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Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil


The following passages in the book of Genesis have reference to the subject in hand. "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the Garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (ii.9). "And the Lord God commanded the man saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (ii. 16 & 17). "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (ii. 25). "And the serpent said unto the woman "Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that that they were naked." (iii. 4 to 7). "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception." "In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." (iii. 16 and 17). "And the Lord God said, Behold the man in become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever. Therefore the Lord God sent him from the Garden of Eden (iii. 22 & 23).

And now we ask what are we to understand by this story? Are we to take it literally, as many would suggest, or are we to leave it as a mystery too deep for words to explain? And yet this is the mystery of mysteries, the original mystery by which we came to be born and to die. And or we to leave this unexplained? If we can here get a clue to our birth and death, can we not thereby unravel secrets by which we can surely prevent our death and rebirth and gain ever lasting life. And surely there must be an explanation, for the words Tree of life, and Tree of knowledge of good and evil cannot be mistaken in their real import, and these cannot be identified with any earthly tree actually in existence. The Tree here is clearly a metaphor signifying the soul's True Being in freedom (moksha) and its false life in Bhands, the light and shadow of our human existence. As bound up in the world, the sum of our existence consists in our knowledge of likes and dislikes of what conduces to our pleasure and what gives us pain, and our memory of both as Doctor Bain would define it, the sense of similarity and of difference and retentiveness. That is to say our human knowledge is built up from our very birth of a series of acts and experiences which give us pleasure or pain or makes us indifferent and our sense of them, and Desire and Will are also slowly built up. The greater the pleasure we fancy a certain act or experience gives us, the more do we desire its repetition or continuance; the greater the pain we apprehend from an act, the more do we hate its repetition or continuance. But it happens also the greater the pleasure or the pain, the more prolonged its continuance, oftener it is repeated, the pleasure itself palls and we grow callous to the pain. Life may therefore be divided into a series of acts, or a sequence of them, one flowing from another, and close on each, each yielding a certain result or experience or fruit, be it pleasure or pain, good or evil. And God's injunction was that we should not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil or experience the pleasure or pain which will flow from our acts of good and evil in this tree of worldly life.

And one can ask, why it is we should not seek the bent of our inclination, why we should not secure the good in life, and the pleasure and happiness thereof, and avoid the evil, and the pain and suffering thereof, and the best knowledge that will secure to us to attain these ends? And God's injunction appears stranger, when it is seen that there is not only an injunction not to try to know the evil, but that there is also an injunction that we should not know the good. And to know the good, if not to know the evil, must at least appear to us to be our duty. And all our moral text books and lessons and sermons are intended to teach us this duty. And the fruits or acts resulting from our knowledge of both good and bad are both forbidden to man, and punishment for disobeying this Law or Word of God is said to be death itself with the further penalty of being shut out of partaking of the everlasting Tree of Life.

And of course that there may be no wrong in our knowing what is good for us and what is bad and in our desiring to seek the one and avoiding the other, provided we can know what is really good and what is bad, provided we can get what we desire and provided also that we can know what it is that we mean by the 'us' or 'I'. Do all persons understand what will really bring them good and what will bring them evil? Is every act which gives pleasure at once a good, and every act which gives pain a wrong? When the child cries for sweets, and struggles hard against swallowing a bitter potion is it really seeking its good and avoiding evil? When the school-boy chafes under school-discipline and desires to sow his own wild oats really avoiding pain and seeking pleasure? Does the man of the world when he seeks power and pelf and resorts to all sort of ways to gain that end really seek his own good, or when he chafes in a prison as result of his previous actions, does he think that it is for his good? And then again, when we seek pleasure and beyond our means, does not that really bring us suffering? More than all, how many of us do rightly understand the 'I' and to which we want to minister? To the great majority, the 'I' means nothing more that the bare body, and the external senses, and is not the whole world engaged most strenuously in satisfying their bodily wants and appetites? How many do understand that they have a moral nature, how many that they have a spiritual nature? Even when we do know that we have a moral nature and spiritual nature, how many do try to act up to the requirements of their moral and spiritual nature, being more or less dragged and constrained by their worldly desire? In our ideas of good and bad, don't we confound our several natures, don't we confound with what is good for the soul, with what is good for the body? To most of us, the world and our belly is our God and nothing more.

