By Niraj Bidawatka
There are four classes of men, namely karmis, jnanis (mental speculators), yogis (mystics) and bhaktas (devotees). Out of these four groups, only the karmi is not interested in self-realisation or understanding matters related to God. The karmi is an ordinary person whose aim is to enjoy his senses by working hard. He is simply not interested in understanding the science of God. Such karmis make a show of being pious and God-fearing because such an image helps them in amassing more and more money. They give donations to religious institutions and even help build schools and hospitals, but such activities are in no way connected to self-realisation. Therefore karmis are compared to asses in the Srimad Bhagavatam because they do not know anything about their real identity in spite of working very hard. Giving donations to religious institutions and activities such as building schools and colleges are indeed good acts, (albeit not the best) and we are not condemning such activities. Such activities, if done with humility and compassion, will help one in making spiritual progress. But if they are done out of conceit with the sole aim of building a reputation for oneself, then such generosity will not help one in self- realisation.
The first sign of intelligence is that one should seek to know his real self. “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?”, “Where am I going?”, “Why am I forced to die when I don’t want to die?”, “Who is controlling the sun, the moon, the seasons?” When one enquires about such subject matters, then one is considered to be intelligent. Such enquiries are known as brahma-jijnasa, or enquiries about the Supreme Absolute Truth. On the contrary, we find that the karmis are inquiring “How can I earn more money?”, “Which is the most lucrative business?”, “Where can I find pretty women?”, “How can I become famous?” Such enquiries are akin to the enquiries of an ass, who is also thinking of ways and means to get some green grass and a nice female companion. The only difference between the asses and the karmis is that the karmis are a little refined and polished, but nonetheless they are like asses.
Some karmis, or gross sense enjoyers sometimes pose themselves as karma-yogis, which means that their ultimate aim is to attain God by engaging in their occupation. Undoubtedly, one can attain Krishna by karma-yoga, as explained in the Bhagavad-gita, but karma-yoga means to work for Krishna, the Supreme Lord and not for one’s own sense-enjoyment. A real karma-yogi renounces all the results of his work in favour of Krishna; all the money that he earns, he gives it to God as a gift. But we don’t find any of the self-proclaimed karma-yogis doing that. They want to keep the money for themselves and their families with no regard to Krishna.
In fact, karma-yoga is impractical to execute. Therefore Krishna, inspite of preaching about karma-yoga in the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, ultimately refrains Arjuna from being attached to other processes of spiritual upliftment (such as karma-yoga). He instead advises Arjuna, at the end of the Bhagavad-gita to exclusively surrender unto Him (unto Krishna) because that is the most exalted and prudent path (Bg 18.66). Thus, bhakti-yoga is the only practical path by which we can understand God.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.84.13) says that one who thinks himself to be the body and considers his wife and children to be his own, is just like an ass or a cow. The fact is that “I am not the body; I am the spirit soul, who is occupying the body just as the driver occupies a car.” The wife, the children, the house and the bank balance, which one considers to be his own, will be snatched away at the time of death. Therefore they cannot be called our own. Anything that remains with us permanently can be called our own. Everything belongs to Krishna and if we act as caretakers of all that is given to us, then we are in the right consciousness. Only Krishna belongs to us, because He stays eternally within our hearts as the Supersoul. He will accompany us even after death, when we give up this body to occupy another one. He never leaves us but we never pay any attention to Him. We are busy amassing properties and befriending people who will desert us. If we just turn ourselves to Krishna, we will attain eternal bliss and freedom from all miseries. Prahlada Maharaj, the great devotee says (SB 7.7.38), “What is the difficulty in serving Krishna? He is just staying within your heart as the Supersoul.” We don’t have to go to the Himalayas to search God because He is always staying with us. If we chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra then He will reveal Himself to us.
From the above discussion, we can safely conclude that modern educational institutions are churning out asses because they are not teaching the science of the soul and therefore the burnout ratio in the industry is very high. Our proposition is: why should we continue to remain asses when Krishna is giving the highest knowledge? Why not become a devotee of Krishna? After all, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that one who serves Krishna is very wise.Related Topics: TECHNIQUE OF YOGA IN DAY-TO-DAY LIFE WHAT IS OUR VALUE WITHOUT KRISHNA? DON’T WAIT FOR OLD AGE EXPERIENCING THE SOUL WHO AM I?
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