Akarma or Inaction as Ultimate Nishkama or Selfless-action

Karma means willed action. Akarma is inaction. Vikarma is action that is prohibited. Karma may be nithya karma which is action that has to be performed every day, naimithyaka karma is that to be performed which is specific for person concerned, kamya karmas those are optional with a specific fruit in view and nishkama karmas are those actions that are performed without any personal benefit or authorship, as a sacrifice for the general good of others.

When a karma yogi does his duty with selfless attitude, his duty is determined by the rational insight in perfect harmony with the soul. A karma yogi rises from the level of rational insight to spiritual insight. He makes a paradigm shift from selfishness to selflessness. He becomes endowed with a unique perception of inaction which means, “He who sees no work in work, and work in no work, he is wise among men” (Bhagavad Gita 4.18).

Akarma or inaction invariably involves selfless work for universal welfare. Akarma is not non-action but action soaked in jnana, in the knowledge of the Self it is no longer a work. A person who has attained that state works without any desire and he has his senses and mind under perfect control. He understands that though he does his duties, it is not the real Self that acts rather the Self is in state of akarma or inaction. One who knows the truth that one is not an agent of the works that he is doing is freed and he only knows how to work.

One does not get inner peace and joy by escaping from action or doing it badly but by doing it well, rising from kamya karma to that of akarma darshana [ literally, ‘seeing inaction’ ] through nishkama karma. Doing work in state of akarma or inaction of Self, a person is freed from boredom, stress and strain of work and he becomes established in his divine nature involved in selfless work for universal welfare.

Dr Mahesh Chandra Panda

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Guru Ideal in Indian Tradition

In the Indian tradition, Guru is highly revered. He or she is held higher than one`s mother and father, and even God. Guru, in the spiritual sense, is not a mere teacher and guide but a facilitator for the shift in the disciple`s consciousness from lower to higher level. Guru leads one to God. Guru makes one know one`s real nature, his inherent divinity. The word Guru consists of two Sanskrit phrases-gu and ru. Gu means darkness and ru means removal. Hence Guru means the one who removes darkness and brings the light of knowledge.

In the ordinary sense, the term guru may be used to refer to an instructor, a trainer, a coach, a tutor, a lecturer and so on. Though in Sanskrit terms like acharya, upadhyaya and sikshak are used to denote a teacher, the word guru refers to the highest type of the teacher for he leads one to the Highest. Guru is called the greatest for he helps the disciple to check his passions and leads him beyond all relativity. He knows and teaches the essence of scriptures and therefore held as the embodiment of God himself. Guru is called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Like Brahma, he creates spiritual hunger in his disciple; like Vishnu, he nurtures him and like Shiva, he liberates the disciple.

It is described in Chapter X of Shri Sai Satcharita that “There are two kinds of Gurus (1) Niyat (appointed or fixed) and (2) Aniyat (unappointed or general).The latter by their advice develop the good qualities in us, purify our hearts and set us on the path of salvation; but contact with the former dispels our sense of dualities (sense of difference) and establishes us in unity by making us realize ‘Thou art that’. There are various Gurus imparting to us various kinds of worldly knowledge; but he, who fixes us in our nature (Self) and carries us beyond the ocean of worldly existence, is the Sadguru. Sai Baba was such a Sadguru”.

Shirdi Sai Baba is my Guru Ideal since I became a Sai Baba devotee on October 14, 2008.

Shri Satchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jaya.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda
Shirdi Sai devotee

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Arise, Awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.

‘Arise, Awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.’This statement is Swami Vivekananda`s most popular phrase.The statement naturally presumes that we are not awake; indeed, we have busied ourselves with the outer world, forgetting our real nature. We may be awake to the external world, but to reality within, we are asleep in regard to our consciousness. We should awaken our consciousness within by spirituality.

‘Arise, Awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.’ We should arise out of the present state of inertia; arise from our state of rest. Life might have given us repeated blows. We blame the world, but it is our slumber that has caused all this suffering. We must awaken to our true identity—become aware of its existence.

‘Arise, Awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.’ This statement is important even in ordinary daily life. Wherever we might be, we should not stop progressing or working. We should continue our struggle. We should never be dejected or depressed when failures torment us. We should go ahead, and stop not till the goal is reached.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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Time, Our Constant Companion

All of us work hard for success in life. And sooner or later we realize that, among other things, it is only through proper time-management we can succeed in doing any work. We keep on trying endlessly but things just do not seem to happen since happening is a function of time. Things will happen only when time is right. Bhagavad Gita advises to live the life in equanimity, unaffected by the ups and downs in life that are functions of time.

There is time for every purpose under the sky, but there is never enough. Time once spent is spent forever and it cannot come back, though health, wealth etc., can be recreated. We all have the same amount of time but it is just a matter of how we utilize it. In order to produce greater results one is required to change one`s strategy with respect to time. Time flies, crawls and races. Time heals all wounds, but it is also the great destroyer. Again, like the tide, time waits for no one, but in dramatic moments it also stands still. In Internet, the time has, in essence, triumphed over space. Temporal boundaries, that separate one place from another, are abolished, making the entire world a global village.

