Karma Yoga Sri NV Raghuram
NV Raghuram After completing Bachelor of Engineering from Regional Engineering College Bhopal, in 1970 N.V.Raghuram joined service as engineer in various departments and carried on varieties of civil engineering works until 1998. His interest in spiritual learning and in the philosophy of yoga and allied subjects started during his teen age. He had on several occasions met several spiritual masters and sought guidance. It is in the year 1978 he took training in Kanyakumari and started his association with Vivekananda kendra and later since 1980, since inception he is associated with Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Anusandhana Samsthan, (VYASA/ Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation - Bangalore) as senior faculty. In this connection he extensively travels several countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Romania, England in Europe, USA and Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, etc in south east Asia to conduct several yoga courses, spiritual retreats, Yoga therapy classes for various ailments, Yoga courses for personality development in children and Yoga instructors certification programs. He is also instrumental in training of Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma and in starting yoga therapies in MD Anderson Cancer research center in Houston/USA, Stift neurological clinic in Germany and Memorial hospital in Turkey. He also took active part initiating partnership programs with Central Michigan University in USA, conducting more than one thousand stress reduction programs (SMET) all around the world and starting yoga therapy research projects for various aliments at medical centers in USA, UK, and Germany. He is honored by YogaShree Award in 2007. Mr. N.V.Raghuram is married with a son. His wife, Dr R.Nagarathna, is the chief medical director and Dean of medicine in VYASA. His Son Amrut is in Japan introducing yoga and yoga therapy in a hospital in Kagoshima in Fukuoka.
Acknowledgement My mentor guru and also the father figure, Shastryji (Prof. ASN Shastry) of Bangalore had such wonderful and unique insight in to our scriptures, that he was more scientific than most of the hard core scientists, at the same time, he was much more a sincere sadhaka than many of the serious sadhakas. I wished he put his thoughts in the form of a book but he could not do because he used to say that the moment he thinks of the goal of sadhana as silence, mind goes into silence and writing becomes impossible. He used to ask us ‘why you don’t write?’ I don’t have his insight or his knowledge about scriptures nor his accuracy of presentation. As a response to the passion he had, to take this knowledge for the benefit of people all over the world, I am making this small attempt. I am grateful to my teachers for all these years, especially Swami Prabhuddhananda of Moradabad, who was my early guide in spiritual journey; beloved Sastryji of Bangalore, who is also my brother-in-law; friends like Dr. Manohar Shinde; my wife, Dr Nagarathna, and my son, Amrit, who are my constant inspiration in shaping my thoughts. I can never ignore the constant efforts put by my very dears, Ayca Gurelman, Sonal Mehta, Annapurna and Prachi Garodia who are responsible for bringing this out. Another person who needs special mention is Radhika Ambatipudi!!
Raghuram NV 3
Foreword: What is Yoga The influence of South Asian culture has spread globally and one of the pioneers and fastest expanding trends in the world comes from the most ancient texts and practices in India: YOGA. With the advent of yoga magazines, yoga bags/mats, yoga clothing, and yoga studios, yoga tools and yoga diets it seems the entire world is embracing yoga and its benefits. Unfortunately, in the rapid growth of this “trend” the true meaning of Yoga and its benefits are often overlooked and the purpose of its practice is frequently diminished into a superficial form of physical exercise performed to obtain the “yoga body.” However many do not take time to ask the question, “What is yoga?”. When we dig deeper into the question, we naturally look at the definition of yoga, not as it is defined by modern society, but, rather, through the definitions found in earlier yoga texts. The first written account of the definition of yoga is found in the most ancient texts of Hinduism, known as the Vedas and Upanishads. “Tam Yogam iti manyante stiram indriya dharanam” Controlling all of the senses, including the steadying of the mind, is known as yoga. Another ancient text on the philosophy of yoga, known as Yoga Vasista, was given to Lord Rama by Sage Vasista. “Manah prasamano payah yogah” A technique to calm the mind is yoga. And later, Sage Patanjali, who has compiled the knowledge of yoga and has written its treatise, defines yoga again. “Yogah chitta vrutti nirodah” Yoga is to cleanse the mind of disturbances. Likewise, the definition of yoga can be found in various other ancient Indian texts. In none of these texts do we find any sentence defining yoga as a set of physical postures. Hence, we can, without a doubt, begin to understand that there is much more to yoga than the contortion of the body into strange acrobatic positions or a type of physical achievement. We see that yoga is beyond the hour of physical postures when, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna takes the purpose and meaning of yoga to a higher dimension, giving it a deeper notion. He tells Arjuna “Yogasthah kuru karmaani,” which means do every activity while in the state of yoga. This further defines yoga, not as doing something external, but rather, as
a state within us. It is not connected with doing; it is connected with being. Even doing asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), or kriyas (cleansing exercises) are all external to us, but Krishna is not referring to these externalities; He is referring to the state of being. If we are so focused on what we are doing that we fail to internalize the practice, and then we are missing the purpose and idea of yoga. One may be a master of body contortions or become extremely non-violent to the point of not killing germs, but if his/her internal being has not transformed into peace, tranquillity, and harmony, then s/he has missed the purpose of yoga. This takes us into the higher dimensions of understanding yoga which needs to be covered in a series of books. In this book, we start our quest with karma yoga.
We need techniques By the very definition we know yoga is to calm the mind or to have inner harmony, and yoga is peace. It has not so much to do with the body as much with the mind. All that we need to do is to make mind peaceful and we also have seen the advantages in making the mind peaceful. The question comes why do we need to do all these practices? After all, mind is part of our existence; all we need to do is to ask mind to be peaceful. Why don’t we only do that? Why do we need practices such as bending the body, manipulating breathing, or sitting and meditating etc? Yes, theoretically speaking the Rishi, the teacher of the Upanishads need not to give any prescriptions. We are the masters and mind is ours; we are the controllers not only of mind but of every thing here in this body. Therefore there is no need to do anything. Another important thing is the calm state and peace etc, are all states of being and any doing is essentially when we come out of this state of being. This includes even doing a practice to go to state of being. So in strict sense there is no Sadhana or practice for going to the state of being. But we need to understand one important aspect. There are only very few people, who, when they hear once that they have to keep their minds peaceful and not attached to any thing they could remain peaceful for ever. Such persons are known as ‘uttama sadhakas’ or pure personalities. They do not require any techniques, only hearing the idea is sufficient! ‘Sravanameva alam’. Normal person can not leave the disturbances of mind so easily, may be because the normal man has been working the mind so much and it gained importance and may be he has never consciously done any thing to calm the mind. Therefore normal persons have this question, “how to detach or how to practice the slowness and calm state of mind”. The great warrior like Arjuna also belongs to this category. That is the reason Arjuna asked Krishna in the book of yoga called BHAGAVAT GITA, this question, “Krishna, you ask me to calm the mind. But it is so difficult. I can stop the VAYU, wind, but to control the mind is very difficult”
Chanchalam hi manah krishna pramadi balavad drudham tasyaham nigraham anye vayoriva su dushkaram When Arjuna is comparing wind with mind he has two important points to bring up. They are as follows. Wind is some thing we can not see but we can build a wall to protect us from wind. Mind is also some thing we don’t see but we feel, but we can not build any wall against the mind! The second point is that, wind here means the breath. As long as we live this breath is going on all the time continuously without our knowledge. Same way mind is also running around without our knowledge as long as we live. But breath can be stopped for few seconds consciously by holding, but mind can not be held even for a fraction of a second. In fact the moment we tell mind not to think of some thing mind has already gone there. Krishna acknowledges the difficulty of Arjuna and says, “mind is difficult to control, no doubt but not impossible”. For this purpose only Krishna and the whole ancient wisdom suggests two pronged approach to make mind calm. They are classically given as ‘Abhyasa’ and ‘Vairagya’. ‘Abhyasa’ means discipline and control, ‘Vairagya’ means ignore or let go the problems which are constantly bothering you. Discipline is not new for us because we have learnt several things by way of disciplining our body like learning to write learning driving and all the education system all are processes of disciplining us. The nature also has discipline as essential feature. Discipline is also expressed in the form of orderliness. This can be seen in the nature there is orderliness in the plants. All the trees of same fruits look alike. All the trees have roots in the soil and flowers in the sky. Another important thing is that the discipline should come from within and not to be pressured from out side. a discipline which is forced from outside how ever useful may be one would like tot come out of it. People come to prashanti our residential campus with several health related problems and finally they find the usefulness of yoga. on the day of discharge they come to me and express that this is like a place in heaven, the people are so friendly and Dr Nagarathna is like goddess and yoga is like a great gift. They further add that they would like to recommend this place to all their relatives friends etc. Finally they say they have one question to ask. when I tell them to ask they promptly ask, how long should i do yoga??? Why do they want to come out of yoga? It is so because they always psychologically feel as if their freedom is taken away and they would like to free from being under the discipline. On the other hand, if you practice discipline as a master then it is like caterpillar becoming a butter fly which can freely run in the free sky and like raw fruit becoming ripe so that its sweetness invites one and all!. Therefore we need to practice discipline as master and not as slave.In the nature there is discipline and we also know to discipline and yoga also suggests us the idea of discipline for achieving the control over mind.
Under the method of discipline the practices can further be divided into two methods they are the disciplines grouped under Raja yoga and the second methods are grouped under Karma yoga. Raja yoga is the set of disciplines which are specific practices ranging any where from bending the body to keeping eyes closed being in the wakeful state, or controlling the sneezing reflex while passing water or a rubber catheter through nose to keeping silence for a specified period (Mauna) so that ultimately through these practices we indirectly control the mind. These raja yoga practices we can do for an hour or a few hours every day. We can not be sitting and mediating or doing asanas through out the day. We also have to engage in other activities which are required for making living. Another point to note is that when we are engaged in the practice of yoga we are calm in mind and peaceful. But all the problems of agitation of mind come up only when we are doing the day to day work life where we are involved with the other people around us. Therefore can we have any technique which can help us to not only maintain our nature of peace and tranquillity but also help in our journey towards that goal? This question is rightly answered by the practice of Karma yoga. Therefore karma yoga should be understood not doing some specific work or activity; karma yoga is what we do in general activity. Same activities from which all our vruttis or agitations of mind are gathered, by this understanding can help to enhance and enrich the peace of mind. Krishna explains Arjuna the principles and practice of karma yoga in Bhagavad-Gita so that Arjuna can involve in the activity of fighting the war of Kurukshetra like doing karma yoga. If war can be fought in karma yoga way with the support and understanding the principles one can make life activities in day to day life as karma yoga or a practice which can help to go to peace of mind. Under the method of ignore or let go we have two techniques. They are known as Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga. Many times we may not have given sufficient thought to the situation and as a result of it we may be agitated in our minds. All that it requires is to have proper understanding the situation through analysis so that we can easily give up the imaginary problem which does not have reality. Once we understand the secret then we realize that almost ninety nine percent of our problems are imaginary. Right analysis which can help us to isolate the real from unreal and truth from falsehood is Jnana yoga. Jnana yoga therefore is technique to march ahead towards the goal which is peace and inner poise which is also our nature and we use the most powerful tool with us called intellect and analysis is the methodology employed Another important technique is Bhakti yoga, where we recognize the wonderful emotions we are born with which are love compassion and sense of wonder which can directly take us to peace of mind which is very profound and also having the component of a state of immense bliss and satisfaction.
All these techniques are not like water tight compartments. Many times we can separate one from the other. They may be very subtly overlapping and many times they are mutually complimenting each other. As long as we have peace of mind and inner tranquillity as our end point or goal then these techniques are mutually complimentary and there is nothing as one is better than the other. To challenge saying, that my technique is better that other techniques of other gurus is ignorance. There is no hierarchy in the tradition which is given by this culture. Each one of these methods can have elaborate discussions with all the details. In this volume we are focussing on the details of karma yoga. This is what is stated by Swami Vivekananda in his famous words of wisdom â€œEach soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling the nature internal and external. This you do by work worship, philosophy or psychic control, one or more or all these methods and be free. Books dogmas doctrine, temples and rituals are but secondary details.â€? When he said work, he meant karma yoga; worship is Bhakti yoga; philosophy is Jnana yoga and psychic control is Raja yoga. The goal of all these practices are not different they are same which is the manifestation of divinity within. Divinity is the inner peace and poise. In this volume we are bringing the aspects of karma yoga in little more details so that we can adapt this practice of yoga namely karma yoga in our daily life. Most of the concepts discussed here are based on Bhagavad-Gita.
