Showing posts from August, 2015

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-13.



In this tremendous fiery furnace where the fire of duty scorches everybody, drink this cup of nectar and be happy.

We are all simply working out His will, and have nothing to do with rewards and punishments.

If you want the reward, you must also have the punishment; the only way to get out of the punishment is to give up the reward.

The only way of getting out of misery is by giving up the idea of happiness, because these two are linked to each other.

On one side there is happiness, on the other there is misery.

On one side there is life, on the other there is death.

The only way to get beyond death is to give up the love of life.

Life and death are the same thing, looked at from different points.

So the idea of happiness without misery, or of life without death, is very good for school-boys and children; but the thinker sees that it is all a contradiction in terms and gives up both.

Seek no praise, no reward, for anything you do.

No sooner do we pe…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-12.



What is duty after all?

It is really the impulsion of the flesh, of our attachment; and when an attachment has become established, we call it duty.

For instance, in countries where there is no marriage, there is no duty between husband and wife; when marriage comes, husband and wife live together on account of attachment; and that kind of living together becomes settled after generations; and when it becomes so settled, it becomes a duty.

It is, so to say, a sort of chronic disease.

When it is acute, we call it disease; when it is chronic, we call it nature.

It is a disease.

So when attachment becomes chronic, we baptise it with the high sounding name of duty.

We strew flowers upon it, trumpets sound for it, sacred texts are said over it, and then the whole world fights, and men earnestly rob each other for this duty's sake.

Duty is good to the extent that it checks brutality.

To the lowest kinds of men, who cannot have any other ideal, it is of…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-11.



Karma-Yoga teaches us that the ordinary idea of duty is on the lower plane; nevertheless, all of us have to do our duty.

Yet we may see that this peculiar sense of duty is very often a great cause of misery.

Duty becomes a disease with us; it drags us ever forward.

It catches hold of us and makes our whole life miserable.

It is the bane of human life.

This duty, this idea of duty is the midday summer sun which scorches the innermost soul of mankind.

Look at those poor slaves to duty!

Duty leaves them no time to say prayers, no time to bathe.

Duty is ever on them.

They go out and work.

Duty is on them!

They come home and think of the work for the next day.

Duty is on them!

It is living a slave's life, at last dropping down in the street and dying in harness, like a horse.

This is duty as it is understood.

The only true duty is to be unattached and to work as free beings, to give up all work unto God.

All our duties are His.

Blessed are we that we…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-10.



Here are the two ways of giving up all attachment.

The one is for those who do not believe in God, or in any outside help.

They are left to their own devices; they have simply to work with their own will, with the powers of their mind and discrimination, saying, "I must be non-attached".

For those who believe in God there is another way, which is much less difficult.

They give up the fruits of work unto the Lord; they work and are never attached to the results.

Whatever they see, feel, hear, or do, is for Him.

For whatever good work we may do, let us not claim any praise or benefit.

It is the Lord’s; give up the fruits unto Him.

Let us stand aside and think that we are only servants obeying the Lord, our Master, and that every impulse for action comes from Him every moment.

Whatever thou worshippest, whatever thou perceivest, whatever thou doest, give up all unto Him and be at rest.

Let us be at peace, perfect peace, with ourselves, and gi…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-9.



So Karma-Yoga says, first destroy the tendency to project this tentacle of selfishness, and when you have the power of checking it, hold it in and do not allow the mind to get into the ways of selfishness.

Then you may go out into the world and work as much as you can.

Mix everywhere, go where you please; you will never be contaminated with evil.

There is the lotus leaf in the water; the water cannot touch and adhere to it; so will you be in the world.

This is called "Vairagya", dispassion or non-attachment.

I believe I have told you that without non-attachment there cannot be any kind of Yoga.

Non-attachment is the basis of all the Yogas.

The man who gives up living in houses, wearing fine clothes, and eating good food, and goes into the desert, may be a most attached person.

His only possession, his own body, may become everything to him; and as he lives he will be simply struggling for the sake of his body.

Non-attachment does not mean an…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-8.



What does it say?

"Work incessantly, but give up all attachment to work."

Do not identify yourself with anything.

Hold your mind free.

All this that you see, the pains and the miseries, are but the necessary conditions of this world; poverty and wealth and happiness are but momentary; they do not belong to our real nature at all.

Our nature is far beyond misery and happiness, beyond every object of the senses, beyond the imagination; and yet we must go on working all the time.

"Misery comes through attachment, not through work."

As soon as we identify ourselves with the work we do, we feel miserable; but if we do not identify ourselves with it, we do not feel that misery.

If a beautiful picture belonging to another is burnt, a man does not generally become miserable; but when his own picture is burnt, how miserable he feels!


Both were beautiful pictures, perhaps copies of the same original; but in one case very much more miser…

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



What is Karma-Yoga?

The knowledge of the secret of work.

We see that the whole universe is working.

For what?

For salvation, for liberty; from the atom to the highest being, working for the one end, liberty for the mind, for the body, for the spirit.

All things are always trying to get freedom, flying away from bondage.

The sun, the moon, the earth, the planets, all are trying to fly away from bondage.

The centrifugal and the centripetal forces of nature are indeed typical of our universe.

Instead of being knocked about in this universe, and after long delay and thrashing, getting to know things as they are, we learn from Karma-Yoga the secret of work, the method of work, the organising power of work.

A vast mass of energy may be spent in vain if we do not know how to utilise it.

Karma-Yoga makes a science of work; you learn by it how best to utilise all the workings of this world.

Work is inevitable, it must be so; but we should work to the highest p…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-6.



But it is a most difficult thing to give up the clinging to this universe; few ever attain to that.

