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Upadesa Saram by Ramana Maharshi - Sloka 1
Upadesa Saram, Upadesasaaram, works of Ramana Maharshi, Upadesa Saram Slokas, Upadesa Saram Translation, Upadesa Saram Meaning, Upadesa Saram Sanskrit, Upadesa Saram Telugu, Upadesa Saram Tamil Hindu Spiritual Articles and Videos
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Karthurajnayaa Prapyathe Phalam
Karma Kim Param Karma Tad Jadam….1
Karthuh – by the creator
Ajnayaa – controlled or governed
Praapyathe – got or attained
Phalam – fruits
Karma kim param – how or why is work then superior
Karma tad jadam – that Karma is insentient only.
The fruits of all actions are attained and controlled by the Lord or the creator. Then how can work be superior? As work is an insentient thing only.
The very basis of existence in this world is due to actions and by actions. Each individual has to perform actions & he can never deviate from doing actions.
Let the individual be a software engineer or a renunciated Saint or the very Lord Krishna, he has to do actions. This Bhooloka or Earth is a world of actions.
Actions are inevitable in as much breathing of air or drinking water is inevitable. Even great Mahatmas perform actions. This is the reason why Lord Krishna himself did actions and never refrained from doing actions.
A grihastha has the actions to support his family & protect them, whereas a Brahmachari has the action to study the Vedas in the Gurukula of the teacher. The vanaprastha (or old people who go and stay in forests contemplating about the Lord) have actions of doing poojas, dhyaana and all. The sanyasins too have actions prescribed for them like the Chaturmaasya pooja, the pooja to be performed on Guru Poornima etc.
Thus, every individual in this world has to do actions irrespective of what those actions are. Sri Krishna mentions in Gita that everyone is bound by actions & compelled to do actions.
Now, one may ask what do great Mahatmas or Yogis sitting in the Himalayas do? Do they perform actions?
Of course they also do actions. But their actions are not at the gross body level but at the mental level.
Tejo Bindu Upanishad says:
Nimishardham na thisthanthi vrittim brahma mayeem vina
Yatha Thisthanthi brahmaadhyaah sukadhayah sanakaadhyaah
Not even for a single moment should a person remain without the thought that “I am Brahman”. People like Brahma, Suka and Sanaka sages all remain with the thought of “I am Brahman”.
Any action has five components
Kartha – Doer
Chesta or Karma – Action
Karanam – Instruments
Adhisthaanam – Base or Substratum
Daivam – Vidhi or previous birth effects.
Mainly an action can be considered to have three components of Kartha – the person doing the action, Karma – the operation or performing of the karma and the Karnam – the instruments for doing the action.
Let’s say a person named Raama is cooking. Here, the person doing the action is Raama and he is Kartha. The action or Karma is cooking. Raama cannot cook without the instruments or Karnam of hands and eyes (mainly these two). Thus, any action consists of the doer, the act or action and the instruments helping for the action.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi in the sloka tells that the fruit of any action is ordained by Karthuh or the creator. The act of cooking depends mainly on the person cooking. Similarly, all actions in this world are controlled by the Supreme Being or Lord. The Lord is one who decides the fruits of actions.
Does this mean people praying to God will get good fruits whereas people not praying to God will get bad fruits?
No. God is a judge, judging the action of a person and giving the fruit corresponding to the action of the person. If this is not the case, if I am am running a hotel, and I cook for my customers then I should get currency notes from the pressure cooker instead of boiled rice!!
Also, the fruits are not determined by individuals but the Creator alone. This is the reason why we find people working hard and putting all their efforts into an action but still not succeeding in the act. And we find people who do very less work, yet get rewarded for the same. A simple example is the promotion happening in companies. A person might be very good worker and well suited for promotion but still he might not get promoted rather the person who is not eligible might get promoted. Thus all actions are not determined by the individual and the surroundings, rather by the Creator or God alone based on our fortunes.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says that as fruits of work is controlled or judged and given by Lord, action can never be superior.
Then what mainly determines or decides the fruits of action?
Whatever actions a person does, he gets the results of the action. This is the Law of Karma or action. Let’s say a person does agnihotra pooja daily, he will attain Heaven and enjoy the pleasures there. Let’s say a person prepares for MBA, he will get through the CAT exam and attain a seat in MBA. It can never happen that a person preparing for M.Tech admission gets through the admission of MBA.
