Seminar on Karma yoga
Karma Yoga. Yoga of Action.
We live in the world, where we face with what we known as laws. What kind of law it can be? For example, a law of universal gravitation. If you throw a sheet of paper, it will mandatory fall on the ground. Someone says that it is the law, someone says that it is a hallucination. But every law has a criteria - reproducibility. Let's suppose, that we do not know how this sheet of paper can act. But we have an opportunity to make an experiment. Let's really make sure that this law works. So I throw a sheet of paper, and we see where it flys.
I am letting it go. Where did it fly?
From the audience: Down.
Maybe it was a coincidence. Let's try with the second one. I let it go the second time. It fell down again. So, I can do it any number of times, and I get the same result. We have a phenomenon, when we can get the same result, and we call it «the law». That is, the law is something repeated. If we have all the conditions at the input, we get the same result at the output. It's the law. And there is a sufficiently large number of these laws in the place where we live. One of them is the law of universal gravitation. But if the sheet flies and falls on the ventilation, it is not going to fall.
Is it a violation of universal law of gravitation?
From the audience: No, it is not.
From the audience: This is another law.
Right. There is another law. We get a combination of two laws at the output. The horizon expands. That is, all the sheets fall on the ground, unless there is some other law, when the wind blows and makes this sheet to fly up. Another law acts without breaking the first, and the result is quite different: the sheet flies up instead of falling on the ground. But if we consider these laws individually, they do not depend on our willingness or unwillingness. For example, I do not want the sheet to fall down, but it falls down anyway. Or I do not want the sheet to fly up, but the fan raises it up. Well, I hope you got the idea of the laws in this world. And when we say the word «Karma», we must understand that it implies to the cause and the effect in the first place.
Karma is the law of the cause and the consequence. That is actually all. We could end our seminar at this point. The law of the cause and the consequence tells us, that every consequence has its cause, each result has a precondition that led to it. And this law of the cause and the effect is called Karma. The Karma has no substance. But we sometimes hear the expression "cleaning the negative Karma", and it seems to us like a person cleans up the dirt with a vacuum cleaner or with something else. When we hear "a lot of positive Karma", it seems to us that it can be measured in kilograms, grams, tons, or some other metric units. This is all nonsense, it's figurative expressions to explain something, but it does not reflect the subject matter. So there is the law of the cause and the consequence, which states that every effect has a cause. The fact, that a sheet of the paper fell down on the floor, is a due of the fact that I picked it up off the floor, and secondly, is a due of the fact that there is a universal law of gravity.
Now let's consider a more complicated aspect: what is the essence of the law of the cause and the consequence. Let's look at it in abstract way.
Why it did not happen other way around? Why it does not happen that the result is first, and only then the reason?
Example, a glass is on the table, then it falls and breaks, and you see a bunch of fragments. But we never saw the action in the opposite direction: the pieces suddenly gather together to form a glass, that jumps on the table and stands there.
From the audience: it may be in a cartoon, if you scroll film backwards.
Absolutely correct, if we turn back to motion picture film, we can see the opposite process. Any VCR or player can play back a movie from the end: we see happy end - boy and girl meet, and then go back to show how they came to this. But we can do it only with VCR, we have not seen such a situation in the life. Why? Because it does not happen in the life, we say. Because if we see it, it means that the time goes backwards.
Concept of time.
There is a different law, which is consequence of the law of the cause and the consequence. We see an obvious vector that the cause (reason) goes first, and then the result takes place, but there is never vice versa. And the law of the cause and the consequence comes to the concept of time. We get an interesting logical conclusion: the law of Karma i.e. the law of the cause and the consequence is very tightly bound to the concept of time. There is no consequence without a cause. And my small remark for diluting the heavy theory: the yoga says, that we have our living conditions, and we have all of them not by chance.
They were formed by actions that we have done before. We have the life situation, which has not fallen from the moon into our life, it is generated by your previous actions.
