All action creates binding for consciousness

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Meher Baba

Meher Baba

All action except that which is intelligently designed to attain God-realization creates a binding for consciousness. It is not only an expression of accumulated ignorance but a further addition to that accumulated ignorance.

Religious forms and ceremonies, as well as rituals and injunctions of different creeds and spiritual institutions, have a tendency to encourage the spirit of love and worship. As such they are helpful to a limited extent in wearing out the ego-shell.

Forms and ceremonies in which human consciousness is caught are sidetracks on path. But if they are unintelligently and mechanically followed, the inner spirit of love and worship gets dried up. Then they only result in hardening the ego-shell rather than wearing it out.

Therefore, rituals and ceremonies cannot carry man very far on the spiritual path; and if they are unintelligently followed, they create as much binding as any other unintelligent action.

Deprived of all inner life and meaning, they might be said to be even more dangerous than other forms of unintelligent action because man pursues them with the belief that they are helpful for God-realization; whereas in fact they are far from being helpful.

Owing to this element of self-delusion, lifeless forms and ceremonies become sidetracks on the path. Often, through mere force of habit, man becomes so attached to these external forms that he cannot be disillusioned about their imaginary value except through intense suffering.

In many ways inaction is preferable to unintelligent action, for it has at least the merit of not creating further sanskaras and complications. Even good and righteous action creates sanskaras.

Life seeks freedom from self-created entanglement which means one more addition to the complications created by past actions and experiences. All life is an effort to attain freedom from self-created entanglement.

It is a desperate struggle to undo what has been done in ignorance, to throw away the accumulated burden of the past, to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures.

Life seeks to unwind the limiting sanskaras of the past and to obtain release from the mazes of its own making, so that its further creations may spring directly from the heart of eternity and bear the stamp of unhampered freedom and intrinsic richness of being which knows no limitation.

Action that helps in attaining God is truly intelligent and spiritually fruitful because it brings release from bondage. It is second only to that action that springs spontaneously from the state of God realization itself. All other forms of action (however good or bad and however effective or ineffective from a worldly point of view) contribute toward bondage and are inferior to inaction.

Inaction is less helpful than intelligent action; but it is better than unintelligent action, for it amounts to the non-doing of that which would have created a binding. The movement from unintelligent action to intelligent action (that is, from binding karma to non-binding karma) is often through inaction.

This is characteristic of the stage where unintelligent action has stopped because of critical doubt, but intelligent action has not yet begun because no adequate momentum has arisen. This special type of inaction, which plays its part in progress on the path, should in no way be confused with ordinary inaction, which springs from inertia or fear of life.

Excerpted from ‘Discourses Part 1’. Meher Baba (1894-1969), a major spiritual figure of the 20th century, was an Indian spiritual master who said he was the Avatar, or God in human form.