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Inscrutable law of karma

Euthanasia and law of karma

Much interesting and intelligent debate has been going on in the press and the media on the justification or otherwise, of passive euthanasia which the Supreme Court has recently held as allowable in extreme situations involving terminally ill patients, even as it rejected a plea for its use in the case of a woman who has been in a vegetative state for nearly four decades.

The medical and para medical staff of KEM hospital who have maintained this woman in coma, for over 37 years and well-nigh adopted her as one of their own, celebrated the Supreme Court judgement with glee and distributing sweets.

Even if some urban Indians, not only strongly favour euthanasia, but go a step further and plead that it is in the interest and welfare of the person suffering, the western world – specially Europeans, fully understand the widely held Indian perceptions against it. Because, in almost all of Europe too, there is an ongoing debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Assisted suicide laws in Europe are lucid and clear in some States but vague, imprecise, ambiguous – if they exist at all – in others. Nevertheless, it is considered contrary to medical ethics for a doctor to assist a suicide.

German court ruling
It was only in June 2010, Germany's highest criminal court ruled that passive assisted suicide is legal if the patient has explicitly decreed his or her wish that treatment used to keep the patient alive should be terminated.

Turning off a ventilator or cutting a feeding tube fall under the category of permissible forms of terminating treatment. The Indian Supreme Court may have used this as a reference in its recent judgment.

Passive assisted suicide is also legal if the process of dying has irreversibly begun. Active assisted suicide remains illegal in Germany.

Liberal Swiss Laws
Switzerland has non-interventionist laws on assisted suicide in comparison with many other countries, although the practice is also legal in Belgium and the Netherlands. In recent years, hundreds of people have trudged to Switzerland to use the services of Dignitas, a leading assisted suicide organisation in the Alpine nation, founded by a Swiss human rights lawyer.

Many go on this gory journey with a ‘one-way-ticket', from Germany and Britain, where assisted suicide remains illegal.

In Switzerland, all that is needed is for a doctor to authenticate that the person in question wishes to depart this life and then write down a prescription for a fatal dose of the barbiturate sodium pentobarbital.

People wishing to die are accompanied by a ‘suicide aide,' ut patients administer the dose themselves.

Dutch rights
The Netherlands is yet another European nation where very under the weather people have the right to medical assistance to slay themselves, if they choose to do so.

About 2,000 people die through assistance from the doctor each year. Belgium too, allows physician-assisted death in various incarnations.

Sweden has no law specifically proscribing assisted suicide. Neighbouring Norway has criminal sanctions against assisted suicide by using the charge “accessory to murder”. Denmark, France and Finland have nothing in their criminal code about assisted suicide.

In Italy the action is legally outlawed, although pro-euthanasia activists in Rome and Turin are pressing hard for law reform. Luxembourg does not outlaw assistance in suicide because suicide itself is not a crime.

In Scotland, England and Wales there is a likelihood of up to 14 years imprisonment for anybody supporting suicide. Oddly, suicide itself is not a crime, having been decriminalised in 1961. Thus, it is a crime to assist in a non-crime. Assisted suicide is a crime in the Republic of Ireland.

In my view there is a world of difference between a non-Indian faith that does not believe in another life and the Indian that is founded on the beginningless-endless continuum of life. Sankaracharya's Bhaja Govindam says:

“Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam,

Punarapi janani jatare sayanam”.

Meaning: “Birth leads to death, to birth again, from the mother's womb”.

The endless cycle itself is woven around the theory of karma which conveys very plainly, that all thoughts, words, actions of a person, produce an equivalent reaction or result, for himself — here itself or, hereinafter in a future life or lives. One will enjoy or suffer the results of one's deeds. Even the good great lord is not exempted. As Vamana, he interned the great Bali, unjustly. And when he incarnated as Krishna, he was tied down with ropes, by his own mother!

The Indian faith, therefore, reconciles to everyone's pleasures and pains as a means to work out the individual's baggage of past Karmas.

Let me emphasise that I am not canvassing this faith. It just happens to be there in the depths of the Indian faith, for millennia and cannot be wished away.

In this situation, while the ongoing debate would look perfectly logical, the abiding faith of a large community needs to be factored in.

There seems to be no logic in faith, whether in India or elsewhere. But, there it is — a baggage of sorts, most cannot do without. If you terminate a suffering prematurely, another life would be needed to finish up and disband.

