What is the Nature of your Karma?

Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18: Sloka 23, 24, 25)  talks about three kinds of Karma – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The nature of our actions and our intentions classify our Karma into these three kinds.

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Sattvic Karma: Most Evolved Karma

Sattvic Karma is the most evolved kind of Karma.

The cream of all actions can be called as Sattvic in nature. It is pure. Sattvic Karma provides peace and comfort to the doer of the Karma and the one who experiences this Karma.

Those with Sattva Guna performs their duties as an offering to the supreme. For them, there is no action that is “mine” or “for me”. Everything is rather for a higher purpose – a holier goal.

Easy does it

Sattvic Karma has a nature of easiness towards it. It is not done with a lot of effort or in a manner that tires the person who performs such a duty.

For instance, consider the game of an expert player. Look at shots of Lionel Messi in Football. Even though he is fast and skilled, none of Messi’s actions can be called as tiresome. He does it effortlessly with a flow of grace. Sattvic Karma has a grace about it.  The grace flows through the action and the result it produces.  

Sattvic Karma cleanses the mind and intellect of the doer. It produces amazing results as well. Interestingly, Sattvic Karma is performed in a very detached manner. There is no desire for results. Rather performing the Karma to the best of one’s abilities is the sole purpose of the Karma. Actions of Mahatmas are Sattvic in nature. They are targeted to serving humanity and the universe as a whole. Those who perform Sattvic Karma is happy that they are able to serve.

Ego Centric Rajasic Karma

One who takes ownership of Karmas and thinks “I am doing this action. I want the results for this task” is involved in Rajasic Karma.

These Karma is performed with a lot of effort and pain. A lot of “Hard Work” is actually Rajasic in nature. Indian Wisdom does not appreciate hard work just for the sake of hard work. If the work you do tires you mentally and physically, it is Rajasic in nature.

Consider Gardening. A person who is putting in a lot of effort and getting tired mentally will not do the best possible work required. On the other hand, the man who loves the garden and plants in it will shower a lot of love into the work he is performing. The love will be visible in the way the garden is set and cleaned. There will be a “magic” about the garden, which does not come from mere hard work.

“None, but Me”

Rajasic people think they are the only ones who are capable of doing the work they perform.

They feel no one else can help them. We see this often in Sports, Politics and Business. A lot of Top Executives and Seniors get such a notion that no one has their level of perfection. This is a result of their egoic mind speaking to them. The nature of “helplessness” they bring about by doing all that they can is speaking directly to their ego. This is a very dangerous concept indeed.

Rajasic activity brings in a lot of anxiety as well.

Since there is a lot of emotional investment in the results of actions, anxiety is a natural by product. Look at Romantic Pursuits. Rather than pure love and admiration, romance often turns into a power game and ownership idea. People feel they own others in Romance. This is a very unfortunate turn of events. No man or woman owns anyone. But, “I am Yours. You are mine” tendencies start the ruin of most beautiful romances. This comes from a Rajasic bend of mind.

Rajasic ones are mostly tensed and worried. They are often concerned about how things will turn out, who will agree with them and so on. There is so much pressure to perform with Rajasic people.

Ignorance and Tamasic Karma

One who does not realise what the results of his/ her actions are and whether a task will result in pain for others is involved in Tamasic Karma.

They do not look at their skills or aptitude before taking up any work. They are mostly ignorant about themselves and others when it comes to actions. There is a sheer lack of awareness in the actions they perform. Often Tamasic actions result in pain and anger for the ones who do it as well as the ones who experience the work.

Harmful activities such as Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Gambling, Corruption and so on are Tamasic. These actions produce instant gratification, but prolonged pain and issues to people involved. Broken individuals, broken families and ruined societies come from Tamasic actions.  

Since performers of Tamasic actions do not realise what the effect of their Karma is, they lose their vigour and capabilities. Eventually such people start to become a burden to others. Tamasic ones start to lose their health and wealth over time even before they realise what is happening to them.

Tamasic beings reach a state of despair very soon, Rajasic ones reach there after a while. Sattvic beings are forever happy  and blissful.