Chapter 1: Karma and Yoga Ishavasya Upanishad is one of the important ten Upanishads. . It is the first one that really approves Karma Yoga. And the Bhagavad-Gita elaborately talks about Karma Yoga. “Karma” means “work”; and “yoga” means “peace of mind”. So karma yoga is the methodology by which the work we do can take us to peace of mind. But karma is also used for a different meaning. People also refer to karma basically meaning the past activity we have done and its effect; to say that something is karmic; like why were you born in Turkey and not in America? It is my karmic aspect. Why do I have to go through the suffering? It is karmic. But when we have a great pleasure and happiness, then it is not karmic. Then we easily say, “I’ve struggled hard! I struggled and earned and put all the effort in that work”. Whereas when a suffering occurs, when something bad occurs, then we say it is karmic. If you hit somebody, that is your effort. Somebody hits you it is karmic. That is why “karma” is used very conveniently, so we need to understand what karma basically is. The second aspect is how karma can give us peace of mind? All agitations, disturbances and stress appear because of karma. We feel activity brings about disturbance. This is the reason when somebody says ‘peace of mind’ people equate it to giving up work. When we simply say that we have to calm down the mind, listeners immediately react saying “if I calm down my mind, how can I work? And how can the work run if we keep quiet?” But that means that karma is the action that is responsible for our problems. And there is no way that I can come out of this activity, so there is no possibility for having peace of mind while I am engaged in work. Do you understand this basic? This is the first secret that Karma Yoga addresses for us. It is not the action that is the problem; the problem is something else. Let me give a simple example in the form of a story to illustrate this point. The idea of yoga is doing some thing extraordinary. It should be some thing challenging. How can simply doing an activity give us the benefits of yoga? Just as doing some humanly impossible rigors of discipline, and torturous practices on the body and mind etc. are the ones which give us the benefits of yoga, no pain no gain situation, how can ordinary activity give us the same benefits? Just to show that you are not expected to do some thing very non-human, a classical story is there.
Yoga can be in normal work!
A saint by the name of Kaushik was sitting in the forest under a tree meditating deeply. A bird on the branches above was making noise, which is natural for the bird. The sage Kaushik got disturbed from his meditation and with anger he looked at the bird with scorching eyes. The very angry looks burnt the bird and it fell dead on the ground.
Kaushik though felt sorry for the bird, on the other hand he was surprised at the power to burn the bird he acquired through the meditation and was proud too! As his meditation got disturbed he found that he was hungry. He walked to a nearby house to ask for food and stood in front of the house and asked for food. It is the tradition those days that it is the responsibility of the society to take care of the needs of a student and a spiritual seeker engaged in meditation. But the seekers are supposed to ask in humility and not in arrogance. When he stood in front of a house and asked for food the house wife came with all respect and wanted to take care of the saint at the door steps. But she found at the same time her husband walks in and she invariably has to take care of his immediate needs as a devout wife. She therefore apologized to the saint saying, “Sir, I would like to take care of you. Please give me some time, wait for about ten minutes. Let me take care of him and come back to attend to you”. With these words Kaushik felt irritated, “how can she neglect me in front of her ordinary husband, when a great yogi like me who accomplished a great power is standing there”. But he controlled himself for the time being and waited. On top of all this, she took little more time than he expected. When she came out she sincerely apologized saying, “I am sorry I made you to wait”. But his anger did not subside. She apologized repeatedly. But the arrogance will not allow one to act with compassion. When she found he did not change in spite of her repeated requests and also saying that it was no intentional and she could not help the situation, she said, “oh sir, come on give up the angry looks,” and she further added, “I am not the bird to fall pray to your anger like the bird in the forest”. He was shocked to hear from her about the bird being burnt because he never expected that any one would know about an incident that happened between him and the bird in the forest where no other person was there. How could he believe she knows about it? How could he know if she does not have any yogic powers? He felt her power must be greater than the power he has to burn a bird just by the heat rays from his angry looks. The moment he realized that she is extraordinary; at once, he fell at her feet and prayed to her to pardon his ignorance requesting her to tell what kind of yogic practices she does so that she acquired such great powers. She simply smiled and said, “I don’t do any spiritual practices and all that I do is to do my household activity diligently and meticulously”. But he could not believe and thought she is hiding about her practices. She in turn replied, “If you want any more information please go to my guru, his name is Dharma vyaadha and he is in the next town, and find out from him”. Kaushik then proceeded to the town in search of the guru she has referred to him. Expecting to see a great spiritual teacher may be having an ashram or a place like that, he looked around in the center of the town. To his surprise he saw no ashram or no sign board of a spiritual master around there but to his surprise he found a butcher shop with the sign board saying ‘Dharmavyaadha meat shop’. He thought it can not be possible because he was expecting to see a pious man and not a meat selling person. As he was hesitating standing there, the person in the shop called him, ‘hi gentle man, aren’t you Kaushik and aren’t you the person the lady next village suggested you to meet me. I am the Dharmavyaadha you are looking for.’ Kaushik was totally dumbfounded as
how could Dharmavyaadha know what happened between him and the lady next town. But he could not do any thing. He remained as a mute spectator as he found to his surprise the guru is cutting and selling meat, collecting money and fighting with customers for the money! After he finished the work in the shop he counted all the money and took Kaushik with him to his home. There he took care of his parents joyfully and at the end he asked him, ‘yes gentle man, what I can do for you?’ having seen all the work he is doing yet having such great wisdom, Kaushik is now totally surprised and asked him ‘sir, what is the special sadhana or spiritual practice you do so that you are such a great master. Dharmavyaadha replied humbly, ‘all that I do is to do all the duties that I am supposed to do diligently. That is my meditation’.
Right attitude of work can make it worship
The moral of the story is that when we are doing the normal day to day work with a special attitude, then the work itself is no inferior to the highest spiritual sadhana. The question now is about the attitude, which can transform our activities into sadhana or spiritual practices!
Let me give you another anecdote how the attitude in the work can change the complexion of it. A temple is coming up in a village. And there are several people working in this temple cutting and carving the stones and make some nice, wonderful sculptures. A press reporter goes to these persons and wants to interview them. This lady reporter goes and finds a person who is cutting the stones. She asks him, “What are you doing?” He replies with lot of anger, “Don’t you see that I am cutting the stone? And it’s a hard stone. Look at my hands! They became red. Beating the stone is like hell. And I would like to find some hole to slip away and rest, but the manager is always looking at me. He knows that I am a person who runs away from work. The whole work is like hell. And on top of it, you come and ask me if the work is really a problem. Cutting stone is really a horrible job. I feel I am cursed to do this. How I wish I could come out of this whole wretched work!” the press person asks the question, “ I see you are cutting the stone, but let me know what is coming up here!” he replies for that saying I don’t know why they are making this all and I am not even interested to know!
So she goes to the second person and asks him, “What are you doing?” He says, “I’m cutting the stone here. It’s my job. I work for a definite eight hours for ten dollars; I have my wife and children. It’s a burden for me, but I have to take care of them. This is just a duty I am doing.” She asks him, “Do you know what is coming up here?” He says, “Yeah, they say that there is a temple coming. We do all the work for the temple. Whether it is a temple or jail, whatever it is, how it matters, I just do my duty for eight hours and then I go away from here. I have nothing to do with them.” Then she goes to the third person. He is also cutting the stones. Then she asks him, “What are you doing?” He answers, “I’m building a temple. In this village, there was no temple for years. Every time there was a temple festival, all these people had to go to the next village. My grandfather tried it for a lifetime to get a temple here. It remained as a dream. My father tried so much, but in his lifetime, it did not happen. It could not have happened in my lifetime as well. By the power and the grace of God, in my lifetime, this temple is coming up. You know, every time I hit the stone I hear such a wonderful music. And look at the way that everything is like a festival ever since that this temple started. This temple brought the whole village together. The temple made this sleepy village into festive mood.” She asks, “How long do you work on this temple?” He says, “Why do you ask how long? As soon as I get up in the morning, I come to this temple, and I start cutting the stones. I eat, drink, and do everything here. Even when I go home in the night, in my sleep, and even in my dream I’m cutting the stones, I dream of this temple. And that’s really enjoyable.” “When will you finish this temple work?” He replies, “Why are you asking when we’ll finish? I’m sad that this temple work is finishing and I’ll not have anything to do once this temple is completed. I wish I could continue doing this temple work for a long time, and bring in many more facilities around this temple. It’s a blessing.”
When you look at the work, all three are doing the same work, but for the first person it is hell, and for the second person, it is a duty. However, for the third person, it is a blessing. If the work has the inherent good and bad qualities, then these three should not have been feeling the same? But that is not the reality. The work itself does not carry these qualities. Then what is that which makes so much of difference? It is not the work which is disturbing our mind but it is something subtle. Work is external. Attitude is internal. Work belongs to the world. Attitude belongs to you. You cannot change work much because it is in the hands of the world out side! When it happens to change, fine, it happens. But attitude behind the work is in your hands. A
certain attitude makes your work miserable and certain other attitude makes it pleasant. Change the attitude, and you will become spiritual. If you do not have the right attitude, you are non-spiritual. It is not the work that determines whether you are spiritual or not. This point needs to be understood very deeply. In fact, we have such stories in Indian philosophy. A woman can even work as a prostitute, but she can be an extraordinary saint. It is not because of the kind of work she is doing, but the kind of attitude she has. Attitude is in your hands and that is a thing you can change. Nobody can force an attitude on you. People can only influence your attitude, but it is you who decides what attitude you should have. And the right kind of attitude can help you turn it into yoga.
What you do versus how you do
When you look at it this way, yoga is not doing a few postures. I have seen some people who have a wonderful body, which can bend in so many ways, but they cannot bend their attitude. They can hold their breath until eternity, but they cannot hold their greed, their arrogance etc even to a small degree!
Now what is yoga and what is not yoga? What appears like yoga may not be yoga. There are many yoga teachers that we come across who do not have the right kind of an attitude, they can bend very well and twist very perfectly yet they are not in true sense yogis because they don’t have right attitude. So karma yoga is not the work outside. It is essentially the attitude behind the work that we do. An attitude that takes towards peace of mind is a healthy attitude. An attitude, which brings about agitations of the mind, is not a yogic attitude. It is a worldly attitude. We have a wonderful ashram Prashanti. You have nice activities going on there. But you may have a few people there who have a wrong attitude. This can happen and does happen in many places. Such a person comes to the doorstep of something which can really help him. Yet he can not take the benefit of it. It is as if you take a spoonful of food and bring it close to your mouth, but you put it not in the mouth but in the nose. You suffer. It is not the work that causes suffering but you and you attitude. If a right attitude is there, the work can give you peace of mind. If a right attitude is not there, then the work can cause tension to you. Now, let me give you a few tips as to how we can acquire different attitudes. Once you go to the depths, you have hundreds of things that are there in understanding the karma yoga, but because of the short time maybe we can discuss just a few things.
Adhibhuta,adhidaiva and adhyatma If you consider the activity, the first step is that there may be such activities that can harm others, and disturbs others. Then those persons may in revenge disturb me. If I hurt somebody, that person will hurt me back. If I tell lies and misguide somebody, that person might misguide and hurt me back. Thereby I suffer, and I say, “Look, I’m suffering!” Then one asks, “Why are you suffering?” “I misguided that man and now he disturbs me.” A simple solution for that thing is, ‘do not cause evil to others! If you do not do evil to others, they will not disturb you. This does not even require spiritual knowledge. It is at a very simple moral level knowledge. At a very simple moral level, it is said, “Do good for others and don’t do bad. Be right; don’t be wrong. Help, don’t hurt”. This does not require the
teachings. But there is one subtle point we need to understand here. We should not hurt, not because that person should not be hurt. The hurt that you give, you will get it back. That is one of the physical laws. The physical law says, action and reaction, cause and effect are equal and opposite. The cause and the effect are related. That is what the physical law says. Like in a simple example we see, if I eat bad food, my stomach gets upset. This is a very simple law; it is called a physical law. We understand it in a simple way. This physical law which says, what you do has cause and effect relationship. This is called as ADHIBHUTA. WHAT YOU SOW, YOU REAP
Whatever that I do, I get the benefit, the result of it. I do bad, so I get a bad result. You can see it right away. If I jump from the eighth floor of the building, I will die or I will break my limbs. I cannot say that I do not know why God is unkind to me. I cannot say my Karma is bad. You cannot blame anybody. You have been wrong. You have got wrong in return. This is a physical law. In the physical laws, the cause and the effect are related.