Whence therefore this difference in people's likes and dislikes, whence their disability to suit means to ends and their ignorance of their real selves, and mistaking of one for another? Does it not show that there is an original want of understanding, a want of power and a want of real knowledge, a serious defect in all sorts and conditions of men? And when from want of this knowledge, the first wrong step is taken, the first mistake is made, does it not lead to a series of falls, and succession of mistakes, and does not man commit more mistakes in his ignorance when he tries to rectify one error than when he leaves it alone?

We do not propose to answer the question whence was this defect or ignorance in man, and what its nature is &c. For our present purpose it is enough to know and recognize that this defect is in us in one and all; that we are all full of faults and liable to err at every step. And these defects were in Eve, the original woman, typical of the lower man (Adam meaning the Higher life of man, pulled down by the lower part of him). And when Eve saw the tree was good for food, that is to say she only thought of what would give pleasure to her body and satisfy her appetite, regardless of the consequences, just as a child wants to snatch the sweets from a confectioner's shop. She saw that it was pleasant to the eyes: that is to say she only mistook what was not good as good* [* பொருளல்லவற்றைப் பொருளென்றுணரும் மருளானாம் மாணாப்பிறப்பு] She saw it was a tree to be desired to make one wise† [† அவா வென்ப வெல்லா உயிர்க்கு மெஞ்ஞான்றும் தவாப்பிறப்பீனும் வத்து] And when that most learned of the divines, full of his own knowledge and wisdom, wanted St. Maikandan to inform him of the nature of Anava or Ahankara or Egoism, what was the reply he got? The True Seer replied that the Anava or Ignorance or Egoism stood before him disclosed. One desires to be wise, as Eve desired, then learns much and thinks himself wise, and this is the highest type of Egoism or Ignorance.

So that it is clear that before Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she was ignorant and filled with Egoism or Anava. To say that the serpent or the Devil misled her is to carry it one step behind. If she was wise she would not have been misled by the wiles of the tempter. If she knew beforehand what was to befall her, she would not have yielded to the words of the serpent, and disobeyed the word of God. She had as such no knowledge and no forethought. She was weak and ignorant even before the temptation. Being ignorant and weak, the moment the fruits of pleasure and pain were placed before her, she was dazzled, she was attracted, she seized them at once. And the devil vanishes from the scene. The devil, we take it, merely represents this inherent weakness or ignorance or Anava in man and nothing more. Adam and Eve typify the mere babes of human creation. There is something in the merest babe which makes it desire to live, and learn and know. It tries to put everything into its mouth whether a piece of bread or a piece of chalk, and it wants to feel the anatomy of every plaything it handles by pulling it to pieces. Can any amount of warning and advice prevent the baby from touching the flame of a burning candle? The loving parent no doubt gives the warning 'Don't touch, don't touch,' but the advice is all useless end the wise father usually allows it to get a singeing, enough for it to know the good and evil, the pain and pleasure thereof; and he takes care that the baby is not burnt. Throw a brilliantly colored and glowing fruit of the strychnine tree, the baby will seize it and try to bite it, but the ever watchful father will take care to see that the baby does not swallow it. It is our love that prompts us to give instruction, advice, warning, and even chastisement but all this will be thrown away if the soil itself was not good. And in our wisdom we recognize that all this is no use, that the wayward child should be allowed to gain peace by tasting the bitterness "of sorrow in all the days of its life." So too, the All loving Father in Heaven told Adam and Eve what was not good for them, not to taste or desire the fruits of both good and bad acts, i.e. the pleasures and pain of this world. But they would not bear it in mind nor listen. Did not God know that they would be tempted, and did he try to save them from the Devil. No; he permitted them to be tempted. Nay, he willed them to taste the fruit as a father would take a child to touch ever so slightly the candle flame. "He whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." " நல்லபரம சிவன் நம்மை வருத்துவது கொல்லவல, பொல்லாக்குணம் போக்க". And the misery and suffering that flow from our tasting of the fruit of good and evil acts is merely for our chastening and purification, and this can only be done in this existence and no other; and the whole purpose and scheme of creation becomes thus evident. (Sivagnanabotha 1st Sutara 'மலத்துளதாம்') It is for the purpose of removing this defect or weakness or Anava or egoism in man that this life is given him, and every means which a loving Father can devise for his betterment is afforded him. But all such means do not influence each individual in the as me way. The best of education, the purest of home influence, and the holiest of associations seem actually thrown away on some people. They have a bent of their own individuality, and this thrusts itself out under all shades and under all cloaks. This contradicts with the theory that human mind is a mere tabula rasa. Youth and white paper take impressions as the saying goes. Evolutionists seek heredity to explain it. But it is now acknowledged that heredity does not explain all. The most modest model of parents have begotten the most vicious of children. Neither the Theologians of the west nor their scientist brethren have explained this aspect of the case, and we must confess this as the only one weak point in modern Christianity which their best defenders have not been able to strengthen. It will not require much thought to see that this story of man's first disobedience, and of his tasting the fruit of that Forbidden tree is nothing more than the Doctrine of Karma as told by all the Indian schools of Philosophy, including the Buddhists.

