Recently I gave a small satsang talk in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, at the Sivananda Ashram. It was organized by my dear local uncle, Mr. Arun Oza, who had invited some entrepreneurs, lawyer colleages and professors to come and listen. Thereafter two magazines had published it in Gujarati, a women's magazine called "Aradhana" and "Himsa Virdodh" magazine. Below is the summary of it, in English:
Human beings have one thing in common; we are all searching for happiness. We search for happiness all around us: in our jobs, in belongings, in other people, etc. What we usually find is that they give us happiness for some time
This is a never-ending cycle. We place our happiness in external objects and situations. With the presence of the object, we feel happy. With its absence we feel unhappy.
What we don't realize is that the happiness is within ourselves. The external object or situation, only invokes the “happy self”. This can be made clear with an example- if I eat a chocolate bar, I will feel happy. If I eat two or three chocolate bars, I will still feel happy. But if I have to eat 15 chocolate bars, I will certainly not feel happy anymore. Although the same object is presented at certain times, it doesn't bring us happiness at every instance. This means that the happiness does not lie within the chocolate bar itself. What we have to know is that all happiness, fulfillment, ānanda, and fullness is within ourselves. What you seek externally, is already there: it is you! So rather than hunting and chasing in the outside world, let us turn inwards, and see the beauty that lies within us.
This is where the lifestyle of karma yoga and the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita come in. There are three main aspects of karma yoga- isvara prasada buddhi, isvara arpana buddhi, and yoga. Isvara prasada buddhi stands for an attitude, where we take whatever situation that comes to us as prasad from bhagavan. Whether it is a positive situation, or a negative situation, we take it with the attitude that ‘this is meant to be’. The lord has greater plans for us, and whatever we go through, it is simply a means of growth and maturity for us. This way we can keep our emotions in check, receiving life with glad acceptance.
Isvara arpana buddhi is another important attitude, where we offer whatever we do to the lord. This allows us to stay humble, providing selfless service in whichever work we do. Whether it is a pleasant job or unpleasant, offering it to a greater cause than our personal motives allows us to work and live objectively.
Yoga means living a prayerful life. Yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation have a great effect on our minds, emotions and bodies. It calms down our minds, which it turn will keep our entire system in balance. Living a prayerful life means imbibing values. Ahimsa, non violence, is very important in Hindu Dharma. Ahimsa is not only in action, but also in thoughts and speech. We should aim for our being to be of least disturbance to the environment and people around us. This comes hand in hand with compassion, karuna. Being compassionate to people means giving them the freedom to be who they are. We cannot change people. We can only change ourselves, and the way we receive them. Giving others freedom is giving freedom to yourself.
Karma yoga is nothing but living life, to the fullest. But with awareness, and objectivity. The whole life is yoga. It prepares us and gives us enough growth and maturity for the ultimate goal: moksha. Moksha means freedom from limitations and freedom from bondage. Freedom from the feeling of smallness and insignificance. The way to understand this is by studying our scriptures. Our ancient scriptures are so sacred because they hold the ultimate message for us: You are the whole. You are complete. You are purna. Aham brahman asmi. By studying our shastras, upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, we can overcome our sense of limitation, and go from dependence to independence. We need nothing else for us to be content, because contentment is our nature. We come to know this by studying with a qualified guru, who has studied the scriptures himself, and teaches within a sampradaya, a lineage. With this sincere study we can reach that which we search and hunt for our entire life.... Because, what you seek, is yourself.