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WHAT IS KARMA ? 07 FACTS;- 1-Karma is a Sanskrit term. It means action or deed. Any physical or mental action is Karma. Thinking is mental Karma. Karma is the sum total of our acts, both in the present life and in the preceding births. 2-Karma means work or action. According to Jaimini, rituals like Agnihotra, Yajnas, etc., are termed Karmas. There is a hidden power in Karma termed Adrishta which brings in fruits of Karmas for the individual. Karma is all for Jaimini. Karma is everything for a student of Mimamsic school of thought. Jaimini is the founder of Purva Mimamsa. He was student of Maharishi Vyasa, the founder of Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta. The Mimamsa school deny the existence of Ishvara who awards the fruits of works. 3-According to the Gita, any action is Karma. Charity, sacrifice, Tapas are all Karmas. In a philosophical sense, breathing, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, walking, talking, etc., are all Karma. Thinking is the real Karma. 4-Karma means not only action, but also the result of an action. There is a hidden power in Karma or action termed 'Adrishta' which brings in fruits of Karmas for the individual. The consequence of an action is really not a separate thing. It is a part of the action and cannot be divided from it. 5-Karma, according to Jaimini Rishi, is the performance of Agnihotra and other Vedic rituals. According to the Gita, any action done with Nishkamya Bhava is Karma. Lord Krishna says: "Work incessantly. Your duty is to work but not to expect the fruits thereof." The central teaching of the Gita is non-attachment to work. 6-Man is threefold in his nature. He consists of Iccha(desire or feeling), Jnana (knowing)and Kriya(willing).These three fashion his Karma. He knows objects like chair, tree. He feels joy and sorrow. He wills - to do this, or not to do that. Behind the action, there are desire and thought. A desire for an object arises in the mind. Then you think how to get it. Then you exert (utilize)to possess it. Desire, thought and action always go together. They are the three threads, as it were, that are twisted into the cord of Karma. 7-Desire produces Karma. You work and exert(apply) to acquire the objects of your desire. Karma produces its fruits as pain or pleasure. You will have to take births after births to reap the fruits of your Karma. This is the Law of Karma. WHAT ARE THE KINDS OF KARMA? Karma is of three kinds, viz;- 1-Sanchita (the Accumulated works) 2-Prarabdha (The fructifying works ) 3-Kriyamana/ Agami/Vartamana (The current works) MEANING OF THE KINDS OF KARMA;- 04 FACTS;- 1-Sanchita is all the accumulated Karmas of the past. Part of it is seen in the character of man, in his tendencies and aptitudes, capacities, inclinations and desires. Prarabdha is that portion of the part of Karma which is responsible for the present body. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. Kriyamana is that Karma which is now being made for the future. It is also called Agami or Vartamana. 2-In Vedantic literature, there is a beautiful analogy. The bow-man has already sent an arrow; it has left his hands. He cannot recall it. He is about to shoot another arrow. The bundle of arrow in the quiver on his back is the Sanchita. The arrow he has shot is Prarabdha. And the arrow which he is about to shoot from his bow is Agami. Of these, he has perfect control over the Sanchita and the Agami, but he must surely work out his Prarabdha. The past which has begun to take effect he has to experience. 3-Actions are of three kinds, viz., good, bad and mixed. Good Karmas make you a god or angel in heaven. Bad Karmas throw you in lower wombs. Mixed actions give you a human birth. 4-Every work is a mixture of good and evil. There can be neither absolute good work nor absolute bad work in this world. This physical universe is a relative plane. If you do some action, it will do some good in one corner, and some evil in another corner. You must try to do such actions that can bring the maximum of good and the minimum of evil. WHAT IS THE LAW OF KARMA? 06 FACTS;- 1-The Doctrine of Karma forms an integral part of Vedanta. The Law of Karma is one of the fundamental doctrines not only in Hinduism, but also in Buddhism and in Jainism. 2-As a man sows, so he shall reap. This is the Law of Karma. It expounds the riddle of life and the riddle of the universe. It brings solace, satisfaction and comfort to one and all. It is a self-evident truth. Fortunately, the Westerners have also begun now to acknowledge its importance and veracity. They have now full belief in this doctrine. Every sensible man will have to accept it. . 3-A close study of this law gives encouragement to the hopeless man, to the desperate and ailing. Destiny is created by man's thoughts, habits and character. There is every chance for his correction and improvement by changing his thoughts and habits. The scoundrel can become a saint;a beggar can become a king. This mighty law provides for all this. 4-The Doctrine of Karma only can explain the mysterious problem of good and evil in this world. The Doctrine of Karma only can bring solace, contentment, peace and strength to the afflicted and the desperate. It solves our difficulties and problems of life. It gives encouragement to the hopeless and the forlorn (miserable). It pushes a man to right thinking, right speech and right action. It brings a brilliant future for that man who lives according to this universal law. 5- If all