When we talk about Karma, we understand it as the law of the cause and the consequence. The law of the cause and the consequence leads us directly to the concept of time, to the notion that time is not reversible.
Sometimes I hear such exclamations: «Why so?».
From the audience: Who is to blame?
Who is to blame? Why so? Now I turn on the TV: there are some growing economic problems, crisis. Let's see who is to blame, let's catch and punish them. But it looks as if all of them are white and fluffy, they are not relevant to this situation, at the moment luck has turned away from them. If we argue that we have some consequences without a cause, we say that the time is moving not forward, but to other way, to sideways. We cannot see this situation in life.
And now we come in touch with more terrible, harsh theory, very difficult to understand. We live here on the Earth, where really the reason goes first, and then the result comes. But maybe there are completely different laws somewhere far away, in the space, on the left of the nearest black hole or somewhere else. It may be the opposite somewhere in the deep space: the result comes first, and then the cause goes or something different. Yoga says in this regard: yes, we do not know all of the laws of the Universe, indeed. They can be very strange from our point of view, if the cause appears after the result or something else, but it is not observed in our world.
Yoga tells us the following: there are certain laws of the Universe, we do not know all of them. But there are special laws (sometimes referred to as Supreme Laws), And the law of the cause and the consequence in our world is a special case of the Supreme Laws. That is, the law of the cause and the consequence is not an absolute thing, it is not necessarily everywhere. But we observe it in our world as a plane of the law of Karma. And now I emphasize an important thing that help you to understand the meaning of Karma Yoga: we, indeed, live in the plane of the cause and the consequence, we all live in the plane of Karma, and it would be crazy for us, if it would be the opposite. But, there are more higher laws that do not contradict with the law of the cause and the consequence, and do not deny the law of Karma. But at the same time when these laws begin to act, it seems as if there was no Karma, or as if the law of the cause and the consequence does not exist.
Concept of logic.
I understand that it is a very complex theory for understanding, so let`s look from the other side. We have a notion of the logic, of the logical or illogical things. Imagine, that a man came to you and said: "Take a hundred dollar bill, burn it, and you get a lot of these bills, if you perform the certain ritual". Or let`s remember how Pinocchio went to the field of miracles in the land of fools, he buried three coins in the ground, watered them and waited for them to grow as a tree full of coins.
Well, what do you answer to that?
From the audience: mental hospital...
Well, yes, in fact, it is psychiatric diagnosis. Why? Because, obviously, your mind, your common sense will show that it is not logical. I buried the coins in the ground, and here the tree has grown with the money. How can it be? I have never seen this situation before. And why was there the money on the tree? Why wasn`t there the oranges or the portraits of Presidents? And we intuitively start to divide all phenomena, which we face into logical and illogical. We pay attention to logical things and reject illogical things. If someone comes to us and says something that our common sense does not reject, we say «logical!» and consider it. If not, then we say «it is illogical».
Or the next example: the businessman come to me and say: "Give me million, I'll build a pipeline to the moon." I think about it and decide that it is illogical. How was he going to put the pipe across the sky? It will fall. And I say that this man told me something irrational, he behaved inadequately. I will not pay attention to him he really is a psychiatric patient. But if someone comes to me and says: "I know the future state of the market, there will be demand for rattles in the next year. If you buy the rattles today for a penny, they will rise in price tomorrow, and you will sell them for three dollars." If at the same time he give me a lot of papers, which is called a business plan, thoroughly described and justified, I will have the impression: "Yes, it is logical, yes, indeed, it is necessary today to buy these toys to sell tomorrow". Or maybe most various results.
