Category Archives: Spirituality

The Journey of Understanding Karma: A Personal Perspective

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Life is a journey of learning and understanding, and one of the most profound concepts I’ve grappled with is Karma. My journey with Karma began with the Bhagavad Gita, continued with the teachings of Puttaparthi Sai Baba, and was further shaped by my reflections on a Quora post, my understanding of Nishkama Karma, and the teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba.

The Bhagavad Gita and Karma

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My first encounter with the Bhagavad Gita was during my school days at Satya Sai Vidya Vihar. The Bhagavad Gita was part of our curriculum, and I found myself memorizing verses without fully understanding their depth. One concept that particularly intrigued me was Karma Yoga, the path of selfless action. I was puzzled by the idea that all actions lead to outcomes, both good and bad. If that’s the case, why should we do anything at all?

Puttaparthi Sai Baba’s Teachings

author (in circle) with Puttaparthi Sai Baba

Years later, I had the opportunity to meet Puttaparthi Sai Baba, a spiritual leader revered by many. I asked him the question that had been bothering me: “Why should we perform actions (Karma), when any action can potentially lead to negative outcomes?” His answer was simple, “Why worry about it, just do your duty (Karma).”

At first, I found his words difficult to comprehend. But as I reflected on my life choices and the things I’ve said no to, I realized that the essence of Karma is not about the outcome, but about being independent of others. Even if something goes against what’s considered normal, you should still stick to your duty and act.

Reflections on a Quora Post

In my quest to understand Karma, I stumbled upon a post on Quora that offered a unique perspective. The author of the post questioned why corrupt people, despite their apparent success, are enmeshed in a web of heavy karma. They misuse their position for self-gratification, neglecting their responsibility to work for the welfare of others.

On the other hand, the author suggested that those who are struggling have chosen their circumstances as lessons. These struggles are teaching them resilience, self-independence, and survival instincts. These struggles are tests that one needs to pass to master the soul lessons. This perspective on Karma, as shared by the author, resonated deeply with me.

Nishkama Karma

Nishkama Karma, or selfless action, is a concept that resonates deeply with me. It’s about performing your duty without attachment to the outcome. This aligns with the teachings of Puttaparthi Sai Baba and the Bhagavad Gita. It’s not about the fruits of our actions, but about doing our duty with sincerity and dedication.

Shirdi Sai Baba and Karma Yoga

Shirdi Sai Baba, another revered spiritual leader, was a living embodiment of Karma Yoga. He performed acts of charity, healed the sick without charging any fees, and lived a humble life. His actions were driven by an altruistic motive, often resulting in personal suffering to alleviate the pain of others. His life was a testament to the principles of selfless action and universal love, serving as an inspiration to all who came to know him.


My journey of understanding Karma has been a deeply personal and transformative one. It has taught me that Karma is not about the outcomes of our actions, but about performing our duty with sincerity and dedication. It’s about selfless action and universal love. And most importantly, it’s about living life on our own terms, independent of others.

Choosing Your Own Path: Lessons from Swami Vivekananda and Cinema

author’s capture of Swami Vivekananda Rock and memorial on January 1, 2000

Everyone should visit the rock in Kanyakumari at least once. This is the place where Swami Vivekananda swam to and meditated about his future plans. Now, imagine this. Swami Vivekananda could have chosen any path in the materialistic world, but he decided to follow a different one. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to become a monk like him, but it’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique path in life.

Sometimes, you might be naturally talented at something but choose to walk a different path. Or, you might be born into a family that expects you to follow a certain career, but you don’t want to. Or, halfway through your life, you might realize that you don’t want to continue on the path you’re on. In all these cases, you have the power to choose your own journey. There are many movies that showcase this, such as Good Will Hunting. Rush and The Shawshank Redemption.

In the movie ‘Good Will Hunting’, the lead character is extremely talented in math. He could have become a famous mathematician like Ramanujan. But, he chooses to go on a different path in life. This surprises his professors who wanted him to join them in their research.

In the movie Rush, the story revolves around two Formula 1 racing drivers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Despite being naturally gifted and well-positioned to succeed in the racing world, Lauda chooses to retire after a near-death experience, realizing that his life path involves more than just racing. On the other hand, Hunt, despite his reckless lifestyle and lack of discipline, pursues his passion for racing relentlessly, demonstrating that individual choices often shape our life path, regardless of our natural abilities or circumstances.

In ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, the protagonist, a banker wrongfully convicted of murder much like Dr. Richard Kimble in ‘The Fugitive’, uses his knowledge and skills to survive life in prison. Despite the odds being against him, he chooses to maintain his innocence and hope. His determination eventually leads him to freedom, demonstrating that even when life puts us on an unexpected path, we still have the power to shape our destiny.

“Wisdom’s Path, Cinema’s Enigma”. image by author using DALL.E-3

In conclusion, Life is a journey with many paths. It is essential to remember that we are the architects of our own life, and we have the power to choose our direction, regardless of the circumstances or expectations. Whether it’s Swami Vivekananda choosing a spiritual path, the characters in the movies choosing their unique destinies, or us in our daily lives, the power of choice is always in our hands. On this day, let’s honor Swami Vivekananda’s legacy by embracing our individuality and forging our unique path, staying true to ourselves and our aspirations. Just like Vivekananda, let’s strive to make a difference in the world in our own unique way.

Karma Yoga: A Unifying Principle in Diverse Teachings

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Karma Yoga, the path of selfless action, is a central theme that resonates in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda, the Vyadha Gita, and Sai Baba’s Satcharitra. Each of these spiritual texts, though distinct in their narratives, converge on the principle of transforming ordinary actions into spiritual practice.

Swami Sivananda’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita underscores Karma Yoga as the practice of offering every action to the divine, performed without attachment to the results. This approach, he suggests, purifies the heart and reduces the ego, leading to the realization of the Self. Sivananda encourages individuals to view work as worship, thereby making spirituality accessible and practical in everyday life. This is encapsulated in the Bhagavad Gita verse:

“Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana” (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 47)

“You have the right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions.”

The Vyadha Gita, a part of the Mahabharata, echoes this theme of duty and devotion. It narrates the enlightening interaction between a learned Brahmin and a butcher, the Vyadha. Despite his humble profession, the Vyadha is depicted as a Karma Yogi, performing his duties with utmost sincerity and dedication. This narrative underscores that one’s spiritual progress is not determined by social status or profession, but by the attitude with which one performs their duties. A verse from the Vyadha Gita emphasizes the importance of controlling one’s senses:

“indriyāṇāṁ prasaṅgena doṣam ārcchantya saṁśayam | sanniyamya tu tānyeva tataḥ siddhiṁ samāpnuyāt || 20 ||” (Vyadha Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 20)

“Our senses are the root (cause) of our spiritual advancement as also at the root of our spiritual degradation.”

Sai Baba’s teachings, as illustrated in the Sai Satcharitra, further reinforce the principles of Karma Yoga. Sai Baba, through his explanation of a verse from the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 4, Verse no.34) to Nanasaheb Chandorkar (Sai Satcharitra, Chapter 39), emphasized the importance of selfless service and surrender. His life was an embodiment of Karma Yoga, serving the needy without expecting anything in return. His teachings encourage his devotees to perform their duties selflessly, viewing work as a form of worship.

In essence, these diverse spiritual texts converge on the principle of Karma Yoga, emphasizing that selfless action and devotion in performing one’s duties can lead to spiritual growth and self-realization. This unifying theme underscores the practicality of spirituality in everyday life, making it accessible and meaningful to all, regardless of their social status or profession.