same. The past is a dream, and all dreams are washed away when you wake up, that is aatma-snaan (bath in self). Washing away your dreams, now you have been woken up. How can I reject you, or how can I grant you special favors? You are all the same, provided you have woken up, provided you are in attention. When you are asleep then all of you are different. When you awake, all of you are same. Do you realize this?
All differences, all individualization, all localization is only when you are asleep, then you have different beings, different personalities. In attention all are same, because all are zero. How can you differentiate zero from zero?
Listener 1: Sir, when a lot of massacre and killing takes place, is that also karmic balancing?
Speaker: There is nothing called ‘karmic balancing’. When out of your conditioning you go and kill somebody, nothing is being balanced. You have only created more karma for yourself.
Listener 1: A Karmic account
Speaker: ‘Account’ may be a better word to use. You have loaded your account more. Now whatever has been loaded, will need to be gone through. You already were so conditioned, now there is more conditioning. You already had so much to cleanse, now there is even more rubbish. So you will have to clean all the more, it will become all the more difficult.
Listener 2: Ramakrishna was once taking bath in the Ganges. When he came out, somebody asked him, ‘People believe that when they take bath in Ganges, all their sins get washed away. So what is your take on it?’ He said that when we go in the river our sins go and sit on the tree, they leave us, but when we come back, they come back to us
Speaker:That’s the only way a saint can respond, he can only tell you jokes. How can he take your questions seriously? That’s the only option left with a saint. He can either get irritated, or tell you that the answer cannot be captured in words, or he can tell you jokes. So good, he told you a joke.
It’s a special ability to understand jokes, it’s a very spiritual ability, because jokes have no logic. The same faculty, the same knack that helps you enter mysticism, is also the faculty that helps understand jokes. That’s why there has to be a great relation between jokes and mysticism.
Have you seen people who don’t understand jokes? It happens there are many such people, if you joke in front of them, they will say, ‘What happened?’
Those are also the people who will never understand life. Why? Because life is a…
Listeners(everyone): A joke!
View the session at: Attention wipes your sins away || Acharya Prashant (2015) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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