We are facing with the notion of logic or illogic in our life. Conclusion: the concept of logic and illogic is reduced to the concept of the cause and the consequence. And the concept of the cause and the consequence is reduced to a concept of the linear extension of time and essentially to the concept of Karma. In other words: the law of Karma is the law of the logicality: as you sow, so shall you reap. This is the meaning of Karma. If we focus on you and me personally, we can say, that no one is blame to for all of our troubles. And we have just the things, that we have earned by our previous actions and nothing else. There is no evil genius, no doom, no evil force, that obstructs us, there is nothing like this in the Universe, because otherwise it would not be logical. Otherwise it would be contrary to the linear extension of time, if we get a result, but we did not do any initial action.
The first part of Karma Yoga says, that we live in a plane of Karma, where everything is logical, where any result is the result of the actions that we have done before. And we would put a full stop and calm down and be happy about that. It is really serious topic in our life - logics. But in fact, we do not use it always. I have not disclosed you anything new, you know this from the childhood, that our mind is developed but our mind is built in so complex and tricky way that some of the things in our life we see with the support of logic but some - not. Example: When we plan to invest money in a bank or enterprise, we try to be guided by the principles of strict logic. Meaning if the bank gives more interest and, if the bank is more reliable, we will deal with it.
Let's speak about our lives in general, our daily activities: we wake up, wash, dress, go to work... It is strange, but this part of our everyday life falls out of logic. We are often guided by a habit, we copy others in our daily life. Or, as it is sometimes said, we unconsciously use behavior patterns of someone else. From the perspective of yoga, a man is a very strange creature. On the one hand, a man can be logical and on the other hand, it is prone to the herd instinct. A man acts as if he/she was in a herd: everybody is running and I am running; all buy and I buy; everyone likes and I like; all sell and I sell. And it is not perceived by the mind, but only by some instinctual manifestations.
It turns out, that it is only an illusion that we live according to the principle of logic, though, we reject all, that as we believe is illogical. But at the same time, some parts of our behavior is absolutely out of critic for us, where we do not use the logic. And there are a lot of examples. Example: I bought shares of the company. Everyone said, that it will go bankrupt, but my neighbor bought them, convinced me and I bought them. The question: Who is your neighbor? Is he/she a financial genius? No. We simply sometimes are not critical to judgments of others and follow someone’s advice.
So, first of all, Karma Yoga encourages us to be consistent. We can act logical in one area, but some areas are not covered. Why do not we apply logic to them? Why do we act halfheartedly? While we're at work for 8 hours we are in a sane state, and as soon as we come home, we like to wake schizophrenic tendencies, as if we would go mad and start to follow advice and instructions of someone else. And it applies to marginal things, for example, people truly believe in some soothsayers, fortune-tellers, healers, psychics and others. The gypsies roam the world, they say anything, and people believe, although it is not logical.
Example: There was a book, called «A collection of bad signs». I hope you will be saved from seeing such book. If you read it, your life will turn into hell the next day, I assure you. You will behave like a programmed robot: do not look back, it is a bad omen, do not go that way, it is a bad omen. It is full of illogic! Maybe, a publisher published this book after a heavy New Year rituals. And we begin to follow and believe it.
Another example about some preferences we are faced: we have never seen a work of art, but we have heard that it is bad, and we start to say the same thing, even though we had never seen it. This is a herd instinct. Yoga begins from the following statement: we live in the plane of the logic laws, we live in the plane of the Karma, we live in the plane of the cause and the consequence. So all of our results that we have, we have generated ourselves. Moreover, if we want a good result, we first need to make some actions to achieve it, and only then we will get it.
Example: I often hear from people: "I want to find a career, make my business, I am tired to do nonsense." I ask them: "Well, you want to find your profession, but what are you doing for it?" Answer: "I do nothing, sit and wait, and hope when it fall on me from the sky." I say: "Well, you would have to make and send some forms, some CVs, that you want to find such job. Maybe you yourself don’t even know what you want. Maybe a potential employer will look at your data and understand, that you are suitable to become the head of the company.» But we do nothing, we just sit and wait, but the result does not come, and we begin to say: "Oh, I have no luck!"
