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In real life for you to get this feeling of detachment, the Gita gives you a strategy of action, namely that of Dedication. Dedication to what? Gita says: Dedicate all your actions to God. If you have reservations in believing in a God, or if you do not understand the concept of God sufficiently to be able to dedicate your actions to Him, then you may dedicate your actions to a Cause which you hold sacred. Or, dedicate everything to one living person whom you respect, revere and adore, like your mother.

 

Accepting suffering for the happiness of others is dedication. Dedication means that you do a certain action because the god of your dedication would like it to be done that way and you avoid doing  a certain thing because the god of your dedication would not like you doing that thing. Thus you totally submit yourself to the will of your god of dedication and all your actions are governed by your own understanding of what your god of dedication would accept and not accept. Other than this one desire of pleasing the god of your dedication you have no desires of your own.

 

Once you start living your life in such a dedicatedly streamlined way you will see that your own mind will have no selfish desires and every action that you do becomes an unselfish act. You may have hopes and fears but the joys of one and the burden of the other are both transformed to the god of dedication as far as you are concerned. This is Karma Yoga.

 

The Gita has a technical sanskrit word to indicate this Dedication. It is yajna.

 

The Gita says that  one who does his actions in this unselfish way is uncontaminated even if the action is harmful to somebody else. It is like a judge sentencing a criminal to death because the sentence has been given by the judge in his capacity as judge, with an attitude of total dedication to the Law of the Nation. You may find it difficult to believe that his can happen. But you should experiment with this in your daily life before you pass judgement on this method. The method of dedication is bound to induce an alchemy in all your thought processes and this alchemy will slowly change your personality itself in its upward path of evolution.

 

Bhakti Yoga implies the recognition of the Supreme Cosmic Power without the sanction of which not ev ente smallest movement can take place in the universe. This supreme power manifests itself in the form of one of several divinities. But when we worship any one of them it is with the conscious understanding  that it is the one Almighty God Iswara, that is being worshipped in this form. This is the rationale of idol worship.

 

Another main reason that different gods and goddesses have arisen in Hinduism is the following: In the long mythological history of Hinduism several manifestations of the Absolute Divinity have taken place. Every one of these manifestations had a name and a form and this particular representation of that nameless divinity had caught the imagination of the people and they have been worshipped ever since.  Not only this. In India every temple of olden times had arisen like this. Though the physical environs of these large temples have been built in historic times by historical personages, the deity enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum very often goes back in origin to mythological times when that deity really appeared as a manifestation for a specific purpose.

 

Another point worthy of note. This is peculiar to Hinduism. In Hindu mythology, though heaven and hell are talked about, neither nor heaven nor hell has any opportunities for you to exhibit your devotion to God. They are only places for experiencing what you have to experience. Any feeling of reverence that you may have to the Supreme Almighty has to be given expression to, by your coming down to Earth. This Earth is the place where bhakti can thrive, can yield fruits, and can make sense. So even the divines who live in heaven – like Indra, Varuna, Vayu and others – have to come down to Earth to do their worship, when necessity arises. So there are legends and legends, of their coming down to this or that temple on this Earth and offering worship or of atoning for any ignoble acts they might have committed. Go to any Indian temple of olden times. They will tell you stories of how Indra or another divine of his level   offered puja in that temple  and was cured of the curse on him.  This makes the temple and the deity of the temple more important for us, earthly devotees.

 

There is no other culture in the world whose literature is so fully replete with myriads of such manifestations of divinity and the exploits of that Supreme almighty for the benefit of His devotees. This is not to say that Indians have been the most religious or devoted, among all the civilisations of the world. It is only to say that India’s past goes beyond the few milleniums into which history dares peep into.

 

 

 

 

April 30, 2002    ©Copyright  V. Krishnamurthy  Home  Contents   Next