Five causes for all actions

Five causes are said to be responsible for the accomplishment of all actions. Firstly, the human body — the conglomerate of great elements known as ‘Adhishtanam’. Secondly, the jiva or soul residing in the physical body — the doer of activities. Thirdly, the motor organs instrumental for activities. Fourthly, various processes like breath and the functioning of vital airs. And lastly, the help of Divinity. The Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 18, Sloka 14 says: ‘Daivam chaivatra panchamam’ — the fifth factor is the supreme self — the inner ruler that is the main cause in completing action.

Sri Vedanta Desika in his work Rahasyatraya Saram says that God props us up in five ways. Firstly, He makes us do things and so is called Karayitha. Secondly, we, the doers, are called Kartha. Some times, in certain cases, He acts both as Kartha and Karayitha — in acts like granting boons, creation, protection and destruction. Thirdly, if He does not prevent us in our activities (be it good or bad), He is called as Upekshakan. Fourthly, if He admits and authorises our doings, He is called Anumantha. And lastly, He extends His help to us and hence is called Sahakari. If the thinking of a man is free from ego, that is, he is the doer of actions, then no sin will accrue to him. Otherwise, he is only labouring hard under a perverse understanding, Sri Valayepettai Ramachariar said in a discourse.

With the senses, body and other faculties granted by the Supreme Being, an individual, of his own free will directing the senses, performing actions, and is responsible for the activity. If he does good things, he becomes elated with divine bliss, or else will have to face the eventualities known as the effects of karma.

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