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of Karma Yoga
|Attachment is the
first child of Maya. The force of attachment keeps up this whole Lila of
the Lord. A sober man just tastes a small peg of champagne when he is caught
up in evil company and becomes an inveterate drunkard through attachment
to liquor. A teetotaler just takes a smell of gold-flake and becomes a terrible
smoker in a short time through attachment. There is in the mind a cohesive
substance which is like a mixture of castor oil, glue, mucilage, honey,
glycerin, jack-fruit juice and all other pasty substances of this world.
The mind is glued, as it were, to the objects with this mixture. Therefore
the attachment is very strong.
Man always thirsts for possession of objects. This possession of objects surely brings selfishness. Selfishness causes attachment. Wherever there is attachment there are Ahamta and Mamata-'I-ness' and 'mine-ness'. The man has become a slave now. Strong iron chains are fastened to his hands, knees and legs. He has entangled himself like a spider or the silkworm. This is his self-created trouble through attachment.
Never say: "My wife, my son, my house." Attachment is the root cause of the whole miseries and troubles of this world. Discipline the mind carefully. The old habits will creep in. Destroy them to the very root. Lead a life of non-attachment. This is the master key to open the realms of Brahmic bliss. But work incessantly without any attachment, without identification. Then alone can you have real happiness? You will feel that you are a different being. Karma Yoga elevates a man to sublime to magnanimous heights. One should work patiently. No meditation or Samadhi is possible without a preliminary training in Karma Yoga. To work without attachment is doubtless a difficult task. It is an uphill work. But it becomes easy and pleasant for a man of patience and determination. You will have to do it at any cost, if you want final beatitude and immortality. Everybody will do it, if not now, then after taking five hundred births. But the question is, why not now? Cut short the cycle and enjoy the supreme bliss right now in this very second, in this birth. That is wisdom.
Do you expect anything from your small son, if you do something for him? In a similar manner you will have to work for others also without expecting anything. You will have to expand your heart and think that this whole world is your own Self. It gives you a little pain in the beginning because you have never worked up to this time in this line of selfless and disinterested service. When you have tasted a bit of the Bliss of Karma Yoga, you can never leave it. The force of Karma Yoga will induce you to work more and more with great zeal and enthusiasm. You will begin to feel that this world is a manifestation of God. You will gain immense inner strength and purity of heart. Your heart will be filled with mercy, sympathy and pure love. Your spirit of self-sacrifice will grow ad infinitum. Selfishness of all sorts will be annihilated. Those who work in the public field for the welfare of the country and suffering humanity can realise the truth of this statement.
Non-attachment is dispassion or indifference to the sensual enjoyments. Non-attachment is Ihamutrarthaphala-bhogaviraga-indifference to sensual pleasures of all kinds, herein and hereafter, which is one of the items in Sadhana Chatushtaya, or the four means of salvation for the aspirant on the path of Jnana Yoga or Vedanta. It is purely a mental state. The binding link is really in the mind. Ahamta and Mamata are the two poisonous fangs of the mind-serpent. Extract these two teeth and the serpent-mind is tamed. There can be no bondage. It is the mind that creates the ideas of 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness'. It is the mind that links the Jiva and the man thinks: "I am the body." If the binding link in the mind is destroyed, you can remain wherever you like. You can roam about peacefully in any part of the world unattached, like water on the lotus-leaf. Nothing can bind you. The whole mischief is wrought by the mind. A man may rule a vast dominion and yet he can be unattached. Queen Chudalai and Raja Janaka had not a bit of attachment for their wealth and estate.
Janaka said: "Even if the whole of Mithila is burnt, nothing of mine will be lost." Look at the exalted mental state of Janaka! He was resting in his own Svaroopa or essential nature. He had not a bit of attachment. The mental state of Chudalai also was the same as that of Janaka. Though Sikhidhvaja; the husband of Chudalai, lived in the forest with a piece of Kowpeen and a Kamandalu, his mind was full of attachment. He was attached to his body and his Kamandalu. A man may be intensely attached to a small piece of Kowpeen or a stick or a small tumbler or to his body, although he has left his family and property. At the time of death the mental pictures of a tumbler or stick only will come to his mind. Jada Bharata was attached to the deer, and the thought of the deer only came to his mind at the time of his death and he had to take the birth of a deer. Such is the power of attachment.
Worldly people generally judge the state of dispassion of a Sadhu from external conditions. If a Sadhu has one Kowpeen and a long beard and matted hair, he is regarded as a first-class Virakta Mahatma. This man may fight with another Sadhu for his share when a pilgrim distributes an eight-anna piece to them. His mind may be full of passion and attachment. Householders are deceived. Some hypocrites put on an external show of Vairagya just to collect money secretly. Matted hair is ingeniously glued to the head. There are experts in Benares who do this for two rupees. Householders should be very cautious and should not be led away by the external physical nudity of some Sadhus. What is wanted is mental nudity. The mind must be completely shaved. Then only can there be real non-attachment.