Logically it is OK. What you sow, you will reap. This is one of the simple things in Karma Yoga. Never do anything bad to anybody. Do not even think bad of anyone. Even that can cause a ricochet effect. Try to do good. But then the next question comes: “I always try to do good, but I get bad.” It is like a person who drives rash on the road, or a person who drives in the wrong direction and has an accident. He has done wrong so he got the result. This is understandable and therefore we should not do wrong. The moral is simple; do not drive in the wrong way. Do not drive in a rash way, and you will not have an accident. But I am driving in the right direction, and I am not driving rash, yet suddenly someone comes from the opposite direction and in the wrong way and hits me. He is hurt because he is wrong, but why should I suffer a hurt? What mistake have I done? Do you see what it means? I have been good but I receive bad. This is a situation we come across. If it is the good people who suffer then they ask the question, “Why do we suffer in spite of us being good?” Now consider this argument. An accident is a physical law. The moment we say it is a physical law; it has a cause and an effect. You are hurt physically, which basically means that there is a cause and effect connection. Accordingly the physical law can have two different dimensions. One dimension is that physically both the vehicles collided and so I am hurt. This does not consider whether you are in right direction or wrong. Physically both vehicles collided and so the accident took place. The second dimension is the subtle one. It is why I should suffer when I have done every thing right. This can be answered as chance which means there is no connection to whether you are right or wrong. It is just a chance. But this explanation can not help us to introspect and also this take a position that what ever happens is a chance and we have no freedom or a say in such matters. There is another way of looking at. It also has a cause and effect connection because this is also a physical happening and it has to have the cause and result. In other words you created cause some time back and the effect you are receiving now! It can be possible that the cause and the effect may be immediate. But many times it can also be spaced at a long gap, or the cause and the effect may be very far away. The cause and the effect may be distanced so far apart that your perception may not reach. The distance may be both in terms of space and time!
Our memory and our perception have a certain limit and limitations. We often do not know what we did thirty, forty years ago. In fact, when you look at your own photographs of four years age, you cannot recognize yourself. You start wondering, “Is this me?” and that basically means that our memory does not go that far. ‘Memory does not go far’ does not mean that the events that took place do not exist. The cause and the effect may be beyond your memory, but they are related. If you plant a mango seed, it takes twelve years to get the fruit. You might think that the seed you planted is of a wonderful, beautiful, tasty mango, but at the seed level, you cannot tell the difference. However, twelve years later when the fruit comes, it is a tasteless horrible mango. Then you start saying, “I planted a wonderful mango seed and I got a bad fruit.” How can that be? What you have planted you have got. This law cannot be violated. Just because your memory does not reach that far, it does not mean that the cause is not there. Because it is a physical law it can not have an exception. There is a tribe in Africa I heard. Because of some local genetic conditions, this tribe has a memory not longer than six months. They can only think of things that are six months old, and they do not know what happened beyond that. That is as to how the people of this tribe make a connection between sex and childbirth. That connection is a minimum nine months, but since their memory does not go that far, they think that sex is a different part of life and that the child is god-given. It is not because there is a cause and effect relation, but because the cause and the effect are placed beyond the memory. According to Indian philosophy, the effort can bear results not only in this life; it can be after this life. You plant the seeds now, but you reap the fruits later. The “later” may be this life or maybe the next. This is what is called as “karma”. So when we say “karma”, it is not that somebody else is responsible; you are responsible. Then the student asks what the advantage of this hypothesis is. How can we utilize this knowledge? As a result of this knowledge when something bad happens, we do not blame anybody else. We know that it is our own actions, which have given the fruits. Yet I can decide through my actions and attitude what fruits I will have in the future, and not only in the future but in the life after this one. So from now on whatever activity I do, I never plan anything wrong to anybody, so that I shape my future which can be free from agony. One day Buddha went to a house and begged for some food. This is normal for a sanyasin, who has taken to the spiritual life in India. His requirements are very small: some food and few clothes. They do not have any attachments to anything. Buddha was a big king and he became a sanyasin. And then his requirement is just a morsel of food. Sanyasins do not have houses where food is cooked because it becomes an attachment. So the culture goes that these people go to a house and ask the house lady for food. So Buddha went to a house and asked for food. The lady, respecting the culture, wanted to offer food to him. She opened the door but then she saw a well-built, robust forty-year old man in good health. Obviously she did not recognize him so she at once got annoyed and started shouting at Buddha, “why are you begging food? Can you not earn? Why don’t you work at some place and earn your food? Why should you beg for it? You are a lazy fellow!” After she shouted all that at him, she slammed the door on his face. Buddha’s disciple Ananda heard all this and got angry. He told Buddha, “Why did you keep quiet? Look, you were the king of this place. If she is eating food, it is because of the king’s grace. Why did you allow her to shout at you?” Buddha smiled. “Maybe in some previous life I shouted at her. I’m glad that this debt is cleared now. I don’t want to shout at her now, so that I don’t create a fresh balance. She shouted at me and went back, and now I’m peaceful.”
Adhi Bhuta, Adhi Daiva
This basically shows how one’s behavior changes the moment you accept that what you get the result of your own past karma and it is up to you whether you want to perpetuate by again getting angry at him or
stop the chain by smiling at him. So karma philosophy is not blaming somebody but seeing how one’s future has been planned. It gives a person a big relief. This is called adhidaiva. It is what we get. So the first one is the adhibhuta, we are responsible for what happens to us because we see immediately or in the immediate future which is in our memory range. The second is adhidaiva, which is beyond our memory, may be this life or may be in the previous but we are responsible. There is a third force called adhyatma. Bhagavad-Gita says that it is our own nature. Adhibhuta is not spiritual; adhidaiva is also not spiritual, it is material because they are cause and effect related, so it is bound, whereas adhyatma is a spiritual force, and that spiritual force is our nature. What is that? Every activity has these three forces as components. The first component is ‘you do right, and then you get the right back’. Second thing is, ‘you get the benefit, and you get the result from the past, and take it as it comes. Consciously eliminate any activity which can result into bad karma to you’. And the third and the most important aspect is adhyatma, which means we have that freedom psychological that whatever happens to us, we are free to get agitated or not, to get disturbed by that or not’, and that freedom is the spiritual force within us. We all have that. It is our nature – called swabhava [swa=own, bhava=nature].A situation may be bad, but how to deal with that situation is in my hands. To get disturbed by the situation or not to get disturbed by it and to use it in the right way is a wonderful force of freedom. It is in our hands. The lady shouts, but the smile at her is the freedom that Buddha exercises. That is the spiritual knowledge within us. Once you have that in your hand, show me what can disturb you? There is nothing in this world that can disturb you. If somebody hurts you, equipped with this knowledge you can smile at him. If somebody slaps you on the cheek; you can turn the other cheek. We all have that freedom. If you apply this freedom even one per cent, you have a one per cent saint in you. You have become a Buddha; you have become a Christ for that moment, and this is our freedom. This is Karma Yoga. If we do good and don’t do anything bad, even then we may have the problem of agony. It is because we do good and we now expect the results. If the good does not pay the results expected, it becomes our agony. This is the next subject noticed by the student. Let me tell another real life incident. You know Madras now known as Chennai in India. There was a slum area. In these slums most often people do not keep their houses clean. A group of youngsters, who were really charged for doing something good by the inspiring call by Swami Vivekananda, wanted to do good in that area. They went there and saw that the streets and the people were dirty. There was a lot of work to do. So they wanted to do selfless work. They cleaned the streets and the houses, and showed the people how to clean the dirt, why to keep clean and live a life of hygiene. They collected all the garbage, threw it out, and gave bath to the kids. In the end, the kids were looking neat; the streets were neat. The time from morning to evening was spent usefully and they were happy. “See we did good work,” they said. They had peace of mind. The same group of youngsters came again to the same place the next Wednesday, and they found the place is as it was before and back in dirt. Yet they consoled themselves, saying “People will not learn it in one day. Maybe if we do this, another two-three weeks, people will slowly learn.” So the following Wednesday, they did the whole thing once again. They cleaned the whole place, disposed of the garbage, gave baths to the kids. Everyone was
wonderful and happy. The next week they went there one more time and found the place no different. But they were still not tired. The same enthusiasm was there. They cleaned the whole place, did everything nice. People were happy; the students were happy. Then they went back. Then for the following Wednesday there were some emergency in some other part of the city. Since the youngsters had to go there they could not come to the first place for one or two weeks. They did all that - Happy. Then once again, the following Wednesday after that, they went back to the same slum area and found that the slum is back to its own dirt and garbage. As soon as the local people in that slum area saw the youngsters, they asked them, with anger,” What happened to you last week? Why did you not come to clean?” Now you are frustrated. You say to yourself, “I taught them something good. I tried to do good, but the good did not pay the result. The results are not coming forth. The people do not realize” This frustrates us. The work has not frustrated, but not getting the result of the work frustrated us. What we then normally do is blame the work and say that we should not do this work since the work causes us frustration. Look at this subtly. Work itself did not frustrate you, because the first week we enjoyed it; the second week we enjoyed it, and now it has become frustration! If work caused the frustration, had it not have always frustrated you? However, it gave happiness before and how can it give frustration now! If the work is causing frustration then how could it give satisfaction before and why not now? Work itself does not cause frustration, but there is something else that causes frustration; that is the expectation of the results. The expectation of the results gives us frustration. We do the work with a good attitude, but the expectation of the results is the bad attitude. That is why Krishna gives us a golden rule: Give up the fruit of the work. ‘Ma phaleshu kadaacana’. Give up the desire for the results. Immediately we have a rebel within us for that very thought. The question rises if we do not expect any results, then why do we do or why do we have to do the work? Here, we need to understand the nature of work from a deeper perspective. When you closely watch we see that we have good intention for doing good. If it is not there then you are not even fit for spiritual knowledge. Spirituality does not start if you have not arisen from bad to good! And a simple moral education is sufficient to make one to come towards doing good to others from doing bad. Therefore in the first place even a moral person tends to do good to others. He plans and starts working towards that. A person on spiritual path is trying to go beyond the focus of morality is still out side and it has not yet turned inwards. In his case we require karma yoga! From the time he starts doing he enjoys the activity. Doing bad has vengeance or venom behind it and that it is crippling and causing pain. He has come out of all that negativity the moment he comes out of doing bad. You were happy as you are doing the good work. That means your inner self was happy by doing good. Let us try to recollect the situation where Bhagavad-Gita has emerged. It was in the battle field of Kuru ksetra. It was a war between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Though they are cousins and though the war is between cousins or sons of brothers the Pandavas are extremely good guys and Kauravas are totally bad people. Name the good qualities they are all with the Pandavas and you can not find any bad quality which is available outside and the kauravas do not have it! Arjuna is the leader of the good guys and he is extremely good and also obedient to his elder brother. On the other side Duryodhana is the personification
of evil! And the war is between Arjuna and Duryodhana. On this occasion Duryodhana is not suffering it is Arjuna who is having problem and is suffering. Duryodhana did not need Gita it is Arjuna who needed Gita. And there is no need for a Krishna or anybody at that time to tell Arjuna that you need to do good and you need to be good because he already good and suffering. His suffering can be removed by giving the higher form of knowledge. Therefore if one expects that Gita or the science is a moral text and knowledge telling us this is good and this is bad he will be disappointed. It is beyond good and bad! The problem is not with good and bad. But it is with expectations of the result! When we are doing good work we see good results and soon we get habituated to see good results and as we progress we start expecting results. The expectation of results is outside. Joy of doing the work is internal and very satisfying. Please understand this subtle truth carefully. The core of the problem lies here. But the moment your focus is outside you are disturbed. As long as your focus is inside, you are happy. The moment you turn your focus outside, you are unhappy. Therefore, expecting results brings you out of your personality, your being. You start becoming anxious and frustration for seeing the results and disappointments if they do not give expected results. Even then the objection sustains. You say, “I did good work and the good work should give a good result”. You start wondering why there has been failure. You loose faith in good work also. It appears good work may not have desired fruits. GOOD ACTION HAS GOOD RESULTS
Please understand there is nothing wrong with good work and good work has the result. You just may not be able to see the results. Yes, the work has the result. You do not have the result. The result does not belong to you. The result belongs to the work itself. The fruits belong to the root. What the seed is, so is the fruit. The fruit belongs to the seed, and not to you. Doing belongs to the individual and his input but the result belongs to many forces and not depends on individual it belongs to collective! Be assured that every good work has a good fruit. However, it might not show the results today. Do you not see that good work has a good flow of activity? People did good activity not because they wanted to see the good result. In fact, for doing good activity, many people meet with such horrible obstacles. A person my name Socrates who did good work has been given poison and another by name Jesus is crucified for the good work he has done. The religious people so called religious people were eagerly waiting to find fault with Jesus for the work of love and compassion he was having for the poor people and he was becoming popular, more popular than the religious people those days. They are burning with jealousy. One day they arrested a prostitute and in the center of the town people gathered around her. According to the religious prescription prevalent those days she has to be stoned by the people. They now wanted to see how Jesus can save her from being stoned and how he can show now that love and compassion can save her. They asked Jesus what is his judgment. Jesus said to the gathered intellectuals, “ yes she should be stoned but let the first stone be thrown by one who never committed adultery or one who never brought any bad thought or thought about sex in his mind, only such person is eligible to throw stone at her. Every body backed out and the religious people found lost! If the activity is good, it is going to bear good fruits one day. History shows the results different! Socrates was given poison for the good message he spread. Jesus Christ was crucified for the compassion he spread. If we consider the activity and if he was
