"Karmayoga does not mean ceaseless pursuit of karma. It truly consists in the Yoga orientation and discipline given to the buddhi and the mind. Constant preservation and application of Yogabuddhi while doing any work, alone makes one a Karmayogin."

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Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Articles for Saadhana

The fear and reluctance of the mind will prevail only as long as the truth about living is not understood properly. For any one, life proceeds from interactions between the senses and the external objects. And once such interactions take place, their resultants produced in the mind, namely sukha-dukhas, cannot be avoided. All that anyone can get from his life from the world, in which he lives, are thus these sukha-dukha resultants. These will always be there- any time, anywhere, from any context or circumstance. None can add to these resultants, nor substract from them. Of what relevance is then fear or reluctance.

Allow life to have its usual course. Be confident, bold and go forward with a stability and poise that should not get subdued in any situation. It is not difficult at all, because you are confronted with the same fate of life all around. The senses compel you for this, and the world also equally facilitates such a step of ease and resolution.

Is such an insight and the discipline it fetches, something to be disposed of as simple? “No” says Krishna. For Krishna, such a resolve is the full essence of spiritual sadhana. Krishna rates it as something very high, sublime and great. Krishna’s words on this strike as a singular synopsis of the entire gospel of Bhagavad Gita:

 

यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ ।
समदुःखसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ।। १५ ।।
yaṃ hi na vyathayanty-ete puruṣaṃ puruṣarṣabha |
sama-duḥkha-sukhaṃ dhīraṃ so'mṛtatvāya kalpate ||
(Bhagavad Gita 2.15)

These mental resultants called sukha and dukha, happiness and unhappiness should not overpower any one. Whoever is not subdued or swept by these repeatedly emerging mental alternates is the one verily fit for liberation (amrtatvaya kalpate).

Moksha (liberation) or amrtatva (immortality) is the great ultimate goal of human life. Immortality is the outcome of true spiritual enlightenment. Such enlightenment can be had only when one undergoes the sadhana for it. People have different ideas about moksha-sadhana. Often their ideas are too strange and even abominable. It becomes so sheerly because of their delusion. Delusion can even prevail till the end of one’s life. Unless the mind begins to think with a basic note, suspending its haste and hurry, the hold of delusion is not likely to relent.

Arjuna himself is the striking instance for this. The same Krishna was with him for years. And Krishna’s greatness and wisdom must have been well known to Arjuna. Arjuna had all the closeness one can think of with Krishna. In fact he makes mention of it when he confesses before Krishna later (11th chapter, verse 41 & 42):

“Taking you as a close friend, I have spoken to you lightly and in sport. I have shown carelessness, inattention and disregard also in my dealings with you. I beg your pardon for all such slips, errors and delusion.”

This apart, did not Arjuna spend 12 long years in the forest, where he was supposed to have resorted only to austerity? Austerity he did, but it was only to reinforce his physical fighting powers. To fight whom? His enemies! What about fighting his own inner enemies like delusion, the adverse traits of his mind, which had subdued the greater worth of his inner being? Such a thought, introspection, had not occurred to him at all.

The conventional kshatriya spirit and ambition alone dominated his mind. He was subjected to the same delusion, which engulfs all beings. Like friction caused by earth, this delusion is a constant deterrent in every one. As we overcome friction and facilitate movement using our feet or employing vehicles, the inner friction too has to be overcome by right reflection and vichara. Either one’s own nature should institute the introspection as a healthy part of human life, or some event, distress or confrontation must trigger it. The latter was the case with Arjuna. It transpired a little late in his life and in very striking circumstances.

Should all individuals wait for such an interception from outside? In fact, we have enough of spiritual and philosophical literature, which discusses the inner constitution of human life and provides sufficient insight for resolving the problems and conflicts man is bound to face sooner or later in life. The crisis of action, the conflict of relationship, the disharmony of the mind with intelligence, the discrepancy between the choice of one and that of another, all these are taken up by our spiritual dissertations. Valmiki wrote Ramayana to forewarn and enlighten people about the world. Vyasadeva’s Mahabharata goes a great step further in the same mission. Even Bhagavad Gita stands before us as a timely episode of lasting worth and relevance.

One should lend himself fondly to its content, message. The world around does provide enough exposure to every one. Equally so spiritual literature also does. Newspapers bring news of the present. Epic narrations fulfil even a greater role. One should be awake to grasp   their currency and message.

What Arjuna missed over decades, he fills up right now in a matter of hours. The urge visited him very late. Learning from Arjuna, others can avoid such omissions, delays. The Gita dialogue is sufficient to endear itself to every man and woman. The episode provides the right provocation, compulsion or inspiration to all intelligent men and women. Lend your heart and mind to its message and begin the right introspection. Immortality will then be an actuality, not a mere spark of imagination.