people understand this law correctly and discharge their daily duties carefully, they would rise to sublime heights in the ladder of spirituality. They will be moral and virtuous and have a happy, peaceful, contented life. They can bear the burden of Samsara with patience, endurance and strength of mind. There will not be any room for complaint when they see the inequalities in birth, fortune, intelligence, capacities, etc. 6-There will be heaven on earth. All will rejoice even in suffering.Greed, jealousy, hatred, anger, passion will vanish. Virtue will reign everywhere. We will have a glorious Satya Yuga now with peace and plenty everywhere. Blessed is the man who understands and lives in the Law, for he will soon attain God-consciousness and become one with the Law-giver... Then the Law will no longer operate on him. WHAT IS KARMA YOGA ? 09 FACTS;- 1-Karma Yoga is consecration of all actions and their fruits unto the Lord. Karma Yoga is performance of actions dwelling in union with the Divine, removing attachment and remaining balanced ever in success and failure. 2-Karma Yoga is selfless service unto humanity. Karma Yoga is the Yoga of action which purifies the heart and prepares the heart and the mind (the Antahkarana) for the reception of Divine Light or attainment if Knowledge of the Self. The important point is that you will have to serve humanity without any attachment or egoism. 3-Action of some kind or the other is unavoidable. You cannot keep quiet without doing anything. What binds you to phenomenal existence or Samsara is not the action but the idea of doership and enjoyership. Karma binds when it is done with a selfish motive, with the expectation of fruits. But when action is done without the expectation of fruits, it is liberating. 4-If you act as an instrument in the hands of the Lord, as a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature, without expectation of fruits, that Karma will not bind you. Karma, then becomes Karma Yoga. Work unselfishly. Feel that you are only an instrument and that the Lord is working through you. Surrender the actions and their fruits to the Lord.We will be freed from the bonds of Karma and enjoy peace. 5-The practice of Karma Yoga prepares the aspirant for the reception of knowledge of the Self. It makes him a proper aspirant for the study of Vedanta. Ignorant people jump at once to Jnana Yoga, without first having a preliminary training in Karma Yoga. That is the reason why they fail miserably to realize the Truth. 6-Various impurities lurk in the fourfold mind (Antahkarana). The mind is filled with likes and dislikes, jealousy, etc. They only talk of Brahman. They indulge in all sorts of useless controversies, vain debates and dry, endless discussions. Their philosophy is only on their lips. In other words, they are lip-Vedantins. What is really wanted is practical Vedanta through ceaseless, selfless service. Selfless service is the only way to remove the impurities lurking in the mind. 7-Two things are indispensably requisite in the practice of Karma Yoga. The Karma Yogi should have non-attachment to the fruits of actions. He will have to dedicate his actions at the altar of God with the feeling of Ishvararpana. 8-Non-attachment brings freedom from sorrow and fear. Non-attachment makes a man absolutely bold and fearless. When he dedicates his actions at the Lotus Feet of the Lord, he develops devotion to God and approaches Him nearer and nearer. 9-He gradually feels that God works directly through his Indriyas or instruments. He feels no strain or burden in discharge of his works now. He is quite at ease. The heavy load which he felt previously on account of false notion has vanished out of sight now. WHAT IS THE WAY TO FOLLOW NISHKAMA KARMA YOGA? 21 FACTS;- 1-A Karma Yogi should be absolutely free from lust, greed, anger and egoism. Even if there are traces of these Doshas, he should try to remove them. He should not expect any kind of fruits for his actions herein and hereafter. He should not have any desire for name and fame, approbation (approval or praise), thirst for applause, admiration and gratitude. He must have a spotless character. He should try to possess this gradually. 2-He should be humble and free from hatred, jealousy, harshness, etc. He should always speak sweet words. How can a proud and jealous man, who expects respect and honour from others, serve others ? He should be absolutely fearless. A timid man is absolutely unfit for Karma Yoga. 3-A Karma Yogi should have large heart. He should be free from crookedness(dishonesty), meanness, miserliness and selfishness. He should be absolutely free from greed, anger and egoism. 4-A Karma Yogi should have an amiable, loving social nature. He should be able to move and mix with everybody without distinction of caste, creed or colour. He should have perfect adaptability, tolerance, sympathy, cosmic love and mercy. 5-He should be able to adjust with the habits and ways of others. He should have an all-embracing and an all-inclusive heart. He should always have a cool and balanced mind. He should have presence of mind also. He should have equal vision. He should rejoice in the welfare of others. 