Spiritual Journey (Part II)

N Balasubramanian

Karmas – Living the present

Broadly there are three types of Kamya Karmas; Actions prompted by selfish good, prompted by common good, & those prompted by selfish good through common good. The common factor in all these actions is they are desire prompted. Hence they are called Kamya karmas in spiritual texts. Nishkamya karmas are those actions not prompted by desires, i.e., Actions undertaken without attachment to fruit of action, i.e., action taken for love of dong it or as a matter of duty.

Kamya karmas lead to bondage & suffering the cycle of birth & death. Nishkamya karmas lead to gradual loosening of bondage & finally to liberation from the cycle of birth & death. How? Only when you are passionately attached to the fruit of action, impressions are created in our mind. Nishkamya karmas are dispassionate in nature and therefore do not create fresh impressions. In the absence of fresh impressions created, the stored impressions are not further strengthened and with passage of time they too fade out of existence. Will not such passionless actions amount to indifference & failure? Yes, that is the reason why you have to intensely practice doing actions in a spirit of love of doing it and as a matter of duty. That is why the need for your intellectual conviction that “Thy right is in thy duty alone” and the fruit is that of divine’s law of cosmology. That is why the need for the intellectual conviction that the expectation of result causes, beforehand, anxiety & worries about how it will turn out to be in the end and also gives rise to fear of failure. Mind is thus troubled taking your focus away from actions. Later on also, this expectation vs. actual ratio becomes the cause for disappointment or anger in case of less or non-fulfillment and even in the case of fulfillment causes greed for more of it and lust for more such indulgence. In each case the result is trouble for your mind.

While engaged in Nishkamya karmas, therefore, our perception & experience is without any pre-conceived notion or influenced thoughts or likes and dislikes. Such perception & experience is what is called “living the present”, being in the bliss of tranquility.


All our thoughts are conditioned thoughts influenced by already acquired knowledge. Liking has been caused by our preconceived notion. Desiring has been caused by our pre-conceived notion. Ascribing satisfaction or happiness derived upon fulfillment of desire to the sense objects is also caused by pre-conceived notion. The entire process of liking a thing , wanting it and crediting happiness derived upon desire-fulfillment to sense objects – all of which is based on our pre-conceived notion. Is it not a pre-scripted drama played by Maya? Let us understand the reality behind this delusion. When desire arises in our individual consciousness, it clouds the ever-tranquil, the ever-blissful pure consciousness. When desire is satisfied or subdued or fulfilled, the clouding is gone, unveiling the self-effulgent, ever-tranquil, ever-blissful pure consciousness. It is this bliss of tranquility which is reflected by the individual, though, unfortunately, for a brief while only. Yes for a brief while only, because another thought, another desire soon follows in the conscious mind clouding again & again the bliss of tranquility of the pure consciousness. Mind being a train of thoughts, only in the interval moments between the thoughts, can we experience the glimpse of the happiness of tranquility. Such being the reality behind the source of happiness, the funny part of this drama is, when the source of happiness of desire-fulfillment is ascribed to the ephemeral & ‘outside-of-us’ sense object desired & obtained. Alas, how deluded we live our lives! Call it Maya or delusion or Avidya or ignorance.


  • Gaining sacred knowledge by studying and constant hearing of scriptures under the guidance of a competent Guru – Knowledge of the eternal Self (Atma) discriminated from the super imposing non-self , i.e., changing and decaying body-mind-intellect, and the Self’s unity with the cosmic non-dual Self, i.e., Brahmn; Intellectual conviction that “Self in me is the Self In all” and that Brahmn embodied is Self and Self disembodied is Brahmn and that the nature of Self , i.e, Brahmn is Absolute Existence, Absolute Knowledge, Absolute Bliss discriminated from the ephemeral & changing world of objects; Knowledge that Chittha Shuddhi is the pre-requisite to Salvation. (Sravana)
  • Contemplating constantly on the wisdom imported by scriptures through Guruji  to assimilate & internalize wisdom gained. (Manana)
  • Doing one’s duties to self, family & society without attachment to fruits of actions & with an attitude to accept whatever the results as the Cosmic divine’s will & pleasure (Nishkamya karma). Bounded duties as per stage of life and station of life, daily poojas and rituals; worship of God and a little bit of charity etc... - all of these when practiced daily will surely develop into Nishkamya karmas.
  • Consistently meditating on the God-principle, Brahmn till such time even this last dual perception of Brahmn as an object of meditation drops off unexerted (like a ripened fruit falling off a tree unforced) and is in union with God-principle, the non-dual Brahmn, the ever-existing bliss of tranquility. (Dhyana)
  • Sama, Dama, Thithiksha and Samadhan - Control of senses and mind. Thoughts and desires should be filtered by the filter of inner voice / conscience.

All these sadhanas (Sravana, manana, dhyana and nishkamya karma and self control of senses and mind) - It is not as if all these Sadhanas have to be taken up one by one. No, they have to be practiced simultaneously as they are all interdependent, supplementing & complimenting each other’s progress. (Sravana, Manana, Dhyana & Nishkamya Karma).


In “Viveka Chudamani”, Adi Sankara has succinctly listed the following as the fundamental qualifications required of a seeker after liberation. They are Viveka  (discriminating intellect), Vairagya (Dispassion), Shraddha (abiding faith in Scriptures and God-Principle), Mumukshutwa (earnestness and dedication and acute thirst for Moksha) and finally Vinaya (humility).

It is apt to conclude our discussion of spiritual journey by quoting the Lord’s encouraging and reassuring message to the practitioners of spiritual path.

“In this practice, there is no waste of effort or fear of any contrary results.

Even a little of practice of Dharma protects one from the great fear (of Samsara chakra) “ - Ch II-40

N Balasubramanian is an old time honours graduate in economics and has vast experience and expertise in human relations and resources development. A devotee of Sage of Kanchi - Maha Swamigal, N Balasubramanian is living a quiet and meditative life based upon the Guru's teachings. An avid reader of philosophy in his younger years, he wholly devotes his energies presently, in discovering insights and practical wisdom from ancient Indian scriptures. Based upon his understanding of Acharya's discourses and writings on spirituality, N. Balasubramanian shares these thoughts on IndiaNewsBulletin.com to just provoke your thoughts and kindle your interest in spirituality and philosophy.

Comments powered by Disqus