Q & A : On Raaga and Dwesha The objective reality of the world is the same for all of us. But how is it that each one of us experiences it differently? What is that conditioning which makes our inner experience of the same objective reality different? Adi ji answers, beginning by explaining about karma, and the two aspects of its consequences : outer and inner.

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(Extracted from talks at Vikasa, Rishikesh, December 2016)

The objective reality of the world is the same for all of us. But how is it that each one of us experiences it differently? What is that conditioning which makes our inner experience of the same objective reality different? Adi ji answers, beginning by explaining about karma, and the two aspects of its consequences : outer and inner.

Q: If I do some action that could be modified by another in a negative way, will I have to face its consequences? For example, if I give a beggar some money but that gets stolen by a thief who commits a crime with it, isn’t that part of my karma as well? Do I get affected by the consequences of my actions which may, through another agent and without my knowledge, cause harm?
That is a very good question and a very important one, when you start looking at subtleties. But let me start at a broad level. Maybe this is a good time to introduce karma. We look at karma, karma means action. ‘kruh’ means to do, to act. In what all ways do we act? There is physical action, we show emotions, that is also action. There is a thought, that is also action. We speak, that is also action. All of these, whatever we do, whatever we desire, you know there is a desire, that is also an action. So all of these are considered action, “to act”. But there are varying levels of subtlety and varying levels of consequences.

There are two aspects to karma, one is outward consequences and another is inner consequences – how you experience it. So there are these twin aspects, outer consequences and inner consequences. The outer consequences manifest because of certain structures that we have in place, for example we have a social structure, “taking from someone else” is called “stealing”. Taking from someone else without their acknowledgement, is called stealing. That is a social norm that we all agree upon. Looking at the act through the social structure, that act of taking without the owner’s acknowledgement will have certain outer consequences, for example, you might get beaten or you might be put in jail. These are social structures which decide the outcome of a specific action. So the action by itself did not have the outcome but because we have evolved to points of social mechanism and structures, through the structure, the action has a particular outward effect. You do some good, let’s say you give in charity, you donate (give daana), you perform anna daana, you feed everybody, vidya daana, you give knowledge, you feed everyone with knowledge. Arogya daana, you feed everyone with health in the form good nutritious food. All these are done. When we give, what is the effect of that? When we observe it through the social structure, you will see the effect of it is that people are taken care of, they are good, healthy, happy, and that again has a ripple effect. So these are actions, and consequences of those actions, outwardly. Outwardly.

Now when you look at the inner consequences, how do these inner consequences work? When you do something, how do you experience it? The outward happiness, sorrow, such things are okay. So you do something, there are outer consequences, and there are inner consequences. Now how do inner consequences work? You will generally receive experiences – carefully observe this – when you do something, the experiences that you take in and the way you experience it, what is it governed by? You do something – thought, word, deed – I have just mentioned the outer consequences of it determined by structures. What determines your inner experience of your actions?

Your attitude, intention, greater purpose (so expectation window), energy levels, personality, your past experiences (how you have labelled them).

So all of this points to a certain fundamental conditioning. And what are those conditioning? They are looked at in the yogic tradition, in the Indian tradition, as raaga and dwesha. Raaga is you do something, you see the gunas, (guna means the positive aspects, dosha means the negative aspects), let us say you build a friendship. Whom do you call a friend? You see in the person the positive qualities. And you see say,”Hey! Super!” You reinforce that again and again, and the reinforcement makes your experience conditioned. You start liking that and getting attached to that. This is raaga.

Let’s say you don’t like something, that is dwesha, repulsion. And how does that work? You see doshas, the negative qualities, let’s say you work in an organization and you see all,”The boss is useless, the environment is useless, they don’t live up to my expectations!” You build it up that way. Another example, you study in a particular college, you see doshas everywhere, “This is not right, that is not right, the food is not right, the gate pass system is too stringent, etc etc” That builds up, and hence what is your experience of it? Dwesha. Repulsion. So, experience of it is either attraction or repulsion. This is the twin mechanism for experience. That which you are attracted towards, you will experience it as ”Wow!” and that which you have repulsion towards, you will shrink back. You will experience a certain shrinking from and a certain including. So an including and an excluding. These twin modes you will experience, in terms of raaga-dwesha, but most experiences don’t come in this manner, most of them would be balanced out in terms of gunas and doshas. See even in a relationship, it happens, many people complain of this: When it was love, it was all okay, when it comes to marriage,”Arrrrgh!” Because at that time, it was all rosy because they saw only gunas,”Veeran, sooran, aha! How brave!” (Laughter) That brings out only the gunas, veerya, shaurya, and you see only that and it is all like love symbols in your eyes, and that is extreme attraction. But when you move closer, you start seeing details, and some of it, is not like the broad super, it is more like, ”All is okay, but….” because you have started seeing doshas. And that dosha slowly repels you, if the gunas and doshas are very well-balanced, the gunas are a little stronger then you will have a good relationship. Balanced relationship, very good relationship. Otherwise mostly what happens, there is an flow and ebb reaction, where first time it was love at first sight. That is a flow, and then after that there is an ebb, pulling back and again a flow and again pulling back, again a flow, again pulling back, you will see this in operation in actual life. This ebb and flow is in actual operation. You will see this in practical operation. And this builds up attachment and repulsion. But when it is properly balanced, then you will have a well-balanced view. The view is not coloured just by raaga or dwesha, just by attraction or repulsion, not just coloured by one. It is balanced and hence overall the relationship is stable. And plus there is the motivation for dharma. Most people experience this as huge shocks, “I expected this! But the person turned out to be something else. ” That is because of this contrast. So raaga, dwesha, this is how we take in experiences, and this gets stored, stored, stored, stored to such an extent, that there will be heavy conditioning in terms of how you experience life. In fact, this is the key thing that determines how we individually experience life. See, everything is the same objective reality, right? Outwardly it is the same objective reality. But each one of us, even in this same session, each one of us would experience it differently. Our inner experience of it would be different. And that is based on this raaga dwesha. That which you have developed an orientation towards, you will find it good, interesting. That which you have not gotten oriented towards, you will not feel attracted towards. Let’s say, everything being equal, over a period of time you will develop an orientation. But you could also develop a negative orientation, because of certain background conditions.

Q: What is trishna?
Trishna is an extreme thirst as a result of a certain outward orientation. For example, let’s say, something has been thwarted. In the proper growth of the person, looking with the framework of the antahkarana – manas, chitta, buddhi, ahamkara – we have seen, how manas actually processes data given by the senses. And after the initial level processing, that processing also includes these conditionings, raaga, dwesha, that is how it is stored in the chitta (electromagnetic memory space) – “I like this!” “I hate this!” – and when you have strong likes and dislikes, you will have strong emotional experiences, and that emotional experience, let’s say it is thwarted. For example, Smrithi was sharing with me an episode of Flipkart delivery boy being killed by a boy who wanted a Rs 12,000 phone! So it was cash on delivery and when the Flipkart delivery boy tried to collect the cash, he was stabbed. Why would this happen? Because the boy’s father had denied him that phone and the environment in which the boy lived had built up his raaga to such an extent that he could see only the object of his raaga, the mobile phone. He was completely blinded by that. So these are also called shadripus, shadripus are you can say six enemies – kama, (lust or desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mada (arrogance), moha (attachment) and matsarya (jealousy) (These six qualities bind us to illusion and veil reality)