Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2015

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-15.


What is Duty?


The Sannyasin asked him a few questions about soul and about God, and the Vyadha gave him a lecture which forms a part of the Mahâbhârata, called the Vyadha-Gita.

It contains one of the highest flights of the Vedanta.

When the Vyadha finished his teaching, the Sannyasin felt astonished.

He said, "Why are you in that body?

With such knowledge as yours why are you in a Vyadha's body, and doing such filthy, ugly work?"

"My son," replied the Vyadha, "no duty is ugly, no duty is impure. My birth placed me in these circumstances and environments. In my boyhood I learnt the trade; I am unattached, and I try to do my duty well. I try to do my duty as a householder, and I try to do all I can to make my father and mother happy. I neither know your Yoga, nor have I become a Sannyasin, nor did I go out of the world into a forest; nevertheless, all that you have heard and seen has come to me through the unattached doing of the duty wh…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-14.


What is Duty?


The Sannyasin thought, "Why should I go to that town and to a Vyadha?"

But after what he had seen, his mind opened a little, so he went.

When he came near the town, he found the market and there saw, at a distance, a big fat Vyadha cutting meat with big knives, talking and bargaining with different people.

The young man said, "Lord help me! Is this the man from whom I am going to learn?

He is the incarnation of a demon, if he is anything.

In the meantime this man looked up and said, "O Swami, did that lady send you here? Take a seat until I have done my business."

The Sannyasin thought, "What comes to me here?"

He took his seat; the man went on with his work, and after he had finished he took his money and said to the Sannyasin, "Come sir, come to my home."

On reaching home the Vyadha gave him a seat, saying, "Wait here," and went into the house.

He then washed his old father and mother, fed them…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-13.


What is Duty?


After a time he had to go to the town to beg his bread.

He went, stood at a door, and said, "Mother, give me food."

A voice came from inside the house, "Wait a little, my son."

The young man thought, "You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet."

While he was thinking thus the voice came again: "Boy, don't be thinking too much of yourself. Here is neither crow nor crane."

 He was astonished; still he had to wait.

At last the woman came, and he fell at her feet and said, "Mother, how did you know that?"

She said, "My boy, I do not know your Yoga or your practices. I am a common everyday woman. I made you wait because my husband is ill, and I was nursing him. All my life I have struggled to do my duty. When I was unmarried, I did my duty to my parents; now that I am married, I do my duty to my husband; that is all the Yoga I practice. But by doing my duty I have …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-12.


What is Duty?


The only way to rise is by doing the duty next to us, and thus gathering strength go on until we reach the highest state.

A young Sannyâsin went to a forest; there he meditated, worshipped, and practiced Yoga for a long time.

After years of hard work and practice, he was one day sitting under a tree, when some dry leaves fell upon his head.

He looked up and saw a crow and a crane fighting on the top of the tree, which made him very angry.

He said, "What! Dare you throw these dry leaves upon my head!"

As with these words he angrily glanced at them, a flash of fire went out of his head — such was the Yogi's power — and burnt the birds to ashes.

He was very glad, almost overjoyed at this development of power — he could burn the crow and the crane by a look.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ...

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-11.


What is Duty?


The position of the mother is the highest in the world, as it is the one place in which to learn and exercise the greatest unselfishness.
The love of God is the only love that is higher than a mother's love; all others are lower.

It is the duty of the mother to think of her children first and then of herself.

But, instead of that, if the parents are always thinking of themselves first, the result is that the relation between parents and children becomes the same as that between birds and their offspring which, as soon as they are fledged, do not recognise any parents.

Blessed, indeed, is the man who is able to look upon woman as the representative of the motherhood of God.

Blessed, indeed, is the woman to whom man represents the fatherhood of God.

Blessed are the children who look upon their parents as Divinity manifested on earth.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ....

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-10.


What is Duty?


Chastity is the first virtue in man or woman, and the man who, however he may have strayed away, cannot be brought to the right path by a gentle and loving and chaste wife is indeed very rare.

The world is not yet as bad as that. We hear much about brutal husbands all over the world and about the impurity of men, but is it not true that there are quite as many brutal and impure women as men?

If all women were as good and pure as their own constant assertions would lead one to believe, I am perfectly satisfied that there would not be one impure man in the world.

What brutality is there which purity and chastity cannot conquer?

A good, chaste wife, who thinks of every other man except her own husband as her child and has the attitude of a mother towards all men, will grow so great in the power of her purity that there cannot be a single man, however brutal, who will not breathe an atmosphere of holiness in her presence.

