Sadhguru looks at how we build a mountain of karma around us, and what we need to do to dismantle this…
Sadhguru: Shankaran Pillai boarded a local bus. Suddenly, he covered his face with a shawl and doubled up. A puzzled co-passenger asked him, “Sir, are you all right?” Shankaran Pillai assured him that he was all right, and said, “It’s just that if I see that old lady there, I would have to offer her my seat. I’m crouching to avoid seeing her.”
Shankaran Pillai’s choice was either to stand and offer his seat, or continue sitting. But most people try to avoid involvement of various kinds, never realising that avoidance is big karma. The moment you try to shun involvement, karma multiplies. And the calculation – “Should I give up my seat or not” – is an even bigger karma.
How does one escape this entanglement-avoidance trap? This question confuses many. In a state of confusion, everything around you sticks to you! It is like you are covered by a super-glue coating, and every speck of dust adheres. Acquiring karma has nothing to do with performing good or bad deeds. You simply build karma within yourself with confused intentions and limited desires. After some time, you have such a mountain of karma around you that it becomes difficult to breathe.
Human desire can be limited or boundless. If you choose boundless desire, that is the end of karma.
How can one ever dismantle this enormous karmic mountain? The answer is simple: you don’t try to dismantle it. You just wash off the glue. The entire mountain will fall apart in an instant. How is this adhesive removed? Not through avoidance, but through conscious involvement. With conscious involvement, there is no possibility of ever getting stuck again.
Human desire can be limited or boundless. If you choose boundless desire, that is the end of karma. Alternatively, if you rise above your likes and dislikes, your narrow ideas of “mine” and “not mine”, that is the end of karma. Make your desire inclusive, make everything yours, become a mother to the world, and the possibility of being stuck vanishes forever.
The whole system of yoga is to cultivate a profound sense of involvement without any specific intention or motive.
The ultimate aim of the spiritual path is dispassionate involvement and unwavering focus. It does not matter what you are involved with or focused on: God, a rock, a man or a woman. The object of focus is unimportant. The Akashi mudra practice in the yogic tradition entails focussing on nothing at all; it is simply an unwavering focus on empty space. The premise is that liberation does not depend on the object of your focus, but the focus itself.
The whole system of yoga is to cultivate a profound sense of involvement without any specific intention or motive. Over time, this was misunderstood to mean aloofness: people confused involvement with entanglement and dispassion with indifference. What they forgot – and as Shankaran Pillai found out on that bus – is that ignoring someone also needs a lot of involvement!
It is the journey of inclusion that liberates you, not the destination. In exclusion, you become trapped. In inclusion, you are liberated.
Since life itself is a process without purpose, it is only in absolute involvement in the process that the juice of life can be tasted. Process is the purpose; the goal just a consequence. And it was to simplify things that so many ancient traditions spoke of “devotion”.
There is nothing sentimental about devotion. If the fire of genuine devotion burns within you, it will burn up everything. It will ensure you are absolutely committed to the process without worrying about what the goal is. It is the journey of inclusion that liberates you, not the destination. In exclusion, you become trapped. In inclusion, you are liberated.