The Journey beyond Mind

The tragedies of our dreams disappear as soon as we wake up. However, when we are in the dreaming state, it feels like the sadness that exists will continue forever. Waking up provides a complete solution to all pleasures and pain in dreaming. Similarly, all pleasures and pain in one level of consciousness stop affecting us when we move to the next level of consciousness. The question here is what are we sleeping to? Even in our conscious states, we are dreaming at one level or other. There is an awakening that is required to rise over our little pleasures and pain that binds us.

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Control over the Mind

Meditation helps us control over mind. The constant chatter of the mind starts to reduce with power of meditation. The movement of the world outside does not affect us much with meditation. Most of us are controlled by the external world. Victory of our Sports Teams and Political Parties makes us happy whereas fall in stock prices and small dents in our cars disturb us.

The seeker who has attained control over her/ his mind will not be affected by factors that bother a being who lives in a lower level. Qualities such as desperation, depression and excitement over worldly issues do not exist for such a seeker. It may seem dull to a normal person or boring to an extent. However, such a state of living is a blessed way of living. We experience a more subtle level of life and are open to higher sustainable qualities.

The concept of creation is a mind phenomenon. The world around us really exists in our mind. Try  this experiment.  Look at a picture everyday for 10 minutes for 20 days. Even though it is the same picture, the images that appear in our mind are different each day. Our mind focuses on a different aspect of the picture on each instant. Our levels of focus will also be different each day. Each image that we see on these 20 days are created in our mind. The physical image only acts as a framework or a placeholder of sorts.

Look at our anger. When triggers of anger or discomfort arise around us, we participate in the pull of such triggers by becoming angry. Our physical bodies react by quick breathing and loud talking. There are emotional effects in us as well. In a few minutes, we are released from the maddening effects of anger. Anger wears off similar to the wearing off of a drug. We become normal again. In hindsight, this process of anger was a mind process. We chose to participate in the mind’s invitation of anger. Our control over consciousness was transferred momentarily to the mind and the damage to self is already done.

We create a world out of our conceptions and then get bound by that world. This is the play of the mind. As long as we are arrested by the mind, the ups and downs of the mind keep affecting us. When we move beyond the tackles of the mind, we reach our true state. At this state, we become one with nature itself. We are no longer living by the script of mind. There is nothing to accomplish or no one to please. We realise we are no different from the trees or birds. We realise we are same as the rivers, oceans and the clouds. We move beyond the concept of birth and death itself. Birth and death itself become phenomena in the play of nature.

Do not be Scared of Death

What will happen to a seeker travelling in the path of Self Realisation, in case death interrupts her/ him before reaching the goal? It is quite possible that our practices and learning will not complete in say 150 years. But, we do not live for 150 years. It takes a lot of good karma to start our practices in childhood. Often the induction of spirituality happens quite late in life. We do not have the luxury of time. This is one of the tragedies in the route of Self Realisation – the sheer lack of time.

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It is also possible that life circumstances may distract us from our vision of the Self Realisation goal. We may come across criticism of the Scriptures or Religion itself. We may get convinced that all this effort is rather a waste of time. In such case, what happens to all our efforts so far? Do “God get angry with us”?

Everlasting Path of Yoga

The being travelling in the path of Yoga has no destruction in this world or the next. Even small investments done in this path is valid towards the realisation of our final life goals. Karmas are always adding up. Good Karma will not go unyielded. There may not be immediate results which becomes visible soon after actions are performed. Yet, there will be union with the absolute for actions performed with the right intention. This union is Yoga.  

Life has no end. The perishing of our physical bodies with death does not end life as it is. A close understanding of the laws of life and system of universe shows that our individual lives in our delicate bodies is rather a blip in the endless stream of infinity called life itself. Yet, this simple blip is so powerful and potent that its significance cannot be ignored. Life presents us numerous such blips as several births, some in human form, to realise ourselves – to wake up from the constant distractions that the world provides us and look at life itself. This life has not changed from the beginning.

Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Prophet Mohammed and all our Masters had access to this pure life form. Even we are living in this life form. It is all around us. But, we do not know how to look at this life. In fact, all of us are looking at this life. But, we have to remove the cloth covering our eyes to really perceive it. Our conditioning and thought pattern gathered over lifetimes manifest itself as a veil of ignorance over our eyes. A Master can easily see this cloth that we wear over our eyes and take this blind off us.  