There are two ways to do that mentioned in our books.

One is called the "Neti, Neti" (not this, not this), the other is called "Iti" (this); the former is the negative, and the latter is the positive way.

The negative way is the most difficult. It is only possible to the men of the very highest, exceptional minds and gigantic wills who simply stand up and say, "No, I will not have this," and the mind and body obey their will, and they come out successful.

But such people are very rare.

The vast majority of mankind choose the positive way, the way through the world, making use of all the bondages themselves to break those very bondages.

This is also a kind of giving up; only it is done slowly and gradually, by knowing things, enjoying things and thus obtaining experience, and knowing the nature of things until the mind lets …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-5.




To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe; it cannot be found here. Perfect equilibrium, or what the Christians call the peace that passeth all understanding, cannot be had in this universe, nor in heaven, nor in any place where our mind and thoughts can go, where the senses can feel, or which the imagination can conceive.

No such place can give us that freedom, because all such places would be within our universe, and it is limited by space, time, and causation.

There may be places that are more ethereal than this earth of ours, where enjoyments may be keener, but even those places must be in the universe and, therefore, in bondage to law; so we have to go beyond, and real religion begins where this little universe ends.

These little joys, and sorrows, and knowledge of things end there, and the reality begins.

Until we give up the thirst after life, the strong attachment to this our transient conditioned existence we …

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




The question has been raised as to from whom this universe comes, in whom it rests, and to whom it goes; and the answer has been given that from freedom it comes, in bondage it rests, and goes back into that freedom again.

So, when we speak of man as no other than that infinite being which is manifesting itself, we mean that only one very small part thereof is man; this body and this mind which we see are only one part of the whole, only one spot of the infinite being.

This whole universe is only one speck of the infinite being; and all our laws, our bondages, our joys and our sorrows, our happinesses and our expectations, are only within this small universe; all our progression and digression are within its small compass.

So you see how childish it is to expect a continuation of this universe — the creation of our minds — and to expect to go to heaven, which after all must mean only a repetition of this world that we know.

You see at once that it is…

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




The next question for consideration is what we mean by law being universal.

Our universe is that portion of existence which is characterized by what the Sanskrit psychologists call Desha-kâla-nimitta, or what is known to European psychology as space, time, and causation.

This universe is only a part of infinite existence, thrown into a peculiar mould, composed of space, time, and causation.

It necessarily follows that law is possible only within this conditioned universe; beyond it there cannot be any law.

When we speak of the universe, we only mean that portion of existence which is limited by our mind — the universe of the senses, which we can see, feel, touch, hear, think of, imagine.

This alone is under law; but beyond it existence cannot be subject to law, because causation does not extend beyond the world of our minds.

Anything beyond the range of our mind and our senses is not bound by the law of causation, as there is no mental association of…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-2.




According to them, all our ideas of law are due to association.

A series of phenomena becomes associated with things in our mind in a sort of invariable order, so that whatever we perceive at any time is immediately referred to other facts in the mind.

Any one idea or, according to our psychology, any one wave that is produced in the mind-stuff, Chitta, must always give rise to many similar waves.

This is the psychological idea of association, and causation is only an aspect of this grand pervasive principle of association.

This pervasiveness of association is what is, in Sanskrit, called Vyapti.

In the external world the idea of law is the same as in the internal — the expectation that a particular phenomenon will be followed by another, and that the series will repeat itself.

Really speaking, therefore, law does not exist in nature.

Practically it is an error to say that gravitation exists in the earth, or that there is any law existing objectively…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-7. Part-1.



In addition to meaning work, we have stated that psychologically the word Karma also implies causation.

Any work, any action, any thought that produces an effect is called a Karma.

Thus the law of Karma means the law of causation, of inevitable cause and sequence.

Wheresoever there is a cause, there an effect must be produced; this necessity cannot be resisted, and this law of Karma, according to our philosophy, is true throughout the whole universe.

Whatever we see, or feel, or do, whatever action there is anywhere in the universe, while being the effect of past work on the one hand, becomes, on the other, a cause in its turn, and produces its own effect.

It is necessary, together with this, to consider what is meant by the word "law".

By law is meant the tendency of a series to repeat itself.

When we see one event followed by another, or sometimes happening simultaneously with another, we expect this sequence or co-existence to recur.

Our …

Karma-Yoga : Ch-6. Part-22.


Then things will be made clearer to us by our own power of perception and thought, and we shall realise them in our own souls; and that realisation will grow into the intense power of will.

First it is feeling, then it becomes willing, and out of that willing comes the tremendous force for work that will go through every vein and nerve and muscle, until the whole mass of your body is changed into an instrument of the unselfish Yoga of work, and the desired result of perfect self-abnegation and utter unselfishness is duly attained.

This attainment does not depend on any dogma, or doctrine, or belief.

Whether one is Christian, or Jew, or Gentile, it does not matter.

Are you unselfish?

That is the question.

If you are, you will be perfect without reading a single religious book, without going into a single mosque, church or temple.

Each one of our Yogas is fitted to make man perfect even without the help of the others, becau…

Karma-Yoga : Ch-6. Part-21.


Our various Yogas do not conflict with each other; each of them leads us to the same goal and makes us perfect.

Only each has to be strenuously practiced.

The whole secret is in practicing.

First you have to hear, then think, and then practice.

This is true of every Yoga.

You have first to hear about it and understand what it is; and many things which you do not understand will be made clear to you by constant hearing and thinking.

It is hard to understand everything at once.

The explanation of everything is after all in yourself.

No one was ever really taught by another; each of us has to teach himself.

The external teacher offers only the suggestion which rouses the internal teacher to work to understand things.
Swami Vivekananda
To be continued  ...