Sunday June 16, 2019 NYC
Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 55
In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 55), Shri Mahayogi’s teaching starts off with one that is very important, the law of karma:
We must accept our role within our respective situations as our own duty and then perform it, because these situations are results that were brought about by none other than one’s own self, from one’s own karma from the past. If we abandon our own duty, we cannot resolve the results of our own karma, but only postpone them.
“The arrow that is shot upright falls upon the shooter’s head”—this is a fact taught in Yoga (considered to be science of the mind), and it is the same as what Lord Buddha taught—it is a very important teaching of the Universal law and we ought to continuously bear it in our mind.
As we know through the experiences of our daily lives, tomorrow is the outcome of today. But here, in regard to the law of karma, the arrows are not necessarily only from this lifetime, but can also be from our past lives. Indeed, when we are experiencing suffering, it is difficult to accept this Universal law, yet if we take a moment to think of it as the outcome from our own past thoughts, words and deeds, and then go further to understand and accept this, there is neither a situation nor a person to be blamed. There is nothing to do but simply accept this and work on our own selves internally. If we don’t do it now, the arrows will eventually come anyway, possibly with even greater force. The beauty of this work is that once we actually start to do it, its benefit will continue to extend, and because we will begin to see things from different perspectives, and most importantly with gratitude, our interactions with others will naturally become more harmonious.
Going further, Yoga teaches that we can avoid future suffering, as stated in the Yoga Sutra 2:16: “Future pain is that which is to be avoided.” If we borrow the words of Swami Vivekananda to explain this—Some karma we have worked out already, some we are working out in our present life, and some is waiting to bear fruit in a future life. The first kind is past and gone. The second we shall have to work out. It is only that which is waiting to bear fruit in the future that we can conquer and control; and toward this end all our forces should be directed. The way to do so is to put the teachings of Yoga into practice. Yoga is empirical.
The above sutra continues into another important one: “The cause of the pain which is to be avoided is the conjunction of the Seer and the Seen.” Yoga Sutra 2:17
The law of karma mentioned above is taught in the first teaching of this issue, titled: “The Meaning of Duty in Yoga—Karma Yoga.” The topics that follow answer the questions: what is the meaning of karma yoga? What does it mean to fulfill one’s duty? What does it mean to devotedly take actions in service of others? Then Shri Mahayogi teaches that as the practice of Yoga deepens, the understanding and practice of karma yoga in action expands.
Often times the word “karma yoga” is misused to refer to work exchange, but in fact, karma yoga has nothing to do with an exchange of any kind. In other cases, the concept of “service to others” is simply viewed or understood as volunteer work or works of charity. Of course, it is great to help others and to provide support where needed, and we should practice to do so in whatever way possible and in any circumstance. But we must always remember “who the doer is.” Shri Mahayogi reveals that the true meaning of service to others is to act only with the thought of the other, from the understanding that all is One—that there is only God—until one is void of the notion of “I” and “me.”
May we all study these practical teachings carefully and be inspired to actualize them in our moment to moment lives, striving to think and act for the good of others, while at the same time not neglecting our own spiritual disciplines and practices.
This month’s Testimony, an article from a series written by Sanatana about Buddha and his teachings (see Vol. 6 for another article in the series: “The Twelve Dependent Originations”), is truly a profound source of study material and inspiration. Through Sanatana’s writing it is as if we are being transported to the ancient world of Buddha to touch for ourselves the feeling of Buddha’s relentless passion for the Truth.
Here Sanatana relates the understanding he has gained through the study and practice of the foremost teachings of Buddha—the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path—under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi, breaking them down and making them easily relatable to the world we are all living in today. As we read, let us all feel for ourselves the timeless nature of the teachings of Buddha that reverberate even now, thousands of years after his lifetime, and strive with the same reverence and passion as Sanatana to practice and come to know them for ourselves.