interested in seeing the result, Jesus Christ was a failure, but look what happened after two thousand years? People follow Christ. Have that conviction. Any good work that you do is not a waste. It may have fruit some time, yet you may not be there to see it. You may not enjoy the fruits. You should not worry inside about seeing the fruits. Your efforts should be for the good. Expecting to see good results on the other hand shows that you do not have enough confidence in the good work you are doing. Therefore the message of karma yoga is not only to do good work but do it with confidence in goodness! Krishna gave Gita for Arjuna in the battlefield five thousand years ago. Three persons have heard when it was presented. Thanks to Sanjay who heard is as an extra ordinary gift of sage Vyasa that he can see the war sitting at palace with the king Dritarastra. Sanjaya repeated the whole of GITA every word without a mistake to Dritarastra but the ideas of Gita has not helped Sanjay to become a spiritual person! The other person who heard Gita is Dritarastra. After hearing such wonderful message Dritarastra only said to Sanjay that Krishna has been cleaver enough to misguide Arjuna who didn’t want to fight war and made him agree to fight war. This was not the central message of Gita. So the teachings of Krishna have not given the desired fruits. Let us suppose at least Arjuna has been benefited by this message and convinced, which I have my own doubts, because Krishna is going on giving lecture to him for hours, there is no escape from his speech which is going on like political election speech of a politician, how long can he take... Arjuna must have thought that better than listening to these sermons is to accept that I was confused and the clarifications you have given me removed all confusions to fight war. Tell me what I should do. Even if we suppose Arjuna was satisfied about which we can have doubt, Krishna would have been a miserable person after giving the whole of Gita to Arjuna. He would have been depressed. “Such a wonderful message I have given. Nobody has benefited by that.” Krishna never looked at the benefit. He wanted to give a good message, and that is why this same message is vibrantly living after five thousand years. In America, I was working with psychiatric patients. One very wealthy billionaire lawyer lady came to me for psychological support. I told her some ideas with which she was very happy. Then I told her that this idea is from a text called Gita. Her face brightened. “How wonderful this text is! How wonderful this idea is,” she exclaimed. She was really blissful, but then she became depressed and asked me, “You say that this idea is from Gita, and Gita is a Hindu text whereas I am a Christian. How can I apply this?” I said, “Krishna did not have the idea for one particular race or for one particular person. His message is for the mankind. If it is useful, take it. If it helps you take out of your problem, please use it.” She was so grateful for that thought. She realized it is not to convert one from one faith to the other but it to help mankind from his/ her misery Good is not dependent on a person, a race, or on an area. Good is for the mankind. Good has no boundaries. The moment good work is attached with an agenda wanting someone to get converted to follow my ideas, then the good work lost its importance to conversion and that work is no more a good work. Goodness of good work becomes secondary and our other agenda becomes primary. A good work does not have any boundaries. With the expectation of results, we create boundaries. When Krishna said ‘don’t think of the results’, he never meant that good results were not going to come. His idea was ‘don’t create a boundary around goodness that i must get or see the results. The thing which has no boundary is called as the divine (Ananthata= infinite). This is why Karma Yoga is a
work we do without any sort of boundaries. Karma Yoga tells us to do the good activity and not to look at the results. why then one focusses on the results? one does so because of lack of EGO OF confidence in the good work you do. great people are great because GOOD WORK not only they did good work but they also had the faith and IS BAD confidence in the goodness that they never looked back whether it is bearing fruits or not! But there is one more step Krishna wants us to recognize and that cognition will take us one more step ahead. Despite the fact that there is no visible result that you expected, do not become depressed. The assurance is that the result is going to be there anyway. Then the next objection rises when we are sincerely engaged in such a good work. That is the ego development. We start thinking “What a wonderful, good work I’m doing. I am not even expecting results, but I am doing good work.” This doing good work can become our ego. This is the evil about the good work. A person who does bad work is saved from this evil anyway. A person who does bad work is not egoistic, but a person who does good work can become egoistic. We have to be careful with that. Who are you to do good work? You can never do good work. Good work is always there in this world. The world exists and continues to exist because there is good always. If the good is not there then the world does not exist. The very definition of good and bad are that which sustains is good and that destroys is bad! In fact good and bad both have to exist. Without one the other can not be there. They are like day and night. They are like two poles of a magnet. In addition the good and bad do not exist separately. Same thing which good for one is bad for the other and in the same what is bad at one time terrible at one time will be good at the other times. Lat us take the case of a snake poison we all know how bad it is but the same thing can be a great medicine in some other cases. Fire is good for cooking but the same fire can be bad when it destroys our house. Therefore good is always there and bad also is there. You can only become a part of the good work that has been going on. I tell the truth. Truth is always there. Millions of people have been telling truth, and the truth is supporting them. The same way, you are also telling the truth. You can be egoistic of goodness if you start thinking you are doing good work. Subtly seeing you can only join the good forces that are there in this world. Even before the untruth took birth, truth was there. So truth is something which is eternal. The good work is eternal. It is like a river that flows all the time, perennial. Your ‘doing good work’ is like taking a dip in that river. Be humble. Be humble that you are given a chance to be good. The chance is given to you to be good by your upbringing your past life training and the other socio-economic conditions. Any thing could go wrong and one can become a criminal. So you can not own the credit for you becoming good. Your being good is that good is going on, and you are associated with that. Once you thank God that by his grace you have become part of the good force that is going on. This attitude takes away the ego of goodness, which is much more dangerous. There is another important aspect of Karma Yoga. Whether good or bad, ‘I will do the work; I can think good; I can plan good; I can organize good; I do so many wonderful things’. All these things show less about work but more about ‘I’. This has to be eliminated. Consider the simple fact that I am giving this message. I could be egoistic. But many people have already said; what Krishna also said, all that knowledge has come to me consciously and unconsciously and from me to you. You are fortunate that you have intelligence. You are fortunate that you
have an opportunity to put things together. How can you therefore be egoistic about it and claim the ownership of the knowledge? Great masters are not great because they did great works but they did it with such confidence that they did not even look back to see whether it is going to give fruits or not! In addition they were not egoistic about the good they did. There are several external agencies responsible in all these activities and it is you are fortunate so you are able to give. For example, if you are mentally challenged and not alright what would you have done? Or if people had not passed on this information to you, will you have created it? Therefore, do an activity but do not be the doer behind it. Do not give up doing the activity just because you are not a doer. This is one of the essential principles of Karma Yoga.
There is another aspect of Karma Yoga. Karma means activity. God has created a variety of activities. They are absolutely unique, marvelous, and different. That is how the whole universe is created. Observe nature carefully. You will understand. Look at a plant. We have never
looked at a plant leisurely. If you look patiently at a plant you can see the wonderful work going on there. The roots go to the ground, and we really do not know what and how they collect from the earth and ground. They untiringly work inside, absolutely in the darkness of the earth, and do not keep what they collect for themselves; they relentlessly pass it on. There is also a stem, another plant portion. It holds the plant upright, has a hard outer cover to protect the plant from external attacks from the creatures outside, and passes on this wonderful message up the plant. Then on the top, you can see the wonderful leaves, foliage, and the flowers shining in the sky. We look at the leaves, the foliage and flowers, and see how beautiful the tree is, and how wonderful it looks; and we see that as a beautiful, living tree. However, leaves are there for a few months until the fall comes, when we see all the leaves are gone. It looks as if the tree is dead, when the whole leaves are gone, all that you see is the dry branches sticking out dead like, yet it is still the roots that hold the life. The roots have all the patience. They patiently wait for the next spring to come. They give total assurance to the plant: do not worry. You will once again carry that beauty and give fresh leaves and flowers. Those roots do such a wonderful sacrifice. Thus, each part is doing its own job in this plant. The plant is divided into three different aspects for the sake of our convenience; the roots, the stem and the flowers and foliage. In a plant all these things are necessary for its existence. The manifestation might have taken place separately but the intelligence of roots; stem and foliage are always available. For the sake of understanding, they are given the identity as sattva, rajas and tamas. The flowers and foliage are called as sattva; the trunk is called as rajas; and, the roots under the ground are called as tamas. These three divisions namely sattva, rajas and tamas can be found in the whole creation. You can find the same description in the whole of manifested world. Just look at a human being. He has feet always on the ground, and carrying the weight of the whole body and help you climb up and down the stairs. The feet never complain that you have so much weight although they themselves are on the ground all the time. What the feet do is selfless work. That is the tamas aspect of us. The middle portion of the body, which holds the body together, and which distributes the food everywhere and cleans the blood all the time, is called the rajas. Then we have the head where you can see, think, enjoy, plan, scheme, and imagine: a totally different kind
of activity. This is called the sattva. So in our body we also have rajas, tamas, and sattva. The leaves, the flowers, the fruits, the sky, and the fresh air, are all sattva. The stem, the branches are all rajas. Similarly anything hard and working all the time, holding together like the way a trunk holds the tree together, protects all, are rajas ; and the roots buried all the time under the cover of the soil, which does not see the light of the day and the putrefied, decomposed food which is the food of the roots, darkness where the roots are always, are all tamas. Darkness also means not having knowledge, not seeing the brightness of life, all are tamas. Tamas therefore also means darkness. Similarly, there are these activities which are called the sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic activities. Soft, gentle, quiet activities are sattvic. The activity of the nature of constantly supplying and distributing the material from the roots to the whole of plant, holding the plant together and protecting, all are rajasic activity. There is also another activity which is tirelessly going on: doing monotonous work, not seeing the light of the day, hard, constantly pressurized labor kind of activity, which is tamas. Thus, the creation is made out of all these three different kinds. This is how the whole creation can be looked at it is made up of these three gunas namely sattva, rajas, and tamas. Krishna says, “Look at all these three things.” This is how basically nature and activity can be explained into three different kinds. Unfortunately most of the spiritual texts set sattva, rajas, and tamas into a hierarchy, saying that sattva is very good and wonderful, and that we all should go to sattva, whereas rajas is bad, and tamas is horrible. This is how most of the texts have translated, but it appears to me in a different way at all times. Each is important and each is doing its own work wonderfully. If you say sattva is good, being in the fresh air, and the flowers and foliage are good, and you take the roots and keep it in the sky trying to make the roots sattva, the plant will die. Similarly, if you say, “Why do my feet have to carry the body all the time? Let the feet also be in the space outside. Let me use my feet for thinking because I would like my feet to do sattvic activity. Therefore, I will stand on my head.” That’s not right. Each has to do its own job. Sattva has to happen in a sattvic way. Rajas has to work in a rajasic way. Tamas has to work in a tamasic way. Not only that, only when sattva is recognized and provided the chance to manifest its natural state of sattva it is going to be in bliss, and same way rajas is recognized as rajas and provided the opportunity to manifest rajas naturally, it will be pleased, and tamas needs the same way recognition. In the human beings also there are three categories of people. It is not that a person who is of one quality does not manifest other qualities, but basically one or the other qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas will be predominant and others will be supporting that major quality. We may have all these three, but one of these qualities can be dominant in us. Some people have sattva as predominant quality. These are people engaged in thinking, planning, and organizing which are basically sattvic activities. Whereas people who are rajasic by nature can protect and organize an army of people for giving protection or for running an organization or a country due to their very nature. They are also people who can distribute things and do trade just like the way the middle portion of our body does. These are people who belong to the category of kings and traders. It is their very nature to be able to do that. Sattvic people are like our head by nature. They think and organize. Rajasic people are like our trunk or stomach portion which protects and organizes the food etc. There is also a fourth category of people who are like our feet. They can do heavy
work. They do the labor work and we should be able to appreciate their activity. They are like our feet which carry the weight of the body without any complaint from morning to night. We can not say that tamasic activities are inferior activities and thinking and planning are superior activities. We are here to improve the world and make them go from tamas to rajas and then ultimately to sattva. That is the way we can improve the mankind. Therefore in order to improve a person we should make them do sattvic activity and take him out of tamas activities. By making them do these sattvic activities which they are not suitable for, actually you are giving them trouble. A scientist is a sattvic person. But if a scientist says, “All right, let me start a business,” he will be a failure. Business requires a different frame of mind. It is a rajasic mind. A professor is a sattvic person. If you put him in the army, he will be a failure. He can only think in a way of a scientist. The other day I heard an incident. During a state of emergency in a country they wanted to have many people in army and they were recruiting all eligible adults. A professor was drafted into the army and during the training period the captain was giving orders. They were learning to march and the captain was ordering, “Left right, left right. Right turn. Left turn… And left turn. And another right turn’. The professor stood still. He did not move with the others. The captain came to him and asked, “Why don’t you join the march?” The professor asked the captain, “You first decide which way to go. Then I will move. You are constantly changing, right turn, left turn and all that.” The professor cannot understand that. By nature, he is a different person. Similarly, there is a fourth category of people who are laborers, and we have to have