The knowledge of good and evil are good and bad Karma, நல்வினை and தீவினை and the fruits thereof are the pleasures and pains derived from such acts. There is no harm in performing good and bad acts, but these acts should not be performed for the sake of the fruits out of selfish desire or dislike. And the moment these are performed with such desire, the thirst (அவா Trishna-Tanha) after such enjoyment increases, and the bonds of worldly existence are more and more made fast. The fruits of both are bad and are compared to gold and iron-fetters and St. Tiruvalluvar calls them its இருள்சேர் இருவினை i.e. "the two kinds of Karma, darkness covered." It is significant how in the Indian Philosophic Schools the phrase வினைப்பயன் நுகர்தன் meaning eating the fruits of Karma is the commonest-expression and one which exactly corresponds to the eating of the Forbidden fruit of good and evil in the Biblical accounts. More than this the tree of good and evil fruits, one tree out of which both fruits are produced is a common figure in the Upanishads and in the Tamil Siddhanta works.

The following passages in Mundaka Upanishad iii. 1 to 4 which is repeated in the Katha and Svetaswatra Upanishads and is derived from the Rigveda explains the whole fully.

1. Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree; one of them eats the sweet fruit, and the other looks on without eating.

2. On the same tree, man (anisa) sits grieving, immersed by his own impotence. But when he sees the other Lord (Isa) contented and knows His glory, then his grief passes away.

3. When the seer sees the brilliant Maker and Lord of the world, and himself as in the womb of God then he is wise, and shaking off good and evil, he reaches the Highest oneness, free from passions.

4. Life sure is He who flames through all creation. The wise man knowing Him reaches of naught else. He sports in God, in God finds his delight yet he doth acts perform (truthfulness, penance, meditation &c) best of God universe he.

5. This God is to be reached by truth alone, and meditation, by knowledge pure and constant discipline. He is in body's midst, made all of Light, translucent; whom practiced men sins washed away behold.

6. That heavenly-bright, of thought transcending nature, shines out both vast and rarer than the rare; far farther than the far, here close at hand that too, just here in all that see nestling within the heart.

7. By eye He is not grasped nor yet by speech, nor by the other powers, nor by mere meditation or even holy deeds. By wisdom calm in essence pure, then not till then does one in ecstasy, Him free from parts behold.

