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  Volume 3 - Issue 7
JULY 2005


- PART 9
Continued from the previous issue….


1. Despite the patient and in-depth teaching by Krishna, Arjuna is still confused. So he asks again, ‘Krishna, forgive me please but I am not still clear about the two Paths you have been telling me about. As I see it, the Path of Wisdom essentially means that one must live like recluse, in which case, how can the recluse be active in the world? There appears to be something fundamentally different about the Path of Wisdom, and I can’t quite see how it can have anything in common at all with the Path of Action. Tell me once again, in simple language please, what the two paths have in common and how they also differ in some respects.’

2. Krishna smiles and says, ‘Arjuna, you are confused because you are looking at things rather superficially. True, on the face of it the two paths appear to have little in common. But if you examine in depth, you will discover that the difference if any lies purely in the procedure followed rather than in either the spirit or the goal to be achieved.’

3. ‘Let Me explain all this in greater detail and even as I do so, you had better pay careful attention; time is short, and I don’t want this issue raised again!

4. ‘I will start with Karma Yoga or the Path of Action. Action, as you know, is always performed in this world. Naturally therefore, the Karma Yogi or the one committed to the Path of Action is immersed in the world like everyone else. But there are important differences. While people are engaging mostly in action for personal advantage, profit, power, etc., etc., our friend the Karma Yogi does his work as a Duty discharged to Society and as an offering to God. He has absolutely no thoughts of reward, profit, success, and things of that kind.’

5. ‘He does not even expect thanks for the service that he renders. In other words, this noble soul has totally renounced all claims to the fruit of action – that is the important point.’

6. Arjuna asks, ‘Krishna, I am a bit puzzled. I don’t quite see what is wrong with aspiring for the fruit of action. There is person who has worked very hard in his profession, business, say. What is wrong with his wanting to be successful? After all, why else would a businessman do business?’

7. Krishna smiles and replies, ‘I get your point. There is nothing morally wrong in expecting a reward for what you have done. But you see, the reward that you are looking forward to is connected with this world. And once you hanker after such rewards, that desire ties you down to this world. Result? Cycle of birth and death. So, if you want to get out of this rut, and I presume you want to, then you have to get rid of the desire, that is all.’

8. ‘But Krishna, what about the businessman in my example? Why on earth would he want to do business if he should ignore the rewards?’

9. ‘Well, that is where spiritual philosophy enters the picture. You see, the businessman should engage in business as a profession and not for amassing wealth. Take a teacher for example. His job is to teach and NOT to make money. If he gets paid that is incidental; his primary objective should be to train students properly, be a role model to them, and mould their character. That is the service he owes to Society. The businessman should operate in the same way; he should be focussing on his work as a service activity rather than one that fetches profit, etc. If he makes money in the process, nothing wrong. However, he should make sure that the money is given away to good causes etc., after keeping some for his needs of course.’

10. ‘The essential point is simply that operationally, the man on the Path of Action or the Karma Yogi, functions very much like the man on the Path of Wisdom. In other words, the Karma Yogi starts from the outer world and later journeys inwards to God. The Wise One on the other hand starts from the Inner world and then journeys outside to do service. Thus, the journey of the Karma Yogi is from Action to Wisdom, while the journey of the Sankhya Yogi is from Wisdom to Action! At the end of it all, the two types of Yogis become indistinguishable.’

11. ‘The man of Wisdom may appear very strange in his behaviour, in fact even crazy! But crazy he is not; let Me give you an example.’

12. ‘One day, the Gopikas of Brindavan wanted to cross the Yamuna river. However, the river was flowing full and there was no boatman in sight. So they all stood there wondering what they should do. At that time Sage Vyasa came there – you know Vyasa, don’t you? The Gopikas prayed to the Sage, “O Venerable one, please can you help us to go across the river?”

The Sage smiled and replied, “Certainly but before I do so, you all must give me some of the butter that you are carrying.” The Gopikas immediately served fresh butter to the Sage who ate it with great relish. Wiping his hands and mouth, the Sage then went near the river and said aloud, “O Mother Yamuna, if is true that I have been fasting today, please stop the flow of water so that all of us can walk across.”

And Lo and behold, water immediately stopped flowing, and the Gopikas as well as the Sage went across the river. On reaching the other bank, the Gopikas thanked the Sage profusely and then asked, “O Sage, we are not able to understand one thing. You ate so much butter and yet you said you were fasting. And Mother Yamuna seemed to accept your declaration! What is the mystery behind all this?”

With a smile the Sage replied, “You all thought I was eating the butter. No, that is not true. I just went through the physical motions but I offered all that butter to Krishna, who as you know likes fresh butter very much. It was really He who ate all that butter!”

Arjuna, now do you understand how the Wise perform actions?’

13. ‘The Yogi is always inward-looking and seeks God in his Heart. By the way, when I speak of the Heart, you must understand that I am referring to the Spiritual Heart and not the physical heart! You must have heard people say, “You are a heartless person.” How can anyone exist without the pump that causes the blood to circulate?’

14. ‘Thus in Spirituality, Heart always means the seat of Compassion. The Heart is called Hridaya; Hridaya = Hrid + Daya; Daya means compassion. Thus the Heart is the seat of Compassion, which is a Divine quality.’

15. ‘Getting back to the Yogi, he totally identifies himself with God. In fact, he believes that he is God, he is the Atma, he is the Inner-Self, he is the True Self, he is the Reality.’

16. Krishna continues: ‘Sounds weird? It does not end here! The Yogi always feels that the Mind and the body are quite distinct from him. In other words, you will never catch him say, I am the body or I am the Mind. He KNOWS that he is NOT the body or the Mind!’

To be continued…

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