Tuesday, February 16, 2010
KARMA YOGA - THE SCIENCE OF ACTION (POST-5)
Our Karma is heavily dependent on our LIKES and DISLIKES, which arise in us, when we approach all objects and persons through the medium of our senses. They enslave us.(v.34). We must therefore be very careful in respect of these likes and dislikes.
Our world consists of people following different Professions, each involving the performance of its duties effectively. This means, we must do our respective duties in our professions (called Swadharma) effectively and with devotion.(v.35). In performing Swadharma with devotion, the adverse effect of our likes and dislikes comes down easily and significantly.
WHY SIN and CRIME ?
But, the question that arises is - why are many people unable to desist from committing heinous crimes, as if led by some unseen force.(v.36). Who are those enemies who throw him into crime and sin?
DESIRE AND ANGER - THE INTERNAL ENEMIES :
Krishna mentions two INTERNAL ENEMIES - namely, Kaama (or unrighteous desire) and Krodha (unrighteous anger) - which are responsible for leading us into crime and sin.(v.37). And, our wisdom gets enveloped totally by such Kaama and Krodha both of which are the products of RAJOGUNA. Hence, these are our chief enemies.These enemies take firm seat in our senses, our mind (emotions) and our intellect.(v.40).
SELF CONTROL - START and FINISH :
Since senses are the starting point for the fall of our intellect, we must exercise sufficient sense control so that their ways do not spoil our wisdom and our life.(v.40, 41).
Compared to the body organs, the senses are very powerful and important, but compared to the senses, the mind (seat of emotions and feelings) is more powerful and important. Compared to the mind, the intellect (the seat of our wisdom and thinking faculty) is much more important and powerful.(v.42). Not only that; each is more powerful than the previous one, and each is subtler than the previous one.
But, Once you know that the ATMAN is more powerful than even intellect, you will need to go beyond your intellect, know yourself as ATMAN and vanquish your chief enemy, namely, the KAAMA.(v.43). Here, the powerful enemy is Kaama, which has taken firm seat in us. The most powerful weapon to vanquish it is - again a firm knowledge of our own SELF ( called, ATMAANUBHOOTHI).
HOW DOES KARMA YOGA HELP US IN CONTEMPORARY WORLD?
Basically, Krishna ends the KARMA YOGA here and continues in a logical sequence into what he calls as JNANA KARMA SANNYASA YOGA. Krishna's purpose is quite unique and it does not end with mere exposition of the SCIENCE OF ACTION or Karma Yoga to Arjuna. But, my purpose here is to understand Karma Yoga and its usefulness in current day world.
Karma Yoga has been expounded in many Vedantha texts like Upanishads much earlier than the Bhagavad Gita. Many ancient and contemporary scholars, Jnanis and Yogis have expounded Karma Yoga philosophy in many ways, which are highly beneficial in contemporary world.
While Krishna's exposition is lucid, some questions may still remain in us, some confusions may arise in us and some clarifications may become necessary for us - in the context of the modern world and our activities in it. After all, the science of Action is a timeless science and applicable equally to all of us in modern times.
We shall therefore examine Karma yoga, from other view points, in subsequent posts, in the light of what great scholars and yogis have told us.