Sunday, 30 March 2014

Iswara arpana buddhi


Practical  steps  to spirituality- section 6 part 75

The  Gita  revisited 

Iswara  arpana  buddhi 

           The  Gita  says  karma yoga  =Iswara  arpana  buddhi (while  performing  actions  )  +prasadha  buddhi  (  while  receiving  the  results  ). So  we  all  should  know  what  is  the  right attitude  in doing  one's  duty  that  will  turn  it  into  karma  yoga  .. We  all  of  course  know  that  just  doing  lots  of  actions  is  not  karma  yoga  nor is  it  in   doing  good actions alone.  . . Good  actions  or  duties  done  under  compulsion  or  as   a  burden  make  them  tedious  and  boring. So  the  right  attitude  while  performing  good  actions  would  be  doing  all  your  actions  as  an  act  of  worship  of  the  Lord. . We  should  do  our  duties   with deep love  , with the  spirit  of  sacrifice  and  with care  and  efficiency  , without  likes  and  dislikes  , prejudices  or  selfishness  . Only  then  they  would  be  considered as  being  dedicated  to  a  higher  ideal .. No  work  then  becomes  unimportant,  menial, or  below  someone's  dignity. Instead  one  should  carry out  all  his  duties  with  great  enthusiasm  and  inspiration. and  dedicate  them  all  unto  the  Lord  , then  this  attitude  is  called  Iswara  arpana  buddhi. or  yajna  spirit  .

             The  alter  of  dedication  can  be  the  work  itself   for  a  teacher  who  loves  teaching  ,  a  social  cause for  one  who  fights  against  child  labour  , or  a  noble  ideal  like  finding  a  cure  for  AIDS  , or  highest  devotion  , the  supreme  devotion  that  Hanumanji  had  for  Lord  Rama  . It  is  said  that  only  when  he  became  a  servant  of  the  Lord  (  till  then  he  was  serving  the  vanara  king  Sugreeva  )  , that  he  came  to  achieve  great  powers   and  accomplish  unimaginable  tasks  . So  to  work  with  this  attitude  that  I  am  working  for  the  sake  of  the  Lord   ,   doing  only  His  work   with   the  knowledge  and  strength  bestowed  on  me  by  the  Lord   and  that    to  express  my  love  to  Him   I  carry  out  all  my  enjoined  duties  ,   this  indeed  is  karma  yoga   

to  be  continued.....

Thursday, 27 March 2014



Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 6 part 74 

The  Gita  revisited


                    Scriptures  advise  us  to  do  our  enjoined  duties  . , which  we  have  seen  may  be  our  daily  duties  or    special  duties. and  to  give  up  actions  that  are  selfish , prompted  by  our  personal  desires. Duties  come  to  us  unasked  at  every  stage  of  our  life. and  they  depend  on  the  position  we  hold  in  the  family,  society,  nation  and  at  the  work  place  . A  family  man  has  duties  towards  taking  care  of  a;ll  the  family  members  but  when  he  takes  to  sannyasa  his  duties  towards  his  family  cease  . An  employee  has  to  do  his  duties  as  per  the   rules  laid  down  by  the  company  but  the  day  he  retires  from  service  ,he  no  longer  has  any  duties  towards  the  company  that  employed  him. . When a  youth  joins  the  armed  forces  , his  only  duty  is  for  the  nation  , there  can  be  no  personal  desires  whatsoever. 

                    It  is  also  a  fact  that  ignorance  of   law  does  not  allow  us  to escape  from  our  duties. Paying  taxes  is  a  compulsory  duty,  if  not  done  he  is  punished  by  the  government. . Rules  are  there  to  follow  , there are  rules  laid  down  by  a  government  , a  society,  an  employer   and  so  on. . We  also  notice  that  some  of  our  duties  are  thankless  A  father  is  never  thanked  for  taking  care  of  his  children   nor  a  son  / or  daughter  for  taking  care  of  the  parents. . A house wife  who  has  lived  all  her  life  only  in  the  service  of  her  family  never  gets  to  hear  any  praises  but  when  one  day  she  fails  in  her  duties  , she  earns  everyone's   displeasure. . Duties  have  no  special  rewards  ,but  doing  one's  duty  by  itself  is  its  own  reward  . . A  child  attending  school  regularly  is  never  rewarded  (  unless  the  teacher  chooses  to  reward  him )  but  there  again  when  he  absents  from  school  without  genuine  reasons  he  is  punished. 

