Maha Updesh of Aadishri -Part 7
O human! This world is full of sorrow and by getting entangled in the thorns of this world; we can only get pain, suffering and anguish. We are sent in this world and we can’t help but live in it. But how to live in this sorrow filled world and be happy is a question that engages all of us.
Listen to my words which are eternal and are rarely revealed and which lead to the happiness you seek.
If you can conquer your mind, the doorway to peace and tranquility will open. The question then is – how do you conquer your mind?
There is a way. It is simple and straightforward and yet it is difficult to do and therefore rarely followed. The reason is that the method requires determination and persistence. So if you have these qualities then the path is not very long. But if are not determined and are easily swayed, you will only experience failure and go around in circles in life after life.
Since the first thing required is determination and persistence, the question is that how do we generate these qualities? The Geeta says in chapter 6 verse 35 that the only way to do so is to have faith in God and in the belief that what God does for us and through us, that is for our ultimate benefit and if we do not get disheartened, continue to do our duty and take our suffering stoically and our happiness without losing our heads, then God’s will expressed as our fate, is the shortest path to liberation.
Therefore one should persist, even in the face of trial, to stick to the righteous path as prescribed by God. If that happens then you will not be shaken by the vagaries of life and you will reach your goal soon.
Only God is real and the world he has created, for our experience, is always in flux and ever changing. So why be bothered by temporary happiness and fleeting sorrow? Both sorrow and happiness will come and go in this scheme of things. So if you carry on without being perturbed, you will not get involved in the act of karma and the fruits of it. Instead your actions will not taint your soul and you will not be tied to the wheel of death and rebirth.
So what is the karma of detachment that frees us from the consequences of what we do? This is a divine secret and the person who understands this secret, even though living a normal life, doing whatever anyone else does, yet such a person lives free. This sounds simple but is difficult to implement.
Let’s see why that is so?
How to practice the attitude of detachment while doing your actions? What are the rules to live by to be detached in your actions? Let me assure you that hard work or long years are not required to live a detached existence. Only a moment is needed to realize this truth and this way of being.
And how do we come at this moment? Let me remind all of you that all the actions we take are taken for a reason and for an expectation of a certain result. A student studies so that he may learn the subject or because he needs the marks to get a job; a warrior fights a war with the aim of winning it. So every act of every individual has a goal and a purpose. Nobody acts without purpose. But herein lies a subtle secret. When you do an action as per your duty, you do the right thing and do dharma while the same act committed for your selfish self interest is adharma or karma with a consequence.
Another basic fact about karma and dharma is that all we can do is to take action-whether karmic or dharmic, but the fruit we get is not in our control fully. Other factors – that we have no control or even knowledge over – are at play and can alter the result.
A common confusion thus arises – that if the fruit of our karma is out of our control and that it depends on other factors, then why should we act at all? Why not wait for our fate to give us what is due to us from our earlier life actions?
To understand this, we first need to understand what is Prarabda-our fate, which is determined by our earlier actions.
The first thing to understand is that fate is not something that God makes for us. It is something that we make for ourselves.
The way we act today, that is how we construct the inevitable fruit of tomorrow. What is our experience today is nothing but the result of our earlier actions. Our fate at this moment is the sum total- lattice of all our past actions – good, bad or mixed. I.e. we should not be disturbed or disheartened by what is happening to us since it was inevitable and due to our own previous actions. No-one is being unfair to us. We are simply paying for what we ourselves chose to do earlier. So the attitude to have is that we should be steadfast in our duties since if we do our duty, no new karma will accrue to us.
The upshot is that if we live, not creating new karma, while expending our earlier karmic impacts, we will sooner or later reach a point where we have no more past karma to undergo. That is the state when we are qualified to achieve liberation or Moksha.
In fact Moksha is inevitable to such a person.
The law of Karma, that builds our fate, is immutable. It cannot be changed; modified or adjusted, since this law is the very basis of the functioning of the universe.
By the way many people think that they can avoid Karma by reducing their action greatly. Using this flawed logic, many people become escapists and even take sanyaas. This approach is a vain attempt to reduce their karmic entanglements. Why is this method a failure? Because we may be able to avoid our conscious actions by avoiding relationships but we are still creating karma just by living and breathing. Don’t forget that millions of bacteria are being killed by our digestive system every minute and as we walk, who knows how many insects we trample afoot?
The bottom line is that karma cannot be reduced by reducing our worldly actions and relationships.
So how do we get out of this seemingly unsolvable situation?
The answer is, as mentioned above, is to do your sincere best and not be attached to the specific result you want. If you get what he you aimed for, feel great, but if you get a different or unexpected result, then that should be ok too.
Thinking obsessively about the fruit is counterproductive. It will actually spoil the very action that manufacturers the fruit since it will distract you from appropriate and detached action.
If you do this successfully, you can be called a Karma-yogi.
SO how do you live on daily basis? Not be avoiding actions, but by dedicating all that your do-work, eat, enjoy, partake, to the Lord. When you do that, you are untainted by your actions. You are simply a daily wage earner who is in the service of the Lord.
This friends, is the path of a karma yogi, the one who reduces his karmic load and soon reaches liberation.