The second mantra is thus commented on by Srikantacharya (vide Vol. II p. 74 of this journal): "The traditional interpretation of this passage is given as follows:

The Jiva bound by the shackles of beginning less Karma, having entered into many a body made of Maya (Physical matter) each suited to the enjoying of a particular fruit is subjected to a lot of incurable misery; and unable to word it off on account of his impotence he does not know what to do and grieves. He is thus immersed in the ocean of grief caused by his great delusion. When however, by the Lord's grace, he intuitively sees Him, who as the Impeller dwells within Himself, who is gracious to all who is ever associated with Uma (Love and Light) then he attains to the unsurpassed greatness of the Lord, free from all grief. Therefore through Siva, who is independent and who has been free from samsara from time without beginning, is in contact with the body, he is not subject to its evils, as the Jiva is. Wherefore it is that Jiva and Parameshwara that are said to be in the cave of the heart.

St. Tirumular has the following stanza:

        "வம்புபழுத்த மலர்ப்பழமொன்றுண்டு
        தம்பாற் பறவை புகுந்துணத் தானொட்டாது
        அம்புகொண்டெய்திட் டகலத்துறந்திடிற்
        செம்பொற் சிவகதி சென்றெய்தலாமே." 

St. Manickavachakar calls the tree exactly இருவினை மாமரம் in the following beautiful passage

        ஆயிடை வானப் பேரியாற் றகவயிற்
        பாய்ந்தெழுந் தின்பப் பெருஞ்சுழி கொழித்துச்
        சுழித்தெம் பந்தமாக் கறைபொரு தலைத்திடித்
        ஊழூழ் ஒங்கிய நங்கள்
	இருவினை மாமரம் வேர்ப றித்தெழுந்த
        உருவ அருணீரோட்டா வருவரைச்
        சந்தின் வான்சிறை கட்டிமட்டவிழ்
        வெறிமலர்க் குளவாய் கோலி நிறையகின்
        மாப்புகைக் கரைசேர் வண்டுடைக் குளத்தின்
        மீக்கொள மேன்மேன் மகிழ்தலி னோக்கி
        அருச்சளை வயலுள் அன்புவித் திட்டுத்
        தொண்ட உழவர் ஆரத் தந்த
        அண்டத்தரும்பெறன் மேகன், வாழ்க

        Meanwhile, the heavenly mighty stream
        Rises and rushes, crowned with bubbles of delight,
        Eddies around, dashes against the bank of our embodiment,
        And twofold deeds of ours growing from age to age, -
        Those mighty trees, - roots up and bears away
        It rushes through the cleft of the high hills,
        Is imprisoned in the encircling lake,
        Where grow the expanded fragrant flowers,- 
        In tank, where rises smoke of the ugil, where beetles hum;
        And as it swells with ever-residing joy,
        The ploughmen-devotees in the field of worship
        Sow in rich abundance seed of love!
        Hail, CLOUD-LIKE God * hard in this universe to reach!

[* God, 'like clouds is gentle and fierce too,' nourishing both the wicked and good, and in time rooting up the wicked.]

and St. Pattinattar has a much more elaborate passage in regard to the uprooting of this நச்சுமாமரம் poisonous Mango tree in Tiruvidai Marudur Mummani Khovai (10).

The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the Karmic Life of the individual, made up of the accumulated acts performed by him remaining in a perfect and unchangeable chain of causes and effects, following the man close like his shadow, as distinguished from the tree of life which is the light in him. It is this Karmic existence this tree of shadow which the Buddhists postulated, and not anything like the tree of Life or the true soul postulated by the theistic Hindu Schools and they recognized nothing higher than this impermanent though continuous (as a stream) Karmic Life. To them all existence seemed only as sorrow and evil, and complete cessation or annihilation of this karmic existence, by the attainment of mere knowledge, constituted their highest end. To them there was no joy in life and no means of attaining to such joy, as they would not recognize the all-loving Powers of the Supreme Lord who could grant them such Joy out of His immeasurable grace. The Siddhanta no doubt postulated with the Buddhist that his body (birth and death) must cease, his feelings must cease, his life must cease, his understanding must cease, and that his egoism must cease. But how and whereby could this cessation be brought about? The means are set forth succinctly in the tenth and eleventh Sutras of Sivagnanabotha.

	அவனே தானே யாகிய அந்நெறி
	யேகனாகி இறை பணி நிற்க,
	மலமாயை தன்னொடு வல்வினையின்றே.