                   Our  duties  increase   with  age  and  stature  . We  as  children  did not  have  any  duties  , but  as  we  grow  our  responsibilities  increase  and  so  are  our  duties. . Duties  come  to  us  unasked  and  they  increase  as  our  position  increases. The  duties  of  a  Post  Master  and  that  of  the  Prime  Minister  very  because  of  their  respective  position. . An  advise  that  is  worth  listening  is  that  , we  should  inculcate  the  habit  of  doing one's  duties  even  from  a  small  age   and  that  there  is  dignity  in doing   one's  own  duties  and  doing  duties  have  their  own  rewards  . The  child  should  never  be  bribed  , thanked  or  rewarded  for  doing  their  small  duties  , otherwise  they  grow up  expecting   the  same  treatment as  their  birthright   or  they  grow  up  feeling  discouraged  when  they  are  not  rewarded 
to  be  continued.....

Monday, 24 March 2014

types of actions


Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 6 part 73

The  Gita  revisited 

Types  of  actions  

                     Actions  (  karma )    action  be  of  various  types  . Actions  can  be  enjoined  actions  , (  vidhi karmas  )  sanctioned  by  laws  of  government  , social  norms  , family  obligations  ,  religious  injunctions  sanctioned  by  scriptures or  job profiles  by  the  employer  and  so  on  .  Even  our  conscience  or  inherent  value  system  prompts  us    to  perform  our  duties  and  do  good  actions.  Actions  can  be  selfish   (  sakama  karma  )  prompted  by  desires  , actions  can  also   be  prohibited  actions  (  nishiddha  karmas   like  stealing  )  . The  enjoined  karmas  can  be  daily  duties  (  nitya  karmas  )  like  going  to  college  to  study      or  to  office  for  earning  a  living  , taking  care  of  one's  children  ,  or  taking  care  of  aged  parents  . The  enjoined  karmas  can  also  be  special  or  occational  duties  (  nainittika  karmas  )   like  taking  your  neighbour  to  the  hospital  

                          The  nitya  karmas  and  naimittika  karmas  are  only  relative  terms  . What  is  an  occational  duty  for  some  may  be  a daily  duty  for  someone  else  . . We  may  be  helping  a  friend  or  even  a  stranger  in  taking  care  of  him  for  a  few  days when  he  is  sick    . This  we  treat  as  our  naimittika  karma  . But  Mother  Teresa  day  in  and  day  out  took  care  of  the  sick  and  needy  . This  became  her  nitya  karma  . . For  the  ordinary  family  man , who  is  in  the  grihastashram  ,taking  care  of  his  parents  ,  his  wife  and  children  is  a  nitya  karma   and  attending  spiritual  classes  or  discourses  may  be  done  by  him  as  an  occational  duty  . But  for  an  advanced  spiritual  seeker  in  search  of  Truth  on  his  spiritual  journey  , his  nitya  karma  would  no  longer  be    to  take  care  of  his  family  members   but  his  nitya  karma  would  be   to  renounce  everything  ,his  family    friends  and  relatives  and  his  job  as  well   and  dedicate  his  life  for  knowing  the  Ultimate  Truth  under  the  guidance  of  a  Guru  , take  to  sannyasa   to  realise  the  Truth. . We  all  know   that  prince  Siddharth  left   the  crown  that  was  awaiting  to  decorate  his  head  ,  the  palace  , his  parents  wife  and  child  and  took  to  sannyasa  in the quest  for  knowing  answers  to  life's  problems  . He  wanted  to  know  the  cause  of  sorrow  and    how  this  cycle  of  birth  and  death  could  be  put to   an  end  . For  him  then  ,this  quest  became  his  nitya  karma  . He  realised  the  Truth  and  became  Buddha  ,the  Enlightened  One  . 