As the scriptures say: “Sukritam dushkritam chaiva gachantam anugachathi”. Meaning: “What goes along as baggage of the departed are the good and bad deeds, only”. That enigmatic, unfathomable, inscrutable law of karma cannot be swiped away or escaped, by euthanasia.


(The author is former Europe Director, CII)
Hindu Business Line - März 21, 2011:

And Krishna says the same to you....

urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tisthanti rajasah
adho gacchanti tamasah

"Akashat patitam toyam, yada gachchati sagram".

In my observation, the world has suffered more from from pretensions to knowledge than from ignorance!

As DJB said - "It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress".

You seem enslaved like that fanatic, who believes ascendancy of one impulse, one value, over all others.

I believe that all rivers lead to that one sea. All path lead to the same ONE Narayana..
"Akashat patitam toyam, yada gachchati sagram".

Krsna 'believes' something

Krsna 'believes' something else (BG 14.18) and we prefer His opinion.
Feel free to your delusion but elsewhere. Next senseless and denigrating entries will be deleted.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Bliss beyond compare

Well, I need to say before I begin that you may not like what I have to say about "enlightenment," gurus, but since you have been reading my messages, you already know that I have made it a practice not to mince words. In other words, I simply speak or write from my own experience for whatever it is worth, without soft-pedaling my reply.

I am trying to make this clear at the outset because you have said things in your earlier letters to which seem to indicate a set of beliefs, a kind of faith, which, in my view, is not helpful to really understanding anything.

That said, I abhor the word "enlightenment," and wouldn't use it myself at all except to reply to your insipid statement - by responding - how foolish, how dreary. No wonder there is so much of strife and unrest in the world today!

The man of true faith, who is of gracious mind and pure heart, is in bliss beyond compare & had no time for nitpicking.

Before signing off, I just want to say that I understand your suffering-you have been through a lot by now-but that I want to encourage you to stop trying to find refuge in your dry intellect. Just allow yourself to be, and bring to a halt trying to get answers to questions which cannot be answered. Stop trying to find refuge in ideas. Stop trying to find refuge in enlightenment. When all of that seeking stops, then you will see where you are.

Be well and remember that Krsna is just like the sun, and maya is just like darkness. If the sun is present, there is no question of darkness. Similarly, if Krsna is present in the mind, there is no possibility of the mind's being agitated by maya's influence.

Strawman, red herring, ad

Strawman, red herring, ad hominem, claiming black to be white. We've seen it all.

If Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta isn't helpful to you (as opposite to many others in this forum), nobody keeps you here. Its elucidation and defense isn't nitpicking by any means.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

"One who says he knows Brahman does not know Brahman".

Thanks. But,sorry to say & sadly so, once again, you have completely missed the point!

I find you are instantly gratified & satisfied with parched dry scholarship, instead of headlong plunging into this deep-sea of nectar and drink the ambrosia of Krishna Bhakti.

Eventually, we must move according to our faith. You, with yours. I, with mine.

Yet, remember my friend that enlightened faith is required, not blind faith. Sacred writings are there to steer us. A discriminating devotee, must make such determinations based on a meticulous & methodical understanding, lest one rashly & impulsively condemn the rasika bhakta or hastily praise the sahajiya.

And finally, Prema is not something to flaunt about and shoot your mouth off as the sahajiyas act as if to do. Its very nature is that it is hush-hush and not to be disclosed. As the sruti tells us, "One who says he knows Brahman does not know Brahman".

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya ! Om Namo Narayanaya !

This is a doctrinal argument.

This is a doctrinal argument. Taking shelter in 'individual enlightened faith' to save your face while misrepresenting me is useless.
It was you who came here to preach advaita (which can't be preached in the first place as per advaitists themselves).
Glorification of the Lord from the mouth of advaitists is not only empty but offensive since they don't accept His personality and lila as the eternal supreme reality but consider them to be temporary/material. Therefore Sri Caitanya says: mayavadi krsne aparadhi (CC 2.17.129)

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Individual self is identical with Brahman

Well, you must read between the lines to fully decipher what I have written.
With apologies, I find you content with dehydrated, parched, dry scholarship, instead of headlong plunging into this deep-sea of nectar
and drink the ambrosia of Krishna Bhakti.

If you had carefully read the eighteen chapters of BG, you would have understood that the entire Upanisadic declaration 'Thou art That' is its essence - that the jiva, the individual self, is in fact indistinguishable, impossible to tell apart and identical with Brahman.