But there is a significant factor in the decision of the fruits. The action that a person does is not the real matter, but the attitude in which the action is performed matters. The example of Dharmavyaada story in Mahabharatha just proves this. Dharmavyaada was a butcher who was performing his duty with right attitude so Vishnu sends some of his devotees to Dharmavyaada for learning about the Self.
Here, in this sloka Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi thus refutes the views of ritualists who say that rituals in themselves are capable of giving the fruits. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi tells that the fruits can be determined only by a person who is neither for nor against the actions and the doer. Such a person can only be the Lord or creator of the universe who is neither attracted nor averse to any objects in this world.
Now, one may ask for the proof of God?
We see objects in this world. As we know, any objects can not come out of nothing. Any effect that is seen now needs to have a cause. Any effect should have an efficient cause.
We all know that pots are made out of mud. It is not possible that mud by itself becomes a pot. It is only when the potter (an efficient cause) puts his effort that mud turns into a pot. This potter must necessarily be fully aware of mud and pot – else he cannot efficiently create the effect of pot.
If this is the case for a small thing, what to speak about this big universe of innumerous milky ways and all!!! Thus, there needs to be creator for this world. The creator should necessarily be all-knowing (Sarvajna) since only then he can create objects.
Thus, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi indirectly proves the existence of all-knowing God or Creator of this world.
All actions depend on the doer. Without the effort from the doer, all actions are insentient & have no value at all. An action of cooking gets its value only because of the cook. Without the cook, there is no cooking. Therefore Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi tells that all actions are insentient and the Doer is the sentient thing.
Everyone knows that when the doer or Consciousness is present, then there are actions, there is this world. When the doer is absent, there are no objects, no world at all. The simple example for this is the Deep Sleep state. In the Deep Sleep state, the doer or the Ego is not present. Since the Ego is not present, there is no action and no world at all. But still the pure “I” exists. This “I” is the real Consciousness which gives its light to the Ego for doing actions. Thus all actions and even Ego are insentient as they are temporary and depend on Consciousness or the Self for their existence.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi tells three main points in this sloka
1.Fruits are ordained or governed by Creator & not the action alone.
2. There is a creator for this world.
3. Actions are insentient.
When a person realizes the futility of actions as well as that one can never refrain from actions & thereby does actions without expectation, he is not affected by the action or its fruits. When a person is thus not affected the fruits of the actions, he neither gets happy nor broods over the fruits. He remains completely detached to the action and its fruits. Thus, he becomes a mere witness to the action. He is neither the doer nor the enjoyer – but just a tool or instrument in performance of the action. Thus, through actions his mind becomes pure. When the mind is pure, it is devoid of any thoughts.
Thoughts are the causes of problems and sufferings in life. But when the mind is devoid of thoughts, it merges into its own source of Consciousness which is of the nature of Bliss Absolute. Thus the person merely becomes an actor enacting a drama. He thus always rejoices in the actions and their fruits. This is the real nature of the Self which has to be realized. Thus through actions, a person realizes his own very nature of Consciousness and thereby realizes that there is nothing new to be gained and that my very own nature is happiness alone.
This path of realizing one’s own nature is called Karma Yoga or path of action. Since no individual can sit idle without doing work, this path is the most suited for majority of the people.
Action or Karma word comes from the verb Kri meaning to do.
There is the law of action which is that whatever action you do; similar will be result or fruits of that action. Action presupposes a doer or the Ego which is acting.
This Ego can never be the Self or pure Consciousness because pure Consciousness or real “I” is present in Deep Sleep where there is neither Ego nor any action. So, wherever there is Ego, there action is also present. As the above experience of Deep Sleep shows, wherever there is the Ego or doer (notion of doership is called Ego), there is sorrow also. In Deep Sleep, there is no Ego and hence no sorrow but only pure happiness of the Self. But during Waking and Dream states, there is the Ego and hence the Ego suffers from sorrow and delusion. The aim of Vedanta and human life is to eradicate sorrows. The ultimate aim of any human being is eradication of sorrow and gain of Eternal happiness that is called BLISS. This can happen only when the Ego is eradicated. The eradication of Ego can be done through Karma Yoga.