Movement of Time

The Present is a child of Past. Our present day knowledge and intentions shape our Future. It is common experience that a change in our attitudes and perceptions can change our future. This forms the basis of Law of Attraction. Think good thoughts and see those thoughts materialising as our experience. An attraction for quest of truth and subtlety of life will reveal the secrets of life. An attraction for money, power and lust fuels greed and dissatisfaction in us. Look at the beings who have manifested the maximum power and money among us. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are working to raise the frequency of the world by sharing knowledge, insights and wealth with us. Probably they have worked out the good karmas of their past lives and are working their good karmas right now. Yogis may appear among us as rich and powerful people as well.

Even if Sadhana breaks or death interrupts, life does not get destroyed. We continue our work from where we left and carry on with our tasks. This law is so simple and direct. Some of us are so attracted to truth and wisdom from a very young age itself. Some of us come in touch with Yogis and Gurus as part of our family culture in our formative years. This is due to our associations with lofty beings in our previous lifetimes. It may so happen that we only sow our seeds of spirituality this birth. But, we will come across our Gurus in the future.

May we carry on with our work this life. We will have our grand party soon. 🙂

The Transformative Process of Destruction

Ancient India shares a lot of wisdom behind the concept of Destruction. Constant Destruction is the reason behind Creation. More than complete annihilation, destruction is rather a transformative process. One form changes to another and so the perception of the changed form is destroyed. Yet, in line with the conservation of matter and energy, nothing is destroyed forever. Nature and Time acts on things and concepts to change them from one form to another.

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Film and Concept of Samsara

The Trimurti of Creation (Brahma), Sustenance (Vishnu) and Destruction (Maheshwara) are not separate entities. They are manifestations of the same integrated whole. When we look at the principles behind the cycle of creation and destruction, the idea of integration becomes clear. Imagine a film that is being played. Technically we know it is a group of frames that move before our eyes that trick us into believing we are seeing a continuous representation of life itself. The frames that have moved before are “destroyed” and frames that are to come are “created”.

Consider the idea of film with more depth in line with the discussion of Samsara. If the past frames are not moved out, the future frames cannot come in view. Only with Destruction, do we have any space for Creation. In between the phase of Creation and Destruction, there is a momentary illusion of “Life” or Sustenance where a particular frame is lit up to bring it to view. It is this short span of Life that we hold on very dearly which forms root of all our experience.

Look at our life journey so far. The Childhood in us was destroyed to pave way for our Teens. Our Teens died to create Youth and Youth dies to form Old Age. Eventually this very body itself dies to transform into something else. If lucky, we may come back with a Human Experience and go through this cycle again. Something in us is dying every moment and something is created every moment. We are constantly transforming every moment. A conscious effort to transform our body and mind to a higher plane of evolution will make our life experience more fulfilling.

Why Destruction?

We have heard that God is merciful. Why should there be the Destructive Tandava of Shiva in that case? Many among us live without direction and quest for wisdom. We get delighted with our little successes and depressed over our failures without trying to understand the underlying current behind these occurrences. The transformative process to awaken us to the deeper truth behind life will destroy many illusions that we held on to very strongly in life. To an external audience, this looks like death of certain behaviours and tendencies. For instance, we see people leaving the chase for possessions and positions for meditation and silence. That is death of one kind.

Any building, bridge or dam of superior strength and infrastructural excellence will start to crumble over the years. We take down such old structures to rebuild them or repair them in the interest of public safety. Destruction work in the same line. After an age, our bodies are not capable of working with the same vigour of youth. We cannot carry on for long periods. Destruction is vital in that case. However, destruction is not annihilation. It is rather a transformation from one kind to another.  

Material Wisdom behind Transformation

Once we realise the wisdom behind destruction, we wake up to a higher truth. We realise nothing is destroyed, but only transformed. Look at scientific innovations under this light. We claim we have “invented” automobiles, electronic equipment, building styles and so many things. We refuse to accept that we are only tools of Nature.

