Why do you want to deal with it? We want to deal with it because we are not entirely at home in the situation which is given to us. No individual finds his situation absolutely congenial to oneself and therefore one is required to deal with it. Dealing with this properly, in the right manner, with knowledge is what is called Karma Yoga. To deal with the event which is happening, with the circumstance and with our own Will, dealing rightly with these three things is the real heart of Karma Yoga.
What is called right dealing or what is the right way of doing KarmaYoga. First, to realize that we are not in the original condition from where we had started; which was the condition of freedom, therefore, to realize that our present position is that of bondage, we are bound. Therefore, it is not easy for us now merely to say let this be changed and it will be changed. In the original condition whatever you Will, will automatically happen because it is a condition of freedom. But because now we are not in the condition of freedom, we have to realize that we are in the condition of bondage, so it will not happen immediately. If you say, now let it change, it will immediately change. This is the first wisdom.
The second wisdom is that whatever is the event now in question before you, whatever is happening to you in your life and whatever the circumstance in which this is happening, try to relate it to the original Will. What is its connection with the original Will, utilize the event and circumstance not by escaping from it but by tracing it to its origin.
This tracing to the origin is a very difficult task. Therefore, there is an easier method – to know that originally it has issued from the Divine. Whatever may have been the whole history of how it has come to the present case but the fact is that it has originally come from the Divine. Therefore, the easier method is to offer this event and circumstance back to the Divine, with this attitude that it has originally come from you, it has got twisted because of my bondage, my forgetfulness and put it right so that this twist may completely go out of it. And whatever action is now being done and whatever Will I have in regard to my circumstance and events that are occurring, I will discover that that Will has two deficiencies. These two deficiencies are in the form of desire and ego.
My connection with my circumstance and events that are happening this connection is intertwined by these two deficiencies. Why do we call them deficiencies – the ego and desire, because desire by its very nature is an attempt to possess something that I do not possess already? All desire is a desire to possess what I do not possess. It is a sign of deficiency. If you are not deficient desire will not exist.
Ego also is a deficiency because all egoism is an attempt to experience its independence when it is not really independent. Egoism is only an attempt and not a mastery of independence. If one is a master of independent entity then there is no strain of egoism at all. All egoism is a state of strain and strain is a deficiency. The very fact that I am straining is that I am deficient otherwise I would not be straining. When there is a real capacity there is no strain. All egoism is a straining to become independent when I am not independent and I cannot become independent however much I like. No egoism can really be independent in this world. That is the reason why in Karma Yoga there is first a movement to offer the circumstance and event to the original Divine and secondly to withdraw from the two deficiencies desire and ego. Therefore the entire process of Karma Yoga is a constant offering to the Divine and a constant destruction of desire and ego. When this is repeated again and again, then we are able to come back to the original position and then we get freedom even while action continues but it will be action proceeding from silence, proceeding from perfection, proceeding according to swabhava, swadharma – it will be your true swakarma. And then once again you can say na karma lipyatenare; action does not bind you. That which was the original condition can be attained after this cycle of development.
To utilise action itself for liberating ourselves from action is called Karma Yoga. To arrive at the Oneness of the Supreme Reality so that you see everywhere Oneness, and to have equal mindedness, samatvam even while action is proceeding from you this is the height of Karma Yoga. Until you reach this point, the law of Karma, as we understand it namely that you cannot escape it becomes imperative, you can be free only till that level but karma is imperative. But gradually you can make this karma operative for higher and higher realization and this making use of it is called the process of growth.
Now let us concentrate a little on this particular point. We have seen the state of bondage and the state of freedom. But now what we are concentrating on is the middle point where we have to understand how the Karma works itself out. In one word it may be said that all work, all Karma is an instrument of experience. This concept of experience is very important. What do we call experience? All experience is dynamic. All experience is a kind of friction which leads you to greater and greater identity.
All experience has in its heart the nourishment for growth. Let us take a very small example. A child reads an elementary book and learns all that the book contains. There is a good deal of information that he collects. But all that is not experience. There is something deeper than mere information that is involved in experience. The child’s labour in collecting information, the child’s labour in understanding what is to be understood, and the child’s pain or enjoyment in understanding what is to be understood. Child’s attitude towards the possession of information, the child may become proud of the information that he collects. The child may become humble when he finds that he knows nothing at all and how much more there is to be learnt. So the attitude that he takes towards whatever is to be learnt and as a result of all this, the impulse that has grown to move next step forward – this is what is called experience. The child may forget all that he has learnt now and he goes to higher levels but what he has learnt as an experience – his experience of joy, his experience of suffering, his labour, his attitude, the inspiration to grow, his pride, his humility all that really grows and that is not lost. The given information that he may have collected may be forgotten but this is not lost. Even if he may not remember these experiences, his personality is built upon this that he has gained, the labour that he has put in, the joy that he has experienced, the growth that he has felt.