Saturday, April 2, 2016

Lord Krishna on the Purpose of Work

At the beginning of time I declared two paths for the pure heart: jnana yoga, the contemplative path of spiritual wisdom, and karma yoga, the active path of selfless service.   

One who shirks action does not attain freedom; no one can gain perfection by abstaining from work. Indeed, there is no one who rests for even an instant; all creatures are driven to action by their own nature.   

Those who abstain from action while allowing the mind to dwell on sensual pleasure cannot be called sincere spiritual aspirants. But they excel who control their senses through the mind, using them for selfless service.

Fulfill all your duties; action is better than inaction. Even to maintain your body, Arjuna, you are obliged to act. Selfish action imprisons the world. Act selflessly, without any thought of personal profit.   

At the beginning, mankind and the obligation of selfless service were created together. “Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires”: this is the promise of the Creator.
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

I had to smile when I read Stephen Batchelor's description of Michel de Montaigne who retired to his country estate in 1571 to dwell in idleness and contemplation, only to find that he was utterly miserable. I could easily fall in that trap, surrounded by the ups and downs of global financial markets in my day-to-day job, I often crave the peace and serenity of writing spiritual books in the seclusion and comfort of my home. Yet, like Michel de Montaigne I have observed that at work is where the music is playing and where I come alive. Apparently there is run-away horse in many of us that needs to be steered into the right direction. 

The Blue Lord describes the driven people like me in a different chapter as Rajas ...

Rajas is marked by passion
born of craving and attachment;
it binds the embodied SELF
to never-ending activity.

Well, for those of us who have bees in their pants, what choice do we have but to get them out of there. GOD is kind and supplies us with meaningful work that we can burn our desires with. Trust that life shows you that path to serenity and love. Connectedness and purpose is the way out of the problem. So please dive in and see your mission through!

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