The mental state of non-attachment to the fruits of works can be achieved by two ways. The student of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga develops Sakshi Bhava through discrimination and self-analysis. He says:
"I am the silent witness of the mental modifications and the works done by the different organs of the body. I am
distinct from the body, organs, mind and Prana. The Prakriti does everything. The Gunas operate. The Svabhava functions. The Indriyas do their respective Dharmas. Everything is the Dharma of the mind. I have nothing to do. I am an Udaseena. I am quite indifferent. I am mere Tatastha. I do not want any fruits. This world is Anitya and Mithya. There is no real happiness in this world. There are countless Doshas in worldly life. There is supreme, eternal, infinite bliss in the Atman within. In reality I am Satchidananda Atman. I will utilise the Indriyas, mind, Prana and body as my instruments for the well-being of the world, for Lokasangraha. This whole world is my own Atman. It is my body. This whole universe is my home. The Atman is Nishkriya, Akarta, Niravayava and Avyavahara."
He does constant Vichara and reflection in this manner and gets himself established in his own Svarupa. He burns the results of his actions in the fire of wisdom by reflecting in the above manner.
A Bhakta does self-surrender and dedicates all his actions at the Lotus Feet of the Lord as Isvararpana unto Him. He says:
"I am an instrument in the hands of my Beloved. I have no individual will. I am Thine my Lord. All is Thine. Thy will be done. Thou art everything. Thou doest everything. Even an atom cannot move without Thee. Even a leaf cannot move without Thee. Thou workest through all my organs. Thou speakest through my mouth. I offer to Thee whatever I do or eat. I offer to Thee my Tapas and everything. Thou canst do whatever Thou likest. I live for Thee alone. I work for Thee alone. I cannot live without Thee even for a second."
Work cannot bring misery but it is the attachment and identification to work that brings in all sorts of worries, troubles and unhappiness. Understand the secret of Karma Yoga and work without attachment and identification and you will soon attain God-consciousness. This is Jnana. This is Jnanagni (fire of wisdom), which burns all the fruits of actions.
Every man should have a comprehensive understanding of Nature's laws, and their operations. Then he can pull on in this world smoothly and happily. He can utilise the helping forces to serve his ends in the best possible manner. He can neutralise the hostile forces to serve his ends in the best possible manner. He can neutralise the hostile or antagonistic currents. Just as the fish swims against the current, so also he will be able to go against the hostile currents by adjusting himself properly and safeguarding himself through suitable precautionary methods. Otherwise he becomes a slave. Various currents toss him about hither and thither helplessly. Various hostile forces drag him in different corners. He drifts like a wooden plank in a river. He is always very miserable and unhappy although he is wealthy and possesses everything that the world can offer.
Become an embodiment of good nature. Do good actions always. Serve, love, and give. Make others happy. Live to serve others. Then you will reap happiness. You will get favourable circumstances or opportunities and environments. If you hurt others, if you do scandal-mongering, mischief-mongering, backbiting, tale bearing, if you exploit others, if you acquire the property of others by foul means, if you do any actions that can give pain to others, you will reap pain. You will get unfavourable circumstances, conditions and environments. This is the law of Nature. Just as you can build you're good or bad characters by sublime or base thinking, so also you can shape your favourable or unfavourable circumstances by doing good or bad actions. A man of discrimination is always careful, vigilant and circumspect. He always watches his thoughts carefully. He introspects. He knows exactly what is going on in his mental factory, what Vritti or Guna is prevailing at a particular time. He never allows any evil thought to the gates of his mental factory. He at once nips them in the bud.
When the mind raises its hood of Vritti, he takes the rod of Viveka(discrimination) and strikes at the hood. Just as the soldier kills his enemies one by one with his sword when they enter the fort, so also the man of discrimination kills the evil thought with his sword of Viveka when it tries to enter the fort of the mind. Thus he builds a noble character. He is careful in his speech. He speaks little. He speaks sweet loving words. He never utters any kind of harsh words that can affect the feelings of others. He practises Mauna (vow of silence). He develops patience, mercy and universal love. He speaks the truth. Thus he puts a check on the Vak Indriya and the impulses of speech. He uses measured words. He writes measured lines. This produces a deep and profound impression on the minds of the people. He practises Ahimsa(non-violence) and Brahmacharya (bachelorhood) in thought, word and deed. He practises Saucha and Arjava (straightforwardness). He tries to keep balance of mind and to be always happy and cheerful. He keeps up Suddha Bhava. He tries the three kinds of Tapas (physical, verbal and mental) and controls his actions. He cannot do any action that is evil.