While surrender to love of Sri Krishna is one path to realize directly the ultimate nondual Truth, those who can venerate the inscrutable unmanifested
Parabrahman may well do so.

bheda abheda

It's enough to read what you really wrote and what you can't deny.

I advocate Krsna prema. Using Krsna bhakti for attainment of advaita is as foolish as exchanging diamonds for glass. Real bhakti never ends:

mama janmani janmanIzvare
bhavatAd bhaktir ahaitukI tvayi

"I want only the causeless mercy of Your devotional service birth after birth." (Sri Caitanya in ZikSASTaka 4)

You who missed the conclusion of Upanisads, BG and Vedanta sutra - oneness _and_ difference of jiva and Brahman, in GV sampradaya in the form of acintya bhedabheda tattva.

They may but it's considered a lesser path by Krsna in BG 12.1-7. Arjuna asks (1) which way of worship (monistic or monotheistic) is more complete (pari upAsate). Krsna answers (2), that those who worship Him personally He considers topmost yogis (yukta tamAH, see also 6.47). About monists he says (3-4) that they will also reach Him (prApnuvanti) but their progress for embodied beings (deha vadbhiH) is full of suffering (duHkham) (5). On the other hand monotheists who surrender to Him all their actions (sarvAni karmAni mayi sannyasya) and are attached exclusively to Him (mat-parAH ananyena) in meditation (dhyAyantaH) and worship (upAsate), He will soon (na cirAt) liberate (samuddhartA = liberator) from the deadly ocean of samsara (mRtyu saMsAra sAgarAt) (6-7).

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Individuals are Divine - lost in Maya

No, individuals are not "maya". Individuals are heavenly divine, gone astray & lost in maya...

To me, everything is glint spark of that ONE divinity.

Vishnu is the heart of Shiva and Shiva is heart of Vishnu.
There is no difference between the two.

The cosmic trinity - Surya, Agni Vayu - the elements Agni/Jal/Vayu/Bhoomi/Akash - and, Shiva, Vishnu who form a harmonic triad with Brahma are all manifestation of that ONE Paramatma.

And that therefore should lead to paramaarth - treating all beings and creature alike like himself, because God is One and that One exists in everybody.

Hari Om

Well, you said they're maya.

Well, you said they're maya. You don't stick to your words even though written in plain sight? What can I say?

Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta is called acintya-bheda-abheda tattva. It's a harmonization of advaita and dvaita since sastra mentions both positions. Thus it's on a higher platform than both of these partial exclusive conclusions.

Treating everyone as oneself isn't paramartha by any means; it's only a beginning. Parama purusartha, the highest goal, is an active service with Krsna prema in Radha Krsna nitya lila, far beyond advaita can conceive. Our acaryas state this (Caitanya Caritamrta 1.7.84,91, 2.6.184, 2.19.164, Premabhakticandrika 8.10 etc.) and the greatest advaitins like Adi Sankara or Madhusudana Sarasvati confirm it. See for yourself their works like Prabodha sudhakara or Gudhartha dipika.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Shivaya Vishnu roopaya, Shiva roopaya Vishnuve

"Shivaya Vishnu roopaya, Shiva roopaya vishnuve
Shivasya Hridayam Vishnu, Vishnoscha Hridayam Shivaha
Yathantaram na pashyami.....

Meaning: Shiva is a form(roopa) of Vishnu and Vishnu is a form of Shiva,
Shiva is the heart of Vishnu and Vishnu is the heart of Shiva and there is no difference between the two.

These different forms are ascribed by man for practical reasons and there is no such antagonism for supremacy among the gods as they are one.

My strong belief is in the Advaita philosophy - that Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman)are ONE.

That ultimately, there is only one Brahman - supreme energy - call it by whatever name. And, "You (Krishna & I) are That" (Tat Tvam Asi).

Other than Brahman, everything else, including the universe, material objects and individuals, are Maya. Even death is Maya. In the Gita, Lord says "There was never a time when I did not exist, or you, or any of these kings, nor will we ever cease to be".

Brahman is attributeless and formless (see Nirguna Brahman). It is the Self-existent, the Absolute and the Imperishable. Brahman is actually indescribable. It is at best "Satchidananda" (merging "Sat" + "Chit" + "Ananda", i.e., Infinite Truth, Infinite Consciousness and Infinite Bliss).

Hari Om.

