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may scrape through the examination, and so on, then you have allowed your attachment to the results of the examination to dominate your thinking. This is precisely what karma yoga wants you to avoid. It says: 'Do your duty in a spirit of dedication'. You may ask: 'What is the meaning of dedication in the context of my daily chore of studies? To whom do I dedicate myself? Why? What is the outcome of such dedication? How does it alter the picture?' It does; how it does so we will now understand through an example.
Think of your mother at home, far away; she is looking forward to your returning from college with a feather in your academic cap. She expects you to follow certain norms in your daily activities and she has great hopes about your returning to her more balanced, more mature, more knowledgeable, than when she sent you to college. You certainly do not want to disappoint her. Now comes the crucial technique of yajna. It says, for example, 'Dedicate all your actions to your mother, do everything because your mother would like you to do it that way. Avoid certain things because your mother would want you to do so'. In short, you live and act as your mother would want you to. In other words you have dedicated your every step to your mother. Dedication is the voluntary acceptance of suffering for another's sake and, in this case, for your mother's sake, that is, if you think being a good student for your mother's sake is a suffering. This is the karma yoga of the student who has dedicated all his actions to his beloved mother. The consequences of such a dedication must be seen to be believed. At almost every step one experiences an alchemy taking place in one's mind; a constant war will be waged in the inner recesses of the mind between the good vAsanAs and the not-so-good vAsanAs and each time the conviction that one is doing things for the sake of one's mother at home will gradually resolve issues and tilt them towards the side of the better vAsanAs. Such a student may be said to be doing svAdhyAya-yajna, the yajna of study.
This is exactly what the gItA describes in its classification of 'doer' as 'satvic' (the ideally noble) in gItA 18 - 26:
mukta-sango-naham-vAdI dhRty-utsAha-samanvitaH /
siddhy-asiddhyor-nirvikAraH kartA sAtvika ucyate //
Free from attachment, free from egoism,
full of a fixed impersonal resolution and a calm rectitude of zeal,
unelated by success and undepressed by failure,
such a one is called the sAtvika-kartA.
This verse being the punchline in our elaboration of the yajna attitude, we treat the concepts one by one in detail.
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