respect for them. What they do is a wonderful job. If you ask a professor to do the labor job, he will be a failure, whereas certain people are suitable for work like that. Understanding their nature, putting them to the kind of work that they are suited to would be a wonderfully harmonious match. The work which is harmonious for you and the activity which harmoniously blends with your nature does not become a burden. I was having a colleague in my office. He is a trained engineer but he is basically tamasic in nature. He was happy doing preparing the reports work which really does not require any brain but it is simply collecting the data from one report and reorganizing into another report. He was never tired doing such repetitive activity without any complaint. He does not worry why he is doing that work, where that report is going to go or is there any other way of simplifying the repetitive monotonous work. Many of us were wondering how can he do it that we could not have done for such long time. It is alright for few days doing such repetitive work. Therefore these divisions namely the learned class, royal class, trader class, and the labor class are basically divided because of their innate quality of sattva, rajas, and tamas and generally speaking they come by birth in the family. Gandhi was a businessman by birth. The business spirit or the money matter was there in his blood from hereditary. To show how subtle this nature was, let me give an example that I heard some where from his life. Those days when freedom struggle was going on, he inspired the whole country by his talks. One day in Ahmadabad, he was giving a talk. There were thousands of people who assembled. It was in the night. First he inspired them for the national freedom struggle and then said that this required a lot of funds. He wanted to raise funds. People were really charged to participate in freedom struggle by giving donations. The organizers spread a white sheet on the stage. People came in a queue, and they were giving whatever money or jewelry they had, throwing it onto the white sheet. All the leaders were standing there. After all was collected, the leaders made a list of the things given. Gandhi was talking to somebody. They finished the counting and showed the list to him. Gandhi looked at the list, just glanced, and then asked them, “Have you taken everything?” They said, “Yes.” He asked again, “Did you not miss any small little thing?” They said, “No. “Why don’t you check again?” he insisted. They started feeling a little annoyed. Because, you know, businessmen look into small things when the question of money is there. They do not even want to leave small things. He has become a national leader but he still has the quality of a businessman. They were a bit irritated. Realizing this, Gandhi said, “OK. Let’s go now.” Then they retired into the tent. Suddenly in the middle of the night, Gandhi came unto the stage with a small little lantern. When he was coming, the others also followed him. When he came unto the stage, he found a small stool standing in the corner. One little earring was lying underneath it. He picked up the earring and gave it to the man. “Please take this also carefully because I respect this. Whoever has given this thing must have really urged, pleaded God, that with this, the country should get freedom. That’s why this is very precious,” he said. Then they asked Gandhi, “We have really mistaken you, Gandhiji. How could you guess it and how did you know something must have gone there?” He said, “Naturally, people were coming from this direction, and when they threw their donation items, something could roll and fall in that direction. So I thought that we had
not checked under the small table. That’s why I’ve come.” Then they asked him, “How did you know that something was missing?” This is a very businessman like attitude that comes into the picture. “When I was glancing at the list, I have seen the necklace and this and that. They were all alright but when I looked at the number of earrings, I thought that anybody would give two earrings, not one earring. So I should finally have an even number, not an odd number. When I looked at the number of earrings, it was an odd number. Then I thought something must be missing.” This is the attitude of a businessman. A businessman cannot miss this. This type of perception is so deeply in that person Similarly some people by their very nature are leaders and protective. So Karma Yoga says ‘recognize one’s inner nature and give the right kind of work’. Do the work the way that it needs to be done, and then the work will not be a burden. Tulasi plant is generally considered as sattvic since its medicinal value and the legend that is attached with it. However, its roots are again tamas by nature and the food it takes like the dirt and slush inside the earth is also tamasic etc. but if you say it is tulasi which is supposed to sattvic and food like sweets kheer or milk pudding is sattvik food. therefore let me serve the roots of tulasi kheer and not give water or soil with manure, then the plant will die within a day! therefore match the nature of subject and object! Nature itself does not create some thing bad or unacceptable. So it is wrong to say tamas is bad by creation. And you can not also isolate tamas or rajas in this creation and eliminate. It is like cutting our legs and saying legs are tamas. Nature itself is a combination of sattva, rajas or tamas in harmonious proportions. Neither sattva is bad, or rajas or tamas. They are what they are. In the journey of life we come across all these things namely sattva, rajas, and tamas. In this vast dynamic creation called universe there is a harmony between these three gunas in the same way our dynamic structure called body we have all the three gunas in nice harmony to start with. In us though there is this harmony some are predominantly one Guna or the other but other gunas also exist. We are comfortable with what suits our nature and there is nothing right or wrong about it. Even the colors can be looked from the angle of sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Even the colors also have an appeal according to ones nature. That is why we like also colors accordingly and nothing wrong in that. One might wonder how can somebody like those colors. It is only that their nature makes them to appreciate those colors! Similarly in tastes, music interest, art interest, and in all fields of life we can find people liking things which suite their nature. There is nothing wrong in this. If every thing is fine and every Guna is fine then what is wrong and why suffering? Our suffering is due to our attachments to one or the other of these gunas.. Our problem is our attachment with one or the other. If my nature is sattva I tend to do and choose things according to my nature called sattva and if my nature is rajas I do things and I like things which are rajasic in nature. This is perfect. But life does not always go on in one guna. Here and there once in a while we may have to shift from one guna to other guna according to the necessity of the situation which we call as crisis. If I am attached to sattva, even when I have to do rajas or tamas, I still end up doing sattva way only due to my attachment. It is like an obsession in the body. A crude example can be if there is some problem in the body the sattvic way to manage is to just apply a balm, and the rajasic way is to give some harsh and painful drugs or application and tamasic way is to cut and do surgery. In case of a growth in the body where you really need a surgery if the surgeon says he is sattvic, he does everything in a sattva way only; even when he needs
to cut open the body, take out the abscess, and take out the growthâ€Ś it is an obsession and is not in harmony. This is wrong! Now the summary of this understanding is that nothing wrong about sattva rajas and tamas but the attachment is wrong and pain giving. Spiritual growth and bliss is in doing. Things according to our nature and only in case of crisis management we can switch from one Guna to the other. That is called as swadharma working in harmony with our own nature is yoga way that is known as the perfection of work and is yoga [ Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam]
Karma, Akarma, Vikarma
When I need to beat, I need to beat. When I can do it in a soft and gentle way, I should do that way. We should have this freedom. And this freedom is possible only if you do not have an attachment to any one of these natures.
Sattva is good at some places and bad at some places but attachment to sattva is always bad. Rajas is also good on some situations and bad in some situations where as attachment to rajas is always bad. Tamas is also good in some situations and bad in other situations but attachment to tamas is always bad. Thus, yoga is non-attachment: non-attachment to all three gunas. If you have an attachment, you do it your own way. The result may be some times success and many times may be failure. But you still continue to do it your own way because of your attachment. Though from the point of view of the result of the activity, it may be successful but from the point of view of self it is always bad and non- spiritual because such an activity promotes our attachment only. Therefore what you do is not depended on what is the result but what is the state of the subject or self. If the subject is getting more and ore bound by his nature he is getting bound, if the person is not getting caught up in his own nature then it is freedom. If our focus is on outside it is worldliness and if the attention is self then it is spirituality. Whereas if you do not have an attachment, you can do what is right. One more concept of Karma Yoga and then we can stop.
Chapter 2: Karma, Akarma, Vikarma Krishna gives one more idea of karma yoga in Gita: Different people have different explanations about the concept of karma, akarma, and vikarma about which Krishna says in Gita. It is often stated that karma is the rituals and the activities such as the performances of Yagna etc. and akarma is like the non action and the example they give is the axle which is behind the wheel. Finally vikarma is explained as the actions which are prohibited like violence, steeling and robbing, injuring some thing telling lies and series of activities of this nature which are essentially bad. I had difficulty in understanding this because Krishna need not say these things to Arjuna because Arjuna has already been extremely good. He can not think of doing any thing of this sort. There is no reason Krishna has to tell him what is good activity and what is the bad activity in the midst of the whole army waiting for the signal to fight and also advice him not to do bad activity and do only good activity. We don’t need spiritual knowledge to tell us to do good actions and not to do bad, to do right and not to do wrong. This is the roll of simple moral knowledge. It is not spiritual knowledge because spiritual knowledge is far beyond the moral knowledge. Arjuna has been highly moral and yet he is suffering. Therefore moral knowledge can not find a solution which Arjuna needed at this point. Therefore in my point of view we need to look at Vikarma from a different angle, different from moral angle so that we can get spiritual knowledge. Let me share with you this idea. According to Krishna in Gita, he says there are three things which he states as karma akarma and vikarma. Out of these three Karma and Akarma can be translated as action and non-action. It is easy to understand action and non-action but it is difficult to understand Vikarma because we think we are familiar with handling any activity in two ways namely action or non-action and we assume we don’t have third possibility of handling activity. Action is fine, non-action is fine. He calls action as KARMA. When he says A+KARMA we can look at it as NON+ACTION. He says karma is fine, and that akarma is also fine and both have to be there and they are mutually complimentary. However he says, don’t do Vikarma. Now in this statement he brings the third concept called as Vikarma. It is unique with Gita. Vikarma is bad. Krishna says, that activity is OK, non-activity is also fine, but he also says, don’t do Vikarma. Vikarma puzzles us. We wonder what is it and how does it exist. When there is some thing to be done, you either do it or do not do it. You only have two alternatives. Here is a simple example. I am watching a football game on TV. My wife is busy in the kitchen. And the child cries. Maybe he needs a diaper change. He cries. Like a responsible husband I tell my wife, “Take care of the kid.” She responds, “You take care of the kid as I am busy in the kitchen cooking!” I say “I am also busy”. She replies from kitchen, “I know what are you busy with watching the useless football match, nothing will happen in two minutes”. Ego
is hurt, but now to cover up I bring the law point, “it is the duty of the mother and not the father to take care of the child”, I bring in law point. I now have two alternatives: I either do karma or akarma. I take care of child or I do not take care of him. I choose not to take care of him because I have an idea. It is not a man who should take care of the child. So I tell my wife, “I am busy here watching the football match. You take care of the kid.” I know in my heart also that it is only an excuse and I am not busy. I don’t have to see football match, after all what is there if I don’t watch football match! She says, “All right, I’ll take care of the kid, but you will not have lunch.” That is her triumph card. That is a problem for me now. Now what to do? I now feel no other alternative as I don’t want to miss the lunch!! Then very unwillingly I agree to take care of the kid with out one more word of argument, but deep inside, I feel angry. Why should I take care? I should not be doing this. I am a man. Men should not take care of children. Men only give birth for a child. All such arguments rise inside. Yet I still go and take care of him. I now angrily ask the child, “Yes, tell me what are you doing all this mess for”? Wife hears my harsh voice and says from in side the kitchen talk to him nicely, don’t be unkind. Now I can’t even be harsh so I stomach my anger and work! That way while I am doing an activity my inside is constantly telling me “don’t do”. This doing has a strong fight inside. This is defined as vikarma. Vikarma is essentially keeping the negativity and fighting inside while doing an activity. This fighting is roughly called as ‘reaction’. Krishna says that action is fine. Non-action is also fine, but this reaction is bad because the reaction disturbs your inner peace and harmony. Reaction is a poison in our body. Every reaction throws adrenalin in the body in an erratic way. Every reaction disturbs your body chemistry. Reaction is bad. Our action can be reaction. Even our non-action can be reaction. So reaction can manifest in the form of action as well as non-action. What we see outside is action or non-action but what is hidden behind is reaction. Action or non-action is only outer cover, but the spirit behind is reaction. Looking or caring for action or non-action is looking at the world but looking and caring for the reaction or the spirit behind is the spirituality. Every activity we do is a reaction and not action. Reaction means the outside is dictating what you should do. There is always an external reason for every reaction. We are not living for our sake we are living for the sake of others we are like the robot in the hands of out side world. Even when we smile we think what I get in this smile. I have to get some thing or the other for doing some thing. When you do it there is always a reason why you do. Your doing is not just doing it is a link in the long chain. Once it becomes like a link in the chain the joy of doing is gone because that doing is only a means for some other end. End can always have economics, end can always have competition. End will always be looking to cut down the path. The doing then becomes a burden. When you have nothing to do you just go round for a walk. You are simply enjoying the walk because there is no agenda behind it. But the same walk you are going to work then it will be come like a burden. When you walk for walking sake it is not taxing but when you walk for reaching a goal then the walk becomes a burden. The ease aspect is gone. Walk for walk sake can be there need not be there. There is an air of option. Where as when you walk for reaching office, then the walking psychologically creates bondage. Like the way flower flowers like a plant comes out of seed action should manifest. Then such an activity is spontaneous and is bliss. That is only called as action or karma. When we look
at this we realize how less we do karma and how much are we doing Vikarma! Now look at our twenty-four hours of the day and seven days of the week. How much time are you spending doing action, or non-action? And how much you are spending our time and energy in reaction? Suppose you have to get up early in the morning. No doubt you get up early morning as alarm rings and realize what the first thought that comes into your mind is: “Oh my God, I have to get up. I don’t want to get up. It is horrible. I shouldn’t go to that office.” But then you get up and go. You are on the road. You say to your self, “Horrible traffic! Everybody is on the road!” But you still travel. You reach office and there you find your boss and momentarily you say to yourself, “See, how horrible it is. Now I have to face him throughout the day”. Yet you smile and greet. Understand that in each of these actions every one of them is nothing but reaction only. Same way your non action is in true sense not non-action. You are resting. But you are not peacefully resting. Thought comes up, “if I don’t sleep, what will happen tomorrow? Should I get up and do this and this or should I just say let me do it tomorrow”. That sleep also has an agenda. Ninety per cent of our whole day is in the form of reactions. That is why we are in trouble. Krishna says, “Give up reaction.” Once you give up reaction then you will not have the problem of this fight within and the disharmony within. We feel that is alright but if I do not react how the other person can be set right? I have to get anger; I have to have my reaction and I can not give up reaction. Reaction causes disturbances in our body chemistry, it spoils the interpersonal relationship. Every reaction is we are standing against nature, standing against others and finally standing against self how can we stand against self and achieve self?. Reaction creates negativity. Reaction is bad. Though it is bad if I don’t have reaction what do I do? The opposite of reaction is not ‘non-doing’! because reaction can manifest both in the form of doing and non-doing. Do not have reaction. Opposite to reaction is response! Your response helps the situation to become alright. Reaction many times may help the situation temporarily but on a long run it can hurt the situation also. Response unites where as reaction separates! Have response. Respond to the situation. Your response is what is important. Response has compassion and love, where as reaction is very mechanical, it does not have soul! Response is healthy where as reaction is not healthy to one self or even for the situation. Reaction has the tone I have a ‘right’ to do this way or the other way. Reaction is basically based on our rights. I have a right to react. It is showing our right. The question choosing between reaction and response is actually between rights and responsibilities. These days, people talk so much about their ‘rights’ that it is the most important thing in life. Individual rights constitutional rights, human rights children rights abuse of ‘rights’ so on and so forth. From morning to evening we keep hearing about the ‘rights’. I was trying to find out what to call for rights in the Sanskrit based languages. Very surprisingly I found that there is no word equivalent in Sanskrit language for right, there is no word for right! Sanskrit language is one of the richest languages. It has so many words, which are not there in other languages. When Sanskrit could give us many words could
