Who is to blame? – and about upadhis

Dear Bhakta ***, Hare Krishna.

To understand the answer to your question it’s necessary that we understand how we came to be what we are and why we have difficulty to deal with certain kinds of problems.


Brahmanda-bhramite, we (the jivas) wander aimlessly in the material world for a very long time and as a result of our staying in this world we develop thick layers of upadhis.


Upa means “over” or “near”, and dha means “possessing”.
Upadhi means superimposition, or something that attaches to us that is actually alien to us.
Just like if we take a bath, we come out with some water attached to our bodies. Or if we roll on the ground, some dirt will remain on us.
Water and dirt are not part of our bodies, they are upadhis.
To get rid of water we rinse and to get rid of dirt we dust ourselves.
Krishna Consciousness teaches how to get free from all upadhis. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 19.170).


What we are now is the result of so many years of being in this material world, getting laywers and layers of false impressions and amassing karma to eventually pay. So at the present we all have a different kind of personality that makes something easy and something else difficult.

As a result, when something happens to us the easiest thing to do is to blame others or to blame situations. We have a psycological need to do that.
Just like when somebody is angry needs to let off steam and shout or punch on the table. After he feels better but he didn’t solve any problem. He may actually have made them worse, including his capacity to control his anger.


Much (and much, and much) more difficult is to understand and accept that if something happens to us is our fault, that is something coming due to our past actions and that persons or situations are only instrumental causes, the instruments of the real cause.


Prarabdha-karma is the reactions that are coming to us right now, while aprarabdha is the karma that is still lingering over our heads and will eventually hit us.


Complaining about our karma is like going to the restaurant, eating to our full satisfaction and when the bill arrives complaining that the man is asking for money. The waiter will say: you ate, you now have to pay.
If we try to enjoy the fruit of your actions (karma-phalam) not caring about the regulations of the Vedas or the philosphy of transcendence of the Upanisad, then we can’t complain about the results of our actions.


Therefore blaming other people or the situations of our life is avidya (ignorance).
Vidya (knowledge) is accepting that we are the authors of what’s coming to us and therefore having no reason to blame anyone or anything.

Those who want to live as sadhus (sages) have to have this vision of life, otherwise they are living and reasoning as common men.


– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
23 May 2019

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