Drill down to the minutest components of our Material inventions. We can see that these are elements and compounds found in nature. iPhones and Computers will not have formed without Silicon. Automobiles will not work without fossil fuel. Even Solar Energy needs Sun. So, we are still totally dependent on Nature. We are only rearranging elements available in Nature and transforming them for our needs. So, here arises a question. Is there anything “Artificial” at all?

Knowledge of the True Devotee

Consider your identity. You become a father when your kids exist. Similarly you can call yourself an employee when you work with an employer. Say your kids cease to exist or you resign from work. You are no longer a father or an employee. But, does the existence as “You” stop when the Qualities that defined your identity stop existing? There is something that still exist after every layer of identity is stripped off. This identity is beyond words and language.

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Imagine you are asked the question, “Who are you?” What will be truest answer to this question? Our names are words given by our parents. We were still living before our names were given to us. What identity did we carry when we were in the womb? No name, no nationality, no descriptions – yet full of life. Say you are a human being born in the middle of jungle with no contact with other human beings. Language, words, concepts and lifestyle does not exist for you then. But, is there an identity that you carry in that case?

Truth Beyond the Material

We relate to things using things that we can see, feel and refer to. In that light, even a thought exists as a material reality. It may not have a form to see, a texture to touch or a sound to hear. But, we still perceive thought in our mind through intellect. So, thoughts are also sensed just like other objects. Hence, thoughts can be called as Material objects as well. What can be beyond thought as well? Those who have experienced thoughtlessness call it as a very potent silence. Now, what can be beyond silence also?

The ultimate truth exist beyond everything. It exists beyond the range of human capabilities and perception. On an earthly plane, Human Beings may be the most advanced of all beings due to our ability to think and speak. But, is there something that is beyond normal human perception as well? This is the question that the ultimate truth, the Atman provides solutions to.

Our world exists in three forms on a personal level – the sleeping state, the waking state and the dreaming state. Is there a state that defines all these three levels? In our non waking states, we are not aware of what happens around us. Still, an awareness is alive within us when are sleeping or dreaming. That Awareness is the Self (the Atman). How can we become aware of this Atman? It is an attempt that cannot be fulfilled by thought and intellectual exercises. We may need to transcend the human superpowers of thinking and speaking to reach there.

Space in Space in Space

Imagine there is a pot kept in a room. The pot encloses some space (Akasha). The pot is contained in the Akasha of the room. The room exists in the space that encloses the room (say a building or the great outdoors). Break the pot. The space inside the pot does not have a separate existence now. It is part of the space of the room now. Say we demolish the room. The space of the room is now part of the greater space.

Here, the space within the pot was part of the space inside the room. The room space was part of the great outdoors or even the outer space. No space has a separate existence. All of this is part of the greater existence. Similarly, the space within us is part of the greater space – the Atman itself. Even though we exist as separate people, we are all part of the greater whole.

“I am no different from others around me. I am no different from the dog outside the house. I am no different from the tree in the forest.” The space inside all these beings is the same. This realisation is the beginning of true devotion.

Three Dangerous concepts – Desire, Anger, Greed

Heaven and Hell are creations of our mind itself. A happy and satisfied state of mind leads us to experience heaven and a disturbed, confused and lost mind causes experience of hell. We move through heaven and hell during various phases of our life. When everything is going our way, we feel happy and in heaven. When the results turn out to be bad, we are in hell. This is a situation of zero control over ourselves. A purposeful being has great control over herself/ himself.

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Routes to Psychological Hell

There are three routes to Hell – Kama (Desire), Krodha (Anger) and Lobha (Greed) as per the Bhagavad Gita. There are material things and states of mind that we want for ourselves. This want or desire is Kama. At times, we just want to own a physical thing or be in a particular place. We may want a position in society or approval from particular people. All of this is desire. In fact, it may not be possible to live without desire. There needs to be some desires – they could be long term and part of our life purpose. They could be aspirational. But, short term desires that come one after the other is dangerous.

When a desire is not fulfilled, it results in Anger. Even something so inconsequential as our favourite team losing a game causes anger to rise within us. Movie scenes and television dramas cause anger to rise in us. Whenever something we expected to come our way changes its route, we become angry. Many of us are so tuned to anger that small incidents such as slow internet connection or a traffic jam can cause us to fume with fury. Anger causes a lot of disturbance in our mental and psychological systems. An angry state of mind is an experience of hell itself.