                  Scriptures  advise  us  to  avoid   doing   prohibited    actions  as  they  harm  not  only  others  but  also    those  doing  them  . . Our  duties  as  enjoined  by  the  scriptures  should  be  done  without  any expectations  . Selfish  actions  have  to  be  given  up  and  selfless  actions  must  take  their  place  .

to  be  continued.....



Sunday, 16 March 2014

state of actionlessness


  Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 6 part 72

The  Gita  revisited

The  state  of  actionlessness  

                        Actionlessness  is  not  a state  of  action  or  inaction  of  the  body, pranas, senses  or  mind. It  is  a  state  of  knowledge  which  involves  knowing  that  ' I  am  the  actionless Self  .'. It  is  the  state  of  knowledge  that  makes me  realise  that  happiness  is  not  in  pleasures  or  objects  but  in  the  Self. The  state  of  actionlessness   is  a  state  where the  notion  of  doership  is  givin  up  and  one  abides  in  the  actionless Self. . This  state  makes  one  vasanaless  and  desireless   and  therefore  it  is  called  the  state  of  actionlessness. . This  state  is  not  to be  attained  by  doing  something  or  giving  up  actions  . Scriptures  say  that  a  workaholic,  the  escapist  and   the  lazy  cannot  attain  this  state. . It  is  right  actions  done  with  the  right  attitude  alone  that  prepares  one's  mind  to  attain  this  state. 

                       The  essence  of  karma  yoga  is  in  giving  up  wrong  actions  (  adharmic)  and  prohibited  actions  (  nishidda  karmas  )  ,  giving  up  all  attachments   to  actions  and  their  results  ,  giving  up  all  likes  and  dislikes  while  performing  actions   but   in   performing   right  actions  with  the  right  attitude  and  actions  in  accord  with  our  own  inherent  nature  (  swadharma  ) . and  this  prepares  ones  mind  to  attain  that  state. . Scriptures  say  that  the  right  attitude  is  having  Iswara  arpana  buddhi   that  is  all  actions  are  done  for  His  sake   and  the  results  are  accepted  as  prasada  buddhi  , a  gift  from  God. .Karma  yoga prepares  the  mind  of  a  seeker  by  making  his  mind  relatively  pure  and  concentrated   and  this  helps  him  to  live  a  life  conducive  to  meditation. Jnana  yoga  helps  him  to  discriminate  the  Self  from  the  not- Self. . In  meditation  the  seeker  absorbs  his  mind  in  the  Self   and  attains  oneness  with  the  Absolute  Truth. .  the  state  of  actionlessness  and  Self  Realisation. 

to  be  continued.....


Friday, 7 March 2014

choice not between action and inaction


Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 6  part 71

The Gita  revisited 

Choice  not between  action and  inaction. 

                   My  inherent  nature  prompts  me  to  do  actions  . My  vasanas  need  expression  and  actions  are  a  means  to  exhaust  my  vasanas  in  meaningful  and  creative  ways. . My  mind  is  always  full  of  desires  of  various  kinds  and  these  desires  prompt  all  my  actions. . I  desire  to  have  an  ice cream and  hence  I  walk  to  the  shop  at  the  end  of  the  road  to  buy it.  I  wish  to  reduce  my  weight  and  keep  fit  ,so  I  join  a  gym  .All  the  different  desires  my  mind  entertains  spring  from  the  desire  to  be  happy.  I  wrongly  conclude  that    pursuing  and  attaining  worldly  objects  will  get  me  the  happiness  I  am  always  seeking. I  keep  running  after  pleasures  and  objects  in  the  hope  that  they  will  give  give  me  happiness. . Hence  all  my  actions  are  prompted  by  desires  which  arise  from  ignorance  (  avidya  )  of  the  Self. 