6-A man who is easily irritable and who can easily be offended for trifling things is absolutely unfit for the path of Karma Yoga. He should have all the organs under perfect control. He should lead a very simple life. He should bear insult, disrespect, dishonour, censure, infamy, disgrace, harsh words, heat, cold and the pain of diseases. He should have absolute faith in himself, in God, in scriptures and in the words of Guru. 7- If he leads a life of luxury, if he wants everything for himself, how can he share his possessions with others ? He should burn his selfishness to the very root. Let us remind the words of the Gita: "Restraining and subduing the senses, regarding everything equally, rejoicing in the welfare of all, these alone come to Me." Such a man becomes a good Karma Yogi and reaches the goal quickly. 8-Half-hearted service is no service at all. Give your whole heart, mind and soul when you serve. This is very important when you practise Karma Yoga. Some people have their body in one place, mind in another place, and soul in another place. This is the reason why they do not realise any substantial progress in the path. 9-Forget not the goal of life amidst selfish activities. The goal of life is Self-realisation. Are you attempting to reach the end and aim of life? Are you doing Japa, Pranayama and Meditation? Have you kept up the ideal before the mind’s eye? That day in which you do not practise any spiritual Sadhana is wasted. Give the mind to God and the hand to work. You will have to analyse and scrutinise your motives. It is the selfish motive and not the work itself that binds a man to Samsara. 10-Prepare the mind for Karma Yoga. Mere selfish work cannot be taken as Yogic activity. The mind is so framed that it always expects something for a small piece of work. When you smile you expect a return of smile from your friend. When you raise your hand in salutation, you expect a salute from other people. Even when you give a cup of water to another man, you expect him to be grateful to you. When such is the case how can you perform Nishkama Karma Yoga? 11-Life is very precious. Live in the spirit of the Gita’s teaching and work without expectation of fruits and egoism. Think you are medium (Nimitta) in the hands of Lord Narayana. If you work with this mental attitude you will become a Yogi soon. 12-Work never degrades a man. Unselfish work is Puja of Narayana. Work is worship. All works are sacred. There is no menial work from the highest view point, from the view point of the absolute, from the view point of Karma Yoga. Even scavenging when done with the right spirit and mental attitude is Yogic action. Even a scavenger can realise God in his own station of life by service. The famous butcher Dharma Vyadha of Mahabharata realised God in his meat shop (through serving his parents). You all have got inside all materials for wisdom. There is a vast magazine of power and knowledge within you. It wants kindling. 13-In the West cobblers and peasants have risen to a very great position in society. Every work is a respectable work for them. A boy applies polish to the boots in the streets of London for a penny, carries newspapers and journals in the afternoon for sale and works as an apprentice under a journalist during his leisure hours at night. He studies books, works hard, never wastes a minute and in a few years becomes a journalist of great repute and international fame. In Punjab some graduates have taken to hair-dressing work. They have understood the dignity of labour. 14-A real Yogi does not make any difference between menial and respectable work. It is only an ignorant man who makes such a difference. Some aspirants are humble in the beginning of their spiritual career. When they get some name and fame, some followers, admirers, devotees and disciples, they become victims to pride. 15-They cannot do any service. They cannot carry anything on their heads or hands. That Yogi who carries the trunk on his head without the slightest feeling in the railway platform amidst a multitude of his admirers, disciples and devotees, without making any outward show of humility must be adored. 16-Sage Jada Bharata carried the palanquin of King Rahugana on his shoulders without murmuring. Lord Krishna shampooed the legs of a Raja when his barber devotee was on leave. Sri Rama carried a pot of water for the ablution of one of his devotees. Sri Krishna took the form of a menial servant as Vithoo and paid the money to the Nawab on behalf of his devotee, Dhamaji. 17- If you really want to grow in the spiritual path you must do all sorts of service daily till the end of life. Then only you are safe. Do not stop doing service when you have become a famous Yogi. The spirit of service must enter every nerve, cell, tissue and bone of your body. It must be ingrained in you. Then only you will become a real, full-blown practical Vedantin. 18-Another qualification is that you must be balanced in success or failure, gain or loss, victory or defeat.An action which is ordained, done by one undesirous of fruit, devoid of attachment, without love or hate, that is called pure.A Karma Yogin should not expect even return of love, appreciation, gratitude, admiration from the people whom he is serving. 