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The art of doing

Do not grasp and things will not slip, suggests Tao Te Ching. But, it's human tendency to grasp. The mind always is thirsty for more and more. Even though the Ishawasyopanishada says that all things tangible and intangible in this world are Gods, yet the human mind always tries to appropriate the maximum to itself. It is like the mind doing Karma.

The question is whether all Karma can be shunned, for it is while doing Karma, attachment develops. The answer is Karma cannot be shunned. Even if one were to distance oneself from the world and take sanyas, it is no gaurantee that one can shun Karma. Even in the isolation of Himalayas, the mind would engage in Karma, fighting battles, trying to win all of them. It is wise not to attempt Karma-isolation. Kabir admits Das Kabira jatan se orhi, jus ki tsu dhar dini chadariya" (I wore the chadar of worldly resposibility but with care.)

I left it unsullied. The theme is also represented in the sloka which declares that while acquiring learning and riches, one should go on as if death and age do not exist, but all this while, one should be steadfast on dharma and remember that death stalks each step if we were to deviate from dharma. The meaning is clear. One should put one's heart and soul into any endeavour should be on the path paved by dharma.

In that sense Karma includes thoughts as well. One cannot shun these. In the ultimate exalted state when one is with God, may be yes. It is in fact a logical extension of the position - cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am propounded by Descartes.

The Bhagwad Gita really explains the issue in all nuances, and comes to the conclusion that Karma is the destiny of all. But Karma should be governed by Dharma - the essential quality of one's persona.

When I was a student, one of the most respected teachers said, The Gita tells all of us to do what we are doing in our respective stations, to the very best of our ability. Then, while doing all this if any question arises as to whether any action that you are going to take is right or wrong, put the question to yourself. You will always get the right answer. That answer may not lead you to the easiest course of action. But take that action. Don't avoid that. I learnt later that this essence of Gita could not be better explained by any treatise on Gita.

Mira had posed that question to herself and decided her course of life. She met with tremendous opposition and consulted Raidas - the great saint, and also advised her to consult Tulsidas. Tulsidas wrote back his inimitable line - Jake priya na Ram vaidehi, tajahi tahi koti bairi sum, jadyapi param sanehi (those who do not love God should be shunned as arch enemies, even if they were very close to oneself).

Mira really had no need for consultation. She put the question to herself and was answered. She wanted to see what other saints would say. They endorsed her inner voice. Perhaps she knew. She was one with Raidas and Tulsidas, because each had attained that state when one's mind existed only in the cosmic awareness.

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