What is Nishkama Karma?

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Andavane
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What is Nishkama Karma?

Postby Andavane » July 11th, 2006, 2:14 pm

Mr. Rangachari, a Telugu Pandit in Voorhees’ College at Vellore, asked about nishkama karma.

There was no reply.

After a time Sri Bhagavan went up the hill and a few followed him, including the pandit. There was a thorny stick lying on the way which Sri Bhagavan picked up; he sat down and began leisurely to work at it.

The thorns were cut off, the knots were made smooth, the whole stick was polished with a rough leaf. The whole operation took about six hours.
Everyone was wondering at the fine appearance of the stick made of a spiky material.

A shepherd boy put in his appearance on the way as the group moved off. He had lost his stick and was at a loss. Sri Bhagavan immediately gave the new one in his hand to the boy and passed on.

The pandit said that this was the matter-of-fact answer to his question.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Number 118

anbudan

John
Siva—Siva

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anna
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Postby anna » July 22nd, 2006, 12:11 am

Hmmmmmmmm, I like that very much.

Perhaps the difference between his action, Ramana's, and the ordinary human being is that the latter would already be attached to the stick. Of course, along with the activity of smoothing the stick, came the gorgeous co-existence of another in need of a stick - who was preparing what for whom? Who did what for what reason, and indeed, was there ever any reason at all to do anything? Or, better yet, was there anyone doing anything to anything at all for anyone?

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Postby Andavane » August 12th, 2006, 2:18 pm

anna wrote:....along with the activity of smoothing the stick, came the gorgeous co-existence of another in need of a stick - who was preparing what for whom? Who did what for what reason, and indeed, was there ever any reason at all to do anything? Or, better yet, was there anyone doing anything to anything at all for anyone?


Image

Indeed. What marks this out is the use of that small word for.... "What are you doing this for?"; "What are you doing that for?"; "What are you hoping to achieve by carrying out this action or that action?"... All these 'for's, all these purposes, bind us to the wheel of karma...

along with the activity of smoothing the stick, came the gorgeous co-existence of another in need of a stick - who was preparing what for whom?
... yes, for here the for had never been the question.. It is just an action carried out with love, for its own sake, and with no ulterior motive or intention of any kind.

The difference between the purpose-ful and the purpose-less mind is succintly written in Verse One of the amrtabindu upanishad, which means the Upanishad which is "a drop of nectar". Here is that Verse in in the original Sanskrit:

Image

in roman letters this reads:

mano hi dvividham proktam Suddham cASuddhameva ca |
aSuddham kAmasamkalpam Suddham kAmavivarjitam || 1 ||


which means:

'The mind is spoken of as of only two kinds, pure and impure.
The impure mind is solely intent on desire,
the pure mind is completely free of desire.'


The deep inner reflection — spontaneously turned into action — opens up the road for the final lap in our perceived journey from bondage into freedom. Ramana has, furthermore, written some more powerful lines which instil this timeless wisdom into our hearts. Circumstances permitting, it would be good to weave some of these into future jewels into the thread of Nishkaama karma -- action peformed with no desire for any outcome.

Acknowledgments to my dear friend Miles Wright, who has translated and transliterated the amrtabindu upanishad as well as translating it into English from the Sanskrit original. The full translation can be viewed on:

http://nanyar.googlepages.com/amrtabinduupanishad

anbudan

John
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anna
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Postby anna » August 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm

Yes, yes, the word "for" - indeed, that word explicitely indicates the duality of action which most of us live within. Without "for", there is no longer a subject/object relationship, is there? So, if one were to take that word, and observe its use constantly within one's own conversation or stream of consciousness, it might be a great guide and yardstick for measuring the extent to which we are enmeshed in the problem of "me and mine". And thanks for the beautiful picture of this great man - I always found his eyes to be the most beautiful pools of love.


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