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Q & A : On Raaga and Dwesha

(Extract­ed from talks at Vikasa, Rishikesh, Decem­ber 2016)

The objec­tive real­i­ty of the world is the same for all of us. But how is it that each one of us expe­ri­ences it dif­fer­ent­ly? What is that con­di­tion­ing which makes our inner expe­ri­ence of the same objec­tive real­i­ty dif­fer­ent? Adi ji answers, begin­ning by explain­ing about kar­ma, and the two aspects of its con­se­quences : out­er and inner.

Q: If I do some action that could be mod­i­fied by anoth­er in a neg­a­tive way, will I have to face its con­se­quences? For exam­ple, if I give a beg­gar some mon­ey but that gets stolen by a thief who com­mits a crime with it, isn’t that part of my kar­ma as well? Do I get affect­ed by the con­se­quences of my actions which may, through anoth­er agent and with­out my knowl­edge, cause harm? That is a very good ques­tion and a very impor­tant one, when you start look­ing at sub­tleties. But let me start at a broad lev­el. Maybe this is a good time to intro­duce kar­ma. We look at kar­ma, kar­ma means action. ‘kruh’ means to do, to act. In what all ways do we act? There is phys­i­cal action, we show emo­tions, that is also action. There is a thought, that is also action. We speak, that is also action. All of these, what­ev­er we do, what­ev­er we desire, you know there is a desire, that is also an action. So all of these are con­sid­ered action, “to act”. But there are vary­ing lev­els of sub­tle­ty and vary­ing lev­els of con­se­quences.

There are two aspects to kar­ma, one is out­ward con­se­quences and anoth­er is inner con­se­quences — how you expe­ri­ence it. So there are these twin aspects, out­er con­se­quences and inner con­se­quences. The out­er con­se­quences man­i­fest because of cer­tain struc­tures that we have in place, for exam­ple we have a social struc­ture, “tak­ing from some­one else” is called “steal­ing”. Tak­ing from some­one else with­out their acknowl­edge­ment, is called steal­ing. That is a social norm that we all agree upon. Look­ing at the act through the social struc­ture, that act of tak­ing with­out the own­er’s acknowl­edge­ment will have cer­tain out­er con­se­quences, for exam­ple, you might get beat­en or you might be put in jail. These are social struc­tures which decide the out­come of a spe­cif­ic action. So the action by itself did not have the out­come but because we have evolved to points of social mech­a­nism and struc­tures, through the struc­ture, the action has a par­tic­u­lar out­ward effect. You do some good, let’s say you give in char­i­ty, you donate (give daana), you per­form anna daana, you feed every­body, vidya daana, you give knowl­edge, you feed every­one with knowl­edge. Aro­gya daana, you feed every­one with health in the form good nutri­tious food. All these are done. When we give, what is the effect of that? When we observe it through the social struc­ture, you will see the effect of it is that peo­ple are tak­en care of, they are good, healthy, hap­py, and that again has a rip­ple effect. So these are actions, and con­se­quences of those actions, out­ward­ly. Out­ward­ly.

Now when you look at the inner con­se­quences, how do these inner con­se­quences work? When you do some­thing, how do you expe­ri­ence it? The out­ward hap­pi­ness, sor­row, such things are okay. So you do some­thing, there are out­er con­se­quences, and there are inner con­se­quences. Now how do inner con­se­quences work? You will gen­er­al­ly receive expe­ri­ences — care­ful­ly observe this — when you do some­thing, the expe­ri­ences that you take in and the way you expe­ri­ence it, what is it gov­erned by? You do some­thing — thought, word, deed — I have just men­tioned the out­er con­se­quences of it deter­mined by struc­tures. What deter­mines your inner expe­ri­ence of your actions?

Your atti­tude, inten­tion, greater pur­pose (so expec­ta­tion win­dow), ener­gy lev­els, per­son­al­i­ty, your past expe­ri­ences (how you have labelled them).

So all of this points to a cer­tain fun­da­men­tal con­di­tion­ing. And what are those con­di­tion­ing? They are looked at in the yog­ic tra­di­tion, in the Indi­an tra­di­tion, as raa­ga and dwe­sha. Raa­ga is you do some­thing, you see the gunas, (guna means the pos­i­tive aspects, dosha means the neg­a­tive aspects), let us say you build a friend­ship. Whom do you call a friend? You see in the per­son the pos­i­tive qual­i­ties. And you see say,”Hey! Super!” You rein­force that again and again, and the rein­force­ment makes your expe­ri­ence con­di­tioned. You start lik­ing that and get­ting attached to that. This is raa­ga.

