Showing posts from March, 2015

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-3.


What is Duty?


But what is it that makes an act a duty?

If a Christian finds a piece of beef before him and does not eat it to save his own life, or will not give it to save the life of another man, he is sure to feel that he has not done his duty.

But if a Hindu dares to eat that piece of beef or to give it to another Hindu, he is equally sure to feel that he too has not done his duty; the Hindu's training and education make him feel that way.

In the last century there were notorious bands of robbers in India called thugs; they thought it their duty to kill any man they could and take away his money; the larger the number of men they killed, the better they thought they were.

Ordinarily if a man goes out into the street and shoots down another man, he is apt to feel sorry for it, thinking that he has done wrong.

But if the very same man, as a soldier in his regiment, kills not one but twenty in  action, he is certain to feel glad and think that he has done his …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-2.


What is Duty?


The term "duty", like every other universal abstract term, is impossible clearly to define; we can only get an idea of it by knowing its practical operations and results.

When certain things occur before us, we have all a natural or trained impulse to act in a certain manner towards them; when this impulse comes, the mind begins to think about the situation.

Sometimes it thinks that it is good to act in a particular manner under the given conditions; at other times it thinks that it is wrong to act in the same manner even in the very same circumstances.

The ordinary idea of duty everywhere is that every good man follows the dictates of his conscience.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ....

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-1.


What is Duty?


It is necessary in the study of Karma-Yoga to know what duty is.

If I have to do something I must first know that it is my duty, and then I can do it.

The idea of duty again is different in different nations.

The Mohammedan says what is written in his book, the Koran, is his duty;

the Hindu says what is in the Vedas is his duty;

and the Christian says what is in the Bible is his duty.

We find that there are varied ideas of duty, differing according to different states in life, different historical periods and different nations.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ...

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-14.



This idea of charity is going out of India; great men are becoming fewer and fewer. When I was first learning English, I read an English story book in which there was a story about a dutiful boy who had gone out to work and had given some of his money to his old mother, and this was praised in three or four pages. What was that? No Hindu boy can ever understand the moral of that story. Now I understand it when I hear the Western idea — every man for himself. And some men take everything for themselves, and fathers and mothers and wives and children go to the wall. That should never and nowhere be the ideal of the householder.

Now you see what Karma-Yoga means; even at the point of death to help any one, without asking questions. Be cheated millions of times and never ask a question, and never think of what you are doing. Never vaunt of your gifts to the poor or expect their gratitude, but rather be grateful to them for giving you the occasion of pract…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-13.



Then the wife said to her husband, 'Give him my share,' but the husband said, 'Not so.'

The wife however insisted, saying, 'Here is a poor man, and it is our duty as householders to see that he is fed, and it is my duty as a wife to give him my portion, seeing that you have no more to offer him.'

Then she gave her share to the guest, which he ate, and said he was still burning with hunger.

So the son said, 'Take my portion also; it is the duty of a son to help his father to fulfil his obligations.'

The guest ate that, but remained still unsatisfied; so the son's wife gave him her portion also.

That was sufficient, and the guest departed, blessing them.

That night those four people died of starvation.

A few granules of that flour had fallen on the floor; and when I rolled my body on them, half of it became golden, as you see.

"Since then I have been travelling all over the world, hoping to find another sacrifice…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-12.



But the mongoose said, There was once a little village, and in it there dwelt a poor Brahmin with his wife, his son, and his son's wife.
They were very poor and lived on small gifts made to them for preaching and teaching.

There came in that land a three years' famine, and the poor Brahmin suffered more than ever.

At last when the family had starved for days, the father brought home one morning a little barley flour, which he had been fortunate enough to obtain, and he divided it into four parts, one for each member of the family.

They prepared it for their meal, and just as they were about to eat, there was a knock at the door.

The father opened it, and there stood a guest.

Now in India a guest is a sacred person; he is as a god for the time being, and must be treated as such.

So the poor Brahmin said, 'Come in, sir; you are welcome,' He set before the guest his own portion of the food, which the guest quickly ate and said, 'Oh, s…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-11.



The selfless and unattached man may live in the very heart of a crowded and sinful city; he will not be touched by sin.
This idea of complete self-sacrifice is illustrated in the following story: After the battle of Kurukshetra the five Pândava brothers performed a great sacrifice and made very large gifts to the poor. All people expressed amazement at the greatness and richness of the sacrifice, and said that such a sacrifice the world had never seen before.

But, after the ceremony, there came a little mongoose, half of whose body was golden, and the other half brown; and he began to roll on the floor of the sacrificial hall. He said to those around, "You are all liars; this is no sacrifice." "What!" they exclaimed, "you say this is no sacrifice; do you not know how money and jewels were poured out to the poor and every one became rich and happy? This was the most wonderful sacrifice any man ever performed."