they not have been given one more word called “right”? They wontedly carefully avoided the concept. Often in the sloka of Karmanyevadhikaraste... adhikara is translated as right. But this is not correct because right is always associated with result or remuneration but in this sloka Krishna clearly separates the fruit or result of action from Adhikara. Adhikara has been defined by Shankara very beautifully in text Atmabodha. accordingly adhikara means eligibility and responsibility and inner drive and passion for the activity. Of these things responsibility is interesting and unique thinking! They have not given a word for “right”. That is why none of the Indian languages born from Sanskrit has a word for “right”. In all Indian languages, we only use the word “haq” to express right, but “haq” does not have a Sanskrit origin. “Haq” has an Arabic origin. It must have been borrowed after the Muslim invasion of India which is as recent as 12th century or 13th century. But why did we borrow this word? Simple answer is we did not have a word called right. How could a culture survive for ten thousand years without a word called right! Or is it that because we did not have that word, the whole culture survived for a ten thousand years without a “right”. Please understand that this is very important issue. The culture survived not only without “haq”, but the culture survived because that there was no “haq”. Is it not that this haq is a great poison for the social harmony. Search for the whole Indian literature you will find references for responsibilities and no where there is reference for rights! We have no rights but we have responsibilities under Indian culture. During the whole period of Sanskrit literature for ten thousand years, nobody has a right. This we can not even imagine! The king has no rights. Subjects do not have any rights. Women have no rights, men have no rights. Parents have no rights. Children have no rights. But everybody has responsibilities. The king has a responsibility. The subject has a responsibility. The parents have responsibilities. Children have responsibilities. Why? A ‘rights’ divide you. If the parents say, “These are my rights” to the children, they are not one unit bout they are separating themselves out. The husband says, “These are my rights” to his wife, they don’t become a unit together but he is separating out. If a king says, “I have rights,” he is not one of the people. Whereas, on the other hand, if he says he has the responsibility he is part of the whole population. Like the way hands and legs are part of the body and try to survive and be happy collectively. Same way according to Indian philosophy a home or a town or a s kingdom all are living organisms like out body and various persons involved in this are various components sharing the responsibility of collective living. Father is not is not separate from the family. An individual is not separate from the society king is not separate from the kingdom. Rights separate and responsibilities unite. Everybody’s responsibility is to unite with the other. The parents have the responsibility to make the house beautiful. The children have the responsibility to make house beautiful. The king has the responsibility to make the country beautiful. The subjects have a responsibility to make the country beautiful. Responsibilities bring people together. Rights separate. Responsibility has yoga, reunion built in it. Rights separate us. That is why a culture which has responsibility as the root, is a culture which survives, which is time tested. A simple example: there are thirteen of us here. If we take responsibilities, it becomes simple. On the other hand if we sit and say, “This is my right, and this is my right,” we can only destroy.
I only wish if these concepts of Karma Yoga spread in the world it would be like a heaven or people in heaven will be jealous of the earth .we may want this strong message that we should have a world society where everybody is responsible nobody has any rights. What a wonderful world we can create. We have the responsibility to see the world will be with richness. Trees are rich, rivers are rich, forests are rich and every where there is richness. How can I do that? It is simple. Before I destroy one thing let me build twice of that. Before I take a leaf from a plant, let me give water to the plant so that it has two leaves. Responsibility comes from within. Responsibility has a satisfaction in itself where as rights are looking for the satisfaction elsewhere. A right has to be imposed from outside. Responsibility requires spirituality. A right requires constitution. We have this wonderful country India, for ten thousand years its culture was based on responsibility. This has been said all over the scriptures, and when we got freedom, our leaders wanted to write a constitution. They were very good and patriotic but they lacked the necessary spiritual attitude to look at the spiritual basis of this culture which survived this for ten thousand years intact if not more. The country was not only survived but was the most prosperous. Until few centuries ago the whole world was looking up to India for riches and happiness. Alexander the great came all the way from Macedonia to conquer this country if it were not rich. Persian kings such as Gory Muhammad and Ghajni Muhammad would not have invaded this country umpteen number of times and plundered its wealth if it were not prosperous. Vasco De Gamma or Columbus would not have dreamt of reaching India if India were not prosperous! McCauley in his address in British parliament said as late as in 1826 that this land is where there in not even one beggar and every house serves food to anybody in this land. Our leaders would have thought what made this country prosperous; what was the unique feature which was there in its thought process. Unfortunately they have totally rejected all the ancient Indian thought as a bundle of out dated dogmas! The framers of constitution have taken guidance from American constitution, French constitution and British constitution to frame ours. There fore our constitution has looked at the rights of every one and not the responsibilities. Our culture was based on responsibilities and our constitution is based on rights. Therefore unfortunately, what happened is that our constitution and ruling is mismatched with the culture. It is one of my dreams that the day comes and hope that is not far away, that we recreate a society based on responsibility, and show the world that something like that can work.
Chapter 3: Naishkarmya Siddhi Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita brings about another extraordinary subtler aspect of activity, which is about naish karma that state is called as naishkarmya siddhi. This is different from Nishkama-Karma, action without desire for fruit. A simple meaning of the word sounds that it is “non-doing”. It sounds very much like non action, but it is different and it is very spiritual. He says ‘just by non-action one does not reach the state of non-doing, just as by rejecting the world one does not reach the fullness of satisfaction or one attains the supreme’. He shows a clear difference between non-action and the state of non doing. Action and nonaction are two different things as discussed earlier. Let me try to explain them in detail. Action and no action are opposite to one another. Both options are there for us very clearly in all activities. We do an activity or we don’t do an activity, either we take the stance of doing or we can take the stance of non-doing depending upon the need and the situation we are in. I put the seed in a prepared bed of soil and give all necessary things like manure, water, and sunshine etc. Now the plant has to go on its journey from out of seed. That is not in our hands. I now sit and wait. Until now I was on the phase of action now I am in the phase of non- action. I can be agitated and restless; I may pace up and down. These are the only kind of activities I can do. About the plant coming out of the seed I have to wait and see but nothing I can do. I have to accept non-action. I cannot pluck the plant out of seed. Nothing I can do about it. I cannot even say, let me reduce the suffering of the plant in coming out of seed by plucking it out of seed. I may on the other hand, damage the plant or kill the plant itself. I read the story long time ago whose significance I see now in this context. Some where a social worker saw, a butterfly struggling to come out of its pupa, it is still very tiny and cute but it is going to be a big butterfly when it comes out, but now it is struggling in the pupa to come out. He felt compassionate towards the little one. He felt bad when he saw that the butter-fly is struggling with the hard shell of pupa to break. Now this social worker wanted to help; he thought after all, let me cut the pupa wall little by little without injuring the butter fly, so that he could release a butterfly out of the hard shell. His intention was not even bad; it was on other hand very good. His intension was never to hurt the butterfly. His intension was not even to see the butterfly fast and own the butterfly. Don’t find fault with his intentions in any way. When he fully cut open the pupa wall the butterfly is released. Freshly coming out to the world, the butter fly fluttered her wings to dry and make it loose, and she wanted to fly in the open sky. Other butterflies also come out of their shelter, come out of their pupa but naturally with
out cutting their pupa and they also fluttered their wings free, and in front of his eyes they started flying in the infinite sky and into fresh air. But this butterfly, which he helped, wanted to fly but could not. The person now found out that the butterfly wings are not fully grown. Like the wings of the other butterflies who struggle their way through and who come out of pupa in natural process. The social worker lamented. ‘Oh, god! What happened’? He wanted to help the butterfly he felt the butterfly is struggling its way but unfortunately, if the butterfly gone through the struggle she would have had fully grown strong wings, but because he did not provide the opportunity to the wings , the opportunity to the butterfly to struggle her way she didn’t develop her wings fully. Intentions may be good. But a lack of patience wanting to be a doer can create a problem. He has done something which has caused the suffering and he became the doer because he thought he can reduce the suffering of the butterfly. How can you reduce the suffering of plant coming out of a seed, or the suffering of a butterfly coming out of a pupa? Don’t be a player, even in good activity. Some people become players by involving in doing an activity. On the other hand some other people would become players by withdrawing from doing an activity. So in doing an activity or in not doing an activity, in both cases one can become a player and in turn the sufferer. Allow ‘doing’ to happen, allow ‘non-doing’ to happen, in both the cases don’t be a player. Human being has a wonderful facility over other creature. Matter has the consciousness which has totally become existence. Matter has nothing but existence. Plants and animals have consciousness, which becomes existence and also are conscious of existence. That’s why plants and animals not only exist but they can work towards existence. Plants send roots in to the ground, through the stones and pebbles to reach the water bed and to get the nutrients. Plants send the leaves in the direction of the sun to support its existence through the process of photosynthesis. The same way animals search for their food and struggle for existence, because they are conscious of existence. Whereas the human being is existence and conscious of existence and in addition to both, he is conscious of the consciousness for existence. That is why he can be a witness of his existence. And he can also be conscious of his means or effort for existence. But he has an option in this. He can become a totally involved doer, struggling for existence and may be totally absent as an observer or witness. Or he can also be totally a person conscious of the effort of existence which is witness. He can identify himself with the one who is struggling and putting effort for existence. Or he can also be witness of the one, who is struggling or putting effort for existence. The moment one become a witness, one is free from ups and downs, successes, failures, and all emotional upsurges behind the player. Then he can witness that the play is going on. Then the doing is happening. This is the state called naishkarmaya, the non doer. Such a person who has realized naishkarma, or who has achieved naishkarmya siddhi, he is walking yet not walking; he is talking, yet not talking etc., ‘I am doing’, concept of him is totally dissolved and he is totally one with the witness and which is nothing but ‘I am being’. Once you become a sakshi or witness, the search for happiness through the objective
possessions, recognitions and all the other things from outside do not make any sense. One finds the happiness within. Search for the happiness outside may be one type of bondage, which is crossed. Subtler than this bondage is the bondage of wanting to be the doer. The doer bondage is much more disturbing and is very difficult to recognize. All the people who do and want to do good are seldom caught in this bondage. That is the reason you see their life becomes very serious and the bliss of life will only be at the lips level. He is constantly in pairs of opposite and he can not accept that both success and failure are one and the same. Once this bondage is dropped, he is then free. One who reaches this freedom is beyond the ultimate pairs of opposites called birth and death. Between birth and death, two aspects are blended. We are working and also we are living. One is the ‘doing aspect’, between the birth and death, heart will be pumping blood, breathing goes on, the nourishment has to take place and the struggle for existence is continuing. All these things are one aspect of life which is the doing aspect. The doing has the limitation of birth and death. And the doing stops with the death. The stopping of the doing itself is death. There is another aspect underlying this doing which is the ‘being’ aspect, the being has been going through all these changes. Yet the being has none of these limitations or the pairs of opposite. It is free. It has no boundaries. One who is held by doing is bound by limitations. Therefore fear will be there; where as one, who is identified by being, he is the existence itself. Such a person will not be touched by success or failure, praise or blame, or finally birth and death. Fear will be there if we want one and we don’t want the other and there is a possibility to get the one which is not our choice. Therefore fear does not touch him who does not have pairs of opposite. That is called as final ‘abhaya’ state or the state of ‘freedom from fear’. This is the subtlest aspect of karma yoga called naishkarmya siddhi. Achieving this in karma yoga is parallel to achieving Samadhi in raja yoga. The description of Brahman is given as “Sat Chit Ananda” where Sat means the existence itself. A person who achieves naishkarmya siddhi has achieved the ‘sat’ aspect of Brahman and becomes one with Brahman. Several ideas are there on Karma Yoga. Let me just give one final message. Yoga does not mean running away from the work. Yoga is holding responsibilities more joyfully and harmoniously. Yoga does not make somebody irresponsible. If it makes anybody irresponsible, it is not yoga. Let me now sum up these few ideas of karma yoga: Karma yoga can be one of the paths of yoga if only it contributes to the peace of mind and harmony with-in like all other paths of yoga have to give us the peace of mind and harmony. ‘Doing good actions and guiding us not to do bad actions’ is not purpose of karma yoga. This is at simple moral level. Good and bad is at ordinary level of human transaction. If a human being is not doing good and doing bad he is to be punished. There is no spirituality in this. Arjuna was already good but he needed Bhagavad-Gita. It means that karma yoga is not to give us the clarity about good and bad but to take us beyond.