Say we taste success repeatedly. Some children win prizes at school one after the other in such frequency that they start expecting to win all the time. This results in Greed. When we lose, that again leads us to Anger. Sometimes business turns out to be good and we start reaping profits. But, some profits that comes our way lures us to more and more money that we lose patience and fall into an impatient greed of a kind. This greed also results in us losing our peace.

Desire which is satisfied by fate or effort and the desire that is not satisfied causes us to be unhappy. Today, the state of happiness within us is all based on conditions. If I win, I will be happy. If my party or team wins, I will be happy. If my business does well, I will be happy. If my marks turn out be great, I will be happy. True happiness does not require a cause. Look a dog around you. He is happy just to be alive and have the wind flow across his face. A child is happy just like that. When we start to experience happiness without conditions, that is when Heaven comes down to Earth. It is not that difficult at all. Maybe it is too easy for our liking and conditioning.

Balance of Mind

A great personality requires a good presence of mind. A mind that is not disturbed by unwanted thoughts and mental interruptions from inside ourselves results in greatness.

Today, most of us believe that a mind that is free from thoughts do not exist. A constant assault of thoughts is considered normal. Our minds resemble a News TV channel with constant chatter in the background. This is in fact a sick state of mind. A clear noiseless, silent state of mind with no word and no thought is the Zen state. This is the mind which starts and maintains great results.

Peace of mind results from a healthy mind and a powerful intellect. A person who is driven constantly through desires, anger and greed can never expect such a space within. In this context, it is good to discuss the concept of “Shreyas” which roughly translates to Prosperity, Welfare and Good Fortune. Shreyas is the sum total of those qualities that lead to individual wellness and gradually into Societal Blissfulness. A group of peaceful and powerful individuals can turn a society around to peace, happiness and prosperity.

The media keeps society in a state of constant worry and doubt. We often hear about the problems in the Government, issues with the economy, cases with politicians and scandals of the rich on media so regularly. A mind that is constantly tuned to this vibration cannot reach a Shreyas state of mind. It may be necessary to spend time in solitude listening to ourselves in meditation to attain such a space within. Self control, Learning and development of the right vision towards life will result in good fortune and fulfilling our life purpose.

How far have you come in your pursuit of a peaceful mind?

What causes our Spiritual Inclination or lack of it?

We have heard people blame their life circumstances for not reaching high goals. We have heard excuses for not becoming rich, for not inclined to study culture, for not feeling like being spiritual, for not inclined to listen to great teaching and so on. Probably we are also part of this group that is not inclined to learn truth that helps understand the meaning of life. What could be the reason behind this?

 

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Our past and future births

Bhagavad Gita claims our present life circumstances is a result of deeds of our past life. Also, our future births (if any) is dependent on our present deeds. If we are naturally attracted to objects of desire, means of quick entertainment, celebrity gossip and such material, it is due to the conditioning of many past lives. There are children who are prone to listen to Vedas and deal with Philosophy with ease in certain families. They must have dealt with learning and philosophy in past lives. We have seen very talented children in the field of music, arts and sports. Very few years of coaching and practice may not produce such great results quickly. There must be some seeds sown from their past lives that lead to such excellence.   

Two Kinds of Karma

There are two kinds of Karma (Actions) – “Sakama Karma” and “Nishkama Karma”. Sakama Karma are those actions done with a result in mind. Many of us perform actions with an intention to get rich and enjoy pleasures. Present day culture emphasises on hard work that produce riches and comforts in the future. Those who work with the intention of reaching these comforts take birth in rich families of good culture in their future lives. Richness and Abundance is seen as a Blessing in Indian Culture. Learned beings acknowledge this blessing and live accordingly.

Nishkama Karma is that kind of actions done with no special future intentions. This action is based on living in the present moment with no expectations or thoughts. The result of such actions is peace of mind and blissfulness of life at present. People who perform Nishkama Karma in this life is born into families that value knowledge, insight, meditation and learning in the future. You may even finish the Samsara of Life and Death with Nishkama Karma, as the meaning of life is understood and the challenge of life is solved.   

