The Keynote of All Yogas

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Glorious Immortal Atman! Beloved and blessed children of the Divine! May we pay homage to the eternal, universal Presence Divine, that is the source and substratum of all existence, the one God behind and beyond all religions, Who is your origin and in Whom you are rooted, of Whom you are a part. Being a part of that great, supreme divine Presence, supreme divine Principle, the great divine Essence called Brahman, you are divine. This is the keynote on which you should base your consciousness: “I am divine.”

The great World Teacher, Lord Krishna, forcefully recalls to us our divinity when He says: “mamaivamso jivaloke jivabhutah sanatanah—An eternal part of Me, O Arjuna, becomes the individual soul in this world of birth and death of ever incarnating souls. This is jiva loka where individual souls are born due to the force of prarabdha karma, and it is a part of Me that becomes the individual soul.”

And in our own times, beloved and worshipful Holy Master Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji forcefully reminded us: “Thou art That—tat tvam asi.” Again and again he used to say: “Do not identify yourself with this perishable cage of flesh and bones. Roar Om, Om, Om. Come out of this cage of flesh and bones. Assert, affirm your divinity. Immortal Atman, thou art immortal Atman.” He was never ever tired of reiterating again and again this one great truth, the one great fact of your life—your divinity.

Therefore, let your keynote be divinity. Let your consciousness never swerve from this inner centre of divine consciousness, awareness of your divinity. Let that be the basis for all your thoughts and feelings, your actions. Think of it always, remember it always, contemplate it always, dwell upon it always, be centred in it always, be aware of it always, so that by sheer persistence and perseverance in this affirmation of truth, you emerge into a new being.

Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh (Mind is the cause of bondage and liberation of man). What you think, that you shall become. Ever be centred in your divinity. Then everything will follow. When the sun shines, then there is no more darkness. When this awareness shines in your heart, there cannot be anything contrary to it prevailing. There can be no ajnana nidra (sleep of ignorance) when there is jagrata chetanah (awareness of wakefulness).

That should be the sadhana whether you are a bhakta, whether you are a Yogi, whether you are a Vedantin, jnani, or whether you are a karma yogi. All require that there should be no darkness in the centre of your being, that you should be centred in light, that the light should be awakened and it should shine—without any exception. The bhakta shines with that light because he knows that he is amsa (part) of paramatma. The Vedantin shines with that light because he knows he is the Light. The Yogi knows that he is not the bound jivatma, that he is purusha, free from afflictions, independent, ever transcending maya, always in a state of jnana, satyam jnanam anantam (truth knowledge infinite). And the karma yogi, more than anyone else, needs to be based in this consciousness. Otherwise, he is lost. The circumstances of the field of his yoga abhyasa, the field of karma,make it more necessary for him than for anyone else.

Therefore, this art and science of engaging in karma without becoming bound by karma is a central theme of the Bhagavad Gita. “Yogah karmasu kausalam (Yoga is skill in action)” is the unique definition given by Lord Krishna for Yoga, Yoga which liberates. “Tam vidyat duhkhasamyogaviyogam yogasamjnitam—that should be known as Yoga, that which brings about a disconnection of the soul from its condition of being connected with pain, that which brings about the cessation of this connection with pain.” That means it frees you from pain, liberates you from pain.

If your mind is agitated, if your mind is mixed up, if your mind is full of restlessness, it will be impossible for you to be in a state of karmakusalata (skill in action). You cannot perform action with skill, with wisdom, with discrimination, if your mind is completely confused, restless, agitated, full of peacelessness, always up and down. Therefore they said: “samatvam yoga uchyate (Evenness of mind is called Yoga).” Samatva (equanimity) is indispensable if there should be clarity of consciousness, if there should be the steady shining of the light of an awakened consciousness.

As a flame of a lamp burns steadily, unflickeringly, where there is no wind, where everything is calm and tranquil, even so should the flame of the inner consciousness of the Yogi be burning steadily, brightly, unflickeringly, radiating light in all the four directions. How can there be this steady awareness, this inner state of steady radiance, steady wakefulness, if the mind is always flickering, always agitated, always up and down, in a state of restlessness? It is not possible. Therefore, great emphasis was laid on samatva (equanimity). Without this samatva it is impossible to keep awareness while you are in the midst of the turmoil of activity. Keeping samatva inside, if you act without being agitated, then action will not bind you. Then you can act with wisdom, with discrimination, not lose yourself, become fooled.

Therefore, “yuddhyasva vigatajvarah (Being free from fever, fight).” This feverish desire for the fruit of action, this great agitation of craving, the desire for the outcome of action, it is this that catches a person in the net of delusion, and then they weep and lament. Because, if it is selfish, if it is motivated by desire to attain any state, acquire anything, enjoy an experience, obtain any sensation, then one is always agitated. “Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana (You only have the right to action, never to the fruit thereof).”

