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The attitude with which we perform an action is of great significance. In the Bhagavad Gita Bhagavan Shri Krishna advises Arjuna to perform even right actions, as worship of the Lord without any kind of attachment to the action or results. When we work for a common cause with a worshipful and selfless attitude, for the greater good that is working in the yagna spirit. The yagna spirit has two aspects: one is worshiping the Lord and the other is sacrificing one’s own selfishness, possessiveness and attachments. By acting cooperatively with this attitude, all our wishes can be fulfilled.
Indian mythology refers to a cow called Kamadhenu, which fulfils all our desires. This is not to say that we should be under the misconception that there is a cow and by milking it we can get what we want! There are also references to Kalpavriksha, a wish-fulfilling a tree. The story goes that if you sit under a tree and make a wish, it will be fulfilled!
Nowadays most company manufactured products are accompanied by an instruction book or a manual. These instructions are needed to explain how to use the equipment and get the maximum benefit from it. When a manufacturer of a mere machine thinks it necessary to give instructions on how to use its product; how is it possible that Bhagavan would not have given instructions about the use of the complex and sophisticated instrument that is the human body? Think about it.
Bhagavan tells Arjuna, that in the beginning when this whole creation came into being, the Lord spoke to all beings about how to live in this world and work together in the yagna spirit. He advised them to perform their karmas with an attitude of worship and dedication, without any kind of attachment, and so fulfill all their desires. His message clearly reveals that when people work together in the yagna spirit there will be prosperity at all levels for all beings. Karma Yoga is not to be practiced only at the individual level. Most of times people think that the performance of duties as a worship of God will purify ‘my’ mind and ‘I’ will be led to the Realization of Truth. They only think of karma yoga from the individual standpoint. In fact, acting in the karma yoga spirit collectively and inclusively ensures the peace, prosperity and happiness of all. Of course to the extent every individual is able to practice it, to that extent he/she will attain spiritual enlightenment.
So what is the wish fulfilling cow? When the wishes and thoughts of all become one and a group of people come together to work selflessly for a particular cause then that endeavour is a success. Working together in such a cooperative and selfless manner to achieve a desirable goal is the proverbial cow that fulfils our wishes. When India was under British rule, the country as a whole came together and resolved to fight for freedom. Working together, they achieved their goal. We can see this spirit at work at different levels in the world around us.
Now there may be some questions like, “How do you know the Creator, the Lord said this? Were you present?” Just as for every product there is a manual, so also for the entire creation there is a book which reveals the mysteries of creation. The Vedas are proof that the Lord has revealed this knowledge. They instruct us on how, without suffering or bondage, every human life should be lived productively.
Working in the yagna spirit is a means for purifying the mind, achieving all round prosperity and fulfilling our wishes. This attitude must be correctly understood. By working in the spirit of collective endeavour, we achieve what is good (shreyas). Shreyas includes three main things: peace, not just at the individual level but at the level of the nation and of society as well. History has demonstrated that prosperity is possible only when there is peace. But even amidst peace, prosperity and plenty, happiness eludes us because there is no spiritual dimension to our lives. All our prosperity is measured in material terms. So a person or country may be rich but not happy. Peace, prosperity and happiness put together is shreyas and this comes only by working in the yagna spirit. Then there is peace, prosperity and happiness for all.