Well, we must expect it. We live in the plane of logicality, there are no results without a reason, there are no consequences without a cause. But for some reason we think that we are some kind of special. Frankly, many people have a mess in their heads, though they consider themselves very sane, very consistent and punctual. But they do nothing or do the opposite, and then they get the result that they do not like. Instead of considering the bad result and tracing why it arose, the person starts to blame some external forces in his or her misfortune.
What is the initial idea of Karma Yoga? Karma Yoga tries to bring to your mind that as long as you live in the plane of Karma (we still live in this plane!), if we want a result, we have to make some actions to get it. It does not happen another way. Unfortunately, this elementary truth does not reach us. It is elementary, it's like two times two. Why is it happening this way? Why such a simple truth does reach our minds? Karma Yoga explains that before we got the human body, we have lived in numerous bodies of animals. And the animals use their mind partially, but mostly they use their instinct of self-preservation, procreation and so forth. And now, we have already received the human body, but the habits of animal lifestyle have remained at a large extent.
Example: A dog or cat sometimes can act logically. If the dog buried the bone, then the dog will return to the place and dig out the bone, because it would be logical to look for it there. But a dog cannot think about few next few years. I can hardly imagine a dog that will think: "How am I going to live after five years, what will they feed me, what the weather will be? "
And we, unfortunately, need to understand that we bring much from the life in the bodies of animals. We do some unconscious actions, thoughts and motives. We are taken into different directions. Sometimes we turn out the glimmers of our mind at work because otherwise you will be fired. But many sides of our life are similar to the animal life. And we need to stop it and thoroughly review each our action, each our motivation, every our act. Yoga is not asking you to review everything and change everything starting from tomorrow. Yoga teaches us to go another way: acknowledge it, be conscious about it.
Example: Now I am doing something, I do not know why. It is not logical, but I usually do this way, I am not stopping, and it is bringing me in some direction. You do not need to resist, you need to mark inside: I did logical thing here, but here it was illogical. That is, you must constantly take this into account. Do not resist the illogic and permanently mark. Yoga says, that you need to be honest with yourself. I remember the words of the character of the film "Ordinary Miracle": "Yes, ancestor’s spirit of my mother’s line has woken up inside me, and I will splash out, break the dishes, kick up a row." He warned everybody to be ready. So something sometimes wakes up inside us. Some beast can wake inside us and we can be in a wild fit of rage, but we understand that it is bad, not logical to do so. We show our emotion now, and the result will be negative.
Yoga does not dictate you to restrain at any cost. Yoga says that you need to notice: "Yes, indeed, I cannot stop myself". Or vice versa: "Here I succumbed to the opinion of the crowd and agree with idea that I don’t know at all. And there is the first part of Karma Yoga. It is not possible to go further without this part. We all need to reach a level of logic.
The logic may be veiled.
And there is another point in this aspect, and it is purely emotional moment: the more we begin to understand this law of logic, the more dreary and mechanistic will be the world in our mind. And we will think that we are robots ourselves. And do you know who often faced such situation? - Very successful businessmen.
Example: I had a chance to talk to quite interesting people. If you remember there were no rich people officially in the USSR. And when new trends started to rise, some people got very rich. It was in the early 90-ties, it was a time of chaos and disorder. I spoke with a gentleman who had already managed to climb financially. And he did not steal, he did not privatize, he came up with the idea. He told me one thing: "You know, everything is logical in our country." I said: "But how is it? You see, a judge does not judge, law enforcement agencies cover bandits… It is nonsense." When we look from the outside, we see nonsense and chaos in our country, we see that people elect people who have nothing to do with responsibility and ability to be in power. But this person looks from other side, from the position of the financial instruments. He sees what we do not see, and all the events presented themselves extremely logical for him. Why do we see the same artist on TV all the time? Because there is a financial flow behind this artist. And I said: "Lord, what a mess we have!" And he said: "No, we have the order." I said: "What illogical situation!" And he said: "No, it is very logical!" Everything is logical, but logic is hidden. Example: There is brawl, fight on the street. Is it a manifestation of illogic? No, it is the logic, it is simply veiled.