Naturally Spiritual Beings

The beings who have learned scriptures and realised the secrets of spirituality in the past life need not relearn the entire truth again. There are many among us who need not spend too much time with books or teachers to realise the essence of truth. It comes naturally to us, as if we had known this truth before. Such beings are attracted to silence, meditation, chanting and soothing music. They may have dealt with more aggressive lifestyle in the past, following the trends of the world. But, once the discovery of spirituality dawns on them, the old habits and tendencies are easily left behind.

The naturally spiritual being is attracted to texts that talk about the meaning of life and techniques to attain complete perfection in this very birth. They may not be too bothered about the concept of past and future lives, as they are content and satisfied with the peace they have achieved in this very birth. They may be rich and prosperous, but detached from all the riches. Money is a tool in their hands rather than a means of defining who they are. We have often heard of people as “He is Mr. X and he drives a Mercedes”. The car here defines that person. But, such definitions are shallow.

Brave and Optimistic

The naturally spiritual being tends to see the positive aspect of life and are not blind to the negatives. They tend to see that life will eventually turn out to be good. But, they also acknowledge areas that need improvement. It is rather unintelligent to not recognise broken parts of life such as sickness, debt, failures etc. and then work upon these areas. Such beings are brave to follow a disciplined life when the whole world screams sensory enjoyment of wealth. It requires a lot of bravery to walk a path of principles and ethics when it is easy to enjoy life otherwise.

Are you a naturally spiritual being?

Dharma – That which is worth Sustaining

Scriptures and Epics in India such as Ramayana and Mahabharata discusses a lot about Dharma. Rama and Arjuna are warriors who lived to protect Dharma. The Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata is called a Dharma War. A fundamental question arises here. What exactly is Dharma?

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What is Dharma

That is which is worth sustaining is Dharma. Good cultures, right practices and great ideas that will do good to people can be called Dharma. So, in that case even good cinema and great paintings are part of our Dharma. Creating great music is Dharma. Protecting the land and taking care of people’s welfare is Dharma. That which hurts people and sentiments of a generation as a whole is Adharma. We can easily see that drugs and violence against women is not Dharma. In fact unrightful violence of any kind is not Dharma. This includes violence towards men, women, children and animals. This also includes violence of physical, mental, psychological and ideological nature as well.

In case of a person in public life, protecting the interests of people is part of her/ his Dharma. We can easily how Dharma decides the actions of Police Officers and Defence Personnel. Upholding the law is part of their Dharma. Making sure that negative elements do not arise within society and corrupt the people through drugs and propaganda is part of their Dharma.

It would be good to discuss if Internet and Media has its Dharma. Pornography is not something that must be sustained. So, it can be clearly called Adharmic. But, questions of personal freedom and choice seems to hang around this question. If our personal choice is dependent on promoting lust and unrightful sexual tendencies, it is clear violation of Dharma. It is the lack of clarity on what needs to be sustained that causes trouble in society.

Honouring the Vasanas

Vasanas are our latent inner tendencies. These tendencies are present in us across lifetimes and are constantly created in this lifetime as well. A look at Mahabharata shows that Arjun has Vasanas of adventure and bravado. Just before the war, he decides to renounce life and take up Sanyas thinking it is Adharma to fight the Kauravas. But, Krishna convinces Arjuna that he will be a bad renunciate as being a Sanyasi is not his essential nature. He is naturally drawn to fighting injustice. So, his duty lies in fighting.

In the present world, we see a lot of people who do not completely honour their vasanas. People who are drawn to Art is practising Business, those who are drawn to Sports is engaged in Investment Banking and many Musicians are working in IT industry. The chasing of money and big opportunities are resulting in the creation of a very depressed generation.

Dharma (that is worth sustaining) is important here. It is not just businesses and investments of High Net Worth individuals that is worth sustaining in this world. Good art, music, practices and ideas need to be encouraged as well. This requires people to understand their tendencies and life purpose. Often due to peer pressure and pressure from home, many people are deviated from their life purpose due to fear of failure. But, such pressure results in failed life with minds full of depression and dejection. This is the curse of the present day.

