We saw earlier (issue, date, Overarcing Human Goal) that anyone can work towards gaining freedom from the unending cycle of birth and death called samsara. While living in and interacting with the world, while doing one’s duty in every role – parent, child, sibling, citizen etc. – one can gain this freedom by converting every action, karma into karmayoga. How do we bring about this change? Two of the factors that help in this transformation – Purushartha and Isvara – we dealt with earlier (See issue No.____, Date: ________, Issue Nos._____, Dates__________). We will now deal with the third of the factors – Samatvam.
Samatvam means sameness. Sameness cannot possibly in terms of the actions, because actions are all different. Nor can it be in terms of the results of actions. For the same action, the results are almost never the same. The results may be what one planned, less than that or more than that, or something completely different. Samatvam can only be with reference to one’s response to the result of action.
Is it possible to maintain sameness in the face of every type of result? Take the case of a couple desperately wanting a child for years. They try everything that medicine has to offer, pray to every God, try several alternative cures, with no results. Then they do putrakamesti yagna, which sastra says will produce the desired result. However, we know that the result if dependent upon many different factors. A beautiful baby may be born or the couple may continue to remain child-less. Worse, they have a still-born child. It may sound unreasonable to expect the couple to have the same reaction to all the scenarios. Prima facie, maintaining sameness in all these conditions may sound well nigh impossible.
Bhagawan Krishna says, understand that you only have control over what you do, your actions. You may do an action, not do it, or do it differently, but, you have no authorship over the result of the action.
There are several sets of factors that affect the result of any action. Firstly, there are a few factors that you can recognise and have a reasonable control over. Then there is a second group of factors that you can identify, but have no control over. There is yet another set of factors that you are not even aware of till they surface and produce an unwanted result! Leave alone have any control over them, one does not even know what these factors are till it is too late.
Of these sets of factors, the last is likely to be the largest. How then are you going to control the outcome of any action? Once you understand that, where is the question of expression of excessive disappointment when the result is not what you wanted or of exuberant elation when it is better than what you wanted? You are not the author of the result.
Lord Krishna says accept every result as Isvara prasada. Only with this understanding can you maintain samatvam. Think about it.
If the result is not in my control, how should I go about doing what is my to-be-done duty? Where is the motivation? That is another story.