	"காணாத கண்ணுக்குக் காட்டு முளம்போல
	காணவுளத்தைக் கண்டுகாட்டலின்
	அயரா அன்பின் அரன்கழல் செலுமே."

They are, becoming one with God, and dedicating one's acts to God, and unceasing Love and devotion to Him. But such dedication, one brings himself in harmony with the divine law, and loses his pride of self and self-knowledge, and his own ignorance and Karma cease to operate, the man's whole being becoming beauteous by the Food of His Grace. As clearly distinguished from the Buddhist ethics and Psychology, the Siddhanti believe not that his salvation can be secured except by such self-renunciation, and love of the Supreme.

	" இருள்சேர் இருவினையும் சேரா இறைவன்
	பொருள்சேர் புகழ்புரிந்தார் மாட்டு."

	" வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையிலான் அடிசேர்ந்தார்க்கு

	" பற்றுக பற்றற்றான் பற்றினையப்பற்று

	" பிறப்பென்னும் பேதமை நீங்கச் சிறப்பென்னும்
	செம்பொருள் காண்பதறிவு."

	" உணர்ந்தமா முனிவரும் பரோடொழிந்தார்
	உணர்வுக்கும் தெரிவரும் பொருளே
	யிணங்கிலி யெல்லா வுயிர்கட்கு முயிரே
	யெனைப் பிறப்பறுக்கு மெம்மருந்தே
	திணிந்ததோரிருளிற் றெளிந்ததூவெளியே
	திருப்பெருந்துறையுறை சிவனே
	குணங்தடாமில்லாலின்பமே யுன்னைக்
	குறிகினேற் கென்ன குறையே."

He is the one not comprehended by the Gods and the wise (power of egoism). He is the Life of all life. He is the supreme panacea for all the ills of the flesh; and obeying His Law, no one knows death or birth. He is the shining Light of our dark existence. He is the one Joy but not born of life, born of Prakriti guna or the world and transitory; and partaking of this Joy our highest desires are completely fulfilled, unlike the joys of this world which ever creates a flaming desire, athirst after them more and more like the unquenchable thirst of the confirmed drunkard. This supreme and resistless Joy as shown in other stanza of the House of God கோயிற்றிருப்பதிகம் fills our hearts, like the flood brooking not its banks, when in all humility and love, our body and heart melts in his service.

The contrast between the transient world's joy and the Joy that transcends all states, without end நிலாப்பதங்களி யாவையுங் கடந்த இன்பம் is well brought out in the following stanza by the same Saint Manickavachakar.

	தினைத்தனையளவு ள்ளதொர் பூவினிற்றேனுண்ணாதே
	நினைத்தலும் காண்டலும் பேசுந்தொறும் எப்போதும்
	அனைத்தெலும் புண்ணெக ஆனந்தத்தேன் சொரியும்
	குனிப்புடையானுக்கே சென்றுதாய்கோத்தும்பி

When this joy fills him, then does he sport in God, delight in God, as the Mundaka says, then "does he love God, delight in God, revel in God and rejoice in God," as the Chandogya puts it. In this condition of Svaraj, when he can exclaim 'I am the glorious of the glorious neither pain nor pleasures of this world-the fruits of the forbidden trees can touch or attract him, though he desists not from doing his duty such as truthfulness, meditation, tapas &c and in this condition even "if he moves about there laughing or eating, playing or rejoicing (in his mind), be it with women, carriages, or relatives," (Chandog viii. 12.3) these acts will not affect him, as fire cannot burn a man who is practiced in agni stumbha (see the principle stated in Sivagnana Siddhiar. X. 5&6)

Compare this with the Christian aspiration to divine joy.

