Shloka # 9:
यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः। तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसंगः समाचर।।3.9।।
“This world is bound by works other than those done as sacrifice, O son of Kunti. Free from attachment, do work as sacrifice.”
Recapping last week’s teachings Swami Paramarthananda said Sri Krishna discussed Karma yoga from different angles. Karma Yoga consists of two paths. The first is appropriate action and second is proper attitude.
Appropriate action: All Satvika karmani fall under appropriate action. In this, I contribute more to the world through performance of Pancha Maha Yagya’s or Proper Actions.
• One should have Ishwara Arapana Budhi while performing proper actions.
• Consequences of actions are accepted without criticism with Prasada Budhi.
Thus, Proper Action + Proper Attitude= Karma Yoga.
Following are Sri Krishna’s commentary on Karma Yoga, looking at it from different angles.
First angle, it is a commandment of the Lord. Nobody can escape it. By Agya, if we do not follow Karma Yoga, we will get Pratyavaha Papam. If we do not perform Pancha Maha Yagya we will bring down our spirituality. Here Karma Yoga is presented as a threat and more for immature people. Citing an example, violating the law of the land results in police action. If people follow the law no police action is required. So, here too, if people do not follow Karma Yoga the punishment is imprisonment in Samsara.
Second angle presented by Sri Krishna was that Karma Yoga is not a commandment; rather it is presented as a worship or expression of gratitude or love to God. The first angle was one of fear from which comes the saying “a God fearing person”. In the second angle one follows not out of fear but out of gratitude. The more you enjoy the harmony of universe, the more you express gratitude.
Astronaut John Glenn, when he saw the world from far out in space, said “ one who appreciates the creation, he cannot but believe in God, and he cannot but pray to Lord.” Our morning worship is an appreciation of the universe and expression of gratitude for it. Even the opening of a tap for taking a bath results in an expression of gratitude for the glory of water. If you perform Sandhya Vandanam also you worship water. When they look for life, they look for water in a planet. I don’t take Oxygen for granted either. Intense appreciation of the environment through fire worship, worship of water, worship of earth, worship of space etc., are all a part of Vedic religion. I don’t have to produce or pollute. If I can maintain harmony, it is great.
Convert your life as an offering to me, as a Yagya.
If an action is not worship, it will cause bondage. Worship will liberate. It is similar to the poison of a cobra. It can be a killer or a savior, depends upon how you handle it. Action by itself does not cause bondage or liberation. It is our attitude that matters.
Action + Devotion= Liberating factor.
Action + Devotion=Yagya, a liberator
Action – Devotion=Karma, a binder.
Therefore, Arjuna may you do all your actions as a worship of the Lord. Such action itself gives satisfaction.
That is why we use the expression: mamopatta-samasta-duritaksaya-dvara sri-paramesvara-prityartham; It means: I am happy that I have done this as an offering to the Lord.
Swamiji says we are not supposed to expect appreciation. Shastra advises family members to appreciate the contribution of every member of family. Thus, a husband should appreciate his wife and she in turn should appreciate him as well. A teacher should not expect appreciation from his students. Rather, the students should appreciate the teacher. So, you have no rights. You only have duties. Our society is a duty based
Society. Dayananda Saraswathi said: “where duty is emphasized, humility will come. Where as, where right is emphasized, fight will come; court will come;
divorce will come; all these things will come. Swamy Dayananda Saraswathi also used to say: “When you do your duty, others get their rights”.
Shloka # 10:
सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः। अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक्।।3.10।।
“Bringing forth creatures together with sacrifice, the Lord of creatures said of old: multiply by means of sacrifices; let it yield whatever work you seek.”
A life of sacrifice is prescribed by the vedas themselves for the harmony and progress of the society. Such a life of contribution; such a life of sacrifice; such a life
of sharing called the Yagna way of life, is prescribed by the vedas themselves for our own benefit.
