Moksa, as we have seen, is the only human goal. Gaining this is a matter of understanding that I am infinite, complete, not limited by time, space or any object; that my sense of limitation is not inherent, but comes from an incorrect understanding of I, the self. This clarity is not easy. Having already made some convincing assumptions about the self, leading to the conclusion “I am wanting”, which are constantly reinforced from one’s childhood, (the spouse alone is usually enough to make sure that one can never get above oneself!) one finds it very difficult to let go of the assumptions.
Many wise men have spent years in isolation, listening to a guru, living an uncluttered life, contemplating upon this in order to recognise the error about oneself and come to correct understanding.
Sometimes people say, “OK, I am convinced that what I seek is freedom from the sense of limitation (moksha) and that I have to correct my error and understand the true nature of the self to gain this. However, I can’t just go away to a forest to contemplate, standing on one leg! I have many responsibilities, many duties to perform. There are people dependent upon me. Does that mean I will never gain moksha?”
In a telling verse in Bhagawad Gita relevant to all of us, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that you don’t have to take sanyasa to gain moksha. (In any case, sanyasa is not easy for the unprepared) There is another committed life-style that one can adopt, which will lead one to this final goal. Such a life style, where one continues to do whatever one is doing is called Karma Yoga.
For those of us still involved in the transactions of the world, Bhagawan has prescribed Karma Yoga. When one is clear about the objective, moksha, when one has a guru who can unfold the knowledge, it is possible to convert every karma, every action to karma yoga. This will remove stresses and disturbances from one’s life, allowing enough space within to absorb the knowledge, assimilate it, and make it one’s own.
“But where do I go to find a guru?”
Don’t worry. Turning karma into karma yoga with the right attitude will itself bring in great changes in one’s life. The knowledge that it will lead to lowered stress and minimal internal disturbance alone should be enough to give it a try, especially in today’s context. It will also lead one to a guru. How does one do it? Through the right attitude:
- Purushartha – knowing that every goal I set for myself sub-serves the goal of moksha
- Isvara – Understanding that there is an order that governs the results of one’s actions, a karma phala data, and that I don’t have total control over the outcome of my actions.
- Samatvam – even mindedness in the face of any outcome — exactly as I had planned and hoped for, more than that or less, or completely different from it.
- Karma kaushalam – Doing what one has to do to the best of one’s abilities, within the bounds of dharma
(We will deal with each of these in later issues)
Think about it.