Let’s say you don’t like some­thing, that is dwe­sha, repul­sion. And how does that work? You see doshas, the neg­a­tive qual­i­ties, let’s say you work in an orga­ni­za­tion and you see all,”The boss is use­less, the envi­ron­ment is use­less, they don’t live up to my expec­ta­tions!” You build it up that way. Anoth­er exam­ple, you study in a par­tic­u­lar col­lege, you see doshas every­where, “This is not right, that is not right, the food is not right, the gate pass sys­tem is too strin­gent, etc etc” That builds up, and hence what is your expe­ri­ence of it? Dwe­sha. Repul­sion. So, expe­ri­ence of it is either attrac­tion or repul­sion. This is the twin mech­a­nism for expe­ri­ence. That which you are attract­ed towards, you will expe­ri­ence it as ”Wow!” and that which you have repul­sion towards, you will shrink back. You will expe­ri­ence a cer­tain shrink­ing from and a cer­tain includ­ing. So an includ­ing and an exclud­ing. These twin modes you will expe­ri­ence, in terms of raa­ga-dwe­sha, but most expe­ri­ences don’t come in this man­ner, most of them would be bal­anced out in terms of gunas and doshas. See even in a rela­tion­ship, it hap­pens, many peo­ple com­plain of this: When it was love, it was all okay, when it comes to marriage,”Arrrrgh!” Because at that time, it was all rosy because they saw only gunas,”Veeran, sooran, aha! How brave!” (Laugh­ter) That brings out only the gunas, veerya, shau­rya, and you see only that and it is all like love sym­bols in your eyes, and that is extreme attrac­tion. But when you move clos­er, you start see­ing details, and some of it, is not like the broad super, it is more like, ”All is okay, but.…” because you have start­ed see­ing doshas. And that dosha slow­ly repels you, if the gunas and doshas are very well-bal­anced, the gunas are a lit­tle stronger then you will have a good rela­tion­ship. Bal­anced rela­tion­ship, very good rela­tion­ship. Oth­er­wise most­ly what hap­pens, there is an flow and ebb reac­tion, where first time it was love at first sight. That is a flow, and then after that there is an ebb, pulling back and again a flow and again pulling back, again a flow, again pulling back, you will see this in oper­a­tion in actu­al life. This ebb and flow is in actu­al oper­a­tion. You will see this in prac­ti­cal oper­a­tion. And this builds up attach­ment and repul­sion. But when it is prop­er­ly bal­anced, then you will have a well-bal­anced view. The view is not coloured just by raa­ga or dwe­sha, just by attrac­tion or repul­sion, not just coloured by one. It is bal­anced and hence over­all the rela­tion­ship is sta­ble. And plus there is the moti­va­tion for dhar­ma. Most peo­ple expe­ri­ence this as huge shocks, “I expect­ed this! But the per­son turned out to be some­thing else. ” That is because of this con­trast. So raa­ga, dwe­sha, this is how we take in expe­ri­ences, and this gets stored, stored, stored, stored to such an extent, that there will be heavy con­di­tion­ing in terms of how you expe­ri­ence life. In fact, this is the key thing that deter­mines how we indi­vid­u­al­ly expe­ri­ence life. See, every­thing is the same objec­tive real­i­ty, right? Out­ward­ly it is the same objec­tive real­i­ty. But each one of us, even in this same ses­sion, each one of us would expe­ri­ence it dif­fer­ent­ly. Our inner expe­ri­ence of it would be dif­fer­ent. And that is based on this raa­ga dwe­sha. That which you have devel­oped an ori­en­ta­tion towards, you will find it good, inter­est­ing. That which you have not got­ten ori­ent­ed towards, you will not feel attract­ed towards. Let’s say, every­thing being equal, over a peri­od of time you will devel­op an ori­en­ta­tion. But you could also devel­op a neg­a­tive ori­en­ta­tion, because of cer­tain back­ground con­di­tions.

Q: What is trish­na? Trish­na is an extreme thirst as a result of a cer­tain out­ward ori­en­ta­tion. For exam­ple, let’s say, some­thing has been thwart­ed. In the prop­er growth of the per­son, look­ing with the frame­work of the antahkarana – man­as, chit­ta, bud­dhi, ahamkara — we have seen, how man­as actu­al­ly process­es data giv­en by the sens­es. And after the ini­tial lev­el pro­cess­ing, that pro­cess­ing also includes these con­di­tion­ings, raa­ga, dwe­sha, that is how it is stored in the chit­ta (elec­tro­mag­net­ic mem­o­ry space) — “I like this!” “I hate this!” — and when you have strong likes and dis­likes, you will have strong emo­tion­al expe­ri­ences, and that emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence, let’s say it is thwart­ed. For exam­ple, Smrithi was shar­ing with me an episode of Flip­kart deliv­ery boy being killed by a boy who want­ed a Rs 12,000 phone! So it was cash on deliv­ery and when the Flip­kart deliv­ery boy tried to col­lect the cash, he was stabbed. Why would this hap­pen? Because the boy’s father had denied him that phone and the envi­ron­ment in which the boy lived had built up his raa­ga to such an extent that he could see only the object of his raa­ga, the mobile phone. He was com­plete­ly blind­ed by that. So these are also called shadri­pus, shadri­pus are you can say six ene­mies – kama, (lust or desire), krod­ha (anger), lob­ha (greed), mada (arro­gance), moha (attach­ment) and mat­sarya (jeal­ousy) (These six qual­i­ties bind us to illu­sion and veil real­i­ty)

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