Action To Perfection

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Action is a very peculiar thing. It tends to bind the doer. We have all experienced that when we start doing some karma (action), we think we will do just a little and stop there. For example, a person who is unemployed only wants a job but once he has a job, he desires more money. He takes on another job but even then he is not content. Now he wants even more wealth. It goes on and on… till he is totally entangled in a mesh of his own making with no way of breaking out of it. Or take the case of a person who starts off wanting to run a nursery school and ends up running a university! A man gets bound by his own karma. This bondage results from not knowing what actions to do and the attitude with which they should be done.Karmas that are not dedicated to God are the ones that bind. Therefore karmas should be performed wholeheartedly without any attachment to the action or result of action. If an action has to be performed, do it; if it has to be given up, renounce it. The attitude should be one of dedication. In karma yoga there is no place for laziness, for prohibited actions or for self-centred activity. In order to qualify as karma yoga first one has to do one’s enjoined duty and it should be done with an attitude of dedication to God. Worship the Lord through your karma.

Why should our actions be dedicated to God? Suppose you get a job in a company .Why did the company give you the job? Because of your proficiency or ability for the job. Who gave you that proficiency? Think. You may answer that it is because I am very intelligent, but who gave you that intelligence? We thank the person who gave us a wristwatch, but do we ever thank the one who gave us that wrist? Do we ever think of the one who gave us the gift of life? That source from where we have got all this is called God. We are so grateful to one who gives us a job. What about expressing our gratitude towards the One who has gifted us all our abilities and capabilities, our very life itself?

No particular karma is called karma yoga. Each one must find out what his/her duties are.They vary from person to person depending upon their stage or position in life. The duties of a student differ from that of a teacher, the duties of a householder will be very different from the duties of a sannyasi. There may be differences in duties but there can be in oneness in attitude. When we do our duty as an offering to God, then the karma becomes karma yoga.

So I must do my duty, do it efficiently and dedicate it to God as one would when performing a yagna. In any yagna we make an offering to the devata, so also the karma we do is made as an offering to God. When actions are performed in such a worshipful manner, the results are accepted as prasad from the Lord. There is no attachment to the result. Such an attitude is called perfection in attitude.

Experience shows that when we like the actions we are doing or like the person for whom they are being done, then such karma is never a botheration . A hobby never becomes tiring or boring. Suppose you are asked to sweep a room, you will not be enthusiastic about doing this task and will try to pass it on to someone else at the earliest opportunity! But if you were told to do it for someone whom you respect or revere, then that same job of sweeping becomes a joy. So in karma yoga when you have the attitude that you are doing it for God then there is great joy. Performing actions in this way makes it a yagna. Some people do not understand the concept of God, so for their understanding it is said that when a group of people take up a project which is for the benefit of the community and each one works for the common cause in a selfless spirit, such a cooperative endeavour is called a yagna. Performing actions for the good of all, with dedication but without attachment is said to be working in the yagna spirit. So the best attitude to adopt while performing actions is not to have any attachment to the action or the result. When actions are performed with this attitude, the mind becomes purer and purer. It becomes capable of grasping the subtle Truth spoken of in the scriptures and becomes fit for meditation on the nature of God.