The First Word

None of us can refrain from action. The Gita offers a masterclass on what action to take and how to perform it well.

As we enter into April Issue of Sai Aura, we have Rama Navami celebrations associated with Sai Baba’s Jayanti. Each person has understood Sai Baba from a standpoint that appealed to his own natural disposition. Jnani, a person of intellect, saw the Sai Satcharita as a book of Vedanta. Bhakt, a person of emotion and faith, found it to be a book of devotion. Karmyogi, a person of action, looked at it as a treatise on rightful action. Sai Satcharita takes us towards God-realization through various paths — Jnana Yog, Bhakti Yog, and Karma Yog. And Lord Sainath has put all these three paths on the same pedestal.

“Such pious persons have become my followers whose sins have been destroyed and they have understood me.” – (Chap 13, Ovi 11-13)

Lord Sainath says that no one can refrain from action. Even inaction is action. While sitting idle, our mind is still working in the form of continuous thoughts, emotions and feelings; body is functioning by way of breathing, blood circulation, and digestion. Lord Sainath says that he too is at work continuously to take care of his creation. ‘

“The whole universe is my home. I am myself Vasudev and all-pervading God. I am myself the Parabrahma.” – (Chap 9, Ovi 47) 

What actions need to be taken up and how they can be performed well — all of this is explained in the sacred text.

The first tenet: Perform your duty without laying claim to fruits of action; and non-attention to the reward of work should not push you to inaction. Then, what is the use of performing actions when one cannot get any reward from them?

While the general motive to act is to get benefits, none can be sure that the actions so performed will lead to the desired results. The idea to accept that the result is not in our hands seems reasonable and practical. If a student preparing for an exam is perpetually engaged in thinking anxiously whether he will pass or fail, there is every chance that he may not have any time left to prepare for his exams, and thus he is most likely to fail.

The second tenet focuses on how to perform one’s duty: Yogah Karmasu Kausalam — ‘yog is skill in action’, that is executing the work skillfully, perfectly, without any distraction. The work must be performed with single-minded concentration. When horses want to run in different directions to enjoy the pleasures on the way, the chariot is bound to suffer in reaching its destination.

The third tenet is to perform action by abiding in yog, that is by being in a state of equanimity, free of attachment or aversion, preference or prejudice, desire or anger, honor or dishonor. Only then such actions will take the right shape.

The fourth tenet is to follow one’s swadharma, work that falls to our lot from hour to hour, as assigned by society for the larger good. Swadharma of a parent is to accept the responsibility of nurturing and bring up his children well. The swadharma of a soldier is to fight and defend the nation at any cost, and not to run away from the battlefield.

“One who concentrates on ME, for him nothing is difficult. But the moment he forgets ME, Maya will attack him.” – Shri Sai Baba (Chap 3, Ovi 143-148)

The fifth tenet is to dedicate every action undertaken to the Supreme Lord and surrender the fruits of action to Him. It means that every action should be performed in a spirit of worship and detachment, and that there should be no sense of doership, ‘I am the doer’. All actions are to be seen as being done at His behest.

The sixth tenet is that the results of all your work should be accepted as if they are gifts of the Supreme Lord. Any action performed may result in success or failure, honor or dishonor, gain or loss. Cultivation of this attitude of acceptance will prevent you from becoming restless, upset or depressed. This is the most delicate area where we suffer and may take extreme steps such as suicide, or retaliation. Action can lead to bondage or freedom.

The final tenet is that all work undertaken throughout one’s life should lead to the purification of one’s mind and heart, and God-realization. Otherwise, the whole life is deemed wasted, and an opportunity lost in reaching greater heights of consciousness. To achieve and maintain balance of mind may seem like a tough task but let us make a beginning anyway.

Baba’s Assurance is:

“Whatever is perceived is my image only, whether it is a worm, an ant, a poor wretch or a king.” – Shri Sai Baba (Chap 3, Ovi 143-148)