Receiving the Grace of
our Sathguru Kriya Babaji (Part 2)
by M. Govindan Satchidananda
Part 1 of this editorial, began with the saying "The amount
of Grace you receive depends upon how much sadhana you do, how
much karma yoga or service you do, and how much love and devotion
you manifest". Then we discussed the meaning of "grace"
("all that we receive which helps us to evolve and come closer
to the Divine") and "sadhana" (yogic disciplines
and practices). In Part 2, the theme of karma yoga will be explored.
The meaning of the term "karma yoga" could be summarized
by quoting the leading authority, Lord Krishna, Himself, who said
"Do your duty, but leave the fruit of your action to me".
During the initiation ceremony, one offers the fruit, remembering
that these words apply even to our practice of the Kriyas.
Generally, people are motivated to do things because of the expectation
of or desire for some personal gain, whether it be financial,
notoriety or pleasure. But as the wise have discovered, desires
just feed upon themselves, creating ever new desires, and locking
one into a vicious circle of ever new desires. The end result
is always suffering, whether one gets what one wants or not. If
one doesn't, one becomes frustrated and confused. If one gets
it, one becomes afraid of losing it, or it eventually loses its
appeal and becomes boring. The Law of Karma says, "as you
sow, so shall you reap", or "do unto others, as you
would have others do unto you" to use a biblical paraphrases.
Or, "do good, and good will eventually be done to you in
measure; do bad, and you will receive in kind in due course".
One cannot refrain from action as long as one is breathing, so
Krishna advises us to do action that is our duty, not that which
is based upon personal desire.
To gradually release the conditioning of action for personal gain,
Babaji has asked his disciples to begin by setting aside several
hours per week for "karma yoga" or selfless service.
That is, to perform some service without expecting anything in
return. This allows one to channel ones energies into a wider
sphere, beyond the limited ego's desires, and to become a conduit
for universal forces of love, which seek to work through us.
My teacher put a lot of emphasis upon this and got his students
to meet every week for this specific purpose. During those years
when we had many centers around the world, this karma yoga often
included their maintenance or development. It also included efforts
to publicize Kriya Yoga activities, poor feedings (particularly
in India) and anything that would help the spread of Kriya Yoga.
The personal effects were remarkable. One forgot about ones imaginary
problems and became inspired and powerful in thought, word and
deed. We were able to tap into a seemingly inexhaustible supply
of energy and to realize many beautiful projects. In later years,
these creations faded away, but that is another story. What was
important was not what happened to the organization or its developments,
but the development of Self realization as the ego became dissolved
by karma yoga, and the ability to be an instrument in the hands
of the Master.
In karma yoga one begins as someone trying to lend a hand, or
to do something in a selfless way, without expecting a payback.
That is in the warmup phase, so to speak. There is still two or
more of us: "me" and "them". When one really
gets into karma yoga, however, there is no doer. Out of the infinitely
complex interplay of events and forces, things happen, and "you"
are not the cause of any of it. Who you are, or who you thought
you were becomes forgotten, leaving pure Being. "All that
is good is the work of the Divine, all that is bad is the work
of the ego", becomes Self evident. Of course, that little
fellow, the ego, does not go easily. He goes kicking and screaming.
To completely root it out of us, my teacher used to often keep
us up late at night during marathon karma yoga sessions. Among
other things, we would be sometimes asked to go outside at 2 a.m.
to pull weeds (quite appropriate I now realize as a metaphor of
the inner work also going on), for example - and that was before
we could finally share the evening meal prepared hours before.
Why? So that the part of us which was resisting had to be released.
Not everyone stayed around very long. In fact, few could stand
the intensity of this practice. The first meditation technique
and mantras came in very handy when the blood sugar became low
and the ego started to rebel.
My teacher used to refer to the karma yoga to be done as "Master's
work". This was a familiar expression for what is referred
to in the sacred literature of Hinduism and Buddhism, as "dharma",
that is one's duty or mission in life. It is something which is
revealed as you go along, and which becomes evident when you learn
how to listen to the guide within. So, it goes hand in hand with
all of the "Kriyas", leading to "Kriya", or
"action with awareness".
Why would the reception of Master's grace depend upon how much
karma yoga one does. It's not like anyone is keeping score of
debits and credits, to see if you earn enough points to get through
the pearly gates! Rather, karma yoga is the practical application
of higher consciousness in ordinary circumstances generally ruled
by subconscious conditioning. It is bringing love from the realm
of meditation or devotional activities into the nitty gritty of
human needs and transforming them. It is not service per se, for
service can be done with an attitude, such as "how great
or benevolent I am for doing...". It is, in effect, getting
ones personal desires out of mind at least for awhile. It leaves
space for the Divine to manifest, and thus to know our infinite
Yoga is sometimes defined as "skill in action", and
this is another important element of karma yoga. When something
is done well, it generally means that it was done by someone who
was fully conscious as to what they were doing. Undistracted by
the petty desires of the mind, intelligence is able to channel
itself intensely through the person, with force and inspiration.
Metaphysically, karma yoga also teaches us to act without creating
any new karma. One cannot escape the effects of ones past actions,
but one can act consciously in any particular set of circumstances,
without desire for personal gain, which would sew the seed for
further karmic reactions. For example, if one verbally abuses
you, you can react without losing control in anger or in a desire
to inflict pain, and so avoid strengthening habits of getting
angry or hurting others.
Begin to act in the spirit of karma yoga. Dedicate your actions
to the Lord. Say "Om Tat Sat", which means, "I
dedicate to Thee" whenever "you" complete something,
receive your paycheck, do something nice for others. Expand the
scope of your actions by doing volunteer work a few hours per
week, allowing love to move through you and to use your gifts
in ever expanding circles. Work selflessly to make Kriya Yoga
known to others, to help them and you become liberated from the
chains of ego formed karma. And remember, you are not the "doer".
the Grace of Satguru Kriya Babaji Part 3
Copyright Marshall Govindan December 1994. All rights reserved.
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Babaji's Kriya Yoga