Our senses tell us that time flows. In other words, the past is gone and cannot be changed; the future is undetermined, and we are in reality living in the present. We are influenced by events in the past, so that we act in the present to shape the future events. From past to future through present, that is the chain of events. We think that past is something which has slipped out of existence. It, of course, lives on, by leaving an impression or samskara on our mind. So there is no need to grieve for the future or the past. The past is contained in the present moment. So the only job left to us is to act properly through proper discretion of the present circumstances.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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Cultivating Santosh or Contentment

Santosh or contentment is a very important characteristic of a sound and balanced mind. In the Bhagavad Gita, contentment is mentioned as one of the qualities of a man of steady wisdom, ‘sthitapranja’. In the second chapter of the Gita, Sri Krishna, in reply to Arjun`s inquiry, says; “ O son of Pritha, when all desires of the heart have been abandoned and one remains content with oneself, then one is spoken as a person of steady wisdom.” In the twelfth chapter of the Gita it is said, “One of the characteristics of an ideal devotee is that he is ever content and contemplative (santushtahsatatam yogi).”

Santosh or contentment is included as one of the five niyamas-qualities to be cultivated-by Sage Patanjali in his Yoga sutras. Sage Vyasa, in his commentary on Yoga sutras, defines it as ‘having no desire to acquire anything more than one has already has.’ This means to remain satisfied with what little one has-not to have any desire for more, or to change the situation, or to feel envy.

We should get over the minor desires by a little fulfilment and discrimination. But major desires need to be renounced by discrimination alone without attempting to satisfy them. One can also cultivate the value of contentment by holding in the mind the feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction one gets by satisfaction of a desire.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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When Bhakti enters Life…

When Bhakti enters Food,
Food becomes Prasad.

When Bhakti enters Hunger,
Hunger becomes Fast.

When Bhakti enters Water,
Water becomes Charanamrita.

When Bhakti enters Travel,
Travel becomes Pilgrimage.

When Bhakti enters Music,
Music becomes Kirtan.

When Bhakti enters Action,
Action becomes Seva.

When Bhakti enters Man,
Man becomes Bhakta.

Source: The Vedanta Kesari
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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Theory and Practice of Eco-Yoga

The need of the hour is the practice of Eco-Yoga to save our planet from ecological imbalance. The focus here is on Yama and Niyama which are first two limbs of Patanjali`s Ashtanga Yoga for linking principles of Yoga with Ecosystem.

Yama consists of five self-restraints for living peacefully in society and the environment.

1. Ahimsa ( non-violence )
Just as one does not harm self; one should not harm the rest of creation too. All must co-exist, that no one has a right to kill another, that no one has a right to take away life from any creature.

2. Satya ( truth )
The mind should think thoughts of truth, speak words of truth and the actions should be based upon truth. Ecologic thinking demands that we should lead truthful life in order to facilitate the world to exist, the planet to survive.

3. Asteya ( non-stealing )
Asteya or non-stealing includes not only taking what belongs to another without permission, but also using something for a different purpose to that intended. By this principle we can avoid conspicuous consumption and needless wasting of food & water and learn to use our surplus to improve the living standards of less fortunate and deprived sections of society.

4. Brahmacharya ( celibacy )
Brahmacharya lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind. The moral aspects of Brahmacharya can be practiced in one`s daily living whether one is a bachelor or married and living the life of a householder. The practitioner conserves the energy and utilizes for loka kalyana (wellbeing of the world).

5. Aparigraha ( non-hoarding )
One should not hoard or collect thing that one does not require or need to possess. This kind of thinking and conscious living will establish harmony between us and nature. Eco-yoga thinking demands that we help replenish our planet`s resources.

Niyama has five rules for one`s inner development.

1. Shaucha ( purity )
Purity of body is essential for well-being; the physical cleansing of the body as well as the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions. The pure mind eliminates pollution in our own life. If we are clean in our thinking, free from all kinds of evil thoughts, it will automatically reflect in our environment.

2. Santosha ( contentment )
It is essential to develop the ability to withstand daily problems without being deeply affected, to be contented no matter what circumstances beset one. Contentment maintains balance between man and nature.

3. Tapas ( contemplation )
Tapa (contemplation) in Eco-Yogic thinking enlightens us. As we contemplate and ponder over existence and meaning of life, it will create consciousness in us to see the beauty of existence and meaningful co-existence with nature.

4. Swadhyaya ( self-study )
Swadhyaya is the education of self by proper study. Proper study of nature is the proper study of man and his environment. Understanding our body-mind complex will enhance our understanding of our own environment.

5. Ishwara pranidhana (surrender to divine )
Ishwara pranidhana means to surrender one`s actions to God, the supreme consciousness or existence Once this happens, respect for all forms of life flows from within, thereby we will stop harming anything or any creature in the creation.

Eco-Yoga is a convergence between traditional yoga, spirituality and social activism focusing on ecological concerns. In this third millennium man is facing an increasing environmental crisis affecting all our lives. What is required at this juncture is to cultivate eco-yogic thinking by practicing and adhering to at least one principle of Yama and one principle of Niyama. We should actively participate in ecological recovery. This can be done only by practicing eco-yogic thinking.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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