A request and a disclaimer: Before you begin to read this blog, request you to first read the blogs titled ‘A curtain raiser to the blog series on karma yoga and The seed for karma yoga’ as this sets the context for this blog and the rest of the blogs in this series. For this blog series on karma yoga, I draw my learnings from the Bhagavad Gita Home Study book by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The language and explanations used by Pujya swAmiji is so profound, that I wish I do justice by aligning my understanding to his explanation, as I parallelly try to relate it to day to day living. Any error in the way I have blogged upon these values, is due to an error in my understanding alone.

This explanation on the seed for karma yoga kept ringing in my mind -‘Taking pleasure or pain with equanimity, as though they are one and the same’. Plant the seed, water it, introspect on it and implement it consistently and the attitude of karma yoga is born and sustains.. The more I thought about it the more it seemed doable and easy. Well, this thought was short lived and it lasted till I began to try implementing taking pleasure and pain with equanimity, as though they were one and the same..

My mind rebelled when I faced challenges as I tried implementing taking pleasure and pain with equanimity.. and this rebellion as always is in the form of questions and thoughts.

  • How can pleasure and pain be taken with equanimity?
  • Why is it so difficult to take it with equanimity?
  • It seems easy to stay in the ‘painful’ moments and moments of pleasure for a while but there are times when staying in moments of pleasure seem far more difficult, because I am scared thinking about how long the pleasure will last.. Why am I not able to be with the moments of pleasure for a longer period of time and just enjoy the experience? Why am I not able to move on as easily when the ‘painful’ moments passes by? The ‘painful’ moments are gone but the impact of the pain remains!! When this happens, am I not skewed on the time spent? The time taken hence to motivate myself and pull myself up is longer..
  • If the time taken to motivate myself is longer, then the effort taken also should be higher, isn’t it?
  • The mind then is so much crowded and occupied with the time and the effort spent to bring in a balance, that the journey to being a karma yogi just seems to have seemingly halted!! The ‘seemingly’ is from the ever optimistic me, who thinks that questions and thoughts lead to analysis, which leads to an understanding of myself.. Ah!! why does life seem so complicated at times? or am I making it seem complicated?
  • Is becoming a karma yogi that easy? If it was, then so many people would have become one isn’t it?

The word karma yogi hadn’t yet settled in my mind and it seems a lofty state to be in.. somewhere while it lures me to read more about it and understand more, my mind doesn’t want to go there and yet it wants to. That’s when I realised, that for me when the destination seems unclear, way too far and therefore appears tough to reach, I begin to look at the journey towards the destination one step at a time. Once in a while I may look ahead to see if the destination is visible, but more often than not I look only one step ahead at any point in time. take that step and look at the next one.

To understand what it is to be a karma yogi, what are the aspects that I need to understand, introspect and implement? The next few blogs in this series will be in this direction.. The next blog will be the first aspect that I would seek to understand and blog on, though the aspects may not have a sequence to it in order of priority.