Coming from a Hindu family, spiritual education was part of the growing process. Such education was pervasive and accessible, but I never felt the need to pursue it. I was too young to relate to the sermons and understand the implications. Last week, a casual, friendly discourse on non-action (Akarma in Sanskrit) incited me to study the Bhagavad Gita to learn to practice Akarma.
Karma – well known in the western society, meaning action or performing a duty – is one of the three Karma Yoga explained in Bhagavad Gita. Akarma – the holy karma and the one above all – pertains to performing a duty naturally and without obligation, not expecting an accolade, reward or proprietorship. To be able to perform Akarma is an incredible achievement as it requires complete devotion and detachment. It comes as a result of unrelenting Yoga, in which one subjugates the mind and the heart, sees the happiness within and is detached from the worldly allure.
Akarma is developed by exploring the deep realm of the mind, heart and in-between. Even though many wish to practice this sacred karma, the mind fails most of the many. The unbridled mind discriminates and makes judgements, calculates cause and effect and decides one’s action. The mind, without you knowing, expects fruit of your actions, and as a result engenders desire, anxiety, distress, hate, anger, ego, envy, confusion and similar temporal disturbances – perpetually. To be able to inhibit such involuntary emotions implies controlling the mind – the unit that controls and dictates the self. Is it possible to dominate this predominating unit and dictate the thought process? The need of guidance, I felt imperative; and to find answers, I pursued the Bhagavad Gita.
The experience was unique and enlightening. Unlike in science, where we deal with the outer space – explore the outside nature and formulate laws and principles, the Bhagavad Gita deals with the inner self. In other words, science explains the way of nature, while Bhagavad Gita explains the nature. Great physicists and scientists of the past have tried to reconcile the two, but the challenge is far from difficult.