Swamiji says, the Vedas are for our own benefit. They are a like a manual. Just as a manufacturer’s manual let’s the customer know how to handle his product. It is meant for the user. The instruction on how to take a medicine, are on the bottle. He who created the world was one with an extraordinary intelligence. Bhagawan has created this world and with it a manual on how to live in this world accomplishing Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Without this manual we will not know how to live in this world. So, Bhagavan gave us the Vedas. They preach a life of Yagya and with it you will prosper.
It is said that Prajapatḥi, Lord Brahma, created all living beings. He also created the human beings. He then called the human beings alone and gave them the Vedas. Vedas were not given to animals, as they don’t have the free will to abuse. They follow dharma and harmony of creation. A forest is in harmony until humans enter it. It is the same with the ocean. They say there is a particular type of rodent species that once their population reaches a limit, some of the rodents will commit suicide as a way to limit the population. This is a way of sacrifice for the good of their society.
Therefore, God did not give Vedas to animals. For human beings it is a great blessing as well as a big curse. It depends on how we use it. Human beings can create their own heaven or hell.
A human being can lead an ideal life of giving and sharing, based upon freewill. Therefore humans can get the greatest benefit of moksha; or they can create a hell for themselves as well.
With life of Yagya, may you prosper. Swamiji then discussed a life of competition versus cooperation. In competition one does not share knowledge. One turns selfish. In cooperation, there is growth. That is why, even in sports, when there is heavy competition, there is cheating; use of drugs; all prompted by a desire to win. As per Veda’s competition is a disease called matsaryam. Among the six evils of kamah, krodhah, lobhah, mohah, madah and matsaryah, matsaryah alone is the evil of competiton. Veda’s says competition should be replaced by cooperation. I should be happy when the other person also thrives. In competition the worst instincts come out including qualities such as cheating.
Kamdhuk in the shloka means kamadhenu or one who fulfills all your desires. Swamiji says the human intellect is our Kamadhenu. We can accomplish anything with it. So, when we hear Vyasacharya could see the war, sitting in the palace, few people would have thought television was even possible. Now we have TV, internet, computers and many more.
All this (artha, kama, dharma )became possible due to applied human intelligence. Moksha also is possible with an intelligent way of living or by Karma Yoga. Vedas are not against material progress. If you are committed only to material progress without spiritual progress then you will not grow. We are a combination of Atma and Anatma. What is spiritual growth? It is the discovery that I am Atma, the substratum of everything. Materially you cannot expand beyond a certain limit, intellectually too one cannot expand beyond a certain limit. Spiritually, however, the possibility for growth is unlimited. And such a balanced pursuit of material well being (dharma-artha- kama) as well as self-knowledge is called Karma Yogaḥ.
Shloka # 11:
देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः। परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ।।3.11।।
“By means of this sacrifice nourish the Devas; let the Devas nourish you. Mutually nourishing, may you win supreme good.”
Continuing his talk on Karma Yoga as Yagna, Sri Krishna says by following Karma Yoga Yagna, you are propitiating the gods of the creation; you are propitiating the devathas. Devathas are presiding over natural forces. Thus, Indira presides over rain and thunder and Varuna over the ocean. Nature is propitiated. Nature is not violated. In return Gods will bless us. Creation and we need not be inimical rather we should live in cooperation. While Science wants to conquer nature, Vedas want the world and I to live in harmony. So, propitiate Gods. Gods will bless you with rains.
In the language of the Shastra’s, every tree is like the body of the Lord and every river is compared to the blood vessels of the Lord. So, when you are polluting the river, you are polluting the blood of the Lord. When you are blocking the river, you are blocking the blood vessels of the Lord. So the ultimate message is respect nature; live in harmony with nature, live in ecological harmony; this is called Karma Yogaha.
Even Kalidasa in his composition mangalashtakam addresses nature. He addresses all the trees; offers prostrations to all the rivers; offers prostrations to all the plants; and says, I appreciate the role of everything and I take a vow that my life will be in harmony with nature
May you Propitiate Devathas. May you accomplish overall well being including dharma, artha, and kama. We have enough for everybody and nobody needs to starve, however, there is no proper distribution or sharing. People are obese in some countries. Overeating destroys you. There is enough for human need but not enough for human greed. Through Karma Yoga may you attain all Purushartha’s.
With Best wishes,