MISCELLANEOUS

Path of right action

CHENNAI, FEB.27 . Likes and dislikes in the nature of individual preferences, ideological differences and so on are at the root of the majority of human problems. All actions are coloured by our perceptions, which result in situations that are not to our liking. Even a sage like the Buddha and other saints who would not have entertained any harmful thought towards anyone had to bear the brunt of the aversion of those who did not like them as can be seen from accounts of their lives. It becomes imperative then to analyse one's dislikes in order to prevent them from overshadowing our outlook.

In his discourse, Sri Suki Sivam said the Bhagavad Gita described a person who was an adept in the path of action (Karma yogi) as one who was free from hate or desire. He does not have any expectation from others also. Lord Krishna equates him with a man of wisdom (Jnani), "The Karma yogi who neither hates nor desires should be ever considered a recluse. For, Arjuna, he who is free from the pair of opposites is easily freed from bondage." It also becomes clear in this context that even though he has not formally renounced family life and donned the ochre robe, the Karma yogi is on a par with a monk because he has gone beyond likes and dislikes. Thus he will not be ensnared by bondage, as his actions will not lead to fresh Karma.

The difference then between the two is that while a Jnani is introverted, a Karma yogi engages actively in the world. The analogy of a ripe fruit falling down on its own accord is apt to apply to a Karma yogi. Without any effort on his part his actions cease to bind him. Saints like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa have exemplified that it is possible to be like a Jnani in family life. He did not renounce his wife and his devotion made him worship her as he saw her as the embodiment of the Divine Mother. Kabir Das is a fine example of a Karma yogi for he did not give up weaving even after his spiritual transformation. While earlier he had pursued it as a profession and satisfied his customers' wishes with his skill, later he performed the same action for the sake of Lord Rama.

Lord Krishna equates both these paths but stresses the path of action because Arjuna wanted to renounce action altogether— not engage in war, which was his duty. So he had to be convinced that the end was the same in the case of both (liberation) and that the path of action was more suitable to him.