We are exploring the relationship amongst कर्म, कर्मफल, and how one defines oneself.
According to शास्त्र, कर्म has nothing to do with how I define myself.
E.g. One can do one’s स्वधर्म as a butcher in the slaughterhouse, or as a पण्डित in the temple doing पूजा |
Depending on the slot that one has, the कर्म that one does gives कर्मफल in the form of पुण्य & पापा. This is where one is deluded by प्रकृति |
We define ourselves by प्रकृति, in terms of our personality being सत्त्व, रजस् & तमस्, and then struggle out of self-judgment.
When I define myself by प्रकृति, I can say that I am mix of सत्त्व & रजस् ~ I am dynamic, motivated backed by sound discrimination.
But, then, no matter how much effort is made, it is a no-win situation.
Because प्रकृति/माया शक्ति (सत्त्व, रजस् & तमस्) is always in flux at the cosmic level, at the level of society & at the level of the individual.
प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढा: सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु ।
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् ॥ २९॥
Any कर्म done is impelled by प्रकृति (सत्त्व, रजस् & तमस्). सत्त्व, रजस् & तमस् are the गुण-s of the body-mind-senses (discussed in श्लोक २७). But according to this, I define myself as कर्ता |
Those who are सम्मूढा: i.e. confused & deluded by प्रकृति, which are the modifications of the गुण-s in oneself,
What will happen to them?
सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु – They get totally bound by this गुण & कर्म |
But, the one who knows कृत्स्न(completely) आत्मा free from all गुण-s, should not disturb the one who is मन्दान् i.e. the one deluded by these modifications.
E.g. One can observe the many crocodiles at the crocodile park close to Chennai. It is easy to mistake the crocodile for a rock as they don’t move much, only using a total of ~190 calories for all daily activities!
If one were to resist the lazy demeanor of the crocodile, saying that it should increase its activity, then who is मन्द:? The crocodile will most certainly pounce on its prey when it needs to.
So, all creatures behave according to how they are programmed by प्रकृति ~ the snake slithering, the turtle withdrawing its limbs, the cheetah running fast, the coronavirus mutating.
So, प्रकृति explains the स्वभाव of different species including human beings. Some humans may be very actively involved in a lot of projects, or others are fine with just a few to give their time & attention to. This is the personality.
But, if one defines oneself by this personality, then this is a problem.
Because, I get bound by it.
Then, I always want to push myself, thinking that I need to work harder, but really this is not the only solution to success.
If I give more focus to one aspect of life, will balance be maintained in all relationships and roles? If I delude myself into thinking that more time & effort at work will give a better result, then what happens to all other roles & family relationships? Then family relationships & friendships go down the drain, and then when one needs help, there is no one there to support.
So, how are we defining ourselves? Are we mistakenly thinking that more कर्म will give मोक्ष? E.g. more वेदान्त classes, more meditation etc. This is a sign of रजस् |
Regardless of what or how much one is doing, am I able to see the meaning of life and the meaning of limitless ब्रह्मन् as I?
If people around one are engaged in different types of work, and the wise person says that कर्म will not give मोक्ष, this will bring disturbance.
Because then one thinks that no matter how great one is at one’s job, how wonderful one’s relationships are, then it does not matter, because it will not give मोक्ष |
And this is the truth- no matter what one does, only ज्ञानम् gives मोक्ष ~ the knowledge that I was never the कर्ता nor भोक्ता | But whom this truth is shared with is important.
If there is a person trying to do one’s job, telling that person that कर्म will not give मोक्ष, brings confusion to them. As then the person wants to withdraw from कर्म | And anyhow the person did not want to do anyway, because doing was such a big effort.
But at the same time the person does not have enough अन्तःकरण शुद्धि: to pursue मोक्ष |
Therefore, as we study वेदान्त, we should be mindful of what we say to whom.
The one who knows आत्मा, should not disturb the one who does not know and does not care to know, because they are मन्द (do not have विवेक i.e. knowing what is right versus what is not right).
All pursuit & performance of कर्म, whether it is सत्त्व-based~pursuit of knowledge & clarity in any area, pursuit of धर्म, pursuit of a lot of activity, all of this comes from a sense of अपूर्णता(incompleteness).
Therefore, depending on one’s personality, one acts accordingly in a given situation. But all of this is for what?
At face value it may be to put food on the table, or to have fun.
But, the root cause is that I think that I am not enough with what is here with me.
So, what shall we do?
* श्लोक ३० *
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा ।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वर: ॥ ३०॥
Given that there are disturbances in the mind, because of what we have done, or not done, and all wishes/desires that we have, then what shall we do?
