Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 05 Jan 2004

     

ESSENCE OF THE GITA AND VEDAS - II

Unattached work: In ancient India all the people were sages. They never did any work to earn extra wealth for getting extra enjoyment or to give it to their children. They were only doing karma, which is the work necessary to earn their livelihood. Such karma is not a sin because livelihood is essential. In doing such karma, an advice called nishkama karma yoga was given because it gives mental peace and strength. According to this advice, one should do work without attaching himself to the fruit of the work. This attachment to the fruit of the work is called as kama and if it is avoided, the person becomes peaceful and strong in mind. But in Kali Yuga (the present dark age of materialism), doing karma alone does not satisfy people. They also do vikarma (sinful actions) which is the work done for earning extra wealth for the sake of their self-enjoyment and for the sake of the enjoyment of their future generations. When people apply this karma yoga (unattached work) to vikarma also, they are able to do more sin with the help of this advice. The knife was given to cut vegetables but it is now used to kill human beings. To avoid this danger in the Kali Yuga, the Lord emphasized karma phala tyaga in the Gita. Karma phala tyaga means the sacrifice of the fruit of all the vikarma. It is the sacrifice of all the money, which you have earned beyond your required minimum (Tena tyaktena). Only in such a case will you be discouraged from doing vikarma. Otherwise, if you apply nishkama karma yoga to all types of work that you do, it becomes very dangerous.

Hanuman could have killed Ravana by just one stroke, even before the coming of Rama. But Hanuman waited for Rama to come and kill Ravana. He participated in the service of Rama to achieve the peace of the world. He did not kill Ravana directly to achieve the same. Similarly, you should not try to uplift the world (social service) directly without the human incarnation of the Lord and try to get fame for yourself. In fact, all your power is only the power of the Lord and in reality, the fame should go only to Him even for any work that you have done in this world.

Knowledge, devotion and service

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that one should not enter into the work of serving the world unless one is commanded by God. Shankara taught divine knowledge. Next came Ramanuja and He taught about devotion. Then came Madhva and He taught about service. These are the three gradual steps in spirituality. Knowledge (jnana) is the root cause and it generates devotion. As knowledge grows, devotion also grows. By devotion the Lord is achieved. Therefore, devotion is the cause to attain the Lord as said in the Gita (Bhaktyaa tvananyayaa). Service is the proof of real devotion. Rukmini got knowledge from Narada and developed devotion, by which she obtained the Lord. But her devotion was without any aspiration for the fruit. She loved Krishna not to become the queen of Dwaraka. She sat at the feet of the Lord and pressed His divine feet throughout her life. Thus, her service proved her real devotion. Knowledge is the degree. Devotion is the job obtained due to that degree. Service is the work done on the job. The salary is the grace of God. The salary is given for the work done on the job. Therefore, the direct cause of the salary is only the service done by you. Knowledge and devotion can be viewed as the year-wise academic course studied by a student. Service is the annual examination. The study in the whole year indicates the quantity of knowledge studied by you. But the examination will reveal the quantity of knowledge digested by you.

When you sacrifice the fruit of your work to a committee of devotees (such as a temple trust or church) it will not be properly utilized. The devotees, who manage the collected funds, are not Sarvajna (all-knowing), like the Lord. A group of ten lecturers cannot be treated as one professor. Therefore, any number of devotees cannot become equal to the Lord. Karma phala tyaga is easier than karma samnyasa and karma samnyasa is easier than meditation. This does not mean that meditation is the greatest and that karma phala tyaga is the least. The Lord has one divine quality called ‘saulabhya’ (easy to approach). This divine quality is very much in the Lord. It means that the Lord is available very easily in human form. Does it mean that the Lord is the least important? In the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, karma phala tyaga is mentioned as the easiest thing to do. But it does not mean that karma phala tyaga has the least importance. Therefore, immediately in the next verse, the Lord said that karma phala tyaga is the highest (Atha chittam…, Shreyohi…). The word karma in case of a man means earning money for one’s livelihood as said in the Gita (Shareera yaatrapi cha). The Gita says that yajna (sacrifice), which is preparing food and feeding the guest, is the result of karma because the food that is earned by karma is offered to the guest (Yajnah karma samudbhavah). The same word karma is used in the case of the Lord in a different sense. In His case karma means the creation of the world (Visargah karma).

Therefore, karma phala tyaga means the sacrifice of the fruit of one’s work, and the fruit of work is money in the case of human beings. The Veda says that the human being should sacrifice money, which is earned over and above his minimum requirements (Kasyasvit dhanam). The Veda also says clearly that the sacrifice of money alone can bring the grace of the Lord (Dhanena tyagenaike). Even when Lord Rama approached His Guru Vasishtha, the Guru told Rama to sacrifice money because money is the root of the whole world (Dhanamarjaya Kakutstha). The sacrifice of money is the fire-test by which the real color of your love for someone can come out. Without this you are hiding your artificial love in the disguise of real love, which means that you are trying to fool the Lord, and which is impossible. The sacrifice of words and mind is artificial love. The sacrifice of work and money is the real love. The Gita emphasizes the sacrifice of work and the sacrifice of the fruit of the work at several places (Mat karma paramah, Madarthamapi). Work and money are your real weak points where the Lord catches you in the examination. All the other exercises of words and mind are futile. If you are unable to sacrifice work and money for the sake of the Lord, you can at least sacrifice your words and mind without aspiring for anything in return. God will at least be a little bit pleased with you. If you sacrifice work and money, God will be immensely pleased with you. If you cut the bond with your children and wife or husband and divert all your love towards the Lord, you need not fear about your family. The Lord loves your family as the family of His real devotee. Such a family gets real protection from the Lord. Your love cannot give real protection to your family or yourself. If you divert all your love to the Lord, He will protect you and your family. In doing this, you have showed real love for yourself and your family. If you remain attached to yourself and your family your love is not real because you cannot protect yourself or your family. For example who can protect his own life or someone else’s life and grant longevity except the Lord? Your love for yourself and your family may give some happiness to you in your heart. But it cannot give real protection. Therefore, scholars loved only the Lord and served Him by sacrificing all their work and the fruit of all their work. The Lord protected them completely, here and there (in the after-world) as said in the Gita (Satyaageetyabhi dheeyate, praahuhu tyagam, karma yogena yoginaam).