The Concept of KARMA

“Speech is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Speaker
  The deed is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Doer
  Mind is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Thinker.”
Kanshitaki Upanishad

‘I’ (the Atman) is the one worthy to be known. The ‘I’ who owns the speech, act and thought

Even the 5 Why’s of the Root Cause Analysis will not get you to the root problem of the Karmic cycle. It is like a vicious cycle; your every Act, Thought and Word, has a short-term and long-term repercussion. Instead of getting to the root of this cycle, the ingenious would find a reason to save him from this cycle.

What is Karma?  

KARMA refers to both Action and Reaction.

Karma.png

If we identify the CAUSE, we can CHOOSE to ACT and thereby have control over our ACTIONS but yet never over the RESULTS. [B.G. 2.47,51 ]So, advice is not to cling to the results of the action and to free ourselves.

Good Karma & Bad Karma?

The Gita points out that it is nearly impossible to differentiate between action that is meritorious and action that is not.

Who is responsible for the Karma phenomenon?

Krishna tells us in Bhagavad Gita that “Mayadakshena Prakriti, Suyate sa Characharam” [B.G. 9.10]

The Gita says, in the guidance of the ParamAtma, Prakruti with the help of Gunas creates and maintains everything that you see here. So, God has nothing to do with what you are bestowed here, good or bad.

Will Karma affect you?

If you think YOU are the KARTA (the agent of all kinds of action)then YOU will be the BOKTHA(the receiver of all the results of action).

The divine knowledge is Self-knowledge – YOU are nothing but GOD.

According to Gita, so many things should come together for you to act upon anything. Despite that, only an ignorant man thinks he is the agent behind that action.

What should Guide the MIND?

The INTENT behind the actions is crucial. The Mind should act like an INSTRUMENT, not the DOER. Anything that you do with your mind, body, speech will never be completely 100% good. Think about it, you will know what I am talking about.

Remember EVERY WORK has INADEQUACIES 
[B.G. 18.48] Sarvarambha hi Dosena

For example, everyday chore like bathing also comes with merits and faults. That doesn’t mean people should go without a bath. A man gotta do what a man gotta do ;). Rather than burdening ourselves by Merit or Demerit, every thought/action should be guided by Proper INTENT.

Bath2.png

Since you are not the actor but a witnesser, can you choose INACTION?

Gita says you are neither the body nor the mind and thereby Activity or Inactivity doesn’t exist for you. But the bodily functions has to be maintained, so learn to be an observer (Inaction) in Action. [B.G. 4.18] [B.G. 3.4-8]. Moreover, the action should be performed to clear the MIND and keep it in the Present [B.G. 5.11].

So, if you are the one who believes in KARMA then you are the one who DOES NOT

  • Blame
  • Judge
  • Think you are the DOER nor the RECEIVER
  • Attach themselves over the RESULTS
  • Think everything will remain Constant
  • Have a Troubled Mind over the Consequences
  • Rock as pendulum
  • Act with Expectations

 

Frustration Ends where Knowledge Begins

Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangah teshu upa jayate 
Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodhah abhijayate
Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti vibhramah
Smrti-bhramsad buddhi naso buddhi nasat pranasyati
                                                                                    Bhagavad Gita, Chp 2, Sh 62, 63.
which means, Brooding on the objects of the senses, man develops an attachment to them; from attachment comes desire; from desire, anger sprouts forth. From anger proceeds delusion; from delusion, confused mind; from confused mind the ruin of the reason; due to the ruin of reason, he perishes.

We humans are constantly being challenged. How we deal with those challenges also shapes our personality. Each time the world forces itself upon us demanding, it is also challenging us to own the responsibility of our emotional reaction. One such challenge that we often face is to handle frustration. It is an emotion that occurs when one is blocked from reaching the desired goal. The block can be a physical or a mental one. Dealing with frustration has always been one of the worst nightmares for both teenagers and adults.

Though life teaches us to tolerate a little frustration without becoming too upset about it. Nevertheless, it keeps us proactively engaged with new goals and challenges. We all at one point or another had found ourselves face to face with frustration

I had been there many times but I still remember this incident when I couldn’t find a way to vent it and all hell broke loose. Flustered and irritated, I couldn’t notice the steam building up. And with every disapproval, it was expanding within me until I exploded under the pressure. It took me a lot of time and effort to bring peace and to rebuild the relationship that my anger almost damaged. I learnt my lesson the hard way that suppression can never help me get away from that emotion that I am running from.