So, भगवान् says-
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि ~ all of your कर्म,
you offer it to me.
You are fascinated by संन्यास, then this is your संन्यास |
And with what kind of mind should कर्म be offered? अध्यात्मचेतसा i.e. let the चेतस्(mind) be discriminatory, with विवेक, wanting to know, a mind that learns the sweetness of surrender.
And then what happens as a result?
What disturbs one is:
~ our आशी: i.e. our hopes & fears, and
~ मम: i.e. what is mine.
So then, with this offering, one becomes free from the preoccupation with the future, and from the sense of ‘my’ness.
भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: addresses Arjuna, telling him,
युध्यस्व ~ fight.
He says this to Arjuna because it is Arjuna’s duty as a क्षत्रिय to fight battles in order to uphold धर्म |
And भगवान् says to do this विगत(without) ज्वर: (fever) i.e. without anger & frustration.
So, भगवान् श्री कृष्ण:’s teaching is that this is a job to be done, so just do it.
E.g. As a couple gets ready to be wedded, more emphasis is placed on the wedding day (the decor, clothes, food, guest list), than on the marriage ahead.
Before taking the leap, the couple should consider, are we good at fighting with each other? How do we resolve a disagreement? Can conflicts be resolved in such a way that no grudges & regrets are carried forward? With love, hopefully the benefit of the doubt is given to the other.
We observe ourselves/others still thinking about situations long past because the event still bothers us. Therefore, one should give the other the benefit of the doubt and trust.
One must understand that the other is not out to attack me, and also that I myself will not attack the other. Or else one gets caught up with what will happen.
Then again & again, one chews over and regurgitates the thoughts of ~ how will it be? will it be okay? what wilI I do?
If one doubts whether one can handle the situation, simply offer the कर्म to भगवान् |
So, any doubts, fears, emotions, e.g. anxiety, one should offer to भगवान् |
Offering to भगवान् means that one sees that one’s ability to do any kind of कर्म is pervaded by the laws of कर्म, and the different results that I get are as a result of कर्म |
E.g. choosing to have a relationship with a certain person, choosing to go to another city.
In this way, I see myself as a दास of भगवान् |
In the वैष्णव tradition, some people are given a surname like दास (the one who serves). It is a good reminder that I am here to serve, to do सेव |
Whatever कर्म I do, I see it pervaded by the laws of कर्म all the way~ पुण्य & पापा are shaped by भगवान् Himself.
Then, performing कर्म with this understanding, I feel so light, knowing that भगवान् will take care, trusting that I am taken care of.
When भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: tells Arjuna that you may fight, it is because Arjuna is a क्षत्रिय, and as his duty he has to fight. So, this is not a license for everyone to fight.
With respect to one’s sense of ‘my’ness, if one’s opinion is challenged, can one keep aside their opinion and still relate to the other. E.g. There can be 2 opposing opinions- one likes versus the other hates the Prime Minister. Fights can break out within families due to rigid stances on these matters. But can one keep aside their political opinion and still relate to the other?
So, a lot of disagreement is due to this ‘my’ness.
But one feels so strongly- It is my opinion; how can you go against me? It is my word. This is how I feel.
With the exploration of a disagreement, it always starts with ‘I felt like this’. But all that is felt is a reaction to what has happened.
So, it is to get out of the strong ownership of that emotion.
After an argument, if I am feeling hurt & upset, the other is also likely feeling like that way too. The other person’s feelings are equally valid, regardless of who is right and who is wrong.
But one only focuses on ‘my’ emotions, because like the child who throws a tantrum for ‘my’ toy, one does not want to part with one’s feelings.
Given all these difficulties, भगवान् says do not worry,
offer all this upset feeling to Me, recognizing and telling भगवान् ~ I am upset, I see the emotional order pervaded by You, I do not resist it, I do what I can in all my different roles.
This is भगवान् श्री कृष्ण:’s response to Arjuna on how to fight.
Whatever कर्म one is doing, I am put in a situation where only I am called upon to respond i.e. there is a manifestation of धर्म operating.
And to keep the प्रवर्तितं चक्रं (cosmic wheel) [श्लोक १६] in motion, I have to do my bit.
So, I surrender with understanding pervaded by the fact that everything is given to me, and I do what I can. कर्मफल is taking care of the present and will take care of the future.
So, I give up the associated feverishness (this preoccupation with the future and with what I think is mine), and approach all life-experiences with an attitude of कर्म योग |
How often does one have कर्म योग attitude? श्लोक ३१…