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, The seed for karma yoga and the other blogs in this series’ before you read this one, as this sets the context for this series on karma yoga. 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. To understand and introspect further on this topic, I have chosen the dialogue mode – between two of my favorite characters – MAnvi and her thAthA.. Both of them have aged by a few more years. MAnvi has grown far more deep and wide in her spiritual journey; MAnvi’s thAthA knows that his contribution is a catalyst in this journey of hers.
It was quite many days before MAnvi decided to speak on the topic of karma yoga with her thAthA.
MAnvi: thAthA, if karma yoga is ‘Taking pleasure and pain with equanimity as though they are one and the same’, are there any steps that I can follow to become a karma yogi?
thAthA smiled to himself, at the way she asked – for a girl who was reluctant to use the term ‘karma yogi’, she seemed to have assimilated the word or rather the meaning.
MAnvi (seeing his smile and understanding the reason behind it): thAthA, it still sounds lofty but it also sounds now as though there is a progress in the spiritual journey for me, when I use the word.
thAthA: Let me answer your question – yes, there are a few aspects that you can keep in mind , in any situation that you are in. Listen to me carefully..
Take things as they are
MAnvi, when you look at a mountain, the sky, the clouds, water, thunder or anything to do with nature, you accept them as they are, isn’t it? Do you wish them to be different? Yes, sometimes they may bother you but you know that you can’t change the way they are. So you accept them as they are. This MUST BE applied to people as well. People are as they are. You may want to change certain traits and behaviors of theirs but who are you to change their behavior and traits? Instead, learn to handle those behaviors and traits.
Each person has a belief
Each person has a belief, MAnvi. You have a belief that you think is valid and right. Others have their belief that they think is valid and right. Why do you want to convert their belief to your belief? The appropriate thing to do would be to be aware that they have a right to their belief and understand that there IS a background to that belief.
Every person is born to be made
There is NOTHING called a weed. A weed is defined as a plant that is not needed in a particular area. A grass is a weed amongst a field of vegetables. A grass is NOT a weed in a lawn. Every aspect in this creation has a purpose. Every person in this world is here for their own reason. Every person in this world is born to be made; and that is a part of the order. Accept and understand that order.
Every role has a script
MAnvi, each one of us in this world play different roles – mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, friend etc.. Each role has a script. There is a general script for each role but we tweak the script to suit our needs. Therefore, each script becomes different and unique. That is why, when a person dies we say, “No one can take their role.”
In any role that we play, we act in it. When I say act, I don’t mean pretend, I mean acting in that role. There are times when instead of following our own script and acting, we react because the scene that is played is different from what we expected and practiced in our mind. When we react, we forget the script. Then the actor disappears and the person appears. And with the person appears many an emotion – anger, sadness, despair etc.. That is why we are told ‘Don’t take it ‘person’ally” because we become an ally of the person!!!
Remember MAnvi, you have the script in your hand and you have the Free Will to tweak the script. The script that others have in their hand, you may not be able to see and you cannot sit in their mind to know how they plan to tweak it. Well, they may not know it themselves!!!
MAnvi: thAthA, all that you have said till now has the possibility of making me ‘Accepting a person as they are’ isn’t it, when I assimilate it? When I accept a person as they are, rAgA and dwEshA are balanced out.. They then can be looked at as though one and the same. While I will experience pleasure and pain, neither of these stay within me for a long time because of the assimilation of karma yoga.
thAthA: You are right, MAnvi. I would give just one suggestion. Always remember that it is ‘One day at a time’. Wake up everyday, with the visualisation of these four aspects..
MAnvi: thAthA, what you said has made a paradigm shift in me.. I think I have understood karma yoga to the extent that I need now. If needed, we can discuss on this at a later time. Is that OK?
thAthA seeing the tears welling up in MAnvi’s eyes, just nodded his head. He knew that her tears were in gratitude. It gave him great pleasure to teach her but he also knew that there was so much more to teach her that he can’t revel for a long time, in the moments of pleasure.