The most difficult hurdle in the path of renunciation is the veil of Maya that casts a spell and misleads us from the real quest of life. In spiritual parlance, Maya is synonymous with ahamkara, the sense of “I” and “Mine”.

Ahamkara is the symbolic veil that is imposed between us and the Lord preventing a glimpse of Him like the screen that is at times drawn in temples during certain rituals. Unless the screen is physically removed, the deity cannot be seen.

Sri Ramakrishna used to elaborate on this crucial aspect of ahamkara that is the cause of ignorance, misleading people from realising the presence of the all-pervading Brahman, pointed out Swami Gautamananda in a lecture.

The Lord defines Maya as His aspect and states clearly that none can remove this Maya except himself. Karma, jnana and bhakti are the paths shown in the Bhagavad Gita leading to this realisation.

Actions (good or bad) bind beings to the cycle of birth. Then how is one to transcend this bondage when performing these inevitable acts is a pertinent doubt that rises a priori. The Gita clearly enunciates that a detached attachment (commitment) to work will lead one to the path of Karma Yoga, a spring board for liberation.

Desires spur human actions and generally it is desire for worldly gains that makes us act. To convert our acts into karma yoga, whatever action we perform, it is to be executed in an exemplary manner and with the spirit that it is carried out as part of fulfilment of God’s decree.

Gradually, a subtle yet realistic outcome from such a practice helps to turn the mind away from the craving for power, greatness, wealth, etc. Work done in a detached manner becomes a yagna.

World order

When everyone leads life in a disciplined manner, it becomes an all-encompassing yagna. With the veil of Maya removed, not only the goals are rendered attainable and the path to liberation is opened, but also the world order is maintained. In such a scenario, nature too functions in its ordained path.

More In: Faith | Friday Review