Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a good exercise!

In the earlier days, and strictly speaking even now, the action that is referred to is what is prescribed by the sastras to one’s varna. To be more specific it referred to the yagnas, homas and such rituals. In that division of labor each person as ensured a job and his livelihood was taken care of. No one would dream of doing what is another person’s job.
But these days the varna system has become complicated due to mixing of the genetic material over time. There are umpteen numbers of new jobs. So what does one do? These days there is confusion as to what is one’s karma. Steeped in orthodoxy I stand for looking at it based on what is said in the sastras but one needs to think about it and determine it for oneself. If you choose to take it to mean whatever one is doing, fine. God in his infinite wisdom put us in some place to work; so let us do it to our utmost efficiency and leave the result to Him accepting whatever he dishes out as his prasad. It could be what we aimed at; or something less; or something more; or something entirely different. That would be a good exercise!

This is the karma route. So what is next?

Monday, July 12, 2010

" you are not entitled to the fruits of action."

Tell someone that they should work without expecting anything in return ad hardly anyone would do so. It is not natural. Everyone expects some sort of outcome that one desires or expects. Without it there is no motivation to do anything.
One can do a work, or not do it, or do it differently. This how to do or not do – here one has his way. It is one’s own bidding. But one doesn’t have a choice as to how the outcome turns out to be. Why? Because, it does not depend on one alone. There will be other people involved in whatever we are doing. The time, place of action all these play a part.
We may work hard for an exam and do well in our own opinion. We expect to score high marks. Let us see the possibilities. The answer papers should properly reach the person who is evaluating. He must be in a good mood while valuating it. His must have his coffee on time in the right temperature and sugar must be just so. He should not be missing any page while reading the papers. He must be tallying the marks properly and not leave any page unturned. The marks must be entered in the registers properly. Finally it must be transferred to the computer and the mark sheet printed out right in the right name.
What should be a simple matter has so many pitfalls!
We usually encounter problems when we think the result MUST be like this. Then we start worrying as to whether it will be like we thought or not. We also worry what we should do if it does not turn out the way we expected it to. We lose sleep over these things. We also get angry with someone or something that stands between us and the result that we anxiously await. If we can do nothing about these factors we get frustrated.
On the other hand he who thinks that he would do his best and let God give him what he deems fit, has a pleasant time. At least he won’t suffer! Since his mind is at peace he would do whatever the work is in a relaxed manner which usually translates into perfection.
This is what Lord Krishna had in mind when he said, “You have right only as to what you can do. Never on the fruits.” He only meant that you are not the sole person determining the outcome. But unfortunately it has been translated wrong as the following passage shows – taken from a popular site-
[Bhagavat Gita 2:47 karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango 'stv akarmani You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.]
This not being entitled to the fruits is the cause of all the problems associated with this verse.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The karma way

This path is called the karma yoga.

I know what karma is. That is fate. What we get from the previous birth, right?
Well, nor exactly. Karma means action. That is all. Since Hinduism says all actions have reactions and if that is not delivered in that birth it can and will be delivered in the next births too. That is why we usually think of karma as fate.

This way involves doing one’s prescribed work. Doing it with utmost care and devotion to the best of one’s ability. Doing it with shradhdha and leaving the result of the action to god - to give as deemed fit. This in short is karma route.

Oh, this is what is told in Bhagavat Gita. Do your duty and don’t expect results.

No, it is not so.

Not so?

Yes, this is the usual misunderstanding that is widely prevalent.
No one in their right senses will work - do anything without expecting results. What Lord Krishna says is “You have right only to do the action. Don’t expect the result to be this or that. you might want the result to be this or that but you don’t have a right on the what the result be.

So what is the big difference?

We shall see….

Saturday, July 3, 2010

why all of us should not follow the gnana path?

So why all of us should not follow the gnana path?

That is because not all of us have the sharp intellect and power of sustained analysis. On the other hand it is much easier to acknowledge a power that is beyond us from experience. And give it a name - God. And relate to that by praying and rituals. We can relate to him in the way we choose- a friend, a teacher, a guide... keep doing this and we will certainly evolve.

But usually we don’t see anyone evolving like this!

Though in small numbers, they are there. But we don’t see them. What we usually find are people who either fear “Gods” or want something done from desires. This fear factor has slowly disappeared over time. Some 80 years back people will fear that god will punish them for wrong doings. Not anymore. I consider this a drawback however unreasonable it may sound. What people want to believe these days is that they can do so many things that are not right and by going to temples and worshipping they can wipe those sins away. Another factor is that their wants have increased. Gone are those days when people will be happy if their tummy is full and they have reasonable clothes to wear and can live under a roof that does not leak too much.

 So what do they ask of god?
I want a lot of money; a good job where work is light and the pay packet heavy; want a child; want school admission for my child; want it to get good marks; when it grows want a seat in triple E course in a premium college; want a good alliance; want the dil also to earn a lot; want a grandchild.... a circle again. It never stops growing

Would that be wrong? To ask god what you think you need in life?

Well not wrong in the beginning. Most come to god initially for fulfilling their needs. Somewhere along the line they must realise that this list is unending. People should love god without wanting something in return. Stay here and there will be no evolution.

We will see this evolution of bhakti in later chapters.

For now we shall consider the next option to go to Chennai. Via Pondicherry and ECR.
This path is called the karma yoga.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Different paths to....

How can that be?

mmm.. let us say I want to go to Chennai from Cuddalore where I reside.
Easiest way is through Pondicherry and ECR.
Or one might like to travel via Pondicherry and Tindivanam.
Well… my taxi has no Pondicherry permit. Then I take the Pannuruti, Tindivanam road to Chennai.
Whichever road I take I shall reach Chennai.
The roads are different but the destination is not.
In the same way whatever path we take for realisation we can still achieve it.
 There are four different paths.
1.       The bhakti way
2.       The karma way
3.       The yogic way
4.       The gnana way.

Shall we examine them one by one?
First the bhakti way.
Most of us are familiar with this one.
We realise/ acknowledge a force that is superior to us and call that force God. We may name Him in any manner. That god might have a legend. A temple. A particular way of worship. Or we may have our own way of worshipping Him. A set of rituals. Different ways of puja….
A big ocean this is!
 Come on, wait a second!
You started saying realising one self.
Of course.
Now you say God and we worship and all that. What is this?
Realising God and realising oneself are not much different.
They are two different manifestations of Brahman.
WHAT! I can’t comprehend.
Of course not. The levels of thinking are different. One should not jump from one level to another level of thinking. That will usually lead to confusion.
You wanted to go to Chennai and I am suggesting driving towards Pondicherry. This is one of the ways. Let us see if it is to your liking. Otherwise we may examine another way. Be assured all roads lead to Chennai.
The concept of Brahman is gnana path. Seeing the difference between man and God is one level. In bhakti that is the initial level to be thought in.  We have to study in primary school and secondary school before going on to the college. If we start seeing God in a temple, in a icon, then slowly we will start seeing it in all other live beings and still later on in everything in this universe... then realisation comes at one stage we realise everything is one. That would be at the end of gnana path as well.

So why all of us should not follow the gnana path?