Gratification and Karma

We teach young children from the early age that if they behave properly they will get rewarded. The society is driven by the reward, the gain, the result waiting at the end of the road. At school we are taught that knowledge should be rewarded through grades if learned properly. The system is designed as such that there is no more space for knowledge just for the love of it. If we learn well we will have good marks and we’ll get into good schools, we’ll get a good job and eventually if we are lucky we’ll get the society recognition that we think we deserve (the gratification).

In France, there is this very expensive product that is called Foie Gras, to get it, the duck or goose is forced to overeat corn until it dies of liver disease or overweight. Well, in today’s society human are trained the same way from birth, it is no wonder that in the recent years mental disease has increased. The only difference is that we are stuffed and brain washed with all kinds of different concept which goes against the true nature of selflessness. Just as donkey’s with the carrot to make him move, we are educated with a purpose, a goal, a motivation. But does that really make individual’s happy and truer to himself. Senses selfishness is the result of this quest for gratification. Being selfish is the essence of human kind, as long as we are aware of where our duties lies and our true reality then maybe there is hope. However when selfishness is performed with a motivation for sense gratification, we are heading for deception and deep sorrow. Just look around you, observe yourself, we’ve all done it at some point in our life.

May it be the obedient daughter who listen dutifully to her parents and do as they ask, she always hunger for their approval and acceptation but yet always end up disappointed and disenchanted as whatever is done is never enough. Each action are performed with a result search of approval en the end. She ends up in disappointment because no pat on the shoulder is coming only more critics.

It’s the dutiful and faithful wife who is always attentive to her husbands needs, served him for 30 years, birthed his children, raised them properly for them to become fine young adults, but yet he cheats on her and talks down on her. However outside she is the wife of this successful man, she has society approval, she can attend all this fancy gathering, she can buy whatever she fancies.

Though both scenario may seem far apart from each, they are in fact quite similar, in each the daughter or the wife are performing fruitive actions (karma Kanda), actions driven by the end result of acknowledgement from others. That is why they will both always be miserable because there actions are impure and generates material bondage. As long as one acts with a result orientation, he is bound to misery and deception.

So Lord Krishna suggests to Arjuna that contentment starts with learning how to detach from the fruit of one’s action. Right actions are performed as selfless duty with no gratification awarded. We learn to dedicate each and every acts to Brahman, Lord, creator of all. Ok this may seem religious to some but it’s not. One learns to renounce to the fruit of each action. Life stopped being something that we take for granted, each breath are inhaled and exhaled with gratitude to God, which ever form you believe in him, whichever energy he represent in your life. Life is not a due, it is a privileged bestowed upon each living creature. As such we live each nano second of our life with this awareness, we live with a dedication to God, we perform our duties not because we want more money, fame or happiness. We do what we have to do because this is it. No expectations of others, no gain in perspective. Whatever comes our way is embraced as it is because that is what it is. Detach performance of ones duty and dedication to the Great will find peace.

That way, when we progress in our practice, by remaining attached to how an asana should be performed, with an aesthetic end result in mind, how a teacher should teach, how a student should perform to one’s instruction is heading for failure. As one learns to detach to his practice and dedicate it to the Lord, with no what-so-ever result in mind, patience, steadiness, dedicated practice will find his or her way. We are who we are because the Lord has made us as such, we will do as we do for him. Imperfections are perfect, perfection is imperfect. There is no duality, there is just what is and we learn to detach and embrace our practice, our body as it is. We are perfect by essence because we are the Supreme, the Supreme is us, therefore our practice is perfect because it is the Supreme and we dedicate it to Brahman. Others set standards but we remain unattained and unadulterated  by them. Practice with discipline, an open and dedicated heart and whatever needs to come will come on its own good time because there is no such thing as a perfect asana; there is only dutiful detached action: Karma.

Whatever in our life we keep doing. Renunciation of the fruit of action does not mean non-action, it only means do and renounce the result, surrender the fruit to the Supreme. As we may reach a point in our practice when we want to abandon it we’ll remember this. Just as we’ll reach a point in life when we want to give up all for the name of Yoga or whatever other fancy we are prowling at the moment. We will remember this: where is our duty? is it no-doing for the sake of doing something else? Why am I doing it? think again.