Sunday, May 06, 2012

Karnans Yoga

Yoga philosophy divides the characteristics of the human mind broadly under three characteristics. They are
  • Tamas (characteristics along the path of fear)
  • Rajas (characteristics along the path of desire)
  • Sattva (charactersitcs that are free of both fear and desire)

The primary purpose of all yogic / spiritual practices is the gradual transformation of all characteristics of the mind into sattvic characteristics. When the mind is in pure sattva state, perfect wisdom dawns. This is no trivial task. Despite that, this is not the end of the story.

Sattvic characteristics are still characteristics of the mind. They can and will decay into rajas and tamas, given sufficient time. Hence, one needs to transcend even sattva. This happens when the mind eliminates even sattva after it attains the state of pure sattva, thereby transcending itself. This is much like the shutdown process, which first launches itself as yet another process, terminates all other processes and then eventually terminates itself too.

For this to happen, ones life must be committed to dharma. One must set up ones life so that one works for the manifestation of ones deepest inner desires and not superficial ego (fear / desire constructed) driven desires. When one is on this path, life keeps throwing situations that help one grow towards in life in this fashion. Hence, I feel

ஒன்றாம் தவம் தர்மவாழ்வாம் மற்றதன்
பின்சார பிரணாயாமம் நன்று
Highest tapas is a life of dharma
Pranayama follows it!

I see the above philosophy beautifully true in the life of Karnan (at least in its glorified view in the tamil movie)! Karnan developed tremendous sattvic characteristics through his relentless adhering to charitable giving and doing his best despite the complex situations life kept pushing him into.

A beautiful song on him in the tamil movie on him goes,

என்ன கொடுப்பான் எவை கொடுப்பான் என்றிவர்கள் எண்ணுமுன்னே,
பொன் கொடுப்பான் பொருள் கொடுப்பான் போதாது போதாதென்றால்,
இன்னும் கொடுப்பான் இவையும் குறைவென்றால் எங்கள் கர்ணன்,
தன்னைக் கொடுப்பான் தன்னுயிரும் தான் கொடுப்பான் தயாநிதியே!

Will he give this or that, before such thoughts arise in the seeker,
He gives gold, property; and when that does not suffice,
He gives more; and, if even that does not suffice, our Karnan!
He gives himself, and his life itself, the great compassionate giver!

Such was the extent to which his mind was perfected. At the end of his life, when he is dying on the battle field, having been felled by Arjunas arrows, he even donates all the good karma he has accumulated by his charity. This leads to his eventual death. This indeed is the pinnacle of yoga.

The sattvic characteristics destroy themselves at the end and that indeed is complete liberation! In the movie, the lord blesses him with liberation when he does that! In my opinion, this indeed is the pinnacle in Yoga! A life of dharma in a complex world (where the line between right and wrong is always blurred, is moving and is permeable) with continuous self refinement and in the grand finale, the sattvic characteristics terminate themselves, and thereby the mind transcends itself! Only such a person has lived hir life to the fullest extent! All else have can be said to have fallen short of recognising the  fullest potential of ones precious human life!

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