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All Is One–Chapter Five–Action

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Chapter Five in All Is One: A Commentary On Sri Vaiyai R. Subramanian’s Ellam Ondre

1. All action is God’s. His power has fixed each thing into its own individual function. By His agency the insentient objects and the sentient beings do their work. All actions are His.

2. All are doing their respective work. So what has God to do with it? We will first consider the sentient beings and, later on, the insentient objects. We are sentient beings. Let us first see whose actions are ours. We all desire a higher state and work for it. But our achievements are not uniform. Sometimes the goal is the same and so is the work, but why is there a difference in the results? Here God makes us understand that the action is His. Otherwise all must be alike. The difference in the conditions cannot be accounted for. Can there be anyone who does not wish to improve his position? Whatever their intention towards others, their intention towards themselves is surely honest. The conditions of people of the same intention are yet different. This is because all actions are of God.

3. All beings have the same intention; yet their efforts are of different degrees, so also their states. After saying this, the question arises: What is effort? Is it not simply a mental image? All these images have the same origin, namely, the common intention of all. Why then should the image of effort differ in each? Here too God makes us see that all actions are His.

4. If it is said that notwithstanding the same intention, the effort can vary according to individual capacity, the question arises: What is the source of this capacity? It is of the body and mind. The environment may also affect it. One must take account of all the factors before one makes an effort. However, these factors are not under one’s control so that the effort may not be equal to the task. Therefore all actions are God’s.

5. Again, if it is said that the body, the mind and the environment will gradually be made equal to the task, it implies a present incapacity. This is to admit that all actions are God’s.

6. Now, is it for good or bad that people do not gain their objectives? It is certainly good. Why? Most of them are selfish. Judge for yourself if their success is for the good of the world or otherwise. You may ask: Should not the attempts of the unselfish be entirely successful? Though to all appearances they may look unselfish, yet they are not free from blemishes. These depend on the ego. If the imagined unselfishness has given rise to a sense of superiority over others, God frustrates their purpose and teaches them that “You are also like others and I govern you.” On the other hand, free from selfishness and free from ego is the representative of God, within whom the cloud of ego that conceals God does not exist and from whom God is ever shining forth. To such a one of true purpose (Sattva Sankalpa) all his intentions come out true. God shines forth directly in him. There is no darkness in him. Only he knows the Divine purpose as it is. Through him God fulfils the purpose of His creation. All actions are God’s.

7. If it is asked: Is there not a single person of true intent? And why should not the world have all blessings in full? The answer, which is a secret, is that the sages who are aware that all actions are God’s, wish to make it known to others as well. There is no greater good than to know that all actions are God’s and not our own. This knowledge contains all the blessings in itself. Therefore the intention of the sages is to clearly instruct others in the knowledge of God and His actions. Even so, they do not say “Know God this very instant,” but they teach the ways and means to knowledge and encourage us in right conduct – this much only. They do not say, “Be emancipated at once.” Why? Because this is not possible for the common people. Nor do the sages say to God, “Liberate the people at once.” Because the sages are free from the ego and think, “God knows what He should do and when to do it. What is there for me to say to Him?” Thus they wish only to do their work, without any interest in the fruits this work may produce. They have known that God alone dispenses the fruits of actions. Simply they watch the course of events in the world and do their work, never thinking of creating a world of their own. Why? To do so is a form of egoism. The creation is as it should be. Everything is in order. All actions are God’s.

8. Knowing their actions are subservient to the Higher Power, how could they hope to achieve something dear to their hearts? No, they cannot. They will do their work simply as a duty. The scriptures say, “Do work, but do not think of its fruits.” Just as anger unconsciously overpowers a man even though he is determined not to get angry, so also the sages of true intent (Sattva Sankalpa) may be shocked by the iniquities of the world and unwittingly think, “God, let that be made good!” If so, then it will certainly happen and good will prevail. This is the cause of some extraordinary events in the world. These extraordinary events are the results of a wish stealing into the mind of a sage. This is the law of nature. Who can change it? All actions are God’s.

9. Whatever takes place, it is in the natural order of things. Also, it is right. Everything happens by His will alone. In truth, it is not wrong to think “He makes the thief steal.” Why? Because at the time of punishment He also makes the thief suffer for the robbery. Thus, there should be no ill-will directed towards the thief. Such is the fruit of the knowledge that all actions are God’s. Although there is no ill-will towards the thief, there is a dislike of theft. This is also the result of our knowledge that all actions are God’s. How is this? Because the thief himself dislikes theft: Would he keep quiet if his own belongings were stolen by another? He would not. Who can be unaware that good is right and evil is wrong? Therefore the knowledge that all actions are God’s will bring into the world an era of orderly conduct. Our knowledge does not extend further. We can repeat only what we know. We need not worry about what lies beyond our knowledge. This too is God’s will.

10. One of the fruits of knowledge granted to us by God is the knowledge that all actions are God’s. We are powerless to ask God, “Why do you act thus?” Because the fruits of our actions are not always according to our desire, all religions admit similar states of our powerlessness. In other words, because our powers are limited, we cannot but say that all actions are God’s. The law which applies to us, applies to insentient objects also. Our law is no better than theirs. All is one. Even though some do not admit that all actions are God’s, yet they admit their own incapacity. This itself is the act of God.

Commentary

1. All action is God’s. His power has fixed each thing into its own individual function. By His agency the insentient objects and the sentient beings do their work. All actions are His.

All action is God’s.

Since God is all things and is all power–Shiva and Shakti–all action by its very nature has to be God’s, and in the highest view, God itself. Nothing occurs that is not the action of God, even though God has in a sense “loaned” power to sentient beings so that through their will (another form of power) they can act, reap their actions and thereby evolve until they themselves are revealed as God. The entire range of relative existence and all that takes place within it is totally the Divine Shakti.

His power has fixed each thing into its own individual function.

All differentiation is also the act of God as is the entire range of Life. The principle is simple: everything is God–both being and action.

By His agency the insentient objects and the sentient beings do their work. All actions are His.

God is the inner life and power of all things, animate and inanimate. God is absolutely the Antaryamin: the indweller, inner guide, and inner ruler. Therefore all actions are His. But if we have an externalized, mechanistic concept of relative existence, then a multitude of questions and objections arise–all logical to our finite minds but nonetheless foolish and irrelevant. But if we realize that all things are appearance, simple concepts in the Absolute Consciousness, Parabrahman–that God is in a sense only conceptualizing or “dreaming” the entire range of relative existence, and all sentient beings are part of his dream and dreamers along with him–then we can get some glimmer of how things are with us.

“Do not say: ‘God gave us this delusion.’ You dream you are the doer, you dream that action is done, you dream that action bears fruit. It is your ignorance, it is the world’s delusion that gives you these dreams” (Bhagavad Gita 5:14).

Everything else in this chapter–which you have already read at the beginning of this book–simply reinforces and considers aspects of the nature of action. So it needs no comment in my opinion. We need only set in mind what the author says about these aspects and see and act accordingly. This first section of the chapter says it all; the rest is elaboration to bring the truths home to us.

However, I do believe that the key to understanding this chapter is to always keep in mind that action is karma which is an inexorable law that governs all relative existence through its aspect of reaction in response to action. Again: “You dream you are the doer, you dream that action is done, you dream that action bears fruit.”

Only when we understand the dream nature of relative existence which is the ladder of evolution can we understand about ourselves within it and how make our ascent through through many lives until perfect Self-realization is attained by each one of us.

***

Next: Chapter Six–The Ego and the Atman

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Chapters in All Is One: A Commentary On Sri Vaiyai R. Subramanian’s Ellam Ondre:

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