[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 5
sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 24 13:37:06 EDT 2017
(Continued from previous post)
Excerpts from Shri Shankara Digvijaya – III
Purpose of Karma, respect towards the Guru and dealing with differences of opinion – Part A
Introduction : In continuation of the Shankara Digvijaya series, In the next two episodes, we shall see Bhagavatpada’s
encounters with two karma-mimamsakas namely Kumarila Bhatta and Mandana Mishra that help us understand the path our
illustrious mahatmas have taken and learn valuable life lessons for ourselves through these episodes.
Nature of Karma : Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavadgita (न हि कश्चित्क्ष्णमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् | ). We are always engaged in actions,
spiritual or mundane, every second of our life. Once we have taken birth in a body, it is not possible to abandon
action or karma. But, this karma, when done with the right attitude, leads us closer to divinity and when done with
the wrong attitude, takes us away from it. Vedanta teaches us what that attitude should be. Sri Krishna dwells upon
this concept of right action with the right attitude (karma yoga) and devotes many verses to teach the same to Arjuna
and in-turn, us. The essence of his teaching is condensed in these famous verses:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 2.47 ||
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् |
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् || 9.27 ||
In a nutshell, the message of karma yoga is for us to perform all our karmas without attachment, with a satvik attitude
as an offering to the lord (Ishvara arpana buddhi) and to receive the results with gratitude (Ishvara prasada buddhi)
whether they are favorable to us or not and to use the experiences to strengthen our spiritual qualifications which
include purity of mind, one-pointed focus on the final goal and discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral.
Such is the message of Vedanta.
Achieving human goals through karma: The Vedas not only teach us Brahma Vidya or Atma Vidya (the knowledge of the Self)
that can grant us our ultimate purushartha or goal of life which is Moksha, they are also our only recourse to know how
to perform various activities and rituals that can give us the other purusharthas viz. dharma, artha and kama. This is
given in the part of the Vedas known as “Veda-poorva” or “Karma Kanda”.
(To be Continued)
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