A fair understanding and discussion on Dharma is necessary in education today. Often words like “Dharma” and “Vasana” is seen in a religious light. But, that need not be the case. If production of substances such as tobacco, liquor and junk food that yields great money today is not seen as Adharmic, such industries and their spread is bound to grow. But, these places have very brilliant minds working with them. Nobody sees these industries or actions as dangerous to the society. However, an inspection with our Dharmic Eyes reveal what is at stake here.

Dharma and Life Purpose

There is Dharma of the land, Dharma of the person and Dharma of the time. Preserving our rich tradition and killing off the bad rituals is part of Dharma. Eradication of evils such as Sati and Child Marriage was Dharma of 19th Century. Lavish Marriages and Birthday functions of the present day where money is wasted to showcase our wealth in spite of people being hungry right outside our home is something that is against Dharma. Understanding what needs to be preserved in our personal lives points to our Life Purpose.

This blog has touched upon how to know your Life Purpose. Sometimes our life purposes are centred around certain ideas, certain art or certain practice. Some do have a life purpose of following Business or Engineering as well. Following the B.Tech, MBA route may be their life purpose. Such people are happy in their roles and contributing positively to the society.

Have you identified your Dharma?

How do you know your Personal Purpose?

We have a Personal Life Purpose and a Mission at hand. It is for fulfilling this mission that we manifested in Human Form. It is a shame that most of us pass life without realising our life purpose and are forced to pass through this lifetime and many that follow chasing that purpose.

Man with a purpose

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The identification of our life purpose aligns our life with the path of the universal energy. A universally aligned life is much easier to experience as questions such as “Why do these issues happen to me?” cease to exist.

Two Paths to Purpose

Bhagavad Gita talks of two paths of reaching our purpose – Sankhya Yoga (Insightful Knowledge) and Karma Yoga (Dutiful Action). People are made with different tendencies. Indian Thought identifies these tendencies and prescribe routes suitable to the right seekers. Some are good with knowledge and understanding. They seek out the route of learning. Others are more application oriented and need things to do with their hands. Compare this to the Dharma of the Brahmin and of the Kshatriya.

Scriptures say a man becomes a Brahmin or Kshatriya not by birth, but by duty. Brahmins are naturally drawn towards learning, interpretation and analysis. They produce theses and discussions on various concepts around us. A Kshatriya is bound by action and duty. They are seen applying the knowledge crystallised by the Brahmins, creating objects and maintaining them. Both these types of people are necessary in the world.

Similarity of Purposes

Even though the Path of Knowledge and that of Action seems different on the surface, both these routes eventually point to the same goal of finding our life purpose. Karma Yoga (path of action) helps in cleansing our mind, which later evolves to take up Sankhya Yoga (path of knowledge).

This evolution from action to knowledge is visible in the world around us. Look at Politics, Business, Corporate, Entertainment, Sports or any other field. People first take up roles that involve a lot of action and duty. It is through action that they start to learn things deeply. With time and experience, people slowly gain insights into the industry or the field that they are in and are promoted to leadership roles. As leaders, they enhance people through the knowledge that they have gained. Great leaders are great visionaries who have gained their vision through action on the ground.

Compare mind to a kitchen utensil. After every use, the utensil becomes unclean. A utensil that is constantly in use for days together develops thick dirt that needs to be removed with a lot of effort. Karma or Duty is the mechanism of cleaning up this utensil of mind. Look at our mind when we are busy with work. The duties and goals make us forget our troubles and tensions. These troubles and doubts in the mind are things that clog its working. An unclean mind that is troubled with thoughts that come one after the other will never be able to sense the way ahead. We can see this focus in soldiers at war. They are not worried about troubles back home during action. Intense focus and concentration is required here in direct line of fire.

Clean Mind – Meditative Mind

The mind that is cleansed with action is ready for knowledge. This knowledge does not come from books or people. Instead it comes as insight from within during meditation. The highest form of knowledge is one that bubbles from within. It is pure joy to realise this knowledge. It eventually leads us to knowing why we are here, what is our duty to the society, planet and universe at large and hence what is our life purpose.

