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The numberless impurities of the mind  act like an indelible coating on the mind and hide the presence of the divinity within. All our rules and regulations for our daily life are programmed to inculcate a habit in us which would be consistent with the ultimate requirement of cleaning our mind from all its dirt. What is dirt? The Samskrit word for dirt is ‘mala’. It is also used to denote faeces. The latter is a thing which we refuse to identify with ourselves. In fact in Hindu metaphysics, an object is said to have dirt when it has in it something other than itself. So a dirtless mind is a mind which does not contain anything other than the mind! That  is the crystalline mind in which God will reflect Himself. All our religious habits are so programmed and designed that, when the time comes for us to look Godward instead of outward, we shall not have to unlearn any of our habits. 


The mind is like a storehouse of everything that has gone into it (for several lives, though now present only in a subtle manner in the form of vAsanAs).This storehouse cannot be emptied by pressing a single button. The only way the mind can be purified and made ‘dirtless’ is therefore by diluting its contents by continuously pouring in noble, elevated thoughts and those thinking processes that are concordant  with the upward path to divine perfection.  This is the ultimate purpose  of all rituals, ceremonies, observances and penances. It is for this purpose that two great methodologies, which go by the names of Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, are prescribed and elaborately enunciated in our scriptures. Yoga is efficiency in implementation.  YogaH karmasu kauSalaM is what the Gita says. 


So Karma Yoga means the efficient way of carrying out our activities. Bhakti Yoga means the efficient methodology for dev otion and worship.  These are the two paths that have been shown to lead the average man out of his prison which he has created for himself.


Karma Yoga centres around disinterested unselfish action. It uses the word ‘detachment’ almost as a slogan. Detachment is the non-attachment to the ephemeral and transient things of the world – which include the entire universe, our body, mind and intellect. The one thing that is ever permanent is the substratum of existence that lies at the base of all these things as their root cause, as the canvas on which they are all painted. As the innermost core of our very selves it is called Atman and as the utmost transcendent reality which lies beyond anything finite it is called brahman. Now Karma Yoga says:


Since there is nothing else other than the Atman that is permanent, do not be attached to anything that is non-permanent; because that way you will always be open to unhappiness. Happiness is only within you, namely, in the recognition  that you are the Atman and not this body, mind or intellect and in the oneness that is regained by that realisation. Once an intellectual understanding of this is granted, then all the unhappiness and miseries of the world can be traced to the fact that we are attached to transient things like our body, our kith and kin, our opinions, our actions and their consequences. The Gita says: Act in the living world by standing apart from it. You may have possessions but be not attached to them in such a way that they possess you.  Just as in a play in which you are only one of the actors and all the property you are handling really belongs to the Producer-Director of the play, so also understand that, in this drama of life, all the things you possess, you inherit, you enjoy, you create, or you destroy are not yours. They are His, namely, of the the Super-Director who is the Supreme Almighty of the Universe. Do your actions certainly as efficiently as you can, as if you are an actor on the stage acting your part well.



April 29, 2002    ©Copyright  V. Krishnamurthy  Home  Contents   Next