18- In the beginning some of your actions may be selfish and some may be unselfish. In the long run you can do all actions in an unselfish manner. Scrutinise your motives always. Selfishness clouds understanding. Selfishness is petty-mindedness. Bhoga increases selfishness and selfish Pravritti. It is the root cause for human sufferings. Real spiritual progress starts in selfless service.This is the keynote for Nishkamya Karma Yoga. 19-Every act can be spiritualised when the motive becomes pure. Work is meditation. Serve everyone with intense love without any idea of agency without expectation of fruits or reward. If you adopt the path of Jnana, feel you are a silent Sakshi and the Prakriti does everything.Generally people are impatient and they expect Siddhis after doing a little service. The real Karma Yogi who serves people with humility and Atma Bhava (seeing God in every face) becomes a real ruler of the world. He is honoured and respected by all. The more service you do with Atma Bhava the more power, energy and capacity you get. 20-By doing selfless service you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, ideas of superiority and all the kindred negative qualities will vanish. You will develop humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance and mercy. Sense of separateness will be annihilated. Selfishness will be eradicated. You will get a broad and liberal outlook on life. You will begin to feel oneness and unity. Eventually you will obtain knowledge of the Self. You will realize One in all and All in one. 21-In the practice of Nishkama Karma Yoga, there is no loss of effort. There is no harm. There is no transgression also. Even a little of this practice can protect you from great fear of rebirth, of death with its concomitant evils. You will reap the fruits of Karma Yoga, viz. Jnana. There is no uncertainty here. The path of Karma Yoga eventually leads to the attainment of Bliss of the Self. WHAT IS ISVARA-PRANIDHANA? 06 FACTS;- 1-Have dedication (Nishta) with God and work (Cheshta) with hands . You will be able to do two things at a time by practice. The manual work will become automatic, mechanical or intuitive. You will have two minds. A portion of the mind will be at work; three quarters of the mind will be in the service of the Lord, in meditation, in Japa. Karma Yoga is generally combined with Bhakti Yoga. A Karma Yogin offers to the Lord as an oblation whatever he does through the Karma Indriyas. This is Ishvara Pranidhana. 2-Lord Krishna says in His Gita: Therefore, at all times think of Me and fight.” Give the mind to God and the hand to work. The typist works at the machine and talks with his friends. The player on the harmonium plays on the organ and talks and jokes with his friends. 3-Even so, have your mind fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord, while you are doing your household duties and office work. You will realise Self-consciousness quickly. Just as the water remains unaffected in the lotus leaf, just as the oil floats upon the surface of the water without being affected in any way, so also you should remain in the world amidst pleasures and difficulties. 4-Just as the tongue is not affected by taking ghee, so also you should remain unaffected even amidst worldly activities and troubles. You must keep up the Nirlipta state. This is Jnana. This is balance (Samata). 5-You may fail to keep the balance and Nirlipta state a thousand and one times. But in the long run you are bound to succeed if you persist in your practice and if you discipline the mind properly. Every failure is a pillar for future success;We shouldn't forget this.. 6-When you work disinterestedly, without any agency and when you surrender the works and fruits as Ishvararpana, all Karmas are transformed into Yogic Kriyas. Walking, eating, sleeping, answering the calls of nature, talking, etc., become offering unto the Lord. Every bit of work is Yoga for you. Think that Lord Shiva is working through your hands, and is eating through your mouth. Think that your hands are the hands of Lord Shiva. WHAT ARE THE THREE WAYS TO FIND RIGHT OR WRONG ACTION? KNOW THE MEANING OF INNER VOICE (03 POINTS) 1-When the diverse, confining sheaths of Atman have been dissolved by Sadhana, when the different Vrittis of the mind have been controlled by mental drill or gymnastics, when the conscious mind is not active, you enter the realm of spirit life, the superconscious mind where Buddhi and pure reason and intuition, the faculty of direct cognition of Truth manifest. 2-You pass into the kingdom of peace where there is none to speak, you will hear the voice of God which is very clear and pure and has an upward tendency. Listen to the voice with attention and interest. It will guide you. It is the voice of God. 3-You have REALIZATION ;-Hey Shiva...I am Atma; my Buddhi is my consort, Parvathi (who is born of mountain); the Pranas are my attendants; this body is my house; the action of sensual enjoyment is Your worship; deep sleep is the establishment of Deep Samadhi; walking by your Shivling is the perambulation around ;whatever actions I perform, are all my worship; FIRST WAY;- Have right thinking. Use your reason and commonsense. Follow the injunctions of the Sashtras. Consult the code of Manu or Yajnavalkya Smriti whenever you have doubts. You will be able to find out whether you are doing right or wrong action. If you say, “Sastras are countless. They are like the ocean. We can hardly understand the truths that are inculcated.There are contradictions to gauge their depths,then find second way. SECOND WAY;- Then strictly follow the words of a Guru/Guide on whom you have absolute faith and confidence. THIRD WAY;- The third way is to have fear in God. Consult your conscience. The shrill, inner voice will guide you ,as given above. As soon as you hear the voice, do not delay even a moment. Start the action diligently without consulting anybody. Practise to hear the inner voice in the morning at 4 a.m. If there is fear, shame, or pricking of conscience, know that you are doing a wrong action. If there is joy, exhilaration or satisfaction understand that you are doing right action. ........SHIVOHAM.....