Episode # 158 – Performing our duty with “detachment” helps us escape the consequences of our “Karma”!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the continuation of a very important explanation about the significance of the “Aathman” or the “Soul” and how it is a permanent entity without destruction in this whole world. We witnessed how the “Aathman” assumes different physical forms for every birth that we take, according to our “Punya Karma” (Good deeds) and “Paapa Karma” (Bad deeds). Also, all the happiness and sufferings that we undergo in our day-to-day life are only because of the extent to which we’ve accumulated our “Paapa/Punya Karma” in our previous birth/s. However there is one more clause to it here – Even if we try to diminish our “Paapa Karma” or “Punya Karma” in some way or the other, it only keeps mounting on and on through some other way in this birth. Hence the next birth of ours would again be based on what kind of deeds (good or bad) we do today! Why does this keep happening this way always? We might ask that can’t there any end for all these “Paapa” and “Punya Karmas”? Why is it rolling one after the other again and again? How many births are we going to keep on taking and suffer this uncertainty?

Now let’s look at a simple analogy to explain this concept – We would have seen big balloons flying high in the air in the centre of many cities around the world. There might be even some companies who would advertise their brands over these high-flying balloons and we often see it in the present day. Now how do these balloons stay afloat in the air, although it is lighter in density? These balloons are tied to the surface or on top of some high rise buildings with a rope. However for some reason, if this rope is cut off, what happens to that balloon? It will not stay afloat in that one particular position anymore. Rather, it would keep flying somewhere and would continue flying along with the wind direction and with the speed of the wind.

Now let us use this analogy to explain the “Karma” theory and its relationship with the “Aathman”. To answer the above question, just like how the rope holds on the balloon from flying away somewhere, our “Karma” (Both good and bad) holds our “Aathman” firmly from advancing towards Vaikunta (Heaven). Hence we can see that the “Karma” that we perform is the rope here. However, just like when the rope is cut off, the balloon flies off, if the rope called “Karma” is cut off, our “Aathman” can easily advance upwards towards Vaikunta. Thus we can understand a very important thing here – When can we reach Vaikunta? We can reach Vaikunta only when we finish off both the “Paapa Karma” and “Punya Karma” and their effects. We’ve already seen that if we start experiencing the effects of whatever Karma we’ve accumulated, these Karma gets dissolved. This not only applies for the “Paapa Karma” but also for the “Punya Karma” too. This of course means that the more happiness and more luxuries we experience in our everyday life, the more of the “Punya Karma” we’re dissolving off. Hence at a time when both these “Paapa Karma” and “Punya Karma” are completely dissolved off, the rope gets cut off, and we advance upwards towards Vaikunta!

Thus the answer to yesterday’s question is that, there would be an end to this cycle of “Karma” and birth-death repetition only when our “Paapa” and “Punya Karma” neutralizes to zero. Once the neutralization happens, we’re completely free of all the “baggages” and we become ready to fly towards Vaikunta. Of course we can again ask the question that if we’re successful in burning down all the Karma in this birth itself, will we still be able to attain Vaikunta. The answer is of course “Yes”. But a small glitch here is that, in this birth, we would do some fresh “Paapa” and “Punya Karma”. Now when do we experience the results of these freshly performed Karma? Now the mathematics becomes more complicated! How many births would we be required to take after this present one?

The best way to escape out of this vicious cycle is to practice “detachment”. This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is advising us to do – Whatever actions we do, if we perform them with complete detachment from the fruits of the actions, we get liberated from the cycle of “Paapa” and “Punya Karma”. Of course the action is performed, but if we’re performing it without expecting anything from it, the “Paapa” and/or “Punya” account doesn’t get incremented. In other words, if we realize that we’re performing certain actions only to neutralize our past Karma and if we make sure that we should perform this compensatory Karma with the utmost detachment, we do not accumulate the resultant “Paapa” or “Punya” that is attached to it and thus we escape from it completely.

If we witness the important advice to Arjuna by Bhagawan Krishna in depth now, with all the answeres that we’ve derived so far, what can we infer? When Bhagawan Krishna asks Arjuna to take his bow and arrow and start the war with Duryodhana, he asks Arjuna to do his duty as a “Kshathrya” prince. The main duty of a “Kshathrya” is to protect the country from the enemy and restore the “Dharma”. It is only for this reason Bhagawan Krishna asks Arjuna to fight. Many people might misinterpret this important meaning by saying that Bhagawan Krishna himself is encouraging Arjuna to fight and kill people. It is not true – Here Bhagawan Krishna is only asking Arjuna to perform his duty, but with complete detachment so that, although killing another human being is an act of sin, Arjuna does not get that sin on to himself! Here we can see that, if we do our duty with complete detachment, we can get over the Paapa-Punya account easily and attain Vaikunta.

So for today let us think over this aspect and try to perform our actions everyday with utmost detachment. Let us try and meticulously practice detachment in whatever we do. However, we should also ensure that just because we practice detachment, we do not run away from performing our duty with perfection. There should be no excuse for not performing our duty correctly. Hence let us practice this from today! We shall wait till the next episode for more explanation! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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