Meditation is an exercise of silence. A grand awareness starts to occur to us when we focus on no thoughts, no feelings and just empty space. The insights that arise from such a space could be occurring to us as direct messages from the Universe, Nature, God or Brahman whichever way we like to define it. These messages are direct pointers to the reason of our human existence this time in this body.

Chosen Ones with Purpose

The beings with clarity of purpose and reason for existence could be called as the Chosen Ones. They are not stopped by the events around them, political situations, money available, quality of fame or any such parameters of the world. No one outside told them about their purpose. No activity or action around them determines their level of happiness or motivation. With clear intentions and clear connection with the nature and universe, they act their life out with total beauty.

How connected are you with your inner self? Are you already on your life mission?

4 Qualities that bring Grace as per Indian Shastras

The Bhagavad Gita talks about qualities that brings about Grace in a Human Being. The Chapter 16 is devoted to qualities that define graceful beings and certain tendencies that needs to be checked that may bring disgrace as well. A good understanding of this Chapter shows the difference between a Deva and an Asura. The Deva and Asura are well within us. Our directions and intentions define which way we swing.

Courage

(Image Credit – Cassandra Rae)

Courage

Courage is a sign of knowledge. Look at our daily lives – be it work, studies, home, friends, colleagues, competition and so on. The more we know about ourselves and the more we know about our surroundings and people that matter, the more courageous we are. In other words, Fear is caused by ignorance.

Going by the Shastras, everything is Self, everything is Atman. So, the more Self we realise, the more we realise the nature of everything. This concept is a little difficult to digest. How can knowing more about self reveal the nature of the world itself? But, the Rishis who understood the truth talk beyond doubt that Absolute Self Knowledge is Knowledge about everything. How else could Ancient Indian Saints talk about Nuclear Science and Space Research with accuracy millennia before they were revealed by Modern Science?

Purity

Not just in India, but all schools of thought and philosophy across the world across time talks about the importance of Purity. Purity of thought, intentions and actions go a long way in defining our character. “The Secret” talks about the Law of Attraction where in our thoughts become our reality. It is said that War begins in the minds of men much before it manifests on the battlefield.

Today, we focus on cleanliness of cities and countries. The Developed West considers their clean streets and buildings to be role models to all growing nations. India aspires to get cleaner in the coming years as well. But, what about Human thought? The number of rapes, murders, shootouts and divorces are rising by the hour. We live in clean rooms and homes, but our minds are polluted with competition, lust, pride and anger. This manifests as Newsroom debates on TV that looks more like a reflection of our minds rather than debates on important national issues. There is no doubt there are many debates and News shows that are quite civilised and high quality. But, they may not be the “most watched shows of the nation”.

Love arises out of purity. We have a lot to learn from children who love unconditionally. Even animals have a special quality of love that arises within them. Even though we speak of human beings as the most evolved of all living creatures, we need to learn from our less evolved neighbours a thing or two about purity of intentions and thought.

Charity

Indian Thought is never against earning wealth. Even though there is no clear formulae on tithing, Charity is considered to be a very noble cause by the Scriptures. Giving creates a karmic connection between the donor and receiver. Indian Knowledge grew so much because the Sadhus in the country never had to labour hard for food. They could focus their energies on finding wisdom and sharing wisdom. All homes considered it their dharma to support the learned men.

Donation of wealth is good. But, donation of food is considered to be the most supreme form of donation. A man could desire more wealth, in spite of huge amounts received. But, once the stomach is full, he is truly satisfied and do not ask for more. Donation of knowledge is again a very coveted donation. Good knowledge could sustain generations together. It is no wonder that charity is considered as a very noble means to attain grace.

Learning

Scriptures talk quite highly about the reading and understanding of Shastras to attain grace. It not considered merely as an intellectual exercise. But, learning is a means to realising the Self and the ultimate sense of Bliss and Freedom. Even the US Declaration of Independence talks about the Pursuit of Happiness. It is a different matter that this pursuit is interpreted more as a pursuit of material wealth and bodily comforts. Yet, today there are many Americans who realise that true knowledge and insight bring them happiness as well.

How far have you come in your way of grace?