Karma doesn’t give liberation directly but action indirectly leads one to liberation. Actions purify the mind. When the mind is purified, the person becomes eligible for knowledge. And through knowledge one realizes the ultimate Reality that “there neither was any action nor any doer; I am always the Self – one without a second – of the nature of Existence and Bliss Absolute”. Thus, the illusory ignorance and the illusory sorrow which affects the doer or Ego alone and not the Self is removed. This is the ultimate aim or goal of any living being.
When a person does any action with expectations, he is getting attached to the action and its fruits. When the fruits are bad and not good for the person, he becomes sad. Therefore he becomes attached to the fruits & the fruit changes his mood. But when a person is not attached to actions, he remains unaffected by the results of the actions even if the results are bad. This state of unaffected is what Karma Yoga leads one to.
Even though the Self is not at all affected by actions, but the Ego is affected by the actions. Thereby when a person becomes completely unaffected by the actions, the Ego slowly merges into its source of the Self. As the Self is of the nature of Eternal Bliss, the person rejoices in the Bliss of the Self at all times.
Even when a person is unaffected or unattached to the actions, still he may have the Ego or doer attitude. Let’s say I am typing this explanation. I don’t expect any result from this typing, but still I may have the notion that “I am typing it”. This notion in itself leads to attachment to the action (indirectly). This Egoistic attitude leads one to sorrow. Indirectly this attitude of doership leads one to expect good results. If someone criticizes whatever is being written here, then I may get sad and attack the person telling “I have written this, hence it is right only and you are only wrong”. Thus again it leads to sorrow only.
Therefore mere non-attachment to actions alone is not enough because unknowingly the Ego might again get nourished. Therefore, one needs to always attribute the action to the Almighty or the Self or Brahman.
When a person does actions without any expectations and as an offering to the Almighty (Krishnarpanamastu)– he is in no way affected by the actions & the Ego is completely vanquished because it is the Almighty who is taking care of the actions.
Thereby, Karma Yoga is actions performed without any expectations and as an offering to the Almighty.
Thus, when a person completely follows this Karma Yoga, his mind becomes pure & he realizes his own very nature of Bliss. Therefore, he is taken to Eternal Bliss of the Self.
Now, one may ask the question “How can I do Karma Yoga in office?”
Karma Yoga has no place restrictions or time restrictions. Whatever it demands is just the non-expectation of the results & offering it to the Almighty.
When I am writing a code in Java, I write the code without expecting any result (like it should work or should get an appreciation from onsite and all) and as an offering to the Almighty.
I say “Oh Lord! Even though you are present everywhere, this Ego is in ignorance. It neither knows you nor the Reality. It is like a just-born child. This Ego might move away from the right path. Hence I offer this work unto you. This is the only way I can serve you. Please partake of this offering from your child”.
When this attitude is maintained, the Ego is vanquished and the person remains unattached to the results of the actions of coding.
Thus, this offering of the work can be performed anywhere and anytime. This Karma Yoga makes one pure and completely unattached to the work. Thus, whatever be the result of the action, “I” remain the same and as the Self or Consciousness.
This way, each day and each moment becomes an offering and a pooja. This pooja is greater than Sandhya Vandhanam. This pooja doesn’t have any discrimination between women and men & castes. This neither has any age restriction nor requires any knowledge for its performance.
As Sri Sri Sankara says in Shiva Manasa Pooja
“Pooja te vishayopa bhoga rachana
Sanchaara padayoh pradakshinah vidhi stotraani sarva girah
Yad yad karma karothi tad tad akhilam sambho tava aaradhanam”
The enjoyment of sensual pleasures is your pooja, Sleep is Samadhi or absorption, walking is pradakshina or circumbulation, words or speech is stotra. Whatever I do, that is your worship O Lord Siva.
This sloka encompasses the complete Karma Yoga. Sri Krishna also talks in detail about this Karma Yoga in Gita. He mentions in lot of places that “taking refugee in Me alone, who worships Me, I will see into all his matters” and “take refugee in Me alone and renounce all actions (or the doer) – this way sins will not get attached to you and hence Do not worry.
Thus, the very actions that bind people become the means of liberation.
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