Devas are clearly of various

Devas are clearly of various levels:

agnirvai devAnAmavamo viSNuH paramah tadantarA sarvA devatAH

"Agni is the lowest and Visnu is the highest among devas. All other gods occupy positions that are in between." (Aitareya Brahmana 1.1.1)

You may believe whatever you want but this is not advaita forum. I've given quotes why advaita is against sastra and even you give one yourself, BG 2.12, defeating advaita's claim that individuals are Maya.

dvaitaM bandhAya mokSAt prAk prApte bodhe manISayA
bhaktyarthaM kalpitam dvaitaM advaitAd api sundaram

"Duality is bondage before moksa and wisdom after realization. The duality accepted for the purpose of bhakti is sweeter than even non-duality." (from mangalacarana to Advaitasiddhi sara sangraha by Madhusudana Sarasvati, former advaitin)

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Playact in material world

When Bhagavan incarnated as Sri Krishna, He was engaged to playact in material world. He was engaged incessantly in worldly actions.

As long as we operate in a phenomenal universe, all pairs of 'opposites' exist because its enveloped by 'maya'.

One has to transcend, surpass, rise above the phenomenon of 'maya' to reliase that there is only 'truth' & nothing else. That is ultimate in indian philosophy, unlike in the West.

Like Krishna says in BG, after many many births one comes to that reliasitaion.

He also says only one in a thousand attempts it. And, of thousands who attempt, perhaps, one may realize it.

Its simple & subtle at the same time. That is the greatness of Indian philosophy.

> He was engaged incessantly

> He was engaged incessantly in worldly actions.

In His case they're only apparently worldly. BG 4.9 etc.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Playact in material world

Like I said, He was engaged to playact in material world.

That's also not Gaudiya view.

That's also not Gaudiya view. KRSNa never directly interacts with matter.

PrabhupAda: DhAma. Therefore it is called dhAma. DhAma means not material world. Goloka-dhAma, VRndAvana-dhAma. So dhAma is not material world. (aside:) Not to go away. [break] ...visible with these eyes, similarly, dhAma also is not visible with these eyes. (Morning Walk, February 6, 1976, Mayapura)

See also my excerpt from Urdhvamnaya tantra about NavadvIpa dhAma. It begins with the word 'aprakritam', nonmaterial.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

Material world is 'Maya' - And, I feel His presence, in me..

In my divine experience - Krishna unswervingly, nonstop, interacts with matter & material world. Infact,I have surrendered to Him. He interacts with me, every moment in my life. All my thoughts, speech & actions are His. My decisions are made by Him. He is in me. I am AMRITA PUTRA: that nectar's son.

I feel his presence - all the time - around me - in every breath of mine. I see Him with my visible eyes - in trees, flowers, mountains, rivers, all humans beings, animals - every aspect of nature. He is in the water, I drink & food that nourishes me. He is the light I see and the darkness that gives meaning to that light.

He is in all life & matter around me. I see Him in every form of life. I also see Him in lifeless, inorganic, inanimate matter.

He is the stillness & movement I sense. He is the silence, peace, calm, noise, clamour & clatter, I perceive.

I believe He is with me for a purpose. He is helping me - all the time - to get pleasure from & enjoy the material world, understand its impermanence and, thereafter flee this 'Maya' and merge with Him. Fulfilling the rule, principle, the ultimate goal in life that forms the basis of "Aham Brahmasmi" (I am Brahman). Tat Tvam Asi. "Thou art that" (He & I are One).

This is something else than

This is something else than dhama.
Krsna manifests expansions like the omnipresent Paramatma who directs prana, life energy of all. Another of His expansions is Siva who's in direct touch with matter, Maya Devi.
Merging with Krsna isn't the goal of Vaisnavas, nitya lila is.

Hari Hari
ys Jan

karma vs. lIlA

> One will enjoy or suffer the results of one's deeds. Even the good great lord is not exempted. As Vamana, he interned the great Bali, unjustly. And when he incarnated as Krishna, he was tied down with ropes, by his own mother!

That's not supported by BG 9.9: na ca mAM tAni karmANi nibadhnanti
Whether the Lord does something 'unjustly' or 'suffers', it's all His lIlA which isn't a material activity since it has purifying effects and it's often bewildering to material reason. SB 2.6.46, 3.9.19, 3.19.33, 4.17.36, 10.87.21, 11.6.42,44,49 11.11.23-24 etc.

Hari Hari
ys Jan