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Self. It is this that should be suppressed and ultimately conquered. It is in this sense that Krishna advises Arjuna to fight the battle rather than show attachment and compassion to his fellow-men and retire. Krishna makes a  remarkable  statement in this strain, which must be engraved in gold: (Gita, 3-30):

mayi sarvANi karmANi sanyasy-AdhyAtma-cetasA /
nirASir-nirmamo bhUtvA yudhyasva vigata-jvaraH //
Renouncing all actions unto Me, with the mind centred on the Self,
without any desire and without any ego,
go and fight, without any  fever (of excitement).

It is significant to note that one has to 'fight' without desire, without ego and without excitement! When interpreted for the common man this means: Do carry on your life's journey doing all your duties  without selfishness, without the fever and excitement that you normally show in chasing happiness and satisfaction. How is this possible?  It should be made possible. That is karma yoga
For this it may not be necessary (though advantageous) to go along the path of religious belief, involving an acceptance of the divinity of man, the conviction that there is a supreme power, that the authority of the scriptures is unquestionable, and so on. All that is required is the belief in the dignity of man. Thus one may encounter a staunch
karma yogi who does not believe in God and religion. Such a karma yogi will do his duties devotedly, not because he will otherwise incur demerit but because he knows no other way to be of use to himself and to society. Social responsibilities will be meticulously discharged by him becaiuse he is convinced that he owes service to society for his very sustenance as a member of that society.  He believes that each one of us must do his or her job sincerely and to the best of one's ability. If the returns of work do not properly match the amount of effort expended and the efficiency and dedication with which it is executed, he knows that these ills of society can never be corrected by rebellion. But he is not a conformist. He might well be an unusual person who has struck out a new path for service to society, and in following it exhibits zeal and steadfastness. Such a karma yogi has no ambitions for himself except some residual attachment for the work he is doing  and he would, therefore not yield to anybody in estimating the importance of his work. This kind of social action, without any self-interest is a simple way of training oneself in karma yoga . It is in fact the first thing that young people must learn. Identifying oneself with a cause, with a social purpose, one gets attracted by the charms and thrills of social service and the

Aug.2, '99  ©Copyright  V. Krishnamurthy  Home  Contents   Next