I also realised how frustration and anger travel hand in hand. It is like a chain reaction and we have to stop it before it gets triggered(the above shlok also warns us the same).Who’s to blame then? Who needs to unlearn habits that cause such unpleasant episodes? A good analysis following an emotional storm will lead us to the realisation that nobody other than our state of mind was guilty of that painful experience. The reason was never the situation/thing/goal/person. Once we discover this, we will learn to respond to such situations. Like we discussed before, repression is never an option but we can practice healthy ways of dealing with it. It will be challenging at first, but overtime being mindful of that sliding point, we can learn to change the habitual reaction to a more positive discharge than a negative one.

Another observation is that we stay frustrated when we get to thinking that we are going nowhere. That happens when we start feeling powerless and what triggers that emotional state is when we only focus on the problem. I mean, we should look for ways to solve the problem in hand. By understanding the cause of frustration we can direct our energy to sketch a goal to resolve it. I know it is not easy but it is not difficult either. Look at the damage we cause to ourselves and disappointments we bring to our dear ones. Why I say dear ones, because oftentimes, we indulge in displaced aggression. It is easy that way, isn’t it?  When we can’t yell at the boss then we vent it at the spouse or someone close.

It is also unrealistic to think we can rid ourselves of this dangerous thing called frustration. It is not always dangerous, it motivates us to resolve things which are standing in between us and our goals. They only turn against us when they bring with them excessive emotional feelings of deep dissatisfaction and vanity. Have you noticed what Chronic frustration does to people? Their self-image deteriorates and goals that they chose would look impossible and unrealistic then. Some of them fall into a state of perpetual apathy.

Try it for yourself. Next time when you feel frustrated stuck in traffic, ask yourself if there’s something you could do, like finding another route. If there is nothing you could do, then ask yourself is it even worth your anger and time. You grow frustrated by over-thinking and over-analyzing anything that is not under your control. When the block is external and if there’s nothing could be done, we just have to wait. Even that quality of ‘waiting’ can teach us something, isn’t it?

And now it is our choice, whether to succumb to despair or take control of our life. If we don’t manage our emotions, it will start managing us and then life wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.

A Mindful Journey

Human weakness starts with the thought involving our incapacity in changing ourselves. The thought that ‘Nothing is in my hands. I cannot do it’ stops us from even trying.

But if we look into Gita, it states that everything is in our hands. Gita says: uddharet atmana atmanam na atmanam avasadayet.

Only and only we can change our future. If we are incapacitated and unable to make a future then we wouldn’t be allowed to choose our actions.

Bhagavad Gita in chapter 6, shl 26 says:

yato yato niscalati
             manas cancalam asthiram
       tatas tato niyamyaitad
          atmany eva vasam nayet

Suppression isn’t what we are referring. The more we suppress our thoughts, the more strength they gain. Keeping the thoughts to the present is what we have to do. As soon as you watch the thought building up, either to the past or to the future, slowly bring it to the present. Keep it there.

Instead of looking at ways to be mindful, we are breeding the weakness by giving in to our senses. We all know belief structures determine our behaviours. They are formed through repetitions and reinforcements. And, Behaviours become more automatic with repetitions.

habit.png

To break that we need to teach ourself to replace an old response with a new response. Let that new response be ‘Mindfulness’. The objective is to change behaviours. Though beliefs are hidden, they will eventually change. Repeatedly practising will turn that to a habit. A habit which will do us good.

So, next time, when the mind takes you on a mindless tour. No matter how nice it feels at times, do not embark that journey. Do not entertain it. Consciously withdraw from that. You may have to do that repeatedly many times till it starts to live in the Here and Now. Being Mindful will only allow us to plan for our future with what we have in the present. It will not allow us to be tangled in those fantasies that are far fetched and loom in the disappointments.

In my last blog entry, I was pointing in to what Bhagavat Gitas’ daivic qualities are. It will be easy to inculcate those with mindfulness. Clearing the clutter will make room for more meaningful ones. Because mindfulness is all about acceptance, appreciation and gratitude towards oneself and life in general.

Remember there is nobody to take responsibility for our actions. The same ONE who has acted has to live the consequences of his actions. Now actions can be through our thoughts, speech or deed ( mano-vak-kaya karma).

We have a choice to live a happy or a hopeless life. The choice is ours. If we succeed to break free from the shackles of our weaknesses, we will LIVE else will just Exist.