Sukha and dukha and the origin from which these constantly emerge, must be the constant focus of the seeker. The real enquirer should direct all attention to his own mind and what it brings in by any and all interactions.

You may be speaking to some one or hearing another. Maybe you perform an act- let it be worship or a professional pursuit. Such acts can as well involve one or more individuals, or even a section of the society. Or it may relate to a place, event or circumstance. Let the other part of the interaction be thus anything – a person, place or event – the mental outcome these individually or together bring about at any time are just two: sukha and dukha.

It is the same mind that generates and presents these twin resultants. So far you liked the sukha part alone. And the dukha evoked resentment in you, your repeated dislike and disapproval. Now consider the whole process with the spiritual insight.

Look at sukha-dukhas alike, equally. Will they ever become equal, you may wonder. Are they not clear opposites? It is your vision about them that has to be equal. Equalness is possible only when unequal are there in front. The emergence of sukha and then the succession by dukha are themselves mutual opposites, alternates. And this character of theirs is what offers the scope, compulsion and inspiration to develop and preserve equal vision. Here the seeker’s focus is not on any external factor. The internal sukha-dukhas alone are his constant concern and compulsion. Thus no special favour for a particular setting, an environment, a pooja room, a temple or another need be fostered. In the hands of his own mind, in the company of the sukha-dukhas it constantly fetches, the equal vision will also be occasioned, displayed, tested and reinforced.

What is this equal vision? Introspect and find out its content closely and well. First of all, check and remove the undue craze for the external variety. How will this be done? By relating them to what they constantly generate in the mind. By the side of your married partner, in front of your children, in your house or in the market, seeing a friend or passing by somebody otherwise disposed, in short, anywhere and everywhere in the midst of anything- pleasantness or unpleasantness alone is the gift of the mind, its creation. The whole assortment of actions, the objects, persons and situations they relate to, get thus reduced to a simple ‘duality’- mental twins, the sukhas and dukhas alternates. Of what use then, the sankhya seeker begins to wonder, is to get unduly fascinated by the lure of the variety outside? Be attentive to the duality, which the whole variety repeatedly stimulates and preserves in the mental plane.

Gita repeatedly speaks about samatva. And only the beginning is made by Krishna here, in this verse. Relate the samatva, says Krishna, to the sukha and dukha. Address yourself constantly to these responses of your mind. Sukha being pleasant normally evokes interest, allurement and attraction. The discipline or refinement of samatva should intercept right here and the response to sukha should be moderated and sublimated. Sukha will and does occur, whether you feel allured by it or not. It is part of the mind process, the mind-duality. If the mind is there, the sensory imprints fall on it, the sukha resultant cannot but be. So with the new outlook, avoid being ‘allured’ by sukha.

Equally so, get rid of the resentment or distance towards dukha. Dukha is only the opposite of sukha. And the dukha’s incidence is necessary to make sukha felt. In fact, subsidence of dukha alone goes by the name sukha. Sukha has no distinct status or character. It is the absence of dukha alone. So, without dukha, how can sukha prevail? Why then resent or hate dukha? Dukha becomes a need, associate and complement for the mind. Either the mind will feel sukha and dukha alike, or it has to be rid of both. To prefer or to invite one, or to abhor or dissuade the other is futile, wrong. The two have to be complementing each other. Each will become irrelevant, if dissociated from the other.

This is the true spiritual introspection on the mind and its sukha and dukha. The more this introspection is pursued, the deeper and more powerful it becomes. Gradually the duality of sukha and dukha grows weak, feeble and light. The process involved is vichara, introspection, and the result manifesting is in the mind itself- in the very incidence of sukha and dukha. What used to be glaringly different from each other and hence used to cause tension, agitation and delusion, will now become helpful and joyful complements of each other. The mind is the forum in which this marked transition takes place. And intelligence and its truthful introspection is the faultless means by which it transpires.

That is why it is called sankhya. Sankhya consists of ardent and deep vichara. Sankhya vichara is always on the truth, to get at the truth. The subject of vichara can be the world of objects, their interrelationship and substratum. Or it can as well be one’s reactions to these objects and interactions with them. Here now the vichara is on the mind’s sukha-dukha responses to the object interactions. But the quality and purpose of sankhya vichara do not the least change. It will take the enquirer to the supreme truth.

Krishna uses the words, “Yam ete na vyathayanti: Whomever these do not assail, assault or torment”. Krishna wants to emphasize that both sukha and dukha are equally disturbing or tormenting   to the individual, his ego. To think that sukha pleases and dukha alone teases, is a partial view. Think wholesomely without constrictions or prejudices. Sukha torments, but by creating an alluring note. And dukha does the same thing by the note of distaste. Both have disturbing and unsettling effect. The alluring or fascinating note towards sukha alone causes the opposite reaction to dukha. Here lies the great fact. To view the incidence of sukha, because it is pleasant in character, with any special favour or welcome, is not acceptable to sankhya. Correct this shortsighted notion, dissuade it repeatedly. When that is done, dukha will turn to be less and less tormenting.    