So the journey or the sadhana of karma yoga is to rise from good action to the action without expectations of fruits of action, and finally to go to action where the doer is absent and the doer ship is sacrificed and dissolved. This is similar to the last three steps in astanga yoga namely dharana dhyana Samadhi. These are sat karma, phalapeksha rahita karma and finally naishkarmya siddhi. Like the body is the temple of god, the same way the work we do is also the worship of god. It is our ignorance which makes us to take work as stress or curse or punishment and only if we do some specific activity that will be karma yoga and sacred. An attitude which can make this transformation of all activities we do is karma yoga.
Chapter 4: Question and answers QUESTION: The new age groups also are teaching some similar principles yoga is giving. Can we say that one can follow yoga or any of these new-age groups and still get the same result? ANSWER: what ever fancy name you want to give it is fine. After all, all these methods are techniques of yoga. But in my opinion our ancient seers, inner scientists have already given us such variety of practices, let us not limit them innocent common man saying that this is the only method, only yoga is the path! I’ll tell you where Krishna thinks about this idea. “Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana; Maa karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango’stwakarmani.” / Bhagavad Gita 2.47 “Oh, Arjuna you have the adhikara to do the action but not the fruits for the action. You also do not become the cause for the fruits and don’t be attached to non-action.” Regarding the origin of this knowledge of yoga, Krishna gives a very philosophical Arjuna. In Bhagavad-Gita Arjuna asks Krishna “Look, you are telling all these things. When did all this knowledge come?” Krishna answers that this knowledge is called as yoga and is ageless. Basically the principles of yoga are given birth to creation. Even when creation had not taken place, the concept of creation, the concept of yoga had always been a part of existence. This is a basic idea. The creation has originated from the concept of harmony. When he created the day, simultaneously the night was created. When the birth was created, at the same time the death was defined. This means that this concept of harmony, which is essentially yoga, was even there before creation has taken place. And at any point of time, if the survival has to continue, then this balance has to be maintained. So that is why this idea of yoga or the state of yoga is something which is always there through time. This is why it is called as ageless. This is something which is there at the background and this is the background for the rhythm that is there. A thing which does not belong to this gets eliminated. For example, when man did not have all this technological developments, all this culture and civilization, it was not that he was sitting in a forest meditating. He was living harmoniously. That is his support of life. It is this harmony which maintained him. That is the background of life. In fact, one of the Upanishads uses this statement called “yoga dandha”. It basically means that the central core support is yoga. As man has grown he required a method of practice which has to remind him about yoga
all the time. That is how these practices evolved. Every one is engaged in these practices as a part of the culture whether he is a servant or a teacher or a trader every one used to practice yoga on a regular basis. The king who was ruling a kingdom of lavishness and luxury is also a student of yoga. Yoga is taught in the school to small children. Yoga is also taught to Arjuna by Krishna in the battlefield. In that sense, yoga is all inclusive. One might wonder what yoga Arjuna was to know in Battle field. Definitely it was not the practice of asanas. But it was definitely yoga. Therefore it is always chanted that it is Bhagavad-Gita and the science of yoga. People have taken yoga and tried to use it for their own smaller purposes. For example, the Indian dance has developed on the principles of yoga. Indian cooking has developed on the principles of yoga. People have picked few ideas of yoga although they lack the whole system of management. You are asking me a question about new age group and ask me is it yoga. There are a few yoga principles here and there they have picked up and that they started giving several names. One such thing is what is called a new age group. And they say, “What we are saying the same thing yoga also says.” Actually few of them grasped what yoga says. In my opinion, I have no objection about that since you pick up a few principles of yoga and make your life better. It is wonderful. QUESTION: You are talking about good and bad, and it is critical in the end deciding what is good and what is bad because it is relative and good and bad changes according to culture. So how will we decide? ANSWER: In fact, I can clearly say that culturally what is good for one can be bad for the other culture. So this is very local thing to call one thing good or bad according to the culture. They are not absolute. This is essentially respecting the culture. In that sense, there is not good and bad in reality, whereas at a much deeper sense, there is no good and bad. So Krishna also gives in Bhagavad-Gita some simple principles of good and bad. But finally, he gives another definition which is a much more encompassing definition. This is, “That which helps the sustenance is good, that which promotes destruction is bad”. Wherever we can adapt the good and the bad in a society of that society, or culture, or whatever it is, it is fine because that culture has not come to you; you have gone to that culture. Take for example the few things in certain parts of India. There are certain things which are good or bad, but the moment you come to Prashanti, there are different points of good and bad. So Prashanti has defined good and bad one way. That definition of good and bad in Prashanti is to develop that kind of an environment and an atmosphere which is necessary for people to grow certain things of life. If I go to Prashanti, I can get what Prashanti can offer to me, and adapt to the good and bad of Prashanti. I adapt these things so that I can get the best of Prashanti. If I’m in a car, the moment I sit in the car in the driver’s seat, I have some goods and bad there, some thing right and some thing wrong, and I need to respect, and the moment I respect, then the car will help me. So we should have that flexibility to accept, but they are not absolute. Absolute bad is that where you clearly see that the end point is destruction and if it is going to sustain and not cause destruction then it is good. That definition of good and bad will help us to take world much better way.
QUESTION: But sometimes destruction can bring something that is good. ANSWER: That is right. I mean the destruction and the sustenance in the long run. I destroy a bacterium for life to survive because the badness of the bacteria is that it not only destroys the other, but it also gets destroyed in the process. Let me make it a little clearer. For example, take the case of a bacterium. The bacterium is actually surviving in that person. But in the process it destroys that person and when the person is not there, the bacterium also gets destroyed, too. Whatever that is sustained. What is the badness of cancer? The cancer cell destroys a person who is responsible for its own growth. This is bad because it is self-destructive. This has to be understood from a deeper perspective. QUESTION: You have not brought any thing about Nitya [routine]karma, Nimitta [icidental] karma and Kamya[ action with desire] karma which other people bring about while discussing about karma yoga? Can you clarify these terms? ANSWER: Yes. When I gave my ideas about karma yoga I wanted to keep my discussions only on the terms which are in the usage of common people whether they are in the east or in the west. If I bring about too many terms, then it will confuse the reader. These days even in the east common man does not use words like Nitya karma, Nimitta karma or Kamya karma etc. But some people who are familiar with Indian ideas want to know about them. Therefore let me now explain in simple terms about what is meant by these terms and how can we adapt the benefit of discussing about these words in to present day’s life. Another point also we hear that some thing happens people easily say it is karmic effect. What is the connection between this karmic effect and the karma? Can we influence the karmic effect by doing karma yoga is another point people wonder. If it is so, how can it be done? When you look at the life at plant level, plants don’t have to do any thing for their life or living. They can also not do any thing. They have the earth below and sun above supplying them food. The growth takes place automatically. It appears like that they are spreading the roots into soil avoiding hard stones and sending them to such depths that in soil where they can find water and loose soil. Similarly send their flowers and foliage into sky, so that they can access sun and light required for their life. In the winter season when there is either mist or snow and sun is not therein the sky bright, they shed their leaves and wait for the new set of leaves to come, so that in an intelligent way life continues. All these things happen as a predetermined cycle in plants and they do not actively participate in doing any thing. None of these activities are volitional. As far as animals are concerned, animals have to go round in search of the food and shelter. They have to find water and their mate. But these things are not there as their responsibility or they have to allocate their time for all these activities. We can not even know what goes on in their minds. When they have to go round and do things like searching food and shelter. We really do not know and we do not think that they would be saying like we human beings say, ‘oh god! Once again I have to go on my work. How I wish it is a holiday. How I wish some others bring my food so that I don’t have to hunt my food. They may not be grumbling like the way human being grumbles. They appear to be doing normally as if they are programmed to do. When it comes to human being it is some thing peculiar. He has to do and he will be doing it but he will have in his mind, ‘oh, why
should I do? Can some one else do for me. Can I not skip it for today from doing it… etc. the same animals which do not mind doing activities like fetching food etc, when they are domesticated, dog s and cats or birds or some times even the wild animals which are kept in zoos when they are left in their habitation of forest once again they would have lost their ability to live instinctively and they can not survive. In the case of human being he has to do several things consciously for his survival once he has grown up. He also created a structure of family and society and became a part of it. Therefore he has also to do several things for the sake of this family and society too. These activities are divided in to two fold. One fold of activities consists of his own security and survival and for taking care of his own existence and the second is the activity that he does for the sake of spiritual unfolding. While understanding about karma yoga, it is important and helpful to understand both these areas of karma. Let us look at the first area of karmas. As human beings we need to regularly take care in our own personal activities such as taking wash, cleanliness, doing regularly some physical and mental activities to keep us fit. We need to earn food for our living, and make all the preparations for that; these are all routine activities which need to be done in sun or rain, in staying at home or in our travels, whether one is man or a woman, young or old. This in Sanskrit is known as ‘nitya karmas’, routine activities. If we fail in these activities we will be injuring us both at body and mind, but doing these activities do not bring us any spiritual or secular growth. We have to do these activates without failure doing is not with any pride that I had bath today, or I brushed my teeth today, did earn my living today. These are the Nitya karma at the personal level. There are some other activities which you need to take care of. Being a father or mother or a teacher or an employee or employer etc., you have to take care of certain activities. The position or the relationship you are in is called as ordained or Nimitta. The position of the situation you are in, demands certain activities and these activities are called as Nimitta karmas. You are in that position, therefore you have those responsibilities. Each Nimitta has its own dynamics and purpose. For having been born in a particular society. We need to do those activities meant for that society without fail, the reason being that the society is doing so much for an individual, for one’s survival and one’s comfort in life. We do not even notice about that. Because of that, an individual has to take the necessary responsibility. So that he will help the society to flow smoothly from generation to generation. An individual is like a link in the chain and the link has to be part of the chain taking its responsibilities. An individual has already derived benefits. For having received benefits it is responsibility of the individual to give back to the society. Since it is about the benefit already received we need to do and doing is not going to give us extra benefit but not doing is wrong on our part! A parent taking care of the child giving education to him at right age, seeing that his life is properly moulded, making things available for his progress to become a useful citizen in the society. Is not just a responsibility for his sake but it is a social responsibility resting on him. Similarly a husband taking care of wife and protecting his wife is not only for his own sake but it is a responsibility. There can be several such activities. These are all Nimitta karmas. Nimitta karmas include duties of father, duties of teacher, duties of student, duties of
employee or employer etc. Doing this Nimitta karma is necessary. And one should not take pride doing these karmas. But not doing these activities is wrong. Therefore Nitya karmas and Nimitta karmas are all necessary activities we need to do for our individual wellbeing and for social wellbeing. Both these categories of activities varied according to place, relation ship, society etc. we must do them and not doing them will be absolutely wrong, because by not doing we are going away from responsibility. People work in a job to earn money for the sake of earning and for the sake of their own family and comforts and finally they say they are doing karma yoga a great service activity. Some people in the pursuit of their own joy or their own name or fame they even neglect their own off springs. Some even become parasites in the society. This is all because of lack of understanding. The karma yoga content of these activities is as follows. People often know that they need to do these activities but let us look into what posture in general people take. They have family and children and they know fully well they need to take care of them but they have so much of negativity for them as if they are burden on them. Or they are egoistic about the fact that they are taking care of them. One needs to get up early in the morning to go to work, alarm rings but he is not in the mood to get up. He is so reluctant that a part of his mind says get up but another part of the mind says don’t. We create a conflict with in us this conflict is non spiritual is disharmony. When ever I am in Germany I stay in my friends place as a routine me and his wife get up early and ready at six o clock and the breakfast table having our satsang. We ear the sound of his getting up and getting ready at seven in the morning. His wife says now the hurricane is coming and us like a clock work he reach us breakfast table by half fast seven. Leaves for office and we both reach office at eight. He says at seven he will get up and do every thing and after reaching office at eight he wakes up! We have to wake up but we don’t want to. We fight from within. We don’t wake up even fully. We have war within. According to karma yoga if we don’t do these activities we fail, if we do these activities with a lot of fight inside it can create health problems. In addition this fight is violence. This tendency for violence will percolate into our system unconsciously. This way any activity we do potentially develops a tendency of violence within us. Krishna calls such activities as Vikarma. It is necessary to create a deep inner feeling to do these activities without creating any negativity. That is what our religious fathers have tried in giving the touch of Dharma. Therefore Sanatana dharma gives Nitya karma and Nimitta karma as a part of dharma, so that these activities percolate into our emotional and psychological levels. We have no objection in doing them even at the deepest centers of our mind and heart, because they are activities according to dharma. This in turn helps one into flowing freely, with these Nitya karma and Nimitta karmas. When yoga acharyas like Patanjali gave these same principles as yama and niyama then they become part of life. Essentially these karmas are meant to flow and blend in our life.