He who spreads happiness will always get such favourable circumstances as can bring him happiness. He who spreads pain to others will, doubtless, get such unfavourable circumstances, according to the law of Nature as can bring him misery and pain. Therefore man creates his own character and circumstances. Bad character can be transmuted into good character by means of good thoughts, and unfavourable circumstances can be changed into favourable circumstances by doing good actions.
Your births and environments are determined according to the nature of your desires. Prarabdha places you in such suitable environments as are favourable for the gratification of your desires. The man is dragged to places where he can get his objects of desire. A man may be born in India as a poor Brahmin in one birth. If he desires to become a multi-millionaire, he may get his next birth in the United States of America. Suppose there is a poor intelligent boy in India. He has an intense desire to go to England for his I. C. S. examination. His desire to go in this birth cannot be fulfilled. Suppose also that there is a rich lady in England who has no son and has intense desire to get an intelligent one. The poor boy may get his next birth in London as the son of the rich lady according to the law of coincidence. He will thus have his old strong desire gratified now. God gives suitable surroundings according to the nature of the desire of the man for his growth and evolution.
Suppose a shepherd boy gave a tumbler of water to a rich man to drink when he was very thirsty and when he could not get any water in a thick jungle. The boy may get his next birth as the son of this rich man for this little good action that he had done. But he may be ignorant because he was a shepherd boy in his previous birth.
According to the nature of desire the man gets environments. The desire drags him to such places where the desired objects can be obtained. It is left to you to select the desires, either holy or unholy. If you want to move as a man-beast, select the unholy desire. If you want to shine in divine glory and move as a man-god, select the holy desire.
Dr. M. H. Syed, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt. writes: "There is nothing which has wrought so much havoc in the practical life of the Hindus as the misconception of the Law of Karma-the eternal law of cause and effect-that works with unerring precision in all the departments of human life. It is said that it is a gloomy doctrine and that it tends to paralyse human effort, and closes the spring of all right action. In popular language this doctrine means predestination, pure and simple. It is believed that a man is a creature of his past actions and that all his present life with its activities, joys, sorrows, pain and pleasure, success and failure, gain and loss, are predetermined by his past doings over which he has no control, and therefore he should be utterly resigned and waste no time in improving his or his neighbor's lot.
There is only an element of truth in this attitude. In other words, it is only half a truth that is understood and followed. Unless the whole truth is grasped with regard to this doctrine, it will always prove a source of confusion and cause a great deal of harm. If Indian people are to rise from their present state of degradation and shake off the shackles of their thralldom, it is time that they clearly tried to understand the true meaning and philosophy of actions and the reign of the Law of Karma, by which the whole human race has to evolve.
It is true that a man's present abilities are the direct outcome of his own thoughts and actions in the past: his cogitable donations, his physical heredity, his moral and mental instincts and capacities are the results of his own thoughts and feelings of his previous births. A farmer reaps rich harvests only when he labours in his field for a long time. Unless he cares to till the ground, sow the seed, water and manure it, he would not be in a position to enjoy the fruit of his toil. What he sows today he will reap tomorrow. This is an immutable law and holds good in everything without exception. To say that one's capacity for fresh effort and new lines of action is paralysed or doomed by one's past doings is as futile and groundless as to say that because one sowed yesterday, one cannot sow fresh seeds in new grounds today. The fact of the matter is that free will is never choked and stifled by any past action. The only thing is that a man cannot achieve what he wants all at once, and without delay. The good law pays every person according to his need and in due time. The law runs its own course. The results of past actions, thoughts and feelings appear to us as effects of causes we set up from our own free choice. Similarly, we are equally free and unfettered to choose a line of action which is sure to bring its fruit in due time. A man is bound by the past debts he incurred or contracts he made. As soon as he pays up his liabilities he is once more free to choose whether he should incur fresh debt or not. Over the inevitable he has no control and if the law is to be justified, he should have no reason to complain against it. It is always open to him to mould the Karma, which is in the course of making, in any way he likes. Under the security of the changeless law of cause and effect a man can serenely proceed to achieve anything he desires to accomplish. Sooner or later he is sure to succeed in his well-directed efforts. In Nature nothing is lost. Again, as Bacon said: 'Nature is conquered by obedience.' By Nature he meant natural laws."
If once we understand the law that guides our life and action, we shall be able to act in such a manner as to make this law our ally and helpmate rather than our adversary. So long as the conditions laid down by the law are meticulously fulfilled and observed, we have fullest certainty of our success in any direction.
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