The first attention can be to thin down, moderate and sublimate the sukha responses. When that is accomplished, the heaviness dukha causes will reduce. Reactions to both sukha and dukha should become even. Against sukha it will be the process of moderating the alluring note. With dukha it will be the task of moderating the distaste. The sukha and dukha incidences will continue but with the note of moderation towards both gaining currency. Behind the mind, as it were, a new dimension grows, to become strong, lustrous and pronounced. The moderation process will not be static, but continuous. Attention shifts skillfully from the alternates of sukha and dukha to the practice and pursuit of evenness towards them. Such ‘evenization’ alone is the real sadhana. The rest is all what is already there and will be there. Sukha and dukha alike provide the chance and compulsion for the pursuit.

Thus Krishna’s words “sama-dukha-sukham dheeram” are greatly profound. Their import is immense and engulfs the whole of human life. The intelligence of the seeker gets the right focus and effectiveness only when the delusion of sukha and dukha is sought to be dealt with sternly. And sankhya helps and compels this process.

Dheera means the wise. What constitutes true wisdom? It was first to look at the bodily death as ‘ an inevitable and helpful transition’.  It was again to understand the subject ‘I’ as different from the object body. Likewise here now it is to hold oneself against the incidence of sukha and dukha alternates. Everywhere it is wisdom, the sense of discrimination that counts and does its work.

Such a dheera (wise person) is inevitably fit for immortality. Immortality follows the spiritual wisdom and viveka, which make the sukha-dukha impacts even. Instead of following them to torment one, they should be used to enrich, empower him. Normally they torment. But with the sankhya introspection and enlightenment, they strengthen, sublimate and elevate one to spiritual fulfillment.

If you observe the sukha-dukha incidences closely, some further truth will become distinct. Mind is the surface on which these surge forth. Throw a stone into a lake; the water splashes and rises the ripples. The ripple is caused by the stone. But in substance and reality, the ripple is a mere formation of water, in water and by it alone.

External objects, perceptional interactions with these, cause sukha and dukha in the mind. But in the process, no substance enters the mind.. Objects get impressed in the mind like an image in water or mirror. Mind alone rises as the sukha ripple. It is the same mind that rises or sinks as dukha ripple also.

To understand the character of the mind, take a look at the alternations and watch what happens in between the two incidences- sukha and dukha. In order to distinguish the two, should there not be a distinct middle? That distinct middle must be the nature of the very mind. Be attentive to the unconditioned or unreacting or even middle. Grasp its essence more and more. Be infused with its distinctness- distinction from the other two. It is that distinct mind that courts these transitional states. Let the attention turn from the alternating states to the mind proper, which remains neutral and untouched by them.

From transitoriness that will mean a transition to the non-transitory base. Instead of drownig you by their currents, sukha and dukha will now be steeping and stabilizing you into their base, substratum. Thus the freedom from sukha-dukhaa lies verily within their incidence itself. Sankhya introspection thus has the effect of driving one to the bottom of the sukha-dukha lake rather easily, constantly and suddenly.

The seeker should not worry about what external association or interaction stimulates the sukha-dukhas. He should attend to where and what internally transforms into sukha and dukha. He will find that it is his mind- the mind substance alone does the alternations.

Does the mind ever get out of itself, from where it exists? Remaining where it is, it brings about a mystic alternating process. Do not be deluded by the process. Instead learn the right lesson, and use it for focusing on the very substance of the process. Sukha will take you to the substance that produces it. Dukha too will equally drive you to the same substratum. Thus in place of sukha-dukhas dominating the seeker’s attention and concern, it will now be the sama-dukha-sukhatva, the substratum of the two.

Activity and interaction will go on as otherwise. Instead of getting drowned by the sukha-dukha effects they bring about repeatedly, he now remains afloat in the waves. The water of the waves is the same. Only the waves appear various.

Such a drastic change in the response, attention, sublimational process, makes him deserve immortality. It is no more for him the simple interactional life with the world and its objects. Instead it becomes a full-fledged spiritual sadhana, which endures all along. The worldly life is provided with a spiritual addition, a constant subjective enrichment. The gains are great, with no loss at all.

The normal activities and interactions wear and tear one’s life, leading to the death of the body at a time, whereas this new life of Sankhya sadhana will steadily take the seeker to spiritual unfoldment and to Amrtatva. What a great difference!

                                                                                                 (Part of the series Essential-Concepts-In-Bhagavad-Gita)

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