Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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State of Union

Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

This is the title of a publication from CM which, whilst it of course has items by Gurudev, also includes selections of writing from other well-esteemed Gurus from the Vedantic tradition as well as leading businessmen. Its focus is the working life. We shall be exploring these essays for the next few weeks on Workings-day as, clearly, they pertain directly to the premise of this section of AVBlog! As ever, you  are encouraged to read back over previous posts, to ensure full benefit.

3: Actionless Action.

Liberated While Working (Q&A with Sri Anandamayi Ma) cont'd

"So, until one has attained to perfect fulfillment, acting without a motive is possible?"
When impersonal work is being carried out and watched as by a spectator, deep joy surges up from within. If at that time the body gets hurt, even this becomes a source of happiness. Nevertheless, this welling-up of joy is not identical with Self-Realisation. The thrill of delight brought about by impersonal work is His delight become one's own. His gladness felt as one's onw. A stage has been reached where happiness is bound up with Him. In this condition, since one had lost interest in worldly pleasures, a great deal of work can be achieved in a perfect way; and even if despite one's utmost efforts some task has not succeeded, one does not feel disturbed. For everything has its place. Do you not see what an exquisite path this is?!

The aforesaid holds good only when action is not tainted by a sense of possessiveness. However, even this state is by no means Self-Realisation. Why not? Whether with or without desire, it is work that is referred to here. Although done impersonally, the action still remains separate from the doer. Whereas, where the Self and nothing but the Self is, there the guru, his instructions, the work, cannot exist separately. As long as the duality of precept and action persists, one cannot possibly speak of Self-Realisation. The play of one who has attained to final consummation is entirely different from the work that has become selfless by effort.

Even when the state of samaadhi has been reached, during which one seems tobe wholly absorbed within, this is also still 'a state'. Yet, when by this spontaneous inner process the veil is lifted, then the vision of Reality may come about. It can never come through outer activity, such as the attempt to efface desire.

Image result for dedicated actionThere are signs by which actions done as an instrument before Self-Realisation can be recognised. At this stage, the stream of action is directed toward the fulfillment of actual needs. Whereas, in the state of samaadhi, it is totally different; to do or not to do, call it what you will, all is That. Within this sphere everything is possible; not eating while eating and to eat, though not eating; to walk without feet, to see without eyes and much more the kind...When established in the Self, who obeys whose bidding? There are no 'others'; no longer does one talk to another; how can there still be behaviour that is based on the sense of separateness? As long as the guru and love for Him, the work and the "I" are perceived separately, there is no question of Self-Realisation. Yet it must be said that action dedicated to God is not of the same order as work prompted by small desire. The one is for the sake of union, the other for enjoyment. What along is worthy to be called 'action' is that action by which man's eternal union with God becomes revealed; all the rest is useless.

The sense of contentment experienced at the fulfillment of some worldly desire is relative happiness. This desire may be for one's family, or other person, and accordingly the fruit inherent in each particular action will be reaped. This is working for the sake of self-satisfaction (bhoga) and not for union (yoga). It will bring as much sorrow as joy.

Now come back to the matter of work done for the love of it, not for anybody in particular. There is such a thing as labouring for the welfare of the world, but even here, the greater purpose is absent. It is a type of work not actuated by desire or craving, it simply requires to be done. It is done with Love for the greater world and for the nature of the work itself. When God is brought into the equation, by engaging in this work again and again, one is building the ladder to Liberation from Action.


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Hari OM
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