When these activities become smooth flow blending totally and coming deep from our heart then they become â€œKamya Karmaâ€? or desired, cherished activity. In other words it means when these activities become Kamya karmas then doing these do not create any opposition in us. I see this often with so many so called orthodox people of India do so many activities which are taken as rituals without any complaint whether it is sun or rain hot or cold. It is because these activities are coming from within as Kamya karmas. A society where majority of population is doing good activity and the activity which can take care of individual and social wellbeing consciously and willingly, the rest of the people will also be motivated. In such a society people will be naturally law abiding. And there will be spontaneous sharing and caring this cannot be enforced from outside in the form of law or a legislation. These things have to become part of dharma. This is where dharma and karma yoga overlap. Description to this kind of society can be seen in several Indian scriptures. Another important reason for taking up these activities is its connection with inner restless energies. In order to understand that we need to do a simple experiment to sit quiet simply, not engaging in any activity, such as watching TV, listing to Music, reading novels or things like gossiping and similar activities. Normally people do not notice the connection between the forces of boredom and the nonsensical activities we do. It is first time when our beloved teacher Prof. Satyanaraya Sastryji suggested then I happened to look at it, which I would like to share with the readers. Just watch what happen when you sit quiet doing nothing. First 5 to 10 minutes it is ok to sit quiet. But soon one starts feeling pressurized from within which we call it as boredom. We need to notice that this boredom is not coming from outside; it is coming from within. One can experience them as a pressured state of inner energy in order to get rid of boredom or pressured state man will be engaging in all kinds of activities he cannot bare with himself being alone or being all by self. He will have to be listening to something or talking to some one on phone or eating or drinking something. This pressured state of inner energy, will be lightened only when he has an avenue to spend this energy through activity centres called sensory organs. This can be explained in the form of following mechanism. A constant energy like thing will be moving in upper direction along the spinal cord into the mind space area slowly pressurizing. And when we listening to the music, music of our choice fall on our ear, ear drum will resonate along with the music in a sympathetic way and resonates and this resonance draws the energy from the mind space. Similarly when we see the sweet and touch it to our tongue, a flood of salivary activities can be noticed in the mouth this activity draws copious amount of energy from the mind space. Leaving the mind space empty or creating an empty space in the mind. This emptiness is the experience of feeling of satisfaction or state of happiness. This kind of a mechanism happens in every person; young or old, literate or illiterate, rich or poor and this mechanism happens in all activities â€“ good or bad, right or wrong, necessary or unnecessary. Most of the people have to do some activity or the other to spend that energy and find empty space inside, which gives them the experience of the joy. I was treating a young girl in Germany suffering from MS. It was so bad that the girl was on wheel chair and could only move her finger. When I was giving her DRT instructions for relaxation she would keep her eyes open and turn her eyes from one side to other side and she could not close her eyes even for half a second. That means she has to spend
whole inner pressure though movement of eye lids or eye balls. All the instruction to her to close the eyes will fail after half a second. After several days of continues training to relax with the help of auto suggestion of DRT she was continuing with the help of recorded instructions. After six months she could close her eyes for at least 3 to 4 minutes and along with that one could notice the stiffness in her body reducing. After three years the medical people were surprise to find that she could hold on to the railing and walk all by her self. But my satisfaction was she could now peacefully close her eyes for 15 minutes without even the eyeball movement. This indicated to me that her inner restless is come down and she is much more peaceful and there is pleasant smile on her face. And I think this inner calmness gave her better control over herself that she could walk and she could come out of her wheel chair. We need to spend this inner restlessness or boredom and this can be done in two ways. One way is by gossiping, reading any crime novels, watching violence in movies, or in drinking or smoking or drug abuse. When we spend that way, no doubt we are on one side spending the restlessness very much so that the heaviness of boredom is reduced. But on the other hand the very nature of these activities, excite our mind and make us much more restless. Therefore the possibility of one becoming much more disturbed at the end is very much there. In stead of spending time in these kind of activities if one can spend in activities which can spend the energy but do not excite one further it is very useful. The activities which by nature do not excite you are the like gardening and doing puja (arranging and decorating god images etc). Nitya and Nimitta karmas are the activity that we do religiously for wellbeing of oneself as well as for the welfare of those for whom we are responsible in the society. And energy we spent in such activities, which are also known as Subha Karmas, will make the inner space empty giving us the satisfaction. Not only one spends his energy deriving inner satisfaction, these activates do not bring forth added restlessness. This is known as purification of mind. In other words Nitya and Nimitta karmas are designed for purification of mind. In absence of this guidance from earlier thinkers and in absence of the details of these karmas, present day society feels losing their pious nature of the society. This discussion helps us in this context as follows. This knowledge can now help one to design at least 3 to 4 hours of his time in to similar activities as follows. 1.One should not become dependant for our comforts on others. 2.One should realize the responsibility to take care of family members and their needs. 3.One should consciously develop friendly attitude towards activities which is suppose to be done as his responsibility. 4.One has to do these activities without any boredom of expectation. 5.One should consciously fill with such neutral activates as doing asana, Pranayama, meditation and other yoga techniques.
Appendix Principles of Karma Yoga as described in Bhagavad-Gita 1. Karma yoga is not an activity but an attitude Na hi kashchit kshanamapi jaatu tishthatyakarmakrit; Kaaryate hyavashah karma sarvah prakritijair gunaih. / 3.5 Verily none can ever remain for even a moment without performing action; for, everyone is made to act helplessly indeed by the qualities born of Nature. 2. Senses are not independent of mind “Karmendriyaani samyamya ya aaste manasaa smaran; Indriyaarthaan vimoodhaatmaa mithyaachaarah sa uchyate.” / 3.6 He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking of the sense-objects in mind, he, of deluded understanding, is called a hypocrite. 3. Fruit of action belongs to action “Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana; Maa karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango’stwakarmani.” / 2.47 You have adhikara [responsibility, eligibility and proficiency] is to do the work only, but never claim its fruits; let not the fruits of actions be thy motive, nor your attachment shall not be there to inaction. 4. Action or non-action, not reaction / Understand Karma, Akarma and Vikarma “Karmano hyapi boddhavyam boddhavyam cha vikarmanah; Akarmanashcha boddhavyam gahanaa karmano gatih.” / 7.17 For, verily the true nature of action (enjoined by the scriptures) should be known, also (that) of forbidden (or unlawful) action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the nature (path) of action.
3. Fruit of action belongs to action “Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana; Maa karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango’stwakarmani.” / 2.47 You have adhikara [responsibility, eligibility and proficiency] is to do the work only, but never claim its fruits; let not the fruits of actions be thy motive, nor your attachment shall not be there to inaction. 4. Action or non-action, not reaction / Understand Karma, Akarma and Vikarma “Karmano hyapi boddhavyam boddhavyam cha vikarmanah; Akarmanashcha boddhavyam gahanaa karmano gatih.” / 7.17 For, verily the true nature of action (enjoined by the scriptures) should be known, also (that) of forbidden (or unlawful) action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the nature (path) of action. 5. Action from fullness “Tyaktwaa karmaphalaasangam nityatripto niraashrayah; Karmanyabhipravritto’pi naiva kinchit karoti sah.” / 4.20 Having abandoned attachment to the fruit of the action, ever content, depending on nothing, he is not the doer though engaged in activity. 6. A work in harmony in ones own nature “Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat; Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah.” / 3.35 Better is one’s own duty[nature], though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own nature bound work; the duty done which fits in another’s nature is fraught with fear. 7. Setting oneself beyond pairs of opposites “Yadrucchaa laabha santushto dwandwa ateeto vimatsarah; Samah sid dhaava siddhau cha krit waapi na niba dhyate.” / 4.22 Content with what comes to him without effort, free from the pairs of opposites and envy, even-minded in success and failure, though acting, he is not bound.
8. Action is a sacrifice ( yagna ) Yagnarthat Karmanah anyatrah lokoyam karma bandhanah Tadartham karma kaunteya mukta sanga samachara 3.9 Those works done with the intentions of sacrifice are do not form bondage therefore Hai Arjuna do the activities with non- attachment. 9. Good for the humanity “Karmanaiva hi samsiddhim aasthitaa janakaadayah; Lokasangraham evaapi sampashyan kartum arhasi.” / 3.20 Janaka and others attained perfection verily by action only; even with a view to the protection of the masses you should perform action. 10. As an offering to the divinity “Tasmaat sarveshu kaaleshu maamanusmara yudhya cha; Mayyarpitamanobuddhir maamevaishyasyasamshayam.” / 8.7 Therefore, at all times remember Me only and fight. With mind and intellect fixed (or absorbed) in Me, you will doubtless come to Me alone.
About Yoga Bharati Yoga Bharati was conceptualized by Raghuram ji and was started in the San Francisco Bay Area in early 2002. Under the guidance of Raghuram ji, yoga classes in the SF Bay Area started by a Vivekananda Yoga University trained instructor. Fresh impetus was provided by Raghavendra Kulkarni ji who conducted yoga workshops. Daily yoga classes in Sunnyvale temple followed soon. Yoga Bharati volunteers organized a well-attended residential camp to host Raghuram ji, which gave a big boost to Yoga Bharati's growth. Realizing the importance of providing a theoretical background of yoga, Yoga Bharati hosted talks by famous yogis - Raghuram ji, Swami Bodhananda Saraswati, Swami Anubhavananda, Swami Sukhabodhananda and others who became advisors to the organization. To build a group of authentic local yoga experts, the first Yoga Instructor Certificate Course (YICC) was started in October 2002, with active support of Raghuram ji and VYASA. Subsequently, YICC has been conducted every year to boost the ranks of certified yoga instructors in the SF Bay Area. Yoga Bharati started organizing Yoga Therapy workshops and customized sessions for pregnant ladies, kids, schools and companies. To promote easy-to-practice yoga in the broader community and provide a short daily routine for those not familiar with yoga, Yoga Bharati started Suryanamaskar Yagna (Sun Salutation Marathon) as a new-year resolution for a healthy lifestyle. Self-less service, strong commitment to the goal of spreading yoga, a committed and supportive volunteer group, and a diverse range of activities brought in many volunteers, who have been committed to serving the community through the platform of Yoga Bharati For more information: www.yogabharati.org
Turkey Branch (Istanbul Yoga Merkezi) : www.yogamerkezi.com
About sVYASA Svyasa - Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Sansthana, is the academic wing of VYASA, that has been running short-term courses, Certificate and Diploma courses for the last 15 years. Situated amidst nature within a 110 acre campus in Bangalore/India, SVYASA is a recognized university of Higher Learning in Yogic Sciences. The educational system in sVyasa is holistic, based on the consciousness-based approach of yoga systems and spiritual lore. It is not merely a bread-earning educational system but a personalitydeveloping and world-building tool through yoga. It is established to bring the awareness among the people about their health and innerself. To achieve this ultimate goal Svyasa offers various courses in yogic and Vedic sciences. It provides several courses at all levels, beginning from a prerequisite of 12 years of education to graduation, post-graduation and also doctoral level programs. While sVYASA has been running certificate and Diploma courses in yoga from its campus, it also has several affiliated centers that also train the people from different parts of the country. These Affiliate centers provide certificate courses, vocational courses and shortterm courses to learners. SVYASA has been providing training in yoga and spiritual lore to further the vision of Swami Vivekananda which was to combine the best of the East with the incomparable precision of the West. The best of the East is the remarkable knowledge scripted in the ancient texts and the significance of spirituality in human life; the unmatched skill of the West lies in its emphasis on scientific research and analysis using advanced technology. To read more about the courses, programs and activities of SVYASA, please visit the SVYASA website at www.svyasa.org
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