"If to any the tumult of the flesh were hushed, hushed the images of the earth, and water and air, hushed also the ruler of heaven, yea the very soul be hushed to herself, and by not thinking on self, surmount self, hushed all dreams and imaginary revelation, every tongue and every sign, and whatsoever exists only in transition, since if we could hear, all these say we made not to ourselves, but He made us that abideth forever. If then having uttered this, they too should be hushed, having roused our ears to Him who made them, and He alone speak not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His word, not through any tongue of flesh, nor angels voice nor sound of thunder nor in the dark riddle of a similitude, but might hear Whom in these things we love, might hear his very self without these (as we too now strained ourselves and in swift thought touched on the eternal wisdom which abideth overall) – could this be continued on, and other visions of far unlike be withdrawn, and this one ravish and absorb and wrap up its beholder, and these inward joys, so that life might be forever like that one moment of understanding which we now sighed after, were not this, enter in My Master's joy; (St. Augustine's Confessions Book ix).

	வான்கெட்டு மாருத மாய்ந்தழல் நீர் மண்கெடினு
	தான் கெட்டலின்றிச் சலிப்பறியாத் தன்மையனுக்கு
	ஊன் கெட்டுணர்வுகெட்டுயிர்கெட்டென்னுள்ளமும்போ
	நான் கெட்டவாபாடித் தெள்ளேனம் கொட்டாமோ

	உரைய்ற்ற தொன்றைஉள் செய்யு மூமாகாள்
	கரையற்றதொன்றைக் கரைகாணலாகுமோ
	திரையற்ற நீர்போற் சிந்தை தெளிவார்க்கு
	புரையற்றிருந்தான் புரிசடையோனே

Compare also "தானுமழிந்து தனமுமழிந்து ஊனுமழிந்து வுயிருமழிந்துடன் வானுமழிந்து மனமுமழிந்துபின் நானுமழிந்தமை நானறியேனே." "பூதங்களற்றுப் பொறியற்றுச் சாரைம்புலங்களற்றுப் பேதங்கணமற்றுப் பேராசை யற்றுப்பின் முன்னற்றுக் காதங்கரணங்க ளுமற்று வானந்தக்காட்சியிலே ஏதங்களைந்திருப் பேனிறைவா கச்சியேகம்பனே."

The original fall was brought about by disobeying God's Law, by opposing our will to his Will, and the only way of salvation consists in establishing the harmony of will between His and ours, and completely subordinating our will to His own, and allow His Will to be done as it is in heaven.

When we were first created, we were just like children, fresh and innocent fully trusting and depending on our loving parents, without caring for the morrow, fully obeying their dictates, and never asserting ourselves nor becoming self-willed. But the child preserves this condition only for a short time, it would abide by the loving words of wisdom and warning given to it, it will know for itself and slowly its desire and self-will are developed and in its ignorance and conceit, it accumulates the load of Karma. And unless we become again like children abiding in trust and faith completely on our Beloved Father we cannot get rid of this sin and sorrow. And unless we become born again we cannot see the Kingdom of heaven as declared by the same Jesus Christ, whom the world thought he was beside himself i.e. mad. And our St. Tayumanavar likens the nature of the

	"பாலரோடு பேயர் பித்தர்பான்மை யென நிற்பதுவே
	சீலமிகுஞானியர் செய்கை பராபரமே."

saintly to the babes, and lunatics and men possessed.

Karma or வினை simply means an act and this act may give pleasure or pain and if it gives pleasure it is called good and if it produces pain, it is called evil. Every good act is right and every evil act is wrong, or Punyam or papam, Virtue or sin. Sivagnana Siddhiar defines papam and punyam as உயிர்க்கிதம் செய்தல் doing good to all sentient creatures and உயிர்க்கதம் செய்தல், doing evil to all creatures in the largest and broadest sense of the term, in the same way as any modern utilitarian Philosopher would define these terms and we have no doubt that the definition is quite correct from any point of view. When we interpose conscience in the middle as a judge of good and evil, right and wrong, it is seen how varying the consciences of men are, and so we must necessarily seek a higher authority or test.

Karma therefore signifies acts or series of acts or the aggregate of human experience, acting and reacting on each other; and Law of Karma means the invariable order or Niyati which results, pain or pleasure attach themselves to a doer in accordance with the kind of acts performed by him, in accordance with the maxim நன்மை விதைத்தால் நன்மைவிளையும், தீமை விதைத்தால் தீமை விளையும் "He who sows must reap accordingly."

