The truth of the matter lies in the fact that the law of karma (actions) is the supreme law of the universe. This is why it is central to the Vedic religion. Indeed, it is the very foundation of the universe and no aspect of worldly existence is beyond its operation and no human action can be explained without reference to it. I recall an occasion when sadguru Murali Krishna was on a house visit. It happened to be my house and my son (who was 17 years then) asked him whether self-realisation was an absolute state or whether there could be a fall from that state, or words to that effect.
Swamiji gave a very instructive answer and like most of his utterances, it was full of meaning. Swamiji’s utterances can be likened to peeling an onion — unfolding each layer of meaning. Reading of scriptures, pilgrimages to sacred places, and exposure and adherence to religious instruction cannot by themselves lead to self-realisation. This is why the ancients declare that it gives way to yet another deeper layer of meaning! He said that in life ‘there was only promotion’ and I completed the sentence for him without necessarily meaning to, by saying “and demotion”. He turned towards me and with a smile nodded appreciatively. This means that meditation or tapas is absolute and everything depends on our ability to hold on to the meditative state. If we hold on successfully, we progress. If we do not hold on and disregard the guru’s injunctions, we experience a fall.
The question is often asked: how should a spiritual aspirant or sadhaka behave towards a sadguru or a universal teacher?
This is an important question and should be understood at multiple levels of abstraction. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of sanatana dharma lies in the fact that it discourages dwelling upon the notion of sin. If at all it acknowledges a notion of original sin, it lies in confusing our physical bodies for the supreme self.
The self is not the body, mind or intellect. It cannot be grasped by the limited intelligence of the human mind. It can be experienced only after the sense of ahamkara and mamkara is annihilated.
As Swami Nisargadatta Maharaj once expressed: “Divine vision means acquaintance with, and, crystalline understanding of, the universal energy. God and the devotee are one; in his very nature, the devotee is identical with god. So long as one has not realised god, one does not distinguish between justice and injustice. But with realisation, the devotee comes to know the distinction between justice and injustice, the essential and the contingent, the eternal and the evanescent, and this leads to his emancipation.”
“The divine vision eliminates individuality; the manifest is clearly distinguished from the unmanifest. When the sense of individuality is replaced by that of impersonal consciousness, the devotee knows that he is pure consciousness. Manifestation is pure consciousness manifesting itself in all the different names and forms; the spiritually enlightened take part in it sportily, knowing that it is only the play of universal consciousness.”
(This article is taken from the book The Global Mission of Sadguru Sri Sharavana Baba)