                  Actions  are  done  by  the  body  (  walking, sleeping,  eating ) ,  the  pranas  (  breathing  , digesting  )  senses  (  hearing  ,  seeing  )  , mind  (  thinking  and  feeling )  . We  all  know  that  when  all  actions  stop  a  person  is  declared  dead  . So while  living  it  is  not  possible  to  be  without  any  of  the  above  actions  ,   even   in  the  state  of  samadhi   the  person  concerned  continues  to  breathe    and  hence  is  not  dead   . A  total  state  of  inaction  is  impossible  while  living . An  action  tires  a  person , even  sleeping  or  sitting  whole  day   tires  a  person. A person  works  hard  all  his  life  and only    looks  forward  to  his  retirement   , so  that  he  can  sit  and  do  nothing. . Since  it  is  simply  impossible  to  sit  doing  nothing  , even  after  retirement  he  continues  doing  something  or  the  other. 

          In  the  18th  chapter  the  Lord  tells  Arjuna  that  owing  to  egotism  ,even  if  you  decide  not  to  fight  ,your  nature  will  compel  to  fight  this  war.    Hence  the  choice  is  not  between  action  and  inaction  ,  but  the  choice  is  in  the  type  of  action  and  the  kind  of  attitude  I  should  have  while  doing  any  actions. . The  message  of  the  Gita  is  perform  the  right  actions  with  the  right  attitude. 

to  be  continued... 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

karma yoga prepares the mind

                                                                    HARI  OM 

   Practical  steps  to spirituality- section 6  part 70 

  The  Gita  revisited

  karma yoga prepares the mind for jnana yoga

                       Vedanta  has  an  answer to  Arjuna's  question  , which  of  the  two  paths  is  better ?  . This  is  a  universal  question  . Every  sincere  seeker  wants  to  know  which  of  the  two  paths  (  karma  yoga  and  jnana  yoga  )  is  superior  ?. This  question  should  be  re-framed  by  each  individual  as ' which  of  the  two  paths  is  best  suited  for  me'  ?

                      Lord  Krishna  answered  Arjuna's  question  that  these  two  paths  are  not  exclusive  , separate  or  opposed  to  each  other . Performing  selfless  actions  (  karma  yoga  )  comes  to  make  our  minds  pure, dispassionate   and  concentrated   and  hence  karma  yoga  prepares  our  mind  for  enquiry  and  discrimination  (  jnana  yoga  )  . It  is  like  preparing  first  for  a medical  entrance  exam  and  then  write the  entrance  exam   and  only  one  who  passes  the  entrance  exam   becomes   fit  to  get  an  admission and  study  in a  medical  college  and  become  a  doctor. To  prepare  the  mind  and  making  it  fit  to  receive  the  knowledge  of  the  Self  , one  first  has  to  perform  the  right  action  ,  perform  one' s  obligatory  duties  ,  not  do  wrong  or  prohibited  or  desire prompted  selfish  actions  so  that  the  mind  remains  pure   and  peaceful   and  so  that  one  can  now  take  to  the  path  of  enquiry  and  discrimination  between  the  Self  and  not- Self  . Desire  prompted  and  prohibited  actions  when  done  agitate  the  mind. , hence  are  opposed  to  jnana  yoga  . . So  karma  yoga  becomes  a  stepping  stone  to  jnana  yoga. 

                     With  this  understanding  , the  path  one  should  choose  will  depend  on  what  he  is  fit  for  . What  is  his  present  level   and   Is  he  fit  to  pursue  only  karma  yoga  or  is  now  prepared  to  walk  the  path  of  knowledge. ? Though  the  Lord  had  spoken  about  the glory  of  jnana  yoga  earlier,  yet  Arjuna  was  advised  to  walk  the  path  of  action  because  he  was  initially  qualified  only  for  karma  yoga  as  he  still  had  worldly  desires  and  he  was  a  man  of  action   and  his  mind  was  not  ready  to  walk  the  path  of  knowledge. . While  some  others  , whose  minds  are  already  subtle  , pure  and  dispassionate  could  directly  take  to  jnana  yoga  .

                 So  it  then  becomes  important  for  each  of  us  to  analyse  ourselves  and  find  out  where  we  stand   and  choose  the  path  accordingly. 

to  be  continued.....