One result of this law is that the respective fruits have to be enjoyed in a suitable body and this body is determined by the Karma performed by each, (Vide Sivagnanabotha II 2 ab) and if his previous Karma was good, he will get a good body, and if it was bad, he will get a bad body. And this accounts for the myriads of Physical bodies in every stage of development to the highest, from that of the amoebae to that of a Christ or Manickavachakar possessed of every varying mental and spiritual characteristics. The more good a man performs, the better and more developed body does he get with the accompanying development of mind and heart and the result of this privilege is that he is enabled to get a purer and purer body, which the more it becomes pure will reflect the Light and Glory of God, so that when man reaches his physical and mental perfection, he reaches the spiritual perfection of complete merger in the Supreme Light. And of all bodies, the human body is the one in which a man can work out his salvation, and therefore is he enjoined to take time by the forelock and do good while this body lasts, if not to secure salvation in this birth, at least to secure a better body in which he can carry on the good work.

	எண்ணரிய பிறவிதனின் மானிடப் பிறவிதான்
	யியாதினும் அரிதரிதுகாண்
	இப்பிறவி தப்பினா லெப்பிறவி வாய்க்குமோ
	எதுவருமோ வறிகிலேன் &c.

Hence   தானந்தவம்தரு மஞ்சந்ததமும் செய்வர்சிவ
	ஞானந்தனையணைய நல்லோர் பராபரமே.

And so this doctrine of Karma instead of leading to quietism and indifference, inculcates life of active beneficence "desiring the welfare of all" and furnishes as good and sure a basis for perfect ethical conduct as any other system in the world.

But even when doing good works, he is not to have any regard for the result, he is to do it without tasting the fruits thereof, as this tends to bind him to the world still by producing the physical body and will not affect his final release from this body; and after performing evil & good, he attains to இருவினை யொப்பு, becoming balanced in good and evil, pain and pleasure. This does not mean that he should so perform actions that all his good actions will weigh as much as his bad action, or doing as much punyam as papam, but it is attaining to a condition of viewing deeds either good or bad without either liking or disliking, a condition of being described as வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையிலான். In such a condition, man is not impelled or attracted by anything which will give him pleasure, he will not be deterred simply because it will cause him pain, Such objects of desire in the world are wealth, health and gratification, and we hate all those acts which will produce the opposite results. To such a person, wealth and poverty, food and poison, praise and blame will be equally welcome, and one looks on all these as one looks on dust or chaff without desire or aversion. It is when a man attains to this condition of வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை or இருவினையொப்பு that he is led on pursuit of the highest Ideals to do the greatest acts of heroism and the most magnanimous acts of self-sacrifice, and suffer the greatest martyrdom. The story of the churning of the Ocean is full of this meaning. The gods who were pained at their poverty, and desired wealth, came to reap the fire of the poison, which across as a result of their own self-seeking and the Supreme Being who appeared there, not for the sake of any reward, but for the sole purpose of saving the distressed gods, was not affected by the Poison which He swallowed.

So that when God willed to create this earth and the heaven, it was not the result of a mere whim or play, it was not for his own improvement or benefit, it was not for his self-glorification or self-realization, but he willed out of his Infinite Love and Mercy towards the innumerable souls who were rotting in their bondage, enshrouded in Anava mala without self-knowledge and self-action, that they be awakened out of their kevala (கேவல) condition and move into the cycle of evolution (சகல) births and deaths whereby alone they can affect their salvation. Once helped on to this, by being given bodies, faculties &c out of matter, they begin to do, accumulate karma, which has to be eaten fully before the இருவினையொப்பு the indifference no pains and pleasures, can be gained. In the process of eating the 'bitter fruits' and gaining ஒப்பு one gathers experience and wisdom and the knowledge of Truth. And unless this Truth be gained, the soul's salvation is a mere myth and nothing more.

- J. M. Nallasami Pillai, B.A., B.L.

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