Similarly, every husband must lo…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-9.


What is Duty?


Duty is seldom sweet.

It is only when love greases its wheels that it runs smoothly; it is a continuous friction otherwise.

How else could parents do their duties to their children, husbands to their wives, and vice versa?

Do we not meet with cases of friction every day in our lives?

Duty is sweet only through love, and love shines in freedom alone.

Yet is it freedom to be a slave to the senses, to anger, to jealousies and a hundred other petty things that must occur every day in human life?

In all these little roughnesses that we meet with in life, the highest expression of freedom is to forbear.

Women, slaves to their own irritable, jealous tempers, are apt to blame their husbands, and assert their own "freedom", as they think, not knowing that thereby they only prove that they are slaves.

So it is with husbands who eternally find fault with their wives.

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ....

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-8.


What is Duty?


Later on we shall find that even this idea of duty undergoes change, and that the greatest work is done only when there is no selfish motive to prompt it.

Yet it is work through the sense of duty that leads us to work without any idea of duty; when work will become worship — nay, something higher — then will work be done for its own sake.

We shall find that the philosophy of duty, whether it be in the form of ethics or of love, is the same as in every other Yoga — the object being the attenuating of the lower self, so that the real higher Self may shine forth — the lessening of the frittering away of energies on the lower plane of existence, so that the soul may manifest itself on the higher ones.

This is accomplished by the continuous denial of low desires, which duty rigorously requires.

The whole organisation of society has thus been developed, consciously or unconsciously, in the realms of action and experience, where, by limiting selfishness, we …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-7.


What is Duty?


Therefore the one point we ought to remember is that we should always try to see the duty of others through their own eyes, and never judge the customs of other peoples by our own standard. I am not the standard of the universe.

I have to accommodate myself to the world, and not the world to me. So we see that environments change the nature of our duties, and doing the duty which is ours at any particular time is the best thing we can do in this world.

Let us do that duty which is ours by birth; and when we have done that, let us do the duty which is ours by our position in life and in society. There is, however, one great danger in human nature, viz that man never examines himself.

He thinks he is quite as fit to be on the throne as the king. Even if he is, he must first show that he has done the duty of his own position; and then higher duties will come to him. When we begin to work earnestly in the world, nature gives us blows right and left and so…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-6.


What is Duty?


When I came to this country and was going through the Chicago Fair, a man from behind pulled at my turban. I looked back and saw that he was a very gentlemanly-looking man, neatly dressed. I spoke to him; and when he found that I knew English, he became very much abashed. On another occasion in the same Fair another man gave me a push. When I asked him the reason, he also was ashamed and stammered out an apology saying, "Why do you dress that way?" The sympathies of these men were limited within the range of their own language and their own fashion of dress.

Much of the oppression of powerful nations on weaker ones is caused by this prejudice. It dries up their fellow feeling for fellow men. That very man who asked me why I did not dress as he did and wanted to ill-treat me because of my dress may have been a very good man, a good father, and a good citizen; but the kindliness of his nature died out as soon as he saw a man in a different dre…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-4. Part-5.


What is Duty?


The Bhagavad-Gita frequently alludes to duties dependent upon birth and position in life.

Birth and position in life and in society largely determine the mental and moral attitude of individuals towards the various activities of life.

It is therefore our duty to do that work which will exalt and ennoble us in accordance with the ideals and activities of the society in which we are born.

But it must be particularly remembered that the same ideals and activities do not prevail in all societies and countries; our ignorance of this is the main cause of much of the hatred of one nation towards another.

An American thinks that whatever an American does in accordance with the custom of his country is the best thing to do, and that whoever does not follow his custom must be a very wicked man.

A Hindu thinks that his customs are the only right ones and are the best in the world, and that whosoever does not obey them must be the most wicked man living.

This is …

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


What is Duty?


From the subjective standpoint we may see that certain acts have a tendency to exalt and ennoble us, while certain other acts have a tendency to degrade and to brutalise us.

But it is not possible to make out with certainty which acts have which kind of tendency in relation to all persons, of all sorts and conditions.

There is, however, only one idea of duty which has been universally accepted by all mankind, of all ages and sects and countries, and that has been summed up in a Sanskrit aphorism thus:

“Do not injure any being; not injuring any being is virtue, injuring any being is sin.”

Swami Vivekananda

To be continued  ...