That is, if you know that everything is logical, you know how to manage it. Everybody has a button, we just need to find it. There is a button in each situation. We must know where "to oil" somebody, where to press and push to get the result. And indeed, if we do so everything, it works. But a man gets cynic as a flip side of this process. Suddenly a man begins to believe that there is nothing spiritual. If the person knows how to get much money, then things are going smoothly. But Yoga says that it is not true. Although yoga agrees that everything is logical and the vast number of problems can be solved by rigid and soulless methods.
The laws of logic are the first thing to apply.
Sometimes thick pocket of money can solve these kinds of problems, which cannot be solved by the other ways during a lifetime. And this situation generates cynicism, it is a very dangerous trend, and we will discuss later why. It is a typical American approach. The Americans one day understood that many things can be solved with the help of financial policy, with money.
Example: Americans had no a science, but a science was in the old Europe. The war began, atomic bombs appeared. The America suddenly realized that it needed a bomb for security. But to get the bomb, there is need for science. What did they do? They did not have their own scientists, they simply bought them worldwide. And really, we admire what a good medicine in America is now, what a strong science... Indeed, all outstanding scientists work in America, and half of them are foreigners, even more. America has solved this question very simply and evidenced such logic: if there is a goal, then there is a plan to achieve the goal, and there is money for it. And for them things work like that. And in this aspect, we should try to learn from them.
There is a lot of things to be learned from America. Some problems can be solved easily with the money, even if it seems to us that some problems cannot be solved. I want to emphasize this. So some people see yogis as Santa Claus, who talks about something spiritual, sublime, smiling, keeping the garlands on their necks, doing nothing, because everything will come by itself. No, my friends, the yogis primarily are people who see reality. And the first reality is knowing that many problems can be solved without referring to a higher power, nor to divination, or to predictions, but to a very specific and logic actions. And it is the funny thing, that ninety-eight percent of the problems that we face in our life, we can solve by logic quite easily and elegantly. But at the same time Yoga says that there are problems that cannot be solved by the approach of logic. There are problems that never will be solved with help of money, but very little of them. This is a very special things and a man has to think about them later. But most of the problems that make the person suffers, can be solved by the logic or consistency.
So, Karma Yoga encourages us to realize that we still live in the plane of the logic the first of all, we live in the plane of Karma, where the cause goes first, and then the consequences go. Karma Yoga encourages us to be guided primarily the laws of logic in our decision making, and only then to be guided by some other laws. For example, sometimes I hear: my intuition told me or it opened to me, or forecasters predicted to me. Yoga says that this is a very slippery way. Yoga does not say that there is no other ways except the logic. There is still Super Logic that does not contradict the logic on one hand, but on the other hand, it may appear as if this logic was broken. This is the case with a sheet of paper and a fan. The laws of logic should make a sheet of paper to fall down, it's one law. But if we have two laws banging their heads, then we get the result, what we want. By analogy, there are laws of the Super Logic, and our laws of logic are just a special case of these Super Logic laws. And when laws of the Super Logic interfere in the game of the life, they play the dominant role, but they do not violate the laws of logic, but merely complement them. For example, you ask the person: "Why have you done this?" And get a reply: "Because I had a revelation from above." And you see that this revelation of higher directly contradicts the logic, and also leads to the quite terrible result, that was not predicted. So it was not a revelation from above. Therefore, Yoga primarily teaches us not to flirt with such things, which we do not understand. And only when we analyze everything by the logic, only then the second stage of our mind may be turned and we act by the Super Logic laws. But Super Logic, revelations from above or any miraculous manifestations never contradict the logic, but complement them.
Therefore, we must be guided by logic first of all.