Karma Yoga - The Yoga of action (art of living)
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CHAPTER 1 - Karma in its effect on Character
Karma is derived from the Sanskrit Kri, to do; all action is Karma. the effects of actions.
The goal of mankind is knowledge. That is the one ideal placed before us by Eastern philosophy. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge. Pleasure and happiness come to an end. It is a mistake to suppose that pleasure is the goal. The cause of all the miseries we have in the world is that men foolishly think pleasure to be the ideal to strive for.
If you take the character of any man, it really is but the aggregate of tendencies, the sum total of the bent of his mind; you will find that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character.
Good and evil have an equal share in moulding character, and in some instances misery is a greater teacher than happiness.
In studying the great characters the world has produced, I dare say, in the vast majority of cases, it would be found that it was misery that taught more than happiness, it was poverty that taught more than wealth, it was blows that brought out their inner fire more than praise.
What we say a man "knows", should, in strict psychological language, be what he "discovers" or "unveils"; what a man "learns" is really what he "discovers", by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.
All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind.
The external world is simply the suggestion, the occasion, which sets you to study your own mind, but the object of your study is always your own mind.
All knowledge, therefore, secular or spiritual, is in the human mind. In many cases it is not discovered, but remains covered, and when the covering is being slowly taken off, we say, "We are learning,"
The man from whom this veil is being lifted is the more knowing man, the man upon whom it lies thick is ignorant, and the man from whom it has entirely gone is all-knowing, omniscient.
There have been omniscient men, and, I believe, there will be yet; and that there will be myriads of them in the cycles to come.
Like fire in a piece of flint, knowledge exists in the mind; suggestion is the friction which brings it out. So with all our feelings and actions--our tears and our smiles, our joys and our griefs, our weeping and our laughter, our curses and our blessings, our praises and our blames--every one of these we may find, if we calmly study our own selves, to have been brought out from within ourselves by so many blows.
The result is what we are. All these blows taken together are called Karma--work, action. Every mental and physical blow that is given to the soul, by which, as it were, fire is struck from it, and by which its own power and knowledge are discovered, is Karma.
I am talking to you: that is Karma. You are listening: that is Karma. We breathe: that is Karma. We walk: Karma. Everything we do, physical or mental, is Karma, and it leaves its marks on us.