SELF EFFORT

Self effort is of two categories: that of past births and that of this birth. The latter counteracts the former.

Fate is non other than self effort of a past incarnation. There is constant conflict between these two in this incarnation; and that which is more poweful triumphs.

Self effort which is not in accord with the scriptures is motivated by delusion. When there is obstruction in the fruition of self effort; one should examine it to see if there is such deluded action, and if there is, it should be immediately corrected.

There is no power greater than right action in the present.

Hence, one should take recourse to self effort, grinding one's teeth, and one should overcome evil by good and fate by present effort.

The lazy man is worse than a donkey. One should never yield to laziness but strive to obtain liberation, seeing that life is ebbing away every moment. One should not revel in the filth known as sense pleasures as a worm revels in pus.

One who says "Fate is directing me to do this" is brainless, and the Goddess of fortune abandons him.

Hence, by self effort acquire wisdom and then realize that this self effort is not without its own end, in the direct realization of the truth.

If this dreadful source of evil named laziness is not found on Earth, who will ever be illiterate and poor? It is because laziness is found on Earth that people live the life of animals, miserable and poverty stricken.

As is the effort, so is the fruit. This is the meaning of self effort, and it is also known as fate (divine).

When afflicted by suffering, people cry 'Alas what tragedy' or 'Alas, look at my fate', both of which mean the same thing. What is called fate or divine will is nothing other than the action of self effort of the past. The present is infinitely more potent than the past.

They indeed are fools who are satisfied with the fruits of their past effort (which they regard as divine will), and do not engage themselves in self effort now.

One should free oneself from likes and dislikes and engage oneself in righteous self effort and reach the supreme truth, knowing that self effort alone is another name for divine will.

We only ridicule the fatalist. That alone is self effort which springs from right understanding that manifests in one's heart which has been exposed to the teachings of the scriptures and the conduct of holy ones.

Such self effort has a threefold root and therefore threefold fruit:

1. An inner awakening in the intelligence
2. A decision in the mind, and
3. The physical action


Self effort is based on these three: knowledge of scriptures, instructions of the preceptor, and ones own effort. Fate (or divine dispensation) does not enter here. Hence, he who desires salvation should divert the impure mind to pure endeavor by persistent self effort - this is the very essence of all scriptures.

The tendencies brought forward from past incarnation are of two kinds - pure and impure. The pure ones lead you to liberation and the impure ones invite trouble.

You are indeed consiousness itself, not inert physical matter. You are not impelled to action by anything other than yourself.

Hence, you are free to strengthen pure latent tendencies in preference to the impure ones. The holy ones emphasize: persistently tread the path that leads to the eternal good.

And the wise seeker knows: the fruit of my endeavors will be commensurate with the intensity of my self effort, and neither fate nor a God can ordain it otherwise. Indeed, such self effort alone is responsible for whatever man gets here.

When he is sunk in unhappiness, to console him people suggest that it is his fate. No one has seen such a fate or a God, but everyone has experienced how an action (good or evil) leads to a result (good or evil).

Hence, right from one's childhood one should endeavor to promote one's true good (salvation) by a keen, intelligent study of the scriptures, by having the company of the holy ones and by right self effort.

Fate or divine dispensation is merely a convention which has come to be regarded as truth by being repeatedly declared to be true. If this God or fate is truly the ordainer of everything in this world, of what meaning is any action (even like bathing, speaking, or giving), and whom should one teach at all?

No. In this world, except a corpse, everything is active and such activity yields its appropriate results. No one has ever realized the existence of fate or divine dispensation.

People use such expressions as "I am impelled by fate or divine dispensation to do this" for self satisfaction, but this is not true. For example, if an astrologer predicts that a young man would become a great scholar, does that man become a great scholar without study? No. Then, why do we believe in divine dispensation?

All of us have attained self knowledge by self effort alone. Hence, renounce fatalism and apply yourself to self effort.


The Concise Yoga Vasistha - pg 27 to 29. ISBN 0-87395-954-X.
World's 2nd longest poem (20'000 verses), a treatsie on consciousness.