Friday, January 2, 2009

Karma Yoga -Advaita Vedanta

I have been reading about Advaita Vedanta from some time of the last year.Recently I read a book called 'Karma Yoga' by Swami Vivekananda, which lays before us, the way of attaining Moksha by doing the right work. What it says is
> No work is superior or inferior. Every work should be done with utmost devotion but without identifying that you are doing.
"Karmanye vadhikaraste,
Maa phaleshu kadachana,
Maa karma phala heturbhu,
maate sangostva karmani."
It means that, you have the right to do work, but not on the results of the work, you are not the reason for the results of your work, and that doesnt mean you should stop working.

which indirectly means that you should do the work which is destined to you... More on this in the next paras.

> You may feel that you are helping the world, but actually in helping the world, you are actually helping yourself.
> All Hindu scriptures, end saying that the whole world is just maya and our aim is to get out of this world. Same with karma yoga. they say that if we do our work without attachments, we will realise that our aim is attaining Moksha itself and you will reach it.

I thought that if attaining Moksha was the only aim of life, then what sense does it do all this work without going through the direct path for Moksha? i.e Jnana Yoga , by doing tapas.. I discussed the same with one of my friend who claimed he has a different understanding of how to interpret that. After lot of discussion we came at this conclusion:

The world is destined to be something. Similarly we are also destined to do something and we cannot change that. But advaita says 'You are that'. How is that? We have to attain the end goal of Moksha only if we do whatever we are supposed to do, i.e we complete the task destined to us. The problem is that we dont know what is that? We dont know what is our destiny. Now he is where, 'You are all powerful' concept comes - You can decide what you want to become and trying taking steps towards going there. You will get omens either validating you and you will feel motivated to continue on that path and reach your destiny or you will get omens indicating you what you are doing is not right... Then you have to understand the cause- effect relationship and correct the cause which caused this effect and you are ready to go further to your destiny. If you cant pick up the omens and correct them soon, then you will even get further omens and you will feel like you are not able to do what you wanted to do. But actually you are not able to read the omens and hence you are feeling that. This will make you feel lost and out of control because if you realise it soon, you will correct it soon. You will ultimately realise the mistake, correct it and then only you will go forward to reach your destiny.

To put it in an another way, you will anyway reach and do what you are destined to do. If you understand and work towards reaching it reading the omens and adjusted our work to that, we will feel that we are in control of what we are doing and we will reach our destiny on a flowery path. If we dont understand the omens and are not going on the right path, we will get thorns on our way which will make us understand and again put us on the path to reach our destiny. You will encounter as many thorns as you are willing to take, i.e how soon you understand the lessons given by that thorn. If you dont take the lesson from that thorn, another thorn will come to teach that lesson and we feel miserable. So we examine each thorn carefully for cause effect relationships and set ourselves right for reaching our destiny on path of least resistance.

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