Thursday, 11 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 12

Karma Yoga-   path of action  -  part. 3
The third  chapter  of  the Gita  asks  everyone  to  perform  his  obligatory  duties , which may  be of two  types  - the  routine   and  the  special. These  cannot  be put  into  water tight  compartments , what  is routine duty  for one  need  not  be so  for another. 

In  India,  men and women  left  their  homes  to take  part  in the  freedom  struggle. What was  a special  duty got  converted  into  a routine  duty. To take  care  of  parents  in their  old age  is a routine  duty  but  when  there  is  a higher  calling , one joins  the armed  forces , then he  gives  up his  routine  duties  to take  up this special  duty. Then  that  becomes  his  routine duty.  One  must  be guided  by  his  inner  conscience  to determine what  his  duties  are.
 Lord  Krishna  says  it is  better  to do  one's own  duty, svadharma,  even  if  it is not  performed  well, than    to   do the duty  of another, paradharma,  even  if  performed  well.  You   must  choose a field  of activity  on  the basis  of    your  own  nature but   you  should  be guided  by    your  intellect  and   not  by   your mind  while   you  act  in   your  chosen  field  of  activity.
The  Gita  asks   everyone  to perform  an action  taking  it as an Yajna-   sacrifice,  wherein  you  convert  each  action  into  a worship. Yajnas  were  a  fire  ritual  wherein  people  brought some  grains  from their  homes  and  these  were  offered  to  the  fire  with  a  prayer. A selfless  action  is  comparable  to a Yajna  because  one  is offering  oneself  selflessly (like  the offerings  of  grains  in the  fire -sacrifice-Yajna).When  one  performs  a selfless  action , the   desires  get  reduced  and  mind  becomes  pure  and peaceful.

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