Bhakti Song 31 – Unbearable Burden

Today I had several struggles in my mind. I could not even meditate in the morning. So when I was reading Muktiveda in the evening, the verses from Hebrews 2:1-2 came a severe warning to me. With much fear and disturbance I read rest of the chapter. That time verse 2:18 gave much comfort and encouragement. Then I wrote the following song on 20-11-1991 at Kathmandu.

தாங்காத பாரம்

அறிவாயேஎன்துன்பம்என்னவென்று

அவனியில்மனுவாய்நீவந்தஅன்று

சோதனைஇல்லாதநாளேஇல்லை

சோர்வின்றுமீளவோவழியும்இல்லை

ஏதுதான்காரணம்நீயும்கொண்டாய்

இந்நிலைக்கென்னைநான்தள்ளிக்கொள்ள?

அறிவாயேபாவத்தின்கோரத்தையே

ஐயனேதாங்கேனேபாரத்தையே

“வருந்தியேபாரம்சுமப்பவரே

வாருங்கள்என்னிடம்” என்றுரைத்த

வார்த்தையைநம்பிவந்தேன்நானும்

வள்ளலேகாணாயோஎன்நிலைதானும்

துடுப்பற்றபடகுபோல்என்வாழ்வு

தொடர்பற்றுப்போனதுஉன்னோடு

தேடியேஎன்னைநீமீட்காவிட்டால்

தொலைந்ததுஎன்வாழ்வுபுவியோடு

நீவந்தநோக்கமோஎன்னைமீட்க

தேவையோநான்அதைஉனக்குரைக்க

அறிவேனேநான்உன்இரக்கமதை

ஆதலால்அண்டினேன்பாதம்அதை.

 

English Translation

You know the nature of my trouble

As you came as a human on this earth

Not a single day has gone without trial

And there is no means to escape from the depression

What kind of reason you have (to allow me)

To push myself to this condition?

You know the terrible nature of sin

O Lord I cannot bear the burden anymore

I come unto you by trusting the words:

‘All those who carry the burden

Come unto me’

O Charitable One cannot you see my condition?

Like the boat which lost its oars

My life too lost its connection with you

Unless you come and redeem by seeking me

My life will be gone with this world itself

The purpose of your coming is to redeem (me)

Is it necessary to tell that to you again?

I know your merciful nature

Therefore I took refuge at your feet.

 

Comments

Richard Umbrand said that ‘God gives that much grace for us to shine before others, but He allows that much sin so that we will humble before Him’. In Hinduism, at least in theory, ‘The perfect soul is “beyond good and evil.” (Kausiitaki Upanishad, I.4; cf. Brahadhara Upanishad, 4.3.22, etc.) Neither good nor evil can affect him…. This is similar to the Socratic notion that the truly wise man must inevitably be virtuous.’1 And, ‘‘The jivanmukta, by hypothesis, having no motives, cannot be charged with good or evil purposes, ‘such, indeed, do nothing for themselves’, Prem Sagar, Ch. XXXIV.”2

Though practical morality is highly recommended in Hinduism, yet to attain mukti one should transcend all kinds of karma—particularly even the good one. Whereas according to Muktiveda, no such hypothesis is prescribed, though later Christian thinkers like Eckhart and St. Augustine echoed such views by saying:

‘No law is given to the righteous, because he fulfils the law inwardly, and bears it in himself’ (Claud Field’s selected Sermons, p. 55); St. Augustine, “Love God, and do what you will.’2 {But we have to know the context of such quotes which Coomaraswamy does not provide here.}

Till the end we have to live with the reality that ‘we are saved sinners and struggling saints.’ And we have to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’. As we are saved, we are being saved and we will be saved, the concept that ‘the perfect soul is beyond good and evil’ is impractical in our bhakti. As sanctification is a continuous process the question of perfection never becomes a reality on this earthly life. While philosophy gives a scope for such a hypothesis, bhakti always reminds the reality of sin and need of God’s grace.

The thought that, ‘What kind of reason do you have (to allow me) / To push myself to this condition? (ஏதுதான்காரணம்நீயும்கொண்டாய்/ இந்நிலைக்கென்னைநான்தள்ளிக்கொள்ள?) may look bit odd to some. God never tempts us whereas He might allow us to go through temptation. The one reason for this could be to show our immaturity, need for growth and fellowship to overcome temptation. Yielding to temptation leaves a deep scar in our spirit. The concept of ‘confession’ helps to heal the wound. Though God forgives and forgets, we cannot escape from the consequence of our choice as someone well said that, ‘we have the right to choose but not the consequence of our choice. They are in the hands not that of our own’. One such consequence in my life is the guilty conscience which often brings remorse and forces me to lament within myself even now. Sometimes when I am alone and call back my past life, I will severely shake my head and say, ‘I shouldn’t have said that; I shouldn’t have done that.’ When philosophy tries to rationalize mukti, bhakti reminds the need for growth.

 

Notes

1.. …The perfect soul is “beyond good and evil.” (Kausiitaki U, I.4; cf. BrhU,4.3.22, etc.) Neither good nor evil can affect him. At times the Upanisads seem even to say or imply that when a man has attained enlightenment, he can do what he likes without fear of results. This somewhat dangerous doctrine is, however, not typical, and is probably to be regarded only as a strained and exaggerated manner of saying that the truly enlightened soul cannot, in the very nature of things, do an evil deed. If he could, he would not be truly enlightened; for “he who has not ceased from evil conduct cannot attain Him (the Aatman) by intelligence.” (KathaU, 2.24) This is similar to the Socratic notion that the truly wise man must inevitably be virtuous. The difference is that the Upanisads regard even virtue, as well as vice, as transcended by perfect (p.24) knowledge; the possessor thereof passes beyond both, and rises to a plane on which moral terms simply have no meaning. Morality applies only in the world of karma, the world of ordinary empiric existence, which the enlightened man has left behind him. …..— Franklin Edgerton, The Bhagavad Gita, Translated and Interpreted, Delhi, Mothilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd. First Published Cambridege, 1944, Reprint: 1996. Pp. 24-25

2. It was also the view of Aristotle that he who surpasses his fellows beyond all comparison in virtue is a law to himself, and not to be judged by other laws. Perfection and morality are incommensurable terms. If any are alarmed by this proposition, let them reflect that this doctrine by no means excepts the Wayfarer from his obligations, ‘while we are on the way we are not there’, and that any man who claims to be a Comprehensor, or in a state of Grace, does so at his own peril. That there can be false prophets does not affect the doctrine as to the intrinsic form of Perfection: which form, by its very nature, must be inexpressible in terms of thesis and antithesis, good or evil.— Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Perception of The Vedas, edited by Vidya Nivas Misra, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the arts, New Delhi, Manohar, 2000, ‘The Vedas—Essays in Translation and Exegesis, pp.17-104, notes, 115, p. 87