Never being a religious person, though born into a house that revered gods; and married into a family that was orthodox, traditional and staunch believers of Vaishnavism… For many years, my life went on, with just a prayer or two before an exam and / or before an important occasion – praying that the exam or the occasion was successful..

God existed but when I wanted!!!

An accident that I met, changed my thinking forever.. My prayers started to be performed  ‘religiously’… There was a change in me and this was also when I was initiated into vedAntA…

vedAntA – ‘This was only for those who are in their 60’s or those who have for some reason, been drawn to it’… ‘Too philosophical – good to talk and nice to hear, but to be followed when I become old’ – This was my view, till I was initiated into it by a friend.. I listened to a few discourses and there has been no looking back…

The first few discourses that I listened to, was that of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji and Swami Paramarthananda ji…  and the listening continues…

Listening to tattvabOdhA, answered a few questions that were lingering in me for quite many years.. I am going to share a few learnings that changed the way I look at life… Every one of the learnings gave me an insight but some of them have stayed in me, creating this change..

tattvabOdhA – Self Knowledge

The four fold qualifications for Self KnowledgeEach one of them is a pearl of wisdom… While there is thought and action on the first three, the last one I am unable to even think on.. Seems too far fetched at this point in time J

  1. VivEkaha – Discriminative Knowledge or Clarity in Thinking – The awareness between what is nitya vastu and anitya vastu (permanent and impermanent) Permanent happiness does NOT come from impermanent things… If a person is aware of this, then they will also be devoid of expectations… Every pain in life or sorrow in life can be traced back to expectations..
  2. VirAgaha – Dispassion – Freedom from addiction to sensory pleasures, both dhArmic and adhArmic..To develop addiction to dhArmic pleasures to get rid of adhArmic pleasures; and later transcending the addiction to dhArmic pleasures through wisdom..
  3. Shadga Sampathihi – 6-fold Self Discipline..
    1. Shamaha – Mind Control
    2. Dhamaha – Sense or Sensory Control
    3. Uparadhihi – Withdrawal or Quietitude
    4. Thithiksha – Endurance or Patience or Forbearance
    5. Shraddha – Faith or Trust
    6. SamAdhAnam – Concentration or Focusing Power
  4. Mumukshutvam – Desire for mOksha


There is a lot of thinking that I have been doing, on the 4-fold qualifications and the 6-fold discipline.. While certain habits remain due to ignorance, there is a change in many others, bringing in silence and noise at the same time.

The 5-Sense Organs and its function:

  1. srotrasya Vishayaha shabda grahanam – The function of hearing is to grasp the sound
  2. tvachO vishayaha sparsha grahanam – The function of skin is the perception of touch
  3. chakshusaha vishayaha rUpa grahanam – The function of the eyes is the perception of colors
  4. rasanAyaha vishayaha rasa grahanam – The function of the tongue is grasping the taste
  5. grAnasya vishayaha gandha grahanam – The function of the nose is smell

That the world is only the 5-fold properties of shabdha, sparsha, rUpa, rasa and gandha (Sound, Touch, Form, Taste and Smell)..

The world seems small when I think that it is only the 5-fold properties.. But then, I know that I have taken these properties for granted, as I am blessed with them. Looking at the world with wonder begins, when I appreciate each one of the functions of these sense organs.

The kOsha panchakam (5 sheaths / layers of personality):

  1. annamaya kOshA – The sheath or personality formed by the modification of the food we consume
  2. prAnamaya kOshA – The energy sheath that is invisible
  3. manomaya kOshA – The mental sheath or the emotional / psychological layer of personality
  4. vignAnamaya kOsha – The rational / intellectual sheath
  5. Anandamaya koshA – Deepest layer that is the source of Ananda / relaxation / rejuvenation / revitalisation

With each layer becoming more subtler than the previous layer…

The one thought that comes to my mind as I read about this is, ‘How are they connected to one another?’, ‘Are they connected at all to one another?’

The Law of Karma:

Every action a person does produces two types or results –

  1. drishta palam – Visible Results; which is seen and experienced directly
  2. adhrishta palam – The result, that an invisible motive behind every action produces.. Positive adhrishta palam produces punyam and negavive adhrishta palam produces pApam.

Sanchita karma – are the karmas, both punya and pApa earned in several births, and accumulated

prArabdha karma – that portion of the sanchita karma that is ready and mature to fructify

AgAmi karma – the actions that a person is doing in the present, will be a fresh deposit of karma (punya and Papa), to sanchita karma (the karma account).. The AgAmi karma starts from the time a person starts his deliberate actions

Some of the AgAmi karma will fructify in this jenma while some may not as they are not conducive for fructification… This unfructified karma will remain in my karma account (sanchita karma)..

The prArabdha karma controls whether the next jenma will be in an animal / human body, whether it would be a man / woman, parentage, place of birth, status, duration of life etc…

Every experience a person undergoes in life is due to that person’s prArabdha / AgAmi karma… The past ‘I’ is responsible for the present ‘I’ and the present ‘I’ is responsible for the future ‘I’.. The past ‘I’ cannot be corrected while one can influence / control / direct / manage the future ‘I’ by handling the present ‘I’.. ‘I’ am responsible for ‘my’ future.

There are times when I have thought that what I am going thru is not fair.. “I have put in my effort and looked at it from various perspectives before acting on something; and yet what I acted on did not yield the results I expected it to deliver.” While I did whatever was within my control, I understand now that my prArabdha karma is playing its music, which I had written sometime ago…

Everything happens for a reason and this initiation of mine into vedAnta is also a prArabdhA.. As Pujya Swamiji says, “Being at the right place at the right time”…