Swami Viveka…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-10.



If working like slaves results in selfishness and attachment, working as master of our own mind gives rise to the bliss of non-attachment. We often talk of right and justice, but we find that in the world right and justice are mere baby's talk. There are two things which guide the conduct of men: might and mercy. The exercise of might is invariably the exercise of selfishness. All men and women try to make the most of whatever power or advantage they have. Mercy is heaven itself; to be good, we have all to be merciful. Even justice and right should stand on mercy.

All thought of obtaining return for the work we do hinders our spiritual progress; nay, in the end it brings misery. There is another way in which this idea of mercy and selfless charity can be put into practice; that is, by looking upon work as "worship" in case we believe in a Personal God. Here we give up all the fruits our work unto the Lord, and worshipping Him thus, we ha…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-9.



Krishna says,

"Look at Me, Arjuna! If I stop from work for one moment, the whole universe will die. I have nothing to gain from work; I am the one Lord, but why do I work? Because I love the world."

God is unattached because He loves; that real love makes us unattached.

Wherever there is attachment, the clinging to the things of the world, you must know that it is all physical attraction between sets of particles of matter — something that attracts two bodies nearer and nearer all the time and, if they cannot get near enough, produces pain; but where there is real love, it does not rest on physical attachment at all.

Such lovers may be a thousand miles away from one another, but their love will be all the same; it does not die, and will never produce any painful reaction.

To attain this unattachment is almost a life-work, but as soon as we have reached this point, we have attained the goal of love and become free; the bondage of nature falls …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-8.



Therefore true love can never react so as to cause pain either to the lover or to the beloved.

Suppose a man loves a woman; he wishes to have her all to himself and feels extremely jealous about her every movement; he wants her to sit near him, to stand near him, and to eat and move at his bidding.

He is a slave to her and wishes to have her as his slave.

That is not love; it is a kind of morbid affection of the slave, insinuating itself as love.

It cannot be love, because it is painful; if she does not do what he wants, it brings him pain.

With love there is no painful reaction; love only brings a reaction of bliss; if it does not, it is not love; it is mistaking something else for love.

When you have succeeded in loving your husband, your wife, your children, the whole world, the universe, in such a manner that there is no reaction of pain or jealousy, no selfish feeling, then you are in a fit state to be unattached.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-7.



The whole gist of this teaching is that you should work like a master and not as a slave; work incessantly, but do not do slave's work.
Do you not see how everybody works?

Nobody can be altogether at rest; ninety-nine per cent of mankind work like slaves, and the result is misery; it is all selfish work. Work through freedom!

Work through love!

The word "love" is very difficult to understand; love never comes until there is freedom.

There is no true love possible in the slave.

If you buy a slave and tie him down in chains and make him work for you, he will work like a drudge, but there will be no love in him.
So when we ourselves work for the things of the world as slaves, there can be no love in us, and our work is not true work.

This is true of work done for relatives and friends, and is true of work done for our own selves.

Selfish work is slave's work; and here is a test.

Every act of love brings happiness; there is no act of love…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-6.



Therefore, be "unattached"; let things work; let brain centres work; work incessantly, but let not a ripple conquer the mind.

Work as if you were a stranger in this land, a sojourner; work incessantly, but do not bind yourselves; bondage is terrible.

This world is not our habitation, it is only one of the many stages through which we are passing.

Remember that great saying of the Sânkhya, "The whole of nature is for the soul, not the soul for nature."

The very reason of nature's existence is for the education of the soul; it has no other meaning; it is there because the soul must have knowledge, and through knowledge free itself.

If we remember this always, we shall never be attached to nature; we shall know that nature is a book in which we are to read, and that when we have gained the required knowledge, the book is of no more value to us.

Instead of that, however, we are identifying ourselves with nature; we are thinking that…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-3. Part-5.



How can this be done?

We see that the impression of any action, to which we attach ourselves, remains.

I may meet hundreds of persons during the day, and among them meet also one whom I love; and when I retire at night, I may try to think of all the faces I saw, but only that face comes before the mind — the face which I met perhaps only for one minute, and which I loved; all the others have vanished.

My attachment to this particular person caused a deeper impression on my mind than all the other faces.

Physiologically the impressions have all been the same; every one of the faces that I saw pictured itself on the retina, and the brain took the pictures in, and yet there was no similarity of effect upon the mind.

Most of the faces, perhaps, were entirely new faces, about which I had never thought before, but that one face of which I got only a glimpse found associations inside.

Perhaps I had pictured him in my mind for years, knew hundreds of things ab…