Therefore, freed from desire and craving, calmly, quietly, centred in the Self, in a state of oneness and inner balance, act. Then the action will not bind, because there is wisdom behind it. There is jagriti (awareness) behind it. There is awareness of divinity behind it. In such a state, action cannot bind. That is the field of the karma yogin. More than anyone, the karma yogin requires this state of awareness, of jagriti, of samatva, of karma kausalam (skill in action), freedom from personal desire of gain, freedom from craving for sensation, sense experience. That is the heart of karma yoga: to be above desire and craving, wanting nothing, not even success in one’s action.

A soldier does not fight to win the battle or the war. That is the business of the general. He fights to do his duty. His is the immediate action in which he is engaged. He does not think of the battle or the war, he thinks of his immediate duty. Then his action is complete. He has fulfilled his role, his particular assignment. That should be the consciousness of the jivatma in the field of worldly activity.

A building is not built by bricks only, nor by cement only, nor by iron rods only. It is a combination of many things that brings about a building. Therefore, we have to do one thing: we have to plod on. God in His own wisdom, in His own time, fulfils all things. It is not our effort only that brings God’s will. There are many other factors.

Sunlight alone cannot make a seedling grow. Neither can soil alone, nor water alone. If you put a seed in soil and do not give it water, it will perish. If you only put it in water, it will rot. If you expose it to sun only, it will wither and die. It requires a judicious combination. Then alone the seed will live and grow into a plant or tree.

Therefore, there is a combination of many factors. Ours is to do our part and leave the rest to the powers that be. If we think we should do the whole of it, we shall never have peace of mind. We shall always be agitated. At each step it is our duty to be based in the awareness of our divinity and make our concern in thought, word and deed to actively live this divinity, express this divinity, manifest this divinity, and go on doing this. That is our part.

Always to worry about samadhi, about Self-realisation, about God-vision—“I am meditating for so many years, I am not seeing anything”—is not productive. Why should you see anything? Are you meditating for seeing something or meditating because that is why God has created you, because that is your highest duty? You fulfil the function for which God has made you. He will look after the rest of it. “Kripanah phalahetavah (Wretched are those who seek fruit).” The Lord castigates them—little-minded people always thinking of fruit. “I am doing something and therefore I must get something, I must obtain something.” Why should you? Never think of fruits. It is only small-minded people who constantly keep on thinking, “I am doing this, I am doing that; I am not hearing sounds, I am not seeing light.” They have wrong ways of thinking about sadhana and spiritual life.

Spiritual life is so great, so grand, so glorious, so sublime. It does not constitute these petty things: light or sound or all these things. You have to plod on, fulfil your part of the duty. Then the Cosmic Being Himself, of His own Self, will do the rest.

Therefore, think of nothing but the task at hand: “I am here to shine with divinity. I am here, given a glorious chance to express what I am. My body, mind, intellect, sentiment all have been given to me as channels to express what I am, to radiate my divinity. That is my business, my concern. That is life for me—to be what I am and radiate my reality in thought, word and deed, in my entire life. Let me concern myself with developing this life, day by day making it stronger, brighter, more dazzling, more radiant. In that let me engage myself.” That is sadhana; that is Yoga. Awaken the inner light. Develop it diligently, and go on dynamically manifesting it. That is divine life. That is your part of it. That is what you are expected to do. The rest will follow as a matter of course.

Therefore, move towards your divine destiny. Do not be petty. Do not hanker after fruits or results. Be impersonal. Be patient. And know for sure, that if you bring the right causes into being, the right effects are bound to follow. The result is bound to follow. Lord Buddha says: “As the wheel of the chariot follows the footsteps of the oxen, when a cause is created, the effect must follow.” This is a great law. So, if you fulfil your duty, whatever has to come, must follow. No power in this universe can deprive you of what you have worked for. No power on earth can deprive you of what you have deserved. Be assured of this.

And therefore engage in right karma. Be up and doing with inner calmness, unagitated interior, a state of inner balance, absolute calmness, with skill, with wisdom, with awareness. Act and ever keep linked within with the supreme Cosmic Being. In the midst of action, always be rooted in the Eternal, rooted in the Divine. That is the whole of the Bhagavad Gita for you. And that is the secret of success. That is the key to highest attainment. This is the way to blessedness. Nanyah pantha vidyateyanaya (There is no other way to That).

Ponder well these truths and be benefited. Be centred in your divinity always. Let divinity be your keynote. God bless you!

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