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Re: prakR^iti and karma

In article <ghenDs4KpB.En2@netcom.com> dchakrav@netserv.unmc.edu (Dhruba Chakravarti) writes:

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   God has said that prakR^iti, using the three guNas (sattva, rajas and 
   tamas SBG 14.5) is the real doer of actions, man only thinks that he is 
   doing the works for his ego-sense (ahaMkAra) (SBG 3.27, 13.29) and the 
   realization of this fact is necessary.  But prakR^iti alone does not have 
   guNas, we, the created beings have another type of guNa, that which 
   constitute our svabhAva. The svabhava-guNa is inherited from one birth to 
   another and God has said that the svabhAva-guNas generate the karma 
   appropriate to our varnas (18.41).  The prakR^iti-guNas (sattva, rajas,

To make the distinction between svabhava guna and the guna in Prakrti
as two separate entities is illogical.  If elements within Prakrti
demonstrate certain gunas then we naturally fall into the same
category.  The use of svabhava guna has been used by Vaishnavas to
justify castism for a very long time by tying the persistent nature of
the svabhava guna to birth in a lower or higher caste.  The
introduction of the svabhava guna as distinct from the gunas in
Prakrti are not supported by Shaivism -- note that the discussion of
the svabhava gunas does not come during the chapters of Samkhya and
Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita.

The later discussions in the Bhagavad Gita supporting bhakti yoga
comprises the Vaishnav theory of salvation.  What is illogical about
the theory is that determinism and personal responsibility cannot be
mixed.  If you say that God is in absolute control then there is no
such thing as personal responsibility, all is determined by destiny.
Whatever effects your karma have, occur in the realm of Prakrti and
their effects do not go beyond that.  Your responsibility for "your"
actions as your "ahamkar" would have you believe ends with "you having
suffered the effects of your actions" within Prakrti.  However, the
svabhava guna enables the Vaisnavas to keep track of their "sin/good
deed" accounts.  Indeed Vaisnavas seemed to have been better
accountants than philosophers.

Gunas as described in Prakrti are considered necessary for Prakrti to
function and no guna is considered inferior or superior to another.
Indeed there is never a time when one can become free from such gunas.
Vishnu himself is described as tamsik within and satvik outwardsly.
What that basically means is that though things appear to be preserved
(constant) on the outside, there is nothing that does not undergo
change.  So while a person looks quite the same one second after the
last time you have seen him, he has indeed changed within.  Within the
context of Prakrti the three gunas simply describe material flow from
any particular perspective (what you consider to be destruction may
actually be viewed as creation by someone else).

So what is the purpose of the svabhava guna ?  Simply to again enable
a judgemental mentality by attributing responsibility for a man's
karma beyond his own lifetime, perhaps beyond even Prakrti.  But the
flaw becomes apparent as one reads the later verses of the Gita.
People who are so born of an inferior "svabhava" as opposed to a
superior "svabhava" are basically damned to hell.  Because once you
declare someone as having an inferior "svabhava" in a deterministic
world which does not allow for personal control, its a one way trip to
hell.  Because your "svabhava" is inferior, you will incur more and
more sin and will just sink further and further on the caste/species
chain.  This again makes the system linear, the good guys go to
heaven, the bad guys go to hell and is thus subject to all sorts of
weaknesses.  In other words, it sucks!

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