Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cannot escape the fruits of your deeds - एकः प्रजायते

एकः प्रजायते जन्तुरेक एव प्रलीयते |
एकोऽनुभुङ्क्ते सुकृतमेक एव च दुष्कृतम् ||

ékaḥ prajāyaté janturéka éva pralīyaté |
éko’nubhuṅkté sukṛitaméka éva cha duṣhkṛitam || (IAST)

ekaH prajAyate jantur_eka eva pralIyate |
eko'nubhu~Nkte sukRitam_eka eva cha duShkRitam || (ITRANS)

One is born alone, one dies alone.
One bears the fruits of good and bad deeds, oneself. (4:240)

[ And, The relatives discard the dead body like a wooden log or lump of clay (burn or bury in earth) and go back, only dharma follows you in the other world. (4:241) ]

This shloka from manusmRiti मनुस्मृति 4:240 comes towards the very end of the chapter. It is in conclusion of the entire chapter, which deals with advice to the student (brahmacharya ब्रह्मचर्य ) and householder (gRihastha गृहस्थ) stages of life.

The chapter has advice, a much more elaborate than Miss Manners articles on etiquette. Only a careful, compassionate study and keeping in mind the times it was written in, will show the deep caring, and consideration on part of the creators of manusmRiti.

How should a student behave, what are his duties, how and why to control the senses, conduct in the guru's Ashram; as a householder what are the duties, respect for women, roles and responsibilities, charity etc. are covered in detail for the times. Many modern questions about social practices are answered here. With time these practices should and could have changed properly. For that to happen, it is important that people understand the reason for and ethos of the practices in the first place. This is a longer topic some other time.

So, after the whole chapter of how the householder should be in the society, and advice of "being good" and "doing good", comes this one liner! (well, two liner) answering a simple question -

Why should you do good?

Three things we must bear and bear alone.
1. Coming in this world
2. Consequences of our deeds in this world.
3. Going out of this world.

We come alone in this world. Empty handed. No prior friends or enemies. No one we know of. With a hope to find a home, caring one if possible.

We die alone. Empty handed. Whatever we got here, amassed here, at times even by usurping someone else's rights or by unfair means will also remain here. Whatever we earned through fair means will also remain here. Nothing will pass through. It is like the movie terminator, where they can send these machines in the past (our present) but they can't send any clothing with them. These killer machines came across time and worlds with no baggage or even clothing.

Even while living, the actual pain and joy is felt by us, alone. Think of it. If you get hurt, no one proxy bear it for you. If you eat sweet, no one else can proxy get the taste! When we die, no amount of love and caring can break that barrier. In Indian tradition where reincarnation is strongly believed in, even here, the great Manu is saying, that you die alone.

You alone bear the fruits of your good and bad deeds.
That is, you can't escape the consequences. No one can substitute to take away the consequences of your deeds. We are not talking about someone receiving your medal in proxy because you were sick to attend the ceremony! But if you work, you will get the salary. If you do the crime, you will have to do the time.

This does not mean, team work is useless or not good. It means that even within the team, we will get based on our deeds, how much we worked, what and how we worked etc. What we choose to work on (good, bad, large, small, ...), how we choose to work (team, alone, carefully, carelessly, ...) all these form part of our 'deed', and the results are accordingly.

So, when we alone will have to face the results of our deeds, why not do good deeds, so that we get good results. We remain free of guilt or crime.

When we die, the relatives cry for some time, they miss and all that, but at the end the body is burnt like a log or buried like a lump of clay. The material body is just that - matter. Useless. But what we did while in this world, its good and bad result will remain. Depending upon how good or bad the deeds were, people may remember us for long or short time. But, if not for our deeds, no one remembers us, we are a blip on the timescale. How many ants do we remember that have been born or died? Or how many water snakes, or salmons? Similarly, how many humans do we remember or have impacted us.

Towards the end, there is another wonderful sholka #258 that says, "And one should meditate alone everyday upon topics for good to self (hita-AtmanaH, i.e. of enlightenment, spiritual uplifting and awakening), because one who ponders alone (meditates in solitude) attains the path (of liberation)."

Alone we come, alone we die, and alone is the journey covered. You can't blame anyone else for your misfortune, misdeeds.

So, be good.
So, do good.
So, meditate, ponder, think.
So, lead an awakened life.

For "unawakened ignorants drown"; "majjantyavichetasaH" मज्जन्त्यविचेतसः = majjanti-avichetasaH (Rigveda 9.64.21)

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एकः = ekaH = one [alone, by oneself]

प्रजायते = prajAyate = takes birth

जन्तुरेक = jantureka
= jantuH + ekaH = living being + one

एव = only, by itself

प्रलीयते = pralIyate = dies
pralaya = dissolution of creation

एकोऽनुभुङ्क्ते = eko'nubhu~Nkte
= ekaH + anubhu~Nkte
= one [alone] consumes
anu- = follows
bhuk = to eat
anubhu~Nkte = eats subsequently (after the deeds' results come)

remember the ahi-bhuk maxim? ahibhuk_kaivarta nyAyaH (opium eater and the boatman)

सुकृतमेक = sukRitameka
= su_kRitam + ekaH
= good deeds + one [alone]

एव = eva = only
च = cha = and
दुष्कृतम् = duShkRitam
= duH + kRitam
= bad + deeds

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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  1. wonderful, all these small tiny beauties are precious gems which when used will make our life worth remembering and loving.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. We must remember this all the time. No action small or big goes without a consequence.
    Anna Hazare told in his interview that he too reflected on the truth: How we are born empty handed and die empty handed, in between we think I, me, myself. That set him thinking of the purpose of his life.
    Sree, Bangalore


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