Synopsis: Guru Purnima 19.7.16 His Holiness, Swamiji's concluding session

A brief analysis on the concept of "pramada" as described by Pujya Swamiji

According to pujya Swamiji, “Karma is an attachment. However, one cannot escape karma. Reading or listening to shastras generates a perspective which enlightens you. If a person leads his/her life using that perspective, one would get rid of pramada.”


Swamiji said, According to Upanishads, “pramado mrtyuh”- pramada itself is death.

“pramada is the form of death in which the soul itself is destroyed”


So, what is pramada?


In simple words, pramada is a state of being inadvertent. pramada means not doing what one is supposed to do inspite of knowing it. Shastras have described it being worse than laziness.


If a student doesn’t complete his assignment on time despite knowing he would not get the grades makes him a pramaadi, if a child isn't dutiful towards his parents despite knowing he's wrong, makes him a pramaadi. An employee would become a pramaadi if he doesn’t perform his/her duties. One should be fulfilling the role that has been assigned by nature by virtue of being existent in a physical form.


Delving into this concept further, if one takes a peek at His Holiness, Shankaracharya's “Vivekachudamani”, he has very beautifully described the concept of pramada.


"There's no greater danger for the “Jnanin” than carelessness about his own real nature. From this comes delusion, hence egoism, this is followed by bondage, and then comes misery." Verse 322. “Vivekachudamani”

"Hence to the discriminating knower of Brahman, there is no worse death than inadvertence with regard to concentration. But the man who is concentrated attains complete success. Therefore, carefully, concentrate thy mind on brahman", Verse 327,“Vivekachudamani”

"Through inadvertence, a man deviates from his real nature, and the man who has thus deviated falls. The fallen man invariably comes to ruin, but is never seen to rise up again"  Verse 328, “Vivekachudamani”


These above verses depict what we as humans are guilty of. We are forgetful of our own divine nature or 'brahman'. We are guilty of being ungrateful for what nature has given us. Hence, pramada is the root of all unhappiness and as pujya Swamiji says, prasada is the state of happiness. Therefore, both these core concepts or states cannot go together. 


As Shastras compared this concept to “death”, one may wonder, what is death?


Death in a physical form is the termination of all biological functions in a living organism. But in a metaphysical or spiritual form, death can be of various kinds. As described by His Holiness, Swami Swaroopananda in his book “Maha Mrtyunjaya”, Birth essentially is the beginning of death. The moment you’re born, you start dying. Through shastras we realize the concept of our soul moving from one form of the body to another. Therefore, birth and death can be described as two sides of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other.


Quintessentially, Change can also be described as a form of death. Scientifically, matter or energy cannot be created nor destroyed; thereby it only changes its form. Hence, nothing in this universe is destroyed.  As immaculately described in this book, even if the body perishes to become ashes, those ashes become nourishment (although not a significant nutrient source, Ashes, however, are a source of carbon which can be useful to improve many soil properties such as helping to retain nutrients and water in the soil, lowering soil compaction, and reducing risks of soil erosion), for plants, those plant become source of nourishment for animals and humans, thus everything in this world is recycled. So by this theory, any matter that perishes is reborn in a different state.


By getting rid of pramada, one is essentially detached and liberated from the moha (delusion) attached with the karma, just like a ripe cucumber, which is effortlessly freed from its bondage to the creeper.