Sunday, May 20, 2007


Approach happiness and sorrow equally, is the first step in Karma yoga. Sri Krishna also eulogized the greatness of Karma yoga. Even a small amount of practice of Karma yoga will yield proportionate results. If the Karma yoga was stopped, the accrued benefits will not go waste. Arjuna should practice Karma yoga as it was advised by Sri Krishna and it will definitely yield results. Some examiners will value the answer papers and allot proportionate marks to the method and to the correct steps written, even if the final result was wrong. Likewise, there are benefits for the extent up to which Karma yoga was practiced. Abandoning Karma yoga incomplete does not cause any bad effects. Even the small results achieved by practicing Karma yoga, will save from the dangers of rebirth and associated perils. Now we will see the 41st sloka:

vyavasayatmika buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca
buddhayo ’vyavasayinam

"Those who are on this path[ with Moksham as objective] are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute [performing kamya karmas]is many-branched."

Sri Krishna categorizes the actions or karma we do into two. One with the goal of achieving Moksham or eternal release. The second is those performed with lower objectives. Our approach should be for the first one only. But if we have the trivial results as objectives, these will be many and changing frequently, and will never make one to profit. Thus Sri Krishna describes the superiority of karmas with Moksham as objective to other kamya karmas. Does this mean one has to start karma yoga with Moksham as objective as soon as one is born? Do not we require all the comforts in life on this earth? Sri Krishna advises Arjuna not to waste his efforts for trivial gains but for the lofty Moksham. Let us examine what He said with some practical examples. When a child starts education, it learns one by one alphabets and counting. Thus the child starts from a very small, almost a point, in the learning process. Then this learning process builds up as the child progresses from say 1st standard to the 2nd standard. It enlarges further in the 3rd standard and so on. When the child reaches the school final or 12th standard or +2, as it is called, the learning has broadened to a great magnitude. Thus the learning, which started almost from a point in the 1st standard, has diverged into a very broad measure in the school final. The child had learnt all types of subjects up till now. But the moment the child, now a lad, enters college study, there is a perceptible change in the learning. Instead of learning all subjects the learning is concentrated to a particular field of choice. In the graduate and postgraduate, this process is further narrowed and deeper studies are made. Then finally in the research, only a single aspect is taken up and the learning and study narrows to almost a point. If we imagine this pictorially, the education process starts from a point, diverges as time progresses, then after a stage, it starts converging and finally reaches a point. Recollecting an earlier lecture, it was told that Sri Namperumal arrives from Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar temple, Urayur, to Sri Ranganayaki Thayar sannidhi, Srirangam, when the Mattayadi festival takes place, on the 6th day of Panguni Uthram festival. Next day the Lord, reluctantly, takes leave of Sri Ranganayaki Thayar, and getting in to the Goratham chariot goes in procession in the streets. We will see the construction of the chariot. It starts from a narrow base and enlarges to a broad middle and then again starts narrowing and reaches to a point on the top. This symbolically represents the sloka in study. We first start learning about the atman, in a very small way. We slowly enlarge our knowledge about atman- atman requires a body; every life has distinct desires; various karmas are performed to get the desired results; and to perform these kamya karmas one learns so many things and does so many professions. In the process many births are taken by the soul and thus the entire process is diverging. Therefore, as we saw in the education system or in the construction of a chariot, now the objective of the atman has to concentrate and seek a single supreme objective. Earlier the atman wanted to learn worldly knowledge, wanted to enjoy married life, the wanted to enjoy the company of children, then wanted to have sound health, then wanted to earn good name among relatives and friends, etc. Now, it has to converge and pursue only those karmas which will lead to Moksham. At this time if one seeks lower objectives, there will be diversion as well as waste of time and efforts. Sri Krishna thus tells Arjuna that the karma done for Moksham will always be same type. Whereas the kamya karmas for lower benefits are plenty and we can never complete all of them. So there is the necessity for choosing only a single objective. Soul is the servant of God. Atman has total knowledge. Atman’s nature is happiness. So atman cannot waste pursuits after trivial results. If one remembers these and performs the actions or karma with a steadfast mind, then that knowledge will be one or same. Whereas since the kamya karmas are not performed with the right knowledge of atman, they will all be diversified and will not lead to a finite result. Convergence only can lead to a single objective. So Arjuna is advised to take up only those karmas, which will get him Moksham. A clear and proper understanding of the atman alone will enable to perform karma yoga.

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