'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.
It is time to introduce three aspects to be remembered when approaching saadhana. It is possible, as a saadhaka, to work on one aspect at a time, if one so wishes, or to incorporate all three for consideration as one practices. The 'Tritapas', the forces of destiny, are the influences which can cause fluctuations in the course of our daily lives. Sometimes referred to as the three 'miseries' or 'agonies', they have a similar effect upon our karma as vaasanas but differ from them in that they are 'external' disturbances, whilst vaasanas are 'resident' and preset disturbances we have brought upon ourselves. The forces are sent to provide the challenges we need to further our growth, whilst the vaasanas will determine much about how we respond to those challenges. What are the three forces?
- Adhibhautika literally means pertaining to the bhuta or living beings.
- Adhidaivika literally means pertaining to the daiva or fate, unseen forces.
- Aadhyaatmika literally means pertaining to the ātma or the body (and the mind).
The one we can mostly relate to. Things that happen in our environment. Various disturbances from the external world that stem from nature or living beings. To this belong influences from heat, cold, noise, natural phenomena such as floods, whirlwinds and earthquakes, as well as attacks by wild animals, violent people, and so forth. Adhibhautika is also about how we work in the environment; selfless service, inexhaustible energy, punctuality, honesty and integrity are some of the positive aspects of this force and which can be used to overcome the negatives.
Disturbing influences from astral forces and beings. For example, these can be the cause of sudden accidents, psychic disturbances, fears and depression. There can be no telling how we succumb to these darker influences - except that vaasanas and praarabdha are playing out. To help us overcome the negatives we can employ the positive aspects of this force; meditation and prayer, being prepared to seek help and guidance as well as give it, and to learn as much as we can about self-improvement such as the uptake of saadhana.
Pertains to the aatmaa, the purely spiritual aspect of our lives; the most subtle part of our existence. The disturbances often cannot be sourced, but we can see the effects of the disturbance in the rise of anxiety, serious mental or emotional disturbance (clinical, not just one-off events), and self-destructive traits such as alcoholism. The way to overcome the negative forces is to gain as much Knowledge as we can. Apply the intellect, address the soul through devotional activity, research and understand consciousness and Self… seek the Higher and give purpose to life.
Any activity undertaken as saadhana, therefore, addresses all three forces, and as one builds the practice, it will be possible to identify which is at play on any given day and address it accordingly. This is the way to balance life.